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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Wild Kingdom (Suburbia Stylee) 

It's kind of neat to see what sorts of animals are raiding the garden in the middle of the night. Last night, around 8:30 p.m., I glanced out the back window to see a big mamma possum (Didelphis virginiana) ambling along through the backyard. Evelin accused it of being the animal that had raided our tomatoes, but I wasn't sure: She was staying in the back of the yard and didn't seem inclined to approach the house. Of course I've caught possums in the compost heap before and I've seen one skitter across the neighbor's driveway, so we know they do get up by the house.

I went out to pick any ripe/nearly ripe tomatoes, just in case, but by the time I got outside, she had made her way into the brush and/or the neighbor's yard.

Quinn awoke around 3:00 a.m.; after a little excitement (Evelin seems to have gotten a bit dehydrated with some of Quinn's extended nursing sessions tonight, and she ended up getting sick), we were headed back into bed around 3:30 a.m. and I happened to glance out the back window to see three raccoons (Procyon lotor) run, one after the other, through the backyard and disappear around the corner of the house.

Every time I'd get up to soothe Quinn, I'd check the window and around 4:15 a.m., there was just one raccoon making his way back and forth over part of the yard. Maybe he was digging up grubs, moles, or something else (it would explain some of the holes that have popped up in the backyard), I don't know. After about five minutes, he disappeared into the shadows.

About the same time, Celeste gave a little sleep cry: "No go into green room, puppy." I'm not 100% sure about "room" but the rest of the sentence was pretty clear ... what it means, who knows ...

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Bedtime Stories 

These days, as Celeste is winding down for bed (and throughout much of the rest of the day), she makes demands for a story. "Daddy/Mumma, tell Celeste story ..." Sometimes she'll remember to say "Please," although more often than not she needs to be prompted. Other times, she makes specific story requests.

Tonight, she said: "Daddy, tell Celeste story 'bout Celeste, Daddy fly airplane Grammy house, get Celeste puppy dog." The back-story to that tale is that when Evelin and the girls extended their visit to Massachusetts in late June, they visited Evelin's grandmother ... and Celeste's stuffed puppy dog (or, I should say, one of her stuffed puppy dogs) had the misfortune to be left behind. We've been telling Celeste that puppy dog was taking a plane to get home, but it took a while for anyone to post the puppy to Maryland. (We have it on reliable authority that the dog is now on its way home as of Wednesday.)

She also will sometimes make a story request and then expand it as we go: "Daddy, tell Celeste story bout Celeste, Dee Dee Bear go library ..." [story starts] "... get book 'bout honey [points at Dee Dee] ..." [story continues; mentions Quinn] "... in carseat, Mumma car ..." [story about to restart] "... Quinn" [switch to sign] MILK MILK MILK ... [and so forth].

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A Week Late and a Dollar Short 

Before anyone wonders, no the girls haven't killed me and stashed my body under a crib; it's just been one of those weeks.

Last weekend we took a quick (up on Saturday; back on Sunday) trip to Evelin's sister's in New Jersey. The drive up wasn't too bad — a little bit of fussing — but there was a milk stop/fussing incident that coincided with our exit just north of Allentown, PA, and I didn't realize we were staying on the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike for too long until we were nearing the Lehigh Tunnel. Earlier in the day, Celeste had been impressed with the Harbor Tunnel in Baltimore, crying out for "More" once we got back to the surface, so I thought she'd like the Lehigh Tunnel. She judged it to not be as nice as the Harbor Tunnel.


Despite the extended drive north, we were only about an hour or so later in arriving at M---'s than we'd expected. We had a bit of visiting and play time, before it was time for dinner and then bath/bed for the kids.

The next morning, we ended up going down to the lake/beach. It was cool, but Celeste was adamant that she didn't want to wear more than her swimmy diaper. M--- and K--- splashed near the shore and Evelin and Quinn stayed on the beach, but Celeste and I took advantage of the water (which was warmer than the air) and walked all the way out. I did hit an underwater hole, which startled Celeste, but I kept her head above water. After a little swimming and splashing, I ducked my head under and Celeste pronounced me "clean" and said I was "hairwashing." (During her baths, Celeste is happy to pronounce herself clean, but hairwashing is always preceded by the word "no.")

