Thankful to Be Wrong

After Thanksgiving dinner at our house with my parents and sisters and my husband's father and his girlfriend, I came upstairs from trying to put the baby to bed to find everyone in the kitchen washing and drying dishes. I sat down with Nugget on my lap--bedtime was unsuccessful--and watched, feeling a gratitude that was much greater than a clean kitchen--though that was certainly nice--warranted. I was thinking about how hard I tried to escape my family fifteen years ago, and how lucky I was to have failed. Despite having a very comfortable life, I was a deeply unhappy teenager. It shocks me now to think how little I appreciated my family, and how shortsighted that was. I don't know how to put this into words without making it sound like some schmaltzy columnist in the lifestyles section of the newspaper, when what I felt was so sincere and surprising. I wonder how I'll be able to convey that feeling to Nugget when he is blinded by the desperate self-absorption of adolescence. Life is so long, and adolescence is so short, but it's so hard to see beyond the immediacy of those years. That's not entirely a bad thing; I often miss the fervor with which I felt and thought back then. And it wasn't all misguided. The self-serving cares of my adult life could use a dose of that youthful passion for fighting poverty and pollution and all the other ills of the world. But such single-minded energy was dangerous when it was misdirected, and I shudder to think how empty my life could have become.


Baby Size Chart

(Click on table--twice--to see larger)

My son was 9 lb 11 oz when he was born (you know you've got a monster when the doctors and nurses cry "My God, he's huge!" when your baby pops out), so I knew from the start that infant clothing sizes would be useless to me. Nugget never wore the newborn sizes, and at two months he's outgrown most of the 0-3 month sizes. My reaction to most problems is to obsessively organize, whether that's a reasonable solution or not (I kept a spreadsheet of every single thing I ate or drank while pregnant). I've therefore compiled a lot of information about the sizing of baby clothing, and you get to benefit. I'll update this as I collect information about additional brands.

I’ve been promised information for the following brands: Junk Food, Little King, and Gerber. I’ve contacted representatives for the following brands and have yet to hear anything: Baby Essentials, Calvin Klein, Izod, Juicy Couture, and U.S. Polo Association. I have not yet been able to find contact information for the following brands: Pine Sports, Lullaby Club, Kiddy Cats, and Baby Gear. Representatives for the following brands were unable to provide information: Dr. Seuss Enterprises. I’m working on the Babies ‘r’ Us brands--Amy Coe, Koala Kids, and Miniwear. A Toys ‘r’ Us representative told me to contact my local BRU store for the information, but the closest BRU is a trek and I doubt a phone call will be productive. Stay tuned.

[3/16/10 Edit: I'm afraid I never got the rest of the information promised above and my son is now an 18-mo-old linebacker whose outgrown all these sizes, so what you see is what you get. A couple general points I've found from experience: Gap and Old Navy pajamas are designed for really long and skinny babies, no good for my tubby tubs, and Carter's sizing tends to vary. Seemed to me the "Just One Year" stuff in particular was sized differently than other Carter's lines. I do love Carter's though. Carter's and Target: god's--or at any rate, capitalism's--gift to moms. Anyway, welcome to my blog. Statcounter tells me the vast majority of my vistors are here for this chart. Have a look around while you're here!]


The Danger of Maternity Leave

I resisted reading blogs for a long time and even now read only a handful, most of which are by professional writers. There is so little time for reading; I should limit myself to reading stuff written by Somebody with a capital "S," and it should have some objective substance, and there should be more thought and craft put into it than a diary entry. Right? And likewise, if I'm going to sit down and write something it should be that novel that was going to make me rich and famous, not the daily drivel I'll cringe at later. (This last point was reinforced this morning when, in search of a blog title, I flipped through a notebook of quotes and ideas I kept in high school--is it the stench of adolescence that makes such things so hard to read, or will my deep thoughts and dark secrets always seem so silly with the perspective of age?)

Yet somehow the boredom of maternity leave (Am I allowed to say that? I love my son but he is not the most thrilling conversationalist. Does that make me a terrible mother?) led me here. I'm not sure what it is exactly, but the seeming prevalence of the "mommy blog" suggests I'm not alone. It would be easy to say it's the isolation of working in one's home, but I'm not sure that applies to me. Aside from the fact that my husband is home with me, I've always been something of a loner and homebody, liable to go weeks without social contact without even noticing.

Maybe it's this terrifying feeling that my life is over. All my yet-to-flower ambitions, already hardening with the approach of middle age, received the final blow when I became a parent. It's my son's turn now. I know I shouldn't feel this way--for one thing, it will lead to living vicariously through my kid, and I know just enough about parenting to know that is a no-no. But it's not an irrational fear. If those ambitions were stalled before, how am I going to pursue them now, with a (sweet, precious, beloved) child, an endlessly sucking (no pun intended) drain of time and money? In these circumstances, shortcuts I previously scorned have become much more appealing.

So I'm blogging--the novel will have to wait for retirement.