The Babies In My Phone
The baby in my house goes to sleep or maybe she doesn’t and it’s time to check in on the babies in my phone.
The babies in my phone were born a day before my baby, they were born last year and this year and yesterday. The babies in my phone are pink and brown and round and screaming. The babies in my phone are named after great aunts and baseball players and dead cats. The babies in my phone are rolling front to back. The babies in my phone are rolling back to front. The babies in my phone are sitting up. The babies in my phone are falling over. They are flailing and scooting and crawling. They are reaching for their fathers’ beer bottles. They are sliding off couches. They are caught just in time.
The babies in my phone transmit their thoughts via letterboard. The babies in my phone say “HELLO WORLD!” The babies in my phone say “WORTH THE WAIT!” The babies in my phone are measured in weeks then months. “NINE IN, NINE OUT!”
The babies in my phone are meeting their big siblings. The babies in my phone are pulling the hair and violating the personal space of their big siblings. The babies in my phone are becoming big siblings. “PLOT TWIST!”
The babies in my phone are meeting the family dog, getting sniffed by the family dog, being guarded by one paw of the family dog, spooning with the family dog. The babies in my phone are gentle pets, gentle, gentle.
The babies in my phone are wearing shirts that say Mommy’s Little Man and Daddy’s Little Girl. The babies in my phone are correctly performing the gender announced via cupcake/balloon pop/fireworks display. The babies in my phone are wearing wool sweaters and linen overalls and hand sewn moccasins and turbans and sunglasses. The babies in my phone are engaging in age-appropriate play with aesthetically inoffensive wooden toys designed by a team of child development experts. The babies in my phone have a discount code for you. #ad #partner #letthembelittle
The babies in my phone look like Woody Harrelson and Clemenza from The Godfather and their own fathers and their grandfathers and anyone except the ones who birthed them.
The babies in my phone are sitting in a bucket.
The babies in my phone are laughing at their mothers peeling potatoes.
The babies in my phone could be a purple monkey in a bubblegum tree.
The babies in my phone have a deep latch, a shallow latch, they’re milk drunk, they’re sizing up, they’re blowing out. The babies in my phone are eating kimchi for the first time. Pho for the first time. Lemons and they hate it. Hot Cheetos and they’re unfazed.
The babies in my phone have stents and ports and GoFundMes. They are brave little warriors. They are small in large hospital beds. They are coming home. They have gone home to Jesus. They have memorial pages and foundations and 5K walk/runs.
The babies in my phone are getting hugged a little tighter tonight.
The babies in my phone are bad at napping but they sleep through the night.
The babies in my phone sleep through the night but they’re bad at napping.
The babies in my phone are contact napping. Cat napping. Nap striking. Only in the carrier. Only in the stroller. Only in the swaddle. Arms out in the swaddle. Cold turkey on the swaddle. They are not sleeping. Not sleeping. Not sleeping. Not sleeping. They are sleeping but now they are regressing. They were regressing but now they’re sleeping. Sleeping so long I thought they were dead, is that normal? Should I wake them up, is that normal?
They are drooling so much, is that normal?
Teething already, is that normal?
Pooping so much today, is that normal?
Haven’t pooped today, is that normal?
Is 50th percentile, is that normal?
Seems to hate me, is that normal?
The babies in my phone are babes and bubs and bubbas and kiddos.
The babies in my phone have the sniffles today and this mama is soaking up alllllll the cuddles!
The babies in my phone got their shots today and they were fine but this mama’s a mess!
The babies in my phone have their first Christmas in the books! First beach trip in the books! First day of daycare in the books! This mama’s a mess!
The babies in my phone are suddenly all making “core memories.”
The babies in my phone are getting so big. Big yawn! Big stretch! They are chunks and chonks and chonkers. They are littles, they are these little loves. They will only be this little once, the babies in my phone.
The babies in my phone don’t know they’re in my phone.
The babies in my phone don’t even know they’re babies.
The babies in my phone mostly don’t know me, except the ones who are wearing the clothes that will become my baby’s hand-me-downs. My own baby, the baby in my house, the one who has been so many babies already, all of them already gone forever, all of them in my phone forever, the cloud forever, my heart forever. The one who is sleeping or maybe she isn’t, the one who will smile when I wake her or maybe she’ll cry. The one who is not just in my phone, she is my phone, she glows in the dark, she calls up the world.
Welcome to the fourth (!) year of Vanitas, a newsletter about life, death, and other dumb stuff. Some housekeeping notes:
I've moved the newsletter to Substack, including the archives. Check it out here.
I've started a public Instagram account to disentangle self-promotion from the baby photos that have replaced dog photos on my private account: @by_rachaelmaddux.
The painting is Baby (Cradle) by Gustav Klimt.
Welcome to Substack! I loved this one. Excited to recommend your newsletter to others here!
This is so good! Funny, uncanny, depressing all at once.