Saturday, July 21, 2007

Zoe Learns to Read and Write!

Since my last post Zoe has learned to read and write. Okay, she hasn’t, but when I started typing this post I realized that two weeks have gone by since my last post. And I thought I had just submitted it a few days ago! So much for getting them to you every week. Anyway, after Zoe’s amazing roll from back to stomach she decided that she had done that and didn’t need to go there again. For two weeks she stayed solidly on her back, then two days ago she spent the entire day flipping to her stomach. She would then cry, we’d place her back on her back, and she’d do it again. Good thing we are still enthralled by her rolling, otherwise we would have duct-taped her to her play mat. No news yet on a reverse flip.

Now that Zoe is over four months old we could start feeding her solid foods. We’ve been encouraged by our pediatrician to stick with a breast-milk only diet for as long as possible, or six months, which ever comes first. But since she is still not sleeping through the night we are thinking that maybe some solid foods would sit a bit heavier in her stomach. Which is why I’m in favor of skipping the rice cereal all together and going straight to pureed sirloin. Of course that would immediately move her diaper contents into the superfund realm.

I’ve also noticed a cute little detail about her bottle feedings. As I mentioned previously, she will drink down the entire contents of a bottle without pause. I think if I put a nipple on a gallon jug of milk she could get through it (followed by a 6.2 on the Richter scale burp). So, she’ll slug back her four ounces and I’ll stand her up for her burp—she likes to stand, although she sways as if the milk gave her a handsome buzz—and as I’m pounding her back I can hear the milk sloshing around in her stomach. Given her propensity for throwing up on us and on the furniture (and once on the cat) I always aim her away from milk-sensitive items and I never play airplane or elevator after a feeding.

Last week Zoe had her four-month check up. All is well, and for those keeping score, here are her stats. She weighs 13 lbs 7 oz (almost as much as our larger cat) and is 24.5 inches tall, putting her solidly in the 50th percentile for both categories. And the doctor also confirmed that she is indeed the cutest baby in the world.

On a side note, I’ve added a link on the left to a very entertaining web site called “Sneaky Business,” a blog put together by a friend of mine. He describes it as, “The Economist meets The Onion.”

See photos of Zoe at

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Zoe Turns 4 (months) and Rolls Over

In my July 2nd post I noted that Zoe was working hard to turn over. I’m happy to report that on July 4th she accomplished that task three times. I was able to catch rollover number two on video, which you can watch above. I believe this short video will receive best cinematographer and best actress Oscars at the next Academy Awards. Unfortunately she has not repeated her performance, although some tummy-time almost produced a stomach to back roll. I will keep you updated as this skill is perfected. On the subject of videos, Alison and I don’t own a video recorder, but there is a video feature on my camera. Now that Zoe is getting older and a little more animated, and is beginning to perform tricks, I’ve started using this feature more often. I’ve noticed, however, that when you hear my voice in the background it always has this baby-talk lilt. I don’t intend to speak that way, which might just mean that that is how I actually sound when I speak. If so, I apologize to everyone that has had to listen to me over the years.

Zoe has also learned to recognize the camera, and will go from laughing with a full-face smile to a deadpan stare that will last until the camera is put away. When I was young my father was often taking pictures of us kids, but back then cameras required manual focusing that always took a minimum of five minutes per photo. We weren’t smiling because we had worn out our Zygomatic major muscle. As I am now a father myself, I understand why my father was always taking pictures. But my camera is instantaneous and shouldn’t produce any of those oh no, not the camera responses. I aim, push a button and voila, I have a photo, so there us no excuse for not smiling. There is a small orange light that glows if I perform a half-press (you know, to pre-focus) that Zoe stares at like I am aiming a flashlight at her (which I guess I sort of am), and I think that was distracting her. Now I don’t pre-focus, but like Pavlov’s dog, she’s conditioned herself not to smile when I lift up the camera. I’ve resorted to stealth photography, so what looks like artistic angles are actually my attempts to keep her from seeing the camera.

I’d also like to ask a question about this whole getting dressed activity. I understand why adults need to change out of their pajamas and into real cloths, but I’m not sure why it’s necessary for Zoe. The reason why I bring this up is that Zoe hates getting her shirt on. I squeeze this tight piece of cloth over her head, where it usually gets stuck or I scrape my wedding band across her scalp, then I have to twist her little arms through the sleeve holes. Just so she can look cute in a shirt that has some schmaltzy phrase (No offense intended for anyone who gave us one of these cute shirts.) Why not just leave in her pajamas? They’re more comfortable and she’s really cute in them, with their little feet. What’s the point of struggling with real cloths? All in favor of pajamas all the time say aye!

Today, July 7th, Zoe is four months old. Happy Birthday Zoe!

See photos of Zoe at

Monday, July 2, 2007

Fathers Day

It’s three weeks since my last post, which will give some idea about how much free time I have. I started to write an entry on Fathers Day, June 16th, but didn’t get very far and somehow three weeks have gone by. Alison has been back at work part time for almost a month and Zoe and I have established a very loose routine. Basically, though, the way it works is I cater to her every need and hope she won’t break down completely before Alison gets home.

The biggest hurdle we had to overcome was the eating issue. Zoe really wasn’t taking to the bottle, plus I was always struggling to heat a bottle under hot running water while Zoe was screaming and twisting in my arms, which wasn’t working and was using so much water it was making me meshuga (that’s the Jewish environmentalist in me talking). And if the milk were not warm enough she would reject it. When she’s hungry she really isn’t very patient. We finally invested in a bottle warmer, and although she still screams and squirms in my arms, it’s only for a couple of minutes and I use only an ounce of water. And not only does she no longer reject her bottle, she drinks it like a frat boy in a chugging contest. She used to drink an ounce, maybe two. Now she chokes down four ounces like she has a wager going. She then gets a glassy-eyed look and remains supine until I haul her over my shoulder, where she burps loud enough to shake loose a couple of tiles.

On the 7th of June she will be four months old. I stopped reading all the baby books we have, so I’m not sure where she is supposed to be developmentally. I think she is right where she is supposed to be, unless she should be talking or reading by now, in which case she is a bit behind the curve. Right now we are focusing on rolling over, something Zoe has been struggling unsuccessfully with for about two weeks. She makes it about two thirds of the way before getting stuck. I tried giving her a nudge with my foot while I was videoing one attempt, but no-go. She is now sleeping between six and eight hours at a stretch, and will usually fall back asleep pretty quickly after her very early morning snack. That means we (meaning Alison) are only woken up once during the night. Unless one of the cats (meaning Harry) brings us a present, then we (meaning me) has to get up and chase the injured rodent or bird around the house and haul it across the street to the park. If you see a man running down the street in his boxers swinging a mouse by its tail in the wee hours it’s probably me.

Other than having no time to do anything, staying at home with Zoe is a lot of fun. I only wish Alison were able to be here as well. Everyone (with kids) keeps telling me that it will get even better once she is mobile, however I think it’s pretty nice that I can put her down and she is still in the same spot when I come back. It certainly makes using the bathroom easier. It also took becoming a parent to understand why sometimes 9:00 pm seems like a reasonable time to go to bed.

See photos of Zoe at