September 13, 2005

Cobalt holds his ground

The cats have pretty well-defined territories around the house. The seat of the rocking chair belongs to Cobalt, and the top of the chair back belongs to Rhodium. Rhodium also has Dorothy's folding mat/chair, although Cobalt will use it occasionally when she's not around. Cobalt has priority on our pillows.

Of course, the territiories are somewhat fluid, and Dorothy's mobility has definitely shifted which are the preferred locations. But Cobalt decided that enough was enough this weekend.

(As background, I should mention that Dorothy likes to climb on the rocking chair and armchair, and she wants them to herself when she does so. In fact, she will grab me or Tom and insistently pull on us to evict us from the chair. As soon as we stand up, she will turn around and ask for help climbing onto it herself, from the very person she just booted.)

She decided that she wanted to be in the rocking chair, where Cobalt was taking a nap. She did the same thing to him that she does to us, poking him and urgently saying "uh, uh, uh." He just looked at her. Eventually, she graduated to puttting both arms around him and pulling as hard as she could, while he stared at her as if she had gone crazy. He actually outlasted her, refusing to get out of the chair until she lost interest and went to play with some blocks. Then he left for higher and safer ground.

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2005

To the Moon, Baby!

Dorothy's language skills have been developing at a pretty brisk pace, yet I'd be willing to bet that most people who don't spend lots of time around wouldn't be able to figure out most of what she means. "Owl," for example, comes out as "owh." "Bear" sounds like "beyah" (which would sound right at home in Boston), "cheese" is "chssss," etc. Even Mommy and Daddy are not always certain what she's saying, although we can usually figure it out eventually.

For some time now, Dorothy has pointed at the moon wherever it appeared in various books, and in the last week or so she's also said "mooh" (it sounds closer to "moah" than to "moo") as she pointed to the images of the moon in her books.

Tonight, as we were getting her out of the bathtub, Dorothy was pointing at my chest and saying "mooh." I was wearing a t-shirt from my days at the Illini Space Development Society (before it switched from being an NSS chapter to a SEDS chapter). The t-shirt had a modified version of the astronaut performing an EVA image, with a crescent moon added in the upper left corner.

We were stunned. We of course told her encouragingly that yes, that was the moon on Daddy's shirt. But we were surprised that she'd identified a moon with only 1/8 of it visible and in a context she hadn't seen before. Pretty neat!

Of course, we then told her that Daddy was working to make sure she could go to the moon someday. Even if I can't ride on the space elevator, I hope she can!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:05 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2005


This morning, the three of us were in the kitchen/dining room, having breakfast and whatnot. Elizabeth was standing by the sink, glanced outside and exclaimed that Cobalt was outside! The screen on our bedroom's small window was laying on the ground, so he presumably had pushed it out. Our cats are never allowed outside unless they're on a leash, and we weren't sure how he would react.

Elizabeth and I both scrambled, leaving Dorothy strapped in her high chair. I ran outside in my pajamas and stocking feet, and was able to get Cobalt without any trouble. I passed him back in through the window to Elizabeth, and then re-attached the screen. Elizabeth closed the window on the inside, and I called out for Rhodium. I didn't see her anywhere, so I went inside and both of us called for her and tried to find her. No luck. I threw on my shoes and went outside, calling for her and circling the house, worried that she may have darted off into the forest to be eaten by a coyote or cougar. I didn't see her anywhere. As I was just finishing my circuit of the house, Elizabeth called me - she saw Rhodium in the "courtyard" area. We started closing in, but Rhodium darted past. She then strolled halfway around the house, just keeping ahead of me (I did not try to run at her, since that would have scared her into running). Once she got to the front porch, under the trees where the birds all hang out, she paused and eventually consented to come near me to get some scritching. I picked her up and brought her back inside. Dorothy was still in her high chair, watching us, and then resumed eating her bagel.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 01:15 PM | Comments (2)

August 08, 2005

What Kind of Potence?

I had just opened a new tube of lip balm, and the old one was still on my nightstand. While changing sheets this evening, Dorothy found both tubes and started toddling around, waving them in the air. At some point I wanted to get the new one away from her, so that it wouldn't suffer too much damage. Dorothy may not yet know the word "mine!" but she certainly understands the concept, as she did not want to let go.

I hid the tube in my hand, but she kept trying to get my hand open to find the tube. When she was briefly distracted, I stretched my arms up and discreetly dropped the tube behind my back. I then offered her two closed fists. As she chose each in turn, I'd open it and show her it was empty.

Elizabeth commented on Daddy messing with Dorothy's sense of cause and effect. I replied that I had to maintain my aura of omnipotence.

Dorothy chose that moment to punch me in the groin.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:03 PM | Comments (4)

August 03, 2005

The Mouser Poseur

Cobalt, as has already been pointed out before, is a goof (reason #43, #44). An incident this morning simply added to his not-so-hot reputation.

When I got up this morning, both cats were crouched down in the laundry room, facing towards the washing machine. Odd, since we'd moved their litterbox out of there, and they usually don't spend much time in there. I pointed it out to Elizabeth when she got up, and we agreed there was probably a bug they'd been chasing. (Note: Cobalt has a habit of pawing at bugs, but not really squashing them. He's injured moths and still let them get away.)

After Elizabeth went to work, Dorothy and I went back to the master bedroom to fold laundry. We were about 2/3 done when Cobalt and Rhodium strolled in. Cobalt had in his mouth what I took at first to be one of their toy mice. Then I realized it was too big, and just as I started wondering if it was a real mouse, he dropped it. Yes, it was real. Yes, it ran like holy hell for a wall, disappearing under & behind the dirty-laundry bags holder.


