All I Want for Memorial Day Are Her Two Front Teeth

Tired. So very tired.

Baby C is teething. Last night turned into a marathon session of rocking and nursing and, when those tactics failed, trying to distract my whimpering babe with books and toys. At first, I kept her room dark and quiet to induce sleep, but around 3 a.m., I tripped over a wayward copy of Stellaluna, and spectacularly crashed into a rattle before my leg banged into the dresser. After that, I turned on the light.

I proffered cool teething rings and frozen washcloths to numb her little gums, but she spurned all things cool or cold. I attempted to administer Children's Tylenol, but she spit it all out. Twice. By "spit out", I mean that she spewed the saccharine pink syrup down under the front of her sleeper, requiring a sponge bath and change of clothes – which went over about as well as you might expect at 4:00 in the morning.

Even more painful than my bruised shin, Baby C recently learned the "m" sound. Even though I know she's too young to associate the sound with me, last night she kept bleating, "Mmmmama." "Mama." And I obviously couldn't do anything to make her feel better. Ouch.

Coffee Coffee, Buzz Buzz Buzz

Late Sunday morning, and all my charges are asleep.

Baby C snores in the middle of our giant bed, worn out from the rigors of teething.

Greg snores on the sofa in the living room, exhausted from revising a brief all night (and let that crazy fun Saturday night activity serve as a warning to the legions of readers considering work at a large law firm).

Kona snores on the off-limits chair, drowsy because, well, because she's a cat.

And I, bone-tired from enduring the rigors of teething with my daughter, setting up Greg with snacks and coffee, cleaning up after the cat who can only cough up hairballs on my comforter, and seven months of parenting boot camp, am WIDE awake.

Perhaps I should have resisted drinking the dregs of the coffee I brewed for Greg?

After over a year of very limited caffeine consumption, half a cup of Hills Brothers has left me wired. The energy shocks me. I realize that the fog in which I've been functioning is probably due more to caffeine withdrawal than sleep deprivation. The hit is fantastic: I feel alive! I have energy! I'm afraid I'm off the wagon for good. Now if only my hands would stop shaking, perhaps I could get something done.

She Who Will Not Be Ignored.

Over all, we're surprised at how well Kona the cat adjusted to second-class citizenship. Absent-minded pats on the head have replaced the attention we once lavished upon her. She's still heartbreakingly hopeful, meowing around her favorite ball of yarn, hoping to entice us into a game of catch or chase-the-string. Sometimes she leaves the ball of yarn on my desk, as a pointed reminder of just how long it has been since we played. The other day, she upped the ante a bit.

I was trying to get through the Laundry Mound (a geographic phenomenon found on our bedroom floor). I opened the washing machine door and grabbed the wet clothes to stuff into the dryer. But something was wrong. I couldn't pull the clothes out--they were somehow stuck. I tugged a little bit, and discovered sweaters tied to sweat pants, intertwined with jeans. Kona's ball of yarn. She dropped it into the Laundry Mound, and it went all the way through the spin cycle, twisting around buttons and looping through sleeves. In the end, I had to cut the clothes free from each other. We're still picking out little bits of yarn from our pockets.

Kona isn't talking about the incident.

Beer Makes You a Better Mother

We're home! Okay, we've been home for a week now, but I'm only now feeling motivated to do more than laundry and basic baby upkeep.

Munich was wonderful. The chestnut tree canopy over the biergartens filled in every day we were there. Imagine . . . restaurants with a supervised nursery and a fully stocked changing table! Though there aren't as many stroller-friendly ramps as in the ADA compliant US, someone always grabbed the front of Baby C's stroller to help me get it up the U-Bahn stairs. And I didn't feel weird nursing her in public, considering that there were naked sunbathers in the city park. Several of our friends had new babies, also. We compared notes, but I had nothing to top the advice from my friend's German pediatrician: "Beer makes you a better mother." Sauerkraut, however, does not - at least when the mother is still nursing. Poor Baby C and I learned that one the hard way.

The motivation for our trip was the wedding of one of our friends. For their first dance, the bride and groom waltzed, then most of the guests joined in. Not a we-just-learned-how-to-dance-in-the-living-room-last-week shuffle, but a full-on "shall we dance" capital W-waltz that would have made Yul Brynner proud. It was fantastic. Greg and I sat that one out.

Now we are back to suburban sprawl and too many choices at the supermarket. I know my memories of Munich are romantic and idealized, but all the better when life seems like one long round of diaper changes and stain removal. Some people have Paris; I will always have Muenchen.