Saturday, April 28, 2007


The other day Alison and I pulled up two photographs of Zoe in her car seat. The first was when we left hospital when she was three days old. The second was around week seven. It’s hard to see the changes daily, and although we can tell she is getting bigger, these two photos really were a shock.

See more photos of Zoe at ""

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Smile

A week or so back I joked about Zoe developing to the stage where she breaks the knobs off my stereo. It will be a while before she is able to do that but it is fascinating (and wonderful—and scary) to watch how over a short period of time she has learned to do simple things. We have of course read the important child rearing books (The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing Up Baby) and expect to see Zoe grab things out of our hands at exactly seven weeks, because the books say that’s when she will develop this skill. Adversely, when she refuses to follow our gaze we immediately assume that we may have bounced her a little to hard. One of the most anticipated stages is smiling. I mean, who really cares if she is able to grab things as long as she responds with a big, toothless smile every time I utter gibberish phrases, rub noses together or make a funny face.

A friend with a two year old recently told me that you are always looking forward the next step. When they are a month old it’s smiles and simple reflex activity such as grasping and sucking. Two months she’s tracking our movements and her muscles are beginning to get stronger, allowing her to lift her head and participate in playtime. It never stops. In fact my father is still waiting on my next developmental stage: getting a job (I expect I have reached a developmental crisis because that one ain’t happing). As excited as we are to see Zoe grow and change it is also sad to think how quickly it’s happening. We complain about having to haul her around on our shoulders now, but I know we’re going to miss it when she’s two; unless, of course, she’s still up there.

For the moment we are happy with Zoe’s latest development, the smile. They are coming more frequently and do not always require my litany of odd squawks and contorted faces. Sometimes they just happen when we are talking to her. There is plenty of time ahead for things like grabbing and speaking and charging things to our credit cards. And I expect it will be too soon before I am simply remembering these smile-filled days as a fond memory.

See photos of Zoe at ""

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Where Zoe Hangs Out

One of the first comments I received when I started this blog was surprise that I even had the time to write the blog. Well, I’ve been working on this latest entry for about four days. I seem to get only a few uninterrupted minutes at a time. This in combination with my sieve-like memory often means that I lose track of what I was trying to say. This is especially true for those “funny” entries. I find that either the sentence I wrote three hours earlier is no longer funny, or I forget where I was going with it. Why’d the chicken cross the road? You tell me because I sure as heck can’t remember.

It’s not that Zoe is going, going, and going all the time. In fact she sleeps more than the cats. However, she does like to be held, more so when she’s sleeping than when she is awake. When she’s sleeping we are rarely able to put her down. I will have her over my shoulder (her favorite spot), hanging limp as a banana peal (rag is so overused), stomping about. But the second we put her down she begins her protracted stretching, arching grunting, squeaking, twisting journey to waking up. And of course she wakes up crying. So, I am typing this one handed, standing in the kitchen, counter—the only place tall enough to type standing up and still be able to see the screen without my glasses—while Zoe is asleep over my shoulder. So long lower back. It was good to know you.

See photos of Zoe at ""

Friday, April 20, 2007

Why I Don’t Read Newspapers

Most new parents want to spend every moment watching their child, where every twitch, sneeze, drool and gas induced smile is a moment to rejoice. Alison and I want to watch TV. However, while we are trying to watch TV, Zoe is twitching, sneezing and drooling. We started a movie at 8:00 and at 9:45 we had only managed thirty minutes of the film. Trying to read is the same. Actually, doing almost anything requires patients and stamina. And flexibility. While reading that newspaper article or begin cooking that special something that requires stirring every few minutes, you learn to hold and sooth with one hand and perform circus acts with the other. Newspapers continue to give me trouble. I can’t seem to get a page to fold back on itself. I always end up with a kink that dissects the very article I am trying to read.

Zoe, now six weeks and two days old, squirms as if she is trying to escape from a pit of snakes. And because she does not yet have full neck control, her head will sometimes pivot like she is possessed. If you do not have a firm grip on her, or turn your own head at just the wrong moment, there will be a meeting of minds that will leave one of us screaming. But of course I like to see all this wiggling. It demonstrates that all her neurological thingamajigs are working and that she is on course to eventually grab and break off the knobs of my stereo.

Zoe likes to be walked while hanging over a shoulder. If she’s fussy you can’t sit down. You can’t cradle her. And you can’t stop walking. So now you have this squirming, drooling, head bobbing creature trying to climb up your chest while your trying to fold a newspaper in half. More often than not I end up with a paper that looks like origami created by a drunken monkey. Maybe newborns are why they created American Idol.

See photos of Zoe at ""

Saturday, April 14, 2007

First Post - Five and a Half Weeks

Okay, a little background. Alison and I started this whole parent thing at the age where most people begin experiencing lower back pain. Although there are many reasons to bring a child into this world, we did so partly because we talked a little too much about our cats, and frankly it was getting a little creepy (even if they are the cutest kitties in the world). Also, I think Alison thought we should have a child so I would feel guilty buying expensive computer gadgets. Anyway, we made the decision to have a child. We chose a night when there were only reruns on TV, opened a bottle of wine, and nine months later we have a little Zoe.

And, wow, it's been five weeks already! Here are a few things I've discovered in those five weeks. I've remembered none of the advice I received before hand. Reading "The Baby Book" at 2:00 AM while the baby is screaming does not really help the problem, it just gives Dad the sense the he is helping Mom while she is pacing up and down the halls and whipping out her breast every five minutes. Oh, and don't let anyone tell you different, mothers do put the diaper on better than fathers.

As Zoe approaches her sixth week birthday she is winding up a week of fussy days and nights and appears to be sleeping a little better. We are all about sleep these days. We ('we' being Alison) have been reading a book called "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth. The book is all about routines. He stresses that when the baby is tired, or looks tired, or looks hungry, put her to bed. So this afternoon, for the first time, we left her alone in her crib. We turned on the new, untested digital baby monitor and we went upstairs where Alison’s three young nephews where having a ho-down.

Later this same evening we finally got little Zoe to calm down and decided we should try the crib again. After fifteen minutes of peaceful sleep we decided we weren’t ready to sacrifice our child to the cold, barren room next door and now Alison and Zoe are head to head asleep next to me. And here I am wasting precious sleep time entering this first post. In my next post I will tell you how much smarter our six week old is than everyone else’s six week old.

See photos of Zoe at ""