Junior has moved
Junior A and Junior #1 have their own blogs now.
So here you have moi.Posted by amol -->
Vintage Pascale videos
And, the photo galleries have moved from time to time so here is the current home of all the pics: Our photo collectionPosted by amolsarva -->
Pascale imagines bedtime monsters
Last night, for the first time, Pascale called me in at bedtime to report "monsters up there" on the ceiling. They were easily dispelled.
Other fun cognitive games we have been playing: identifying written words (about 10 of them). Same/different stuff like circle the color that matches the crayon, or draw a line between the shapes that are the same.
I haven't had any luck with 1+1 = 2 yet, though basic counting stuff seems to be easy enough.
And she loves all touch devices -- iPod, mouse, -- way better than the trackpointers and keyboards and wheels etc. It's true, then! Touch is more intuitive!Posted by amol -->
Pascale has had numerous experiences so far with intentionally telling untruths -- most of them playful imagination, others barely perceptible games of hide-and-seek.
But today I caught her! At naptime, poking her head out of the bedroom, and hiding again when she saw me coming! She was sneaking around!
She's 2 years and 10 months now, so one would expect this kind of thing.
Other recent achievements:
- swimming reasonably well with floaties
- writing CAT, and writing PASCALE (except all out of order)
- typing words on her computer (an XO) and having it read her words like MOMMY
- she put on her winter coat by herself, using the "lay it on the floor first" method
- she's an occasional potty user
- she's graduated to a bed with railings
Next big thing, I suppose, is probably to be fully potty trained. Maybe skipping the naptime. Not really sure -- I guess we're open to suggestions.Posted by amol -->
She's done it. She wrote a word.
Here is Pascale posing with her trophy -- the word "cat", down at the bottom of the page there. And Ursula too!Posted by amol -->
Pascale does a puzzle, and she swims!
Some videos at Vimeo of Pascale swimming and doing puzzles.Posted by amol -->
Pascale has breakfast, sort of
Posted by amol
And here she is "preparing" for bed.
Sentences, by a first-timer
"I catch you"
"I eat it"
"Itsa white car"
"Look at the plane"
"Come on Daddy. Wake up." (I hate that one)Posted by amol -->
Pascale speaks! Sentences even.
Pascale has been developing her speech well and in Australia she took great strides.
Today, at dinner, she said what is often on her mind: "I don't want it. Mummy eats it."
Sentences! Subject verb object! Two of them!
A big milestone.
Meanwhile, she has so much vocabulary and such quick facility to learn new words, that it's pointless to try counting now. About 3 months ago, we had a list of 20-40 words that she knew to say. Now it's certainly many hundreds. And more importantly she knows that all things and actions have names that she can learn instantly.
And she pronounces many of them semi-coherently.
Finally, and this is in the reading/writing category:
- lots of more controlled scribbles. She has been making a C and an O for 3 weeks now. As she makes more accidental marks, she'll identify them as X or T or heart or square. She can't do them on demand since she lacks control -- any time she tries she ends up with either a scribble or a big circle. But she can pick 'em.
- she recognizes all the letters and knows how to 'read' about 4-5 words. Pascale is one, and Mummy, Daddy, Ultra. If she is stumped, she'll often just guess Pascale when it's way off! But she does know when something is a word vs. a picture. Won't guess at pictures.
It's pretty neat to see all these cognitive systems develop in their stepwise path, after studying them so much way back when.Posted by amol -->
Matte Chi presents: Lazy Afternoon with Pascale
"A triumph!" - AmolPosted by amol -->
Pascale is pretending
As of two weeks ago, so around March 1, Pascale started pretending.
Her first one was pretending to have some food in her hand, that she would alternately eat or give you.
Then last week she also had some imaginative peek-a-boo play with a ball that she hid in a blanket. Boo!
She clearly was imaging things. It's a start!Posted by amol -->
Pascale goes to school
Posted by amol -->
If you are wanting to see some pics of Paz. Here you go.Posted by amol -->
Pascale playing with UltraPosted by amol -->
Pascale preparing dinner, sort ofPosted by amol -->
Pascale gets ready for bed, sort ofPosted by amol -->
The time is near...Posted by amol -->
What babies know from the start
“One great blooming, buzzing confusion” was how William James, a 19th-century psychologist, described the way he thought the world looked to a newborn baby. But these experiments, and many others like them over the past few decades, have convinced researchers that, on the contrary, babies are born with many ways of making sense of what they see and hear.Posted by amol -->
Paz at Keith HaringPosted by amol -->
Pascale eats dinner
A great film of Pascale dining.Posted by amol -->
Pascale development update
In December she did three specific things that were big achievements:
- said a sentence, "He's sleeping" and also "Smells nice".
