"Temporality is part of the truth" -- Chuck Klosterman

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Put Baby in the Corner

I had such lofty goals. My Netflix cue was paved with only the best intentions. But, alas, I fear time has run out.

When we brought the baby home from the hospital back in December, we set up a feeding station in the nursery. Our comfy glider/rocking chair fit perfectly in the corner between the crib and dresser drawers. We set up a small shelving unit and situated in it the hospital-grade breast pump we rented and a couple of baskets for various feeding accessories. Mostly, though, the baskets ended up storing our Kindles and iPods.

This is as good a place as any to mention that May wanted to nurse the baby and began pumping her breast milk as soon as she could after Xander was born. He nursed now and then as he learned to eat during the month he was in the hospital. (See here for the beginning of that story. The rest is still pending.) But when we took him home and were left to our own devices, we worried about his nutrition. He needed calories, and with breast feeding we couldn't tell how much he was actually processing. We decided that May would continue to pump--breast milk being the best milk--but that we would bottle feed him so that we could monitor his intake.
Still in the hospital.
At home. But the bottle is bigger than his head. Is that normal?

As we learned to feed the little tyke, it became a two-handed job. One hand had to hold him upright so that gravity could work the milk down to his stomach, while the other hand made certain he didn't get too much at once. Plus, it was a time-consuming task. He ate slowly and needed to be burped often. If we didn't hold him upright for at least a half hour after feeding, the milk would simply ooze back up this throat and leak out of his mouth. Sometimes violently. Talk about heartburn. Thus, for me, iPod listening and Kindle reading became an important part of the process.

Walking a fine line between teenage wit and adult situations.
May, however, couldn't read while pumping, even on a Kindle, because both of her hands were occupied. So she set a laptop on the top shelf next to the comfy chair, bought some elegant new computer speakers, and began watching TV online. Just a few months before May went into the hospital, we had discovered the joys of streaming television shows on Netflix. In the space of about two weeks last summer, I watched the entire series of Veronica Mars, down to the enticing and infuriating series-ender that ended nothing. Stupid cancellation. Murmur, murmur, grumble.

So once I was confident enough that Xander wasn't going to choke if I didn't witness every second of his ingestion, I, too, began to watch Netflix in the corner. And since last summer, the Netflix offerings have become just better and better.

Nothing to do with Ender's Game except the title.
I watched all of the Futurama episodes they had available. Then they put up the more recent Futurama movies and the most recent season aired on Comedy Central. It's not the Simpsons, but there's some pretty darn clever parody going on there. One episode has the entire cast of the original Star Trek trapped on a planet with an all-powerful, infantile non-corporeal entity, and only the Planet Express crew can save their heads and bring them back to earth. I watched this episode at like 2:30 in the morning and laughed so much I couldn't get back to sleep.

I started watching the seventies TV show Soap. This is supposedly one of the best television shows ever, but I was hardly aware of its existence when I was growing up. I'm sure my parents kept me far, far away.

(True story: They also didn't let my siblings and me watch Three's Company and The Jeffersons. I could understand, since I sneaked peaks of it as often as I could, why they didn't want their kids watching the sexed-up Three's Company, but I never really knew what was wrong with The Jeffersons. As I got older, I wondered if my parents might be a little bit racist and didn't want us to watch a black family moving it on up, but when I finally asked, I discovered that my parents just thought the show was stupid.)

Back to Soap, this show was a send up of soap operas, with all the crazy affairs and murders and misunderstandings common to a regular soap, but played for laughs. And it was funny, even if it was over-acted and starred Katherine Helmond. I can't stand Katherine Helmond. Even in the great movie Brazil, I can't stand her. The funniest bits of this show, peculiarly, are the jokes given to the ventriloquist Chuck who acts as though his puppet Bob were alive. They don't have much to do with any of the story lines on the show, but the one-liners are sharp and it all pays off when one of the other characters (all of whom think Chuck is insane) forgets for a moment and behaves as if Bob were alive, too. If you are a Soap novice, I dare you to watch this and not laugh.

Anyway, by the time I got the end of season two, there were demon-possessed babies and alien abductions, and that "outrageousness" turned me off so I moved on to Scrubs.

I watched Scrubs sporadically when it was on TV, but it always made me laugh. So whilst feeding the baby, I've gone through all nine seasons. Some episodes are extremely clever, like the one with all the Wizard of Oz references or the musical one (which was really just a Buffy knock-off, but still funny). The voice-overs and lessons learned every episode are a little too saccharine, but the zany characters and weird JD fantasies get me every time. And I liked the way music was incorporated into the shows. Sometimes Ted and his a capella group sings TV theme songs or his girlfriend, Gooch, makes up funny songs on her ukulele. And the entire, white-robe-clad Polyphonic Spree shows up. And Colin Hay is kind of a recurring troubadour, strumming his guitar, singing some Men at Work. He even appears in the series finale at the end of season 8.

