Saturday, March 29, 2008

I think we can definitively call this a smile.

Lots more new pictures added to the Flickr page, too.

Conrad meets a few cousins

Jean's cousin Laura visited this week and met Conrad. She changed his diaper, played with him, spent several days with Jean and Conrad and bought him some nice stuff. Somehow we managed to avoid getting a single picture of her. But here's Conrad in the onesie she bought him:

Apparently it was originally designed to be worn by monkeys, but luckily it fits the boy as well.

Laura also accompanied us on Conrad's first trip to the beach, to visit Charlie and Marty, who are either my first cousin once removed and my first cousin once removed in-law, or perhaps my second cousin and my second cousin once removed in-law. I've never been sure. Jean's family, an efficient and no-nonsense bunch, calls them my aunt and uncle.

With four daughters and three grandchildren, Charlie and Marty know their way around a baby. At one point I went to see if Conrad needed changing and Marty told me she'd already done it. I was right there the whole time and never saw it. She's like a ninja grandma.

Also, they know all the facial expressions:

Marty and Conrad

Charlie and Conrad

Let's try this again.

In the early days of this blog we posted a photo of me at five weeks of age in 1965, along with a photo of Conrad at two weeks or so, painstakingly shot and edited to look like one another. Despite the fact that I named them "Conrad" and "Condad," some of you didn't get it. So I won't be so subtle this time. We re-shot the photo this morning now that he is closer to the age I was in the picture. "Conrad" is Conrad. "Condad" is me. The idea is that we look similar. Okay?



Thursday, March 20, 2008


And now for a more serious subject: Vaccines. There's been so much coverage in the media about vaccines and children and the potential link between autism and the MMR vaccination. I've been paying attention, but hadn't known much about the vaccination schedule until our pediatrician presented it to me at our prenatal appointment.

A word about our pediatrician: I really like her. She's doesn't pull any punches and is very straight forward. She's not into trends. When I asked her what books she would recommend, she told me to get the guide from the American Academy of Pediatrics for birth to 5 years. She's very thorough and when she gives a suggestion, it feels like it comes from years of experience.

At Conrad's one month appointment, I brought a copy of Dr. Sears' Vaccine Book, which our doula had lent to me. The book suggests a more drawn out vaccination schedule than the one recommended by the Academy. It doesn't promote children skipping vaccines. I told her my concerns about overloading little bodies with so many vaccinations at one time (5 at the 2 month checkup - although admittedly combined into a single injection).

Her response was quite strong and somewhat unexpected. She looked me in the eye and said that the MMR vaccination does not cause autism and that she feels strongly that by drawing out the vaccination schedule that I would be increasing my child's pain by increasing the number of injections. I felt a little bullied, so agreed that at Conrad's 2 month checkup, we'd stick with the plan.

I plan on reading the Vaccine Book more thoroughly to see what I think, but right now, I'm not sure whether to take a stand with our pediatrician or to go with what's recommended.

Fat Little Baby

Conrad had his one month checkup on Monday. Dave and I both guessed that he'd weigh in at about 9 to 9 1/2 pounds. You can imagine my surprise when the nurse told us that he weighed 10 pounds and an ounce. Of course, I was sure that he was hitting the 90th percentile in growth, but our pediatrician reassured us that he's right in the middle of the growth charts and that we should expect such large gains this early in his life.

I shouldn't have been so surprised though as he's already outgrown some of his baby clothes. People had told me that there would be things that he'd only wear once, but I didn't believe it until now. I've started dragging out his 6 month clothes to make sure we get some wearing in before he gets too big. Note to readers - 6 month clothes are too big, but 3 months fit just great. Sadly, the newborn clothes are mostly too small.

I'm beginning to truly grasp how quickly they grow up. I know this sounds silly, but it's another a ha moment for me. I think there's a part of me that had the impression that he'd be a certain sized baby until suddenly he was a toddler, sort of bypassing the intermediate growth.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I know I'm pushing it...

... with all the Super Baby stuff, but I promise you in this photo, he is standing up. Yes, I was keeping him from toppling over and yes, it only lasted a few seconds, but he was supporting his own weight.

Super Baby at the Easter egg hunt

We had an Easter egg hunt in our neighborhood this weekend, organized by two of our most fun- and colored-egg loving neighbors. It's the kind of thing that makes this neighborhood so great. Everyone is very glad we finally had a child so that we could get more involved with the various activities around here. A dog would also have been acceptable.

