Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Our Feng Shui is Very, Very Dead

Our little girl is growing up. Yesterday, Linda and I decided it was time. We picked the hottest day of the year to take apart the crib and move it into the bedroom. Violet’s getting too big for the bassinet, and since we only have one bedroom in our house, we had to swap it out for the crib. Of course, we didn’t have enough room in our bedroom for the crib, so we had to take the dresser out of the bedroom to make room. We put it in the living room, more or less where the crib used to be. As we hauled the dresser drawers out of the bedroom and slid them into place, I told Linda, “We must’ve done something wrong along the way. We’re both nearly 40, and we’ll be standing in our living room when we pick out underwear.” She wisely pointed out that it’s for Violet, and I should stop whining. Not in so many words. She said it nicer. But that’s what she meant.                                                                                                                                                                   
191 days old

Monday, May 30, 2011


Yesterday, we went to a graduation party. It was the second of two family gatherings at which Violet showed the side to her self that, in all honesty, seems foreign – her unhappy side. On the phone and here in this blog, I tell everyone how good-natured she is at home and out on the town, but as soon as she’s surrounded by family, the corners of the lips go down, the inner ends of the eyebrows bunch up, and it’s all over except the screaming and the crying. The frustrating part is that Linda just brought her to an event at school; the hallways were mobbed with parents and kids, it was hot and loud, and Violet was the calm, Zen master in the middle. She just looked around, suffered serenely through the stares, the pokes, the oohs and ahhs, and she even doled out a few smiles. But put her in the arms of an aunt, an uncle, or her godfather, and she cries like she’s been stood up on prom night. Maybe it’s because at the school event, she was in her stroller and wasn’t being passed from person to person like she was at the family party. Maybe she needs her own space when so many people are around. I suppose we can try to keep her in her car seat at the next family event, but I’m sure we’ll end up offending someone, saying, “Sorry, she doesn’t like being held too much.” Someone will listen to those words and hear instead, “Sorry, we don’t want her to be held by YOU.”

190 days old

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Zucchini? Survey says...

We gave Violet her second solid food today. Linda peeled and steamed a zucchini for twelve minutes, and then smashed it in our food mill. It looked like this:
I gave Violet a taste. She made faces, and then she started crying.

189 days old

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Baby Bee Mine

I took Violet for a walk and passed by an Autumn Olive shrub, it’s branches full of blossoms and bees. We stopped to watch them, the flowers and the insects, the nervous part of me worried that a bee might decide to sting Violet, and the naturalist part reminding me that bees rarely sting without reason. They were busy collecting nectar, and from the bulging pollen pouches on their back legs, they were collecting pollen, too; they had too much on their insect agendas to bother with us. So we watched and they worked. Violet’s eyes would wander until they came across a bee crawling into view from behind a leaf or a petal, and then her baby blues would lock on and stare. The bee would crawl out of sight, and her eyes would begin wandering again, until they found another. A moment later, a bee flew into the shrub from over my shoulder, coming close, with a buzz both loud and low. Violet’s head immediately turned in the direction of the sound, her eyes searching, and a look on her face that appeared nervous. A moment later, another bee left the shrub, also flying close, and Violet repeated her movements. Her nervous glances didn’t last long, but they left me questioning if she was afraid of the sound. Since she’s never received a sting, and she’s probably too young to remember it even if she had, was her fear innate? I know some people have displayed fears of snakes and spiders at a very young age, with no traumatic experience attached, leading some psychologists to study the phenomena and determine that some people are born with these fears already dwelling within them (according to the research, girls, more so than boys, arrive with the fear of spiders already installed). Some research on my part found no studies supporting inborn apiphobia (fear of bees) in people, and I found this fact reassuring. I’ve worked with kids a long time, and it disheartens me to see children afraid of bugs, spiders, snakes, and the like, especially because we are fortunate enough to live in an area with an abundance of fascinating creatures and an extremely small number of truly dangerous animals, and those that are found here are rarely encountered and easily avoided. While some of these fears are inborn, it’s more often the case that these fears are learned by example. Children see how those around them react to a snake or a bee, and they follow suit. I’ll do my best to make sure Violet’s curiosity is piqued rather then her fear, and I know Linda plans on downplaying her fear of spiders as much as possible. If someday Violet should find a big, fat garden spider weaving a web across her path, and instead of screaming or plotting its death, she pauses to admire its handiwork and the delicate pattern of yellow and black on its abdomen (followed by, I hope, a run to look it up in her field guide), then I’ll consider us successful parents in at least one area. So, what about Violet’s apparent fear of bees? My best guess is that the sound of the bee startled her. The depth and the volume of the buzz was unlike anything she’s heard, so maybe it made her uneasy. It’s her first spring and her first bee encounter, but these won’t be her last. She’ll soon be used to the sound.

