New Study: Screaming American Babies with Pricey Euro-Toys Lead to Unintentional Racism
I’m writing from a dorm cafeteria on campus, where I’m filling in for another graduate student who staffs the writing center’s satellite location here. The atmosphere is loud and frenetic, which suits my need for distraction, having left an already-screaming baby at home with his father, who, while patient, loving and ever-capable, sucks at breastfeeding and thus has significant trouble calming him, especially if he’s already ramped up.
Now, freakishly large little Henry is an eater, as I’ve mentioned. He nurses pretty much constantly during the day, and I have no problem with that because, hey, with him attached to my boob and with the help of my handy breastfeeding pillow, I can mostly manage to awkwardly type out my responses to student drafts, read Douglas Coupland novels (I’m on a kick), and (with much more frequency) fuck around on teh internets. Hank will take a bottle, with no technical issue. Breastmilk, fresh or frozen and thawed, formula, soy or regular, cold, warm, whatever–as long as it is food you’re offering, he will obligingly gulp it down. But though we almost always have fresh breastmilk pumped day before or day of (wanting him to get the freshest milk possible we reserve the frozen stash for when we can’t keep up with the pumping schedule, which is seldom, and then of course formula for when we have neither fresh nor have remembered to thaw frozen, which is even seldom-er) which Baby Daddy warms up, and though we have a variety of those fancy slow-flow system bottles which attempt to mimic the time and effort it takes a baby to get milk from the breast, ultimately: the bottle is not the breast, and Henry knows. And Henry lets Baby Daddy know. And Henry knows that Baby Daddy knows because babies can sense fear.
So he’ll eat it, often quite angrily in terms of the noises he makes and the redness of his face and the craziness of his eyes (which are pretty crazy to begin with–see exhibit A below), but he’s not exactly happy about it. And the bottle just can’t be offered as often as the breast. And even with the fancy bottles the feeding duration is much shorter, allowing more time for the aforementioned screaming. And though Henry will smile and coo and spend time with Baby Daddy while we’re all three at home, when the boobs leave when I leave,* so does, apparently, H’s memory of his biological and emotional relationship to the horrible stranger who may well be the culprit behind the mysterious disappearance of the boobs.
So when I go to work, which is 4 days a week, for half-days, and Baby Daddy stays home with/takes H to his restaurant, the baby will. not. be. comforted. While this is rough on BD’s nerves, I have to say he does well to hide his weariness when I come home, knowing that I worry about my screaming babe and perhaps even more about his rattled but oh-so-patient father.
We’ve been told this will get better with time and that it’s good for him (though I am a little suspicious of those who think a six week old needs to cowboy up and deal without the magic feedbags that appear out of the sky his mother). And we’ve been given a German “towel doll” (fancy schmancy/eco-friendly European toys–we have them).
The idea behind the towel-doll is that I wear it (I guess next to the boobs?) for awhile to soak up my scent and leave with H when I go to work (and, I suppose, if we ever get him into his crib). This potential solution has had an inauspicious beginning–I’ve already made the unwittingly HORRIBLE and embarrassing mistake of referring to said doll, which consists of a soft, stocking-capped doll head attached to a piece of cloth (giving its body a ghost-made-out-of-a-sheet-like appearance) with an ugly, terrible (and I swear unconsciously employed) racial epithet. I cite its anatomical appearance and proximity, lexically, to said epithet. I present my shame to the internet for its shock and amusement, and offer my apologies to the universe.
Exhibit A: The Crazy
Location: Breastfeeding pillow.Computer screen (top right); Henry Stellar (center); Breasts (not pictured).
These crazy eyes are staring directly at H’s favorite things in the whole world–my breasts. Now imagine how much more crazy they are when looking down the barrel of the far inferior and barely tolerated (though fucking expensive!) substitute, the bottle.
*I sometimes suspect that “I” am more or less just a vehicle, like that freaky android body that houses Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Except replace brain-like supervillain with the stretch-marked pasty-white milk-sacks that I call my breasts.