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09:11 PM by Eric: Kids are curious creatures Kids

Ollie's picked up this habit somewhere, I don't know where--he suddenly scrunches up his face like he's smelled something bad, and breathes heavily in and out of his nose. It's hilarious, but I have absolutely no idea where it comes from. Jen tells me expressions are hereditary, but I can't think where I've ever seen this face before. I think it's an Ollie Original. I plan to stalk him with the camera (er, more than usual) over the next week to try and catch him in the act. :)

06:46 PM by Eric: 45 days is a long time, but it goes by so fast Kids | Personal

Yes, I know, long time no update. Bad Eric, no doughnut. :)

So much to tell, although if you watch the gallery some of it won't be news. Ollie's second tooth popped out a while back, right next to the first. Jenny and I were coincidentally talking about when his second would appear, and I happened to look in his mouth--and there it was!

He's changing so fast right now. He's just started into 6-9 month clothes (at 8 months--if he stays on this growth curve he'll be 18lb. at a year, which means he'll be wearing 12-month clothes until he's about two :-P), so there are new cute clothes to wear. He's pulling up from sitting to standing all by himself, and in fact at this point I think he'll skip crawling. He can scoot forward if he wants to, but given that he can pull himself up, he loves to stand, and if you give him your hands to help him balance, he can shakily "walk" forward... All he really needs is balance and practice: I give him a month before he's walking. I could be wrong though, he seems to alternate developing physically and mentally, so maybe he'll get to cruising and plateau there for a few months.

He loves books; just going to Barnes & Noble and walking down the kids' aisle (or heck, sitting down with a book at a cafe table) puts a huge smile on his face. Not surprising given his parents, but very gratifying. :)

He likes being upside down, too; I think he's either going to be a gymnast or a monkey, and the jury's out on which. He's figured out he can hook his toes into my ever-present belt and push up (or, more often, out); today in B&N he started adding the step of dropping his head between his arms so that he's on the verge of doing a somersault down my chest. So naturally I just grab him and toss his knees over my shoulder so he's hanging there, and he's grinning and laughing like a maniac. I'm telling you, all he needs is a prehensile tail.

He gives kisses, too, lots and lots of kisses. I hope he stays this affectionate; I know the culture will try and beat it out of him, but when he hugs me or kisses me it really is the best thing in the world.

He starts daycare tomorrow, twice a week. I know Jenny's really stressed out about it, and so am I. I'm so used to seeing Jen and Ollie pop in and out, or come over to my desk at home to see what I'm doing/steal my glasses/give me a kiss, and now that won't happen on Tuesday and Thursday. It's kind of sad to be passing so much of Ollie's time off to someone else. I'm so spoiled working at home, I get to see all the firsts in person and not miss anything. So hopefully he doesn't, like, walk for the first time at daycare (or at least, if he does, they don't tell us ;)).

Speaking of firsts, just yesterday he figured out the "M" sound. He's been saying "Dada" for a while now, but the closest he could get to "M" was "B" (so Jenny has been "Bob" for a few weeks...). Then yesterday he said "Mob", which was pretty close, and then he said "Mom" very clearly. He grins every time I say it back, and I've noticed when he gets upset sometimes he'll say "Mommommommom". Which kind of hurts a little bit, even though I try hard not to let it; I know sometimes he's going to want her instead, and he ought to. But I'm selfish like that. :)

Tonight might be another breakthrough, we'll see. He's not been sleeping well lately, although he's getting better at napping (hour naps aren't uncommon at this point, and we can often get away with just two naps a day even). At night, though, a lot of times he won't even go two hours without waking up, which is tiring, especially since he virtually never sleeps past 6 or so. So tonight Jenny and I decided to make another go of mild sleep training, so after his bath and a feeding, I put him down in his crib with Gertrude (his stuffed hedgehog, the closest thing to a lovey we've been able to identify), kissed him goodnight, and left rather than rocking him almost asleep (or to be honest, all-the-way-asleep, more often than not). He seemed to think it was playtime at first, making his "bobbobbobbob" noise and shrieking periodically, but then he got bored or lonely and started crying. After ten minutes I went in and tried to soothe him (without picking him up), but when I left a minute or so later he started crying harder. Jen left at that point (she has a class she's been going to), and I was expecting all kinds of difficulties, but at the end of the next 10 minutes, just as I got up to try soothing him again, he suddenly quieted down and went to sleep.

I am now going to probably jinx myself by checking on him, because PARENTHOOD is an anagram for PARANOIA (not really, I can't back that up, but it should be).