The cats got very excited, and were looking around at the dirty-laundry bags area. I made sure Dorothy was on the opposite side of the room, then yanked the bags & holder away from the wall. Yep, there was a big gray mouse crouched against the floorboard in the middle of the wall, frozen. Cobalt lunged in to grab at it, it ran, and I'm not sure what happened next. The mouse disappeared. It looked like he was heading towards the door into the master bathroom, but Cobalt and Rhodium were trying to pounce, then Cobalt was turning around and around trying to find the mouse. I went and put on shoes and gloves (not being sure, in the heat of the moment, if there was any concern about diseases from mice) and put Dorothy into the bathtub (from whence she can't quite escape - yet). Then I hunted all around the bedroom and bathroom trying to find the mouse. No luck.

The cats were focused on a corner under the sinks, but a search (and sticking a screwdriver through the tiny hole there) found nothing, and the hole just connected into the area the pocket door goes into. A search in there turned up nothing.

I spent much of the rest of the morning trying to find pet and child safe mouse traps, while dealing with a 17-month old girl who didn't like not being the complete center of attention.

Through the morning, the cats were really wound up playing with their toy mice. But Cobalt deserves some special title as "Most Ineffective Rodent Hunter" (although I guess he was good enough to have originally got it out from under the washing machine).

When I told Elizabeth about the ordeal later that day, I mentioned that the mouse looked pretty fat. She suggested it might be pregnant.

If Cobalt let a pregnant mouse get away, and the house is then infested with a litter, I might have to shave him bald as punishment.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:54 PM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2005

She's a GIRL!

I've known Dorothy is a girl since before she was born. I see physical evidence every time I change her diaper. I've even been known to pick out some pink clothes for her. Yet, somehow, deep in the back of my mind, I treated her as a unisex baby (and, except for how we dress them and what we see when changing diapers, "unisex" is a reasonable description of most babies & toddlers). In some ways, I thought of her a bit more as a boy than as a girl. Well, today I was hit with the most visceral evidence yet that she's a girl:
That's right - today, we got some barrettes for Dorothy. Wearing barrettes must mean she's a girl, right? :-O

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2005

Changing the Sheets

Changing the sheets on a bed is not, in and of itself, a chore that most look forward to. For years, we didn't look forward to it. That started to change when we got the cats.

Once the cats were big enough, they would love to hide under the new sheets as we put them on, and then one would pounce on the other who was "hidden" underneath the sheets. The simple act of changing sheets had become a fun act of play.

Now that Dorothy is big enough to walk around and climb, changing sheets has been raised to a higher level of fun (at least when we remember to change them before she's gone to sleep). Dorothy circles the bed, watching and screaming at the cats, mostly Cobalt, especially as he chases my hand which I'm wiggling enticingly under the sheets. Then Dorothy will climb up onto the bed, and either her and/or Cobalt are under the top sheet, with him getting extremely nervous. She tries going after him, and he runs. You have to experience it to appreciate the hilarity.

Of course, it now takes a half hour just to change the sheets.

UPDATE: Elizabeth was cool enough to download video from the camcorder and create a 20-second video of the sheet-changing fun.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:18 PM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2005

Fun and chaos

Our friend Jay has been holding down the fort alone (well, with the help of his mother), with four kids, while his wife Kim is out of town. We invited the family over to our house to run some energy off the kids, and enjoy our new grill that my parents gave us for our anniversary.

What a crew! Luka, who will be 2 next month, was very enamored of Dorothy, but wasn't much interested in respecting her need for space - he wanted to hug her, or at least get her in a headlock. Veda, 4, ran around for a while, but decided that her shoes were too small and that she had to go barefoot and mostly stay inside. Jaxon, 6, wanted to shoot baskets, but couldn't get the ball quite high enough. Neve, 8, photodocumented the whole event. Jay and his mother, Beth, rounded out the group and tried to keep order.

We all played frisbee for a while (Dorothy spectating while clinging to my legs) in the back yard (which hasn't been dug up yet). When the adults were starting to get tired, we headed back to the deck for a while, and then went on the rope swing. Luka really wanted to swing, but he's not quite ready for it yet. :) I went out back again with Neve and Jaxon for some more frisbee, and finally we decided it was time to start up the grill. We all stuffed ourselves with cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and seedless watermelon. (Dorothy ate her whole hot dog, half of Luka's, a slice of cheese, probably about 20 grapes, and a dozen bites of watermelon! Veda settled for a hot dog bun with ketchup, and the cheese peeled off of two burgers.)

By now it was getting to be time to start Dorothy's bedtime routine, so Jay and Beth rounded up the herd and headed out (fortunately taking away some of the enormous watermelon that Tom had gotten). We cleaned up the deck while Dorothy played with ice (getting so entranced that she didn't even notice us going in and out of the house, until she suddenly turned around and noticed that she was all alone), and I swept up the Sun Chips that had managed to fall everywhere in the kitchen and dining room (we're not sure how we got soggy chips in the laundry basket, but fortunately there were no clothes in it). Tom located the missing frisbee and got the basketball back out from under the deck. Dorothy fell asleep in record time, after such a busy afternoon.

Tom and I are totally exhausted, after only a few hours with the kids, with two other adults around. I don't think we're cut out for such a big family - two is probably our limit (or maybe over our limit!)

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2005

Object Diffusion

When we first got the kittens, we occasionally noticed that objects would not be where we had left them. We'd find bottle caps across the room from where they started, and if we were so foolish as to leave a bit of meat on a plate, it might mysteriously vanish.

We got used to this occasional migration of objects. Once Dorothy started walking, larger and heavier things starting moving, but never all that far. I might get up in the morning to discover the bedroom floor covered in feminine hygiene products, but still, we could mostly count on things to stay pretty close to where we'd left them.

