I did very little magazine work while I was in Boston. In the past two days, though, I've read about 15 stories, rejected about 125, finished editing one, and did most of the editing on another. I'm all caught up on sending rejections, but I'm still way behind on everything else. (Including CC licenses and mentioning that our fund drive is happening--I have several SH entries I need to write in the next few days.) But at least I'm making progress.
Tonight featured a big thunderstorm here in Chicago. Lots of big flares of lightning, followed by huge rolls of thunder. A five- to ten-second delay, so the lightning's presumably been roughly a mile or two away. I've been pretty much enjoying it--I like thunderstorms, as long as they're outside and I'm inside--but I'm still dubious about this idea of stuff falling from the sky. Where I come from, we don't hold with such foolishness.
Have also been helping Mary Anne with various stuff--packing up her office, various household tasks. They're moving to CA a couple weeks sooner than I'd thought. And have been playing with Elinor (the dog) and helping out with Kavya.
I have yet to change Kavya's diaper. I've only ever changed a diaper about twice, both times with parental supervision, and I'm not entirely comfortable with it yet. (Also, I still think it's kind of gross.) But I do think it's an important life skill, especially as more of my friends have kids, so I really do intend to learn how to do it and get more practice at it.
Anyway, I've been feeding her fairly regularly, and holding her. Learning to be more comfortable holding her without the help of the BabyBjörn. Will still be happier doing that when she can hold up her neck without my help, though.
I've also been singing to her, at times when she seems to need help falling asleep. I remember my mother used to sing "Dona Dona" to us, but even though the chorus is fairly cheery, it's kind of a gruesome song. And somehow I don't think the other song I remember her singing, "The Mermaid" (though I don't remember her singing anything but the chorus) really makes for a good lullabye.
So I've been singing bits of "Fais Dodo" (made harder by my inability to speak French), and the bits of "Morningtown Ride" that I can remember, and "Skye Boat Song," and "Tender Shepherd," and "Brahms' Lullaby," and "Hush, Little Baby," and most especially "Poppa Bear's Hum" and "Everything Possible." I keep forgetting about "Wish You Goodnight" and "Hearth and Fire," but I'll try to remember them for next time.
I don't necessarily remember all the lyrics. I used to find it a little odd when my friends would sing to their kids and would just make up lyrics, but y'know, I don't think Kavya can actually tell at this point whether I get the lyrics right or not, and it seems more important to keep the song going if it's helping her fall asleep than to stop and see what the original lyrics actually are. I find that the word "baby" fits reasonably well to most tunes. :)
I discovered last night that in addition to the two states of Kavya I already knew about (feeding and sleeping), there's a third state: wide awake and interested. I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to try to convince her to transition from that third state into one of the other two or not. M & K informed me tonight that she's not actually too young to be read to--who knew? I'll have to try that next time it seems relevant.
Tonight's best baby-related development: I was holding her for a while in that awake state, and she gave me several amazing smiles. Baby smiles are among my favorite things ever, even if I suspect that she's too young to actually mean it as a smile.
. . . I feel like it's important to note, in the midst of my baby-blogging this week, that I'm still in the enviable position of being Uncle Jed rather than a parent. I can show up and help out precisely because I can give her back at any time; I don't have to do the hard work of actually raising the kid 24/7. I'm very happy to spend time with her and give her parents a bit of a break now and then, but all I'm doing is helping out; the parents, as always, get all the credit for doing the actual parenting.
Speaking of parenting, M has been watching E. R. on TV lately, and I got drawn into one of today's episodes: Doug (George Clooney, who was really the only reason I occasionally watched the show back when it was on, though I didn't realize at the time that I thought he was hot) and Mark went to deal with the aftermath of Doug's father's death. A very atypical episode (with no scenes in the hospital at all), with a whole lot of good stuff about parents (especially fathers) and children. I wasn't as involved in the parts that focused on Mark's family; still, a really good episode. But not enough to get me to watch the rest of the series.
Okay, time for me to close. A little more editing, then feed Kavya and put her in her crib, then back to my hotel.