- sang the whole ABC song (could use help on pronunciation)
- counted 1 to 10 (same)
In the last 2 weeks she has done some more neat things:
- she'll pick out and point to stuff I ask her to find like orange, blue, purple, cow, dog, duck in pictures
- she'll point in very specific ways to get us to do stuff like change the song on the radio or "go sit down over there"
- she's excellent with puzzles of the next level up. She started solving the "put the cow on the cow" shape puzzles at about 18 months. But now she does the shapes-through-the-box-holes or match the colored dots and snap the button in type things
Pascale is doing some nodding
Seems like a new thing to me this week. Some nods yes and some shakes no. Not quite 100% clear, but pretty indicative as answers to questions. Good going, Pascale!Posted by amol -->
Pascale since summer
Pascale has been in many pictures since summer, and here they are.
Posted by amol -->
Pascale, and of course MorrisseyPosted by amol -->
Pascale counts to 10!
Paz counted to 10 today!
One, two, three... you get the idea.Posted by amol -->
Pascale milestons in cognition
Pascale is doing 2 new things I noticed today
- playing with her stuff animals in bed instead of sleeping or crying at bedtime
- matching up the little colored velcros to "The Quiet Book". Not that she responds to the names of colors, but she does match like with like
Next stop, get her to "give me the red one"Posted by amol -->
Pascale this summer
We've been posting the Paz pics to travel all summer.
She's come a long way this last few months.
Herewith, all her words:
go go go
Pascale in pictures....back back back!
Every once in a while my home web server goes down and I learn a thing or two about routers, ports, HTTP, etc. Well, it happened recently as I upgraded everything yet again recently.
Some new posts coming soon.Posted by amol -->
Learning by watching
It's impressive how babies learn. Junior is doing it just by looking.
For example, she sees how we put toothpaste on the toothbrush and she has been trying to imitate that action, when she gets her hands on the tube and brush. It's a brief action; I'm surprised she notices. There are lots of other throwaway gestures in that context too. Does she do them too? I don't think she does.Posted by amol -->
Pascale in videos
I am trying out a video hosting site to put up all our Pascale movies. We are having lots, since now we have this simple little video camera.
(Google Video is a pretty unreliable and flakey service by the way -- I'm disappointed with it so far, except that it has unlimited storage. It's the first Google product I have used that is actually bad. But I've invested a bit of time with it so I'll soldier on a bit.)
Watch the videos by clicking the play button or by clicking on the blue text links to see the videos on their own page. I only embedded a few of them on this page directly.
Pascale playing with the dustpan and giving a tour of the living room
Pascale in pictures is really back
We were moving so my home web server with all the Pazzy pictures has been down for nearly a month. And in connection with all that, we were even lagging in taking pictures and so forth. Well, all that is over now. Not only have I got tons of pictures to share but we have a nifty video thingo too.Posted by amol -->
Pascale in pictures is back
Pascale has been doing so many new things these last 2 months. It's interesting to watch and I wish I was reporting it more diligently
* She spins these long musical and rhythmic expressions, but doesn't say many words
* Her words are doggie, ultra, big dog, and a few others like that. Really more like incantations. Not super specific or asking/telling
* Hand signs are happening. Milk, finished, change me.
* Lots of frustration when she can't say what she wants -- you can tell she wants X! Give me X!
* Her comprehension is great. Really impressive. She opens and closes, comes and goes, takes and gives, all on instruction. It's as if she understands a lot of what we say
* She is crazy for books. They are her favorite toys -- currently Baby Cat Nicky, The Cuddliest Cuddle in the World, and Vroom Vroom are near the top of the list. And Big Dog, Little Dog.
* She watches 10-15 minute stretches of Sesame Street-type programs
* She is walking at a fast clip. Started over the last 2 months and is now very robust
* The last 2 weeks - some jumping, climbing up on furniture, climbing off of bed for the first time successfully. She has been doing stairs for months
Eating and "digestion"
* Lots more solids, but still ~50% milk (soy, mostly).
* It may be time to potty train her. We have ordered the equipment!
