Of Course It Goes Without Saying That Caring For One's Child Is One Of The Most Rewarding Things You Can Do

So absent a week's worth of anomalies whereby Mr. Baby just happens not to be able to fall asleep for his "first nap," I believe that at just under 16 months, we have seen him transition to one nap a day.

I should back up, at least for the Childfree among us. So there's this pattern that children fall into where they take two naps a day. The pattern we settled into, which worked well for us, was the 2-3-4 routine, which, if you read about it, mostly makes sense, at least until you get to the "4." In short, two hours after a child wakes up, it's time for his or her first nap. Then three hours after he or she wakes up from a nap is the second nap. Four hours later he or she goes to bed.

I should add that Jen found this bit of information. I didn't really look up stuff at the beginning, so she took the lead there. Which is to say, I heard about this method second-hand, so I may be misunderstanding it, but four hours before bed time makes a sleep schedule a little like a M.C. Escher timewarp. For example: Baby goes to bed at 9 p.m.; he wakes up at 9 a.m. (because he's a fucking stoner and goes to bed late and sleeps late); he "goes down" for a nap at 11 a.m.; he wakes at 12 noon; he "goes down" again three hours later at 3 p.m.; he wakes at 4 p.m.; four hours later is 8 p.m.; then he wakes at . . . 8 a.m.? Hey, wait a second . . .

So I think what they mean is that baby is meant to wake up at least four hours before bedtime, but who knows.

Anyway, however you do two naps, two naps happens until it doesn't, and then a child transitions to one nap (and eventually no naps, unless you work for a tech company, in which case you apparently need to nap again). The thing is, it's hard to figure out when exactly they don't nap.

All this week, Mr. Baby has been gleefully chattering away for the entirety of a morning nap, never quite sleeping. Today I began to wonder if he's down to one nap.

And that sucks.

It doesn't suck because it's uncool for a child to develop and grow. It sucks because now I just lost an hour in the morning to answer emails and do chores and fold laundry and do all the stuff one is unable to do when there's a child up in your grill.

I know what you're thinking. And I'm not going to dignify it with a response, except which to say, look, you try to do part-time work, cook, "clean" (such as it is), and pay attention to a child — while at the same time paying attention to the lead topics on "Around The Horn." It's not easy. That extra morning hour helps.

If I didn't have martyrdom then I'd have nothing at all.

Just kidding.

Seriously though, when I walked out of the house to take Mr. Baby on a walk after he cried through his first "nap," I had this heavy feeling that our two-nap lifestyle had come to an end. I'm sure I've mentioned that life is a series of compromises and adjustments. Actually, I've never mentioned that, because that's not something you're ever supposed to say. What I meant was, if you're the type of person who thrives in rhythms and routines, it's a challenge to keep up with a toddler.

We went to the park. He fumbled around on his knees, because he's still not walking but you're not supposed to say shit about your kid, so he's just doing stuff at his own pace. Most of all, he did not appear to be tired or cranky in the slightest. We returned home and ate lunch. He slept after lunch. While he slept I Googled "babies two naps one" or "children transitioning to one nap" or probably more likely "seriously, when is it that this kid will go down to one nap and my time will really no longer be my own."

The weird thing is that, for some reason, there is no good answer. You might think, "Of course! You can't just Google your way through parenting . . ." But actually, you can. People talk about every think in the world online. But for some reason you can get 694,000 results about "toilet slaves" but you can't learn a goddamn thing about when your kid sleeps. At a loss, I thought to Ask Dr. Sears. He said to breastfeed, or something like that. It's nuts.

What I did find was a bunch of moms — and let's face it, it's always moms — writing about their child's daytime schedule. Look, most of this stuff is boring — not even arcane, which bestows an elite quality, but just downright lame. At some point I looked up and realized I spent twenty minutes — twenty precious minutes — trying to figure out some other random kid's sleep schedule.

The funny thing is that everyone I've talked to is torn up about shifting to one nap. Sure, it makes it easier to "do stuff" — you have a bigger block of time to go to the zoo, have your child study a foreign language, make him or her practice piano — but your time is squeezed out even more, until all you can do is contribute immensely hilarious but ultimately worthless Tweets. Stuff like "Can't wait to get home to curl up with a glass of Merlot in one hand and BuzzFeed's '47 Worst Toronto Raptors Low-Lights' in the other". Or, "Best worst final lines of novels that weren't: 'And for the rest of his life, the Turk breathed'". Or, "Respectfully I say to thee, you smell like a hobo, but no one makes me feel like you do". Or, "When toddlers discover phones, the poor sap at 222-222-2222 ext. 222222222 gets barraged with calls". Or perhaps, "45 min into Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; Al Qaeda's new goal should be to create 100000 Jonathan Safran Foers to bring US to its knees".

You get the idea: There's only so much uninterrupted time you have during the day; this is why Twitter was created; you have no choice as you watch your life slowly squeezed into 140 characters or fewer.

