Archive for March, 2008

Ketchup Dance

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

[She is SOOOOOO peaceful when she sleeps. And SOOOOO cute.]

Development on Project: Genius Baby continues. Notably, she has begun sucking/gnawing on her fingers. Frantically, slobberingly. Loudly. Today I watched as she eyed her own waving fist in an attempt to bring it to her mouth. She makes little monkey noises and usually misses or hits her eye, nose, etc. but eventually she makes it to her mouth and fanatically drools all over her prize as she shoves it in. It’s hard to believe one has to actually LEARN how to do such things. Saliva production is also on a steady increase. Unfortunately, the ability to swallow said saliva won’t happen for another couple of months (evolution is quirky that way). I fervently hope that this doesn’t mean she is sprouting a tooth anytime soon, I mean, she was just BORN for crying out loud. I am probably not the first breastfeeding mother who has feared the advent of teeth.

[Happy in her bouncy seat!]

[Still happy! Playing with her friend, the dishtowel.]

[Help! Help! It’s all falling apart!]

Joshua has been working three days a week and I have been the stay-at-home-mom. This means that while we may be busy, we don’t get anything done (like, ahem, updating the website, cough). Ronin may be demanding but she is usually easy to please. If I’m lucky, she’ll let me put her in her bouncy seat where she can geek out at her toys for a while (20 minutes or so if I’m lucky). In this time, I can usually get myself dressed and some of the apartment debris cleared. She has pretty clear phases: nap, wake and be happy or wake and be cranky in which case she must be fed (NOW), and then she is usually happy for a while (bouncy seat territory) or happy but requiring attention (Must! Be! Held!) (And Bounced!!). Eventually though she begins to fall apart and I make it my personal mission to get her to nap again. Reboot the baby.

Evenings though, she is more cranky than not. Joshua comes home from work all, “RONIN! My BABY!” and she is all, “Eh eh eh eh eh.” Poor Joshua. I don’t know what it is about evenings but the books and The Internet even say that babies are crankier in the evenings. BLAH. We go to great lengths to please her and have discovered that she LOVES to watch us dance. This evening’s descent into madness includes the following: downloading the YouTube video of the Las Ketchup song so that we’d be sure to have the moves right.

The Milestone Tracker

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Ronin’s starting to fall into patterns. She has the day/night thing more or less down I think for now, although she doesn’t sleep through the night or anything—far from it; the way I would put it is that she tends to cluster her naps more during the dark hours. But I’ll take it. Basically we have to pretend we’re rockstar know-it-all parents, for example, we say things like, “She usually takes a nap around 11.” What this really means is, ‘Once she took a nap around 11.’ Or, “Her bedtime is 8pm;” translation: ‘We’d like her bedtime to be 8pm.’ “She’s crying because she is hungry,” or, ‘Shit man, your guess is as good as mine.’

One valuable parenting skill we have learned so far is to choose her daily attire wisely because once we get the onesie and pants or whatever on her, there’s no going back. She is not a happy dresser and we typically emerge from the bedroom with bloodshot eyes and a wailing child. Therefore, any attempts at “dress-up” have ended up with Ronin actually just wearing the [insert crazy pink bombshell here] for the day, or at least until she pukes up enough times to warrant an outfit redux. And call me a bad mother but sometimes it’s got to be bad before I’ll subject our apartment building to the fury unleashed by changing her.

[6am… smirk?]

Speaking of apartment and therefore our neighbors, we finally ran into the guy who lives behind us—the guy who can surely hear any noises we might make (can you guess what noises I’m talking about?) better than anyone in the building—and he said that while he knew we had a baby, he hardly ever hears her! (!!!!!) I can hardly believe it and am wondering if he was trying to spare our feelings for some reason. I don’t know enough about him to have any reason to believe one way or the other. For example, I know 1) he listens exclusively to Tracy Chapman; 2) he gets up at 4am, leaves his apartment at 5:45am, and returns at 8am, making a shit-ton of noise while doing it; 3) about once a month, he has two paper grocery bags full of washed and folded white washcloths that he leaves sitting outside his door for a day or two. It’s just not enough to go on really although the washcloth thing might be an important clue.

And in Milestones, we have Ever Increasing Lung Power (our neighbor is saying to himself, “Did I just say I could barely hear her?” as he stuffs washcloths in the cracks around the door). We have Falling Out Hair (I didn’t think this would be an issue until she was, say, 80-ish). We have Drool! (Sweet!) We have Consolidated Poops! (I.e., blowouts!) She’s Sitting Up! (Um, well, sort of.)

[flash /images/0803/RoninSitting2.flv w=400 h=300 f={autostart=false}]


Friday, March 14th, 2008

[In the throes of a nap.]


We just got back from the doctor’s office for Ronin’s two-month well baby checkup and first round of vaccinations. Oh my god did that suck. One thing: we had a different doctor this time than our usual doctor and both of us like her much better than the original; we’re hoping we’ll be able to switch for future visits without it being awkward.

First the good: Ronin is 12.5 pounds, healthy as a baby can be, and all growth is right on schedule. Then the bad: JABS! Ack. A snoopy print scrub-clad nurse came in and began apologizing before she had the door closed behind her. She had three shots and one oral (rotavirus) lined up; DTaP, IPV, and Hep-B are combined into one injection, then PCV and Hib as individuals. Ronin was almost asleep when we laid her out on the table and I held her thigh. The nurse took out the first jab, which was easily as long as my finger and she just plunged it right in to the hilt into Ronin’s leg! It was pretty horrifying and Ronin began screaming right away. Two more, one in the other thigh and the third shot again in the first leg; it was over very fast but Ronin was hysterical. I thought she had gotten tears before but those were just damp eyes. This time she had her eyes squeezed tightly closed and there was a perfect pearl of a tear clinging to the eyelashes in the center of each eye. Oh man it sucked. I cried; I felt like such an accessory. Afterward, Joshua held her whimpering on his shoulder and she just kept her eyes clamped tightly shut, a heartbreakingly pathetic expression on her face.

