07-02-13 - Baby Baby Baby

Bleck it's so hard to get any work done. I've been going into the office a bit recently to try to get some concentration, but it's not helping a lot. Part of the problem is I'm not used to the office so it feels weird and uncomfortable being here. A lot of the problem is I just hate commuting so very much; by the time I get here I'm enraged and exhausted and need a lot of time to calm down.

(one thing that I've finally realized recently is that if you spend a lot of energy trying to do every little trivial thing in your life well (like driving, or loading the dishwasher, or enqueueing your laundry), it takes away energy that you could spend on something more important, like your social life or your work. I can kind of see the merit of being a total non-mindful fuckup when you're doing the trivial stuff of daily life, like the way people will walk straight into me when walking down the sidewalk, or let their leashed dog go on the opposite side of me, or leave their grocery cart right in the middle of the aisle; I always thought "jesus christ what a fucking asshole shit-for-brains", but maybe they are just saving their mental energy for more important things. More realistically I now see that the average McDonalds employee who is obviously not putting any effort into doing their job well is actually doing the right thing; why should they? of course they should just be as lazy as possible and save their energy for the fun glue-huffing party that night).

Baby has started to get a little easier. She's sleeping a bit better, and the severe colic we were occasionally getting is perhaps decreasing. I now suspect that the worst colic was due to foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, so we're trying some steps to address that and perhaps it's working. It's pretty hard and indirect to diagnose these kind of issues, so we just sort of stab in the dark and see if things get better (and of course when things do get better that is no proof that you were right (classic "entrepreneur's fallacy" (*))). We're also just learning how to deal with it better; when she gets into the once a day fussy time, we just have to walk her back and forth for hours, keep patting her back or bouncing her, show her things to keep her amused, and just wait it out until she settles down again.

(* "entrepreneur's fallacy" is my own coinage (I dunno if there's a more standard name for this). Basically it's the belief that because you were successful, everything you did was right and part of that success. It is the unfounded cause-effect association of every decision you made with the observed result of your success.) (I suppose this is just the "post hoc" fallacy, but I enjoy the pejorative implied in my nomenclature)

It's still exhausting and we're running on very little sleep. I'm a little bothered by the frequent advice we get to "ask for help". Ask who exactly? And WTF are they going to do? Are they going to sleep with baby and feed her so wifey can get a decent night's sleep for once? Are they going to clean the house? Of course not. It's like the advisers think the problem is that we're foolish martyrs who are choosing to take on more than we should. Uh no, we'd love to have help. There is no fucking help. Not for anything in this life. I've had the same advice in different arenas - at work, in social life - "make sure you ask for help if you need it". Bullshit. In my experience when you go to your boss or producer in a job and say "I really have too much work, you need to offload me or get another person on this" what you get is not help, but rather a condescending lesson on time management or priotizing, like "well let's look through your task list and see what time estimates you've got and perhaps we can reduce some of those". (but of course in the work place it is very important to ask for help even though you won't get it, and in fact very important to make sure it's in writing (really every communication with your boss/producer needs to be in writing so you have a record), so that when you start missing tasks they can't say "you should've asked for help"). I've often asked friends for help with work or life issues or whatever (partly just because I think it's nice in this world to get and give help, and I like to have that relationship with people when I can), and the majority of the time if it is at all inconvenient or just not totally trivial for them to help, or not in their own personal best interest, the result is no help (with exceptions that I am grateful for).

She's now doing some simple two syllable "uh-goos" and "err-kch". One of my favorite times with her is right after she eats (so she's in a really good mood and relaxed, not eager to leave), I'll sit with her in my lap and we'll stare into each other's eyes and talk to each other. I make sounds and she smiles at me and occasionally makes them back. She loves textiles; anything with a complex pattern she'll stare at for minutes totally enthralled.

I'm dreading the upcoming 4th of July. There are already random fireworks being set off in our neighborhood and baby hates them. If she's sleeping, they wake her right up. The night of the 4th is going to suck bad. It's been a major heat wave recently so keeping all the windows closed is not really an option.

