Monday, December 07, 2009

Some Nights Nothing Works

Things I tried to soothe Zara tonight:
- the "treatment" - swaddle with one arm free (to bite on), put in the car seat, put in the bathroom with the lights on and the water running. This usually works. Zara enjoys her treatments. It worked for a while tonight but didn't.
- walking around with her. Usually works. My back usually gets tired before she starts crying again, but this time - no.
- giving her her first solid food! Cathy suggested this, in case Z. got hungry before she got back from her girls night out. It seemed to work for a while - she enjoyed each mouthful and lunged for the spoon when I brought her more. (Organic brown rice cereal - we're being a little more health conscious with Z. than with S.) I taped it so Cathy could watch. But, eventually, no mas.
- tried a second treatment. No dice.
- Baby Einstein - this used to work great with Sofi, and it seemed to work with Z for a good solid ten minutes or so, but then...
- playing her videos of her mama on the Flip. Also interesting for a minute or two.
Finally, I gave up. She's crying in the bedroom now...

I've been blogging a lot less about Z than about Sofi - I think a big part of that things are a lot less eventful. Things are so much easier this time around, usually. We know what we're doing and Z's a pretty easy baby. No more blogging about all our experiments, what works and what doesn't....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sofia's constant

Sofi likes the number guessing game I taught her which is supposed to teach her the value of log n searches but she hasn't quite figured that out yet. "Is it 1?" "Higher" "Is it 2?"
Every now and then I pick pi just to mess with her.
Today it was my turn to guess:
Jamie: is it 13?
Sofia: lower
Jamie: is it 9?
Sofia: higher
Jamie: is it 11?
Sofia: higher
Jamie: is it 12?
Sofia: higher
Jamie: are you sure? more than 12 and less than 13? 12 and a half?
Sofia: it's pi!
Jamie: it can't be pi, pi is between 3 and 4
Sofia: it's cupcake!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

4-year old reading level

Damn! I've been making Sofi read me her bedtime story the last few nights. (Negotiation goes like this: Sofi: I'm too tired, I don't wanna. Jamie: How about I read you first story and you read me second? Sofi: Ok. Later: Jamie: Ok, what are you going to read me? Sofi: I don't wanna. Jamie: But you promised! Etc.) Anyhow, she just made it through Go, Dog, Go! with very little help. Jamie: You know the word for water?! Sofi: There's water in the picture! That's what gave me the clue.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Old Man

Jamie: They didn't have car seats when I was a baby.
Sofia: Why not?
Jamie tries to explain.
Sofia (drinks her milk): Did they have cups when you were a baby?

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I've got two tricks for soothing Zara. One is to put her low on the blanket when I swaddle her, so the blanket covers her mouth but not her nose. Then I give her her pacifier. This way, when she tries to spit out her pacifier, the blanket catches it. A good trick for anyone who's wished they could just tape the pacifier to their baby's face...
Another trick, when she refuses the pacifier, is to take her into the bathroom and run the sink. I guess the sound of running water is kind of white-noisy, kind of calming, because she often stops crying when I turn the water on, like a switch has been thrown. I discovered this one by accident, washing her pacifier one day.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Allowance in hindsight

So I mentioned we've been giving Sofi an allowance even though she's only four. For it's intended purpose, to have an answer other than just "No" when she asks if she can have something, it's been freakin' great:
"Can I have this stamp?" "You can spend your allowance on it if you want."
"Let's get the yogurt crunch bites!" "You can spend your allowance on it if you want."
"No, don't return the pot!" "It's thirty dollars. Do you want to spend your allowance on it? Oh, you don't have that much? Too bad."
For whatever reason, she totally accepts this as a reasonable answer, and it silences her, whereas before, we'd keep getting the repeated whining "Please? Please? Please!"
On the other hand, she's terrible at taking care of it. Whenever she wants to buy something she can't remember where she put her money, and has shown no signs of learning to be careful. I suppose she'll learn eventually.
And on the gripping hand, $5 a week was too much. $2-3 probably would have been about right. That very first purchase - Flock! - I should have gone in with her on it or something. What I've been doing to compensate is to only give her her allowance each week if she actually remembers.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Two nights ago, dreamed that Cathy was pregnant again, with twin boys.

Honestly, I don't know how parents with 3 kids do it. What if all kids need something simultaneously?

