When I was a little girl — about Helen’s age, actually, I had a Madame Alexander Baby Huggums doll.

Baby Huggums

I loved that doll — carried her everywhere, chewed on her hands, slept with her. She started out a pretty fleshy pink, and I turned her brown — to the point that I called her “Brown Baby.” And legend has it that she had a fragrance. I don’t remember that. I just remember loving that doll.

My grandmother Hammond came to visit, and she and my mother hatched a plan to wash Brown Baby. They carefully picked out some of the stitching on her cloth body and pulled out her stuffing, and then they mixed up a batch of a very concentrated Borax solution. They put the Borax solution into an aqua Tupperware cup, and dropped Brown Baby’s deflated little body down into the cup. To keep her head from dropping into the solution, Mom and Grandma criss-crossed some pencils and balanced Brown Baby’s head on the pencils at the lip of the cup.

I remember running inside from playing and seeing my poor Brown Baby in that cup of nasty water, soaking up high and out of my reach. It seemed like it took forever, though I’m sure she was back to her pretty pink color within a day. Mom and Grandma stuffed her with fresh stuffing and carefully sewed her shut again, and returned my precious Brown Baby to me.

Except she wasn’t the same. She didn’t smell right or look right anymore. I was never as attached to her again. And I have that flashbulb memory of the baby in a cup (I remember that she was on a windowsill, but it may have just been the countertop), head braced with a matrix of pencils.

After six weeks of being awakened three and four times a night by a teething and miserable Alice, I feel like Brown Baby. All my stuffing is out, and I’m resting with my head out of a cup, soaking in muck. I have never been this completely exhausted in my life. Moreso than when I was in early pregnancy, since this isn’t just physical exhaustion.

I’ve heard that it gets better in about 18 years.

Until then, just call me Brown Baby, I guess. I just hope I don’t get abandoned by those who used to carry me everywhere (and chew on me?) when I’m done soaking with my stuffing out.


Helen scraped her knee pretty well at playschool today. I think they were kind of worried about what my reaction was going to be, because the second I walked in the door Miss Jeannie said, “Show your Mommy your boo-boo!” and explained how it had happened. Apparently, Helen was pretty matter-of-fact about it, even through the tears: “I’m okay,” and “It’ll get better.” Sweet. I didn’t fall all over her or examine it while we were there, either… I don’t think my children need any help being dramatic, so I try not to get too dramatic when reacting to stuff.

She’s got a scrape on the entire top of her right kneecap, and then a gash about 3/4-inch long underneath that. They had a big bandaid on top of it with three metallic stars. The inside of her left knee has some little scrapes, but nothing too significant. When we got home, I took off the original bandaid and put two Dora the Explorer bandaids on it.

Helen wanted FIVE bandaids. So I got her a Blue’s Clues bandaid to play with. No, Mommy, FIVE.

As this is the first real cut she’s ever had, she now has five bandaids adorning her right knee. I placed 2 of them, she placed the other three. And she is PROUD of those bandaids. As I was herding her upstairs for her nap, she kept saying, “Don’t COVER my BANDAIDS, Mommy!”

I have a feeling that long pants will not be allowed as long as there’s a scab to show off. She had a cat scratch once that she milked for three weeks, until she couldn’t remember which arm it had been on. But grandparents are suckers for these sorts of things, and she’d get fresh bandaids at every visit.

Just like her mommy, Helen loves all things adhesive.


Last night I slept on Jerry’s leather recliner downstairs, with a Boppy pillow wrapped around my midsection and Alice on my lap. The poor kid is obviously in a lot of pain with at least two teeth preparing to cut, and she’s having trouble with it. She woke up last night at 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30, and it became obvious to us that this was going to be a horrible night for everyone if we didn’t come up with another solution. Since sleeping up on my side (to share space with Alice and make it easier for her to nurse while I sleep) has been putting my arms to sleep and thus causing my arms to ache all day, I decided that the recliner was the best option, temporarily.

So Jerry and I set up a little nest for me and Alice, and we were asleep almost immediately. She’d nurse for a while, and then I’d hold her close and snuggle with her until she wanted to nurse again. Unlike Helen, who went on a nursing strike when she was about to cut teeth, Alice finds it comforting. So I just let her. And I’d hold her close and snuggle with her, turn her around so she was facing outwards, etc.

Everyone slept better. I’m still probably the most sleep-deprived of the four of us, but last night was a VAST improvement. My mother thought this approach was a little nutso of me (especially the marathon nursing aspect of it), but then she spent some time with Alice over lunch and realized why I did it. Alice is M.I.S.E.R.A.B.L.E. …..and for such a usually-happy baby, it’s quite a switch. So yeah, one makes accommodations for the comfort of their child.

I can definitely feel a corner of a tooth that I believe has come up through the gum, though Alice won’t let me look at it to be certain. She’s now sleeping on her face in the Pack&Play while Helen refuses to nap upstairs. I have about 30 minutes before Jerry’s mom gets here to keep the girls while I tutor this afternoon, so I might take a quick catnap.

The recliner will probably be my Nightspot for the next few days until her teeth have cut through and she stops being quite so fussy. Poor kid.


Last night I scrapped 9 pages in Alice’s baby book. I hate doing baby books — they’re nice when they’re DONE, but they’re a pain to DO. Things aren’t chronological (which drives me crazy), and you have to collect information and compile it onto one page. Too much research involved — it feels like homework. I’d much rather just slap pages together and call it DONE, but the Baby Book is constantly out of date with every trip to the doctor, every milestone reached, etc.

That said, I’m downstairs with Helen right now and Alice is asleep on her daddy’s chest upstairs. I’m trying to figure out if I can sneak up to the dining room and do a couple more pages in Alice’s book without any “help” from Helen. I doubt it. She’s been itching to “cut out letters” with my die cutting machine. She had a lot of fun stacking up paper scraps yesterday.

Uh-oh… There’s unrest upstairs. I hear Jerry and Alice descending with the dogs. And there goes my quiet morning. Hmph.