Last weekend when we had this big hot spike we went down to the lake for some relief. We sat on a blanket with baby and it was pretty sweet. It was interesting to me to think about how it would have been different doing the same thing before baby, since hanging out by the lake in the heat was one of my favorite activities. With baby we were basically walking her back and forth the whole time to keep her content, occasionally feeding her. Without baby I would have been sunning, swimming, reading, perhaps boozing. It was okay, I didn't miss it much (part of the "everything sucks anyway so it's not too bad to lose it" principle). Single times in the sun at the lake were a joy, but also sort of unsatisfying, haunted by that feeling of "is this all there is?" or "shouldn't I be living it up more somehow?". The thing that I really missed during the hot spike was being out at night. One of my favorite things from the old days was on those heat wave nights, getting out on the bike and feeling the night air, or going to an outdoor cafe to feel the buzzing urban heat wave night energy. Actually some of my first dates with N were heat wave nights, and they were magical. Oh well, sayonara.

(oh and tangential by-the-lake rant : fucking boats and motorcycles with excessively loud motors make the lake a fucking din of growling engines all weekend. Some asshole owners do that intentionally, but the real problem is the law; we need noise limits on boat motors. WTF. They should have to be even quieter than cars, because the sound travels so clearly over the lake, and the fucking lake should be a beautiful peaceful place. If you want a fucking motorboat speedway, go to Chelan or a similar lake that's more rednecky. I'm okay with there being a handful of lakes where the drunks can run each other over, but the majority should be free of that awfulness).

We're trying to hire a "mother's helper" or housekeeper who also helps with baby a bit. They're so fucking cheap, why the hell not? If we can get some relief (and I can get some more work done) for $150/week of course it's worth it. Well, it's not so easy. So far the hiring process has been a frustrating waste of time. Kids are always complaining about how there're no jobs these days; well let me tell you why you can't get a job, it's because you're either a total irresponsible fuck-up or a spazzy freak show. You only need to have just the most minimal level of basic professionalism, like if we set an appointment time for a phone interview, fucking answer your phone when I call. If you come to our house, be on time, clean, and considerate. If you send me an email application, check your email often so that you can follow up on my reply within 24 hours. COME ON!

(in general everyone these days seems to be such a moron that it's a bit risky to let anyone in your house; they do things like flush paper towels down the toilet, put onion peels down the garbage disposal, etc. you've got to keep an eye on them constantly or they're going to do annoying or expensive damage to your house).

We should all know by now that humanity is just fucking vile and horrible and dumb and selfish and mean. But we've started taking baby on walks recently and my opinion of the human race has gone down another notch. People are fucking asshole retards behind the wheel of a car, that are generally irresponsible, inconsiderate, dicky, selfish, dangerous, and just generally stupid, but I always thought that most of those people would still be reasonable around babies. Nope. Just about every time we take her on a walk in the stroller, some asshole tries to speed by us as close as possible. There are several intersections near our house where the cars basically don't stop at the stop signs (perhaps they slow down and roll through if they're one of the more considerate ones). I assumed that hey if I'm crossing at the stop sign and I'm halfway through the intersection with a stroller, they're going to actually stop now, right? right? Nope. If I've got my car parked with the door open and I'm taking baby from stroller to car seat, people passing are going to slow down a bit or pull out a bit wider, right? Nope, full speed right past. Unbelievable, so depressing. It's so deeply sad to me every time I leave my home and see how awful the world is, it makes me never want to leave home.


chris butcher said...

I believe the term you're looking for is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias

Also one of the things that we found helped a lot is to have people bring over meals that we could just put in the oven, instead of having to cook. But then you are putting yourself at the culinary mercy of random friends, which I suspect might not be very fun for you.

Jim said...

My daughter loved any bit of cloth with a fringe on it. My mom ended up making her a quilt with a fringed border around each block.

cbloom said...

We've got some great quilts from grandma that she loves. She particularly likes the crazy fabrics by kaffe fassett.

super friend said...

A good 'help' is to have someone simply watch the baby for a while, so you don't have to. Obviously you have to find someone you can trust, but if you can, it really does help to take a few hours off - both of you. Do some shopping, chores, cook, or just sleep.

brucedawson said...

You've previously mentioned that society subsidizes driving (free parking, etc.) so you'd be stupid to not use the subsidy and drive, but it sounds like driving to work makes you angry. I bus to work. It relaxes me and I get a lot done. Car commuters are fatter and unhappier. Something to consider.

You also talk about trying to hire help but it sounds like your inability to hire someone might really be "I can't find someone qualified who will work for this low wage." There's always someone good if you pay enough.

I totally agree about the boat noise. It's crazy how loud some of the boats are. Compensation, presumably.

old rants