Baby Girl,
Know that, once upon a time, you awoke every morning with a smile of pure glee on your face. The sight of your mommy made you laugh with delight. Your feet kicked with the excitement of a new day. Can you remember this? Can I?
Love, Mommy

12 (baby) Steps

My post-partum Pilates instructor noted that Baby C was pacifier-free in class and asked if she used one. "Well, yes, sometimes," I admitted. "But it's not like she has a problem. She could quit any time she wants."

But can I? My mom saw me pop it in Baby C’s mouth as we buckled her into her car seat. "Why do you give her that pacifier when she's perfectly happy?" Knowing that there was no right answer to that question, I kept quiet.

Truth is, Baby C does enjoy her paci, and I do use it to keep her quiet at times. She used to go on real benders, but now she only uses in the car seat or the crib unless she's really upset. I fear, however, it was a gateway to habits that may be harder to break. She’s sucking on one fist right now, and I’ve seen her eyeing the second one.

Business Trips Suck

You know you’re in a difficult profession when the talk around the water cooler (or, more accurately, the talk on the Starbucks run) is what kind of webcam provides the clearest picture of your kids, and whether you should upgrade from Skype to keep you connected to your family. Greg’s been traveling a lot lately. Missing the baby is killing him. He did buy a new webcam but also posted 8x11 pictures of himself over Baby C’s changing table to ensure she would recognize him when he comes home. Apparently, he wasn’t concerned about the association I might make between his face and her dirty diapers.

While Greg's been away, I've devoted my scant free time to sleep and laundry rather than blogging. Thrilling though they may sound, these activities don't lend themselves to exciting blog posts, either. It's really a vicious cycle that I am only now able to break since my parents are here for a visit, providing me with a little reprieve and ample material. For now, let’s just say that I can’t find anything in my kitchen, and that my electric toothbrush keeps conking out on me mid-molar because my dad keeps unplugging the charger in an effort to save electricity.

Why It's 80 Degrees in My Car

My last car, a Geo Prism, was over 10 years old. I referred to it as my Flintstone-mobile, because one was tempted to open the door and use footpower to help it up hills. Only one gas station in town let it pass inspection, and the local carwash owner gently suggested that we not return after my license plate flew off during the rinse cycle. When I used to be a lawyer and had a hearing somewhere not Metro-accessible, I took perverse pride in driving it to work and parking it next to all the BMWs in the garage. After bumming rides throughout high school and college, I bought it my third year of law school. It was low-maintenance and ran well, if you weren't in a hurry. I loved that piece of crap car.

With the baby on the way, I reluctantly conceded that my Geo should be retired. It just wasn't safe. (I also suspected that the extra weight of a newborn would prove too much for it.) I donated the Geo to Purple Hearts, and we bought a Honda: safe with no personality and a big blind spot.

While it’s nice, albeit anti-climatic, to be able to merge without heart-stopping adrenaline, I still end up sweating every time I drive. The heat dial is located where my radio tuner used to be, so I inadvertently jack up the heat every time a bad song hits the airwaves. Baby C and I arrive everywhere hot and thirsty. I miss my Geo.

Baby C Hearts New York

When New York is good, it is very, very good,
But when it is bad, it is horrid.

We got off the train at Penn Station late at night, trundling along the platform with stroller and bags, hunting for the elevator. When it finally arrived and the doors parted, we were greeted by several smells—wet feet being the most prevalent though the least offensive. We got in and tried not to breath. Leaving, we almost tripped over the homeless man who had fallen asleep in the rarely used corridor. “Welcome to New York, baby” we whispered, as we pushed her past his boots.

But the Big Apple thrilled Baby C--recumbent in her stroller, New York was all glitter and no grit. When we taxied through Times Square, her jaw and eyes opened wide. (Unfortunately, both stayed open for most of the night—she was a true New Yorker and cranked up around midnight.)

On the train out to my college roommate’s house, I tried to breastfeed Baby C surreptitiously in the near-empty car. After collecting tickets, the conductor circled back to us, plopped down in the seat opposite, and started chatting about his nine-month-old daughter as Baby C smacked away. My friend Kelly laughed when I told her I was slightly mortified by the encounter. “Trust me—that’s not the worst thing he’s seen on the Long Island Rail Road.”

With the exception of our hotel room neighbors, whom we thankfully never met, the New Yorkers seemed charmed by the baby. Bell-hops and cabbies, barristas and conductors—all tried to coax smiles out of Baby C, cooing at her (then turning around and yelling at the other patrons). And Baby C gurgled and smiled right back, enchanted by the lights, the noises, and the smells that masked even her worst diapers.