The drive back was along our intended northbound route (much of it along Route 57), and went pretty well. Celeste had a good nap, and Quinn was happier more often than not.

One thing I expected to be able to find out more about once we got home was The Concrete Mile. At some point along Route 57, I noticed a sign denoting the road segment as "The Concrete Mile," but there was neither time nor place to pause and look for a historical marker. There's not too much info as far as I could find on the Internets, but the gist of the story is that in 1912, Thomas Edison was involved with pouring this one-mile segment of the Morris Turnpike. It's lasted under continuous use with only minor repairs since then. [ Concrete Products | The Record | vintage picture ]

The rest of the week has been the usual work and what not. Tuesday went relatively well with the girls; they both slept until nearly 3:00 p.m. However, Quinn woke from her nap crying and was generally unhappy until she went back down. Her second wake up was much more peaceful. On Thursday, both girls were a little off, but we managed to make it out for a quick trip to the farmers market. And Quinn won't drink more than a few tugs from the bottle, so she was really, really happy to see her mother when she got home.

The odd thing is that Celeste has been getting really worried about the helicopters and planes that fly over the house several times a day. She'll point out the window and say "No plane" and if it doesn't immediately veer away from our airspace, she gets upset ... sometimes to the point of needing a hug or her blankie. It could be part of an attention-seeking thing (the worst reactions come when I've been spending a bit of time trying to comfort/feed/entertain Quinn), or maybe just a phase. She's also been a bit concerned about loud cars, particularly tricked out rides with purposefully loud mufflers. Those annoy me, too.

Also Wednesday was Evelin's birthday, something I realized Tuesday night when I was telling Evelin how I'd asked Celeste if she wanted to help make her mumma a birthday card on Thursday and Celeste said, "No. For Celeste!" Evelin then asked (in a slightly conspiratorial tone) if her birthday was Thursday and what today was. I said that I hoped it was the 25th (which it was), and then she started laughing.

This autumn will be our eighth wedding anniversary, and we dated for several years prior to that ... and I still misremember her birthday pretty much every year. I had presents, I had a plan, it was all set to spring on the 27th ... one day too late. Doh!

So that's all the week late, as for the dollar short bit ... we need to get a new stove, so it'll be more like a few hundred dollars short. We've needed a new stove for a while, but have kept putting it off ... even after the solenoid shorted out during a self-cleaning cycle leaving us unable to open the oven for a few days until I figured out how to take the back panel off and disengage the automatic lock. That was a few years ago ... it's long past time.

This weekend, I want to take the back panel off again and check out how the connections are done, just to assure myself that we don't have a recurrence of the F²/D² of last summer.

I think this is the model we're getting. It doesn't have a nice double oven or anything, but it be way better than the old Harvest Gold Montgomery Ward range it's replacing.

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Chinese Name 

When I was 15, the World's Fair came to New Orleans. I remember going several times during the summer with friends and family. I don't recall too many specifics, but I remember liking the Australia and Canada pavilions, as well as seeing the Space Shuttle up close, the fireworks, and riding the gondola across the Mississippi River. I also vaguely recall the Brazil exhibit having piranhas and a worry about what would happen if they escaped into the Mississippi.

In the China Pavilion, as I remember it, there was a large marketplace and in one of the booths a person would write your name on a bookmark in Chinese characters.* I think I still have that bookmark somewhere. (I run across it every now and then in a book and I keep meaning to put it where I can find it, but never do.) I remember that the calligrapher said to simply say my name two or three times and not to spell it, but I know I tripped up and started spelling at one point.

Fast forward to this morning, when I ran across a link to this About.com article on rendering English names in Chinese. According to the site, phonetically my name works out as 罗斯托马斯卡特 (Luósī Tuōmǎsī Qiǎtè), using last-name-first ordering. I remember the writing on the bookmark being fairly long, so that might well be how it was rendered, despite my attempt to spell things out. Of course, if I used the everyday form of my name, I guess it would be rendered as 茶卡特罗斯 (Chá Qiǎtè Luósī).

*Cool as that was, the Korean Pavilion had a calligrapher who painted Western names using birds, fish, plants, etc., to replicate the Latin letters. My mother had her name done by him; it looks a lot nicer than I'm making it sound here ...

[ADDENDUM The painting my mother had done was pictorial calligraphy (동물화/革筆畵), "an unheard art which has survived more than few hundred years in Korea."]

