Wait, supply and what? Schuman confused

Libertarians, Rush references, Vitae

LOL psych. Literally everyone knows about how supply and demand “works.” I just don’t think that’s an excuse to treat people like shit. My latest on Vitae gets into it a bit. I’ve got one more piece coming out today (on Slate, stay tuned), and then I am ON VACATION from Internet publication for a few weeks. My computer broke and I’m hundreds of miles away from anywhere I can get it fixed or even fix it myself (no real WiFi out here), so I’m taking it as a sign from above that I need to take a breather and spend (even more) time with my kid. 




Six Months: Up, Up, UP!


Greetings, Small Human!
Today you’re six gigantic months old. And you already have reason to hate me, because this week I inadvertently made you famous when I talked about you on the Internet in an article that was very widely read.

I’ll be sorry when you start pulling your substantial weight around here.

Right now the ratio still tilts a little too far in favor of you sucking out my life force and then giving a little shrug (or, increasingly, a bite).

If you’ll recall the signoff from our last monthly update (which you can, because you can 100 percent understand language and read the Internet — or I assume you can, since you have a sixth sense about whenever I am working or doing anything time-sensitive), I wistfully declared that I wished you would stay five months old and adorable forever — but I also knew that the second I wrote that down, or said it aloud, something FUBAR would happen immediately.

And I’m proud to say that not 24 hours after I hit “publish,” you cut a morning walk short with an inconsolable, high-pitched wail, your Pain Cry, one I’ve only heard before when you got your shots at the pediatrician. (Also when I dropped my phone on your head that one time. I’m sorry, honey. Maybe if you allowed me to be anywhere but fused to you during naps I wouldn’t have to entertain myself reading Drunk Mom on my Kindle app.*)

At first I was panicked, because nothing was helping you — not nursing, not cuddling, not changing, nothing. Then I thought to myself…could it be? And I stuck a finger in your little maw, and sure enough, there were the tips of two giant chompers, poking their way through! You, my dear, have TEETH!!!!!!!

The good news is, you seem to be out of pain (which is a relief, because you only halfway tolerate your various teething accoutrements, and we had to drug you with baby Tylenol once, although you spit most of it out). The bad news is, you continue to gnaw on literally everything in sight: paper, cat toys, electric cords, the more dangerous the better, and you are grabby, so we can’t relax for a second — and, in the case of your father’s fingers and your mother’s boobs, everyone. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been jolted out of nursing reverie in stabbing pain, only to gather my wits quickly and go No no no Lini. Lini no bite Mama. No bities. Bities HURTS Mama. You usually react by giving me an insoucient look and biting me again, like my boob is an old-timey stogie and you’re a 75-year-old man at the Club. Now look here, see. Twenty-three skidoo, see. Great.

After being thoroughly shamed by the pediatrician and then the Internet, we have finally tightened the screws on Tummy Time, and although you are now officially “behind” on the “milestone” of rolling over (and I would be too if I had that much to roll over), you can do little babby pushups like a motherfucker. Every time you push up, I cheer you on by going “UP, UP, UUUUUUUUP!” And that seems to distract you for longer than the 27 seconds you used to tolerate your tummy time.

Your favorite torso-based activity is to watch your father and me do ebulliently-narrated yoga. (“Mama go UUUUUUUP! Mama go doooooooooown. Mama LUUUUUUUUUNGE!” I should 100% be a yoga teacher.) It is sometimes the only exercise I get besides lugging you around. Well, that and helping you do your new very favorite activity: JUMPIES. You love jumping. The fact that you cannot stand up by yourself is no obstacle. With only an enormous amount of help from whoever is holding you, you will jump jump jump jump the day away, bending your fat little legs and then kicking them hard, against what is only sometimes your father’s balls.

Until about two weeks ago, there were days you abjectly refused to go to sleep any other way than being strapped into the Ergo, facing me, and then making me loosen the straps and jiggle you down until I could jostle a boob into your face. “You want me to take her for a walk instead?” your Babcia would ask helpfully. “Can’t,” I’d answer, “She wants to sleep, walk and eat at the same time.” It was the only way to get you to nap for awhile. Then, with no prompting whatsoever, you started going apeshit every time I tried to load you into the Ergo facing me. Now you will ONLY walk in the Ergo facing out to the world, and all of the (over)stimulation it provides. Your father and I strap you in and take you for medium-length walks in the woods, holding your little hands as we go.

You love the lake here in upstate NY. It is one of the only places I have ever been able to just plop you on my lap and stare into space. You can sit on my lap looking out at the water, and the trees, and listen to the frogs and the fish jumping, and watch your papa go out in his kayak and come back, and you emit nothing more than an excited giggle and a satisfied little sigh now and then. You also love going in the lake. Your papa and I strip you all the way to your spectacular naked fatness, and dip you in up to the middle of your fat little belly, and you kick and squeal and kick and squeal. (The water where we dip you is about twelve inches deep, and we are both there to catch you, although nothing has gone wrong yet.)

