Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Milkyway Bar

My sister recently had a baby...his name is Felix Paul, and he is fucking perfect. He smells amazing...the way that only babies can; its a mixture of sweet milk and powdery rose petals-even his farts smell amazing. No joke. It's a celebration each time this kid passes gas, because it's his new body's way of figuring out how to remain comfortable inside itself.  In no way am I exaggerating. He makes cute little noises that is one part kitten and one part pterodactyl. 

Anna and Johannes are amazing parents.  They love him beyond words and coo sweet nothings into his ear, even when his screams break through noise barriers only understood by deep sea mammals. They kiss him and love him and take billions of photos.

They have been preparing for little Felix, and have prepared well. They have been reading books. They have spoken with doctors. They were ready to have this child.

I should mention that between Anna and Johannes I think there are like, 4 degrees. They're not just average. They are brilliant, logical and practical humans.

Now they have a kid. And there is no reasoning with screams that challenge solid glass not to break. The most refreshing thing to see about this new little man in their life is that everything is new to everyone: Johannes, Felix and Anna. Anna is a goddamn trooper.

Sitting down with Anna on the first day in Berlin, she explained everything. How birth is not glamourous (she was going to birth Felix naturally, but on the 26th hour of labor...yes, 26th hour...the doctors said, well we're going to do a c-section now...are you kidding me? That's like running a marathon and at the 26th mile with only .2 to go, medics say: well, it looks like you're getting a cramp in your calf. Better take you out of the race.)

And that her boobs were so sore that she had cool cabbage placed on them to calm their pain.  How does everyone say how connected to the earth, to their babies they are when they breast feed? She asked me. It's like, I have multiple degrees and can run construction sites single handedly, but as soon as I hear my baby cry, my boobs start leaking. What the fuck?!!

Also, she is not used to her body changing and morphing back to it's original shape post baby. How are you feeling physcially? I asked. Ugh, Margaret, I'm serious...it's like NO ONE talks about what happens to women's bodies after they have a baby. I smell different, I constantly have my period and I sweat so much at night. My body is ridding itself of the 9 months it took to grow my baby-- I only just recently was able to shave again because my stomach got in the way. How do people that don't know each other have babies together? I am so thankful I have been with Johannes for 4 years because I know I can share this with him...but what happens when people have kids by accident? It must be so awkward!

Frankly, she's right. There are so many blogs and articles about the joy of motherhood, and how great it is etc etc...but the real truth is hushed up behind pacifiers and contained in soiled diapers. It's loud and it stinks.

I'm not referring to (nor is Anna) postpartum depression, which is a very real thing. It's just that there is this grand arching joyous dialogue about how centered you suddenly become once you birth a child. Like you are a woman. You can conquer. You are now complete. There is another human on this earth: because of you. (Cue wind blowing through hair with a soft glow of light on cheekbones with a crimson hued tint on lips with wild flowers floating all around.)

Last night I was sitting in the office and turned around, looked at Anna while she was breast feeding and she proclaimed to me: I mean, this is so boring! I'm just supposed to sit here and take him to the Milkyway Bar, feed him liquorless White Russians and watch him fall asleep afterwards!

Life with a new child suddenly becomes broken up into 3 hour intervals: feed him, hold him, wipe his ass, let him sleep, rinse, wash, repeat. It is a drastic lifestyle change from what was before--as an architect who traveled all over Europe and Russia designing high end retail stores and now she sits and watches her son drink her breast milk, burp him over her shoulder, congratulates him when he spits up and puts him down for a nap. 

Anna is a loving and doting mother.  She has definitely sofented with the arrival of little Felix, but she is not a different person; she is still pragmatic and opinionated. It's refreshing.

Little man Felix is a champ. And so is his papa and proud mama. I'm just glad I can still shave whenever I want to.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Travel Mode.

Travel. Specifically through the air. The concept was once glamorous. Full of mink coats, stewardesses (not flight attendants) and those National Geographic ads that proclaim: Alaska! Come here to experience all of America's vast wilderness! Or: Choose Pan Am, a classy way to travel! I always envision red lipsticked women traveling to Paris to choose their next season's wardrobe and men with straight ties and slicked hair drinking bourbon reading the newspaper. 

Now it's lines and ropes that I'm convinced are designed to make us all look like idiots: zig-zagging through like rodents in a plastic tubed maze. People double, triple check their inside pocket for the ticket they just felt in the same spot 23 seconds earlier.  Airports these days create a sense of worry and urgency so tangible--it's a potent elixir for explosive behavior that often times becomes activated and expressed at the wrong people.

I am not claiming to be an easy going or calm individual.  Somehow though, when I enter an airport I become a more zenned out version of myself. It has been said that my actions can sometime mimic my father's when I'm walking somewhere; (talk about Travel Mode...Colin will find his gate before he realizes that his family is not with him anymore...he just fucking goes, man. I once told him a story about how a man followed me into the woman's bathroom when I was connecting flights in London-I was all of 16 and had short hair. I was so frightened that I had no other choice to just turn around and say to the guy: get out of here, you don't belong here. And he left! Expecting a paternal smirk of pride or something, I was astounded when he said: well look atcha, Mahgrett. He prolly thawt you wir ah boy! Thanks dad. Glad you're pumped I'm not hacked up somewhere in England.) 

In my mind, traveling is like adding salt to food: it enhances who that particular person is and draws out the water, the outer layers of social politeness and strips that person down to the core of their true flavor. Travel mode has two flavors: Asshole and Kind. More often than not, the Asshole flavor rises to the top more so than the Kind...but when the Kind does manage to be spotted, it's that much more satisfying. Like the random dude that carried two large pieces of luggage all the way to a gate for a single mother with two kids, all the while carrying his own shit. Kind does exist. 

Yesterday while checking my luggage I noticed a man that was trying to force his clearly too-big-for the-carry-on-size bag into the example of: if you can't fit your carry on suitcase in here, it ain't being no carry on. He was trying to re-arrange shit in his suitcase and his wife, waiting at the counter watching him along with the desk clerk said: Baby, maybe it's just time to accept it--it's not joining us, and there are people behind us. It was almost as if she said: bBaby, I know you wanted your son to be a pro athlete, but he has scoliosis--it's not going to happen. It was a mixture of Kind and Asshole, because the wife was being calm and patient while the husband was just too stubborn and blind. It should also be mentioned that the suitcase in question had written (in masking tape) on the front: Jesus Saves. 

There are many more stories from yesterday's journey to Berlin (one involves a Brooklyn based band called Karizma-5 guys wearing sunglasses on an over night flight sitting around me, as well as a tale of a passive aggressive bitch that got put into her place...) 

...but then I'd write for hours...and there is a new nephew to dote over and really really good cheese to eat. 

So. Travel Mode. It exists. Hopefully you're the Kind flavor.