All that has changed now. A cardboard book box in the living room could turn up in our bathroom, at the other end of the house, at any moment. In the morning, my alarm clock is likely to end up in the bathtub, while Tom's wallet moves to the kitchen. If it's a movable object and we don't want to risk its being moved, it has to be placed at least three feet above the ground, in a place where it can't be climbed to. And the height threshold keeps growing. Pretty soon we're going to have to install shelving a foot below the ceiling in all the rooms of the house, if this keeps up.

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 08:42 PM | Comments (0)

Elizabeth's Bad Day

As I mentioned before, I've been extremely busy the past week and a half preparing LiftPort for a talk Friday with potential investors. Thursday, all of the activity culminated in a bad day for Elizabeth.

Thursday is my normal day for watching Dorothy. This past Thursday, I took her to the doctor in the morning because of her waking up early for the previous week and a half. That day, Elizabeth was kind enough to get up early (~5am) with Dorothy so that I could sleep in a bit, since I'd been up late the previous night working on our presentation. After the pediatrician, I took Dorothy to a friend's house (said friend having a daughter only one month older than Dorothy) so that Dorothy could stay there for the afternoon while I went back home to work with co-workers on our presentation. So at this point in the day, I already owe a big debt to our friend for being willing to babysit on one day's notice.

In the afternoon, work went very well. We got tons of work done for the presentation, and when I phoned in, it sounded like Dorothy was having fun. As evening drew near, I asked Elizabeth if she'd be willing to swing down to Renton on her way home to pick up Dorothy so that I could continue working. She agreed, and at this point in the day I've now added another big debt to pay off. I-405 is usually horribly backed up during rush hour, and I'd had lots of success taking back roads down to our friend's house, so I suggested that Elizabeth take the back roads. BIG MISTAKE.

The worst part of the drive was when it took her 47 minutes to go under two miles. The entire trip, one way, took her one and three-quarter hours. At this point in the day, I'm past "debt" and into "I hope she doesn't kill me." She eventually gets home with Dorothy, whom we immediately put through a fast bath and into bed. But it's still 9pm when Dorothy goes to sleep, a whole hour later than normal. Then we eat dinner, and in the middle of eating we realize that Elizabeth was scheduled to make $200 worth of food at Dream Dinners starting at 8pm. And yes, it's now 9:15pm. Luckily, when Elizabeth called she was told that she could come in the following evening to make the food instead. Phew.

So, in the same week that Elizabeth made such a wonderful Father's Day post about how great a guy I am (a post, BTW, which left me nearly in tears, thankful for such a wonderful wife), I effectively refute her assertions of my goodness by putting her through hell (but not on purpose!).

Elizabeth counters that I've made up a good fraction of my debt to her by taking care of her the following night, when she got sick (details are too gruesome to post). I would have taken care of her anyway, so I figure I still have a huge debt to repay. Does anyone have any good suggestions?

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:32 PM | Comments (1)

June 17, 2005


Dorothy's latest "trick" is learning to give kisses. If she's in the mood and you ask for a kiss, she will put her lips on yours, and then pull away and announce "Mwah!" She also likes to kiss and hug her Raggedy Ann, and she was giving the cat in one of her books kisses tonight at bedtime.

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 09:53 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2005

Dodged a Bullet!

Elizabeth's parents are in town this weekend for birthdays, and last night they watched Dorothy so that Elizabeth and I could go see a movie. We haven't had anyone else put Dorothy to bed since she was much much smaller, but we figured she'd cope. Apparently, though, she had ways of expressing her displeasure.

Dorothy only napped for an hour, less than normal, so she was tired as evening approached. Jon & Caroline gave Dorothy her evening bath shortly after we left, since D was acting groggy. Shortly after getting in, though, our little girl started shooting submarines like there was a war on (i.e., she passed a lot of gas). Then she stood up and pooped into the tub!

I've read so many stories about babies pooping in the bathtub, and since Dorothy had never done it, I was getting nervous about jinxing our good luck. I'm not sure if last night was just "the" night and Elizabeth and I dodged a bullet, or if our little girl was telling her grandparents that they weren't doing bath time properly. In any case, I'm glad we missed it! :-) Things got cleaned up, the tub re-filled, and D got to take more of a bath. Here's to hoping last night was the one and only time it happens.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 01:32 PM | Comments (1)

June 02, 2005

Our Firm Name

You've seen various small companies named something like "Smith and Sons" or "Jones and Son" etc., right? Well, Dorothy and I have our own architectural firm. We collaborate on design and construction of structures using advanced polymer repeatable unit modules (i.e., MegaBloks). Sometimes my contributions are not optimal, and Dorothy will correct me on proper technique. Given that she's the more knowledgeable one, I think our firm should be called "Nugent and Daddy."

(OK, you can all stop gagging yourselves now - the saccharine sweetness is over.)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 05:34 PM | Comments (2)

May 25, 2005

The labors of Sisyphus

We folded laundry with Dorothy this evening, and I'm afraid we got a preview of what many chores and activities will be like for the next few years.

Dorothy loves to "help" fold laundry. Of course, "helping" means that as you put each folded item on the pile, she picks it up, waves it around, and carries it across the room to drop in a corner. Sometimes she puts things back in the laundry basket so we can take them out and fold them again.

The process is longer and slower, but I have to admit that folding laundry is also more fun than it used to be.

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 08:06 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2005

An uncanny resemblance

Dorothy has discovered that she can open the doors to the pantry and get out whatever is on the lower shelves, so we've been spending a lot of time putting the water bottles and chips and salsa back in the pantry when she's done.

Just now, she pulled out an Incredible Hulk Pez dispenser. She looked at it, looked at me, and announced "Daddy!"

