September 15, 2005

Baby TSA

From Elizabeth: A Toy for the Times. "OK dolly, time for the full body cavity search!"

Elizabeth says, "I can’t decide if this is a good idea or horrifying. Maybe it’s both." It is a bit sad.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

August 31, 2005

Poo-Poo Polka

Elizabeth sent me this blog item about potty training a young boy. I love this paragraph:

Just as you finish wiping him, you notice that he has somehow gotten more than a little bit of crap on his foot, and there are now several little crap footprints decorating the bathroom floor. For a moment you're distracted by the fact that the pattern looks like something you might find on the floor of an Arthur Murray Dance Studio. What might the dance be called? The Fecal Dance? The Poo-Poo Polka?

I think I'm in trouble when Dorothy's turn comes along. :-O

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2005

25 Reasons to Homeschool

Christopher Smith, a homeschooling parent, writes in the Tennessee Leaf-Chronicle about his top 25 reasons why he homeschools his kids. It's a great list - good reasons combined with good humor.

Their situation:

...we're not just outside the public school norm. We're also outside the homeschool norm. Most homeschoolers around here homeschool for religious reasons — they're flat out tired of arguing with government bureaucracies about their faith.

That's not us either. Yeah, we're Christians, but that's not primarily why we homeschool.

Some of my favorite reasons:

1.No one, and I mean no one, has the right to teach my son how to square dance.
4.Waffle Stix, despite their standing on school lunch menus, are not food.
8.I believe spelling, grammar and math have rules.
16.We have religious objections to waking up before dawn.
21.Socialization is overrated. If the socialization you get in public schools is so gosh-awful important, how did modern humanity survive its first 4,850 years without it?
24.It's not necessary to have sheriff's deputies roaming the hallways of my home.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2005

Lying About Food

This evening I committed what you might call my first lie against Dorothy. She loves sausage, but has never been interested in even trying hamburger. This evening, we grilled some good hamburgers on the grill. We tried putting cheese (another favorite Dorothy food) on both sides of the hamburger to make it more appetizing. I messed up the cheese, and had it wind up sticking to the plate etc. Just as I was serving it to Dorothy, Elizabeth asked her if she'd like some hamburger. I corrected her: "No, Dorothy, would you like to have a big sausage for dinner?"

She gobbled it up.

Well, half of it anyway. And we can't complain about her eating 1/6 of a pound of beef for dinner. But I have now entered that gray realm of morality - is it excusable to mislabel food (i.e., lie about what it is) if doing so will convince my daughter that it's ok to eat?

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:19 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2005

The Sex Talk, One Version

I have no idea how I'll handle it when Dorothy starts asking me about sex-type issues (and hopefully that won't happen for many many years). But I have to admit that I sort of hope it doesn't quite go like this (although it would be funny).

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2005

Almost Done

It's Saturday night. It's all quiet from Dorothy's room, so I'm assuming/hoping she's asleep. Elizabeth's flight is due to arrive around 11:15pm, meaning she won't be home until well after midnight. Thankfully, both Dorothy and I have survived Elizabeth's absence, although my sanity took a hit.

Elizabeth had to work late Wednesday night preparing for her trip, so I've now done bathtime four nights in a row by myself. Thursday was mostly OK. I got up around 6:30, took a quick shower then got Dorothy. I was going to fix her some eggs, then decided we'd go out for breakfast. So we went to IHOP, where Dorothy wolfed down 3/4 of the kids' meal cheese omelette and a pancake. We then went grocery shopping. We played for a while, had lunch, and then I tried to put her down for a nap. An hour-long fight ensued, wherein I tried different places (her mat, her crib, our bed) and methods (leaving her alone, rubbing her back), and she mostly screamed and squirmed. She finally fell asleep mid-scream in our bed, and thankfully slept for almost 90 minutes. The rest of the afternoon, we went to the park and whatnot. Evening was fine.

Friday morning, Dorothy let me sleep in. She made some loud noises around 4:45am and 6am, but quickly quieted down. I woke up and stayed up around 7:30, and went to check on her - she was sitting in her crib quietly. I cleaned her up, gave her breakfast, and took her off to daycare. In the evening, I picked her up and again had a mostly fine evening (dinner, bathtime, etc.). There was some occasional crankiness, but I attributed it to teething (she has some canines coming in). When I laid her down to bed, she didn't complain, but it was clear she wasn't quite ready for sleep - she lay in her crib and twiddled her lip with her finger making "bub bub bub" noises.

Today she got up around 6:30am, which wasn't too bad. We played and did stuff for a while, but she was getting more cranky. She usually naps for 10 minutes on the way to daycare, but obviously doesn't get the car ride when we're staying at home. Eventually, I gave in and took her for a ride in the car around 10:30. She wound up sleeping for a half hour, which I suspected might cause trouble later (because it was longer than normal, and later than normal). It did. Her normal naptime is from around noon until 1:30 or 2pm. By 2:30 today, she still expressed no interest in wanting a nap, but she was showing signs of needing one (i.e., she was getting more cranky). I tried laying her on her mat - no luck. I tried putting her in her crib, to no avail. I even left her there for 20 minutes, hoping that if she didn't see me, she'd give up and go to sleep. Nope. She just screamed at me for those 20 minutes. So eventually I took her out in the car again. This time she slept for 50 minutes, so her total was still a bit low for the day. We went to the park where she got to walk around and watch some big dogs and some guys trying to fly a kite. Bathtime was fine, as was bedtime. She even was happy about brushing her teeth. But she started putting up a fight when I put her in the crib, even though she hasn't done that at bedtime in a long time. So I had to feel guilty while listening to her cry "daddee dahdee dahdee." Luckly things got quite within 5 or 10 minutes.

The frustrating thing about her refusal to nap both Thursday and Saturday is that she supposedly goes down for a nap very easily at daycare. They say she practically puts herself to bed. Perhaps she gets more tired out with the other kids, and maybe not having parents around helps. But it's still frustrating.

OK, I'll stop my whining now. I'm so looking forward to seeing Elizabeth get home.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:31 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2005

More Than Their Sum

Elizabeth sent me this story from the Seattle PI. As Dorothy would say: "uh---oohh". :-O

UPDATE: No, this does NOT mean we're expecting our second. We're planning on having another child some day, and are interested in people's opinions on how difficult the 2nd one is.

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

June 08, 2005

The Battle Has Begun

This morning we experienced the beginning of what is likely to be an on-again, off-again battle for the next 18 years or so: the battle of wills.