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

A poore, infirme, weake, and dispis'd old man* 

Alive ... but just barely. Today was a bad one, and I say that knowing that my 10 to 12 hours each week as a stay-at-home dad hardly qualify me to say much about what it means to be the primary caregiver 24/7, but still ... oh man, today was ugly.

Both girls woke up within minutes of each other, and neither woke up very happy. I think Quinn would have liked to have gotten back to sleep, but it wasn't happening; and Celeste's pacifier had fallen out of her bed, which brought on a state of near hysteria.

All day, Quinn looked a bit distrustful of me. She wouldn't take more than an ounce or so of milk at a time, and when she was clearly tired, she still fought going to bed to her last.

Celeste was exhibiting several signs of sibling rivalry: trying to steal Quinn's bottle from her mouth, trying to insert herself between Quinn and me when I was trying to calm her down, trying to cry louder when Quinn was crying, usw. The only bit of it that was funny was that just about every time I put the bottle down, Celeste would swoop in to steal it (which was better than when she'd steal it from Quinn's mouth); I kept asking her if she wanted a sippy cup of "mumma milk," but she would decline in favor of furtive tugs on the bottle.

The worst came after Quinn woke up mad from her second nap of the afternoon. Celeste was already acting a bit fragile — she was really spooked every time a helicopter passed overhead, which, since our house apparently is in the flightpath between NSA and the White House and/or the Pentagon, is several times a day — and she really wanted to be the focus of my attention. Quinn was irritable and not eating, just tolerating life if she was in the BabyBjörn. I managed to get her to take a few tugs at the bottle, while at the same time getting dinner together for Celeste.

Celeste really, really wanted a plum, but earlier she'd talked about peas, so I had a bowl of peas ready for her to work on while I stoned and cut up the plum. (Quinn in the BabyBjörn really interfered with my knife skillz, I must say.) By the time I had the plum ready for her, the peas were being thrown across the room.

This may be a violation of the Article V Seconds Rule of the Geneva Conventions, but I told Celeste she couldn't have the plum until the peas were picked up. I gave her a bowl (which for a moment looked like it was going to be thrown to the floor) and then took the peas from the floor and put them on her highchair tray. I told her to put the peas in the bowl; instead, Celeste ate every one of them. She then demolished her plum, a bit more than half of a mushroom burger with cheese, two bowls of blueberries, and a bowl of yoghurt with blueberries and wheat germ.

After dinner, with Quinn back in the BabyBjörn, Celeste wanted me to crawl under the table to fetch her doll pram. I tried pointing out to her that with Quinn strapped to me, I couldn't really do it, but that she was more than capable of getting it herself. I even offered to talk her through moving the one or two items that were in her way. She started wailing ... of course Quinn was still wailing too ... so I pretty much was ready to start crying.

Fast forward about 40 minutes, and Evelin was home. Yah Evelin! Quinn brightened up immediately and had a very long feeding session. Celeste was happy and got a bit of mumma time as well as some one-on-one time with her old man (weirdly enough, she pulled a copy of King Lear off the bookshelf and told me to read it — there might be a caution in there somewhere ...)

*King Lear, Act III, scene ii

At one point, while Quinn was in the BabyBjörn and crying and Celeste was begging to be picked up, I said to myself "Oh man ..." Celeste immediately picked up the phrase and started saying in a lebensmüde tone that mimicked my own pretty well, "Oh man ..."

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

They Thought Me Mad ... 

... when I scoured eBay for a Neurosmith Babbler when Celeste was still in utero, but the girl was speaking some Spanish last night.

Actually, the Babbler hasn't had too much time out of the toybox over the past year, but we did pull it out to see if Quinn liked the flashing lights and the snippets of Spanish, French, and Japanese sounds/words. She does, as did Celeste. However, the unexpected thing was when the Babbler said "¡Hola!," Celeste replied back with the same [MP3]. I expressed a bit of amazement, and then Evelin, rather nonchalantly, noted, "She can also say 'Bonjour.'" And then Celeste did [MP3].

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Rash and Puzzle Video 

When Celeste woke up from her nap, I went into her bedroom to find her trying to tug her dress over her head. We both had a little laugh about it, until I noticed a red, bumpy, splotchy patch over her sternum. I immediately started thinking it was something like fifth disease, measles, chicken pox, etc., and called Evelin to see if she'd noticed it earlier in the day.

