Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Strike Among the Poets by Anonymous

A Strike Among the Poets

In his chamber, weak and dying,
While the Norman Baron lay,
Loud, without, his men were crying,
'Shorter hours and better pay.'

Know you why the ploughman, fretting,
Homeward plods his weary way
Ere his time? He's after getting
Shorter hours and better pay.

See! the Hesperus is swinging
Idle in the wintry bay,
And the skipper's daughter's singing,
'Shorter hours and better pay.'

Where's the minstrel boy? I've found him
Joining in the labour fray
With his placards slung about him,
'Shorter hours and better pay.'

Oh, young Lochinvar is coming;
Though his hair is getting grey,
Yet I'm glad to hear him humming,
'Shorter hours and better pay.'

E'en the boy upon the burning
Deck has got a word to say,
Something rather cross concerning
Shorter hours and better pay.

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make as much as they,
Work no more, until they find us
Shorter hours and better pay.

Hail to thee, blithe spirit! (Shelley)
Wilt thou be a blackleg? Nay.
Soaring, sing above the melee,
'Shorter hours and better pay.'
-- Anonymous

I was looking for a poem about being on strike -- maybe a ballad from the labor movement -- and came across this humorous piece. Each stanza refers to another famous poem, and has the main characters stop whatever they're doing in the other poem and go on strike. This link shows what those other poems are, if you're interested.

Elizabeth has been growing, and has several new tricks -- not all of them fun.
She's getting better with her hands, and can often coordinate both of then to maneuver something into her mouth -- though she hasn't really figured out the idea of picking something up. When she's nursing, she does a funny thing with her free hand waving it and grabbing at my shirt over and over almost hypnotically. The motion kind of reminds me of how your hand goes when you stick it out the window of a moving car and play with the air currents.

She is just starting to figure out that her legs can be used to move her around. If I leave her on her back or belly, she'll kick and kick and sometimes get enough purchase to scootch an inch or two. The other day, I watched her push her entire upper body under the pack-and-play crib before she ran into one of the legs and got stuck.

She hasn't learned to laugh yet, but she still knows how to tell us she's pleased. She gets a huge grin on her face and curls her arms and legs up toward her belly like she can't contain her glee.

We took her swimming the other day. Peter's friend at work was having a birthday party, and they specifically included me and the baby in Peter's invitation. She was a real hit at the party, since most of the people there are single and pretty clueless about babies. She was her usual charming, mellow self, and when we all got in the heated pool, she looked so interested, we thought we'd give it a try. We stripped her down to her diaper and I held her in the water. She seemed to float pretty well -- though I never stopped supporting her head. I'm not really sure whether she liked it or not. She got a very serious concentrated look on her face, and flung her arms out like she thought she was falling, but didn't complain at all. I'm not sure she had really figured out whether she liked it or not. It was just an interesting new experience.

Now to the not so fun. She decided last week to go on a nursing strike. From what I can tell, there may have been several reasons -- I was giving her bottles too often while out and about, I was trying to multitask while nursing so I wasn't relaxed enough for a fast let-down, she's getting old enough to see and understand things around her so she's distracted, she just got lazy, maybe she's starting to get a tooth coming in, I don't know -- but whatever the reason, she simply refused to nurse. She'd make hungry noises (that cute little "feed me" cough she has) and root around if I put my finger to her lips, but if I even lay her down in nursing position, she'd start to fuss. If I actually offered her the breast she'd toss her head, arch her back, and scream angrily as if I had offended her sensibilities by suggesting that she might want to nurse. I know it wasn't the flavor of the milk, because if I pumped it out and put it in a bottle, she'd suck hungrily. I know it wasn't gas making her uncomfortable lying in that position, because I insisted that she lay that way with the bottle, and she didn't resist. She just decided she wanted a bottle thank you very much, and no amount of coaxing was going to convince her otherwise.

The problem with this scenario is that even though I have a good electric pump now, I simply can't pump out as much milk as the baby can suck, so she's never satisfied, and I'm never empty, so along with a fussy baby, and the hassle of pumping, I'm in constant pain from engorged breasts with plugged ducts. After reading some websites, I tried giving her a special Avent bottle that's harder to suck from (no effect) and then a sippy cup that's even harder to suck from (she was NOT impressed). By the time 10 or 11 o'clock had rolled around on the second day of the strike, she had finished the sippy cup, having dribbled and spat most of the milk down my now very wet and sticky arm and into her hair. At that point, she was exhausted enough to give in and take the breast (the websites say instinct takes over more late at night and early in the morning too). We still had a rough couple of days ahead, and she insisted on nursing on her terms (quiet room, Mom's full attention, often preferring just the right side, etc). Also, instead of ravenously smashing her face into it and horking down as much as she can get, now she looks at it and daintily latches on with almost a sneer on her face. Sigh... And then last night she started biting! I do enjoy being able to nurse her, but I sure hope she starts cooperating again.

She's been standing, supported, for at least a month now, and LOVES it. She seriously thinks it's the funnest thing in the world, and will often smile and laugh when you stand her up, even if she's been fussing before. We have an exersaucer for her (It's like the old walkers we had when I was little, but with a stationary base instead of wheels so the baby doesn't fall down the stairs). She stands, and bounces, and tries to play with the toys. She's not very good at making them do much yet, but she's getting better, and seems to have a fun time trying.

Here's a youtube video this last trick. I shot it with my camera turned sideways, not realizing that I can't turn videos as easily as photos. Peter managed to turn it, but something went wrong with the start of it. Also, you can't really hear what Peter is saying (he's telling me the plot of a book he's listening to in the car, so it's completely irrelevant to the video), but the point of it is that Elizabeth is cute, standing there, wiggling.


  1. Wow. She is doing very well, and seems to enjoy it

  2. Funny! The way she moves to keep her balance she looks like she's a pile of things somebody's balancing on their nose.

  3. Yay for babies! Just over a month to go!

  4. Elizabeth looks super cute. She looks older and more aware than a month ago. Babies change so fast at this age.

  5. She is way too cute. What a fun stage. Keep her swimming. Keep posting those pics!


  6. What a cutie. She has grown so much since we saw her.