I've had a cold for over a week and a half now, and the dry cough has been keeping me up at night. So I'm more cranky and short-tempered than normal. Dorothy's breakfast usually consists of baby oatmeal and yogurt. If I eat breakfast first, she'll get an "appetizer" of bites of my bagel. And maybe every other day or so, I'll give her a sausage, either as a supplement or a substitute.

This morning, she ate first, and I decided to give her some sausage, since she loves it so much and she didn't get much, if any, meat yesterday. I normally give her a few bites of the yogurt and the oatmeal, then give her a couple bites of sausage, then repeat. Today, I got one bit of yogurt into her before she started refusing any more spoonfuls. I eventually got another spoonful or two into her, then twice gave her a fork with a piece of sausage on it, both of which were quickly gobbled down. Then I brought the oatmeal back, and she eventually decided that using the fork to scoop up oatmeal was OK for a few bites. But when she was done with that, I insisted that she clean off the fork that still had oatmeal on it, and she refused. There wasn't much oatmeal on the fork, but I maintained my position that she needed to stick the fork in her mouth to "finish" what she'd picked up (even though half of it had dripped off in the course of her waving it about). At some point she'd wound up dipping the fork back into the oatmeal, and then during some struggle or other, a bunch of it got flung backwards over her shoulder, landing on the floor.

If you ask anyone in my family, they'll tell you that I'm obsessed with being clean (not necessarily neat, just clean). They exaggerate (I'm happy to get filthy hands when working with tools), but in certain situations I am very opinionated on things being clean. One of my "buttons" that Dorothy may (or may not - it could be circumstance) be learning to push is a lack of patience with food thrown around the dining room, especially on the carpet.

Needless to say, my lack of sleep, along with my attitude towards messy eating (at this point, there was food on the floor, the high chair, my fingers and her arms) and the lengthening "battle" over eating, all combined to push me over the top. I yelled when the food got thrown over her shoulder onto the floor, and went to clean it up. At that point, Elizabeth came out and took over, telling me to go elsewhere. She eventually got Dorothy to eat a bunch of yogurt and oatmeal, plus some sausage.

On the one hand, Elizabeth is probably right when she said that I'd been taking Dorothy's behavior personally, rather than as the normal development of a toddler seeking to test limits. On the other hand, I did not want her to learn that complaining and refusing food is a way to get only the good food. More generally, I don't want her to think she can get around the "rules" that Daddy makes if she just becomes difficult enough. Now that I'm thinking about it in terms of a toddler testing limits (I obviously wasn't in this kind of frame of mind this morning), I'll probably be able to handle these situations a little better in the future.

This entire episode is strongly reminiscent of a childhood experience I had with my own Dad. When I was roughly kindergarten age, we were out in Arizona on vacation, visiting some family. Oatmeal (which I hate to this day) was being served for breakfast, and I didn't want any. My Dad decided I was going to eat it, no matter what, and made me eat some. I did, then quickly threw up. Boy, was he mad. So today's episode with Dorothy must be some kind of karmic payback. And we can all see where I got my short temper from. :-)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 04:55 PM | Comments (3)

May 31, 2005

Shocking Confession of a Reader

There are always phrases and ideas that our parents do that we promise we'll never do when we become parents, until one day we hear ourselves saying "and if the other kids jumped off a bridge, would you?"

There's another category of "things I never thought I'd say." Items in this category are those that are so outlandish that it would never have occurred to you to consider them, or that are normal (yet weird) parts of baby-raising that no one ever mentioned. You know, things like trying to keep the baby from grabbing her own poop as you're changing a diaper, introducing her to TV to help distract her, catching baby drool in your mouth, etc.

The one that has come totally out of left field, and which anyone who knows me would be shocked to hear? I want Dorothy to read less, or at least without so much of my involvement.

For the last few weeks, she's been obsessed with reading books. Correction: She doesn't read lots of books. She brings us lots of books for us to read to her. "Reading" often involves trying to speak a few of the words on any given page, as they go by at breakneck speed since she turns the pages faster than greased lightning.

We have at least 10 board books, probably more, plus a dozen Baby Einstein "normal" paper books. But after reading "Old Hat, New Hat" for the 5th time in a day, or the 50th time in a week, you start getting sick of it. What's worse is when she'll bring a book, sit in my lap as we read the book. Then she'll get up, get another, and repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat a few more times.

I will admit that it is snuggly and heart-warming for her to cuddle up in my lap and want to read. But I'm getting so damn sick of these books. I keep looking for new books to buy, not because she needs them, but solely for my sanity! And I wish she would be patient enough for me to read normal books to her. But no - page turning is apparently the major activity involved in reading, and she wants the page-turning to happen frequently. So lots of words on a page aren't allowed. And she's generally not interested if I start reading to her while she's sitting somewhere other than my lap.

On a related note, Catawumpus was talking about home-schooling and it got me to thinking about Dorothy. I'm not planning on a hard-core "unschooling" plan (where you let the children direct everything about their education), but I have been worried a bit about trying to convince her to learn any given topic at a reasonable age (e.g., reading - some kids don't learn until 9 years old, if left to their own devices). Given her parents' inclinations and her habit, even at this young age, of reading books, I somehow think we won't have any problem in interesting Dorothy in learning to read at a reasonably young age.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 05:13 PM | Comments (1)

May 30, 2005

Parenting Style = Religion or Politics

Since I'm just linking to others' posts this evening, rather than doing anything original ;-) I might as well pass along a post by start-up dad that Elizabeth pointed out, titled "Baby sleeping is like religion and politics." In other words, don't argue about it - you won't change people's minds. This quote is a good summary of the amusing post:

It's all so confusing, trying to pick what theory of parenting you are going to be a part of. So let me make it easy.

You've already made up your mind, stop fighting it.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

Aquarium Game

As you probably saw in the pictures, we went to the zoo yesterday. It was great fun, but the place was over-run by strollers and lots of kids. I don't mind too much, but I got to thinking what the Seattle Aquarium must be like (it's on the list of places to check out) after hearing Defective Yeti's take on his recent visit:

And here's a fun exercise: next time you go to the aquarium bring a flask of watermelon schnapps, and take a drink every time you hear a child shout "Nemo!" You'll be dead of alcohol poisoning before you reach the otters.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:24 PM | Comments (0)

Fear the Milk

An editorial in the New York Times titled "Got Toxic Milk?" brings up the lovely (as in, "frightening") idea that terrorists could put botulism in the milk supply and have some of it likely get past the pasteurization process and wind up killing thousands of people, especially children.

Yet another thing to be paranoid about as a parent...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2005

Whither Sesame Street?

