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Posts Tagged ‘baby’

If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s people bragging about how smart their kid is. “My kid scored 8,000,000 on his IQ test.” “My kid did a backflip.” “My kid cured cancer.” Blah blah blah. So predictable and annoying.

But guess what my kid did? Rolled over before his 6 week birthday!

Have a look:

(And, yes, I just got iMovie.)

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Truth be told, we had sort of a rough weekend. Remember those 8 hours of sleep I was getting? Now it’s more like 5. And they’re broken up into oh-so-refreshing 1 ½ hour stints.

Like his Daddy, little man Nate seems to be a night owl. He won’t konk out until around 2 AM. Starting at around, say, 9-ish, we trot out the usual suspects: rocking him, putting him in his swing, singing him lullabies, playing guitar for him, the 5 S’s, the 6 T’s, the 7 F’s, the 8 U’s, feeding him, checking his diaper, burping him, changing his outfit, standing on our heads making funny faces, etc., but he consumes these activities as if they were entertainment, not sedatives.

And I don’t know who’s in more pain when he’s screaming: me or him. Last night I was reminded of those charts they have in emergency rooms. You know, the Wong-Baker pain scales with the faces . . .

. . . well, here’s my slightly altered version, niche marketed for the first-time parent crowd. Now, in the comfort of your own home, you can trace your own parenting progression. Have fun:

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After 3 consecutive weeks of visitors, we’re finally free. Don’t get me wrong. We love family. But this apartment is a little over 1000 square feet, and at one point there were 12 people in it.

To put that into perspective, that’s a population density of approximately 334,540 people per square mile (trust me, I’m an English major), which would make this place about 20x more densely populated than China.

Scene from my apartment last week.

I shouldn’t complain. I don’t have it nearly as bad as some people (check out Conflicted Mean Girl’s run in with her mother-in-law). And somewhere down the line, we’re gonna wish we had Grandma and Grandpa here to babysit again. And Auntie Em to do the dishes. And Uncle Fred to take out the garbage.

But, as of this moment, Leigh Ann and Nathan and I are itching to set this boat a sail just the three of us.

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If you’ve ever wondered how your baby sees the world, there’s an interesting article in Wired today about exactly that. Unlike adults who can direct their focus, babies focus on everything at once:

What is it like to look at the world like an infant? The question is particularly interesting because the ability to pay attention, focusing that spotlight on a thin slice of the stage, depends on the frontal cortex, that lobe of brain behind the forehead. Alas, the frontal cortex isn’t fully formed until late adolescence – ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny – which means that it’s just beginning to solidify in babies. The end result is that little kids struggle to focus.

This has led the UC-Berkeley developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik – I’m a huge fan of her latest book, The Philosophical Baby – to suggest that babies don’t have a spotlight of attention: They have a lantern. If attention is like a focused beam in adults, then it’s more like a glowing bulb in babies, casting a diffuse radiance across the world. This crucial difference in attention has been demonstrated indirectly in a variety of experiments. For instance, when preschoolers are shown a photograph of someone – let’s call her Jane— looking at a picture, and asked questions about what Jane is paying attention to, the weirdness of their attention becomes clear. Not surprisingly, the kids agree that Jane is thinking about the picture she’s staring at. But they also insist that she’s thinking about the picture frame, and the wall behind the picture, and the chair lurking in her peripheral vision. In other words, they believe that Jane is attending to whatever she can see.

Or consider this memory task designed by John Hagen, a developmental psychologist at the University of Michigan. A child is given a deck of cards and shown two cards at a time. The child is told to remember the card on the right and to ignore the card on the left. Not surprisingly, older children and adults are much better at remembering the cards they were told to focus on, since they’re able to direct their attention. However, young children are often better at remembering the cards on the left, which they were supposed to ignore. The lantern casts its light everywhere.

This sounds a little bit like how I watch TV. I keep trying to ignore that stupid “blast of hydration” Schick commercial, but every time I close my eyes it’s the only thing I see. Maybe my frontal cortex needs a tweak.

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30 days to go. Friends keep asking if I’m getting worried yet. And I keep responding, “No, because I have no idea what I’m in for.” Like I’m some poor sap in Hiroshima who’s just been told the bombers are coming.

“They’re about to drop an atomic bomb on the city, dude.”

“That’s great. An atomic what?”

Worried yet?

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After much thought and careful deliberation, little Nathan/Reese’s “coming home” outfit has been selected.

Why the monkey theme? Because for some reason you can’t find onesies with dolphins. And because I love monkeys. Probably more than I love human beings. Put it this way, if I were to get trapped in an elevator for three hours and had the choice of being trapped with human beings or chimpanzees, I would absolutely choose the chimpanzees — despite the threat of being pelted with feces and having my face ripped off.

Monkeys are too fascinating to me. They’re our spiritual mirrors. They’re smart, they’re stupid. They’re playful, they’re shy. They’re cute, they’re ugly. They’re calm, they’re angry. They’re giving, they’re selfish. They’re kind, they’re mean. They’re good, they’re evil.

Only it seems a lot easy to forgive the latter half of those pairs when it ain’t in a human being.

Funny how that works.

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That sucker doesn’t budge. Not to the left. Not to the right. And I’m happy to report there was absolutely no pole dancing involved, just steely grit, cold hard determination . . . and all of YouTube’s search results for “How to Install a @$#^ing Car Seat.”

I did learn a couple things though, so in case this helps anyone . . .

1) Read the instruction manual all the way through before starting. Because, shock of all shocks, the guy in India who wrote it for seven cents an hour might not have put things in the right order. My manual, for instance, first explained how to install the seat by strapping a lap belt over it. So I spent a half hour doing that and marveling at how miraculously unstable it all seemed. And then I turned to the next page and saw the instructions for how to install just the car seat’s base. Sheesh. Now they tell me.

2) If your car has LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), use them.

3) If you’re using safety belts to secure the seat/base, click them over to the “child seat” setting. Or buy a locking clip.

4) If you’re strapping in the base and want a better fit, try standing on the base (or just putting some weight on it) before tightening the belt. Worked great for me.

5) If an old Russian lady is walking her two dogs and sees you fumbling with the car seat, do not scream “STUPID BABY! I WISH YOU’D JUST SHUT THE HELL UP!” at the imaginary baby not actually in the car seat.

Because some people just can’t take a joke.

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