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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

strawberry hunting season

and now an update on the Nose. i'm a little reluctant to post photos of my child in so exploitative a manner, but i do so in the name of science. and exploitation. here is what our daughter looked like a day or two after we brought her home from the hospital -- you can just barely make out a pink little splotch above her left nostril. as you can imagine, we thought nothing of it:

ridiculously freakin' adorable, right? RIGHT? right. until, that is, it began to grow. here is the hemangioma as of sunday:

(jesus lord almighty tell me that's not the most perfect child you have ever seen ever. I DARE YOU!) you can see that not only has the purple splotch spread, but the child has the added bonus of its becoming all lumpy too. she looks like she's been nursing on whiskey for 60 years. you can see that the nose is no longer symmetrical and she looks like a clown. sometimes instead of rudolph, we call her bozo. i honestly don't even see it when i look at her. occasionally i'll take a picture and then be surprised by her super-schnoz, but mostly i don't even see it. strangers still stop us on the street to gawk at the baby because she is so obviously gorgeous, but increasingly they ask "what happened to her nose?" i usually reply "oh, she was crying so i beat her." mrs nice guy does not think this is funny.

so, our upstairs neighbors happen to both be pediatricians. not only do they happen to both be pediatricians, but they happen to both consistently appear on "best of" lists for new york pediatricians. not only do they happen to consistently appear on "best of" lists for new york pediatricians, they happen to be exceedingly nice people. they came by for a neighborly visit the other week to meet the newest nice guy. while they were in our place, we took the opportunity to cop a free consultation: they said that the strawberry is going to keep growing for up to eighteen months. there's not telling how huge it'll get. they also said that it will indeed go away on its own, but because there is some deep tissue growth, it could permanently damage some of the tissue in her nose, leaving it slightly malformed. they referred us to three doctors -- two vascular specialists and a laser guy -- and suggested we have it looked at just to get a specialist's opinion.

my resolve to let this hemangioma go away on its own has taken a beating lately. and mrs nice guy has desperately wanted to get it looked at for weeks now. i saw no harm in it, and besides if i don't do everything mrs nice guy wants, she goes to the bad place. (i should note here that she totally wears the penis around our house. she owns me and she is very violent. mostly in a good way.) so it was off to the doctor's office we went. this was yesterday.

the consultation was quick. (and we felt like total chumps for being in her waiting room with our little bozo daughter, sitting next to children who have real problems. like cancer.) the doctor said, basically, the baby is a good candidate for laser treatment. it's not purely a cosmetic problem: the hemangioma could potentially damage some of the cartilage in her honker, it will spread probably rapidly over the coming months, and it will probably still be on her face when she is ready to start school and be laughed at by her peers.

so she booked us an appointment with the laser guy. right there in the same building! five minutes later we were upstairs in mr laser man's office (he happens to be the exact same laser dude our upstairs neighbors recommended.). he told us that she would require five treatments over 15 weeks or so. the laser will not necessarily stop the tissue growth, so her nose may still be a little lumpy for a couple years, but the purple color will go away. we said fine, let's do it. he said "GERONIMO!!!!"

and just like that we were all wearing goggles, the wife and i literally pinning the baby to a table, holding down her tiny arms and legs like she was the world's littlest mental ward patient in need of restraining. a nurse put gauze on her eyes and the doctor zapped around her nose with a little pulsing laser light -- it looked like he was soldering her face. she did not enjoy the experience. apparently the laser stings a little; it feels like someone snapping your skin with a rubber band. when that skin is on your face and that face is six weeks old, i would imagine it hurts plenty. the baby, who was smiling when we first put her on the table, wailed. she actually said her first words: "WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR FUCKING PROBLEM?!?!" and she cried.

the worst part of it? she has tears now. she didn't have tears until this week. her little face was streaked with tiny tears and i officially hated myself. anyway, we have to go back four more times, but there are apparently no downsides to this treatment (even if its success rate is a paltry 60 percent). other therapies involve steroid treatment, which made me relish the thought of my baby girl testifying before congress about her experiences on the juice. alas, we bypassed the steroids because she is "too young."

anyway. the hemangioma will gradually, hopefully, cease to be purple. the thing is, for the time being, the treatment has turned her nose black:

ah, yes. progress.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

crazy in the genes

disclaimer to my parents: like batman and delicious sandwiches, you are both super heroes. don't hate me after reading this.