Elizabeth sent me this blog entry about Sesame Street, and Elmo in particular. It's interesting to read about the history of changes in Sesame Street, and the question of whether or not Children's Television Workshop has "sold out." Elmo certainly is a scary marketing powerhouse, and I can't see CTW as having nearly as good intentions with Elmo as they did, say, 30 years ago.

So far, the few times I've turned on the TV in the morning has been a mixed bag. Dorothy has been pretty fascinated by Elmo, but is willing to turn away and play with her toys a bit. But he does hold a very strong draw (heck, his fish is named Dorothy, so she gets to hear her name a lot). I'm cringing, anticipating what kind of battles and horrors I will face in the licensed character department (besides the general fact that it's almost freaking impossible to buy almost anything baby related without it having some licensed character on it).

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2005

Build a Rocket Bike

This is the kind of thing I want to do with Dorothy once she's old enough!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:59 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2005

Planning For the Boys

ADAMANT came up with an alternative idea for dealing with teenage boys wanting to date his daughter: require a security deposit before taking the girl out.

Of course, it doesn't have to be a set amount of money. We don't want to discriminate against any boys who don't have any money. Any item of relative value to the boy would be acceptable. Elizabeth seems to think that his car keys wouldn't be reasonable. "Why not?" asks I. They could improve their health by walking, or simply sample the joys of public transit.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 06:01 PM | Comments (1)

Fun Science for Kids

Science Toys You Can Make With Your Kids looks like a really neat site for simple, at-home projects. I can't wait for Dorothy to get just a little older. (Yes, I know that, before I can blink, she'll be all grown up and I'll be wishing she was younger.)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 03:40 PM | Comments (1)

April 15, 2005

The Games We Play

I went back to reading "The Story About the Toddler" and saw this truth:

Jeff’s First Rule For Playing With Toddlers

“Never play any game you aren’t prepared to play 500 more times.”

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2005

The Parenting Job

The PvP Online comic from Friday says it all about the debate about who is responsible for teaching children about life and responsible behavior, evidenced most recently by the changes in Cookie Monster

Posted by Tom Nugent at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2005

More on Overprotection

I just read an interesting (if long) article titled "Safe Child Syndrome: Protecting kids to death." It's not anything terribly new, just a good take on the whole issue of Parents Who Hover and how they're messing up their kids.

At a cocktail party last summer, I mentioned to a group of grandmothers how lucky I am that my parents are nearby and quick to pitch in. One of the women, whose job includes daily responsibility for the welfare of hundreds of children, told me her own grown children usually turn down her offers to babysit.

"I know plenty of parents who see leaving the kids with Grandma as selfish," I told her. "They think it's important their kids spend as much time with them as possible."

That is so not me. Whenever Grandma or Grandpa want to watch Dorothy, I'm all for it! I love her dearly, but I need time for myself and my other activities; she is not the only thing in my universe. We appreciate any babysitting they do. I sometimes do feel guilty asking, but not for long. :-)

The article did get me thinking about the type of neighborhood to live in. It was encouraging back in Norwood that there were groups of kids playing in the street, hanging out on porches, etc. I don't see that around our house in Bellevue, but the neighborhood layout is different, so it might be harder to see. But I suspect it simply isn't there. And from the article, it sounds like that type of neighborhood and child culture is absent in many places, especially the higher you climb the socioeconomic ladder.

The tidbit that pissed me off was the story about a woman who let her five and seven year-old kids go across the street to an adjacent park to play, while she watched from her living room. The park director got upset, and eventually Child Protective Services got involved and opened a file on the family! And they won't close it for four years! Having the government decide when it is legal for your child to cross a street by themselves or to be without you at a park is sheer absurdity! Sure, you should be penalized if your child gets injured and you weren't watching, but it should be up to you to decide at what age they should be safe by themselves.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:53 PM | Comments (1)

March 08, 2005

A Real Man

This story in the Washington Post (free registration required) talks about James Hall, an 18 year old Washington D.C. high school student and single father. Yes, unlike way too many so-called "men" who abandon their children, James took in a daughter he didn't know he had when her mother abandoned her. And even more impressive, he's stayed in school rather than quit to get a job. Seeking education, and taking responsibility for his child. The young man deserves a ton of respect for Doing The Right Thing.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2005

The Depths of My Love

This morning, Dorothy and I went to a story time at the local library. We sung songs, listened to stories, and did dances. Using a red fish instead of any body parts, we did the Hokey Pokey. That's right - I love my daughter SO MUCH that I actually did the Hokey-freaking-Pokey (which was banned from Elizabeth's and my wedding) with/for her. How's THAT for love?!?

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:27 PM | Comments (1)

March 01, 2005

Children's Advertising, Part 1 of N

There's an article over at HalfChangedWorld about advertising aimed at children, and the behavior of her own four-year old son upon seeing products branded wiht a character her son had never seen before. It's scary. But it just highlights what Juliet Schor documented in her book Born To Buy, which I heartily recommend.

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

February 25, 2005

Being Good Enough

More than a week ago, Elizabeth sent me a story titled "The Good Enough Mother". It basically talks about not being a total control freakazoid with your kids, and instead trying to just relax and spend time with them, let them enjoy childhood. I'm sure I'll be stressed out and be somewhat pushy with our kids, but philosophically I'm certainly more aligned with the "let them be themselves" school than the "let's cram as much 'enrichment' in as we can" school.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2005

A New Parenting Book

It seems that so many parent blogs (I'll admit to reading mostly only daddy blogs) want to write a book centered on "things about becoming a parent that nobody ever told you or wrote about." It's a good topic, and one that can probably be mined multiple times. But I suspect that continued propagation of the human race is the reason that non-parents are never told half of these things...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2005


At times long ago, when some disaster or other struck somewhere around the world, I might have given the event a simple "that's sad" type of thought and then moved on, not truly feeling how significant the event was to those whom it struck and generally not feeling a great amount of empathy. Since becoming a father, however, my perspective has changed. Stories about children now strike me more deeply, and the stories about the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster are appalling, and scary. By "scary" I mean that they make me think even more of what it might mean for me to lose Dorothy, or for her to lose her parents. Every week I learn more about how much Dorothy means to me, and just how strong a parent's love for his child can be.

