Sunday, November 18, 2007

With a BAA and a MOO

This week we all suffered through Zoe’s second cold. Zoe suffers because she can’t breath, isn’t sleeping well and generally seems to be under the weather. Alison and I suffer because Zoe is not sleeping well. And she hates getting her nose wiped. If nasal mucus glowed in the dark you would be able to see our house from the moon. I swear the next cold she gets I’m buying myself a hazmat suit. Mid week I decided the only way to clear the crusted on by-product of her cold was to immerse her in water, so once again I tried the ducky tub. If you remember the last time I tried the ducky tub, Zoe screamed the second her toes hit the water. This time I tried a different approach. I put her in the empty tub and slowly, one cup at a time, filled the tub. By the time it was filled she seemed to be enjoying herself, or at least enjoyed sucking the water off the bucket of toys I crammed in with her. I, of course, took the obligatory baby-in-the-bathtub photos, which I will save and use to blackmail her with when she is older.

Although Zoe is not crawling, she manages to shuffle around. However, she does so surreptitiously. I’ll look over at her playing quietly on her play area, and a few moments later I’ll look up and she will be playing quietly in the snakes’ nest of wires behind the TV. Because she has not started crawling I have yet to childproof any of our rooms. This of course means that one morning we’ll wake up and she’ll be standing by our bed demanding breakfast (which would require that she eats real food, another not-yet). I’ll be forced to duct tape her to the floor while I quickly hide all the breakables and screw the kitchen cabinets shut.

Yesterday I had a quiet hour to myself while Alison and Zoe napped. Since our house is actually one giant acoustic box and ninety percent of our floors creak (I’m planning on spray painting those areas that don’t squeak a bright orange so I know where I’m allowed to walk during nap time) I am limited to the kitchen. I was happily fixing a light dinner (pommes de terre with saucisson a la Provincal in a nice beurre noisette, you know, nothing fancy) and found myself repeating the rhyming text from one of Zoe’s favorite books, Barnyard Dance. “Stomp your feet! Clap your hands! Everybody ready for a barnyard dance.” I tried to force something from Springsteen into my head but instead I got, “Bow to the horse. Bow to the cow. Twirl the pig if you know how.” I fear that Alison and I will be dancing in the dark (did you catch the Springsteen reference?) and I will whisper seductively into her ear, “Bounce with the bunny. Strut with the duck. Spin with the chickens now cluck cluck cluck!”

See photos of Zoe at

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Teeth, Tubs and Tests

As promised, the big news! Zoe has two teeth. The two lower central incisors’ have popped through and are like cute little razor blades. The good news is that it explains why she has been so grumpy lately. We’re hoping that with these new chompers of hers she will take an interest in eating something other than her toys and any paper product she can get her hands on. Since she puts everything in her mouth that she can pick up (or get her mouth to) I decided to trick her by giving her some apple and pear wedges as toys. She picked them up, looked them over, than casually tossed them aside. Maybe I need to carve her food into blocks or stuffed animals or books or anything that does not resemble food. Maybe I need to rub various food items on Alison’s nipples, you know, to get Zoe to equate one food item with another. Did you notice how mature I am not to add a humorous comment to that last idea?

It’s bath time, and we are excited to use Zoe’s new bathtub, a blow-up ducky with a bill that quacks when you squeeze it. Up until now we have bathed her in the kitchen sink using the faucet sprayer. She has always liked the water and we expected to be the laughing, happy parents watching our daughter splash joyously in her water-filled ducky tub. The tub, however, proved a bit difficult to fill, the faucet in the tub not reaching over the rim of the tub, so dad got a pre-bath, as did the floor. I got the camera ready (I put the pre-set to ducky tub) and we carried her into the bathroom. All was going ducky (yuk-yuk) until we started to lower her into the tub. As her toes touched the water she let out a scream and pulled her legs away. After a few tries (and the always futile attempt at reasoning) we were back in the sink. I guess this means early swim lessons are out of the question.

I gave Zoe a little IQ test, and she is off the charts.
  • Test: Identify the pig (in a row of three animals). Result: She chose the chicken.
    • This proves that Zoe is a Freethinker. A Freethinker is the cognitive application of freethought, a philosophical viewpoint that holds that beliefs should be formed on the basis of science and logic and not be compromised by emotion, authority, tradition, or any dogma. We humans created identifiers, so who is to say a pig is a pig?
  • Test: Which color is blue (choice of yellow or blue toy)? Result: She chose yellow and whacked herself in the head with it in her enthusiasm.
    • Kudos, Zoe. This demonstrates your objectivism, which holds that she has a mind-independent reality. Or more precisely, that the role of art in her life is to transform abstract knowledge, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form—a work of art—that she can comprehend and respond to with the whole of her consciousness. Such as whacking herself in the head with the color of her own choosing.
  • Test: Put the smaller block in the larger block. Result: She put the smaller block in her mouth.
    • Zoe is clearly an anarchist in her non-recognition of authority. Obviously she intended to connote a lack of control and a negatively chaotic environment. However, I think she prefers to be called a libertarian socialist rather than an anarchist.
For those not keeping track, Zoe turned eight months old four days ago. The fun is just beginning.

Tip: Click on the photo at the start of each blog to expand.

See photos of Zoe at

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Big Changes Soon (But Not Yet)

After a month-long hiatus I’m back with surprisingly few new developments to report. It’s been a difficult few months (see A Sad Goodbye) but we’re settling down and getting back to our routines. Zoe’s sleeping, never great before, has taken a real nose-dive. Last night she was up every hour for a quick snack and during the day she refuses to nap for more than a half hour at a time. She also lately seems to have a short attention span so I’m having to frequently move her from one activity area—play mat, ExerSaucer, bouncy thing that hangs in the doorway and causes you to bang your knee every time you try to squeeze through, soft two-inch pile lambs wool that I put on the kitchen floor with a few toys so she can keep me company while I cook until she falls off and whacks her head against the kitchen floor—to another. I’m assuming that Zoe is getting bored so quickly because she’s so smart she needs more challenging toys. I’m keeping my eye out for a used particle accelerator on Craigslist.

We’ve also had a setback. Back in my September 30th blog I ballyhooed Zoe’s advanced eating skills. You might remember a fantastic little video of her gobbling up a warm bowl of pureed yams. Well, thirty days later and yams are still about the only food she’ll eat. And even yam eating is dependent on her mood, time of day, hunger level, and number of distractions. We have added to the list of rejected food pureed chicken (actually, everything is pureed), store bought (yet organic) jarred food combinations, applesauce and butternut squash. I usually try to eat something while I’m feeding her so that, a) she learns by association, b) she wants something I have and, c) I don’t starve to death while I’m carrying her around the house the rest of the time. Today’s poll, how many of you had a breast milk only diet until you where in your teens?

As of this posting Zoe is not yet mobile, and with each passing day I say a little prayer of thanks. We had been worrying that she hadn’t shown any interest in being any more mobile than leaning too far forward while reaching for a toy and tipping onto her head, but the other day I realized that my being able to place her in the center of the bed while I used the facilities was a convenience I would probably not enjoy for too much longer. The first real motion we had came the other day, and we can all be thankful that I was right there with the camera (i.e. the video is at the bottom of this blog).

If I have sounded at all negative about her various lack of development I assure you that I am not concerned. I myself can’t seem to eat a meal without spilling something on my shirt, so if at forty two I’m not able to successfully feed myself why should I expect more from an eight month old? However, I will make a prediction that by the time I write the next blog something big will have happened. Stay tuned!

See photos of Zoe at