as i mentioned recently in this space, my parents came for a little visit this weekend. the sole express purpose of their visit was to meet their brand-spanking new speckled granddaughter. they flew into new york on wednesday night and returned to to sunny shores of california on sunday afternoon. four days, no more no less. so why, you might wonder, did they book a hotel room on THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CITY from my apartment? not just on the other side of the largest city in the galaxy, mind you, but in the wrong borough and in a neighborhood with only one useless subway line. why? you would wonder that, but then you wouldn't grasp the paradoxical nut of insanity that is my parents.

perhaps a few illustrations would help, uh, illustrate the lunacy.

here is a google map tracing the route from their hotel, the marriott east side (as in upper east side MANHATTAN), to our neighborhood in BROOKLYN.

sure, it looks straightforward, but it takes at least an hour for subway novices from california to navigate (two changeovers -- from the 6 to the 4/5 and again to the M/R, an incredibly reliable train whose name does not stand for Mentally Retarded -- and infinite opportunities for the mta to mess with them). or if they took a cab it would cost $27,365.

now. here is a google map tracing the route from the brooklyn marriott (note: correct borough) to our neighborhood. do you see the alarming directness of route, the easily navigable terrain? one could walk that distance if one were so inclined! did i mention it was also in the correct borough? this is of course only truly useful if you were planning on staying in brooklyn and not doing much aside from staring in awe at your new granddaughter. good thing that's not all they were planning on doing. oh wait, actually it was all they were planning on doing.

when mater nice guy called me with their trip itinerary a few weeks ago, i was delighted they were coming. when she told me where they were staying, i said something along the lines of "WHAAAA?"

mater nice guy: what what?
mr nice guy: that's on the upper east side. where there aren't any trains. i live in brooklyn. which is far away.
mater nice guy: but this is near your office.
mr nice guy (grinding broken pencil shards into my temples): A number one, no it's not. my office is on the west side. and B number two ... we are going to be spending all of our time at my house. you know, where the baby is?
mater nice guy: your father wanted to stay somewhere nicer than last time. and somewhere closer to the airport. talk to him.

this last statement is where the true lunacy lies (mom, seriously, please don't divorce me). the last time they came they stayed in the brooklyn marriott. you've probably heard of the marriott. a good, reliable hotel chain. but no, they wanted "somewhere nicer." so naturally the hotel they stayed at this time is the marriott east side, which the last time i checked, was also a marriott. so much for "somewhere nicer." also, the brooklyn marriott is closer to JFK than the marriott east side. it's just a fact. don't take my word for it though, take a look at these two google maps.

when pater nice guy got on the phone, i said to him: "why on earth did you book a room on the upper east side?" his excellent response, just like a true los angelino, begrudges new york even a single inch: "i don't know from east side or west side." ah yes, this is why, usually, you ASK THE PERSON WHO LIVES THERE about where to stay before you book a room. anyway, my parents came and stayed in the upper east side and had to take an hourlong subway home every night after midnight as their punishment. delicious poetic justice was mine. in all, it was a lovely weekend. everybody was nice to everybody else and it was fun and my mom's even-crazier-sister came up from DC with her crazier-still-husband and we all had a big loony family reunion dinner in brooklyn on saturday where we drank 537 bottles of wine. good times.

so in conclusion and to summarize, you can see what astonishing levels of crazy are coursing through my child's blood (and it is not relegated to my parents. mater-in-law nice guy called us from vermont yesterday to tell us that it was "one hundred and fucking four degrees" and then to gloat over the fact that her city's weather is more severe and therefore she wins. she does this in the winter too when it is ten fucking degrees below zero and colder than where we are, so therefore she wins. it is always incredibly satisfying when the weather is more severe here and she is deprived of an opportunity to gloat, meaning that i am going insane as well. she also calls my wife eight times a day to tell her how cute the child is. craziness i tell you. (mater-in-law, please don't challenge me to a knife fight again at thanksgiving)).

friends from los angeles happened to be in town yesterday, so the missus and i and baby nice guy all went out to lunch with them. we all found ourselves sitting around the table talking about how the crazy is strong with our parents. and then, slowly, we looked over at the baby who, with a little sparkle in our eye, made it perfectly clear that in 30 years she would be having exactly the same conversation with her friends.

UPDATE: it is with great sadness that i report certain members of my family are, inexplicably, currently not speaking to me. (i won't mention their names here, but they do rhyme with "dom" and "mad.") damn you and your loose lips, internet! sure, i am an ungrateful, heartless bastard, but did you have to tell them?

