In addition to Xy’s birthday, we’re also celebrating Persephone’s 25,000th hour of life today; but how to explain this number to a toddler?
Persephone is a thousand today. It’s her thousandth day of life. It seems like the sort of thing that should be celebrated, and I’ve had it marked on my calendar for a while. But time got away from me, and now it’s here, and I haven’t a clue what to do.
How do you celebrate a thousand days of life?
Here are three words I learned over the past days and weeks, which I can now promptly forget.
- Vernix: waxy white coating that’s all over a newborn’s body as he or she emerges from the womb. It comes not from the amniotic fluid but from the fetus’ own sebaceous glands.
- Colostrum: first milk produced by a new mother, high in nutrients and immunoglobins, low in fat, and mildly laxative, which helps with the next item…
- Meconium: black tarry feces, the first stuff to come out a newborn’s butthole — sterile and odorless and composed of nutrients ingested in utero.
And I’m sure there are many more. I didn’t know there were so many bodily substances I’d never heard of before. But if you chant these three in repetition it sounds like a Satanic Mass.
For various reasons I’ve made an effort over the years to eliminate God-talk from my everyday speech. I try not to make casual reference to God. For example, I don’t say “God bless you” or “Thank God.” If I hit my thumb with a hammer I may make a spontaneous exception.
And now I’ve found another reason to make an exception. When I run into people I haven’t seen for a while, they usually say something like, “So, I hear you’re having a baby!”
How to reply?
I can’t bring myself to simply exclaim, “Yes, it’s true.” The truth is Xy’s pregnant, and there’s some distance between being pregnent and giving birth. About nine months if all goes well.
So I’m more inclined to say something like, “Yeah, hopefully.” Or maybe, “If everything works out alright.” Or even, “If the Fates allow.”
But none of those really capture the spirit of what I’m at like this one: “If the Good Lord is willing.” Somehow that expresses what I’m feeling: hopeful, fearful, humbled by forces beyond my control, not taking anything for granted. I find myself saying it with a strange mix of utter sincerity and ironic detachment. And a smile.
Xy & I have been living in New Orleans for six years now.
But we’ve only been married for eleven and a half years. That means that more of our married life has been here in New Orleans than in Bloomington, Indiana.
And somehow that seems very strange to me.
David and I were discussing an NPR story about untranslatable words this morning, and it reminded me of two words from Norden that I hadn’t thought about for a while: the Finnish word sisu and the Swedish word lagom. They’re both reputed to be untranslatable, so you’ll pardon me for not explaining what they mean. I think Finns and Swedes also embrace these words as capturing some essence of national identity.
At the grocery store this afternoon, I picked up a six of Sapporo and a bottle of Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout. The cashier did not ask for my ID; they are required to enter a birthdate, however, and I noticed she’d put me down for January 23rd, 1945.
Jesus. Do I look like I’m pushing sixty? I want my twenty-two years back!
The explanation, of course, is that this date is easy to enter into the system: 1/23/45.
Mike finished his 30th round of Scrabble yesterday. His final standing for the tournament: He’s ranked #118 in Division 1, having won fourteen games and lost sixteen.
That’s all for Mike. He and Susie hit the road back to Bloomington this morning. I enjoyed their visit. Of course XY found it a bit stressful, being as they’re her parents and all.
Today is also the final day of the Scrabble Championship. It’s just two people duking it out for the big title: David Gibson and Trey Wright. The final games can even be “replayed” on the Scrabble Association website.
Miike won five games and lost three today at the Scrabble Championship. One of his opponents scored a triple triple with the word defiling. A triple triple is a word that stretches over two triple word scores. 13 (for defiling) * 3 * 3 + 50 (for playing all seven tiles) = 167 points for that play.
Mike, my father-in-law, didn’t do quite as well today at the National Scrabble Championship. He won two games and lost five. Joey Mallick, whom I met briefly on Saturday, beat him 488 to 269, throwing down gantlope, nabe, smothery and peridia. Mike puzzled over all these, only challenging the last, but they’re all legit.
My in-laws are in town, and Pops is playing in the National Scrabble Championship, which started today. I just checked the Web and saw his standings. He’s in the top division, and as of today he is #60 out of 173. He said his best word of the day was agapeic.