Evelin said she hadn't spied anything rash-like on Celeste, and then Celeste started making motions like she'd hurt herself trying to climb out of the crib or something. In retrospect, I would have heard a loud noise and/or crying if that was the cased, but at the time, I thought maybe the rash was a bruise/brush burn.

I started asking some questions, which Evelin rightly said were leading the witness ("Did you hurt yourself trying to climb out of your crib?" "Uh-huh."), so I switched tactics and asked if she'd been bit by a dinosaur (Celeste said, "No."). Then I noticed a red dot near her mouth and remembered that Evelin said Celeste had had a plum at lunch.

Turns out it was just plum drippings that'd fallen inside her dress and Evelin hadn't cleaned them up. The "rash" washed away pretty easily.

Quinn slept through all of this. She actually had a good nap today, after which she took a good 4-fluid-ounce bottle without a problem. I think part of the problem is she isn't comforted by a bottle; if she's fussy, a bottle only makes things worse. If she's just hungry (and otherwise in a good mood), a bottle is fine.

While Quinn was napping, I tried filming Celeste doing one of her puzzles. I'm still impressed by how well she does with puzzles — very little hesitation, knows where pieces go, pretty good at figuring out the orientation. The camera has a 30-second buffer, so there are some jumps where I stitched together the AVI files, but she (or actually puppy for the first few pieces) did the puzzle in not much more than 90 seconds.


(And in the interest of multimedia sibling parity, I'd note that Quinn's entry from Saturday about talking now has an MP3 of her cooing ...)

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Reaching Skyward 

Every morning and just about every afternoon (the exception is when I get early enough word that the 14th Street Bridge is a hopeless mess), I drive past the Pentagon and the Naval Annex. At some point a few months ago, I noticed cranes and something happening, but it took a few more weeks before my curiosity got to the point where I had to find out what was going on.

Turns out, it's the new Air Force Memorial and while it's been interesting to see the spires go up, it's way cooler to read in the Post about the engineering marvel/oddity the memorial is, complete with energy-dampening "balls in boxes" to keep winds from knocking the spires over.

The other interesting thing, from a few weeks ago, is that the memorial ended up interferring with police radio communications.

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Mushrooms and Talking 

Quinn is talking up a storm [MP3]. Not the same sort of talking as Celeste, but cooing and giggling and making lots of little vocalizations. From the beginning, Quinn has always been a more verbal infant that we remember Celeste being ... which could mean she'll grow to be quite chatty. What's remarkable about all the talking now is that she'd been quite quiet for much of the past week. It might have been because of a leap or a growth spurt or her eye bugging her (it's really hard to say), but this morning she was nonstop chatting. Also nice is that she slept really well last night and she had good naps Friday. I'm sure it's all interconnected ...

Oh, and she turned three months old a few hours ago ...
Quinn at Three Months

In a totally different vein, Evelin and I looked out the back window this morning and we both noted a very big mushroom in the back of the yard. We have a lot of different mushrooms and toadstools and given how wet it's been lately, it's not surprising for one to appear overnight, but this one looked big. A few hours later, while Celeste was having lunch, we looked to see a bunch of sparrows, a grackle, a starling, and a few other birds attacking the mushroom. Since the starling was working hard to keep the other, smaller birds away Evelin decided to go break up the mushroom to make it easier for them all to share.

When she got down to that part of the yard, however, Evelin found it wasn't a mushroom ... it was a very hard loaf of bread. Either someone put it out in their yard and a raccoon or some other animal stole it and dropped it in our yard. Breaking the loaf apart did some good: As I look out the window four starlings are guarding their own piece of break, keeping the sparrows away ...

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Friday, July 14, 2006

O− Represent 

This headline — Substitute Blood Development Suffers Blow — caught my eye this morning and reminded me that it's been a long time since I donated blood. I made an appointment for my lunch break.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Things Looked Grim ... 

When I arrived home (around 12:30 p.m.), the girls were both asleep, but Evelin said that Quinn had been fussy and irritable all day for no discernable reason. I quickly made a sandwich and dealt with a few work e-mails for about a half-hour until Quinn started crying.