Monday, June 27, 2005

am also posting this on craigslist

dear internet.

i know it's been a while since we last spoke. i am sorry. i have not been neglecting you. my parents were in town, meeting their grand-daughter. it was a very nice, long weekend. but that's not what i am writing to tell you about (more later on that topic, perhaps).

i also know, internet, that it's very late. it is after three in the morning. normally i would not bother you at a time like this, but the fact that it is so very late has something to do with why i am approaching you. you've been very good to me through the years. you've been a buddy, a guide, a confidant and, occasionally, a lover. so let me offer you something in return:

would you like a baby?

she's in perfectly good health (has a hemangioma on her nose, but we will either treat that or let it involute on its own). she's also very, very cute. she smiles just once a day, in the mornings, mostly because she is planning all the things she has in store for me during the coming day. she is a special kind of baby -- one that apparently needs no sleep in order to survive. she also apparently needs to have one of your fingers in her mouth at all waking moments, which is, as you'll recall from the last sentence, every moment. pacifiers are for lesser babies. (am considering inventing a pacifier that looks, feels and tastes like my pinkie but isn't attached to me -- would you buy one?)

anyway, i'm going to let you have this remarkable child at a steal. you can have her for free. just come get her. now.

seriously, internet, think about it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

one day shy of six weeks

guess who smiled this morning.

we have officially decided to keep her.

Monday, June 20, 2005

shitting and slinging, but not shit slinging

ah, my first father's day. the event was actually ushered in right on the nose of midnight as my tiny ray of sunshine grunted loudly, dispatching ten pounds of turd into her pants. "happy father's day!" that's my girl. i call her rumblebuttskin. so i changed her. my first father's day, barely five weeks into this fathering business, and here i am, up after midnight being shit upon. ah. and so it begins. so it begins.

so i seem to have struck a chord with the sleep rant the other day. thanks for the tips. many of you suggested a sling. as it happens, we have not one but TWO slings and we love them very much, thank you. actually, technically, they're not slings. they're "new native baby carriers." these are slings for dummies, if you will. between the wife and i, there are two people with master's degrees in this house ... and we only just barely decoded these baby carriers -- which are supposed to be much, much easier to handle than "authentic" slings. which raises the question: how do stupid people pull off parenting, tricky ninja slings and all? anyway, the new native is good enough for stephen malkmus; it's good enough for me.

so, yes, i love my "sling" and, more importantly, so does my daughter. just the other day, i came home from work and mrs nice guy handed me the baby. "i am going to sleep," she announced. so i stuck the kid in her sling and hit the town. it's a very odd sensation, walking around with a baby in a sling. you get a lot of weird looks. the baby is so tiny that she disappears completely into the thing, which makes me look like some new-agey weirdo with a supersized fanny-pack strapped to his belly. oh, the sacrifices i am already making for my child.

but the sling is a wonderful thing. i am strolling around and i run into a friend of mine -- a woman who just broke up with her beau -- and she's on her way to a bar with a friend of hers. they ooh and ahh over my beautiful child. they invite me and my fanny pack along for a drink. and so i took my daughter to her first bar. here it is, my first solo outing with the kid, and two ladies on the prowl invite me along -- and buy me a burbon, no less! "slings are rad!" i am thinking. (yes, i put my five-week-old daughter in a bag and took her to a bar where i drank burbon with loose women. i am a scumbag.)

so after my drink i bid the vixens adieu and head to a bodega where i am supposed to pick up ice cream. the baby is sleeping -- hanging peacefully like a bag of bricks around my neck. my hands are free, swinging at my side. sure i look like someone who hangs out at renaissance faires in my spare time, what with my belly-satchel, no doubt filled with mead or hacky sacks, and people are definitely giving me funny looks. they want to know what Pervy McSicko has in his bag ... is that a tiny lifeless hand dangling out from the side of that satchel? but hey, i just had a free burbon. life is good. "slings are definitely rad," i tell myself again.

at the bodega, i am standing in line behind this guy who was breathtaking in his awesomeness: he's got his hair all slicked back, a pink long-sleeved button-down dress shirt tucked into white PLEATED SHORTS. threaded leather belt. sockless topsiders. who let this guy into brooklyn? he smiles. i suspect he's going to laugh at me and, frankly, i welcome it. instead, he points at me and asks: "hey, is that a little guy in there?!"

me (with as much withering disdain as i can possibly muster): a little girl, actually.
biff: that's great! what do that call that thing?
me: um, you mean the sling?
biff: sling, huh? that's great!
me: yeah. it's pretty useful. keeps my hands free. it may not look that cool, but it's pretty useful.
biff: i think it looks really cool!

great. just great. biff thinks i look really cool. a part of me really wants to like biff all of a sudden. but the rest of me thinks ... maybe slings aren't as rad as i thought.

