Below Chinatown

“Mr. Barber?” When Ravi tees me up with that faraway voice I get nervous. He’s a bright and serious kid, the kind that can lull me into being serious in return. I’m liable to get dark, forget he’s a student,…
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He Is a Stargazer

In womb he was occipitoposterior, meaning his head was pointed at mum’s feet and his eyes were looking at mum’s tummy. Americans have an adorable colloquialism for this position: sunny side up. Germans have a beautiful one: Sternengucker—stargazer. Giving birth…
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I Love You But

I love you but you’re boring.
same old wriggle
same old fuss.
humdrum humdrum
nappiesful of tedium.
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He is (not) a Project

There are parents for whom a baby is but a project. The goal is the perfect child and each meal, teaching, toy and urging is a bullet point on a decades-long to-do list. There is love. But the mood of…
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Music is a parent’s cure-all. I play music or sing or hum to entertain (him), engage (him), distract or sedate (us both). I cannot sing well so mostly I sing-talk. Lilting, running commentary like: This is a sock And this…
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In His Dreams

He is one day old and asleep. His face is calm and healthy pink. Now REM-charged eyeballs pulse his eyelids and he frowns, his brow tensed, grown-up and troubled, now the tension releases quick as an archer’s bow and his…
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A Step-by-step Guide to Calming a Fussy Baby

Insert milk. Not hungry? Sniff butt. Diaper smells fine? Change position. A baby’s digestive system is manual not automatic—often a simple tilt, shift, rub, or stretch will help the milk and air on their way. That made it worse? Ah…
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More With Less

Our child is here and so is the life of more with less. More errands, necessity, urgency. More love required. Less time, energy, choice. Less control and space.  Before our son was born I feared these conditions. Can I be…
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Getting Some Sleep

“I hope you’re getting some sleep” is the polite and expected thing to say to a new parent. It’s spoken as a sympathetic punchline. It’s “I hope you stay warm out there” chirped to someone who has to work all…
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He Is Testing Me

It’s funny the first time.  You’ve wiped and dried your baby and applied a soothing teatree oil spritz to their undercarriage. You say something cute like “there you go, nice and clean, little pudding”, as you unfold a crisp nappy.…
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