188 days old

Friday, May 27, 2011

Little Miss Grabby

People keep asking how our cats (we have 5) are reacting to Violet. So far, they seem to consider her to be on par with the furnace – something to be avoided if making noise, occasionally sniffed, but generally ignored. Over the last few weeks, however, she has taken more of an interest in them; reaching out when they are near, studying them when they walk past. When they happen to lay close, we have to watch her because her idea of petting is limited to clutching a handful of fur, whiskers, or an entire face. We worry that the day is not too far off when one of the cats will come to the end of their patience and take a swipe at her. I hope it doesn’t happen, but if it does, I’m hoping it's on someone else's watch.

187 days old

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Please don't report me...

I’ve been wondering for some time when Violet will become ticklish. Any attempts at tickling usually elicit no reaction; occasionally, she gets a slightly annoyed look on her face. There’s nothing on the topic in What to Expect…, and when I searched online, I kept running into wise advice like this:

…and it was also shown in a study that they cannot react to it but if you tickle them long enough then it can cause mental retardation. Thus, you should not do it. ! :)
(I found the use of the word “thus” and the emoticon lent this one real credibility.) So what’s your experience? Does ticklishness usually happen at a certain age or is it different with every child? Do you find tickling to be cruel? Am I risking irreparable mental damage to Violet?

186 days old

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quick Thought

I never realized what a sheltered childhood I had until I became a teacher, and I never truly appreciated it until I became a parent.

185 days old

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How to Make God Laugh? Tell Him Your Plans.

Linda’s thinking about going back to school. She went to an orientation today at a local college and brought home some information about a prospective program. In describing the details to me, she mentioned possible graduation dates of 2013 and 2014, and I found myself figuring out how old Violet would be, picturing if she would be old enough to watch and appreciate her mom walk across a stage in a cap and gown. Before Violet, the mention of dates two or three years down the road would not have brought to mind any corresponding thoughts. Not to say that my life wasn’t exciting, but what’s the big difference between being forty-one and forty-two? I might wonder if I'll still be teaching second grade or if I'll still have a beard, but no life changing events were planned. Now, I’m imagining a world of difference between being a parent of a two year old and the parent of a three year old. We now have this diapered agent of ongoing, continual change that will be nudging us into a slightly different life from day to day and a tremendously different life from year to year.

184 days old

Monday, May 23, 2011

"It's like a full body dry heave set to music."

I’m a fairly subdued person. It takes a lot to get me excited. Yet, I found myself dancing in the kitchen today. Arms and legs were swinging. There were jazz hands. All in the name of getting a smile out of Violet.

183 days old

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Want To Take You For Granted

There are still moments when I’m startled by Violet’s presence. When, absorbed in some routine or thought, I turn a corner to see her crib, full of toys but empty, or the pile of diapers on the coffee table waiting to be folded – our coffee table has diapers on it way more often than coffee mugs -  or, best of all, I come upon her, seated in her highchair and puzzling out its hows and whys, and for the briefest of moments, I think, “That’s weird…someone left a baby here.” These thoughts are always fleeting, but they’re happening less and less as Violet – just by being present - weaves herself more permanently into the hems and seams of our day-to-day. I don’t think I’ll miss these thoughts when they’re gone. For some reason, I feel slightly guilty having them now, but it’s a little scary to think about a time when I’m completely used to her being around because that means I won’t be able to picture living without her.

182 days old

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Yes, I Told Linda About This

Linda is usually too nice to mention it, but I am the reason we can't have nice things. I'm hard on everyting - clothes, furniture, glasssware, pets. You name it, and I've inadvertantly smashed it, stained it, or killed it. Which is why I have been so very careful with Violet. But, like death and taxes, the inevitable came to pass today, I hurt my daughter. I was trying, as I too often am, to do too many things at once - attempting to carry Violet, her bottle, AND her chair out onto the patio so I could feed her, and in making sure I didn't whack her chair against the door frame, I ended up whacking Violet's head instead. I felt the bump, and by time I realized what I had done, Violet let out the "I'm hurt" cry, the pitch and volume of which are unmistakeable. To know that I was the one responsible...ugh...I've never uttered a more genuine, "I'm sorry," than the hundred or so I said to Violet while I calmed her down. It took me longer than it should have to think of the bottle I set down after I hit her head. Once that was in her mouth she calmed right down, and I was free to examine her head for any permanent damage. So far, she looks okay.