disclaimer: mr. nice guy apologizes to all readers who currently wear, or may have ever worn, pleated shorts. but speaking from the pinnacle of high fashion upon which i am perched, i feel this blight on humanity must end! who am i to speak? here is what i was wearing when confronted with the wild biff: longish brown denim-ish shorts. black chucks to nicely offset the whitest man-legs on the planet. a too-small hawaiian shirt. very, very big hair. and, of course, a baby-in-a-bag. so, obviously, i am very well-positioned to speak critically on matters of attire.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

to sleep and sleep not

so one of the things our pediatrician told us -- when we mentioned our child refuses to sleep on her back -- was that it's time to start teaching her to sleep better. it's time, basically, for BABY BOOT CAMP. this little kid is like a koala -- she's not happy unless she's clinging to you. and she only falls asleep when she's upright. you'll be pacing the hall, up and down and up and down and up and down, holding her upright until she doses off. she's peaceful, angelic, asleep in your arms. you figure it's a good time to lie her down on her back or side (BUT NOT HER STOMACH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD) in her bassinet and carefully tip-toe away.

you would think. but you would be, how do you say?, wrong. the second the baby suspects that she's about to be banished to the hellish solitude of her bed, she loses her mind. she can't talk yet but i am pretty sure she's saying "whoa! where the fuck do you think you're going, turkeyneck? PICK ME UP OR I WILL SCREAM UNTIL YOUR COLON BLEEDS." i know the conventional wisdom is that it's a battle of the wills -- you have to duke it out early and show the little shit who's boss. well, yeah. you try getting anything done in this house: i walk with her until she falls asleep. i put her down. i get settled in and begin drinking doing a little work. she snuffles and snorts. i ignore her. she starts screaming. i dig my fingernails into the soft flesh of my palms. she turns dark purple. i cave.

i pick her up. but not for long. i walk with her until she falls asleep, which now requires having one or more of my fingers in her mouth to soothe her. i put her down. thank god she doesn't have motor control because i swear she would shiv me at this point. i pick her up and repeat the process. after failing to convince her for the 37th time to fall asleep, i become totally irrationally angry with her, a tiny baby. "you want to walk?" i ask her. "YOU WANT TO WALK?! i'll fucking walk, kid. we're going to walk FOR DAYS. you're going to be BEGGING ME TO PUT YOU DOWN. we are going to walk my legs down to bloody nubs. i'll show you walking." this, of course, is exactly what she wants. so, i lose. and she's not even two months old yet.

there was an excellent concert at the park near our house last night -- top flight jazz line-up: james carter, charlie hunter, the bad plus. brilliant. brooklyn rules. so mrs nice guy and i packed a picnic, grabbed the stroller and set up camp on the lawn by the bandshell. five minutes after we get there the kid, who was on track to sleep for the next 3 hours, decides to have a very public meltdown. in our neighborhood, that's ok. everyone in park slope is either a parent, a small child, or having a meltdown. but it's a little stressful when it's YOUR kid that's melting and all you want to do is hang out on the grass, sipping wine and enjoying a show with everyone else and their non-melting-down babies. it was not meant to be. after 16.1 minutes--after charlie hunter had barely noodled through 10 bars on his eight-string guitar--we caved. put her in the stroller and walked home. she was asleep by the time we walked through the door. baby wins again.

but. do you want to know our dirtiest little horrible secret? do you?

come closer.

lean in.

promise you won't tell anyone, but ...

sometimes, in the darkest moments of our soul-blackened despair, we let her sleep on her stomach.


look. when i was her age, i slept on my stomach. i turned out fine, right? (don't answer that.) our baby has none of the SIDS risk factors; the kid loves sleeping on her stomach, and quite frankly, we rather love clinging to the vestigial shreds of our sanity. so she sleeps on her stomach. and we're not alone! mrs nice guy and i have a couple friends with babies ... they let them sleep on their stomachs too! there is a quiet revolution happening in the parenting undreground, people! rise-up! i mean didn't we all sleep on our bellies? back in the day, doctors even recommended it! (this is, of course, deeply flawed logic because i believe back then they also used to prescribe menthols as treatment for esophageal lesions.) anyway. she's asleep on her stomach right now! ha! what are you going to do about it sleep nazis?! scream at me? i got people screaming at me here ALL THE TIME. i can take anything you --

ah hell. she just woke up.

yep. there she goes.

i am a tiny, broken man.

hold me.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

the vanity, it touches us all

so the other day i was talking to the parental unit. (you know, you get a whole new taste of your parents once you become one yourself. you start to see things through their eyes. terrifying.) after chatting a bit about my daughter's new nosegrowth, we changed the subject -- because, you know, i have so much else going on to talk about these days. here's what pater nice guy wanted to know: "so what's mrs nice guy doing to get back into shape?"

you read that right. my wife just shot a living person out of her crotch FIVE WEEKS ago -- a tiny person whose longest stretch of sleep so far has been three hours -- and my dad wants to know how often his daughter-in-law is hitting the pilates machine. wtf? actually, pilates is probably for pansies. she should be benching 250 by now, banging out 600 crunches in a sitting. doing push ups with the kid on her back, yoda style.

so i said, "actually, dad, she hasn't lost a single ounce of the 378 pounds she put on during her pregnancy and she can't wait to give you a big sloppy fatgirl hug when you come to town. you know what i always say: more cushion for the pushin'!"