You love being toted around in your little wagon by your Babcia, who has outfitted Her Majesty’s carriage with a pad, and all manner of toys. You haven’t so much as had to look in the general direction of your silly plebeian stroller in weeks. You are used to riding in style. Sometimes you have so much fun with your Babcia that it wears you out and you fall asleep.

You have continued in your trend of extreme pickiness. You have inherited all of your parents’ maximizer tendencies and none of our satisficer tendencies. Your friend Liz C., the maximiziest maximizer we know, would be very proud (keep searching for the platonic ideal of Couch, Liz!). For example, up until about two weeks ago you barely noticed the temperature. Now if you are ever so slightly too warm or too cold, you launch into a full-scale meltdown. USE YOUR WORDS, KID, I MEAN HOW HARD IS IT, GOD. For another example, you find things hilarious exactly once. Being lightly tossed up and down? THE FUNNIEST THING EVER — once. The “I’m gonna eat you” game? Funniest. Thing. Ever. Once. Mama building magnificent edifices out of blocks, and then Lini and creating mass block destruction? You laughed hysterically for forty minutes straight — ONCE. You are a tough fucking crowd, kid.

You love your big round bouncy ball. You can even sort of play “catch” with it. I’ll gently roll it to you and you’ll grasp it with your big fat feet and one hand (“Lini catch! Lini’s got the ball!!!”), and then you’ll inadvertently flail your arms or legs about and the ball will go careening back in my general direction. I’m signing you up for the 2050 women’s World Cup team now. (Or the mens, if you decide to transition genders. Up to you. Or you might go non-binary. That’s fine, too. Lord knows we dress you in every possible combination of anything.)

By far the most exciting advance you’ve had is that you’ve started (not mastered, but started) connecting your sleep cycles yourself.

ALL BY YOURSELF! I gave up on my No-Cry Sleep Solution stuff ages ago (if I had a parenting memoir it would be called Lazy Mom, but perhaps I would be too lazy to write it, although I am working like crazy on my other memoir, the one that is currently buying you the $150 worth of motherfucking diapers you go through a month, because you pee every five goddamned minutes!).

Anyway, I didn’t do anything to make you able to snuggle your Miś, contort your body until you’re 3/4 of the way onto your stomach but not on your stomach, and settle back into sleep. This was something you decided to do all by yourself. You still don’t do it the whole night through — and I naturally wake up between all of my sleep cycles to check on your breathing, and will probably do so until you’re in fourth grade — but you no longer require 95 nurses to get back to sleep. My boobs and my will to live thank you.

HOWEVER. We do not thank you unconditionally. You can still be admirably stubborn about going to sleep, even (and especially) when you are very, very tired. We’ve even altered the lyrics to “Amazing Grace,” your favorite “lullaby,” to reflect better the matter at hand:

O Lini Bean
You are so tired
Why won’t you go to sleep?
Fuckin’ A, fuckin’ A
You’ve been up all day
Why won’t you go to sleep?

I’m sure Jesus is very impressed.


Just yesterday, I got asked to be on a radio show (live) to discuss the article I wrote about you misbehaving in public. It was supposed to be after your bedtime. You instead exercised your sixth sense (“Is that asshole doing something? Is it important to her? Does it contribute to the career that pays for all my diapers? PARTY TIME, MOTHERFUCKERS!”) and stayed up to party…until the exact moment I connected with the radio host, at which point you puked all over your dad and then melted down, and there was nothing that valiant vomit-covered man could do to calm you down. I had to cut my radio interview about crying babies short — to deal with my crying baby. I’m sure the listeners thought it was staged, but I assure you, Gil Gross show drive-time audience, it was sincere.

I can’t believe you’re six months old already. I can’t believe you’re no longer the scary, squishy little Walter Mathau that was wrested from my pelvis on that frigid, dark night in that tall, scary hospital. The weather is warm. You’re sitting and wiggling and wanting to stand and wanting to jump, and laughing and playing and interacting and wreaking havoc with those two big-ass teeth. You are a big, giant, heavy, fat bundle of feelings and curiosity and need and delight, and I love you so much.

Your non-drunk mom,


*Speaking of Drunk Mom. I’m about halfway through it right now, and I realize I should be aghast at how the author puts her baby in grave danger every day while she gets blackout shitfaced and they’re alone together, but all I can concentrate on is how fucking easy her baby is. They go to coffee shops and she stealth-sips her sparking wine while he just sits there in his stroller, or naps!! He goes to bed at night and doesn’t wake up 95 times to snuggle or nurse, which allows her to get blotto after sundown! She leaves on a MULTI DAY TRIP and he doesn’t even put up a fuss. (I’ve been away from my baby, like away-away across town, for a total of ten fucking hours since she was born. TEN HOURS. And NOT BY CHOICE.) He basically just sits there and fucking chills 24/7. My heart aches for Jowita Bydlowska’s painful relapse into alcoholism (from which she emerged when the kid was one), but what aches even more is my jealous green eyes, for the easy-ass, low-need, non-demanding baby she ignored to get hammered. 

