Down In The Mouth

Remember that moment, twenty minutes into The Phantom Menace, when you got that sickening feeling as you realized that the rest of this story was not only going to suck, but it was going to be so bad that it would retroactively ruin all the enjoyable stuff that had come before it?

I think that’s pretty much how The Squirrelly is feeling about life these days.

Up until now the world has treated him pretty well: he played with toys all day, took naps whenever he chose, saw breasts on a regular basis, and had the freedom to poop in his pants without any fear of social stigma. Livin’ the dream, that kid. But the last couple weeks have been rough. First there was the aforementioned Avery Flu, although, of all the Baldwins, he was the most unscathed. (I, for instance, was both throwing up and thrown up upon.) But right after that he got a runny nose, and then a cough, and last night he had a fever of 102. And through it all he’s been teething, which has really been making him unhappy. Question: what’s the point of feeling pain when you’re teething? To discourage you from growing more teeth? Four million years of evolution and this is the best you can come up with, Darwin?

Anyhow, every once in a while The Squirrelly gives his mother and I the hairy eyeball, clearly resentful of the massive bait-and-switch the world has pulled on him. And all I can do is shrug and say “at least you don’t have to pay fucking’ taxes.”

Fortunately, we’re able to keep his teething discomfort at bay through the miracle of Infant’s Advil, which we administer to him through a small plastic syringe. It’s sugary, fruit-favored goop, and The Squirrelly loves the taste of it — when he sees us pick up the box his eyes totally light up. Ah yes, I’m so glad we’re teaching our child that sweet, numbing relief from the pain of the world comes from a drug in a syringe.

Me And The Queen, At The Movies

Capsule reviews for the last three films we’ve seen on DVD:

Sky Captain And the World Of Tomorrow:

M: As a long-time fan of “1950’s science-fiction,” I was prepared to love this Sky Captain despite its lukewarm critical reception. And the first hour of exposition lived up to my expectations. But as it became increasingly clear that exposition was all the film had to offer — plot clearly having come as an afterthought — my interest waned considerably. Like Chicago, Sky Captain is an interesting attempt at reviving a cinematic style of yesteryear. But unlike Chicago, this one doesn’t succeed.

Q: Pretty boring.

I ♥ Huckabees

M: Though isolated scenes in Huckabees made me laugh out loud, it seemed to lack a consistent narrative to string them together into a cohesive whole. With a shorter run time and a bit more focus (though the former would probably beget the latter) this could have been a favorite of mine; in its current state it was simply too scattershot for my tastes.

Q: Really boring.

Mr. 3000:

M: A very conventional Sports Movie, but with enough tweaks to set it apart from most. Despite starring Bernie Mac and incorporating plenty of humor, Mr. 3000 is not an out-and-out comedy, and instead walks a tightrope between The Natural and Major League with no small amount of skill. And it even manages to integrates its product placements well. Recommended to aficionados of the “Sports Movie” genre, or anyone in the mood for a guaranteed-good-but-by-no-means-great rental.

Q: It wasn’t completely terrible. But it was pretty boring.

Ah, Homophones

We bathe The Squirrelly after his dinner, and the foodstuff he is invariably covered in eventually accumulates in the basin, leading to conversations like this:

Me: Can you watch the baby for a few minutes? I want to clean the bathtub.

The Queen: Is it dirty?

M: Yeah, it’s full of pea.

Q: The Squirrelly peed in the bathtub?

M: Hah. No, I mean the other kind of pea.


Q: You peed in the bathtub?

Adventures in Communication

  • The Queen, The Squirrelly and I were taking a day hike. A mile into the forest we encountered a women who was standing off to the side of the trail and talking on her cell. About an hour later, as we were coming back, we saw the same woman in the same spot, still yammering into her phone. “She got a very specific calling plan,” The Queen speculated as we passed. “The rates are dirt cheap, but that’s the only place in the State she gets reception.”
  • One of the joys of being a new father is getting into conversations with co-workers who have also recently had babies, and having this long, involve discussions about the mechanics of birth and infant care without using any words like “vaginal” or “breastpump,” instead choosing phrases like “yes, the baby was 10 lbs, 7 oz. but she still gave birth to him, um, the not-cesarean way.” It’s like playing pick-up games of Taboo.

The Burdens Of Parenthood

The Queen:

“I took The Squirrelly to the hospital today for his second flu shot. After he got it I was out in the waiting room getting ready to leave, and there was this old lady sitting near us. And she starts asking me all these questions, like ‘how old is he?’ and ‘how much does he weight?’ — but not in a friendly way, she was all aggressive about it. So I got all ready to go, and stood up, and started rummaging around in the diaper bag for his hat, and she totally yells at me, “you need to put a cap on that baby!!” And I turned to her and started to say ‘how about I put a cap in your ass?!‘ But I stopped myself. Because, you know: I’m a mother now.”