UPDATE: oh dear, it seems that somebody has been reading this website and somebody might have been a tad hurt by this entry. i am truly sorry, dad, but you're going to have to TOUGHEN UP! GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME! ahem. i am kidding, of course, as i usually am here. i'll go easier on you in the future, but you should know that most things on this website, while true, are occasionally exaggerated to A) seem funny, B) make me look good or C) both. when you asked me if your daughter-in-law had, within the month since giving birth, done anything to stay fit, i knew i had the makings for at least a category B entry, if not a C. and as you know, in high school i was always striving for those C's. anyway, i will go easier.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

behold the entry that will probably convince my wife that it's time to leave me

first of all, thanks to all the commenters who left helpful, hopeful, kind encouraging thoughts on strawberry marks. cheers to you! and now, an update on the situation: so our gruff pediatrician tells us, as i imagined she would, that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. we had indeed diagnosed the splotch correctly; it is in fact a little strawberry hemangioma. "oh that's nothing," she says when she sees it. "that'll be gone by the time she's two. i have seen truly terrifying strawberry marks. i have seen babies with strawberry marks on their internal organs."

um. come again?

yeah, so she tried to reassure us in her special blunt way that we have nothing to worry about, how it will go away and "i can give you a number of a dermatologist but i'll bet you my career that they won't touch a four-week-old." (i love this pediatrician, by the way. mrs nice guy isn't so sure. there are two of them in the practice: this one, the jaded cynical new york jew, and another one with an unidentifiable patrician new england accent and serious granola mellow vibe. like oil and water these two. love them.)

so just as i thought: this purple blobule is ugly and may even get uglier, but it will go away. it doesn't hurt the baby, who is too little to even realize it's there. we wait it out and it'll be gone by the time baby is three. case closed.

or is it?

mr nice guy is not afraid to be totally honest with you. he's a little vain. like a 14 year old girl he will change his outfit 7 times before leaving the house. he's a good looking gentleman. dapper, svelte, with a little pep in his step and glide in his stride. just so. (although, truth be told, for all his prideful effort he rarely looks like anything other than an upwardly mobile homeless man.) mrs nice guy, on the other hand, has no care for the corporeal. she's always impeccably appointed and gorgeous, of course. but it's accidental. she'll toss on any old thing and never look back. she scoffs at mere mortals so self-involved as to stoop to look in a mirror.

so. why is it that she is totally losing her grip on the fact that her daughter has a little purple freckle on her nose? the kid has a mark, yes--it may even grow nastier, sure--but it's painless and temporary. still, the missus is obsessed. she measures it every hour; she compares older photos with the nose today; she has charted the growth potential of the capillary cluster. she has, I SHIT YOU NOT, begun nightly swabbing the thing with water from Lourdes cathedral that her mother brought from france TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO. my wife the agnostic has found religion in a stagnant bottle of quarter-century-old algae-infested holy water. i am totally not joking. it may not cure the strawberry mark, but at least maybe it will give her a water-borne bacterial disease. i questioned the wisdom of this and she replied "i don't care what you say, i am dabbing the outside of her nose every damn day and you can't stop me." (sorry baby, you know i love you. step away from the computer, take a deep breath and please put down that cleaver.)

she wants to rally dermatologists, plastic surgeons, sand-blasting crews, tony soprano, anyone who can take this thing off her baby. it's hard not to sympathize with mama, but i want to wait it out. let the blob run its course. it may eat her whole face, but as long as it doesn't obstruct her breathing and goes away naturally, i am happy to be father to the neighborhood freak in the interim. this is shaping up to be one of the greatest battles of all time, paling in comparison to any face-off in gettysburg, lexington, waterloo, normandy or fenway park. god help us, forget the splotch, i don't know if i will still be here when the dust settles.