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 11:04 AM | Comments (2)

May 16, 2005

Little D

Brian Dunbar turned me on to the comic Little Dee. Recently, Dorothy has taken to what can best be described as squealing as she toddles after the cats (or just in general is having fun). I wasn't sure how to describe her sound, then realized it's a lot like Little Dee when she's having fun.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:00 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2005

Those Poor Kitties

The cats were nervous when we brought Dorothy home from the hospital after her birth. They were upset when she learned to crawl. Now that she's walking, they are in serious trouble.

This afternoon, Dorothy found one of the cats' play mice, and decided that they needed to play with it. So, after I called the cats in, she proceeded to hound them, holding the mouse out in front of herself as she chased the cats trying to stick the mouse in their faces. A couple of times, I got the mouse from Dorothy and tried tossing it in an enticing way to the cats, but they weren't very interested. Dorothy would grab it and chase them, getting so excited she'd squeal (screech?) as she toddled along. I feel sorry for the cats, but not sorry enough to stop the humorous behavior of that silly girl!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:36 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2005

Dorothy's Sleep CD

Elizabeth had a CD of songs by Secret Garden that she listened to while pregnant with Dorothy. We used the same CD at bedtime when Dorothy was born. But the CD Elizabeth made had a couple of bad spots, so we recently made a new one, with some different material on it. Here's what Dorothy listens to as she goes to sleep nowadays.

Song Performer Album
Silly Lullaby Natasha Richardson Philadelphia Chickens
Serenade to Spring Secret Garden Songs from A Secret Garden
Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) Billy Joel Billy Joel: Greatest Hits, Vol. 3
Trust In Me Walt Disney The Jungle Book
Greenwaves Secret Garden Once In A Red Moon
Stay Awake Julie Andrews Mary Poppins (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
Papillon Secret Garden Songs from A Secret Garden
Nocturne Secret Garden Songs from A Secret Garden
The Promise Secret Garden Once In A Red Moon
Reflection Secret Garden White Stones
Hymn To Hope Secret Garden White Stones
Appassionata Secret Garden White Stones
Pastorale Secret Garden Songs from A Secret Garden
Home Secret Garden White Stones
Duo Secret Garden Once In A Red Moon
Awakening Secret Garden Once In A Red Moon
Belonging Secret Garden Once In A Red Moon
Posted by Tom Nugent at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2005

The D-Zone

This afternoon we went out and spent lots of money (we got a freezer, a dehumidifer, another safety gate, and a couple of chairs for Dorothy). Afterwards, we went to Denny's for dinner. Their kids' menu is called the D-Zone, and we decided that the restaurant is definitely the Dorothy zone. Between having bites of our meals and her own, she got pretty much everything she likes to eat in one meal - bits of turkey & cheese sandwich, chicken nuggets, sliced cucumbers, vanilla milkshake, cheese sticks, scrambled eggs, pancakes, milk, sausage, bacon....

It was a long day, though. She fell asleep on the way home, and was so tired that we were able to take her dress off without really waking her up. So she's asleep in her onesie and tights. This may be the first night that we've skipped the entire bedtime routine, not even putting her into pajamas.

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 09:21 PM | Comments (2)

April 28, 2005


Today while Tom was watching Dorothy, she came up with a new trick - drinking from a sippy cup and walking at the same time. He was worried that she would pitch over backwards, but she kept her balance just fine. When he told me about it, I commented, "So she's more coordinated than Gerald Ford!"

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2005

The Great Orange Chicken

Cobalt is a bit of a bully. If Rhodium is sleeping on the rocking chair, or sitting in the windowsill, he'll often decide that that's just where he has to be, and kick her out. She sometimes fights back a little, but she usually gives in pretty quickly, considering he outweighs her by something like 50%.

But today he showed his true colors. Both cats have been trying to tell us how they're dying to get outside. They've been watching birds, deer, and bunnies out the windows, and they just know they could catch some if they could just get out there. So we took them out on leashes this afternoon, for the first time since we got to Bellevue. Rhodium immediately started exploring the area under the birdfeeder. (And we got to hear what the local birds' alarm calls sound like, as several sat up in the high branches and played sentry to let everyone else know she was there.) Cobalt was pretty dubious about even wandering on the deck, jumping and running a couple of times at nothing. Finally, he just crawled into my lap and hid. The wide world was too much for him, the big chicken. :-) He eventually explored the lawn a little when we set him on it, but he was very nervous the whole time. So much for the mighty hunter he's been pretending to be.

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 08:01 PM | Comments (1)

April 06, 2005

Nightmare on Sesame Street

For unknown reasons, Dorothy was crying and apparently inconsolable for some time after I changed her diaper this morning. I took her out to the living room to let her play with toys, but that didn't help. I dragged Elizabeth out of bed to come help, but Dorothy still cried. Finally, I turned on Sesame Street. We've been watching the last 5-10 minutes of Sesame Street many mornings over the past week. The show, along with some Cheerios, seemed to calm down Dorothy. She was actually playing and only occasionally glancing at the TV.

When the "Elmo's World" segment came on, Dorothy became riveted. I don't know what it is about the furry red guy, but he really appeals to the toddler set. Today he was learning about bananas.

Near the end of the segment they had a sequence imagining what it would be like if Elmo were a banana. OK, sure. Elmo's a banana. Fine. But then a monkey comes and tries to eat Elmo. Elmo, of course, runs off screaming, and is pursued back and forth by the monkey for a while. "Look, Elmo's in his own personal hell!" I was imagining some horrible, bloody surprise ending to Sesame Street.

In the end Elmo was OK. But I wonder if the lesson was supposed to be "watch out what you wish for" or perhaps "be afraid of monkeys." Who knows what the kiddies will learn next?