Thursday, August 06, 2009


I told Sofi she'd probably like vinegar because both her parents like it.

"I don't even know if I want to try it," she said. "I mean..." (holding out one hand) "do I want to try it?" (holding out the other.) "Or not?"

It kills me.

I guess you had to be there.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

"Tell Me About Your Picture"

I heard you're not supposed to ask "What are you drawing?" but "Tell me about your picture."

I don't think it really matters. Not with Sofi, anyway. She doesn' t seem perturbed that I never know what it is she's drawing.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mitigated Cursing

I've gotten really good at saying "Dang it!" instead of "Damn it!" and "What the heck?" instead of WTF.

Sofi took to "Dang it" like a fish to water, but only just now did I hear her say, "What the heck?" I burst out laughing. What's so funny, she wanted to know.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Ugh. Not in a blogging mood. Let's hit the highlights.

The Doctor wanted us to induce because she thought the baby was getting too big. (Later we found out she's going on vacation next week - maybe part of the reason she wanted us to induce was so she'd be here...) Monday rolls around, we set the alarm for 6 AM, call the hospital from bed, and see if they have a slot. Yes they do, can we be there by 7? Um, ok.

When she starts pushing, Cathy can't really feel it. Maybe the epidural's too strong. After an hour and half of trying, Cathy suggests turning the epidural off. The exact conversation is lost in time - Cathy claims it was the nurse's idea - I think maybe the nurse was the first to mention that some people do that, it was later that Cathy said "Maybe we should turn the epidural off" and the nurse responded with an enthusiastic OK!

Word of advice: if you're doing back labor aka the baby is posterior aka "sunny side-up" DO NOT turn off the epidural. Because it hurts. A lot.

She started feeling it, pushing well, but eventually the pain got too much and she couldn't do it anymore, so we got on the queue to have the epidural turned back on, which took a while, and even once it was on it took another half hour before she was feeling good, which left us fifteen minutes to push before our three hours were up and a C-section became the recommended choice.

"So you blame me for the C-Section?" Cathy asks. Like the C-Section is a bad thing. I'm just reporting what happened. We made some choices, ("What choices did YOU make," Cathy asks. Fine, she made some choices.) stuff happened, nobody knew. We didn't know for sure the baby was sunny side-up this time, either.

Anyhow - C-Section. Although there's a little wall up to prevent me from having a direct view of the gore, there's a mirror on the other side of the room I can pretty easily sneak peeks from, and I can see the cannister where they collect the blood they're suctioning away. So when they've got umbilical cord snaking everywhere like so much intestine and the cannister is at the 500 ml mark I'm pretty freaked out. Trying to do the math in my head - aren't there 6 pints of blood in the human body? How many pints in a liter? Damn you metric system. But I don't ask, "Um, hey, is that much blood normal?" because I don't want to freak Cathy out, either.

After they have Zara out (the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck, apparently, another factor that must have made our delivery difficult) and by the time they get Cathy all sewed up the cannister is over the liter mark, and that doesn't even include the blood on the Doctor's smock and all over Cathy's belly, etc.

But, hey, I guess that's normal, because Cathy's fine, everything's fine, and all things considered I think this birth has gone smoother than the last. Cathy's able to use the bathroom, for example...

Zara: 7 lbs 15 oz, born 8:46 on 6/8/09.

Honesty time: with Sofi, I was like, "Wow, what a miracle, what a fantastic little person, look, she's so incredible, wow." With Zara it's like, "Huh. She's like Sofi but different. Can I go back to sleep now?" I'm probably going to have to delete or censor this blog when they get old enough to long as I'm being honest, I'll also say I already have a favorite. One of the reasons I didn't want to have a second is I'd knew I'd have a favorite, that in my head I'd make Sophie's Choice, and now I've done it. But hey, maybe my favorite will change over time. And maybe the integrals of favoritism will balance out.

My memory is that newborns cry all the time, and that's not actually the case. Not even most of the time. Most of the time they sleep. Not so bad.

Overlake Hospital is pretty awesome. We like it better than Cedars-Sinai all in all. Bigger rooms; more attentive, competent nurses; better food. "It's like a little vacation," Cathy said. "I don't want to go back." My bed was pretty uncomfortable, like a sheet stretched over some metal coils.