Nope. He's still alive; I can see him breathing. The worst part about this is that all the baby books say that 6 months (or double birth weight, which Ollie just hit) is when you should try sleep training, but they also say that SIDS is a risk until 1 year, and you shouldn't let them sleep on their stomach until then. The paradox is that by 6 months, they can roll over anytime they want to, usually (Oliver could), and left to his own devices, Ollie will sleep on his stomach. So: let him fall asleep on his stomach and POSSIBLY DIE, or start sleep training? Or poke the bear by letting him fall asleep, then trying to turn him over without waking? You can't win for losing.

Speaking of not winning for losing, at Jen's continued urging I embarked on a weight gain program. I added an 800-1000 calorie milkshake to my daily intake (ice cream, whole milk, whey protein, banana, chocolate syrup), drank it religiously for two weeks without eating any less at meals... and lost five pounds. What. The. Hell. I'm still spotty about eating breakfast though, so maybe if I add that it will help. If I drop another five I think USAID is going to start airlifting supplies into my back yard (which at least would help with the grocery bills). :(

Edit: Also, I know the site is wonky and comments are disabled. I upgraded Movable Type and it screwed everything, so I have to basically start over. Sorry, folks. :( You can always e-mail me your comments, I do love e-mails...

Edit the Second: Okay, so he woke up at 8:20 and cried, despite my best soothing efforts, until Jen got home and fed him at 9:40. Ah well. Maybe next time.

11:06 PM by Eric: Good news, Bad news Kids

Ollie's first tooth poked itself through his gum yesterday. It's remarkably sharp, for not being much above the gum yet. :-P In a way it's too bad, I'm really fond of his toothless grin, and I guess that's gone for good now. Still, I'm sure I'll get used to him with teeth at some point.

On the downside, he's tried to choke himself to death twice now; once Jen smacked him on the back to get the food out, and yesterday I had to fish around in his mouth to find it. Our friends' babies (roughly the same age) are feeding themselves Cheerios, and our kid chokes every time he gets something in his mouth that hasn't been pureed to death. The worst part is that choking doesn't seem to really bother him, he just kind of sits there not breathing. He doesn't get upset until afterwards, when he sees that we're upset. So now I'm paranoid that at any given moment he might just stop breathing, which isn't fun.

The last few nights he's slept better, though. Last night he slept from 11 to 4:30 straight through, and then slept in the bed with us from 6 until the alarm went off at 8; it's the first time in a week that Jen or I hasn't had to get up with him at 6 or 6:30. It was like Christmas. :)

I got to go see Transformers a few weeks ago. It was really good, much better than I expected, although if you're not a fan of action movies you won't like it at all. :) And there are a few asteroid-sized plot holes, but all in all it's definitely worth seeing.

Jen and I are leaving Ollie with a babysitter this Sunday to go see the new Harry Potter movie. I'm a little worried about it because the last week he's starting to show some clinginess/stranger anxiety. Not a lot in the scheme of things--he stares suspiciously at people rather than crying or anything--but for him it's pretty different. Yesterday he even cried and reached out to Jen when I was holding him, although Jen went out for a few hours last night and we had a great time.

I have some new videos to post as soon as I get them encoded. I want to get some video of Ollie really talking (he's making so much noise, and being so animated these days), but every time he sees the camera he gets interested in it, so I need to figure out a way to hide it from him. :)

10:16 PM by Eric: Revolutionary Update Kids | Sports | Travel | Work

So yes, we vacationed in Virginia for a week. We had a really good time, especially in Williamsburg. JetBlue caused us no end of problems, including losing our suitcase (I wish I'd taken a photo of all the Transfer tags on it when it finally came back, because it was impressive), but I'll not dwell on that.

Virginia was beautiful, it really drove home how much different the flora is from Central Texas. Austin is a fairly well-treed Texas city, but the ones here are scrubby little poseurs next to the woods they have in more temperate climes. Cooler weather was a lovely surprise, too, although if you want to know what the single best change was in my opinion? The lack of mosquitos. Oh, I'm sure there were a few, but I am not kidding when I say that spending thirty seconds in our backyard right now will result in no less than four mosquito bites. I've seen flocks, I kid you not.

On the plus side, all that rain has produced a very impressive cucumber vine and some massive tomato plants. Here's hoping they fruit before Texas succumbs to drought and everything dies again.

Williamsburg was really cool, it was very effective in making me more interested in revolutionary America. Jamestown (particularly the glassmaker) and Yorktown were fun too, but to be honest I could have passed on Busch Gardens.

