Many days alone with…

Many days alone with Kavi recently. The first two hours with baby are great. She's so sweet and sleepy in the mornings, and she snuggles and eats and naps, and it's lovely. I'd be happy to have two sleepy morning hours with an infant every day, I think, possibly for the rest of my life. The next two hours are fine, and kind of fun -- she's awake, and playful, and wants attention, and I sing songs to her and dangle colorful toys in front of her, and okay, it's maybe not the best use of my Ph.D., but it's fine. Hours five and six aren't so good; I'm starting to really want to get some work done, and she won't let me have more than fifteen minutes away from her (to shower, or eat something, or check e-mail) before she's complaining and wanting attention. A baby's life is boring, you know, and I can't blame her for wanting company, but still. She's just not that interesting. And then hours seven and eight are when she starts getting really fretful, and wants to be carried, and sung to, and I can't type or read while I'm walking around carrying her, so it is just a little. bit. boring! And of course, all of that only takes us to when Kevin gets home...there's still dinner and the evening to get through, not to mention waking up three times in the night to feed her.

It's been a rough week here. I love Kavi, but I'm finding the whole SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) thing *really* hard. Hard as in, by the end of the day, I'm counting the minutes until Kevin gets home, and have to resist the urge to just shove the baby into his arms and go hide under the covers until bedtime. Which I would totally do, except that he's working really hard on the math stuff, and this intensive semester is a great opportunity for him to get lots of good stuff done, mostly in collaboration with others, and so I really want to try to help him get as much work done as possible. But, but, but.

We did have some help last week. Shannon came by for an afternoon, as did Jed, and both times, I fled the apartment and left them alone with the baby for a few hours, which helped keep my sanity. We really need to set up at least an afternoon a week of regular babysitting, I think, if our budget allows it (funds are tight this fall, because I'm not earning any money; although they're paying me a reasonable salary for the year, the Northwestern gig doesn't start paying me 'til January. And since UIC will be paying me notably less for the no-admin position, we probably should just save as much as we can of the Northwestern money anyway). It's not that we can't afford babysitting; we can. We just maybe can't afford it + eating out (except as a very occasional special treat). Sigh. I do love eating out.

It's not all baby, of course. If it were, I really would go mad. I don't know how full-time SAHM's do it. On the weekends, the grandparents help babysit, and I can do other things. Yesterday I had workshop and Kevin's birthday dinner; today I have a baby shower and a party at Jed's. (Which latter I need to go cook for imminently.)

God, I had a great workshop yesterday. I brought the YA novel, and in some sense, they just confirmed what I already knew were the problems therein. But a) they gave me lots of nice compliments on my writing style in general and the early chapters in particularly, which I find that I rather need, since my confidence got pretty thoroughly shaken after the all TA debacle, and b) they gave me tons of concrete and useful suggestions on how to *fix* the problems that I knew were there. I'm so eager to carve out a four hour block of time sometime in the next week to try to really punch through a revision; we'll see whether we can manage to find some money in the budget for babysitting.

Note: Re: the YA novel and the whole question I posted a few entries back, I got some great responses, but had a further question in the comments, which would appreciate some feedback on. Hmm...if you want the specifics, I'd recommend going back to that entry/comments, but maybe I can post it in more general form here:

Let's say you're writing a fantasy novel based on a historical time/place. Let's further stipulate that the culture you're writing about is unfamiliar to the majority of your readers, and so there's a certain likelihood that they'll believe that aspects of what you write (EVEN IF YOU TOTALLY MAKE THEM UP) are culturally true for that time/place. Is it problematic to 'mislead' readers this way? I mean, you could argue that it's all fiction, fine, and all fantasy, even better, and maybe that should be enough justification for making up whatever stuff you want. But, to take the specific case, I somehow feel uncomfortable leading a white, western audience to assume that polyamory/polygyny/etc. were actually commonly practiced in ancient Sri Lanka...

3 thoughts on “Many days alone with…”

  1. I have a colleague -who has decided to remain childless – who says he has no interest in a kid until they can discuss Foucault!

    On yuor other piont, I think it is problematic to mislead the reader in that way becasue the reader will not know what asects are madeup by the world’s creator (you) and what are real. If it is a culture they would be famliar with (say 1800s western America) then you can (like in Firefly) because the reader can understand the references but also recognize the fiction. But we are so woefully ignorant of other cultures in the present day much less historically, many readers would walk around thinking fiction was fact. (Like all the people I run into who think Mormons practice polygamy because of Big Love!)

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Yes, that’s the sort of thing that has me worried. Kevin suggested just adding an appendix note, like Megan Whalen Turner does in her Attolia series…I guess that would work, but it seems a bit awkward. Maybe if I included other material on Sri Lanka in the note, though.

  3. Sorry about all the typos in the previous post. I think a note could work. I always like those – especially when I learn even more in the notes than just what was real and what was fictive.

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