Now that we're home, I don't know what we'd do if my mom and dad weren't here. Kill each other, I suppose. They've been entertaining Sofi and feeding us and cleaning up after us. We've been feeding and soothing Zara. We're having the same breast feeding problems we had with Sofi - milk not coming in, Zara losing weight, and so we're going to pump again (just helped Cathy set up the pump.) We'll have to supplement with formula, and part of me goes, yes! We'll be able to get more sleep!

On the sleep front, I realize although Cathy has it harder than me in almost every way, she does have one advantage: she can fall asleep in seconds flat. She just has to lie down and boom, she's snoring. Me, I lie there for an hour and then my cell phone in the other room beeps to indicate that its batteries are dead and I snap back awake. I'm also really bad at coming out of naps - groggy and surly and unable to move.

So far, Cathy's been in high spirits compared to last time; last time she was often like a surly mother bear, cooing over her young but when I approached or dared speak she'd menacingly growl. (If I ever want to get a laugh out of Cathy I just have to playact "here's mama with Sofi...(looks down) aww, coo iddy biddy coo coo aww...(looks up) GROWL!!!!) Not this time.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Sofi just made her first videogame level.

She was drawing pictures of "goo castles" and asked me to make them the first levels for the goo castle game I'm going to make for her when I make it.  I said I didn't think I'd have time to make her a goo castle game, and found myself wishing I had a PS3 and Little Big Planet to make some "goo castle levels" in.  Then I remembered - hey, N+ has a level editor.  We can make it in that.  Maybe not as flexible as LBP, but Sofi seemed to like it.


Sofi's been asking me to buy the full version of "FLOCK!" for XBLA because she wants more levels.  "The sheep game" she calls it.  Apparently, she beat the whole trial while I wasn't even watching - I set her up with the first level and left.  Lately it's her game of choice, playing the same levels of the trial over and over again.

I was about to cave and just get it for her (1200 points seems steep, oh great, now I'm one of those "this XBLA title is too expensive" wankers)  when I thought maybe it's a good time to start an allowance.  Some sites on the internet that I'm too lazy to look up right now agreed - as soon as a kid starts saying "I want that" it's okay to start an allowance.

Cathy's first reaction was that I was spoiling her.  But no, spoiling her would be getting her whatever she wants whenever she wants it - an allowance is like a cap on spoilage. 

We're starting at $5 a week, $1 more than the recommended amount for a 4-year old, because that way it'll only be 3 weeks until she can play "FLOCK!"  So maybe we are spoiling her.  A little.

"I can't wait!" she says.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fatherhood 2.0 about to gold master

T-minus 12 days until Zara.  Of course, Sofi was a few days early, and Cathy is huge, so we're expecting it will be less than that.  I am becoming filled with dread.  Why did we do this again?Because Sofi wanted a sibling?  Maybe we should have gotten her a pony instead.

I've been re-reading this blog from the beginning in the hopes that I'd have some useful advice for myself because I seem to have repressed most of my memories from the last time.  Not much there. It's nice having the timeline, at least.  After n-months we stopped co-sleeping.  After n+m months we tried to let her cry it out, etcetera.  My dread increases.  I'd forgotten just how many months you have to go before you get to have a good night's sleep again.  And then there's the arguing...we've had a pretty placid marriage for the last two years or so, but the bickering is already starting to pick up again and Zara's not even born yet.

The funniest thing was years ago I blogged about screwing up a high roast chicken because of my oven's UI.  Almost the exact same thing happened a week ago, with our new oven.  I don't think I've cooked a single roast chicken in the intervening years.  Apparently whenever we get a new oven I decide I should roast a chicken and then screw it up.  Different UI problem, this time:  I thought I was turning off the kitchen timer but I actually turned off the whole oven.  

Other posts of antiquity - complained about how common Sofi's name was.  This time we checked the baby name voyager first, and Zara is downright rare.  Good thing she's not a boy (well, we're 99% sure, anyhow) otherwise we couldn't resist Zachary, which not only is top 15 but our friend Chip has a Sophie & Zach as well.

I better get some sleep in the bank.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Every now and then I see an article or hear someone talk about 'entitlement' and images come forth of a spoiled teenager with a frown on their face because they don't have a cell phone like their friends or whatever.  

In a nutshell:  I'm a bad parent because Sofi has stuff we didn't have when we were kids and she takes it for granted.  Huh?  I'm a bad parent because Sofi has it better than we did?

