Eric Alterman,

Eric Alterman,

A weeklong electronic journal.
April 21 1998 3:30 AM

Eric Alterman,

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       I gave Diana a late break around 8 a.m. because Eve didn't give us much of a break at all last night. It wasn't that she was crying, it was more a nonstop gurgling, as if she were a frog underwater. The most worrisome thing about Eve so far is that she sometimes sleeps with both her elbows folded behind her head, with just the hint of a come-hither smile--as if she were posing for Playboy. Doesn't she understand that while men may enjoy that kind of girl, they won't respect her? I don't look forward to this talk in, say, 16 years.
       I made breakfast while Eve watched, and I asked her, politely, to go to goddamn sleep already. Maybe it was the firm but loving tone of my voice. Maybe she had tired herself out with the frog noises. More likely, it was the soothing sound of Michael Kinsley and John Fund arguing about Whitewater on C-SPAN for two and a half hours, but Eve slept like ... well, not a baby but something that sleeps a lot.
       Diana woke up at 10:15 because Eve had her first doctor's appointment. We had a hard time choosing a pediatrician but ultimately decided on the one that was across the street from Citarella, in case of either gastronomical or medical emergencies. Everything at the doctor's went great. I remember who I used to be--just two weeks ago--and therefore can't really bear to type the fact that she has gained a full pound since she was born two weeks ago. That's good. So, apparently, is the fact that she messes up about eight diapers a day. (Those of you who want to know how many were poop will have to e-mail me privately. I still have some self-respect.)
       This being the Upper Jewish Side, there is no good news without bad news. Upon returning home from the pediatrician, I got a message from the child-care center at the Y, 10 blocks south, that they were full up, and there will be no room for Eve when Diana returns to work in September. We signed her up six months BEFORE SHE WAS BORN! That means we are going to have to schlep the kid 25 blocks uptown in a much less fashionable direction--all for the privilege of paying more money than the Hofstra kids I taught last semester pay in tuition. Yes, I know, I sound like a generic Manhattanite parent. But at least the child-care center we've chosen is on the up-and-up, taxwise. If Eve ever wants to be attorney general, she will have only her own child's day-care payments to answer for.
       This afternoon, I had to leave Eve for four whole hours while I went to The Nation to do a segment for its radio show and work out the final details of my new contract for the column I am doing. It's called "republic opinion," and it's supposed to be about ideas. Naming it was a lot harder than naming Eve. I was looking for names from songs I would enjoy singing to her, since that's most of what dads seem to do for the first year or so. (Diana vetoed "Layla" and anything that smacked of a Springsteen character; Victor Navasky and Katrina vanden Heuvel did not share my affection for "Unpopular Front" or "Fifth Columnist.") I asked Victor for a lifetime subscription to the magazine for Eve to protect her from the influence of Barney and Michael Eisner. He worried that she would live too long. But since Victor can't possibly live as long as Eve, I really don't see what the problem is. I guess it's one of those liberal principles, like low pay for writers, that has seen The Nation through the past 133 years.

Eric Alterman is a columnist for The Nation and MSNBC. His daughter, Eve Rose Alterman, was born on April 6, 1998 (7 lbs., 11 oz.).