January 20, 2018

Dear Vale,

Today, we spent all day together. You fell asleep after eating at 6:30 pm the night before, and slept longer than usual. You slept until it was almost your bed time. I was concerned your chubby little ass would be hungry, so I woke you up at 9:45 p.m. to eat again before sleeping for the night. You ate vigorously, fell promptly asleep, and slept until 8:45 a.m. today. Again, I questioned how your usual gluttonous self could possibly still be going without food, and woke you up, all smiles, for breakfast, but you wouldn’t drink breast milk, after many heroic attempts.

I eventually gave up, and went downstairs to feed myself, but did not get past the coffee. You were a bit fussy, even though I gave you your doll and como tomo, so I got distracted from my own food and decided to try my luck with your new sippy cup (failure), and then with your Dr. Brown bottle (expected failure), and then I decided I might as well make a breast milk avocado puree with the 3 ounces I pumped at 11:15 a.m. during my mediation the day before. You made a mediocre attempt at the avocado puree, though I suppose I should consider it fortunate that at least half probably made it into your mouth.

Eventually, you were convinced into breastfeeding at approximately 10:45 a.m., two hours after you woke up. The moment you were finished, I whisked you off to run errands before hunger struck again. You enjoyed browsing the aisles at Target, where we used my gift card from work to buy face powder, shampoo, baby sunscreen, and a sleep sack (pink fleece, with owls, 50% off, only $5). We went to Ross next, because I was hoping to buy a professional-looking name brand purse large enough to occasionally hold pump supplies, but I didn’t find anything that wasn’t completely boring.

I tested the limits of your patience, and took you to Barnes & Noble, where I spent many days of my youth, so you could be exposed to books. We then cruised into Starbucks, where I craved sweets, since I still hadn’t had breakfast, but I resisted.

We went home and you weren’t hungry for a while, so I took you on a walk. I called Ana while we walked to catch up, and see how things are going with your buddy Luka. The goal was to walk 4 times up the steep hill by our house, but you got bored on round 3, so we went home and I did a few half-assed squats instead. After your next feeding, you seemed to have fallen asleep, so I left you to rest, and practiced a Chopin Etude. I started on the Fantasie Impromptu, when I saw you squirm and flail on your baby monitor – quite a short nap – not even 30 minutes.

The balance of the day was spent pleasantly. I strapped you to my chest and folded and put away laundry. You watched me eat pasta and salad for dinner with great interest (you should be jealous – it was damn good!) I read from your Tang dynasty poetry book, and started reading Madeline and the Gypsies, but you started to get bored. I put you in your jumper while I did some ab exercises.

Your daddy called from New York and I realized the whole day had slipped by and you had barely napped, so I put you in your sleep sack, placed you in your bassinet hoping you would go to sleep at 9:00 p.m., and turned on your mobile You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy, when skies are gray… I went downstairs to chat with your dad on the phone and make some tea. I heard you yell and scream bloody murder, and let you have at it for a few minutes, but then you began to cry, and I felt bad, so I came back upstairs to check on you. I cocked my head to one side and examined your behavior for myself. I asked you what could possibly be so tragic and smiled at you. At this point, you couldn’t help but start to smile back, yet you also clearly wanted to continue your act, so for the next 15 seconds you involuntarily vacillated between smiling and wailing while I laughed at you.

I picked you up and we sat next to the heater for a few minutes to warm up, and I put you in bed. (Daddy spoils you this way sometimes, so I can too!) I sang two songs in Chinese for you, but you were still wide awake, so I started singing Hallelujah. I had not gotten past the first verse when you decided you were just a little hungry. You had a night cap, fell asleep, and that was the end of our lovely day.

Your daddy misses you tons and will be back tomorrow.

Amazon’s Expensive Ass “Baby Bargains”

We do not plan on having our baby shower until early July, but I’ve been browsing items just to get an idea of the various items and gear needed (versus totally not necessary) for Fetus. I’ve been throwing bags full of stuff out recently, and it feels good. It’s not that we don’t have some extra space for baby items, but it feels great to cut down on clothes, accessories, and other random household items that haven’t seen any use or even the light of day for months or years. Even though I’ve created some extra space, I am not particularly interested in turning around and filling it right back up with useless shit, so I’m trying to be highly selective in baby necessities, as opposed to neat gadgets that seem helpful but in reality won’t be regularly useful.

I’ve found in my research that Wal-Mart has the best bargains, and Amazon is not far behind. Their websites also provide helpful checklists of different categories of items, though I will not end up getting nearly close to what they recommend. They have long lists because they want my money; I have a short list because I want to keep my money. Overall, I’m a pretty big fan of both these companies, but today I came across quite the absurdity by Amazon, in the form of their “Baby Bargains” section (under Ideas and Inspiration > Starter Checklists > Baby Bargains – wait, why am I telling you this? Do NOT go here).

I clicked on some of the top links in this “bargain” section, only to find some expensive ass shit. For example, I give you Exhibit A, “Chicco Nextfit Convertible Carseat” in purple, which costs $299.99. First of all, that’s not purple; it’s obviously magenta or fuchsia. But more importantly, as much as I love purple, magenta, and fuchsia, I don’t give a rat’s ass what kind of bells and whistles it has or how it compares to any other car seat; in what world does this constitute a bargain? Especially when you can buy what appears to be perfectly competent, functional car seats for $40 or so?

Next, I give you Exhibit B, “BOB Revolution Flex Stroller,” a $450 jogging stroller:

You can get a car seat/carrier jogger combo set on Amazon for $120 (albeit in a rather hideous color combination – $130+ if you want a prettier color theme), but apparently the $450 jogger alone is Amazon’s choice for one of the spots at the top of the “bargains” list. I don’t care if this thing tracks your running speed or injects you with Red Bull while you run. I like bargains, I don’t even pay for a gym membership anymore, and I am not looking to spend almost $500 after taxes on a jogging stroller. More accurately, it would be about $486 after taxes. Let that sink in for a second. My 24 Hour Fitness membership used to be about $22/month before I canceled it. This stroller would pay for almost 2 years of my 24 Hour membership. Or it’s 280 or so bottles of craft beer. However you want to look at it, this is not a “bargain.”

Exhibit C is a baby monitor that costs $229.99. Again, even assuming this thing has a bunch of amazing features and is a great value compared to competitive products, I don’t think bargain hunters are looking for a $230 baby monitor when you can get a basic and functional one for $30 (or $50$60 if you want video).

Thanks, but no thanks, Amazon.