This concept of 'entitlement' as a bad thing irritates me.  Something I learned back when I got my psych degree - it's human nature to take for granted what you have;  people, as a rule, tend to get used to their current situation.  Which may be a good thing - it may be where progress, productivity, prosperity come from - you get used to what you have and you want to go to the next level.  So you invent something.  You work.  And you create stuff for other people and get yourself more stuff.  And then you get used to that.  And so on.  Capitalism 101 I guess.

I'm sure I feel more entitlement than my parents did - I feel entitled to the internet, to having stuff delivered to my home without having to go to a store, to a huge array of entertainment options, to a home heated to 69 degrees.  And I'm sure Sofi will feel entitled to things I don't yet take for granted.

Another nice thing about people getting used to their situation - it works both ways.  You have stuff taken away from you;  say, for example, the stock market crashes and your net worth plummets.  At first it sucks, but after a while you get used to the new baseline, and you're happy when it seems like the stock market may have hit bottom and be coming back.

These anti-entitlement people remind me of cantankerous old farts grumbling, "Quit your whining, you could live in a concentration camp or a third-world slum."  I'm exaggerating a little - I do have respect for the people who can say "It's okay that I have no shoes, could be worse, could have no feet" - and sometimes I'll 'enjoy' a movie about poverty that reminds me just how good I have it.  

But still, step the hell off, people.

Wow, just noticed that blogspot has a "monetize" button now.  That's pretty awesome.  "Push this button to make money."  Maybe that's another thing Sofi will feel entitled to one day: push-button money. 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Conventional Wisdom Questioned

Playing devil's advocate here:

Sofi does like to whine.  Conventional wisdom is that we're reinforcing the whining by giving in to it - I personally don't believe we do, we're usually pretty consistent about pointing out whining, ignoring it or saying "ask in a nice way."  But if we ask a doctor or teacher what to do, they tell us, "You must not be consistent."  I have a couple friends who have troubles with whiny daughters also, who also try the standard treatment and also have little success.  I wonder - is the wisdom correct?  Maybe whining is natural as wind or rain, not a habit that we're encouraging.  Maybe whining is a symptom of another problem.  I don't know.  I just wonder.

Time outs are wonderful.  No spanking necessary.  And here I'm really playing devil's advocate, I don't actually believe this, but it does occur to me, seeing Sofi *so* mortified by time outs, that maybe they're a kind of torture even worse than corporal punishment:  a twisted psychological torture of some kind.  Just musing aloud, there.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Deep Conversations

Sofi: Who builded the universe?
Jamie: Um, nobody knows for sure. Some say nobody built it, it just happened.
Sofi: Nooooo.... (in the tone of voice that says she knows I'm being silly.)
Jamie: Ok, who built the universe then?
Sofi: I don't know, but I know somebody did!
Jamie: How do you know?
Sofi: Because I'm smart like that.

(A priori knowledge? Or are they already indoctrinating her in preschool?)

Sofi: When will I be ten years old?
Jamie: Do you want to be ten years old?
Sofi: Yes.
Jamie: You know, when you're ten, you have a lot more rules. You'll have to do a lot of chores, for one thing.
Sofi: I don't want to do a lot of chores.
Jamie: So enjoy being four while it lasts.
Sofi: When will I be four again?
Jamie: Huh?
Sofi: When will I be four again?
Jamie: You mean, will you be four again after you're ten?
Sofi: Uh-huh.
Jamie: You won't be. Once you're ten you can never be four again.
Sofi: Why?!
Jamie: That's just the way it works. You can't go back to being three, for example.
Sofi: Why?!
(Repeat xxx.)
Jamie: There are some good things about being ten. You'll be able to read, and see new movies, and play new games.
Sofi: I want to be four again.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's A Girl!

I think this is the first time I've blogged about Sofi 2.0 - just got the ultrasound today and the tech was "pretty sure" it's a girl but not positive. ("Look at how she's clamping her legs together, and the umbilical cord is in the way, but I don't see any boy parts.")

Cathy was pretty sure it was a boy because she was so miserable for the start of the pregnancy - we've even been calling the baby Zachary - but lately she's been glowing and happy so I started to think we were wrong. Sofi was disappointed too - although she used to be ambivalent ("What do you want, a little brother or little sister?" a nurse asked her once, and she answered, "Whatever it is!") we managed to brainwash her into wanting her brother Zachary.

Now we need a name...