Two Daddy blogs eloquently (even if off-handedly) give perspective to our lives and describe the sense of gratitude I feel for having a happy, healthy family:
and LaidOff Dad.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

The Sea In Which She Swims

Elizabeth was reading some books to Dorothy as part of her bedtime routine when I leaned in and kissed Dorothy a few times, told her good night and that I loved her. She mostly seemed to ignore me, looking instead around for the next book and at what Mommy was reaching for. I wasn't bothered by the apparent dissing, because I also remembered how often, when being held by someone other than Mommy or Daddy, Dorothy would turn to me and reach out, longing for the comfort of her Daddy. All of these events helped me to realize that to some extent, Dorothy is like a fish, and Elizabeth and I are like the sea in which she swims - at times she doesn't notice us, until we're not there. I imagine most parents feel this potentially disturbing (hurtful?) combination of extreme need and off-hand neglect by their children, especially as the balance changes over time.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:17 PM | Comments (2)

December 28, 2004


Dorothy's crawling all over the place now, and a couple of days ago she started enjoying the game of chase (either chasing Daddy as he crawls away, or being chased by a crawling Daddy).

If I don't get a pair of kneepads soon, I don't think I'll have knees left by summer.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:46 PM | Comments (1)

December 25, 2004

Some Assembly Required

Friday night was Elizabeth's and my first Xmas Eve as parents. I'm sure things will be much more involved and crazy in future years (once Dorothy is older, and she perhaps gets siblings), but it was still fun and different this year from years past.

Parents have told me that the three worst words for a parent are "Some Assembly Required." Luckily, this year Dorothy's toys were relatively simple to assemble. I can only imagine some future year, though, when I'm tasked with helping Santa to assemble a giant doll house, or My Little Fusion Reactor™. For now, though we've had a good Xmas so far, and are looking forward to relaxing the rest of the day, and maybe opening some more gifts (Dorothy's only tackled a couple so far, since they're all so fun to play with).

Everyone here wishes you all a safe and happy holiday!

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

December 23, 2004

The Old Gray Hairs, They Ain't What They Used To Be...

The old gray mare, just ain't what she used to be,
ain't what she used to be,
ain't what she used to be,
The old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be
many long years ago.

My version of this song is about "gray hairs" instead of the gray mare. Gray hairs aren't what they used to be, because they used to be found only on elderly people. But now they've changed! They're found on ME, for instance!

When Dorothy was a few months old, I noticed a couple of gray-ish hairs in my sideburns, and I dutifully blamed the start of the color change on my child. But last week, while at the hotel out in Seattle, I noticed a few full-length gray hairs up in the middle of the top of my head. They're spreading! Aaughh!

My father and some of his brothers have a history of going gray relatively young, so I can probably blame this on genetics as much as my lovely child. In fact, maybe I'm doing well by not getting gray hairs until I'm 33. But in any case, the appearance of looking old doesn't match the feeling inside of being young. I'm told that this dichotomy doesn't change for years and years...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2004

Puppeteer Daddy

What I need is some sort of mini-trapeze (just two strings and a small bar), or perhaps puppeteer's handles and strings.

When Dorothy is walking around (and she seems to be demanding it even more now that she's sick), hanging from my fingers, I need to bend over a bit to keep her feet on the ground. But this position quickly breaks my back. So I need some sort of arm-extender so that she can hang on, and I can walk upright. Otherwise Daddy will become the Hunchback of Norwood all too soon.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:18 PM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2004

Hoarse cries

With her cold, Dorothy appears to have a bad sore throat (at least, the doctor says it looks really red and ulcerated). Her voice is hoarse, so she can't cry as loud as usual. But the cries she makes are really heartbreaking. She has a different facial expression, that I'm not sure I can describe, but she sort of wrinkles up her forehead and pulls her cheeks back as she opens her mouth to cry, and the quiet, raspy plaints come out. I can tell that crying itself hurts her, and she knows it's going to hurt her, but she doesn't have any other way to complain about everything else. I try to respond as fast as possible, so she doesn't have to make the noise for very long, but of course I can't make everything all better - I can just sympathize and snuggle her. She slept with me for most of last night, so I could get her immediately and wouldn't have to keep getting up and down to get her out of the crib. I'm pretty out of it at work today, but I think she got a fair amount of sleep last night. Hopefully she'll have an easier time tonight.

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

December 03, 2004

Protective of Our Baby Girls

Apparently I'm not the only new father who is very protective of his baby girl and who's thinking 15 years down the road. MetroDad recently echoed my own thoughts exactly on how his protectiveness will play out in the teen years:

I'm already feeling sorry for the first guy who tries to take her on a date.

I love you Dorothy! I apologize now for making your teen years miserable. :-)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 05:25 PM | Comments (2)

December 01, 2004

Which Body Part Should I Ruin?

Dorothy has been insisting for over a week to walk. A lot. She needs to grab onto an adult's hands (preferably an adult who is behind her so that she can forwards forever) to get lots of support, but once she's got that, she can do a silly & awkward goose-step all over the place.

Besides the daycare ladies, I seem to be the one most often escorting her around. But this gives me a choice: Do I stand on my feet, thereby bending over and getting a sore back, or do I kneel, thereby saving my back but hurting my knees?

I suspect that the question is moot. I'll probably wind up ruining both my back and knees with various child play activities over the next few years.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:27 PM | Comments (0)

November 30, 2004

Nothing But Net

Over the weekend, I was holding Dorothy upside down a bunch, which she loves. One time, I picked her up and held her upside down right over me, just in time for her to drool a huge gob directly down into my mouth - no lips, no cheek, just a perfect sunk shot from two feet away directly onto my tongue.


Posted by Tom Nugent at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2004

Hot Date!

Elizabeth and I had such a hot date today. We dropped Dorothy off with the babysitter (one of the great ladies from daycare, actually) around noon. Then we went to the ultra-high-class Taco Bell for a quick lunch on our way to the movie theatre (yes, we went through the drive-thru). We saw The Incredibles, which was a great movie. Then we grabbed some coffee (at least for Eliz) and hung out a bit, then picked Dorothy back up, getting home by 5:30pm.

It seems our standards have changed a bit since Dorothy came along...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:14 PM | Comments (1)

November 01, 2004

Damn Cheerios

We started giving Dorothy Cheerios a little while ago (4 weeks? 6? I've already lost track). At first we broke them into quarters (yeah, you try "cutting" a Cheerio into quarters without turning it into a pile of dust) and put one into her mouth. She would gum for a bit, but didn't seem to like or dislike them. We graduated her to half-size Cheerios, and would give her a few with some afternoon meals.

At daycare she supposedly gobbles them up, a couple of dozen each day. But even at the rate of a couple dozen per day, you're not going to get through even a small box of Cheerios before they go stale. So Elizabeth and I started eating them. But now I can sympathize with Trixie's Dad and his feelings towards Cheerios. I keep a plastic bowl of them up in my office, and once I start eating some, I wind up snarfing down (dry, I might add -- no milk) a whole bunch. Then I've got dry Cheerio bits in my teeth, and need to get water or something else. But I can't stop - they truly are addictive!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2004

The Taste of Tylenol

Dorothy's been waking up around 10pm most nights lately, and being pretty fussy. We can get her to calm down if we hold her for a while, but she won't go back to the crib. We've been giving her Baby Tylenol or Baby Motrin to help with teething pain (if that's what it is), and she seems to fall asleep shortly afterwards.