By the time we got her into the car seat for the drive home, she was smiling and had apparently forgotten the traumatic episode. I’m bracing myself for an evening of fussing and fever and generally Sad Baby. She’s probably going to have a lifelong fear of Snoopy.


Well, yesterday was interesting. Joshua came home from work with infant acetaminophen for Ronin and a tub of ice cream for us. He said he had the choice of grape or cherry flavored (the hell?!) and corn syrup or sucralose sweetened; he decided the lesser of the evils = grape and corn syrup. (For us, he selected mint chip.) Joshua squirted a bit into one of Ronin’s cavernous cheeks and the look on her face was … thoughtful. And confused. She stopped fussing long enough to mush it around and ooze it out her mouth but I think she managed to swallow enough to feel better because a few hours later she stopped her weak cries and whimpering and actually was happy and content for at least 20 minutes.

So she had a fairly typical response it seems: two hours after the shots, she fell asleep and started to cook. She only woke up to cry feebly or eat, except for the brief tylenol reprise. We held her the entire time until she finally went down in her cradle at around 10pm; she would not let us put her down otherwise. Poor thing. It is hard to hold a baby whose legs hurt from knee to hip on both sides.

This morning, she’s much better. Fever is gone and although she’s still sore, she’s more or less back to normal. She’s right now more or less content in her bouncy-seat, blowing spit bubbles and grousing at her toys.

Photo roundup, featuring: The Big Cheeks

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

[Babies who sport Federico Garcia Lorca onesies don’t need no stinkin’ necks.]

We bought Ronin some toys: one set of stuffed dice with those Scientifically Proven Baby Brain Stimulating patterns and one supercool Buckminster Fuller-esque wooden ball thing. She has reached the awesome stage where we can confuse and distract her by waving things in her face when she begins frothing up for a meltdown. And the verdict on the toys: she appears to *love* them. I can hardly believe it really. The Buckminster Fuller-ball has these wooden beads that slide around as you turn the ball so it makes a nice chimey sound, plus it is brightly colored, and just a few shakes to get her attention and she will happily watch the ball for a long time. And the stuffed dice—we just got them in the mail and hung them over her bouncy chair and she is seriously entertained by them for, well, a half-hour at least at a time (but this is GOOD). She stares at them and makes cooing noises and kicks her feet and flails her arms (happy kicks and flails) and it’s insane. Sometimes she gets really worked up wiggling and panting with her eyes so wide open that it’s almost worrisome—as if her brain is about to explode. I guess those baby brain scientists weren’t kidding around.

[She likes to see what’s going on when we go on walks these days so we face her outward; have to keep an eye on that bobbley head though. DANGER WILL ROBINSON!]

[For those of you concerned that we didn’t ever dress her in pink.]

She also likes music—I guess most babies do but we hardly listened to any when I was pregnant; I suppose I thought she’d be indifferent. (After being on the boat with power always at a premium, we rarely “splurged” and listened to the radio; we simply got out of the habit of having it in the background.) As for singing to her, I really don’t know any lullabies as such so I end up singing whatever comes to mind when the need arises. Lately this has been “Who by Fire” by Leonard Cohen and “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus, and I totally screw up the lyrics. A bit macabre I suppose but it keeps her mellow when the diaper needs to be changed.

The end of the general strike

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

inspirational tile art. Kharkov, Ukraine

[Inspirational tile art. Kharkov, Ukraine 2005]

Even though I had no real intentions of getting a job, I’ve kept an eye on craigslist just in case something interesting appeared. Luckily most worthwhile listings have always been on the other side of the river in Beaverton, Hillsdale or even, GGACK, Wilsonville. However, I saw something last week that was nearly perfect: part time and nearby. I hemmed and hawed for a few days before sending in a resume because, well… sending out resumes inevitably leads to work. A thing I wasn’t totally committed to.

I agreed to an interview but kept reminding myself that I didn’t actually have to accept the job. In the end, it turned out to be fun and I decided to work with them. However, it’s really too soon and I feel a little guilty about leaving Cheyenne alone with Ronin. They’ll be fine, of course, but it can be hard to do something as simple as brush your teeth when you’re alone with an infant.

My new office (by office I mean folding table in a large room and by large room I really do mean large as in large enough for over a hundred people sitting on pews if there were still pews instead of five or six folding tables) is an old church. Think Alice’s Restaurant without all the garbage. The best part aside from the location and the hours is that everything I’ll be working on is open source software. Not very interesting open source software — unless you come from some parallel universe where insurance is somehow interesting and smalltalk consists of RDBMS queries — but at least a little bit cool. OK maybe not, but It makes up in convenience what it lacks in glamor.

You may be wondering what this means for my tax resister status. I had previously pledged not to pay any taxes until our current set of criminals were at least out of office if not in jail. The only legal way to accomplish this is through unemployment. However, I’m confident that by only working 2 days a week and by factoring in our new little tax deduction I can get away with zero tax liability again this year. In any case, even if I can’t keep it at zero I’m 1099 so won’t actually have to pay until mid 2009 (with penalties to be sure). I’ll just call it a little bonus for our new leader whoever they may be. Of course, I’ll still have to pay social security so all you boomers can breath a little easier.

Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell