oh, ye cruel recall gods

Maddie is a month old today! And light is beginning to appear at the end of the sleep deprivation tunnel. If you will indulge me for a moment, since this is all parents of newborns want to talk about, last night she ate at 9:45 pm, 1:30 am, and then made it until 6 am. That means she was only up once… and that time, Daddy gave her a bottle! So I had a blissful opportunity to sleep eight straight hours, although of course, I didn’t. I woke up at 2:45 am, started wondering why David hadn’t brought her to me yet, and spent the next hour lying there and talking myself out of going to check on her, just in case. But my mind kept going back and forth: maybe something’s wrong with her. Maybe something’s wrong with David. At 4:00 am I finally caved, checked on both of them… and found them both still breathing. It’s the curse of being a mother of a newborn: if they don’t sleep, you don’t sleep. If they do sleep, you still don’t sleep, because the milk letdown wakes you up, and then you lie there worrying that they’re sleeping too long. Or maybe it’s just me.

We did suffer one devastating disappointment this week, however. Maddie hasn’t been much of a pacifier fan, or a “dady” as we call them at my house, and Mommy is a big proponent of said sleep prop. Cooper loved them, thank goodness, because he was the toughest newborn ever and it was the only thing that made him happy. Fergus didn’t care for them, and didn’t need them anyway, because he never cried. Miss Mairead Catherine seems to be somewhere in the middle. She’s happy most of the day, but around 5 pm passes into the late afternoon colicky crying jags I have heard tell of, and refuses all latex comforts. We’ve tried the Nuk, the Soothie, some random kind with Winnie the Pooh on it– you name it.

Then last week, my babysitter Alicia said, “I think I get her pacifier from my country.” As in, Mexico. “They tiny tiny tiny,” she said. Well, so is Maddie’s mouth, so that sounded good to me. Alicia was gone most of the morning on her journey to a specific store in upper Manhattan that would carry these Mexican pacifiers. She came back with a collection of them, and if they weren’t the cutest darn things I’d ever seen:

And they looked even cuter in her mouth!

Most pacifiers are quite unattractive, but I think you will agree, this one lends her a doll-like quality. And it made her happy.

That made me happy, until I woke up in the middle of the night worrying that they were after all very rare Mexican pacifiers and we only had four and I would lose them all by the end of the week. So I got out of bed and Googled “Jaloma,” the brand name embossed in loopy script on the front of each pacifier. That’s when I found out that these adorable wonders had been recalled. THREE YEARS AGO.

Apparently, they were coming apart in kids’ mouths and the “sugary substance” they were filled with was leaking out. This gave me pause on several counts, not the least of which was, why were they filled with anything? Does calling something a “sugary substance” mean it contains something sugar-like but not actual sugar? And could that substance be a combination floor polisher/ date rape drug?

We took the Jalomas away from Maddie immediately. But I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away. What if she’s REALLY upset, I thought? Maybe I’ll hold her and let her have it and if I watch her the WHOLE TIME then I can pull it away just before it breaks, or just suck the sugary substance back out of her mouth. Thankfully, my husband overruled me on this idea and threw them out. (Although I will say, in my defense, that David is never home at 5 pm, and so did not understand my slight desperation in this matter.)

Since then, we have had a couple of tough days, but as of yesterday Maddie has decided that on certain occasions she will accept the Nuk brand pacifier, and life is getting easier again. Still, I wonder: why is it that it is only the things our kids love most that get recalled? Their favorite pacifier, their Lights n Sound James Engine, their Aqua Dots (which my older two are still clamoring for daily)? Why do the recall gods only take away the good stuff?

cute, in a jolie-laide sort of way

Here is a picture of my adorable and beloved daughter, Maddie:

Now, like most people, you probably look at photos like these and think, hmm. Not that cute, actually, she looks like an old man, but I will ooh and aah and tell this deluded new mother how gorgeous she is.

But in this case, you don’t have to do that. I show you this picture of Maddie only to ask you, don’t you think she looks exactly like the Infant of Prague?

If I were more skilled on the internets I would Photoshop her right hand to have that gesture of benediction. But it’s still pretty good.

My favorite pictures of my children are not the cute, perfect ones– though I have plenty of those as well; our annual Christmas card photo is an item of considerable forethought and expense. My favorite pictures of my children are the awesomely ugly ones. For example, this shot of Fergus as a newborn:

I think it captures that quintessential Don Knotts/ village idiot sort of look from his cross-eyed newborn days. And while I’m, of course, thrilled he doesn’t look like this anymore, I am already looking forward to the night before his wedding, 30 years or so hence, when I will blow this shot up to poster-size for the rehearsal dinner.

Bindeez, the Jungle Toy… of Death

OK. Seriously, y’all, what the hell is this:
Toy With Date-Rape Drug Recalled

I read this headline in The New York Times this morning, and had to check the masthead to make sure I hadn’t grabbed The Onion instead, in my up-with-a-newborn state of sleep deprivation.

I hadn’t. “Bindeez,” the Australian Toy of the Year (and until this morning, at least, readily available to us Yankees on Ebay), is undergoing a recall after it was discovered that its tiny beads, if eaten, released an intensive-care-inducing dose of a “powerful date-rape drug” called GHB.

Some genius decided to coat the “magical” Bindeez beads with Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL), more commonly used as a degreasing solvent or floor stripper. Oh, well, that part is totally understandable, right? But when delicious GBL reacts with with the saliva of orally fixated toddlers, the real magic happens. According to news-medical.net:

When products containing GBL are ingested, GHB is produced in the body.

Street names for GHB include “G” Gamma-OH, Liquid E, Fantasy, Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid X, Liquid Ecstasy, Scoop, Water, Everclear and so on.

Reactions to GBH include nausea, headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, amnesia, vomiting, loss of muscle control, respiratory problems, loss of consciousness, being conscious but unable to move, and even death.

I don’t mean to turn this blog into “The Latest Recall That Should Never Have Been on the Shelves in the First Place,” but, I mean, come on. Is it not enough that these toy manufacturers are dipping our children’s teething rings in lead? Must they candy-coat them in actual hallucinogens? And by the way- would these toys have been allowed to stay on the shelves if the “degreasing solvent or floor stripper” used to make them so magically delicious had NOT converted into a roofie?

POST SCRIPT: According to this morning’s news, “Bindeez” were actually sold in the US as “Aqua Dots,” and they have sent five children into comas, 3 in Australia and two stateside. As soon as they saw the Aqua Dots on the TV screen, both of my boys said, in unison, “Can we get those?” My repeated explanations that they were extremely dangerous, and therefore would no longer be available for purchase, did nothing to assuage their yearning. “I hab to hab dose Aqua Dots!” Fergus wept. “Because we don’t hab dem at our house!” (The one toy we don’t have, thank God.)

I’d like to give a Monday morning holla to Paula Radcliffe

I’d like to give a Monday morning holla to Paula Radcliffe, who won the New York City Marathon yesterday, running 26.2 miles in 36 minutes or something, just 10 months after giving birth. Apparently, Ms. Radcliffe trained throughout her pregnancy.

This is mind-boggling to me. I don’t think I could have run to the end of the block to save my life, once I got past 30 weeks. My legs just refused to break into a trot. TOO.. HEAVY… MUST…SIT…DOWN, my body said over and over again.

I did do spinning and “Core Fusion” (kickass Pilates-type) classes until I was 34 weeks, and thought that I was pretty hot stuff for managing to do that. But there’s always that Supermom out there to show you that, no, actually, you still suck.

Congratulations to Ms. Radcliffe, and her (presumably) 14-ounce toddler.