Parenting books. Childcare classes. Internet forums. Blogs. Baby websites. Developmental milestone emails. Nurses. Doctors. There is a plethora of sources from which baby facts and advice spout, and as an avid Googler and incessant researcher, I gobbled…
How Much Have Babies Really Changed in 30 Years? Or, Do I Need Those Blackout Curtains?
Every day, I’m bombarded with yet another thing I haven’t done in preparation for our child.
I haven’t put up blackout curtains.
I haven’t decided on sleeping arrangements — our room, his room, other.
I haven’t washed the covers of the Rock N Play, the…
Out With the Old Anxiety
“Anxiety is like a virus that lodges for life on sections of nerve fiber innervating the skin. Perfectionism is its perfect host. You must hit the home run or not play at all. You must answer every question correctly. Deliver the speech flawlessly. Execute the business plan exactly. Perform in bed spectacularly. Sleep eight hours without waking. Anything less, less than perfect, and you risk a meltdown — the shakes, the dry mouth, the ruminations that become recriminations that become insomnia.”
Writing About What Haunts Us
“I watched my father in the front hall putting on his new, lambskin leather gloves. It was a sort of private ceremony. This was in early November, 1982, in Highland Park, Ill., a town north of Chicago along Lake Michigan. My father had just returned from a business trip to Paris. He’d bought the gloves at a place called Hermès, a mythical wonderland of a store. He pulled one on slowly, then the other, and held them up in the mirror to see how his hands looked in such gloves. A week later, I stole them.”
You Are Going to Die
“We don’t see old or infirm people much in movies or on TV. We love explosive gory death onscreen, but we’re not so enamored of the creeping, gray, incontinent kind. Aging and death are embarrassing medical conditions, like hemorrhoids or eczema, best kept out of sight. Survivors of serious illness or injuries have written that, once they were sick or disabled, they found themselves confined to a different world, a world of sick people, invisible to the rest of us. Denis Johnson writes in his novel ‘Jesus’ Son’: ‘You and I don’t know about these diseases until we get them, in which case we also will be put out of sight.’ ”
Leeches, Lye and Spanish Fly
“Why would a woman put a leech inside her body, in the most private of female places? Why would she put cayenne pepper there? Why might a woman swallow lye? Gunpowder? Why would a woman hit herself about the abdomen with a meat pulverizer? A brickbat? Throw herself down the stairs? Why would she syringe herself, internally, with turpentine? Gin? Drink laundry bluing? … For most of history, abortion has been a dangerous procedure a woman attempted to perform on herself. In private. Without painkillers.”