Thanks a Buttload, Internet


…for making my sarcastic gratitude toward You (the Internet, I mean) about how my bad parenting choices might go viral…go viral. (Is there an Alanis song about this?). My latest on Slate, which was actually posted on Saturday (during a slow news weekend, praise You, Internet), is about how people arguing online about whether or not children should be allowed in public have made me fucking terrified to take my child in public.

It’s not just that I’m afraid I’ll end up on some rando’s Facebook thread, my (definitely bad) parenting the subject of argument and rancor the world over. It’s that now — 1200 comments and counting later — I know just how many people out there reeeeally hate me and my (awesome) baby, just because we exist. Will I take said baby to a movie? Not with a gun to my head, unless it’s a specific “Mommy Matinee” (and then I still might not, because I can’t be seen at a Mommy Matinee, are you kidding?). Will I take said baby to a bar? Even if I still drank, I would not do that unless I were in a country (such as Germany) in which babies are generally welcome in café/bar situations.

But will I take this baby on an airplane? Yes, yes I will. Am I straight-up terrified that she will decide she doesn’t want to nurse during takeoff or landing, and her ear pressure will precipitate the ear-splitting wails into which she rarely devolves if she’s in pain? Yes, yes I am.

I understand that there is ire due for parents who take their kids places kids aren’t welcome, and who don’t at least make an effort to corral those kids while out. But what about the rest of us, who meekly tiptoe into coffee shops and family diners, trembling with anticipatory shame? What about us, I say?

This article also marks my first #1 on Slate that is about neither German grocery stores nor higher education. It’s been #1 off and on for three days. So, looks like that “boycott Schuman campaign” among five assholes in the Chronicle of Higher Education forums is going great LOL hahahaha.

Speaking of which — I don’t like to admit that I periodically dip into those forums just to see what my whatever-an-opposite-of-a-fanclub is up to. But I do. (Admit it: You would too, if you were me.) The baby insists on me being with her when she naps, and she has a sixth fucking sense for when I decide to do any actual work, so I have, paradoxically, either no time whatsoever to fuck around on You (this post is still directed at the Internet) or, for bursts of 30 minutes to (sometimes) three hours, nothing but time to fuck around on You.

Anyway. While I was away from Slate on maternity hiatus, I thought long and hard about what my assiest detractors say — which is that my work is poorly substantiated (it isn’t, fuck you), my tone is The Worst (I’ll cop to that), and higher education isn’t really the way I say it is (jury still out). When I returned, I made a concerted effort — one that has required untold hours of toil, hours I do not have to spare, with a baby — to be more thoughtful in my column. So I have to say that it brought a smile to my face to see even a few CHE forum a-holes admit that I have been more thoughtful lately. My last four higher-ed pieces in a row have also gotten feedback from strangers thanking me for my thoughtfulness. THIS MATTERS TO ME A LOT. And it — thoughtfulness — is all too rare these days on You (the Internet, keep up).

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the baby’s six-month update! Time, where are you going? WHERE WHERE WHERE?

#ThatsEntertainment ***

(inside joke with my friend Justin about how we hate writing kickers)

More Wisconsin Shenanigans


Today my article on Slate is about what happened when a very well-regarded and well-meaning professor at UW-Madison tried to warn incoming students that thanks to their dipshit governor, their university is about to become one step away from DeVry. Something I didn’t even get to touch on in the article, though (because it was sort of beside the point and a little long) is that the pitchfork-wielding mob that came after Sara Goldrick-Rab is the same one that came after Zandria Robinson and Saida Grundy before her (difference being that the attacks on Robinson and Grundy were substantially worse, because they are women of color). That is, all these brilliant and accomplished women have had their character and activism questioned because some girlfriendless College-Republican twit had nothing better to do than find their tweets and make a big obnoxious stink about it.

No, I don’t know for sure that College Republicans are always sad and girlfriendless, but it’s my semi-educated guess that dudes with girlfriends don’t usually have hours to comb through Twitter looking for “racism against white people.” But the question remains: Why do these little shits currently have such a stranglehold on the narrative of which professors get their lives upended for daring to have an opinion in public? Why does the mainstream media (ME INCLUDED) say “SURE!” when they demand something be made into “a thing”?

It’s fine if Drudge Juniors want to fixate on some benign Twitter stream that fits their preferred narrative of the university as a fortress of homosexual socialist welfare cheats out to convert rosy-cheeked youngsters to Foucaultism. But why does the national media always follow suit? Why did I just write this story at all?!? Is it because, duly shameful, I know that the theater of the attacked rabble-rouser makes great copy, and has since time immemorial? In 1211 some unscrupulous scribe probably circulated Who Bee a Wytche? to uproarious result, and we’ve been “obligated” to report on witch-hunts ever since.

Maybe it’s because I feel like it’s my duty to use my undeserved but nevertheless large platform to outshame the shamers. I’m going to go ahead and decide it is, to make myself feel better. Anyway, I worked really hard on the story (like I told a Twitter reader the other day, now I work many times harder than I used to, just to be barely as good as I once was), so I hope you like it, and I hope it does Sara’s sheroics justice.

Thanks for reading, as always!