Posted by Tom Nugent at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2005

Teething is hell

Poor Dorothy has been working on her first four molars for a few weeks now. The first one came through a week or two ago, and a second one seems to be imminent (it's difficult to tell much, since she really doesn't want our fingers in her mouth). She's obviously in a lot of pain, and really needs Tylenol and/or Motrin to make it through the night.

Last night, she woke up a little before 4AM sobbing inconsolably, and we got her some Tylenol. I tried to rock her to sleep - I rocked and sang until almost 5:00. She was quiet in my arms for a good part of that, but absolutely wouldn't close her eyes. Finally I tried nursing her, and that seemed to make her feel a little better, but she simply did not want to stop. I brought her to bed with me, and I have only vague memories of periodically helping her switch from one side to the other for what seemed like an endless time. Finally, I woke out of my doze enough to notice that she had fallen asleep, and I could roll over and get some sleep myself. Unfortunately, someone telephoned us (a wrong number) at 8:00, waking us both up. She was a little cheerier, and Tom took her out to get some breakfast while I tried to make up for the lost time from last night.

I'm afraid of how long this might last. I'm glad I haven't weaned her yet, since nursing seems to be the only thing that calms her, but it's frustrating being the only one who can help, too.

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2005

The Poop Faker

It's been a long time since we've posted about poop. One tidbit we'd forgotten to mention is Dorothy's ability to convince us (or anyone watching her) that she's just pooped in her diaper, when she hasn't. She might make very convincing appropriate sounds, and maybe stink. She might even still smell after we've moved her to a different room. But when we go to change her diaper, there's nothing there - it was all a fake!

Even after knowing how "good" she is at faking poop, she still sometimes tricks us into believing she's pooped, and checking her diaper.

Now, she has a mostly normal, healthy poop schedule, so it's not like she's having problems or anything. She just makes it seem like she's doing it more than she really is.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2005

New word

Dorothy has a new word, which I assume she picked up at daycare. Several times tonight when she was trying to walk and fell on her bum, she said, "Uh-oh!" Just in case she wasn't cute enough already.

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 09:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2005


This is silly: the art of popstrology It's sort of like astrology, but uses the #1 rock hit on the day you were born. So, rather than asking "hey baby, what's your sign?" you can use an alternative bad pick-up line: "Hey baby, what's your birth song?"

For the record, here are ours:

Tom: "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart
Elizabeth: "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon & Garfunkel
Dorothy: "Yeah" by Usher featuring Lil' Jon and Ludacris

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:47 PM | Comments (2)

March 15, 2005


Dorothy received a yellow Care Bears shirt with jeans for her birthday from Great-grandma Flo. There's something about this outfit that makes her look older - more like a little girl (at least) than a big baby.

She reminds me of Rizzo, from the movie "Grease," although I'm not sure why. (Here are a couple of photos of Rizzo: second from right, on the bed and far right.) With Dorothy, maybe it's the collar, or the pedal-pusher jeans, or what. The flare at the bottom of the shirt definitely contributes.

Commentary on the fact that it's Care Bears [shudder] will have to wait for some other time...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:50 AM | Comments (1)

March 10, 2005

Cobalt is a Goof, Reason #44

Today, Cobalt was at the door that leads onto the deck. The door is mostly glass, with a wooden frame. Cobalt had his front paws on the glass, and was pushing up a few times and moving around, as if he were chasing a moth or something on the other side of the glass. He sat back on his haunches, and then WHAM! tried to jump through the glass up onto the table that was out on the deck. He shook his head, then walked away.

When birds hit glass, they come flying from far away, and presumably can't see that there's anything there. But Cobalt had just felt, with his own two paws, that there was glass there. I don't know what, if anything, he was thinking.

Oh, and another "earlier" reason why he's a goof that we just remembered: He doesn't eat food most cats love. Like human table-food scraps of chicken, ham, etc. Rhodium will eat them up if we give them some tiny scraps, but Cobalt will just sniff and then look up at us, wondering when we're going to give him something good.


Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2005

Challenges of mobility

Now that Dorothy is crawling quickly and easily, many baby care tasks have gotten more challenging.

Tonight, I was dressing her for bed after her bath. Tom had helped me get a diaper on her (currently a process requiring at least two adults), and gone off to shave. I got a set of pajamas out of her drawers, by which time she was crawling down the hall following Daddy to our bedroom. I caught up with her in the bedroom, and managed to get the pajamas around her neck while she was frozen, staring at the unfamiliar sight of Tom in the bathroom with shaving cream on his face. I then managed to sit her in my lap long enough to get one arm through a sleeve and the other more or less aimed in the right direction, so she poked her arm through the sleeve when she squirmed away and started crawling again over to Tom in the bathroom. I chased her on my hands and knees, trying to snap the snaps at the crotch of her jammies while she crawled away as fast as she could.

Tom was regretting not having a video camera to record the scene. I finally managed to corner her in front of the shower long enough to get the last snap. Doing the buttons at her neck while she was crawling proved to be almost impossible, but she did consent to writhe in my lap for ten or fifteen seconds while I finished them, and then headed back to Daddy to see if he would help her walk.

I'm trying now to remember why we were so anxious for her to start crawling....

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 08:52 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2004

An old story about security

This is a story from right after Dorothy was born that we never got around to writing about (I'm writing it while sitting in the airport, heading to Seattle). When it was time to leave the hospital, we had to wait a while for them to get an orderly to wheel Elizabeth and Dorothy out to the front door. A lady finally arrived, and we headed down. As we were leaving the OB/GYN wing, a security officer at the exit stopped us, because the orderly who was taking us out didn't have the correct color ID card, and hence was supposedly not allowed to take babies out of the hospital (and apparently their security procedures had changed recently, hence the confusion about who to send down with Elizabeth). So we're sitting there by the exit, Dorothy in Elizabeth's arms, people in the nearby waiting area looking at us and googling at Dorothy, while the security guard called up to the area we'd just come from to check and make sure it was OK for us to leave. So Dorothy got stopped by security before she was even a week old. I hope this isn't an indicator of what life's going to be like with her when she's a teenager...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2004

Toys for All Species

Until now, the one item that Dorothy would reliably go for is the cordless phone. She'd reach for it, and even drag herself towards it. And since Sunday, when she started doing actual tummy-off-the-floor crawling, the cordless phone has been the main way of getting her to actually crawl.

