Saturday, March 26, 2005


Sam, L and I are down in L.A. right now, visiting Sam's sister, "Ki." This is the first real trip we've taken L on and Sam was somewhat apprehensive in risking a six+ hour drive down even though L usually sleeps well in cars. We actually made it down most of the way without incident...but of course, "most" doesn't really matter if the part "not most" doesn't quite go your way.

I swear that L has some kind of built in GPS system where she'll start to fuss inconsolably once we're almost within distance of our final destination but not so close that we can just floor it and hope to get there before she turns on the sirens. In took us an hour to travel less than 20 miles and it's not because L.A. traffic was bad (though, of course it was too). Rather, we had to stop twice to take L out of her carrier and try to calm her so we could lock her back in - this after she had slept pretty fitfully for 300+ miles.

Of course, maybe after 300+ miles, she wasn't feeling anymore time spent in her car seat (and who can blame her?) but it killed me that we were so close to Ki's house but we might as well have been 100 miles away if L was fussing up a storm. Surprisingly, what ended up working was Sam sitting in the backseat and "sssssh"-ing L until she went hoarse. L nodded back out and we were able to zoom to Ki's during the lull.

Everytime we either visit Ki or she visits us, we kind of want to kidnap her and make her our full-time nanny. Even though Ki is four years younger than Sam and doesn't have kids of her own yet, she's got more maternal instinct than Sam and I put together. She loves babies as a general rule whereas Sam and I, as a general rule, are terrified by babies and small children and thus it's grand cosmic humor that two people such as we should be so blessed as to be with child. Don't get us wrong - we're not big on children...except our own. Both of us love L but even then, she's like an enigma, wrapped inside a riddle, bundled inside a puzzle, swaddled within a dirty diaper. With Ki, she takes to kids with such a natural energy and grace, it leaves us both a little amazed and envious.

Most importantly though, as good as Ki is with babies writ large, given that L is her niece and godchild, you can only imagine how much she absolutely adores her. This is a woman who'll jump up and run across the run just to burp L. As such, we absolutely adore Ki - she's like the best frickin' babysitter ever and she actually seems to enjoy all the tedious tasks with L that we grow weary of sometimes: feeding, changing, burping, etc. Provided, maybe it's because Ki and her husband (who Ki describes as an "S.W.U" = Scary White Uncle) don't have kids of their own yet, but we don't care - having her around is like that third set of arms you and your parnter always wish you had.

Alas, the rest of our family, especially the in-laws, are not quite so handy. Sam's parents, while they live close by, are getting on in age and tasking them with L for the evening seems a bit burdensome. They enjoy her company enough but neither Sam or I feel comfortable imposing on them to babysit for an entire evening, especially since they usually turn in fairly early while L has proven to be a night owl like her old man.

My parents live far off which is actually a mixed blessing. On one hand, my dad absolutely dotes on L (even though he's only seen her twice)...he's really taken to being a grandfather (by the way - L is the first grandchild on both sides of the family, so you can imagine how badly she's being spoiled) which I find really fucking cute since it makes me see my dad in a new light (i.e. not as the disciplinarian who I grew up fearful of, but rather, this kindly, smiling old guy who loves his granddaughter).

My mom on the other hand...well, what can I really say? She's a Chinese mom and those of you with Chinese moms know what the fuck I'm talking about (those with other Asian or Jewish moms may also share some sympathy pains with me too). My whole diatribe about Chinese moms would be enough for its own post blog but since I already do enough kvetching to my therapist about it, I'll spare the rest of you.

Just to give one example though - when my mom and dad came to visit the first week after L was born, I was trying to take pictures of her holding L...only to be instructed on where I should stand and how I should compose the shot. She was basically operating as my goddamn D.P. - I was half expecting her to say, "wait, I don't think the mise en scene is quite right compositionally here. Let me move to the other side of the couch and why don't you try an elevated close-up and make sure the lighting on my left is good?"

I'm not saying she's a bad grandmother - she's practically gloats to her friends about how cute L is - but given that my ability to be a good dad can be comprised if I'm driven to a state of insanity, it's probably for the best that my mom only makes occassional visits to our household.

As a soon to be SAHD however, I really, really wish I had more family close by. I'll be honest with ya'll - I'm scared to death about this transition and I don't want to impose of my friends to lend a hand. Really, that's the great thing about family - you can impose on them endlessly without that much guilt since, as I've always said, if you can't exploit family, who can you?

Posted by P.L. at 11:00 PM


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