It's heartening and funny and real that the few people I've talked to about this feel the same way: They all want that nap back. Does that make us all bad parents? Of course. We're all terrible parents for wanting more time to do our work, complete our chores, weed the lawn, drink a beer or surf the internet without acceding to demands to look at ducks on Google Image Search.

I was fully intending on coming up with a snappy concluding paragraph but a) I forgot what I wanted to say and b) I'm too tired anyway.

Posted: April 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: The Cult Of Domesticity | Tags: , ,

Did You Ever See The Mean Joe Greene Coke Ad Back In The Day And Think It'd Be Cool To One Day Talk To A Defensive Tackle, And Maybe Get His Jersey? Well, This Is Sort Of Like That, Except Instead Of A Jersey We Just Made Brunch For Him, And He Wasn't A Football Player But Rather A Travel Writer . . .

So when Craig suggested David Farley's An Irreverent Curiosity for book club, and the club picked it to read, he Tweeted to the author that we were reading his book. Farley responded to Craig that he would come to our book club if we wanted, and he did!

As an aside, Twitter is kind of a funny idea. Funny in that Craig — I surmised — was basically pinging Farley to say that we were reading his book. Which is to say, that while yes, he has 537 followers, in a way it's a private-ish message to Farley, because how many of those 537 people are paying attention to their Twitter feed at that particular moment? And even if they are, what do people really care about what he's reading in his book club? Meanwhile, Farley, if he's anything like the rest of everyone, is checking to see who is mentioning him, so he'll definitely get the message.

Goober, Jen and I were talking about stuff last night and I brought up that stuff like Twitter reinforces a larger passive-aggressiveness in, um, society or the world nowadays. In that, you can bitch about something to @AmericanAir and then some poor schlubs who man the @AmericanAir Twitter account respond to your complaint, and maybe even faster based on your Klout, whatever the fuck that is. Time was, you had to write letters to get shit. Now we just Tweet a bunch of passive-aggressive complaints and hope the number of followers we have will scare companies into providing customer service.

(Speaking of @AmericanAir, what kind of foolish bullshit kind of Tweet is this? A warmed-over Tolkien quote about traveling? What the fuck for? And why has it been retweeted 124 times as of June 20, 2012 at 11:19 p.m.? And "favorited" 31 times? Twitter is great, it precipitates revolutions and allows famous people to communicate directly to their fans. And then 124 people retweet some shit the American Airlines communications department puts out there, and you're like . . . Jesus fucking Christ.)

Goober noted that he's seen a bunch of examples of people talking shit on Facebook, as if what they say won't somehow get back to whoever it was they were writing about. That's when you start to think that the Internet's greatest achievement is legitimizing passive-aggressive behavior.

It's funny because it also occurred to me how dumb it is that people get upset about people who talk behind other people's backs. Because outside of Jesus Christ, who never talks behind someone's back? Everyone talks behind everyone else's back — and there's a good reason for this, which is that 90 percent of the time, you don't want someone talking to someone's front. That's what gets people hurt. Or worse.

So when Craig said that Farley was coming, I got a little nervous. What if we hated his book? Would I be willing to take him to task for it? Would I accuse him of barely writing a first draft? Would I berate him for having his overly twee characters suddenly rape one another? Would I beat up on him like I would a world-famous author who had long since died and couldn't defend his craft anyway? Even if the guy lived within 20 miles of me?

Clearly not. I'm a pussy in that way. And while I felt like I got a sense of the author's personality from his first-person book, part of me worried that we were inviting over James Agee, who would want to fuck us, or Henry Miller, who would give us bed bugs or something. But that didn't happen either — Farley's actually a really nice guy, and we had a really cool discussion about the book, as well as the process of writing it and the practical matter of finally seeing it in print. We (read: I) harassed him about the nitty gritty of writing — and he answered all our questions, which was very generous and very cool. He told us some behind the scenes stuff, which was also cool. And that he gets more than his share of queries about circumcision, because of course he's an expert on that now.

And fortunately, An Irreverent Curiosity is also an interesting book about a quirky, interesting topic, and while it was a little frustrating — to me, at least (i.e., not everyone — or anyone — else) — that the book ends with the author so close to resolving his search without finding a resolution, and while I did actually briefly mention that to the author, it didn't take away from the general experience.

So in other words, we were cool. And which is why the book becomes a little beside the point. So let me fix that now.

The "irreverent curiosity" in An Irreverent Curiosity is a relic that was once in a Catholic church in a small town in Italy outside of Rome. If you've never come across a relic in a Catholic church, the whole thing might come as kind of a surprise, but one day you'll be in a European church and your wife, who happens to be a lapsed Catholic and knows about such stuff, will direct your attention to some ornate object and point to the center of it where there will be a small nose bone or toe bone or ear bone or something and before you can say "Why is there a human bone embedded in an ornate gold cross?" or some such, she'll explain that it's a relic and that there was a time in the Catholic church when people dug up bones and worshiped them. Or whatever it is people do with relics. And your mind is momentarily blown until you hear a story like the kind that Farley relates, which is that one of these relics happens to have been — supposedly — Jesus' foreskin. Thus the concept of the irreverent curiosity.

