Tuesday, May 28, 2013

An Affair to Record

I think it's quite common for new parents to have a love affair with their DVRs.  No longer able to go out and explore the world like you used to, you instead squirrel away at home curled up with your baby and Tivo'd episodes of trashy reality shows. Late night rendezvous with back-episodes of The Following.

My love affair started very early on. I had a tough time breastfeeding. The first couple weeks were especially brutal. The relationship and magical bonding I had imagined would happen between my daughter and I were replaced by my relationship with my pump, breasts pushed up again my desk (to hold the pumps in place) leaving my hands free to click the mouse and forward to the next episode of True Blood.

People can tell you that breastfeeding is hard, but it's one of those things you have to experience for yourself before you can truly understand. The way I handled my seesawing emotions was to try and block out the fact that my husband was getting all the bottle cuddle time with our daughter and I was left alone pumping for their next bonding experience. I spent more time with my pump than my daughter those first few weeks. Rather than cry my eyes out about it I tried bonding with vampires in Bon Temps instead to cope with the rejection.

Parenting books will tell you it helps to look at pictures of your baby to help your milk let down. That never did it for me. I needed to focus on something else. I couldn't get enough of The Newsroom. I almost looked forward to our time together  - late nights, sitting in the dark, the flicker of the screen, headphones in. I pumped and got swept up in Alan Sorkin's grandiose idealized journalism. I was sad when I got to the end of the season.

Maybe it's the age we live in, but even once my daughter and I got the whole breastfeeding thing figured out - I never liked to sit in a room alone, staring into each other's eyes. Don't get me wrong. I find those moments with her incredible. Nothing is better than knowing you can soothe your child. Having my baby cuddled up close to me. Her little hand always reaching out and for some unknown reason poking at my armpit. I love those moments. But I also liked catching up on TV that there is no way I would ever get to focus on if she was fully awake. Just me, Em and The Carrie Diaries.

Thank God for DVR. Without it I'd be stuck watching infomercials like Pretty Women - not to be confused with Pretty Woman the film - Pretty Women is a skin care line Cindy Crawford hawks at 3am. It airs every night along side Hip Hop Abs.

Then our DVR started to have a meltdown. Maybe I was asking too much of it. Maybe I was too clingy. My husband and I would look forward to those moments when the baby went to sleep and we could curl up with individual cups of Ben & Jerry's and catch up on How I Met Your Mother. But the DVR was no longer interested. Instead, it would crash. Freeze up. We tried a fresh start - a reboot of our relationship, just to find us stuck in the same place over and over again.

Finally enough was enough. We called DirecTV and ended it. Well, we had them come out and replace it for a newer, sexier model. And oh how sexy it is. Sleek, button less front panel with environmentally friendly sleep mode after four hours of non-use. (Meaning no bright colorful buttons to entice tiny hands.) Of course ending our old relationship meant giving up all we'd been through together. Including years of old recordings, such as Smallville's final series episode and old movies randomly recorded off TCM never to be watched.

Yet, I must admit there is something liberating about starting fresh. With a brand new empty hard drive we can start a new love affair. Free of baggage and full of promising recordings in our future.

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