It wasn't her normal plaintive cry, this was a full-throated scream with few breaths for air.

I got her up, changed her diaper, and shuttled her downstairs, trying to calm her with little luck. She ended up in the BabyBjörn, which eventually settled her down, but only while we were facing the shaving stand mirror and while I was making goofy faces — and there was no smiling from her, just a strained, "amuse me monkey or I shall wail" expression on Quinn's part.

About 45 minutes to an hour later, she dozed back off in the BabyBjörn, and I managed to transfer her to her crib without waking her. Of course, as I closed Quinn's door, Celeste called out for me, so it was from one room to the next.

Celeste was good and happy after her two-hour nap ... until she tried to lean over to pick up her blanket after I'd picked her up and she cracked her head against the side of the crib. I made sure we had an Ernie diaper and got her downstairs before her crying woke Quinn.

There was no interest on Celeste's part in a bag of frozen peas or even a cool teething ring against the rapidly bruising knot on her head, but she did calm down and start wanting to play with her tea set — a very good sign.

And the turning point ... the rest of the day went quite well. Quinn slept for another hour, giving Celeste and me some good play time together. Quinn took a bottle with no major drama. She did get a bit fussy and need to spend some more time in the BabyBjörn, but she wasn't inconsolable like she had been earlier in the afternoon. Quinn even started to take a second bottle at 5:00 p.m., but nodded off after a few sips ... and ended up sleeping long enough for Evelin to get home and have dinner.

(It's 8:07 p.m. right now, and Evelin is nursing Quinn; it looks like she'll be going to bed within her usual range, between 7:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., which hopefully will mean she does better about sleeping through the night than she has the past few nights when she's had an early morning wake-up around 3:00 a.m. and then up for the day between 5:15 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.)

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More About the Girls 

Celeste has taken to demanding "Ernie diapes." She wears Pampers Cruisers, but she wants nothing to do with the ones with Cookie Monster, Bert, or Big Bird printed on them. She'll accept an Elmo diape, if she has to, but only an Ernie diape is embraced with glee. I don't get it. We've taken to pulling two diapers at random from the bag and asking her to pick. Once I picked two Big Birds, that got a big "no, no" from her. Yesterday, she got a Ernie and as I was putting it on, she remarked "Elmo, Big Bird. Buttside." referring to the small pictures on the back of the diaper. At least it sounded like she said "buttside," maybe she said "backside," but I'm not sure. I'm also not sure where the learned that.

Quinn has definately found her fingers and how to use them. She's getting really good at gripping things and is managing to pick up small toys to bring them to her mouth. She's also fond of sucking her hands; we may not need to find a suttetræ for this one ... unlike her big sister.

Celeste and Quinn Tummytime
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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

At First I Was Afraid, I Was Petrified ... 

... but like I survived, despite one late wrinkle in the day's plans. Quinn's had a little goop in her left eye for a few days; we figured it was a blocked tear duct (Celeste had the same thing at one point early in her life), so we were following the directions from back then and we kept thinking it was looking better, but this morning Evelin called the pediatrician and setup a 3:00 p.m. appointment.

3:00 p.m. is a curious time. It used to be Celeste was up well before then, but she's been sleeping later in the morning and her nap has been a little bit later. Even if she's in her crib by quarter past noon, it can take her until 1:00 p.m. to fall asleep. She just spends the time in bed talking with her stuffed animals, quietly playing, and, eventually, nodding off.

Quinn, nighttime is pretty good in terms of sleep. <knockwood>She can stay down from 8:30 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. fairly reliably.</knockwood> Naps, on the other hand are a crapshoot. Some days she takes good naps; others, she's out for only 15 minutes at a time ... and grumpy.

Today was one of those days. Quinn woke about a half-hour after Evelin left for work. Celeste dinnae fall asleep until a little past 1:00 p.m. Quinn nodded off again in the BabyBjörn, but only for about 15 minutes ... and then it was time to get everyone ready for the trip to the doctors' office. Celeste wasn't up at this point, but there wasn't another option besides hustling her out of bed.

In the end it worked out okay. Celeste was awake, albeit not ready to get out of bed, and Quinn ended up falling asleep in the parking lot as soon as we arrived ... and slept pretty much until the nurse called her name.

[ASIDE: She's now 13 pounds, 13 ounces.]