Conrad, remarkable child that he is, dominated the newborn class. Here he is getting ready for the starting whistle:

And here he is with all the eggs he found:

And winning the egg and spoon race:

Almost smiling, trying to smile or refusing to smile

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Three Magic Squirrels

I have written before in these annals of my revelation that, when called upon, I was unable to think of song lyrics to sing to my lullaby-needy child. Turns out this phenomenon extends to story telling as well. When I was a wee lad, my father would tell me stories about Little P and his friends Finn McCool the Leprechaun, and Clavnis Rafferstan, the Rabbit with the Removable Ears. In fact, last weekend he told Conrad the story of how the three of them took a ride in a flying garbage truck. He had a roomful of adults captivated, almost as much as Conrad.

I tend to think of myself as a fairly imaginative person, but as in so many things in life, the real test is how well you manage at 4 o'clock in the morning.

Here's the story I told Conrad at 4 o'clock this morning:

The Three Magic Squirrels

Once upon a time there were three magic squirrels, and their names were Magic Squirrel 1, Magic Squirrel 2 and Magic Squirrel 3. Magic Squirrel 1 said to the other magic squirrels, "I have to go to the DMV. Do you guys want to come with?"

"I do," said Magic Squirrel 2, "because I'd like to go to the Family Dollar store that is near the DMV."

"Okay," declared Magic Squirrel 1. "Do you want to drive, or do you want me to drive?"

"I want you to drive," replied Magic Squirrel 2, "for I have a bunch of stuff in my back seat."

And Magic Squirrel 3 said, "I am a magic squirrel."

The End.

Coming soon: The Three Magic Squirrels go to Radio Shack

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today, Conrad is one month old. It's hard to believe how quickly this time has flown by. One of our neighbors wisely said that with a baby, the days are long but the time goes by quickly. This seems to be a perfect statement of how it feels.

Dave is shepherding Conrad through the fussy hours while I write this. While my parents were visiting, Conrad seemed to have read all of the baby books we have lying around and developed a fussy period between 6 and 10pm. The last two evenings have been much calmer, but I think it's due to our strategy of a long walk at 6pm, cluster feedings every 1 1/2 to 2 hours, swaddling and shushing. And, of course, lots of holding.

I'm sure more experienced parents will laugh at the thought that I can control our lovely little boy at such a tender young age. But it makes me feel better to at least have a plan.

Speaking of which, the other day I actually said to Conrad, 'Resistance is futile'. And then I realized that I might as well have been speaking to myself. It's quite a switch of mindset to realize that the true commander of our household arrived last month. We are merely pawns in his game.

Baby Care Tips

More at

Monday, March 10, 2008

If you look closely, you can see the puff of smoke from the grassy knoll.

After we posted photos of Conrad rolling over at 22 days, several readers asked to see video of the event. I mean, come on. Would I really include my own newborn son in a hoax with no hope of financial gain? Anyway, here he is doing it again tonight, although he's facing away from the camera at the start, which doesn't rule out the possibility that there were tiny mechanical assist devices concealed by his onesie, or perhaps a long stick prodding him from just offscreen. And since you can't see his face very well, I can't prove this isn't a stunt little person, or in fact a mechanical baby. And why is there no audio?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A complete set

All four grandparents in the same place, plus baby. That's pretty cool. In addition to having a lot in common, they all share the opinion that they have a pretty adorable grandson. But what would you expect from a gathering of grandparents? A frank and objective discussion of his flaws?

You can't sit around for three hours talking exclusively about how cute the grandson is, so they found other topics of conversation, including cars, which led to this classic grandparently utterance:

"I don't think I dated you when you had a Studebaker."

Tell Conrad that story in 15 years and he'll be convinced we were all wearing homespun clothes and eating hardtack.

Lots of photos added to his Flickr page today, by the way, including this one, which cracks me up for some reason:

Bounce, Grammy, bounce!

Grammy's been a real trouper while she's been here, and has taken her share of bouncing duty during the fussy periods when that seems to be the only thing that calms him down. She got a workout, too, and went through her whole travel stash of ibuprofen. Feel the burn, Grammy.

Conrad loves his Winkel.

That's a Winkel, courtesy of neighbors and experienced parenters Beth and Jim.

What did you think I meant?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Today's highlights

Won a staring contest...

attacked by wild animals...

grew a new pair of ears...

and met Grampy for the first time. (They say you get your hair from your maternal grandfather.)