I know I keep saying this, but Ollie is changing so fast. Since we left for Virginia he has started rolling over really easily, sitting up, eating solid food for real (applesauce and peaches are big hits; bananas are as well, but they're off-limits after he had a reaction to one), laughing all the time at just about anything, learning to love swimming (and splashing), and moving ever closer to talking. We're kind of halfheartedly doing baby signing, although to be honest I think it's an open question whether he signs "food" or says it out loud first.

There are, of course, a boatload of new pictures (more than 100, a new vacation record for me) and two new videos in the gallery.

Work is good. My team's current task list has them scheduled until at least the end of 2008, and there's always more to do, so no worries there. In fact, our R&D department, and our management, are emphasizing some things that will have my team at the very forefront of the company's long-term strategy, which is exciting.

Lindsay asked me recently if it was frustrating to be selling software now that I already know is obsolete. In some ways it's an interesting question, because it's not a question one programmer asks another; it's kind of a given. In other ways it's a really interesting question, because it's kind of the central fact of my professional life. Yes, it is frustrating. I know our customers could really use everything we're working on. In fact, some of the stuff I worked on in the last two weeks, I wish I could just give our customers, because it's so much better than what we're selling now. On the other hand, that does give them a reason to pay those software update fees, which keeps my dogs, cat, and baby in kibble, and they do like that. ;)

Anyway, for those of you who want a better insight into what it's like to write software, you might try looking at the book Dreaming in Code. Or you can buy me a beer and ask me questions, but then, Lindsay's flying off to Australia next week, so I guess she hasn't got that option. :-P

Being captain of my hockey team is so far a lot of fun. I tried to pick a team that just wanted to have a good time and play some good hockey, and it's by far the best locker room I've been in. Not a bad team, either, even if we are 1-2, but I'm certainly having a good time. :)

10:30 AM by Eric: Hockey Season Wrap-Up Sports

So the hockey season is over. We lost our first (thus only) playoff game 3-0. Our goalie let in a pair of really soft goals, but to be honest they just outplayed us; they deserved the first goal and obviously that was all they needed.

The summer season starts in a few weeks; I think it will be interesting, because the league admin wants to shake things up a bit. This last season it seemed like emotions got a little high; there were several actual fights, at least one "abuse of officials" misconduct, etc. From what I've heard, in the leagues up around Dallas that kind of thing is endemic, in part because the teams stay together season after season, which leads to a build-up of rivalries and resentments. In the league here, we re-draft every season, which usually helps to keep that kind of thing to a minimum. In my experience, anyway, when you play with different people from season to season, you build up friendships, and it's harder to get mad at a player when you know them from a previous season.

The last few seasons captains have been allowed to "protect" players from the draft, and several goalies became captains, both of which allowed teams to keep a "core" of players together, and it seems like that helped contribute to this season's unpleasantness. So this summer, the league admin requested all new captains, eliminated "protected" players, and isn't allowing goalie captains. Hopefully things will get shaken up a lot.

Also, at Jenny's urging I put my name in for captain, and got selected. It should be an interesting experience. Noone who knows me should be surprised to know that as soon as I heard I'd been selected, Jenny and I put together a spreadsheet of the players in the league and started filtering. I really want to have a fun, clean season, but it would be nice to win some games, too. ;) So after a couple of hours working on the spreadsheet, I have a plan for how I'm going to make my picks. I'll have to do a little revision after the new player skate on Tuesday, but by and large I feel pretty good going into the draft. We'll see how I come out, though. ;)

08:36 AM by Eric: Two baby posts in one! Kids

First off, congrats Fiona and Simon on the birth of their baby boy! I can't wait until we get to come visit. :) He sounded like he had a very healthy set of lungs on the phone.

Second, some Ollie updates.

One: The test results finally came back. Ollie has no genetic abnormalities, i.e. no Cystic Fibrosis, so we are assured (again) that he's entirely normal, just skinny, the same way his mom and her sisters were as babies. (Believe it or not, I was not skinny as a baby. ;))

Two: Photos from Louisville are up. There are also a couple of other random photos you can find by going to the Recent Updates Album.

Three: Given his recent interest in food (by "interest in" I mean "grabbing food off our plates") we talked to our pediatrician, and so Ollie had his first real food this morning: some cooked, pureed sweet potatoes. His facial expression was pretty priceless; I have video of the deed itself and a few photos of the "aftermath" I'll try to post soon.

09:36 PM by Eric: Home Kids

Not that I don't like traveling and seeing my family, but I'm a homebody to the core.

Ollie seems to like home too... tonight he put himself to sleep for the first time, no fuss at all, just lay him down (awake), kiss him goodnight and close the door.

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All original content copyright Eric Means (eric@randomtree.org)

This page was last updated Sun 23 September 2007 at 08:47 AM CDT