The Story About the Baby, Volume 6.
As of this writing, our darling daughter is 43 days old. We have come up with a number of nicknames for her. The most commonly used are Miss Prissypants, Daddy's Little Fussbucket, and Poo Princess. We will develop more as time and circumstances allow.
A Few Brief Words On the Vagina
Now don't get me wrong. I have no problem the vagina. I consider myself a big fan of the vagina. Sure, it's a temperamental and overly complicated piece of machinery, but many has been the time the vagina helped me happily while away the half hour between Law & Order and Letterman.
However, to me, the vagina is like the work of Picasso. I can admire and respect a Picasso and occasionally even highly enjoy a Picasso, even while I don't claim to always understand Picasso. But I don't think I want a Picasso on my wall. I don't want to live with Picasso.
And similarly, while I can admire and occasionally enjoy vaginas, I do not want to have to maintain one. I do not enjoy caring for the machinery. And I am definitely not big on picking bits of feces out of the vulva with a moist towelette.
Which brings me to my daughter. If you read a lot of parenting books, and browse the sections on bathing, you will find frequent references to what I call VG (for "Vaginal Goo"). Infant vaginas, like all vaginas, tend to produce a reasonable amount of it. So what do you do with it?
One school of thought, popular in the more "modern" books, is that VG, like armpit hair or hippie beliefs, is a beautiful thing, and, if nature put it there, it should be left alone. The other, more old-school but less common view, is Ewwww. Clean that shit up. As with practically every other issue of great import, it is eventually dumped into the parent's lap.
The way I deal with it is by making sure to not be in the house when my wife gives Cordelia a bath. My wife gets to make all the key vagina decisions. Though I haven't seen it in a long time, I know my wife has one, which makes her the resident expert.
In the meantime, I will care for my daughter's vagina in my uncomfortable, don't-have-a-choice kind of way, wiping it of urine and poo-splash, while trying not to think about it too hard.
And then, when she is grown up a bit more and can take care of the damn thing herself, I'm going to get so much therapy I'll make Woody Allen look like Ayn Rand.
A Brief Message To My Parents, Who I Know Read These Things:
I know you two fantasized for a long time about how great it would be to finally have a grandchild. And I am pretty positive that, in these fantasies, reading about your granddaughter's vaginal secretions played no part.
At this point, I must point out that you two raised ME. Therefore, all this was written, in a very real, and, I suspect, legally binding, way, by you.
Yet Another Way I Fucked Up My Kid
Cordelia, if you are reading this, and you managed to get past the genitalia bits, you should probably know about another way I messed you up when you were little. I'll write it as soon as I'm through going upstairs to make sure you're still alive.
OK. Back. Still asleep. Thanks. Anyway. When you were just born, after you'd been out for a few hours, I ended up in the room alone with you. All the nurses were gone and your mom was in the bathroom dealing with her issues.
While I sat there holding you, I felt like singing to you. It was the first time you would ever hear music. And, being very tired, and not thinking, I started singing the song which was going through my head. It was Forever In Blue Jeans.
That's right. The very first music you ever heard in is life, the song that was your introduction to that whole wonderful universe, was a Neil Diamond song.
I am so, so sorry.
By the time I finished the first chorus, I figured out what I was doing, and I sang the entirety of Yellow Submarine. But I suspect that, by that time, it was too late.
I still sing to you, but I'm a lot more careful about the tunes I pick. I sing Dust In the Wind a lot. You seem to like that one.
I'm Daddy. Say Daddy. Daaaaaaady. Daddy. Daddy. Daddydaddydaddy. Daddy, goddammit. Daddy. Daaaaady. Daddy.
Now that Cordelia is well into her second month, and starting to begin to edge into consciousness, the need to educate her is starting to weigh heavily on my brain. I've been talking to her constantly ever since she came out, but I've been talking like I talk normally. Long sentences with lots of obscenities. Lately, I've been making an effort to talk in a more accessible way.
This means, basically, that when she looks at me, I say daddy a lot. Daddy. Daddy. Daaaaady. It may be her first word. If it, and not mommy, is the first word out of her mouth. I WIN.
My wife saw me doing this, and so she took Cordelia into her arms and started to say the same thing: "Daddy. Daddy. Daaady." And I'm, like, "What sort of weird, fucked up, gender-bending, Greenwich Village shit is this?" So she now says "Mommy" to Cordelia, until I'm not around.
Sometimes, after saying "Daddy" a bunch of times, my daughter gets this look on her face. I know it's just my imagination, that it's just a random twisting of her facial muscles, but I would swear that this irritated look is designed to say, "Yes. Daddy. I get it! Retard."
Baby's First "Smile"
Speaking of random twisting of the facial muscles, Cordelia is smiling frequently now. There's no real rhyme or reason to it. She smiles when she sees daddy. She smiles when she's about to poo. She smiles when she's about to start screaming.
I feel I should be doing something to communicate to her that she should smile when she is happy. So, whenever she smiles, I lurch forward, rub her belly, and say in a loud, happy voice, "Is that a smile? Is THAT at SMIIIIILE? You're such a good girl! A GOOOOOOD GIIIIIRRRRLLLLL!"
I strongly suspect that this scares the shit out of her. She smiles a lot less now. I think I am training her to never smile. I'm learning the error of my ways, though. The next time she smiles, I'm going to put her down and run out of the room.
I've started doing research into college funds. This is so unredeemably complex and horrible that I can think of absolutely nothing funny to say about it.
My Current Fond Fantasy
I want to get a tape recorder and tape one of her loud, fussy screaming jags. Then I'll save the tape until she's fifteen. Then, late one night, I'll sneak into her room, play the tape at full volume, blast her ass out of bed, and scream, "How do YOU like it?"
I can't be the only person who has thought of this.
Like computer games? A great fantasy adventure awaits you here.