Watching it from the beginning, I noticed that JD gets gayer every season (not-that-there's-anything-wrong-with-that five!), and the last season is extraneous, but it's still enjoyable television.

Now Xander's grown to the point where sometimes he only needs ten minutes to chug down his bottle and he doesn't need to be burped anymore. So the television watching has really slowed down. I can't even watch a 40 minute episode of anything without him struggling to get out and away from the corner he's kept in. I really didn't mean for this to become a commercial for Netflix, but it makes me a little sad. The boy is growing up so fast I might never get to all those Stargates. Or finish the Rescue Me series. Or even Soap. Or rewatch all of Torchwood. Netflix now offers every episode of Cheers and The Cosby Show. I hardly even know what to do. I think my TV time is up.


  1. This is something I all to relate to. I got so hooked on watching Gilmore Girls (I borrowed all 7 seasons from Jazzy) when Lily was born. Bottle feeding has always been a two handed job for me and I've never been able to read like other moms. So with Tysen it was Bossom Buddies at 2:30 in the morning, with Braden it was The Cosby Show as much as possible and with Lily it was Gilmore Girls.

    One they began to eat less frequently, I realized how addicted I was becoming to my time watching whatever series. And in the end, I had to hand over Gilmore Girls to Jazzy and cut off my access completely. This will be much more difficult with the endless supply of options provided by Netflix.

    Enjoy the sitting while you can. Lily is now officially on the move --- which means SO AM I!!!

    Wish we could be there this weekend, we will be thinking of you!! Love - A

  2. I love Futurama. Like it better than the Simpsons actually, which I don't really care for. It's hit and miss, like any show, but there are great episodes. Few shows or movies have ever done a good job combining sci-fi with comedy for some reason. That show does a great job of pulling it off.

  3. Netflix is a beautiful thing. On slow days at work I'll actually watch a movie at my desk with one earbud in my ear.

  4. A: I still haven't ever watched the Gilmore Girls? Am I a philistine? and I can't tell yet if I'm anxious or excited for Xander to get mobile. I think we're still waiting for the oxygen to completely go away.

    BTW, did you catch the Bosom Buddies reference in last week's 30 Rock? Awesome.

    Bryan: I know British TV has tried to pull off SF comedy. I thought Red Dwarf was amusing in the nineties, but I tried watching it again and got bored. (It's all on Netflix, btw.)

    And there's a more recent show called Hyperdrive or something like that, but the episode I watched just seemed like an updated Red Dwarf.

    Futurama's got little competition.

    Chanel: What it must be like to have slow days at work... today's one of the rare days where we have the afternoon free of students. ACT testing this morning. Not that I don't have papers to grade right now or anything...

  5. I just want to date Netflix. I want to cuddle Netflix. Netflix is my BEST FRIEND.

    Because that wasn't creepy at all.

    And Scrubs? ADORE Scrubs. Elliot made me realize it's totally okay to be neurotic and borderline insane sometimes. Or at least it's okay if you're a hot blonde on a television show. I'll take what I can get.

  6. Red Dwarf had its moments, but I also got bored after a couple seasons. Gilmore Girls is worth watching just for the quick wit, sarcasm, and odd references. I couldn't stomach the last season of Scrubs, but I watched all the other seasons. "Everything comes down to poo" made me cry. I will miss Veronica Mars, Wonderfalls, Firefly, Pushing Daisies, Better Off Ted and many more that were canceled before they should have been. I'm glad a few survived. Psych, Community, and the new Dr Who.

  7. Nicki: Netflix is not a fictional character and therefore you cannot date it. But your sentiment is correct. I totally forgive Netflix for cheating me several years ago and not sending me all the movies I wanted. (If you didn't get my reference, there was some class action suit that claimed that Netflix purposefully withheld movies from people who were watching so many they (Netflix) weren't making any money off them. But this was all before the days of streaming TV shows. All is forgiven.)

    Charlie: You've been absent, young man. Watching too much TV with your time off? I concur with your list, but your praise of the Gilmore Girls isn't as unequivocal as I'd like. I think I need to hear from Jazzy. And you need to read my post about Doctor Who.

  8. Sorry, just to make sure I'm following, you have a new child and you've called him Netflix and you love him very much. Is that right?

    Moody Writing

  9. I've read the one about the Doctor, just haven't been commenting much. Too much time spent building playhouses, dreaming up illuminated artwork, writing the last chunk of my novel which is killing me and making my brain feel puddingish, hanging out with your sister (she is weird), gardening, being altogether too clever for my own good (much like the Doctor), and freaking out about how to feed ourselves. So...yeah, haven't been reading blogs like I used to.

  10. Moody, you made me laugh. Now I wish I'd used that as my title.

    Charlie, I know about having no time. Can't wait for three weeks to be over. Then its fun in the sun summer time.

  11. I totally agree with the Veronica Mars ending... packed up my entire home watching the whole series and then the ending was a series WTF!

  12. Nubian, it's always sad when a series gets cancelled prematurely. But I knew it had been going in, so I wasn't as disappointed.