The exam went well, up until the doctor checked Quinn's ears at which point she lost it, which set Celeste off. He confirmed our suspicion of a blocked tear duct and dashed off a quick prescription for antibiotic eyedrops and I started getting a wailing baby and a ready-to-leave toddler ready to go. In hustling them out of the place, I left the prescription on the exam table.

Back at home, it took a bit of work to get Celeste a snack and to calm Quinn (mostly by putting her back in the BabyBjörn), but eventually we settled into a little groove. I did feel a bit bad because it seemed like I was having to ignore one or the other girl much of the time, but Celeste and several stuffed animals had an epic tea party, and Quinn even eventually (at 5:00 p.m. — she hadn't eaten since noon) took a small bottle.

Evelin's home now; the girls are in bed; and I'm having some of the Evan Williams Single Barrel (1996 vintage) I picked up for when my folks were visiting back in April. Smooth, spicy, nice. And as soon as the glass is empty, I'm going to bed.

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אױ װײ* 

I'm a terrible blogger and, by extension, a terrible parent since a lot of my blogging is devoted to the girls. Actually, "the girls" is something Evelin should be blogging about were she the blogging sort. (Or should that be "were she bloggish"? Neologisms amuse and distract me.) A few nights ago, as we were headed to bed, Evelin turned to me and said: "Do you know what's good about having two daughters? You can say 'the girls.'" I have to admit it wasn't the first thing that came to mind, but she has a point ...

Here's a short list of entries I've missed over the past few weeks:

Last Weekend (8–9 July): Saturday, I spent about four hours picking up sticks, trimming bushes, and mowing the ogräs ...

Last Thursday (6 July): I took Celeste and Quinn by myself on a little trip to the Bladensburg Waterfront. Celeste didn't want to go to the farmers market or to the park, but the idea of a trip to the river piqued her interest. Quinn, naturally, fell asleep shortly into the drive there, but managed to stay asleep as I transferred her from the bucket to the BabyBjörn and back again, waking soon after we got home. Celeste wasn't too keen on walking through the grass, but once we were on the big bridge over the Anacostia, she was pretty excited to see the ducks and geese, as well as four great blue herons (Ardea herodias) and, I think, a great egret (Ardea alba).

The Blackouts (4–5 July): On the afternoon of the Fourth of July, we were treated to some natural fireworks in the form of a wet microburst that knocked down trees and brought a good bit of rain. It also knocked out our power around 5 p.m. Things came back up late in the afternoon on the 5th, but went out again a few hours later, although it was back up by 9:30 p.m. or so. The girls didn't seem to mind the lack of power (Celeste is in bed before we have to really turn on the lights anyway), and the neighbor who usually turns on the supernoisy generator as soon as the lights flicker is away, so we only had a little disturbance when his stepson turned it on for a few hours in the evening.

Earlier on the Fourth: Evelin went in to her office for a little while to get ready for her return to work, leaving me alone with the girls. For the most part it went okay, except for when I was trying to feed Quinn a bottle and the phone rang. I asked Celeste to get the phone and she tripped as she excitedly ran over to the usually verboten phone. To try and calm her, I told Celeste to come over to me; she ended up climbing up into lap, so I lifted her over Quinn and on to my shoulder, where she started to try to knock a picture off the wall. Evelin said I made a few parenting mistakes — number one: what was Celeste doing climbing on me while I was feeding Quinn — and she's right. But no one was hurt ...

One Other Thing: From Parent Hacks is the bit of good news that spinning in circles with your baby is good for their development. Celeste has long loved spinning (she gives some of her stuffed animals airplane rides regularly), and with science on my side, I will start spinning around with Quinn until we're both good and dizzy ... even though it makes the grandmothers quite nervous.

And Wrenching Back to the Present: Today is Evelin's first day back in the office. I have the girls alone this afternoon for the full afternoon. I'm a bit scared ...

* Eliezer Segal has an interesting article about the etymology and usage of oy vey

Monday, July 03, 2006

Don't Play Outside ... 

Celeste's language is booming. Everyday, we're being surprised by new words that she knows and uses — sometimes she's just parroting, like when she said film noir yesterday when I was giving Evelin a word to describe the genre of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (good movie, by the way); other times, she picks something up and runs with it, like tonight's use of armpit.

