Express yourself

My wife sent me two messages today, both in a state of great excitement. The first was that our daughter now has a passport, courtesy of those nice people in the Canadian government. It only lasts for two years, but in the month since the photo was taken, her appearance has already changed from ‘cheerful turnip’ to ‘humanoid baby’ so I guess it’s better than her being saddled with this picture for a decade:
Apart from anything else, the maple leaf that’s superimposed on her looks a bit less to me like a proud statement of her Canadian citizenship, and a bit more like we’re some awful, Kiss-obsessed parents who decided we should dress our baby up like a fat version of Ace Frehley. (Although from recent photos, it looks like Ace Frehley is the fat version of Ace Frehley, which makes that even more redundant.) Still, we have our passport, which means as long as my HR department submit the paperwork for our daughter’s Dependent Pass on time, I won’t be going to jail, which makes me very happy.

I was thinking about jail again on the way home, and there’s a joke that lots of comedians have made into a routine, about how terrible it would be to go to prison for something as laughable as not registering your baby with the authorities / not wearing a seatbelt / not putting your litter into a bin. Just think of the terror you’d have, surrounded by recidivists, lifers, toughened criminals, the people who’ve made a career as prison hard men.

That’s right. I could be getting stared down by somebody who’s doing five years for unpaid library fines.

But I’m not going to jail. Or at least not for that. It’s quite possible I’ve committed a crime, in some jurisdiction, through maliciousness, stupidity or absent-mindedness, so it doesn’t do to get all smug about not going to jail for this particular offence. That I haven’t committed.

More cheering technology news was that my wife had got the breast pump working, and had expressed enough milk to fill a bottle. This was very exciting for several reasons.

First up, now I can actually do something when I’m holding a howling baby, distressed that it hasn’t had anything to eat. I don’t just have to stand there, grinning inanely and waiting for my wife and her breasts to return so that I can pass our child back to her. That means less upset baby, more sleep for my wife and less guilt for me at not lending a hand. All good.

Second, it means the nightmare scenario that was occupying me, that I’d transported a complicated electronic device across half the globe only to find the damn thing wasn’t working, turned out to be nothing more a frightening mirage. It’s great to have high-tech toys, but it’s better if they actually work.

On the other hand, we’re not sure if we should put our daughter onto a bottle just yet. You don’t want to do this too early because it could make the baby confused about how to feed. Seduced by the false glamour of bottle teats, she might refuse to take milk from a genuine human nipple, and we don’t want that. She has to get off the breast at some point, but not yet. Not being experts in such thing, I’m a little wary about rushing into it: it seems like we need a lactation consultant to come and tell us what to do.

Luckily, a lactation consultant is a real occupation rather than a couple of random words I happened to string together, so it shouldn’t be too long before some wise and qualified person tells us how we keep the baby fed and prevent her from being confused.

However, we don’t have a lactation consultant on hand right now, and that means if we carry on pumping milk out of my wife, we may end up with a glut of breast milk. And our fridge is only so big, and there’s already lots of other things in there, like Mars bars from New Zealand and wasabi-flavoured cheese and an enormous carton of sports drink powder. My mathematical skills are only so good at tesselating different objects together, and we only have a finite number of vessels to store the milk in. (I’m not suggesting we’ll end up with aleph-one amounts of breast milk in the next couple of months, but you should always be prepared for mathematical freak occurrences, even if they’re not possible in a finite universe.) We can’t keep trying to fit a quart into a pint pot, so it has to go somewhere

Apparently there’s a market for middle-class mid-twenties perverts in China who think breast milk is somewhere between a funky pick-me-up and a universal panacea, but if it turns out that the unlicensed export of breast milk from Singapore is a crime then I’ll be getting chucked in jail after narrowly avoiding the lock-up for tardiness with paperwork, so I don’t want to go down that route, and I can’t drink the stuff myself unless I want to get embroiled in some horrible oedipal situation, so … ice cubes? The world’s worst cocktail party? I’d better not ask the internet for advice on this one…

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