Monday, June 13, 2005

behold the wild spotty striped baby nice guy

so apparently it's time for the nice guys to start playing the numbers. you should be using our birth dates as your lotto picks. take us to the races with you. bring us to bingo. seriously. we have had an incredible run of statistics-defying luck with this baby and i'd like to share it with you.

did i mention it was bad luck? no? mea culpa.

so i may have pointed out at some point that my perfect daughter was born with a mongolian spot on her arm. it looks like a bruise. it looks like she was maybe up all night crying and maybe her father possibly grabbed her arm in a flash of despair and perhaps might have squeezed just a tad too tightly. maybe. BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT IT IS, OFFICER I SWEAR! ahem. yes. you see, a mongolian spot is just a "dense collection of melanocytes" and appears in babies of native american, african, asian, or hispanic descent. i am none of these. my wife, being the beautiful brown-skinned berry of the house is therefore solely to blame for the appearance of the mongolian spot (which i am told will disappear by the time my child is 2). brown lady ... mongolian spot on semi-brown baby ... you do the math. NOT MY FAULT.

but wait! there's more! she was also born with a tiny cute little purple kiss on the tip of her nose. a-freakin-dorable. now that she has somehow managed to survive life in our home for nearly 5 weeks, the purple spot, we are noticing, is not going away. in fact it's getting bigger. in fact, the color is not only spreading, it's slowly bulging. you know how old men who have spent a lifetime of drinking have fucked up bulbous purple noses packed with hideously malformed capillaries? well, she is starting to look like w.c. fields after some legendary bender in atlantic city.

mrs nice guy did a little sleuthing on the internets and she came to the astute conclusion that our poor baby, in all likelihood, has a strawberry mark. sounds cute and cuddly, right? a widdle biddy stwabewwy mawk ... how scrumptious. WELL IT'S NOT. turns out ten percent of white babies get these capillary overgrowths. the good news? the purple splotch is not permanent. the bad news: it can grow for up to 18 months before it starts regressing. the worse news? it can take up to TEN YEARS for it to go away. want to see what really terrifying strawberry marks look like when they are at their worst? no? you don't? then don't click here. i suppose it serves me right for calling my unborn daughter john merrick on this very web site after seeing her sonogram.

so aside from a racing stripe mongolian spot on her arm that ONLY BROWN BABIES GET, she also will be spotted with a growing blob-like purple face-splotch which ONLY WHITE BABIES GET. great. what are the odds? does this mean she has drawn only the worst traits from each of our gene pools? sure, she may be a lazy klutz with rotten knees who can't drive stick and smells a little funny -- just like her father -- but at least she's blind as a bat, stubborn and misanthropic, with curvature of the spine, like her ma. she's cursed, i tell you. cursed.

anyway. we're going to see the doctor tomorrow to find out if there's any space-laser strobe-light treatment we can get for our red-nosed baby rudolf. if not, we're going to have a spotted, striped baby for the next three years at least. mrs nice guy is meanwhile spending HOURS on the interweb reading parent porn -- she keeps turning to me and gasping as she recounts horrible case study after horrible case study of hideous mutant babies of whom our child is apparently destined to become the leader.

this is distressing and sad. i hate hate hate that she may not be totally healthy. not to be overly vain, but i don't really want to be the dad who walks down the street with his speckled daughter only to be pitied by passersby. "oh look at that dear man and his elephant girl. let us give them a few shillings." screw that. the kid will be just fine. besides, i have no use for shillings. and anyway if the the spots and stripes fade away by the time they're supposed to fade away, then our daughter's skin will be all cleared up before she even becomes self-aware.

just in time for her to get hit with acne in junior high.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

the last breastfeeding entry for a while, i promise

right on, sisterwoman! that goes for my readers too!

who knew that breastfeeding would have offered such a rich repository of material for mr nice guy? but there, when he opened his paper this morning, it was. too good to resist: "lactivists" had decended upon his fair city.

such a mixture of emotions did i have upon reading that article! first: barbara walters -- babs, if i may -- what happened to you? you must have shaman blood, because you sure created a shitstorm of silliness when you told the world that sitting next to a breastfeeding woman on a plane recently made you "uncomfortable." and you said this on the view?! i am guessing that approximately 98 percent of "the view" viewership consists of the lactationally inclined -- your nielsen rating probably suggest they're either nursing as they're watching you, have just finished nursing ... or are in a nursing home. not quite the demographic you want to get all anti-tits on. i mean, you host "the view!" babs! you sit next to star jones every day and breastfeeding makes you feel uncomfortable?

and while we're at it: lactivist ladies, why didn't i get the memo? i would have happily brought a bottle and nursed right along in solidarity with my sisters. fight the power!

whatever. there was more interesting breastfeeding affairs in the local news today, to wit, this brooklyn badass who took a stray bullet to the face while nursing. what did she do? she spat the fucker out and kept on feeding her kid! i normally wouldn't link to the new york post, but this was just too tasty:

Alicia Garcia, 34, was sitting in her third-floor apartment on Park Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant at around 9:15 p.m. Sunday when she felt something burning on the left side of her upper lip.

