Sunday, August 30, 2009

Number 1 Calder

Last week I mentioned that Calder had learned to roll over, and I want to talk a little more about this activity since it’s really changed things around here. First off, I need to stress how quickly he learned to do this. On July 2, 2007, in Zoe’s blog, I wrote that Zoe had been struggling to roll over for about two weeks. Calder, however, just rolled over one day, and the problem is he has not stopped. If you put him down on his back he will immediately–immediately once you have walked into the next room–flip himself onto his stomach and start to cry. Some babies like to be on their stomach but not Calder. He cries. Playtime is all well and good, but when we put Calder to sleep at night he is placed on his back (as is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics) he will wait to we leave the room then flip. We come back into the room, flip him back, stick the pacifier back into his mouth, he seems to drift off, and we leave. We repeat this about a half dozen times (he flips so often that I have left a giant spatula beside the bed) until he falls into a deep enough sleep that he stays put. Inevitably during at least one flip he manages to get on leg stuck through the bars of the crib, and he becomes this little squirming puzzle to extract. Once he’s asleep he usually stays asleep until three or four in the morning when he rolls himself onto his stomach, and decides that since he is up he might as well have a snack. Alison has suggested a Velcro pajama-sheet set and I suggested duct tape to keep him in one place, but I think the AAP has a negative opinion about those options.

In the last few weeks I have met two young boys (wouldn’t it be scandalous if I stopped the sentence right there!) who also are named Calder. At the time we decided on the name we had neither met anyone nor heard of anyone with the given name Calder. We knew we were not the only people who gave our child that name, but figured that it was fairly rare and that it would be unlikely that we would meet another. Yet here they are, popping up all over Berkeley (all over being in two separate parks). The parks I bring Zoe to are often crowded and it’s rare that I hear other children’s names, yet I have discovered two. The odds indicate that there could be hundreds of Calder’s in Berkeley. But perhaps it is even more unbelievable than that; perhaps I’ve met, simply by chance, the only other two Calder’s in Berkeley. Think of those odds? So, I am sending out the call for more Calder’s. If you know someone with the given name of Calder let me know. But if you want to see photos of the cutest Calder of all go here.

Sometimes She’s Difficult

I will frequently search through old blog entries to compare the Zoe of old with the Zoe of new. I do this most frequently when Zoe has overcome some hurdle that I had mentioned her struggling with in some earlier blog, so today, as I write about Zoe’s swimming, I know that at some point I will make some big announcement that she has finally, voluntarily, put her head under water. Zoe currently takes swimming lessons three days a week; group swimming lessons (with Dad in the pool) at the YMCA on Mondays, and private, one-on-one lessons at Sherman’s Swim School on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. You would think that with all this swimming she would be ready to take on M. Phelps, but the truth is she is just as happy to play on the stairs leading into the pool than learn stroke and turn techniques. Our big hurdle at this point is Zoe’s aversion to getting her head wet. (I’m having a bit of déjà vu about this subject, but since we are in the thick of three-day-a-week swim classes I guess you’ll have to suffer through this repeat.) This extends beyond the pool. We still struggle in the bath to wash and rinse her head. And at public parks, with fountains that kids can run through, she will avoid any spray that approaches her face or hair. I expect that some day, when Zoe is on Harvard’s Competitive Underwater Swimming Team, we will be able to look back on these days with amusement (and embarrass her in front of her teammates), but for now we are happy that Zoe is happy just bobbing along the edge of the pool.

Two year olds are very demanding creatures, requiring patience10 (i.e. to the power of ten), humor and a touch of your inner seer. This morning I was preparing Zoe’s breakfast and each step required some finesse to avoid a pre-breakfast, hunger induced, micro tantrum. First there was the banana. Zoe doesn’t really like bananas but she likes pealing them. So I chop off about two inches from the end of a banana so she can peel it. She’ll take a nibble or two and hand it to me with instructions to save it. I suggest to her that she choose a plate that she would like her breakfast served on and she picks one with three segments, requiring me to ask her which segment I should place the banana (“um… This one). Next comes the hash brown potato. Which segment should that go in (study’s the plate for a few moments before choosing)? After she finishes the potato I try to encourage her to eat some cereal. “Zoe, do you want some cereal?” “No.” “How about if I just put some on your plate and you see if you like it?” I put a handful of cereal into segment three. Zoe starts to eat them. “Do you want a bowl so you can have milk with your cereal? “No.” Short pause. “Bring milk, Daddy!” I try to drag a few pleases and thank you’s out of her, but Zoe is the Queen and I am really just her personal butler. And everyone knows that there is no arguing with the Queen. But I tell you, by the time breakfast is done I’m exhausted, and we’re not even dressed yet.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Zoe is no Pop*