But yesterday, while taking care of her during her illness, I decided to entertain her and the cats at the same time by using one of the cat toys. I chose one of the ones that is basically some feathers at the end of a string attached to a wand. Cobalt had lots of fun pouncing and swatting at the toy, but as I dragged it near Dorothy, she tried grabbing it too. She's not nearly as fast or coordinated as Cobalt yet, but she was having fun, and being distracted from being sick. Then I let it dangle near her, and as I'd slowly pull it away at the right speed, she started crawling after it.

So forget all that crap from Babies R Us. I guess I can just buy the baby's toys at PetCo from now on.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:13 PM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2004

Foot In Mouth Disease

After reading Ben MacNeill's post about getting sick much more often since becoming a parent, I turned to Elizabeth and asked, "We haven't been getting sick much more frequently since Dorothy arrived, have we?" To which she replied, "Well, I was hospitalized for the first time in my life, other than to have the baby. Other than that, no."

Oh, yeah. That.

Anyone have a foot-extractor?

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:22 PM | Comments (4)

November 02, 2004

Learning about makeup

On Saturday, Dorothy and I went to MIT to help this year's rookies prepare for their first dance competition at Harvard. I haven't been coaching the rookies this year (since I've been somewhat busier than usual for some reason), so Warren and Elizabeth Dew have taken over the class. Elizabeth and I got together with the rookies to do all their hair and makeup for the competition, and I decided to bring Dorothy along and give Tom a bit of rest.

The rookies enjoyed playing with Dorothy, and she seemed to have fun seeing so many new people, and especially looking in the mirrors at herself and everyone else. When she got tired around midmorning, I put her in the sling and kept doing makeup standing up while she took a nap on my chest. Before she fell asleep, she kept trying to get at the eyeshadow I was holding. I refrained from putting any on her for the moment - she'll have to wait until she can remember not to rub her eyes and then lick it off her hands. :-)

The rookies did a fabulous job at the competition, everyone making two cuts. MIT took five of the top seven places (having started as sixteen couples out of over 150 competing). Congratulations to them, and kudos to Warren and Elizabeth for their fabulous coaching!

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 10:36 AM | Comments (1)

October 27, 2004


Our most commonly used nickname for Dorothy over the last month or so has been "Squirmbucket." I bet you'd never guess why.

Changing diapers has certainly become more of a challenge, as she rolls back and forth, puts her toes in her mouth, then becomes straight and rigid as a plank, then toes back to the mouth, etc.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2004

Budding Kleptomaniac


I just love this image. Not only is it a foreshadowing of what I can expect while grocery shopping for the next, oh, 10 years of my life. But it also looks so clandestine. Dorothy looks like some investigator or something in her trench-coat, and the quality of the picture (it came from my cell phone) just heightens the "undercover investigative journalism" effect.

Today was the first day where I had to be careful how close I let the grocery cart get to the shelves when I wasn't pushing the cart. I'm sure it won't be the last.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:44 PM | Comments (1)

Some Kind of Wonderful

I was just feeding Dorothy her breakfast of Apple-Blueberry puree and rice cereal, and singing her part of the song "Some Kind of Wonderful." I had just finished these lyrics: "Don't you know my baby, she's all right // Ya my baby, she's clean out of sight // Don't you know she is // She's some kind of wonderful // Yes she is she is // She's some kind of wonderful" when suddenly Dorothy let rip a long toot on the methane organ.

Yeah, she's some kind of wonderful, all right. :-)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:58 AM | Comments (1)

October 24, 2004

Ribbed For Her Pleasure

When I finished my drink after lunch Saturday, I let Dorothy play with the bottle. She loved chewing on the cap, which had a "ribbed" texture to it:


For all you people who thought that the title of this entry was referring to something else, even in this family-friendly blog....get your mind out of the gutter! ;-)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:40 AM | Comments (1)

September 30, 2004


The other night, I tried to demonstrate to Dorothy how to crawl. When I get a chance, I'm going to upload some of the video I took of her reaction, which was extreme laughter. It was perhaps the biggest giggling I've ever seen her do.

Dorothy was overtired, and I thought she might just be punchy, because I didn't think simple crawling (even if it was exaggerated) could deserve that big of a reaction. Daddy Types also seems to think that getting them overtired is the best way to get your children to laugh uncontrollably.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2004

New Car Seat

Uh-oh - we haven't posted to the blog since the weekend! Life and work seem to take so much time, that blogging gets forgotten.

Here's one piece of news: Dorothy has a new carseat! She was getting pretty scrunched in the old one, plus she was approaching the height limits, so we got a convertible (i.e., it can start as rear-facing then switch to forward-facing) carseat for her. It's nicely padded, as you can see in this image from the manufacturer:
EvenFlo carseat
We should have pictures of her in it posted in the next batch of photos.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2004

The Good & Bad of Baby Clothes

The Bad Thing about baby clothes is that they're used so little. Dorothy barely gets a chance to wear the same outfit three times before it seems she's outgrown it.

The Good Thing about baby clothes is that they're used so little. Once Dorothy has pooped on an outfit or gotten pureed peas on a bib, it's sometimes not quite the same after going through the wash. But even if an item gets a bit of a stain, she won't be wearing it too many more times.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:35 PM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2004

Great Book Title

We think that "Adventures in Poop" would be a great book title for a new parents' book. We had our own little adventure Sunday afternoon.