Garcia's other son, Marco, 15, who was standing nearby, said he saw his mother bleeding, but didn't know where she had been hit.

... Marco said his mother ended up spitting out the bullet.

"I said, 'Where is she shot?' She said in her mouth, and then she took out the bullet," he said.

Garcia, who suffered two fractured teeth, was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where she was treated and released.

first of all, hang on a second: "felt something burning?!" i thought getting shot in the face was supposed to, like, kill people. ok, so i am impressed, but not totally blown away. i happen to know for a fact that if that had been mrs nice guy, she would have spat the bullet out too and then gone straight up lactivist on the asswipe who fired the gun. she would have hunted him down and lactivized some serious pain into his body!

right after she got done lactivating barbara walters into the middle of next week, that is.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

the things i do while the wife and kid are sleeping and the curtains are drawn

ok so here we go. this morning mrs nice guy hooked herself up to an automated milk-suction device to extract sweet, sweet breastmilk for storage. i came running into the room when i heard, for the first time, the schlip-schlopping of the motorized cups. not knowing what the sound was, i immediately feared the worst: "grab the baby," i yelled, "it's a stampede!" but no. no horses. just my wife and a human-sucking machine (which actually just gave mr nice guy an excellent idea for another live blog experiment the next time she has left him unsupervised).

"oh," i said. "you're pumping."
"i feel like a cow."
"if you were a cow, you'd be the most beautiful cow ever!"

"uh ... thanks?"
"one of these days i'm going to have to taste that milk of yours."
"you keep talking big but i'm not seeing any action."
"i'm just sayin'."

and with that, i walked away with my tail between my legs.

BUT! it's 11 pm. wife has been asleep for nearly an hour, baby has been asleep for about two hours. it's almost feedin' time and I'M THE ONLY ONE HERE TO DO IT. you know what this means, right? time for a little mr nice guy taste test. i have portioned out 4 shimmering milky ounces of life-fluid for my child. it's bottled and ready to be warmed the second she begins screaming (which, if my calculations are correct, is in 37 seconds). the fat has separated from the rest of the milk, so it looks a little like salad dressing that hasn't been shaken.

there remains a single ounce for the tasting.

here i go.

wish me luck.

i am going to taste it now.

i really mean it.


down the hatch.


allllmost to the lips.


why is it chunky?

ah, it doesn't matter. prosit!

here goes nothing.

bunden i vejret eller resten i haret!

(that's apparently what they say in denmark. it means "bottoms up or the rest in your hair." don't you love google?)

did i just hear the baby cry?

hang on, i'll check.

nope. false alarm.



you're stalling.

ah fuck it, here we go, then.

first, the pour:
hmm. formidable legs. no real nose to speak of. a little sediment, as i said, and perhaps a little yeasty. but definitely not corked.

initial taste:
sweet. light body ... obviously some residual sugar. but that's natural, considering the terroir.

let's try another sip:
a mild complexity ... a little buttery, just barely effervescent. the finish is a little tannic, actually. do i detect the onset of a little botrytis?

a little more:
no, really. it's quite tasty. let's let it breathe for a while. i'd quite like this in my morning coffee, i think. or perhaps to make some oatmeal. maybe mix a white russian with it.

and the rest ... down in one!
all in all, i can see why my frogdaughter is so inclined to imbibe -- maybe every two to four hours is a little excessive, but what the hell. bartender! i'll have another!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

more on milk

behold the bottle! see it? that thing on the left? it's where i keep my semen. you knew mr nice guy was virile, but you had no idea he was THAT virile, did you? actually, i am joking. that's breastmilk -- i keep my semen in the milk carton on the right.

so where was i? oh yes, beholding the bottle. behold it! are you beholding the bottle? good. that thing is filled with stuff that came out of my wife! she was pumped like a holstein the other night. when i got home from work, she showed me the bottle in the fridge, handed me my daughter and said "i'm going to sleep. feed her. if you wake me up and it's not an emergency -- if she's not bleeding out of her eyes -- you die, bitch."

so mrs nice guy went to bed, leaving me with a tiny sleeping baby ... a ticking time bomb. the child was going to wake up at any minute and demand sweet, sweet breastmilk only to find her old man and a bottle. a recipe for disaster if ever there was one.