181 days old

Friday, May 20, 2011

Six Months Old Today / Violet Provides a Condiment

Linda and I were sitting on the couch, eating dinner. Violet was in between us in her chair, playing quietly with her wooden rattle. She'd put it in her mouth, slam it on the tray a few times, stare at it, gnaw on it some more...and then she flung out her arm. I heard a *clink*, and looked down to see...

180 days old

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Spoonful Weighs a Ton

Today, Violet had her first taste of something besides breast milk - rice cereal mixed with breast milk. She gave it two messy thumbs up.

179 days old

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just Three Things...

Some nights, I sit down to write a post, and I don't have an idea in my head. I'm often surprised when, after looking through old posts or pictures of Violet or comments left behind, an idea surprises me, rising to the surface in my brain. Other times, I struggle for an hour or more, wondering if I should just find a good quote that someone else said about babies, before an idea, sometimes weak and sometimes wonderful, makes itself known. And then there are nights like last night, when the well is bone dry, and I've promised to take an overnight feeding and I know I need to go to bed and I'm left wondering if I've said all I have to say and thought all I have to think about Violet for the time being.

But then I'm blessed by a day overflowing with words spoken, thoughts caught, and small events, all of which brought Violet to my mind. This post and the last I owe to Amy LV, writer and writing teacher extroidanaire who visited my school today to lead a workshop. She started the session by sharing the Emerson poem with us, and later, as we spoke about finding time for students to write during a busy school day, Amy said, "Time, kindess, and a stack of good books..that's all you really need." As soon as she said it, it occured to me that her statement doesn't just apply to teaching writing, and I knew I had found tonight's post.

178 days old

Check out Amy LV's blog: http://poemfarm.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

If Only...

From a Letter to His Daughter

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities
no doubt have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely
and with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with
your old nonsense

This day is all that is
good and fair.
It is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on yesterdays.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

177 days old

Monday, May 16, 2011

"The shampoo specifically said, 'No More Tears'."

We have reached another milestone.

Yesterday, Violet completed a bathing and drying session without shedding a single tear. There was even some splashing. She may soon be ready for the rubber duck.

176 days old
Yes, I should have a picture of her bathing, tear-free, in the sink, but I was too busy waiting for her to start crying to think about taking pictures.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Cavity Creeps - part 2

So, does breastfeeding during the night promote cavities? A quick Google search found plenty of stories about moms and their cavity-ridden children, their dentists imploring them to stop breastfeeding at night. It also revealed replies to nearly every one of these stories from moms who claim to have breastfed all night long and woken up every morning to cavity-free children. Who to believe?

Apart from the dentists in those stories, what I read in What to Expect…, and what I found on the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s website, I couldn’t locate any other source supporting stopping breastfeeding at night after the first tooth appears. Even the Academy’s website makes their recommendation seem wobbly, with references to the fact that the “literature is unclear on this relationship [between breastfeeding and cavities]”. I did, however, find plenty of information arguing against the idea of night breastfeeding causing cavities. One study looked at skulls of children from 500-1,000 years ago and found no connection between breastfeeding and tooth decay. Another study placed teeth in different solutions and found that breastmilk was practically identical to water in its effect on teeth. Decay problems arose when small amounts of sugar were added to the breastmilk. Much of what I read echoed this fact: it’s the combination of sugar and/or food particles and breastmilk that could cause problems. Proper and regular brushing before bed will minimize this risk. So when Violet’s first tooth pops through her gums, we’ll be sure to start brushing it before we kiss her good night, but breastfeeding at night will continue.

There’s a lot more information than what I’ve mentioned here. There are other factors that can increase the risk of tooth decay in kids, including genetics and fetal development. If you’re interested in reading more, I’ve included some links below. I’ll end with my favorite find because it supports what I thought when I first read the recommendation that we stop breastfeeding with the first tooth’s arrival. Why would such a flaw in our makeup exist? It didn’t make sense to me. We humans aren’t perfect animals, but to be designed so that our first food rots our teeth seemed unlikely and illogical.

