Sunday, August 26, 2007

Big Developments

We’ve had some big developments in the last couple of weeks but more importantly I’ve learned that it’s a mistake to track the progress of another baby along with your own. We have friends in Kentucky who posted a video of their child, who is three weeks older than Zoe, sitting up and putting blocks into a basket. Our child can suck her toes while pooping. And that was one of her big developments. So, in order to stimulate her budding intellect we bought her an ExerSaucer, a monstrosity of plastic that is sold under the premise that it is really a teaching toy. Actually I bought it because I needed a place to stick Zoe while I ate a bowl of cereal. It has a dozen or so doodads that, for the most part just make noise. I guess if isn’t making noise the child isn’t learning. One of the ‘learning tools’ is a… actually it’s too much effort to describe, but if you push one of the three buttons it will say, “A.” Push it again and you get, “The apple is red.” Push it again and it will make a crunching sound. If you rest your little tiny baby elbow on it, it will cycle through continuously, endlessly. Zoe seems oblivious to the lesson, and when asked what color an apple is still can’t tell you, even though she’s been told, at my estimate, one thousand, five hundred and seventeen times.

Although Zoe is not yet sitting up on her own, she now can easily roll from front to back and back to front. Of course the first time she rolled from front to back we missed it, and although I eventually caught the event on video, she was crying the entire time, so the video is more like evidence of child abuse than a pivotal moment caught on film. She is also beginning to throw her toys, which I’m going to consider a big development since it demonstrates hand coordination, although it is more likely just random spastic movements.

And finally Zoe has learned about comic timing. What she will do is act all innocent and cute while you are running around the house gathering the fifty or so items you might need on a run to the store. She will wait until you are standing by the front door balancing all of these items and have entered the code to open the garage door and set the alarm, then she will either throw up down the front of your shirt or decide she needs to take her sixth poop of the day. I know it’s not random because she always follows up with a good laugh.

See photos of Zoe at

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Zoe Turns Five (Months) and Uses a Spoon

On August 7th, Zoe’s five-month birthday, we took the opportunity to re-open The Baby Book to make sure her development was on-track. We had pretty much stopped reading the handful of baby books we have because their advice wasn’t in line with our natural baby raising skills. For example, I still think putting the talcum powder and the baby in a pillowcase and shaking is a great way to make sure all the crevices are coated. Some of Zoe's advanced skills are gleefully pulling out handfuls of Alison’s hair and shoving her entire fist into her mouth. She is also a pro at grabbing her toes and standing unsupported for .5 seconds. (I hope soon to publish the dramatic videos of these events.) According to “The Book” she is performing these actions as well if not better than a six month old, and is on track to becoming either a doctor or a tattoo artist. She also clearly understands what we are saying. For example, she knows what, “Up? Up? Up? 1, 2, 3 Up!” means, although she seems less sure about, “Fetch Daddy another beer then go watch TV.”

We recently tried feeding Zoe her first solid food. The word solid should be used loosely, since it’s a 1 to 3 ratio of solid to liquid. But since it is “solid” food, we have to feed it to her with a spoon. This requires that Alison hold her steady while I try to get the spoon into her mouth, a moving target. Remember back in the 80’s those little cocaine spoons that seemed to be popular as jewelry? No? Well the point is the amount of food that I am putting into her mouth would fit in one of those spoons. However, the amount that comes out of her mouth is about double that. The quantity of food I prepare is about a tablespoon of milk to a teaspoon of cereal. After fifteen minutes you couldn’t tell that any of the food was missing from the bowl, yet her bib seemed to have about three-quarters of a cup of the mixture spread over it. Ultimately she didn’t like it, and not only did it not put her into a deep sleep, which was the whole reason we started her on solids, but it gave her constipation. I’m not sure how a quantity of cereal that would fit on the head of a pin could give her constipation, but we’ve decided to wait a couple more weeks before trying again.