Vital Signs

This evening’s “how was your day” conversation:

The Queen: I made a major faux pas in baby sign-language class.

Me: What happened?

Q: Well, all of the women in the class are super religious, and one of them asked what the sign was for “Jesus.” And the teacher said that you touch the palm of your left hand with your right index finger and then vice versa, like for stigmata? And I totally snickered.

M: You snickered at the cruicifixion of our Lord?

Q: I couldn’t help it! I just thought it was ridiculous. I mean, what if the sign for every famous person was the way they died?

M: You’d move your head back and to the left to sign “JFK.”

Q: Exactly. And to sign “Elvis” you would sit on a toilet.


The Queen and I hang out with Michelle:

Michelle: What’s your kid up to these days?

Me: Crawling. Like, all over the freakin’ place.

Queen: And he’s losing his monkey toes.

Michelle: His what?

Queen: You know, if you touch the sole of a newborn baby’s foot how his toes will kind of curl up around your finger? Like he’s trying to hang onto a branch or something?

Michelle: Right, right.

Queen: His toes don’t do that as much anymore.

Me: Also, we finally took him in and had his monkeytail amputated. His balance has been all screwed up ever since.

Michelle: You should totally tell him that when he gets older.

Me: Oh, I will. “Yeah, you were running and swinging all over the house when you were three months old. But then we had your tail cut off, and you had to relearn how to walk.” I wonder if I could get an actual tail somewhere, put it in a jar of formaldehyde and keep it as “proof?”

Queen: He’ll probably take it to school for Show and Tell …

Me: Hah! Oh man, that will be great. I love being a parent.

Queen: Other fathers can’t wait until their child is old enough to play sports or hold a conversation; you, you’re just waiting until he’s old enough to hornswoggle.

Me: It’s so true. I guess I could start now, buy a big rubber breast or something.

Michelle: I bet my husband would loan you his.

Guitar Pick

We discuss childrearing.

The Queen: The Squirrelly really loves that music class we go to.

Me: Oh?

Q: Yeah. The teacher plays guitar, and he loves guitar. She even gives lessons to kids, starting at age four, so we might want to sign him up for those when he gets older. I’m thinking he should play guitar or violin. Except violin is kind of geeky. So guitar, then.

M: Whoa! Whoa, whoa, whoa. He’s only six months old, let’s not get all life-plannie, here.

Q: I’m not being life-plannie.

M: I just watched you narrow his choice of musical instruments down to two and then eliminate half.

Q: Kids who play guitar are cool.

M: Granted, but we’re gonna let our kid play whatever he wants to play.

Q: Oh, of course. I’ll just make sure he wants to play guitar.

Three Month Update

Chatting with The Queen.

The Queen: Hey, when are you going to do the three month update for The Squirrelly?

Me: The “three month update?” What do you mean?

Q: On your site.

M: Still not following.

Q: On defective yeti you write those updates every month on The Squirrelly’s birthday, remember? And he’s three months old, now. So when are you going to post the next one?

M: Um, I think you’re confusing me with Dooce.

Q: I am?

M: Yeah. I’ve never done anything like that, but Heather writes a monthly newsletter for Leta.

Q: Oh, right. Well, you know: you bloggers are all alike.

Poor girl: she’s going to be crushed when she finds out I was never on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Rock The Poot

The Queen and I talk politics:

Me: Uhn, I can’t believe we hafta go through six more months of this presidential comapign.

The Queen: I know. The TV ads are terrible.

M: Are they? I haven’t seen them.

Q: Yeah, they’re awful. Every one ends with “I’m blah-blah-blah, and I approved this ad.” It’s so stupid.

M: I think they have to say that. It’s the law.

Q: It is?

M: Yeah, it’s part of that campaign finance thingie.

Q: Oh. I thought it was just, you know, one-upmanship. Like, “I approved this ad!” “Oh yeah?! Well I approved this ad!!”

M: Hah! Well anyway, I guess Kerry has some new ads out today. Apparently they are pretty good.

Q: I hope so. Because so far all the commercials have been [ridiculously dramatic voice] “John Kerry … voted … to take body armor … from soldiers!” and [ridiculously pompous voice] “I fought in a war while George Bush was fartin’ around.”

Leave it to The Queen to distill things to their essence.

For the record, I will enthusiastically endorse any candidate that uses the phrase “fartin’ around” in a political ad.