I'm grateful to my brothers for so many things -- especially, these days, for the slang they bring into my life.

Many years ago, it was brother Jake who introduced me to the word nifkin -- and yes, to everyone who's wondered, it means exactly what it says it does in GOOD IN BED.

Now I have brother Joe Weiner and his weblog to credit for the phrase that I just know is going to make its way into one of my books, some day -- "wash the stank off my hang-down."

Ah, youth.

Meanwhile, news from all over. I heard from a novelist who's got the same agent as Shawn "Cinderella" McBride, who wrote to say that guess what? She hooked up with her agent the same way McBride did -- by finding the agency's name in a big directory and sending an email. Message: getting an agent is not rocket science, if you've written a good book.

I heard from the bookseller who sent me that first, fateful email about the way the cover of IN HER SHOES resembled the cover of BEST FETISH EROTICA, who wondered how I'd reacted (not well, at first, but now I just think it's kind of funny). And from another reader, who points out that the cover of Connie Briscoe's PG COUNTY also bears certain resemblances to the cover of IHS. So now I'm starting to feel like a trend-setter. It's weird.

Finally, I'm starting to put aside the pregnancy books in favor of the your-baby's-first-year books, and Adam and I are starting to figure out our parenting philosophy (and yes, our friends who are actual parents think it's hysterical when we bring this up, and as soon as they manage to stop laughing, they tell us that any and all tenets of said philosophy will go right out the window the first night we can't get the Bun to sleep).

And sleep is really my biggest question. I've read the attachment parenting people who say that every time a baby cries he or she is trying to tell you something and should be immediately comforted and soothed. And a lot of what they say makes sense to me, but some of it winds up sounding a little kooky. A little newborn baby in the bed is one thing, but the idea that your kid could turn out clingy and be co-sleeping until his Bar Mitzvah is not sitting well with me.

And then you've got the put-baby-on-a-schedule people, and they can sound sensible, too, with the idea that babies need structure, and a sense of what's coming next in their day, and that of course you comfort a baby who's crying because she's hungry or in pain but you don't run into Baby's bedroom the minute she makes a peep, or else your child will not sleep through the night until his Bar Mitzvah. I just wonder whether I'd ever be able to let a baby "cry it out," or whether I'd want to try to do something -- anything -- to make the Bun feel better, no matter what the book or the schedule says.

I have a feeling we're going to wind up reading all the books, coming to some sort of general consensus about how we'll handle things, and then just playing it by ear a lot. Meanwhile, we're amusing ourselves by coming up with detailed daily schedules of the Bun's activities:

5 a.m. - 7 a.m. -- Early Morning Aerobics
7 a.m. -- 10 a.m. -- Take a little nap
10 a.m. -- noon -- Communicate telepathically with dog; refine plan for household domination
noon- -- 3 p.m. -- Somersaults!
3 - 4 p.m. -- Draft angry letter to Lewis H. Lapham regarding direction of Harper's political coverage
4 p.m. -- Realize there is no email in the womb
4:05 p.m. -- 6 p.m. -- Take resigned nap
6 p.m. -- 11 p.m. -- Shake, rattle and roll. Flip, kick and twist. Pause only when Dad puts hand on womb, at which point, practice civil disobedience strategy of going limp.
11:15 p.m. -- Wonder where the exit is. Wonder if anyone's bought you a Gymini yet. Plan post-birth activities: accepting gifts and tribute.
Midnight -- Sleep
2 a.m. -- Give vigorous wake-up kick to Mom's bladder area.
2:15 -- sleep.

Finally, my last piece of good news. Foreign rights for GOOD IN BED have been sold in Russia, China, and -- at long last -- Spain. Whoo-hoo!