There are 4,640 species of mammals, all of whom breastfeed their young. Lactose is present in most of the breastmilk of these species. Humans are but one species of mammals, but are the only species with any significant [tooth] decay. Mammals… have been on the earth for 2 to 4 million years. Modern Homo sapiens have been around for 30,000 to 35,000 years. Dental decay, however, did not become a significant problem until about 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. Anthropologists believe the increase in decay was primarily due to the advent of the cultivated crops. Some anthropologists believe it would be evolutionary suicide for breastmilk to cause decay and that evolution would have selected against it.
175 days old

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Cavity Creeps - part 1

Have you heard about the link between nighttime breastfeeding and cavities in young children? I never did, until just a few days ago when I was reading the section in What to Expect the First Year on “The Seventh Month”, which Violet is about to enter. I figured I’d brush up on what Violet is supposed to and not supposed to be doing, just so I’d have an adequate supply of concerns for the month, and I was surprised to read the recommendation that we should cease all nighttime breastfeeding once Violet’s first tooth emerges. This is not some crackpot theory, this is straight from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The idea is that without the regular rinsing of the teeth that saliva provides during the waking hours, the sugars contained in breast milk will stay on the teeth, promoting decay.  I read the section to Linda, and we were both left wondering how we could possibly follow a “no breastfeeding at night” routine. Currently, Violet goes to sleep at and (usually) sleeps for 7-8 hours. Then, since it’s still 3 or , Linda brings her into bed and nurses her on and off until it’s time to get up at 8 or so. Stopping all nighttime feedings would mean shifting her to a later bedtime or trying to stretch her sleeping time from to 12 hours. Neither of these was an attractive alternative. So, we did some research – tomorrow, I’ll let you know what we found out.

174 days old

Friday, May 13, 2011

An Inevitable Question

Someone asked me today what I would do if Violet wants to eat meat when she’s older. Would I let her? What about when she’s out with friends? I’ve been asked these questions before and I’ve never taken them too seriously. Part of me is certain that as Violet grows and we reveal to her all the reasons that we are vegan, she’ll come to embrace and appreciate our values as her own. But there’s another part of me (usually a part that only rears it’s ugly, doubt-filled head in the single digits of the morning) that sees all the people sitting in McDonald’s and Burger King and wonders if I’m kidding myself. So, I’ve come up with this answer. I’m going to put meat-eating under the same behavior heading as smoking. “Not in my house, here’s all the reasons why you shouldn’t, and I don’t care if everyone else is doing it.”

173 days old

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cloth Diaper Update #3

It’s been awhile since I wrote an update about our cloth diaper adventures. When we left off, Linda and I had to order a new set of diapers because Violet had outgrown the small Fuzzibunz generously lent to us by friends. We tried to get medium diapers from the same couple, but they told us that they had lent the mediums to someone else who was still using them. We couldn’t be upset with our friends, because their generosity saved us hundreds of dollars. Consequently, the prospect of purchasing our own set left us cringing financially. Some searching on the Internet, however, led us to a deal that seemed incredible; Babyland are well-reviewed cloth diapers that sell for less than $4 each. We needed about two dozen, so compared with $15-$20 per diaper for the Fuzzibunz, we jumped on these. I couldn’t help feeling skeptical, but when they arrived, I had to admit that they worked well. The inner liners were a bit thin, so we had to double them up, especially overnight, but the savings far outweighed that complaint. Then we figured out we could just use the liners from the small Fuzzibunz instead. The one attribute of these diapers that did stand out was when we first opened them up, there was a strong chemical odor coming off them – a fuel-like odor. It grew more faint with each washing, but it bothered me, especially considering that the diapers came from China. Then, about a week ago, Linda’s mom thoughtfully sent us an “Organic Baby” book, and while flipping through it, Linda came across this section on non-organic fabrics:
Benzene, ammonia, and ethylene glycol are among the worst offenders. They are often found in fabric finishes. You can detect these chemicals in fabric by their synthetic feel and strong smell. They are often found in fleece, polyester, and polyester blends [exactly what our diapers are made out of]. These compounds irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. They’ve also been linked to cancer, depression, and leukemia...
Now, I can imagine you might be reading this and saying to yourself that if we ditch our new diapers, then we’re overreacting, and don’t think that that thought did not occur to me the moment that Linda read me that paragraph. I, too, felt the urge to throw up my hands and say, “Forget it!” We’re using cloth diapers, for God’s sake. Isn’t that one decision you should be able to make where you make it and you’re done? Where you can just say, “I’m doing a good thing for my baby and the planet,” and be done with it? Part of me wants – so very much - to say, “Fine, let’s just go back to disposables. Or else we just stick with these and whatever happens happens.” But then I think of all the people I know and love who’ve gotten cancer – healthy people who had no reason to get cancer, and that thought silences any other besides the one telling me to do whatever I can to minimize risks for Violet. They’re her diapers after all; they’re in constant contact with her skin 24 hours a day. So, while the Babyland diapers work great as diapers, their potential to poison is worrisome. I’m not completely sold on what was written in the organic baby book, but I won't feel completely comfortable snapping the new diapers on Violet until we can find more information on what went into them or we get new diapers.

