Saturday, April 19, 2014


Several things today, relatively briefly:

Ms. 8 is two months old today and is grunting contentedly as I write. It is a good sound to hear.

I have been accepted to present at the 2014 South Central Modern Language Association Conference in Austin, Texas. It is not my favorite city, certainly, but I do so enjoy the conference, and it will be good to reconnect with people.

In a report from work, another example of a cliché that needs eliminating was discussed. One of my office-mates and I are both new fathers, although he has a few months' experience more than I do. Somehow (I do not recall how), the phrase "sleeping like a baby" came up, and both of us moved to reject it. For we know from experience, as many others will who nonetheless use the phrase, that babies may sleep much, but they do not sleep so soundly as the phrase is used to imply. They wake at odd hours for odd reasons, typically screaming their displeasure into the darkness at 1:37 in the morning and again at 1:52 or some such strange thing. They sleep in daylight in fitful spurts, crying out at odd intervals that seem almost designed to keep any work from getting done. Their sleep sucks the sleep out of those around them; it is a parasitic thing that drains the rest from people to feed their own hunger and nurture their growth. And it works a horrible magic upon us who parent them; we love them, seemingly all the more for what they do to us. I can only conclude that parents are masochists all.

The sleep that babies sleep is not the deep and restful sleep that is so devoutly sought by many. It is not the refreshing, rejuvenating sleep that is celebrated. It is instead something like an intermittent coma. To say with smiling that someone sleeps like a baby strikes me now, as I am a father, as disingenuous--and my office-mate agreed. Perhaps, as we proposed in our discussions, we ought to label a deep and happy sleep as something other than a baby's--a teenager's, perhaps, or a college freshman's in English classes. Now, those are some people who sleep deeply and without waking on their own...

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