We took Dorothy for a walk, to enjoy the beautiful weather and to drop off some mail in a mailbox. We wound up getting some ice cream at Ice Jack. Just as we were finishing up, Elizabeth noticed a strong aroma coming from Dorothy's direction. We checked, and could see lots of poop struggling to escape from the diaper. Rather than deal with a major poop with our little portable diaper bag's contents, we went on the forced march home, double-timing it to get there ASAP.

It turns out we shouldn't have given Dorothy a bath in the morning, because she got another cleaning (this time in the shower with her Mommy) after we got home. The poop was mostly contained by the diaper, but a teensy bit managed to make its way up her chest. Plus, she decided to pee while I was changing her, just to add to the excitement. With all the mess, it was easier to just wipe her down a bit then stick her in the shower.

I don't know how big of a seller "Adventures in Poop" would be with stories like that, though... (BTW, I'm writing this entry at 3am Monday morning because our Little Miss decided to wake up at 2am and wasn't interested in sleeping again, even well after a shot of Tylenol had taken effect.)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 03:06 AM | Comments (1)

August 18, 2004

Miller Time for Baby

We have a vaguely defined, if short, bedtime ritual for Dorothy. We change her diaper and put her into pajamas, then if she's not already too tired, we read "Goodnight, Gorilla." Then we turn out the lights and she nurses. Once she's done, Elizabeth burps her and then wraps her up in a sheet to keep Dorothy from startling herself awake. During the early parts of the ritual, there's often raspberry-blowing on the tummy, and general silliness.

The other night, we discovered a new euphemism for nursing which we think could be useful for those parents who nurse their children well past one year of age. After changing her diaper, Elizabeth asked Dorothy, "Do you know what comes after pajamas?" To which one of us (I forget who, actually) replied "Miller Time!"

So you mothers out there who need a phrase for your nursing youngsters to exclaim in the middle of the grocery store that's not as graphic as having your child scream "I want boobie!!!!" you can now use our well-tested substitute: encourage them to scream "I want Miller Time!!!!"

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:17 PM | Comments (1)

Belch = Good

As practically everyone knows, babies need to be burped after being fed, to help them get the gas out of their stomach. If they're not burped, they're much more likely to spit up (which is just a euphemism for "vomit"), since they don't have perfect control over the stomach sphincter muscle.

Sometimes Dorothy can eructate in a manner reminiscent of a uniformed mariner (you could also call it "belching like a sailor"). But at other times, it's a real fight to get any burps out of her. Sometimes when I'm burping her, I'll wind up producing a little burp myself, which I always point out as an example of what I want her to do. In fact, even at random times when we're not burping her, if Elizabeth or I produce our own eructations, we proudly exclaim to Dorothy that she's supposed to do the same thing.

So now a socially indelicate noise has been turned into a shining example of encouraged and expected behavior. Ahh, parenthood.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2004

Ooh! A Bandsaw!

Yesterday I picked Dorothy up early from daycare and went to MIT to meet with my cousin, his wife and their son, who's applying to MIT this fall. They'd gone on the tour, and we chatted about MIT.

Afterwards, I went to the Rocket Team meeting, which I hadn't been to since before Dorothy was born. Everyone at the meeting of course thought she was cute. Elizabeth came by to get a ride home. When Dorothy fussed one time, Elizabeth picked her up and walked her around the room. Apparently there were more ways for Dorothy to kill herself in the rocket team office than she'd ever seen before. :-) Elizabeth showed Dorothy the bandsaw, and the drill press, and all the cool tools and rocket parts. Is there any doubt that she's going to be exposed to this kind of stuff a lot throughout her childhood?

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:30 PM | Comments (2)

August 08, 2004

Baby Breath

The breath of babies (or at least babies over a couple of months old) is another one of those things they never tell you about before you have kids.

To preface: newborns supposedly have this "new baby smell" that's the greatest thing in the world. While Dorothy did smell nice at times, to be honest I never noticed any super-amazing great smell. On the "bad smell" side there is, of course, also the smell of the pee and the poop, but it should be obvious to anyone that you'll be getting those smells with a tiny person who hasn't yet learned to control her evacuation system. But within the last couple of months, I have noticed another smell: her breath. And while Dorothy is the most lovable baby in the world, her breath ain't pretty.

It makes a certain amount of sense, I guess. After all, you don't brush babies' teeth before they have teeth, and you don't give them Listerine to gargle because they might not spit it out. So there's nothing beyond their saliva's own natural defenses to kill bacteria etc. in the mouth. And to aggravate what would, for adults, naturally lead to bad breath (i.e., never washing out their mouths), babies are also well known for vomiting or at least "spitting up" milk, often after it's been half-digested. And guess what digestion does to milk? Curdles it, would be my bet.

So, to sum up: A baby's mouth regularly sees curdled milk going by, and clinging to the walls. And it's never cleaned out with Listerine or toothpaste. So I shouldn't be surprised that at times I notice Dorothy's breath smells bad, qutie like stale milk. I can just hope that things improve somehow before we add the smorgasbord of other smells that will come with solid food.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:22 PM | Comments (2)

August 05, 2004

Dorothy Voice Recordings

We've occasionally recorded Dorothy making her new noises with a portable voice recorder. I've converted a few snippets to MP3. Here they are, for your amusement and listening pleasure:

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:52 PM | Comments (2)

August 04, 2004

Our Little Comedienne

Dorothy decided to be funny this morning. On the way to daycare, Elizabeth thought she heard a "sploort" sound from Dorothy. So once I got to daycare, I went to change her diaper. There was some poop, but it wasn't too bad. I'd cleaned her up and was just getting ready to put on diaper when she decided to pee.