Just now we were doing it again. I had a kleenex available, to wipe off any Tylenol that she spit out onto her lips. I had her pacifier in one hand, and the medicine dropper in the other. The bottle of Tylenol was over on the nightstand, to keep from getting knocked over (that stuff stains cloth pretty nastily). After I gave her the dose of Liquid Happiness, I suddenly was one hand short of the three I needed: one for the dropper, one for the kleenex, and one for the pacifier. After fumbling for a second, I stuck the medicine dropper in my mouth. YUCK! Not only did it taste like medicine, but I think one of us had shed a hair or two onto the dropper.

These are the kinds of battlegrounds we find ourselves in these days. Overall, I probably can't complain. :-)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2004

Will This Be Me?

Go read the last item here. I'm giving 50/50 odds that will be me in another few years... :-O

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:27 PM | Comments (1)

Unhip Parents

I don't think I've ever considered myself very hip. I still have to give strong kudos to Being Daddy for his Unhip Parent's Manifesto. My favorite is the quote from an older colleague of his:

"You know, before you have a kid, you think you know what love is. You love your family and friends. You love your wife. But I'll tell you, you don't know what love can be until you have a child. It is deeper, truer. You know that you would die for your child. That you would do anything them. It teaches you how to be more patient, more selfless, more loving. It makes you a better human being. And those are good reasons to have a kid."
Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

What It's All About

I'm not sure I would have said it quite this way, but I also probably couldn't have said better than MetroDad just what parenting is all about: that happy feeling you get when your baby smiles at you.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2004

The Greatest Sound in the World

Many times over the last few weeks, I've had the opportunity to hear the most wonderful sound in the world. I haven't yet had the presence of mind to go get the voice recorder in order to capture it, but I hope to do so soon.

This most wonderful sound could brighten the day of anyone, even the grumpiest sourpuss. It is the sound of Dorothy laughing. When we're playing, and I (for example) rub the top of my head on her tummy, she gets this ultra-excited giggle that, to a totally objective observer, might not seem like much. But you can feel the pure joy she's experiencing, just by hearing her laugh.

If only I could bottle that sound and sell it, we wouldn't have to worry about paying for her college. The only concerns would be what to do with all the addicts, who can't survive without their next hit of Dorothy Laughs...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2004

Uh oh....

I overheard this comment in an elevator on Friday: "If you think a wife is expensive, just wait until you have a daughter."

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 09:55 PM | Comments (1)

August 30, 2004

Bad Daddy, Reason #37

I am a horrible Daddy. I fear that I have already ruined my daughter's life. Yes, that's right - I introduced her to television.

Saturday night, Elizabeth went to bed early, right after Dorothy had woken up from her early evening long nap. My job was to keep Dorothy awake until 11pm for her 'late night' feeding, so that she would sleep longer at night. We were playing on the activity gym in the living room, and she was mostly entertaining herself. I was getting bored and decided to turn on the TV to see if there was anything to watch. "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" (the improv comedy show) was on; it's one of the few shows I actually like.

Dorothy tried to turn and see what the noise was. I sat her up facing towards the television, and she was transfixed. I'll have some photos up in the Gallery later this week. But even when a commercial came on and I muted the TV and turned her away from it, she kept trying to turn around and look at the screen. If I kept her facing away for a little while, she'd eventually forget about it. But then when I'd unmute the volume, she'd immediately be transfixed. She was also probably trying to figure out why Daddy kept laughing so much.

After 45 minutes or more, she eventually became bored with the TV. But that may also be because she was getting extremely sleepy. She nodded off, sitting up in my arms, and I couldn't really keep her awake anymore. By that time it was almost 11pm, though, so I took her in for bedtime.

Hopefully being exposed to television a couple of times per month won't leave her obsessed with the magic talking picture box. Because I do not want to bring the TeleTubbies into our home. :-O

Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:04 AM | Comments (3)

August 24, 2004

The Joys of Vomit

After five hours of dealing with more than a half dozen vomitings by Dorothy, along with attendant unhappiness and noise, I can report that in my experience, there are no joys of (baby) vomit, except perhaps when it stops.

Today was mostly a good day. Dorothy and I had fun together this morning, and then in the afternoon we went to the Wrentham Village outlet mall with Scott, Susan, and Ian (Ian is a couple months younger than Dorothy; they can be seen together in a couple of the online photos). We had a relaxing couple of hours there. In the middle of our time there, Dorothy got hungry at her normal time. I'd brought along some dairy-free formula, in order to not have to worry about re-heating expressed breastmilk in the middle of an outdoor mall. She'd gotten some formula right after Elizabeth got out of the hospital, so I figured everything would be fine. Stupid me.

I'd forgotten how much formual we'd given Dorothy a few weeks ago. Turns out Elizabeth had nursed a bit, then we'd given Dorothy about 3 ounces before bedtime. Today, combining the fact that babies on formula drink more total volume than babies on breastmilk and that Dorothy normally drinks 5 ounces of breastmilk at a time, I gave her 6 ounces of formula. I couldn't refrigerate the 8 ounce can, so I figured I might as well give her what I could, because the rest was going in the garbage.

A couple of hours later, shortly after I'd gotten back home, Dorothy had a very large spit-up. Not fun, but it wasn't out of the realm of an occasional spit-up from before. I cleaned her (and me) up, and she seemed to be feeling OK. After a bit I put her in the exersaucer so that I could run downstairs and throw in a load of clothes. When I got back up, she was fussing (not shrieking uncontrollably), and had obviously vomited again, this time onto the exersaucer.

This second incident required her clothes to be changed, so I tossed a paper towel onto the mess in the exersaucer and took her to the changing table. As I was changing her, vomit #3 came up. At this point I was getting concerned, because the total volume was getting to be pretty big, some large fraction of her previous (formula) feeding. I called the pediatrician's office after hours, and a nurse called right back. She suggested waiting ~20 minutes after her last vomit before trying to give her either Pedialyte (basically, baby Gatorade, which we didn't have in the house) or some expressed breastmilk, only a tiny bit at a time. Dorothy had vomit #4 while I was on the phone. The nurse mentioned that there was a stomach virus going around, but so far Dorohty didn't have any of the other symptoms.

