Coming up for air

Thanks to everyone for their kind congratulations on the birth of our daughter. If you have kids, you don’t need me to tell you that it’s an exhilarating and exhausting experience. And if you don’t, my paltry words won’t be able to do it justice. I can’t go so far as to say we’re in any kind of routine yet, but we’re getting the hang of things, thanks in large part to some much-appreciated help from my mother-in-law.

I took a month-long leave from work, so I’ve been getting well practiced at the mechanics of infant care (diapers, bottles, swaddling, etc.), running interference between my wife and daughter and the outside world, spending money hand over fist on baby supplies, and receiving visits from wonderful friends, who have usually come bearing delicious food. All that plus trying to get to know this mysterious little creature who now shares our lives.

There has been some down time (newborns sleep a lot), and I’ve spent most of it reading baby books, usually of the how-to variety. But I also picked up, on Marilyn‘s recommendation, The Scientist in the Crib by Alison Gopnik, Andrew Meltzoff, and Patricia Kuhl. It summarizes, in a very lay-reader friendly fashion, some of the recent research on how babies’ minds develop. Specifically, it looks at how infants’ minds are hardwired to solve certain conundrums that have bedeviled philosophers for centuries like the existence of other minds and the external world. I’m not sure David Hume would be satisfied, but it makes for fascinating reading, especially for a new parent.

I also managed to read Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. The bite-sized nuggets of text were perfect for those first few bleary days after coming home from the hospital, when my brain could only process about 150 words at a sitting (at most). It was a good reminder not to let the stresses of new parenthood turn into an excuse for eating crap. Though, contra Pollan, convenience food can be a blessing in some circumstances.

Hopefully as the learning curve becomes a little less steep I’ll find more time to post here. I will try to avoid becoming a “daddy blogger” though. :)

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5 thoughts on “Coming up for air

  1. Hang in there, Lee. I can remember this moment I had with Megan, our oldest, when she only a couple of weeks old. I was holding her after changing her diaper, staring at her really, while sitting on a futon in our old DC apartment, and all of sudden I though “What on EARTH have we gotten ourselves into?! We’re responsible for a HUMAN BEING!!” But gradually, bit by bit, we figured it all out. (Or at least this much, anyway.)

    Hey, I’m going to be in DC this September with the American Political Science Association’s annual meeting. We ought to try to meet; maybe bring Camassia along too. Send me an e-mail sometime, if you’re interested.

  2. Glad to hear things are good. Shoot me an email reminding me of your address, and I’ll come bearing delicious food myself. (I think it was one of those things that got lost when I moved.)

    A September meetup sounds like fun, Russell. I could even introduce you to Eve Tushnet and her Yale Party of the Right crew, and probably start a loud argument. But you’ll probably have enough of that at the meeting…

  3. Meeting Eve would be far-out, Camassia, though she’d likely consider me to be a lunatic. Either way, let’s the three of us coordinate as September comes closer. It’ll be the three days before Labor Day weekend, whichever dates those are.

  4. A September meet-up sounds fun, though planning anything that long from now seems almost inconceivable to me at this point. :)

  5. Catching up on a month’s worth of your blog (sigh… and I don’t have a new baby for an excuse!) so I just saw this. Glad you liked the book!

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