REPENTANT BRIEFINGA Rosy Recovery
Sept. 30 - If you'll pretend I didn't post anything yesterday, so will I. I can at least hope my gradual meltdown into borderline incoherence was an enjoyable spectacle in itself.
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As for Molli, she seemed perfectly normal all day yesterday, except that she was a little extra fussy from time to time and hardly slept a goddam wink all day. Seriously. Two forty-five minute naps, and almost every other moment of the day she demanded constant attention. Play with me. Talk to me. Look at me. Pick me up. Show me Willie the Cat. Get Willie the Cat the hell away from me. Give me tea. Give me a boob. Take me for a walk. Get me inside. Entertain me. Amuse me. Drop everything and devote every fiber of your being to me.
And we did, happily but exhaustedly.
Finally, and mere italics are not enough to do justice to the significance of that adverb, finally Molli began getting drowsy at about 9:30, and by 9:45 we had her in her crib. She made her usual fussy little noises for about 15 minutes, but by 10pm she was at last asleep. Within minutes—seconds?—so were we. Neither of us had slept more than five or six hours out of the last 36. The full night now lay before us, and the odds were good that Molli would stay down for most of it.
But we are political junkies. So I had set the alarm clock to go off at 2:50 am, and by 3am Trine and I had both dragged ourselves quietly out of bed and into the living room, and turned on the television to watch—Larry King Live?
"Where's the debate?" Trine asked.
"I don't know," I said. "It's after three, it should have started already."
It didn't take long to realize we were 24 hours early. We'd completely lost track of which day of the week it was. We shook our heads at our own stupidity and shuffled back to bed, wondering miserably if we'd even be able to fall back asleep.
We were. But I didn't feel any smarter when I woke up.
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So tonight I'll leave my alarm set for 3am.
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I noticed Molli's cheeks were bright red yesterday, and I thought, "What an adorable little red-faced cherub!"
Trine noticed them too and said, "What's wrong with her cheeks?"
"She's a healthy little baby with chubby red cheeks," I said.
Trine didn't share my enthusiasm. "It looks like a rash," she said.
"It's a healthy glow," I said.
"It's a rash," she said.
I Googled something like "bright red cheeks baby," and once I filtered through all the spanking-fetish sites I found some pediatric websites with information on "Slapped Cheek Disease," also known as "Fifth Disease." It's a very common, very harmless virus whose final symptom is rosy red cheeks (that look as though they've just been slapped). The more I read, the more convinced I became that this is what Molli had been working through over the previous 24-48 hours—from her crankiness Monday night through her sleepy Tuesday and vomitous Tuesday night and right into Wednesday. The red cheeks could last weeks, the sites informed me. Or even months.
Her rosy red cheeks are gone this morning and I don't know whether to worry or what. Probably "or what." The joy of a newborn is never having time to worry about anything but what's right in front of you—which is usually more than enough.
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There was a kid I went to school with who used to brag about her family having come over on the Mayflower. It irritated more of us than it impressed, I think, but she was a proud little brat and wouldn't leave it alone.
As I've gotten older, I've met and learned about a lot of other people whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower. It's always a point of pride for them. "My people were here ages ago," they seem to be saying, "way before your lousy people."
Fair enough. But it seems to fair to ask what kind of people we're talking about. Because getting to America isn't in itself anything to brag about. Lots of murderers, rapists, and lawyers have come to America. The descendants of John Billington, for example, probably don't brag too much about the fact that on September 30, 1630, that pilgrim distinguished himself by becoming the first Englishman in the colonies to be hanged for murder.
But then, my family's just a scrappy bunch of 20th-century immigrants. What the hell do I know?
* * *
On September 30, 1955, teen idol James Dean was killed in a car accident that probably could have been avoided if he had had his car inspected and tuned up regularly, obeyed all posted highway signs, and driven only when alert and sober. On the other hand, if he had survived, today James Dean would probably be tottering aimlessly around celebrity golf tournaments, pimping life insurance or antacids, and writing tell-all memoirs.
On September 30, 1927, Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season. (Mark McGwire was born on October 1, 1963, however, so this no longer matters.)
Today is the birthday of Fran Drescher (1957), Johnny Mathis (1935), Angie Dickinson (1931), Elie Wiesel (1928), Truman Capote (1924), and Buddy Rich (1917).
It's Independence Day in Botswana.
© 2004, The Moron's Almanac