At this point it's around 5:40pm. At about 6pm, #5 came up. (Each vomit was getting smaller in volume but thicker in consistency.) But Dorothy was falling asleep in my arms, then waking up to scream (or vomit), then falling back asleep. The 20-minute "safety net" passed around when Elizabeth got home, so she tried nursing. No dice - Dorothy wasn't at all interested. I ran out and bought some Pedialyte, and she still wasn't interested.

I was getting concerned that Dorothy might be getting dehydrated, as well as hungry (even if she was refusing food). We called the pediatrician again around 7pm, during which call vomit #6 came up (at least it was a whole hour since the previous one). BTW, Dorothy's temperature was normal - 97.6. After reviewing all the symptoms, the doctor suggested we try getting even a tiny bit of fluids into her, and she'd call back in an hour. Dorothy was so lethargic throughout, that we were getting pretty worried. Over the course of the hour, though, we were able to get about 10ml (just over one-third of one ounce) of Pedialyte into her. 10 minutes before the doctor called back, Dorothy 'woke up' and would even give us half a grin. Since she seemed to be starting to get back to normal, and we'd gotten some fluids in without them coming back, the doctor recommended keeping an eye on her, and if she didn't produce a wet diaper within a few hours, to call back.

Well, we get another ounce or so of Pedialyte and breast milk into Dorothy over the next hour, then we let her take a real nap. When she woke up, she latched right onto Elizabeth and nursed just like normal. Then she was a completely happy, placid baby. No more vomiting (so far). So we think she's all better.

My theory is that the problem was a combination of too much formula (esp. after not having had any for weeks), being out in the sun and being a bit warm, and getting really jostled around at the mall and in the car. We'll know by morning if it was that, or if she has a bug. Thankfully for now, though, she's got lots of nummies in her and she's sleeping peacefully!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:41 PM | Comments (2)

August 14, 2004

You'd Think We Would've Learned...

During our shopping trip today, we also bought some clothes for Dorothy, who is starting to out-grow her 3-6 months clothes. Of course, we didn't actually look to see how much 6-9 months clothes we already had -- we didn't remember having much. We were wrong.

In addition to items from her baby showers (Chicago, and Elizabeth's work), we forgot that my parents and aunt had gone on a shopping spree back in June, plus we'd picked up one or two 6-9 months items on our last clothes shopping trip.

Here's Dorothy in front of all of her 6-9 months clothes, right before they all get washed for the first time:
Yes, that pile is taller than she is, and 2-3 times as wide.

We appreciate all the gifts of clothes we've received from so many people. But if anyone is thinking of buying Dorothy more clothes any time soon, please don't get anything smaller than 12 months - she won't need it!

And you would think we would have learned our lesson, after going through essentially the same experience when it was time for her to switch to 3-6 months clothes. Alas, you would be wrong. Can we still blame lapses like this on new parent brain?

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:55 PM | Comments (1)

Cynical Parents

Today was a sales tax-free day in Massachusetts, which was an excuse to go do some baby shopping we needed to do. So we, along with every single other person in the state, went out shopping. Parking lots were packed - almost as bad as a few days before Xmas! We went to Babies R Us to get a high chair, look at toddler car seats, and maybe pick up some stimulating toys.

While wandering the toy section, Elizabeth and I decided that we may be too cynical to be allowed to raise children. One of the toys we saw was a "bee" with "wings" and a "tail" that made noises when you twisted them. I picked it up, and exclaimed "Oh look! Baby's introduction to animal cruelty!"

Next we saw a Bob the Builder doll, to which Elizabeth applied the title "Baby's First Plumber's Crack!"

Finally, we saw a series of toys by Brainy Baby which were individually called "Left Brain" or "Right Brain" toys. The "Left Brain" ones had things like the alphabet and numbers. But what really made us (the left-brained engineers, mind you) laugh was the "Right Brain" toy we saw. We pushed its button, and it said "How will I feel today?" in a sappy voice. It went on to ask "Will I feel happy?! Will I feel sad?!" et cetera, et cetera. We don't believe it included "Will I feel irritated?!" which is certainly what any parent would feel after listening to the damn thing for 10 seconds.

Postscript by Elizabeth: The piece of the whole Left Brain/Right Brain thing that really stood out for me was the marketing genius. Tom, who had just been mercilessly mocking the Right Brain toys, then looked at the box of the (Left Brain) toy that we had picked out, saw that it had a recommended "companion" Right Brain toy, and immediately started searching the shelves for it!

Post-postscript by Tom: True, but I just wanted to see what sort of toy they thought was the proper "complement" to a rolling toy with buttons. I wasn't planning on buying it. Really! Honest!

Post-post-postscript by Elizabeth: Yes, dear.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:37 PM | Comments (3)

Slippery When Wet

Before heading out for the day this morning, we decided to give Dorothy a shower with me. She's done it with Elizabeth a couple of times (with me on the outside helping to soap Dorothy), and while Elizabeth had claimed that Dorothy was slippery when she had soap on her, taking her into the shower was easier and quicker than getting out the bath stuff. So I decided it was my turn.

Chest hair helps to "grab" other skin, so when I was first holding Dorothy, I had no trouble at all hanging on to her, even with water on us. We shampooed her hair, and still no problem. But then Elizabeth soaped her on both sides, and put some soap on my chest so that I'd be clean when holding her, and to help soap up Dorothy some more. SOAP made a huge difference to her coefficient of friction. Which is to say, as soon as I rubbed her against my chest and then tried to change holds, I practically dropped her. :-O The funny thing is, she slipped down to my leg (I had one raised), and got soap from my chest on one entire half of her face. She looked really funny.

I got her into a secure hold, then we rinsed her off and finished her cleaning, then I finished my shower while Elizabeth dried her. We'll probably shower her again at times in the future, but now I know how careful I need to be!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

Daddy Wins!

For most of the nights this week, Dorothy has been waking up around 2:30am and wanting to be awake for a while. Elizabeth has been getting up to deal with her. Thursday night, she tried waking me up without success, and then got mad at me. It wasn't really my conscious fault, but I was still in trouble. She'd asked me if it was my turn to get Dorothy, since she'd done it the previous two nights. In my still-asleep-and-dead-to-the-world voice I answered "yes." Then she asked if I'd gone to bed late, to which I also answered a more definite "yes." But I didn't actually get up, because I was still technically asleep. Without any prodding from her and/or direct commands, my unconscious wasn't going to get me out of bed. So, silly wife that she is, Elizabeth went and got Dorothy, and put me in the dog house.