Addendum: Since I wrote the above post (often a week or more before it’s published) we have again tried to feed her solids, and we’ve expanded our repertoire to include carrots. The carrots have not been a big hit. She actually makes a gagging face when we put them in her mouth. After three spoonfuls there were carrots across Alison’s shirt and pants, the bib was coated and I don’t think any actually went down her Zoe’s throat. The big success was a bowl (think very large thimble) or rice cereal that was completely gobbled up. Although there were no ill health effects, it still didn’t make her sleep through the night. I think the next bowl will be one part cereal, three parts brandy.

See photos of Zoe at

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Travels with Zoe, Part 2

I’ve mentioned this before, but thank heaven for boobs. (Actually, I’ve probably mentioned this in more than one context, but for the moment I’m referring to Zoe’s sole food source.) We have just returned from a four-day trip to Seattle (to visit Jill, Martin, Karin & Charlotte—see photo), a two-hour flight that was a test run for our six-hour flight to Boston in September. The flight out went fine, but our return flight required more attention and a lot more boob. The problem with flying with an infant these days is that most flights are full, so instead of being able to spread out over three seats you get crammed into the window and center seats, with some overweight smelly person in a deep sleep on the isle. If we were to take the center and isle seats, the window person would inevitably have a weak bladder and Zoe would inexplicably want to sleep. As I mentioned in a previous post, it is almost preferable to have ones bladder burst than to wake a sleeping baby.

On this flight, as well as our previous trip to LA, we flew Southwest, which, if you didn’t know, has open seating (at rock concerts this usually means a dozen people will be crushed to death attempting to get the front row seats). Now that we are allowed that restricted honor of pre-boarding, we must guard our third seat in the off chance that it is not a full flight. For those of you about to travel on Southwest with a child, here are some tricks to keep that third seat unoccupied.
  • Strap you child into the seat and pretend you don’t know them.
  • Change their diaper during the boarding process
  • Pinch them so they scream. No one wants to sit next to a screaming baby.
  • Pile the middle seat with all the baby paraphernalia and try to look harried (which shouldn’t be difficult).
  • Sing “The Wheels on the Bus” song in a loud and enthusiastic voice. If someone looks like they are going to sit anyway, let them know that they will be required to join in and do their part to entertain your child.
Inevitably your efforts will fail and one of you will spend your entire trip in the center seat with your tray-table piled high with drinks and snacks and your lap covered in toys and blankets, trapped by the snoring football player in the isle seat, and needing to use the bathroom as if you downed a couple of Super Big Gulps® as you were boarding.

See photos of Zoe at

Friday, August 3, 2007

Changes 2

Back in April, on the 28th to be exact, I posted two photos of Zoe in her car seat that showed how much she had grown in seven weeks. These three photos span four months. They were taken March 23rd, May 11th and July 20th. Click on each picture to see it in full size.

See more photos of Zoe at

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

High Jinks

Zoe has decided that her one sleeping-through-the-night experiment was a failure, and so joins us in our bed every two or three hours for a snack and a poop. Last night was more of the same, but with a little special something to top it off. After one feed and change I pulled Zoe close trying to calm her down so she would go back to sleep. After twenty minutes of her pulling out handfuls of my chest hair, flailing her arms and legs around and practicing using her vocal chords, Alison decided to try feeding her again. That often puts her to sleep. But she pooped again (followed by a burp worthy of a Quarterback). I got up to change her. I should note that I don’t own pajamas. I picked up Zoe and get about a step from the bed before she throws up everything she just ate. Did I mention I was naked? Zoe of course thought this was all a lot of fun.

The other day I tried to teach Zoe how to pet the cat. Given her propensity for ripping out my chest hairs I should have know that this was not a good idea. Instead of gently touching Tucker, she latches on with both hands. Oh, I forget to mention that these days her hands are always in her mouth and so are always wet. Anyway, Tucker is unhappy but seems to recognize that it is Zoe and does not bite her, what he would have done (and has done, to me) when he is touched in ways he prefers not to be touched. I quickly pry her fingers apart but so much fur has stuck to her hands it looks like she is wearing back mittens. I managed to rinse her hands off before she stuck them in her mouth again. I think she was just getting back at the cats, which are always trying to step on her.

See photos of Zoe at