OK, that's happened before. It's annoying, especially at daycare where they have doctor's-office rolls of paper on the changing pad, instead of a thicker, more absorbent cloth cover. But with some help from one of the daycare teachers, I got the paper out from under Dorothy, some fresh paper installed, and then went and cleaned up Dorothy again. I asked her if she thought she was being cute, by peeing while being changed.

Just as the daycare lady, Laura, was helping change the paper, though, Dorothy peed again. This time she managed to get Laura! Now Dorothy was really trying to be funny. :-P So Laura cleaned up her arms, and we got more fresh paper put down, then tried cleaning up Dorothy. At which point she peed for a third time!

By this point enough had soaked around on the paper each time so that her shirt was pretty wet. So we took that off and gave her an emergency bath in the sink! We put some soap and water in there, dipped Dorothy in, wiped her down, and borrowed a towel from the toddler room across the hall to try her off. Finally, she was clean, dry, and not peeing. I hurriedly slapped a diaper on her, and dressed her in one of the spare "emergency" onesies that we leave at daycare for just such emergencies.

So our Little Miss D was trying to be funny this morning. At least, that's what you'd think given the smiles and giggles she was making. :-)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2004


I wanted to collect various nicknames (no matter how short-lived) before we forget them all. Pre-birth nicknames:
  • Peanut
  • Stapler (it's a long story)
Post-birth nicknames:
  • Sweetie-poops (courtesy of Grandma Caroline)
  • Exhibit A
  • Munchkin
  • Little Miss
  • Fussy-poops
  • Little Fussbudget
  • Miss Wrinklybutt (Elizabeth hates this one)
  • Miss Rufflebutt (Elizabeth loves ruffles)
  • Didi (Grandma Chris uses that one)
  • Missy
  • Cutie Pie
I feel like there are others that we've forgotten (especially the ones that lasted for only 5 minutes), but at least this lists some of them.
Posted by Tom Nugent at 12:47 PM | Comments (6)

July 13, 2004

The Unfairness of Life

Dorothy has been faced recently by a gross unfairness of life: Not only is it almost impossible to put both your fists into your mouth at the same time, but it's also impossible (at least if you have baby-proportioned limbs) to hold yourself up on your arms during tummy-time and put your fist in your mouth. I'm sure I'll be hearing lots of complaints about the unfairness of life once she's a teenager, so I figured I'd get her started off early by listing this whole fist thing.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 06:27 PM | Comments (0)

An Abnormal Baby??

I'm wondering (yet again) if Dorothy is abnormal. Almost all parents I've spoken with proclaim the ability of a car ride to lull their baby to sleep. Now, Dorothy isn't very cranky at all, so I'm not in particular need of a car ride to calm her down. But she seems to be immune to the Power of the Car. When she was less than a month old, car rides would put her to sleep. But since then, she'll stay awake and look around. Heck, she sometimes even gets fussy and cries during car rides. What kind of weirdo is she?

In related news, any type of rocking/swinging chair also does little to calm her if she's not in the mood. The bouncy chair is OK, again if she's in the mood. But if she's upset, putting in any type of chair will only upset her more. "Screw this chair thing" she says. "I want to be held! And you better start walking, you Parental Unit! Not good enough -- dance! Dance and swing! OK, that's not too bad....zzzzz....."

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2004

Poison Boobs

Yes, the subject of this post is "Poison Boobs," but we'll get to that story in a few paragraphs.

First, I should mention a number of "Daddy blogs" that Elizabeth has pointed me to. The most famous is The Trixie Update. It's a well-crafted site, combining blogging with daily pictures and lots of great commentary by readers. But even better is that the author has written a bunch of web scripts that he uses for tracking sleep patterns, diaper usage, bottle consumption, etc. It's great to be a geek dad - I wish I'd done it first! :-)

Some of the other amusing blogs are Daddy Types, and Defective Yeti which covers more than just being a new parent, but which has a whole lot of funny stuff in there. I really do wish I could write stuff that was as funny as some of these other guys, and do it in what appears to be such an easy manner.

In any case, there are a number of sites around where a parent will refer to their spouse with a descriptive name, instead of their real name. So, for example, at Stork Notes, each pregnant woman's husband is called "dear hubby" (which is abbreviated to "DH"). And on the blogs, some of the men refer to their wives as "Queen" or "Fabulous Babe." After seeing this behavior repeat in a number of places, Elizabeth asked me why I didn't call her something like that on this blog. Ignoring the fact that some of these blogs never mention the owners' names, and hence using descriptive names is a way of helping to maintain anonymity, I pointed out that I called her "sweetie-pie" (at least to her face) a number of times. Somehow during the discussion, which included titltes such as "Attorney General," the suggestion "Sexy Lawyer Chick" came up. I seized upon it as a proper title (and one which just might also make her regret bringing the topic up in the first place), and declared that henceforth I will refer to her as Sexy Lawyer Chick, which I will at times abbreviate as SLC.

Well, it turns out that Sexy Lawyer Chick must, at times, possess Poison Boobs. That's the only theory we've been able to come up with to explain why Dorothy at times will scream when SLC tries to nurse her. Most of the time, Dorothy is happy to latch on and slurp up the nummies. But occasionally, she'll just scream and refuse, acting as if SLC were trying to poison her. It's lucky for us she's able to detect those times when Elizabeth's breasts turn poisonous...

In related news, Dorothy has been drooling a lot. When she was first born, we'd had a bunch of bibs, but almost never used them. Now we're more frequently putting one on her and leaving it on for most of the day, to catch at least some of the drool. Much of the drool is making its way onto her hands, which allows her to bypass the bib and smear the drool around.

So, in summary, the things that Dorothy has recently learned to do include:

Who knows what will happen next?!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack