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Dear Leader - Elizabeth Unexplained
Lots of data but no answers
Dear Leader
When strangers ask what my baby’s name is, the frequent follow up question is, “Does she have a nickname?” I reply that she doesn’t. I suppose technically it’s not true, she gets called “cutie-pie” and other stuff, but it answers the question most people mean, which is to say, no, we don’t call her Maggie or Peg or Meg or any of the standard short versions of her name. We call her Margaret, just as my sister gets called Margaret, for maximum confusion. The standard disambiguation in the house is to refer to my sister as Auntie Margaret. Of course our preference for full names does not preclude the occasional Cutie-Pie, and recently I’ve taken to referring to her as Dear Leader when appropriate.

Back before I had an actual baby, I had this vision of the type of mother I would be. I would be loving, but strict. I knew it would be difficult, but there are times you need to set boundaries. Someone has to be in charge…


I’m sure you are all shocked to learn that someone is in charge, but that someone is certainly not me. Our house now features a tiny despot. Dear Leader is a wise and benevolent ruler. She truly has our best interests at heart. Carrying her around is for our benefit, as it is good exercise. She has issued many decrees promoting the welfare of the people. For instance, there is to be bacon at every meal, for bacon is the most perfect food…


Actually, breast milk is the most perfect food. Bacon is certainly second. Formula is a food of last resort. Weaning is going along. I actually did get enough backbone about it last night to not nurse her between getting home from work and dinner. I offered her a bottle of what we call half&half (half expressed milk, half formula), and she grudgingly took just over half an ounce. The whole thing is difficult because I am no more enthusiastic about weaning her than she is about being weaned, but March 4th is getting to be not too far from now. She’s going to have to learn to accept a bottle from me by then, but it isn’t easy when she knows exactly where I keep the goods and isn’t shy about letting me know it.

In other news, Margaret has entered an odd phase. Actually, I’m sure it’s a fairly normal developmental phase, it just seems odd on my relatively calm and collected baby. She’s much more mobile now, but at the same time much more averse to being put down. She needs to be near me, in my arms much more. The days of snatching 5 minutes to read email or knit while she’s in the Jumperoo appear to be over for now. If there is something entertaining enough she doesn’t mind being on the floor at my feet. She will then proceed to teleport several feet while your back is turned. She never actually crawls while you’re watching her, so I can only assume some sort of quantum tunneling is going on here. On the other hand, there is her climbing and standing ability. She’s been pulling up for several weeks, and now it’s not so much pulling as steadying herself while she stands. She also climbs out of the bumbo seat and other devices she’s meant to sit in, like the swing. The problem with this is that she’s not so steady on her feet, so she then immediately topples and hurts (or at least scares) herself. She’s a toddler trapped in the body of a seven-month-old. She’s too strong for her own safety, which is probably why the world has suddenly become a scary place.


I’m not sure if it’s related, but her sleeping habits have changed a bit too. She had been sleeping more soundly in her crib (though still not sleeping through the night), but suddenly she has taken to screaming when you put her in the crib. It used to be that if she roused slightly on transfer to the crib she’d settle back down. Now she screams. So we’ve gone back to co-sleeping. Personally I don’t care, all I want is an arraignment that lets me get a decent (if interrupted) night’s sleep. We have a king sized bed, so the addition of a 16 pound baby to our bed isn’t exactly a strain on the resources. I like having her in bed with me, it’s nice to feel her and know that I didn’t dream the whole thing. Probably she’ll change her mind about it again in a few months, and then she can go back to the crib.

Margaret is also harder to photograph these days. As soon as she sees the camera it becomes more interesting than anything else. This makes her lunge forward toward it, or at least stop doing whatever cute thing she was doing that you wanted to capture, like playing with Mommy’s Blackberry.


I also need a new camera. The old Olympus C700 has served me well, but it is large and clunky compared to current models, and it turns out that the delivery of my new iMac has revealed that what I took to be dead pixel in the monitor I was using is actually a dead pixel in my camera.

7 comments or Leave a comment
fredrickegerman From: fredrickegerman Date: February 6th, 2009 01:38 am (UTC) (Link)
The nickname thing makes me realize that in fact my brother and I are always addressed by full first name (yes, both halves of mine) by our families (at one time with the occasional syllable from the other's name thrown in at the beginning). Nicknames are for the people we meet.

Oddly, my cousin once observed that family are the only ones who address him as James. He's Jim to the rest of the world. Similarly everyone outside my family has always used the short form for me. My brother's the same way.

You're letting her run up your phone bill now, eh? mjperson was just a starter...
twe From: twe Date: February 6th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC) (Link)
My youngest brother, oddly enough, is still "Beep" - nickname he probably doesn't even remember how he got.
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: February 6th, 2009 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay! Baby pictures!
(Deleted comment)
enugent From: enugent Date: February 6th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was thinking that the hat photo could substitute for a trigger shot, because my ovaries start going off like popcorn just looking at it. :)
gryphon2k From: gryphon2k Date: February 6th, 2009 02:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Then there are poor kids like my Eli, for whom everyone assumes his name must be a nickname, and proceed to call him Elijah or Elias or some other such nonsense. He got listed in the program for his school concert as Elijah.

Nope, it really is just Eli, people! Thanks for playing!
countertorque From: countertorque Date: February 6th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm a little confused about why people name their kids one thing and then tell everyone to call them something else. We've been trying to find names that won't shorten easily (didn't end up picking one for maxtorque, trying again for new baby).
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: February 6th, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, I would find it tedious if everyone always addressed me as "Laura Eillen Baldwin" every time they needed to use my name. They probably wouldn't even pronounce the middle bit right.
7 comments or Leave a comment