Friday, July 08, 2005

Counting Rhymes

John and Arthur sleepingThursday morning I was able to get Arthur to Savoure all by myself. I'm proud of this achievement, because it demonstrates that I've gotten far enough out of the baby-haze to be able to string more than three thoughts together.

After pushing the pram to Savoure, I parked it next to a small table and began to write. I managed to get some notes and scenes down for a short story involving busses when I noticed a very small spider dangling from the pram. Twenty minutes later there was another one on the other side. Arthur's pram seemed to be a kind of spider heaven. I managed to snag both spiders by their webs. With them hanging off of my pen, I delivered them to the bushes outside the tea shop.

I'm sure there's a significant message here. Spiders hanging from my pen... is the pen my tool for weaving webs of words? Ideas taken from the cradle to the bushes? What else does one take to the bushes? Or possibly the spiders are part of some sort of Old English counting rhyme.

Counting spiders in a crib;
Arachne's daughters will not fib.

One is for colic,
Two is for sleep.
Three is for jaundice,
Four a diaper heap.

Five is for showers,
Six is nursing time.
Seven is a stranger,
Eight is pantomime.

Nine is for in-laws,
Ten is a test.
Eleven is a doctor's bill,
Twelve's a spider's nest.

Mark and ArthurI wish I could say that I found the rhyme in an old book, or possibly a picture book by Heidi Holder, but I made it up. It does have the advantage of being an accurate divinatory rhyme, because Arthur managed to sleep through both Savoure spider visitations.

Arthur, John, John's Mother, John's Mother's MotherI realize that I've been slightly remiss in not reporting the results of the last doctor visit, which was about a week ago. Arthur's weight on June 28 was 4183 grams or 9 lb., 3.5 oz. Mark and I are pretty sure that Arthur's up to 10 lb. by now. His height was measured at 21.4 inches; but do you know how hard it is to accurately measure a squirming baby? Arthur's head circumference is 37.2 cm or 14 and 5/8 inches.

Arthur's very healthy. He's also more or less ravenous when he's not sleeping. I've watched him suck down 6 oz of formula in one sitting. The doctor says that if he consistently devours more than 36 oz in one day to mix rice into the formula.

I find that I'm developing a little more sympathy for what I call "Pod People Parents." You know the type of parent who has redecorated the entire house with Fisher-Price, and can only talk about baby poop, the baby, toys, the baby, formula, the baby, their play group, the baby, car seats, the baby, the baby and the baby? Extreme cases are only able to have adult conversation for no more than ten seconds.

I used to blame Pod People Parents for being weak-minded or misguided. Anyway, I realize now that it's not the parents' fault. It's not just that their baby has put them into a sleep deprived state. It's not just that the baby exudes pheromones as a kind of mind-control. It's that no matter where they go, all about ninety percent of other adults want to talk to them about is the baby.

In some cases, it's not so much a conversation about the baby as it is a kind of monologic aria. The other day I was trapped under Arthur while a woman I had met moments before launched into her twenty minute solo of "What a Beautiful Child." At least I think that's what she said. I was a little sleep deprived at the time, and what attention I did have to spare from feeding Arthur his formula was spent grunting, "Uh huh."

Will the real Arthur Corvus please stand up?I know I should be more gracious about everyone's excitement. After all, Arthur is being raised by two gay dads. One is a baby, raised by two dads; there's a counting rhyme for you. It could have been worse. She could have been telling me horror stories about spider bites.
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