Is he supposed to be able to do this yet?

Conrad on Tuesday at 22 days, turning himself over:

We turned him back over, and he did it again.

Hastings said, "So what. Big deal."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

From the Front

We've noticed that Conrad is beginning to define his evening fussy period between 6 and 9pm. Last night Dave said that he'd like it if Conrad would get this over with before he got home from work. And today he responded in spades.

Here is a list of the items he either peed or pooped on all between 5 and 11am:
  • four outfits
  • three changing pad covers
  • a boppy cover
  • my robe
  • the mama
  • a comforter cover
  • a blanket
  • my pajamas

There was one incident that did a great deal of the above damage. Two words: projectile pooping.

I'm sure a lot of this is due to poor diapering, poor diapers (those 7th generation hippie no dye diapers really don't do the job) or sleep deprivation on the part of the mama. Some of this will work itself out over time. Until then, thank god for the washing machine.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The kids these days...

... with their rock 'n' roll t-shirts and their baggy pants.

"You want me to wear your logo, talk to my agent."

Monday, March 3, 2008

In the interest of full disclosure...

... he is not happy and angelic all the time. For the last few days he's been having a fussy period in the evenings, lasting from about 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. We've also had a couple of nights when he won't go back to sleep after the 3:00 a.m. feeding, and it takes maybe 45 minutes to get him calmed down again. In those 45 minutes, I have employed every single comforting method I have read about, and attempted a few of my own. He likes being bounced and jiggled, he responds well to swaddling and shushing, and he thinks the exhaust fan in the bathroom is God.

I've tried singing to him as well. One thing I never anticipated when preparing for fatherhood was the need to memorize song lyrics. At 3:00 a.m., you forget them. For some reason I tried "American Pie" first, which was one of my first favorite songs. The chorus is easy enough, but then you get into the whole "do you believe in rock 'n' roll and can music save your mortal soul" part and it's easy to get lost.

I hit on "Hey, Jude" next, but before I knew it I was in the "na na na na na" part, and that's not very satisfying. Finally, my addled brain settled on one song that I know cold, without having to think about. That's how I ended up singing "The Star Spangled Banner" to Conrad over and over again. If he grows up to be president, we'll know where it all started.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Not just a pretty face

According to one of the 80 to 100 baby books we have accumulated, your baby is advanced if, at the end of one month, he can raise his head while lying on his stomach.

Oh yeah? Check this out:

Three weeks old and he's doing frickin' yoga. This one is cobra pose. We fully expect to wake up tomorrow and find him doing a sun salutation.

In addition to tummy time (I hoped I would be able to avoid some of the baby jargon, but so far no such luck - except we have decided to call pacifiers "pacifiers" and avoid any other cutesy-poo abbreviations), Conrad went for a stroll today, with his mom and Grammy. Luckily we bundled him up against the brutal North Carolina winter:

Today's high: 59 degrees

One of today's many costume changes included this cute little number:

Why does he need pockets? What's he going to keep in there?

Although he did get his insurance card in the mail yesterday. It was the first piece of mail addressed to him. I was momentarily confused, like after you get married and receive a card seemingly addressed to your parents. So he's getting mail, and accumulating identity cards. I suppose he needs a wallet now, too.

More pics from tummy time, Grammy time and Opa time added to the Flickr page, along with a shot of Jean and her favorite new feeding time accessory.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


You may now comment freely

Those of you who groused about having to register before being able to leave a comment and tell us how adorable our son is, get to commentin'. I have made the comments section open to all, although you will have to do one of those word verification things to prove you aren't a Viagra-shilling robot.

He's acting kind of sullen, too

Conrad's baby acne arrived right on schedule, and just in time for the weekend's scheduled photo shoots. Still, it's just a phase and we know it'll pass. He's also been asking for his own cell phone, and he wants us to drop him off at the mall.

This is the expression we've been calling "breakfast face" since he was born, but earlier this week the doula told us it didn't mean he was hungry, it just meant he was thinking. Uh huh. Right. Thinking about boob.

Years ago I read the results of a study linguists had done on newborns that determined babies are born with the ability to make all the sounds in all the languages of the world, even the ones that are hard to learn as an adult, like rolled French Rs and African !X sounds. I believe it, because lately it seems Conrad has been speaking dolphin. We've been calling him Flipper, in fact. I'd be afraid to take him to Sea World right now, for fear they would claim him as their own.