Fictional crossover

It’s funny how many books I’ve read recently that cross characters from different books or fictionalize (and then match up) real people who probably didn’t know each other (and certainly didn’t solve mysteries together).  The Case of the Missing Miss paired up Charles Dodgson with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (which I started yesterday) pairs up the daughter of Dr. Jeckyll with Holmes and Watson (and I’m expecting Dr. Frankenstein to make an appearance, or perhaps his daughter).  Then there are all the alternative Holmes/Watson stories, like The Tea Master and the Detective (Watson is a sentient spaceship who makes tea) and A Study in Charlotte, where the Holmes and Watson characters are descendants of Sherlock and the good doctor.  And I have another one I’ll read soon (A Study in Honor) set in the near future with Dr. Janet Watson and Sara Holmes.

It’s essentially fan fiction (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and these last few years appear to be THE time for it.

Updated days later: Since I ended up not liking the Jeckyll and Hyde and Holmes and Watson and Frankenstein and so on and so on and so on book, I’ve lost my enthusiasm for this blog post.  It’s still notable (I think) how many of these books there have been lately (or at least how many of them I’ve been reading), but I’m less inclined to gush about it since I was disappointed by the latest one*.  And to be fair, I wasn’t crazy about the Dodgson/Doyle one, either.  To be more fair, the issues I had with both books had nothing to do with their premises.  I take issue with the execution (which I discussed in my mini reviews for both books, so I’m not going to repeat myself here).  I absolutely plan to keep reading this stuff.  Hey, look, that’s a sort of enthusiasm.  Yay, genre!  Boo, bad writing!

*I’m especially disappointed by the Alchemist’s Daughter book because I heard the author speak at Boskone in February, and I really liked her.  I feel betrayed.  Just a little.

All us new moms look alike

You’re out with a stroller?  You must be that one person I don’t really know who just had a baby!  When I’m out for a walk with Jack and I meet someone else out and about in whatever neighborhood I’m in, there’s a 75% chance they’re going to ask me if I’m so-and-so from down the street who just had a baby.  Not ONCE have I been their so-and-so from down the street who just had a baby.  I’ve had that conversation with a LOT of people in at least three different neighborhoods.

Today’s version:

I’m walking down the sidewalk minding my own business.

“He might bark, but I promise he’s friendly.”

Um, what?  Oh, that poodle who looks like he has a mohawk is in the front yard.  “Thanks!”

The man heads to the dog, and I stop at the end of his sidewalk and ask if I can say hello to the dog.  Because dogs.  He says of course, and I start petting the very friendly, very nice dog.

“Is your husband Matt?”

Um, what?  “No….”

“Because his wife walks around here a lot and they have a two-month-old.”

“No, I’m Susannah, my husband is John, and he,” pointing at the stroller, “is nearly 6 months old.”

What I don’t get is how he only remembers the husband’s name when it seems it’s the wife he’s met on her walks, but whatever.  His name is Tom, the dog’s name is Bogey (as in Humphrey), they’re both nice, and if I don’t write his name down, I’m not going to remember.  Yesterday, I ran into a woman I’d met on a walk months ago and messed up her name.  I remembered her kids’ names, but I guessed Grace for her.  Nope.  She’s Nancy.  But she didn’t remember mine, so we’re even.

Inner workings

Example of how my brain is working right now:

One of the milestones for baby development for a couple of months ago is the ability to track an object as small as a raisin across the baby’s field of vision.

How do you know the baby is tracking the raisin?  If you’re holding it, the baby could just be tracking your hand, which is (probably) much larger than the raisin.

Maybe if you hung the raisin on some string and dangled it in front of the baby…

[Picturing using a needle and thread and piercing the raisin so you can dangle it] Who would go to that trouble?

Why not just use a necklace with some kind of pendant?

Oh.  Maybe that’s what they mean, but they can’t say use a pendant because they come in all sizes and they’re using raisin as a point of comparison. Duh.

No, because how hard would it be to say “baby should be able to track an object, like a pendant on a chain, as small as a raisin”?  

Be clearer, baby books!

Do I have any intention of dangling a pendant (or a raisin) in front of Jack?  No.  Does that matter to my brain?  No.  Is this really any different from how my brain worked pre-Jack?  No.

Just call me Dharma

I’m a science person, right?  Not a holistic medicine person.  I don’t believe that apple cider vinegar can cure everything from blisters to cancer, and of COURSE we’re vaccinating Jack.  I don’t plan to change my mind about any of that, but I AM willing to try just about anything to make sure I can continue to feed Jack.

A couple of weeks ago, maybe three now, Jack started to behave strangely while nursing, and without going into all the details (because I’m tired and that takes too long), I’ve asked for help, and two other moms, his doctor, and two lactation nurses (one of whom witnessed him nurse) all think I have low milk supply.  Jack is still gaining weight, so no one is seriously concerned about him, but I’m not ready to give up on being his sole source of food.

Solution #1: pump constantly.  Sharon (the visiting lactation nurse who looks and sounds like John’s Aunt Toni – it’s eerie) suggested pumping after every feeding for 24-48 hours.  I haven’t managed EVERY feeding (sometimes I let him nap if he falls asleep eating), but I’ve been pumping a lot and not seeing a lot of improvement.  We’re coming up on 96 hours, and MAYBE making some progress.  We’ve replaced the bedtime feeding with a bottle because that late in the day I’m producing practically nothing and both Jack and I are very not happy about it.  Anyway, the pumping is supposed to be telling my body that the baby needs more so, damn it, produce more.  We’ll see.

Solution #2 is the one I want to talk about.  After suggesting pumping all the time, Sharon asked, “Have you tried any herbs?”  Part one of the answer: I haven’t tried ANYthing because I didn’t know what the problem was.  Part two of the answer: um, what?  What kind of herbs?  Like, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme?  Or, like, herbs?  What is happening here?

Apparently, some herbs are galactagogues, meaning they’ll help produce milk, like fenugreek, alfalfa, and, I kid you not, something called blessed thistle.  I feel hippy-dippier just typing that.  So Sharon suggested I try those herbs, in addition to the constant pumping, either in pill form or in Mother’s Milk Tea.  (I can’t believe this is a real thing.)  I like tea, so I ordered some of that, and it arrived today.  I was worried about the fenugreek (I really don’t like licorice), but the tea tastes pretty much like a basic chamomile (I don’t drink much herbal tea, so give me a break here if I’m totally off base), and I can deal with that.  Of course, I have to deal with it 3-5 cups a day for it to be effective.

The tea has been in the house for 90 minutes, and I’ve had two cups already.  I’ll get at least three in tonight.

THIS HAD BETTER WORK.