but! the baby slept. and slept and she slept a little more. it was great. i sat on the couch sipping cognac and reading rabelais in the original middle french, writing marginalia on the author's scathing satirical attacks on scholasticism. my baby honked like a goose in her bassinet. after about three hours, just as i was fine-tuning the impenetrable thrust of my new rabelaisian theory (mmm, pantagruel), the child was undoubtedly ready to be fed. i know she was ready to be fed because she scrunched her entire body into a tiny ball -- much in the manner that a pill bug does -- and began screaming in her sleep -- much in the manner that a pill bug does not. so i grabbed the bottle out of the fridge, popped it into the bottle warmer and, to keep the child from waking her poor mother, i stuck a ball-gag my pinkie in her mouth.

the bottle heated for what seemed like four score and seven fucking years as my child turned alarming shades of red and steam poured forth from her fontanel. FINALLY the bottle was hot. too hot. had to let it cool. christ! baby was about to explode from the rage. i would have had to explain to my wife why i was cleaning baby parts off the kitchen cabinets when she woke up. was not looking forward to that.

finally i squirted the milk on my wrist like i've seen them do in the movies and it definitely felt like milk. so i jammed the bottle into the kid's mouth. this is a child, mind you, who HATES pacifiers. she will only suck on nipples or fingers. that's it. i have been dreading this moment for days. i was going to have to attempt to bottle feed my daughter, a task akin, i was sure, to persuading angelina jolie to stop calling me (angie, baby, it's over. deal with it).

but i was wrong! i jammed that rubber nipple into her mouth and she began sucking and gulping with astonishing ferocity. (let us revisit that last sentence and take it totally out of context, shall we? let's say your phone rings one night after midnight; you pick it up and a breathy voice says to you "i jammed that rubber nipple into her mouth and she began sucking and gulping with astonishing ferocity." you'd think that was a little creepy, right? aren't you glad i'm not at all creepy?). anyway, the point is ... she took the bottle! she loved the bottle! she sucked down 4 ounces of milk like it was NOTHING! aww, yeah. that's my girl. then she let rip the biggest burp this side of tupperware. i was so proud. so happy. her tiny body lay curled in her father's arms, rhythmically pulsing with every tiny swallow. so precious. my heart broke a little.

until, that is, i realized the horrible truth of the matter ... now that mrs nice guy does not have to be physically present at every feeding, i will never be allowed to sleep again. and not sleeping does very strange things to mr. nice guy's perspicacity. for example, at one point last night he was dangerously tempted to take a hearty swig of the boob juice. but, alas, his daughter finished it all with a quickness. (and then she grunted and took a huge dump. i am just endlessly enthralled by merely watching her drop a big load in her pants -- the tongue comes out, she grrrrunts loudly, the eyes roll back, she smacks her lips. i can stare at her doing this for hours. i can't wait till she's 14 so i can tell her about the awesome faces and sounds she used to make whilst voiding her bowels. she will thank me for it.) in short, i was unable to sample the goods.

so then, stay tuned as, in the next day or two, i plan to live blog a TASTING OF THE BREASTMILK.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

alarming things my child does that i am gradually learning are apparently normal

even with nearly a month under my puny father-belt, these supposedly normal baby things still greatly unnerve me.

my cherubic daughter:
  • will be fast asleep when, all of a sudden, her eyes jolt open, cross slowly and roll backward into her skull.
  • will be fast asleep when, all of a sudden, her arms jut out and quickly vibrate before falling, lax, at her side.
  • has frequent, runny, yellow bowel movements. like french's moutard.
  • will be calm and placid on her back, kicking her legs and having a good time (almost smiling, even), when all of a sudden her face collapses into a prune-y scowl before she emits a piercing, stabbing wail.
  • vomits out of her nose. she looks like a character in some film noir that has been shot in the head or something ... only instead of red blood she has white blood.
  • has been known to pant like an excited puppy.
  • will be asleep when an evil, satanic, demon smile flits briefly across her face.
  • has mongolian spots on her bottom and her arm, leading us to fear that strangers will suspect we beat her (which we, despite often understanding the beautiful logic of doing most mornings at 4 am, don't do) and have the department of child welfare take her away.
  • occasionally tries to sneak my left nipple into her mouth.
  • forcefully jabs her fingers into her eyes while she is feeding, screaming or, sometimes, sleeping.
  • does not like baths, clothes, jazz, sleeping on her back, sleeping on her side, sleeping at night, sleeping quietly, allowing her mother to have meals or showers, fully digesting milk, rationally explaining to us what it is that is causing her ennui, pacifiers, her father.
but i am told this is all perfectly normal. right? right?