Warning: the following paragraph contains egregious sexist and stereotypic comments. The author has already been reprimanded and is currently in the next room being spanked (although the author of this blog does not condo corporal punishment).

Here in Berkeley (and elsewhere) it is considered inapproprié to raise your child strictly in line with their gender. If a male child chooses to wear pink dresses than the understanding parents will stand proudly at his gay side. If a female child chooses trucks over tutu’s than good for the little dy… construction worker. But here in the Glass/Savitz household that is not our problem. Zoe, without any prompting (okay, maybe just a little) has adopted some very girlie attributes. She only wears dresses. The only pants she will put on are pajamas and leggings, tight, shin-length pants that make slides a little more bearable. She has developed a girl-like aversion to any insect big or small, and she will actually squeal when I dangle a mouse, a gift from one of our cats, alive or dead, in front of her (yes, I still have a little of the ‘younger brother’ in me). She also frequently wears her tutu, will carry around and feed her baby doll, likes to carry around a purse, and most telling, the most girlie attribute about her, is she sits down to use the potty. Ah-ha! (Okay, now I’m just getting silly. Zoe is still in diapers, so her sitting on a toilet is just conjecture.) Maybe our sending her to a school named Gay Austin will bring out some of the man in her.

I see myself as a fairly organized and punctual individual. I don’t know if others see me this way, but having children has really put a strain on my efforts to remain so. Having children completely alters time; forty minutes will be over in five minutes and alternately five minutes will take forty minutes to complete. Let me explain by example. On Mondays Zoe has a swim lesson at the YMCA. We have to be in the car at 10:00 am to have time to drive downtown, park and change. So we sit down for breakfast at 8:30 and five minutes later I’m pushing Zoe out the door because it is 10:05. Alternately, sometimes I will be corralled into reading Zoe some tedious book about some furry animal or whatnot, or playing some game in which every few seconds she will yell, “Myself,” which means I would like to do it without your assistance, thank you, except without the thank you, and this will go on for about an hour, except when I look at my watch only five minutes will have passed. This inconsistency of time explains how I went from no gray hair to a few (possibly a dozen) so quickly (quickly is up to the readers interpretation of time).

Did you know that if you leave hummus on the floor for twenty-four hours it forms a semi-firm putty-like texture that can be picked up by hand?


See Zoe and Calder photos at

Friday, August 21, 2009

Calder Rolls Over

It’s a shame I haven’t been more active with Calder’s blog because when something important happens in that long list of developmental milestones, it’s even that more obvious that I’ve been slack in my blog posting responsibilities. The big event that absolutely needs to be posted is that Calder rolled over (back to his front, at which point he has nothing to look at so starts to cry). I looked back at Zoe’s blog to see when she first rolled over (to see which of my children is more talented) and discovered that they were almost the exact same age, within four or five days of one another. Zoe, however, worked at it for a while (we were like cheerleaders every time she made it halfway over), where as Calder just one day rolled over. But I also discovered, looking back, that I reported Zoe rolling over in my seventeenth posted blog. This is only the fifth posted blog for Calder. Bad Daddy! Bad!