And to those who still think we’re overreacting, I offer this in our defense:
the book also implied that if we cared at all about Violet, we’d get rid of everything plastic in our house – WOOD TOYS ONLY! We looked around at the menagerie of petroleum-based playthings scattered about our house and said, “Oh, well.”

172 days old

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Waiting Game

At last night, Violet took 3 minutes to drink the first half of her bottle and 20 minutes to drink the second half. No crying or fussing, but lots of, “I need to look over there! No, over there! No, wait…let me chew on this for a second. Oh, right..it’s a bottle. I’ll drink some. No, I need to look over there..”  And on and on. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel frustrated, but considering the hour, I didn’t feel as frustrated as you’d think. There’s something beguiling about the way she does it.

171 days old

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When You're Smiling...

I've watched Linda, Linda's mom, aunts, uncles, and even complete strangers smile at Violet. I've watched myself in the mirror while I smile at her. I've realized:no one smiles as openly and honestly as they do when they're smiling at a baby.

172 days old

Monday, May 9, 2011

Early Bird

I woke up Violet early on Saturday - – because we had to be on the road by . I’m the field trip coordinator for the Buffalo Audubon Society, which means I line up people to lead hikes around Western New York, and Saturday was the annual May bird hike at Amherst State Park. I wasn’t sure if I should bring Violet because, apart from the fact that she’s not quite ready to differentiate a yellow warbler from a pine warbler, birders tend to be a quirky bunch, and some of them don’t appreciate a birder who makes loud noises and scares away the birds, no matter how cute that birder might be. But I wanted to give Linda a morning to herself, I wanted to get Violet outside, and, to be truthful, I wanted to show her off. She did fine for about an hour, strapped to my chest and quietly watching everyone, putting up with me constantly putting my binoculars straps in her face while I tried to pinpoint this or that bird. I pointed out two different woodpeckers to her and the call of a swamp sparrow and a blue jay, and she seemed to look at a chickadee that landed in a branch just a few feet away from her. Her biggest reactions, however, were reserved for all the people who came up, telling her how good she was, and we even had one woman tell me that she’d been nervous when she saw me walk up with a baby. Of course, it was not soon after that Violet started to fuss. A light drizzle had started, so we went back to the car and I gave her a bottle. I expected to head home when she was finished, but the sun came out and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try and catch up with the group for the last stretch of the hike. Violet didn’t seem to mind and within in a few minutes, we found the group along a stream, all binoculars pointed at an immature red tailed hawk, perched in a tree and being mobbed by two orioles. I started to tell Violet about it, but then I realized she had fallen asleep. I’m taking it a sign of contentment rather than disinterest.

170 days old

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother. ~Author Unknown

Linda's (and Violet's) first Mother's Day today. She says she still doesn't feel like a mother, but I can see the change in her. I saw it today when Violet threw up all over her and there was no frustration or anger, just bemused acceptance as she changed every article of clothing she'd been wearing. I see it in how Violet reaches for her and what passes between them when they stare at each other.

Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~William Makepeace Thackeray

169 days old

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It's Not a Party Until Someone's Crying

We had our first aborted outing today - a birthday party for two of Violet’s cousins. We arrived with her in good spirits, but within an hour, Linda and I were in a bedroom, looking at each other and hoping the other could figure out why Violet was crying, and crying hard. She kept looking at each of us, red-faced and wide-mouth wailing, eyes questioning, “Why aren’t you helping me?” It brought to mind when she was in the hospital, crying and looking to us for some sort of help, but at least then we knew what was wrong. Tonight, we at first thought it might be gas, or maybe too many people, but we eventually arrived at teething pain. A finger to suck on, freshly dipped in ice water, calmed her for a bit, but it didn’t take long for us to realize that we were to be the first ones going home. And when we walked in the door and woke her up to take her out of her car seat, she was all smiles and soft coos. Maybe the nap on the car ride home made her feel better. Maybe the teething pain subsided. Maybe she's just socially constipated like her parents.
168 days old

Friday, May 6, 2011

Metamorphosis - stage 2

I went to the doctor yesterday, and I had to sit in the examining room for 40 minutes, waiting for the doctor to come in (Thankfully, it was the ear, nose, and throat doctor, so I was allowed to keep my clothes on). Instead of looking through the cupboards or playing with the instruments, like I would normally do, I carefully read the chart describing the “Vocal and Visual Development of Your Child” and I read at least three full articles in Parenting magazine. I know I’m a father now.

167 days old

Thursday, May 5, 2011

..And Then Comes Violet in the Baby Carriage

This post is late because last night, Linda and I were celebrating an anniversary. Fourteen years ago, we had our first date. Prior to that, we had gone out two or three times (she asked me out first), but our night out on May 5th was our first official date because of how it ended up. It started at a cafĂ©, with me in my usual tactless way, asking Linda, “So, what do you think is going on here?” – meaning, what did she think was going on with us - and with her answering in her usual, play-it-cool way, “N..nothing. Why?” After an hour or so of tentative and neurotic conversation, the date ended with us making out like our ship was going down. So, it was a good first date, and it deserves remembering.

166 days old

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


"Someday soon, she'll take her first step, and you'll probably miss it." Someone at work said that to me after I told them about Violet laughing for the first time. Some might have taken the comment as callous, but it didn't strike me that way. Instead, it made me think of Bloodroot, a spring ephemeral that blooms in the woods behind my house and from Quebec south to Florida and west to Texas and the Dakotas. Spring emphemerals are a group of wildflowers that emerge in early to mid spring. Most are striking in their delicate construction and simple beauty, and, as their name implies, these flowers come and go within a matter of weeks; some individuals bloom only for a few days.You have to know when and where to look because if you miss them, it will be another year before they reappear. Last week, Linda and I took Violet into our woods to gather some leek leaves, and I saw the leaves of Bloodroot unfolding upwards from the dead leaves. The flowers weren't yet open, and having missed last year's Bloodroot, I promised myself that I would get back out in a day or two to see the blossoms. It ended up being six days later, and instead of blossoms, there were two bare flowering stems, now going to seed, and a scattering of white petals at their base. That image was in my head as I drove home tonight, having left the Buffalo Audubon Society's annual dinner a little early, hoping that I could make it home before Linda put Violet to bed.

165 days old

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


In the faculty room today, I let everyone know that Violet laughed for the first time yesterday, and somehow that led to talk about whether or not she’s using a pacifier (she’s not). That, in turn, led to some of the moms around the table sharing stories of baby-rearing techniques that have fallen out of favor. Apparently, some hospitals used to give babies sugar water if they were having trouble breastfeeding. (This would usually leave them disinterested in breast milk.) Another woman shared how her grandparents used to give her father root beer as an infant, and another said that her mother gave her peppermint schnapps whenever she had an upset stomach. Orange juice was another favorite infant beverage, and one mom was always taught that at six months, every kid should start drinking 2% milk, so that’s what she did with her son. She proclaimed, “I was a bad mother and I didn’t even know it!” It made me wonder what we’re doing to Violet that, in 10 or 20 years, we’ll look back on and ask, “What were we thinking?” This idea can be extended to so many other facets of daily life, it can leave you a little paralyzed if you think about it too much. In the end, I just keep telling myself (as I’ll be telling Violet in years to come) the following: never assume that you know everything about anything because then you might think you have nothing to learn, and that’s never true.

164 days old

Monday, May 2, 2011

Beautiful Noise

Violet laughed for the first time today. A real, honest-to-God laugh.

Words do not suffice.

163 days old

Sunday, May 1, 2011

God Forbid Part 2

After I read last night's post to Linda, we talked about Waldman's article and we eventually arrived at one of the "God Forbid" scenarios. If Violet and I were in a deadly situation and Linda could only save one of us, who would she choose? And vice versa? Who would I choose? Linda said without hesitation, "If you saved me, I would never forgive you." I think her answer tells me who she would save if it was between Violet and me.

162 days old