For a while now, she's been "singing" along with us. If she knows the song/nursery rhyme, you can pause and she'll fill in the missing word. She knows/says just about every other word of Georgie Porgie and Yankee Doodle Dandy (although not all 190 verses that link claims).

Tonight, as she was winding down for bed, she ordered me to sing "Cemetry Gates" (or as she refers to it, "Sunny Day"). I paused after "If you must write prose/poems / The words you use should be your own / Don't ..." and Celeste promptly filled in "play outside," which isn't quite Moz's lyric ("plagiarize"), but it's close ...

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Doing Okay 

After the troubles of yesterday morning, I think we have things in hand with Quinn (at least with me and Quinn along — add Celeste to the mix and all bets are off). The biggest problem I had with the first feeding with Quinn was that she wanted to be in a much lower position that was possible with the bottle.

We have a bunch of Playtex Drop-Ins-based bottles and those always worked well for Celeste, but it just dinnae happen with Quinn, at least not at first. For the second feeding, I tried an Avent Naturally bottle, but it ended up leaking quite a bit. I don't think I put the bag in properly.

Despite both of us needing to change our clothes after that feeding, Quinn did much better than with the first bottle of the day, however, I was still thinking we'd need to try some other sort of bottle/feeding system. I was thinking something like the Breastbottle would work well; Evelin suggested something like the Gabriel Feeding Harness. (I'm pretty sure she was joking.)

[CORRECTION: Evelin just informed me that the Gabriel Feeding Pad is not what she had in mind; she was thinking of one of the Medela Supplemental Nursing Systems ...]

The third (and final) bottle of the day (and both of them thus far today) was much easier. I'm not sure she's taking as much from the bottle as she takes directly from Evelin (Quinn's stomach doesn't feel as firm after a bottle feeding as it does after breastfeeding), but she does pretty good: 1.5 ounces or so and then maybe another quarter ounce while playing or falling asleep on the Boppy.

For all those bottles, we used the Playtex Drop-Ins but with latex nipples instead of the silicone ones. Celeste always did well with the silicone ones, but I guess the softer latex ones work better for Quinn ... or maybe they just work better because Celeste didn't use them and thus they're new. I don't know.

The next test will be Tuesday. Evelin is going to find something to do by herself for a few hours while I try juggling both girls by myself. ¡Eep!

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Home Alone ... 

... with Quinn. Evelin and Celeste took off this morning to go for a ride on the Metro and then down to the park, leaving Quinn and I alone to figure each other out. We need to get comfortable with each other and she really needs to get happy with the occasional bottlefeeding because Evelin goes back to work in about 10 days, which means back to part-time stay-at-home daddying for me. But this time I'm outnumbered.

It'll be same situation as before (and that has continued through Evelin's maternity leave): Monday, Wednesday, Friday I work long days; Tuesday, Thursday I leave work at noon so Evelin can go in to her office until 6:00 p.m.

So this morning, Evelin and Celeste left as Quinn was starting to get hungry. After a lot of crying and false starts and a few attempts by Quinn to dodge the bottle and to latch on to my shirt instead, she managed to take about an ounce of milk before giving up and needing to hang out in the BabyBjörn. About 15 minutes later, she started fussing again, so I tried the bottle again, and she fell asleep taking the second ounce. (I have several 2-ounce bottles in the fridge for today so that I don't have to waste much milk if it turns out she's not going to take the bottle at any given time.)

She's been asleep (disjointedly) for about 45 minutes now, so she'll probably wake up hungry within the next half hour or so, so I'm just trying to clean up a little and enjoy the quiet ... I'm also trying not to think about what adding Celeste to the mix will mean. If Quinn's comfortable with a bottle (and she'll take it downstairs), then it shouldn't be too bad for Celeste — she can read or color or play by herself while Quinn is feeding. But if Quinn's screaming ... well, that has proved stressful for all three of us.

Looking back in the blog, the first two days alone with Celeste [ Day One | Day Two ] were pretty bad, but the third day went pretty well.

So if Quinn and I practice today, some tomorrow, and maybe some on the Fourth, then hopefully that first day as a PTSAHD will not lead to a hospital trip for anyone (although I'm pretty sure I will still be hitting the gin, scotch, and/or tequila as soon as the girls are in bed ...)

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