The other late afternoon Alison ran out at the eleventh hour (actually it was around 5:00) to pick up an avocado for our dinner. Zoe was watching Elmo (because she fell off a chair onto her face and I was trying to cook dinner and mom was running out to buy an avocado) and Calder was sitting in the kitchen in his bouncy chair watching me cook, and by watching I mean whimpering with increasing volume while I tried to make funny faces and sounds as I passed back and forth. Finally I couldn’t take her pathos anymore and I strapped the Snugli to my chest and proceeded to make dinner with him glued to my front. The problem was his head blocked my views of the cutting board, my left hand, and the blade of the sharp knife in my right hand. I would try to lean one way or the other to see around him, but he would lean with me (no surprise, as he was strapped to my chest). I managed to finish making dinner without chopping of a finger or dunking Calder into something that might leave a permanent mark. One has to ask, however, why we couldn’t eat dinner for lack of an avocado?

I want to briefly talk about sleeping habits. I've devoted many pages on this subject on Zoe’s blog, and for good reason. Sleeping is one of the three points in the infant triangle of life, the other two being eating and pooping. Calder seems to sleep a huge number of hours. Is it because he is simply lazy and doesn’t realize that he is wasting his life? Or is it because sleep is so important to the early development of a child? I guess the answer depends on whom you ask, but regardless, Calder is already sleeping much better than Zoe ever did. Alison is very diligent about getting Calder to sleep when he seems sleepy, and sometimes when he doesn’t seem sleepy. I’m not very good at reading the sleepy signs, and in some ways I think it might just be easier to skip the whole, tedious, time consuming bedtime routines for both kids and simply let them play until they collapse from exhaustion. Unfortunately this plan would probably be accompanied by lots of whining and tantrums, and neediness. And it would probably affect the children as well.

Don't forget to check out photos of Calder at

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Secret Ears

Back in March I spent an hour or so visiting the preschool Zoe is going to attend this September. I was there for circle time, and I remember thinking how advanced the language skills of the children were, and that Zoe was nowhere near that level. I was worried that she would struggle to keep up with the other kids, fall into a deep depression, and start following the moody Oscar the Grouch above the cheerful Elmo. But suddenly Zoe is talking almost perfect sentences (by perfect I mean non-grammatical, three or four word, frequently random, and often needing some parental interpretation sentences). She sometimes gets a little embarrassed when we can’t figure out what she is saying, but after I ridicule her and… I mean encourage her to repeat herself or show me, if she can, we can most often figure out what she is saying. Anyway, I’m no longer worried that she won’t be able to speak well enough to keep up with the other kids. Now I’m worried that she’s going to start talking and never stop.

Talking about school, back in my February 22 blog, The Preschool Edition, Part 1 I mentioned that we were soundly and unceremoniously rejected from one particular preschool. I suspected that that particular school actually enjoyed sending rejection letters and probably published a booklet each fall filled with the names of every family that was turned away, which would then be handed out to parents of children who were accepted. It would instill in those parents a sense of superiority that would help soften the blow of the monthly registration fee. A few days ago I received a call from that school telling me that they had an opening, and if we were still interested the spot was ours. I soundly laughed my rejection of their offer (by soundly laughing I mean I politely said no thank you). I also heard from another family that they too received the same call. They also turned the offer down. So I say, Ha! How the mighty have fallen. Actually I didn’t really say that, but I wondered how many people they had to call before they got to me? As a reminder, Zoe was accepted into The Gay Austin School, the most prestigious preschool in Berkeley (by prestigious I mean one that is within a fifty yards of both a coffee shop with free WiFi and a pizza parlor), and certainly the school with the most embarrassing name.

Back on the subject of language, Zoe has started mirroring our speech. If we say something she will often repeat it. We are often in the habit of talking over her, having a conversation that we think is either too advanced for her, or speaking when we think she is distracted is some activity. The other afternoon I was beginning to prepare dinner and Zoe was sitting in her usual spot in front of one of the cabinets, removing items and placing them strategically around the kitchen so that I would periodically trip. She appeared focused on her task and I assumed she was not really paying Alison, who was in the other room playing with Calder, or myself any mind. From the living room Alison said to Calder, “All righty.” And a moment later Zoe whispered to herself, without pausing in her play, “All righty.” So, in the future, when I have to ask her a half-dozen times to do something, I will from now on assume she is simply ignoring me, and not that she is suffering from some sudden onset of hearing loss.

I had fallen behind, but now you can see recent photos of Zoe and Calder at