Friday night she announced that I was on duty all night. Even for feedings, I was to bring Dorothy to and from the crib, so Elizabeth wouldn't have to get out of bed. I felt bad for her being sleep deprived lately, so I agreed. But Dorothy must have decided she loved her Daddy a whole lot, because she only got up once all night long, around 3am! (Well, technically, twice 20 minutes apart, but it was almost the same thing.) And it had been long enough since her last feeding that she ate again, and then slept until 7:30am! So Daddy fulfilled his duty without being tormented all night long! I win!!

Of course, this probably means my karma is unbalanced, and I'll get hit hard some other way...

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

August 05, 2004

Experimenting With Baby

Yesterday Elizabeth found an interesting article on PubMed about getting babies to sleep longer at night. I should preface the following by pointing out that, while Dorothy is sleeping pretty well for a baby who is 2 or even 4 months old, she hasn't progressed much in the last couple of months. She normally goes to bed around 8pm plus or minus a half hour (ignoring weird days when we're out late), and then sleeps for roughly 4.5 hours, waking up sometime around 1am (again +/- half hour). She'll then sleep until maybe 4am, and then usually again until 6am. (Note that I'm simplifying things a bit, rather than bore you with all the variability in her sleep patterns.) We would, of course, prefer her to sleep for a longer stretch to start with, and then for a single longer stretch through the rest of the night.

So the article Elizabeth found discussed a method for getting young babies (4-8 weeks old) to sleep longer at night (basically, trying to get them up to 5 hours of sleep once per night). The method is simple enough that we figure it should probably work for older babies too.

There are two parts to the method. First, wake up the baby and feed her between 10pm and midnight. Then, when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night (presumably asking for food), you should try to distract her for a while, so as to stretch out the period until she actually eats. So rather than feed at, say, 1am, she would instead wake up at 3am, and you should try to keep her from crying (much) for as long as possible, perhaps 4am. By stretching things out this way, the baby should eventually sleep for longer stretches at a time.

All of which explains why I'm up and posting at 3:30 in the morning. :-) After eating around 10:30pm, Dorothy woke up just after 2:30am. We did the dance and rock thing in the living room for 25+ minutes, during which she was pretty calm. Then I decided to see if she'd stay calm in her bouncy chair up in my office. We've been here for at least 20 minutes; we'll see how long we can last! I just hope we don't teach Dorothy to regularly stay awake for an hour or longer in the middle of the night. :-O

Posted by Tom Nugent at 03:29 AM | Comments (2)

July 27, 2004

Pavlov Had His Dog...

...and I've got Dorothy. Yes, that's right, I'm training my daughter to respond in a predictable manner to certain stimuli. Specifically, when it's time to eat and she's fussing and yelling, I bring the bottle in her field of view so that she can see it oriented vertically, and then I rotate it and bring the nipple towards her mouth. Today (and, I think, the last few times), she's quieted right down when she sees that bottle headed for her mouth.

So, what other science experiments should we perform on Dorothy next? ;-)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 04:09 PM | Comments (1)

July 18, 2004

Breast vs. Bottle

Aside from all the raging health debate about whether to feed babies breastmilk or formula, I have to say that breastmilk is great from the father's perspective. Why? Because 1) it means Dad isn't the one doing the night-time feedings (unless it's expressed milk, as I've been finding out the last few days), and 2) it comes pre-heated. Whenever Dorothy wakes up and starts fussing for food in the middle of the night, Elizabeth can just get up, get Dorothy, and boom! start feeding her. Neither of them fully wakes up, and they're done in 5 or 10 minutes.

When the breasts aren't available (because, for example, they're in the hospital), though, things get more stressful. As a father, I'm less attuned to my baby's noises at night. (I'm not spouting off something I've read in some dumb book; on nights when I've been awake late working, and come to bed just at the time that Dorothy first gets up to nurse, I've seen Elizabeth wake up while Dorothy is barely making noises I could hear; that's why I generally haven't woken up the last few months when Elizabeth nurses. And these last few nights, I know Dorothy has been making relatively loud noises (although not yet to a full-fledged cry) by the time I wake up.) So rather than getting up, giving the baby a breast, burping her, then climbing back into bed, the last few nights have instead been a process of getting up, trying to give Dorothy a pacifier to calm her down while I go start heating the milk (I generally don't bring her with me to the kitchen, because although that would calm her, it would also expose her to bright lights, which Elizabeth says makes Dorothy really wake up). I get out a bottle (or put some milk into a bottle if I didn't prepare one in advance), turn on the bottle warmer, and stick the bottle in. Then I go back to Dorothy and continue calming her, usually by picking her up and rocking her. Roughly 8 to 10 minutes later, the milk is warm enough to drink. Then I give her the bottle.

Of course, if I'd thought that she'd only want 2 ounces, and I was wrong, then I have to repeat the above process as I heat more milk. (We don't like to use more milk than she'll drink, because Elizabeth's daily production is not infinite. Normally we're pretty close, at around 3 or 4 ounces, but Dorothy's not completely predictable, surprisingly.) When she's done eating, then I can burp her and put her back in the crib to sleep. All in all, I don't think Dorothy and I have gotten back to bed in less than a half hour for night-time feedings the last three nights.

That's why I give a strong, whole-hearted vote for breast-feeding.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:18 AM | Comments (1)

July 13, 2004

Parental Satori Moment

I'm still reading Jeff Vogel's The Story About the Baby. The very last section "It Has To Be Said") of volume 11 (each 'volume' is about 2 book pages long) just made me laugh out loud, and I wanted to share with everyone. :-) Go read his stuff. (And buy his games, too -- Elizabeth is a big fan of SpiderWeb Software).

Posted by Tom Nugent at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2004

The View from Below

I took some pictures of Dorothy's crib today, including some shots from her point of view. I noticed that things like her mobile don't look nearly as interesting from her point of view as they do from the parents' (i.e., the buyers') point of view.

Coincidentally, this evening, I read Volume 7 of "The Story of the Baby" (a hilarious series of journal articles by a new dad, which I just discovered today) where he said basically the same thing.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2004

Music for a Baby

I love my Mom dearly, but I do hold a grudge for being raised listening to way too much Barry Manilow. :-)

In a sense I'm carrying on that tradition. Namely, I'm playing my music for Dorothy. While we do sometimes listen to the children's music CDs that we've received (thanks everyone!), I certainly don't limit myself to that music when Dorothy is around, especially when she's up in my office on my desk. Up here in my office is when we crank the Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix and a bunch of other rockin', soulful musicians. I want Dorothy to grow up appreciating the classics! :-) (I'm sure Tom Egan is going to make some amusing replies to what I'm referring to as classics...) And yes, sometimes we do listen to classical music too. But without some hard soul in at least some of your music, what's the point in listening?