The Holy Foreskin, as it was known, was stolen — or disappeared — in the early 1980s. So Farley's book goes over the mystery of where it went while he contextualizes it in the history of relics, throwing in some history and first-person stories about the quirky Italian town where the relic once resided.

Now you may be thinking — as I did for the first three-quarters of the book — that it's kind of absurd to think that anyone could have Jesus' foreskin. And then it occurs to you — after remembering all the Christmas creches you've seen — that a lot of folks believe in the story of the horsemen or wise men or virgins or whatnot, so in that worldview, of course someone would preserve the son of God's foreskin.

There's a parallel between the belief in the foreskin and the desire to see a story with an airtight resolution that merits some thought but which I can't quite put together right now, especially after all these paragraphs. So that's kind of a cop-out.

There are some documentary filmmakers trying to make a film about the story:

Farley said that it might actually happen, so it will be interesting to see the town and the characters come to life . . .

Posted: June 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Books Are The SUVs Of Writing | Tags: , , , , , ,

The Future Belongs To The Analog Loyalists

So despite my better judgement, this happened. Jen convinced me that it's a good idea. She's going to helm it — or at least I think she's supposed to. I don't want to spend too much time on it because, like I've said before in some shape or form, I still think it's important to control your own content versus supplying content for someone or something else. That and there are a lot of things I don't want to waste my time on without remuneration — predicting the Oscars, March Madness brackets, Fantasy Baseball — so I don't want to get sucked in.

Frank mentioned before that Twitter is just RSS for the masses, which I understand; if you don't have a Reader set up, then you don't get it — I understand that.

Don't expect anything pithy from the thingamajig — just a cryptic shortened link with some description that is under 140 characters.

I hate those shortened links, by the way — I think links are descriptive in and of themselves, and I'll look at a link — the link itself — before I ever click, because often I decide whether I should care based on that alone. But something like this is just baffling: http://ow.ly/4p2x8 — huh? Why are people so scared of long links? Has it really come to that?

I thought about setting up a Twitter account back when I started the Big Map Blog but I eventually decided that it was best to provide visitors with a service (i.e., letting people know when the Big Map is updated) and hold on to control of the content at the same time. The Big Map Blog started out as pretty basic — just a collection of links — but in time the posts have gotten more detailed — and less frequent than I originally envisioned. And certain posts end up supplementing the Big Map content — like when we go on a big trip and I compile the entire itinerary in one long post.

Anyway, I think @batclub will go back to that original intention. I imagine we'll also throw up links when there's something in the news, for example — not necessarily to highlight new content but also to remind visitors of content that's there — and that would not be something I'd want to waste anyone's time with on the Big Map Blog.

Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey are on CNN right now being feted by Piers Morgan and Martha Stewart. Hrm.

Look at it this way — we're just following in the footsteps of Amtrak, which is using the social media platform to notify riders of tremendous fuckups:

Amtrak is introducing a pilot program to notify Northeast Corridor passengers about major service disruptions via Twitter.

Which is to say, Twitter is great for a trainwreck.

Speaking of CBS New York articles, this one is really weird. So on "via Twitter" there's a seemingly non-germane link to an interview with Biz Stone from October 2010. Maybe not exactly "non-germane" but kind of random. But it gets weirder. On the paragraph that reads "Amtrak says Twitter users who choose to follow @AmtrakNEC will be notified of major service disruptions resulting in major delays or stoppage of all rail traffic due to equipment problems, severe weather, police activity or other causes" the words "Amtrak says" link to a story from November about the failed Trans-Hudson tunnel project. I don't get it.

Then it gets weirder . . . in the following paragraph that reads "Disruptions that affect only a single train will not result in a tweet," "result in a tweet" — or more accurately, the space just before the "r" in "result" and the rest of it — links to a story about how Cory Booker and Anthony Weiner have a lot of followers.

And then in the final paragraph — "Amtrak says it will review the number of followers and retweets of the messages to determine if the pilot program should be modified, made permanent or expanded to other corridors" — the words "number of followers and retweets" constitute a link to the story about the runaway Bronx Zoo cobra having a Twitter account.

In short, the most random and useless collection of links I've ever seen in a story.

Which is also to say, people on the Internet are trying to hustle. Clearly we're no different. But what I can say is that we will always try to make your Internet experience as meaningful as possible. Or as much as we can given that we're predisposed to the nooks and crannies of everyday life. We're not running a content farm, but we know we need to do what we can both to make the visiting experience worthwhile and put ourselves in a position to keep it viable. Who knows, maybe no one will use it (that would suck!), but now it's there if you want it.

You know, if you pluck the feathers and cook the shit out of it in a ragu, crow doesn't taste half bad . . .

Posted: March 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Do The Hustle | Tags: , , , ,