The baby is here, the house is more or less done in time, and time can move quickly again, for both us and the new parents. The first two weeks go by as an odd liminal space. The nursery was stunning when they got to first bring their baby boy home, and it lasted all of two days. It’s still stunning underneath the tossed baby clothes and still-in-boxes baby shower gifts, but the mess isn’t the focus; Kelly and Michael are just trying to survive. They’re both young, first time parents, which is already exhausting, but they also had an odd situation. Kelly hadn’t even stepped into the house for longer than a few minutes when she came home from the hospital. She’s tired and disoriented already, let alone not knowing where the bathroom is, where the spatulas are kept, or how to turn on the shower.
Added to all of that, they got unlucky, and baby Logan is a miserable little guy, his stomach is always bloated and if he’s not sleeping, he’s crying. The nursery becomes a desperate space, furniture is moved haphazardly to make things easier, aesthetics be damned. Kelly is sleeping in the recliner next to the crib, rather than her bed, so that she doesn’t have to get out of bed sixty times a night. Michael offers repeatedly to take shifts, but Kelly is struggling to breastfeed and sleeping in the nursery feels like something she can control, Michael is turned down.
Lorretta helps where she can, making sure Kelly has the little things people don’t always think about. She does the laundry, takes out the trash, keeps Kelly’s water bottle topped up, keeps her in supply of ice-packs, and generally tries to stay out of her way. Kelly is strong-willed, and has already snapped at Michael’s mother for unsolicited advice and being generally a busy-body; Lorretta knows better.
Kelly’s father comes by to see the baby about once a week, and he and Lorretta have stiff, awkward conversations, full of weird little digs and tense energy.
“Place looks nice.” He’ll comment as she gets the door. “Have any trouble with water damage, then?”
It could be an expression of worry or interest, but words depend heavily on who’s saying them. In his case, it is a thinly veiled ‘I told you so.’
“Wasn’t bad.” Loretta says, trying not to grit her teeth. “I can take your coat.” She offers, moving on quickly before shouting up to Kelly that her father was there, cutting off the conversation.
Good and bad news is delivered at Logan’s next doctors appointment. The good news is; they know why he’s so fussy. The bad news is; he’s allergic to milk. Lorretta comforts her distraught daughter, who’d been struggling to breastfeed for weeks and had her heart set on it. Michael goes to the store to buy soy formula, his heart heavy with his girlfriend’s heartbreak.
Things get easier, though, as Logan is suddenly able to digest his food. Turns out, when he isn’t in lactose-induced agony all the time, he’s actually a pretty relaxed baby.
No one says it, but Michael and Lorretta are both relieved by the news. Not only is baby Logan happier, but Kelly is also recovering better, suddenly able to rest more regularly and not putting herself under undue stress. Kelly’s sadness over the situation is entirely valid, and no one has any intent to undermine it, but the house is happier for the change.
Lorretta, with permission, unboxes the baby-shower items that hadn’t made it to the house before Logan was born. She puts together the stroller, and organizes diapers by size. She puts them in storage with the bigger ones in the back to make transitions easy. Michael begins sleeping on the floor in the nursery to be close to his new family, and Lorretta offers to take the time the couple is out of the room to put away Kelly’s clothes so she can stop living out of a suitcase.
The third day of Michael sleeping on the floor, Lorretta catches him icing his back.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake.” Lorretta chides, pulling down the medicine box to get Michael a Tylenol. “Come on.” She takes Michael upstairs to the nursery, where Kelly is holding baby Logan. She points out, aptly, that moving the crib into their bedroom would take twenty minutes, and allow the slowly relocating couple to sleep in their own bed, with their baby right next to them. “And I understand a young couple wanting their privacy to get busy but-“
“Oh, we’re- not.” Michael stammers an unhelpful rebuttal, earning him a murderous look from Kelly before she interjects herself. “God. Mom.” She puts her hands up as best she can with a baby in her arms. “We can move the crib, you’re right, we get it. Fuck.” She had been going to agree anyway, but with her mom getting on the subject of her sex life, she has buckets of incentive to do so quickly.
The crib gets moved to their bedroom, and Michael gets a playful smack over the head by his girlfriend. “The point isn’t to tell her whether or not we’re ‘getting busy’, dumbass.” She laughs, bouncing Logan in her arms. “The point is to get her off the subject, entirely and forever, never to return.” She hands him the baby, requesting that he watch his son while she showers, something he’s been suggesting endlessly for weeks, and she’s said no to repeatedly. Michael is ecstatic, and Kelly finally gets to shower.
The Best of 2019
I called 2019 "The Year of corporate Dystopia". Here is a list of the games I thought were interesting or worth talking about that year.
Dead or Alive 5 Last Round
I'm not surprised a fighting game has an absurd story. I just can't figure out why they bothered with the story at all.
Steam Summer Blues
This mess of dross, confusion, and terrible UI design is the storefront the big publishers couldn't beat? Amazing.
The Brilliance of Mass Effect
What is "Domino Worldbuilding" and how did it help to make Mass Effect one of the most interesting settings in modern RPGs?
Quakecon Keynote 2013 Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.