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:01 AM | Comments (1)

July 04, 2004

Time Doesn't Stop

I was looking at some of the early photos of Dorothy this evening, and was struck at how much she's changed in such a short time. I'll never again be able to hold her as a 9 pound, teensy-tiny newborn (who, by the way, apparently had much more hair than she does now). Of course, she's lots of fun as a 14 pound happy bouncing 4 month old (in 2 days!) infant. But I feel like I didn't get enough of the earlier time with her, even though I was certainly spending more time with her then than I am now. I'm afraid how I'm going to feel in another 4 months...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:09 PM | Comments (3)

Random Thoughts

Happy 4th of July to everyone. It's a peaceful Sunday morning (Dorothy is sleeping in the bouncy chair on my desk, while Elizabeth catches a nap), and I feel like I should post something, but no one specific item comes to mind, so I'll just blather on for a bit.

It is so cool how happy Dorothy seems to be lately. You can just go up to her and let her see your face and you'll probably get a smile back. She's making lots of vocalizations, too, so you can also have a 'conversation' with her that goes on for a while. I think she's said her first word already, and it is "Yeeaaaahhhh". :-)

Dorothy still seems to squirm a lot in her sleep. For the last few weeks or month we've been swaddling her at night-time, to keep her from startling herself awake. It helps her to sleep for longer periods of time at a stretch, but being wrapped up makes her really warm. We're going to try to get some lightweight sheet material to use instead of a blanket. And I'm hoping that her startle reflex will decrease soon, so we don't have to use them at all.

Uh-oh. I just heard a sploort, so I better go change her. No rest for the wicked. ;-)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2004

Alone with Mommy

Today was my first time getting Dorothy up and off to daycare by myself, while Tom is away at his conference. At first, she was remarkably cooperative. She woke up this morning about five minutes before my alarm was due to go off, and then went back to sleep for over an hour, giving me time to shower and get my stuff and her stuff ready to go. Then I woke her up, changed her, and got her dressed for daycare. I decided to wait until we got there to nurse her, since she wasn't fussing yet.

Well, I sat down with her and started to feed her, and she cut loose with a major poop. Right up the back. All over her clothes and my pants. So I changed her diaper, and handed her to a daycare teacher while I washed my hands. Urrrrp! She spit up all over the teacher. All the way through, she was smiling and giggling like she'd come up with the best joke in the world.

Fortunately, the daycare center has us keep extra clothes there for just this sort of situation (for Dorothy. Unfortunately, not for me). We got her changed, and I went home to change my pants, and took a later train.

So I guess the Mommy daycare drop-off was a qualified success. We'll have to see what tomorrow brings for Grandma Chris babysitting!

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2004

Leaving My Baby!!

I'm going to the 3rd annual Space Elevator Conference in Washington, D.C. next week. But that means I'll be away from Dorothy for FOUR whole days! :-( I don't think I've ever been away from her for more than half a day before.

Luckily, my Mom and Dad will still be in town, and will be able to help Elizabeth with getting Dorothy from daycare, watching her on the non-daycare day, etc. But I'm still going to miss her a whole bunch!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2004

My First Father's Day

Today was my first Father's Day, and it was a pretty good one. Elizabeth tried to let me sleep in a little, then we met both sets of grandparents for brunch, and then came back to our place and hung out for the day. I had various thoughts pop into my head throughout the day that would have made good blog entries; we'll see if I can remember many of them.

Experiencing my first Father's Day wasn't as weird a feeling as it was 6 months ago when Elizabeth pointed out to me that this year would mark such an event. I guess I've become used to being a father over the last 15 weeks, whereas back in January, it was still a pretty foreign concept.

Dorothy was pretty well behaved today. In fact, she's been pretty happy and cooing for most of the past week, even with the congestion (which we think is due to dairy allergies) she's had. She's such a cutie, I may have to post more pictures tonight.

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

June 17, 2004

Eerily Familiar

This article in the May 7 St. Petersburg Times Floridian Online sounds familiar to my situation. I didn't have that man's problems soothing Dorothy when she was first born, and Dorothy doesn't seem to want to sleep as much as his daughter did, but the sense of "when will I get some respite?" almost from the moment Mommy walks out the door is one I completely sympathize with. It's not so much that I don't feel I can handle caring for Dorothy. It's more that I'm often feeling the lack of sleep, and by mid-afternoon I'm bored silly! There's only so much silly faces games and sit-up practice I can do before I'm trying to think of other possibilities, like teaching her to handle email...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 06:09 PM | Comments (1)

June 01, 2004

Our First Day Alone

Today was Elizabeth's first official day back at work (she'd gone in a few times over the last two weeks to get back into things). Which means it was the first day that I had Dorothy all by myself for a really long period of time. We survived, but I didn't do it all alone.

Elizabeth woke me around 5am to take Dorothy for a while, so that Eliz could get more sleep before work. (Dorothy "normally" gets up around 4am and is fussy until 7 or 8am.) Elizabeth took the 8am train into Boston, and I curled up with Dorothy on the couch. In retrospect, I should have put her in the sling and tried to get her to sleep in the crib, or somewhere I would have felt more secure. As it was, she slept for 45 minutes, and I lay next to her, maybe sleeping for a minute or two at a time before waking, worried that she might roll or wake or something.

Dorothy did let me get some of my own work done, although not a ton. We did play some games (like making faces at each other), and I fed her a couple of bottles. But every time she seemed to be dozing off and I put her in the crib in the hopes of getting a bit of shut-eye myself, her eyes would pop right back open.

We did play some more of her newest "game" -- sitting up! I'll lay her down on the boppy pillow, then let her grab my fingers with her fists. I'll grab her fists back, then pull her up to a sitting position. She's still pretty wobbly, but with me holding her arms out for support, she can mostly hold her head up and look around. She obviously loves sitting up, because when I lay her back down, she'll quickly start leaning her head forward and pulling her legs up, trying to get back into sitting position. :-)

Anyway, I was getting pretty zonked by mid-afternoon. Luckily, my parents were able to come by around 3pm and relieve me. I got a 45-minute nap, and (finally) took a shower. Boy, did that all feel so good! I went and got a bit more work done, and then my parents headed out after Elizabeth got home. Elizabeth certainly missed her little sweetie-pie after having been gone all day!

We all survived the day. Over the next couple of weeks, we'll see if I can manage to survive an entire day by myself with Dorothy without going crazy or comatose. This week, though, I won't have to worry. She's got two days in daycare, and the other day I'll be taking her to a party mid-afternoon, which will "break up" the day enough, I think. Next week, though, we'll see how we all do!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:26 PM | Comments (2)