Walking, as a child
This is Ursula, when she was about 1 year old or 1.5Posted by amol -->
Walking, talking, signing
Pascale has been doing many many things these last couple of months. It hardly seems worthwhile reporting on each incremental sliver that we observe -- another one quickly follows.
But I want to declare a few official first dates for her. At about 10 months she started:
- cruising around while holding onto things
- saying words like Mumumum (mom), Dodle (dad), Doggy, wow, uh oh. Uh oh was probably the first.
- crawling up stairs and down without too much disaster
- high fiving
Over the holidays in Australia, in her 11th month
- she took her first steps. She has since repeated this. But she's not quite walking yet. (Thank goodness)
Since about 12 months she has
- done her first sign. Last night actually was the breakthrough moment where she clearly was signing the "milk" sign. Hurray!
- climbed up the steps in our perilous compressed stair! Amazing!
- standing, sitting, standing and toddling with ease
- she recently "put something back where it goes" after having pulled it out of place. It didn't quite look tidy though!
- today in fact she played peek-a-boo with a blanket herself. Till now, she was amused by our maniuplation of the blanket, but today she was the one throwing the blanket up and down
Pascale took her first step today! In Australia, at 325pm on December 27th!Posted by amol -->
Our new webcamPosted by amol -->
Pascale is hitting milestones like a fiend. Since today is Nov 11, she is about 9 months and 3 weeks old. Nearly 10 months.
Recently, she started waving. Probably 2-3 weeks ago now. She sometimes waves back to you, which is neat. She is communicating.
She *might* have done the sign for "milk" today. But then again maybe not. Ursula says there have been several unconfirmed sightings. The other night when I had her out at a bar, a guy came over and told me his 14 month old does 30-40 signs. Whoa! Milk, change, hungry, change me, touch down, foul...
She climbed up some stairs yesterday. And back down. Very slow and deliberate. But she did it. This was at a friend's house with a small 4-step stair. Then she came home and tried sliding down our own bizzaro cross-step stair today -- and managed rather well to get down 3 of 4 steps.
I think I've already mentioned that she drinks from a cup, eats Os with a pincer grab, and makes lots of interesting babble.Posted by amol -->
Victuals and libations
Pascale eats and drinks. She is drinking from a cup (one splash at a time), eating little Os (50% hit rate), nibbling a biscuit (making it soggy), taking mouthfuls of rice with yogurt and cooked vegetables (about 2 spoonfuls per sitting), etc!Posted by amol -->
The bub stands, and bites, and acts 9 months old
New picturesPosted by amol -->
Pascale is eating. She has four teeth on the bottom and soon to have four on top. She works up an appetite by stumbling all around the house. And so forth.
What should we be feeding her? It's a good question.
Apparently we can now start adding pasteurized soft cheese, some light finger foods likecrackers or pasta that have been baby-sized, even some proteins like egg or beans (mashed) and some juices.
Apparently like 4 little jars-worth per day.Posted by amol -->
Pascale in Portraits
The movie! Pascale in Portraits (set to Seu Jorge's version of Bowie's Changes)
Here is a gallery of the photos themselves. It's interesting to see the progression.Posted by amol -->
For the last week or so, she has been crawling.
She's got a funny kind of style. Not a "put one knee in front of the other" approach. Maybe she'll refine her technique into that. But for now, she kneels on all fours and then puts one foot out in front. Then drags herself forward to alignment. It gives her a long range around the house. We've had to babyproof everything, for example.
The foot she puts in front is an attempt to stand on it. And she's getting good at getting herself up into standing positions. She'll crawl over to a table or chair and grab something, pull herself up, and stand there.
She even lowered herself down again to sitting today. Breakthrough.
She is sleeping inconsistently, I'd say. On many nights, she wakes up sometime in the middle of the night for a feeding. But we are so used to it that we haven't tried to suppress that behavior. She's more or less quiet all night so it's fine with us. Bedtime around 830pm and wake up around 7.
Meena has been taking her to the park and playgroups and classes. We are told Pascale is very friendly and enjoys playing. Good! Though I haven't really seen her with multiple kids her own age yet.Posted by amol -->
Pascale is developing little techniques, though we are presently in between the big milestones of "sitting" and "walking" (or "crawling").
- She can sit up from a lying down position. She has mastered it now. Puts legs to the side, pushes herself up with her arms, and sits. Then lie down again, and then sit up again. It's how she moves around since that transaction causes her to slide over.
- She has been working hard at pulling herself from a sitting position into a crawling position. Using her hands on the floor in front of her, it's tough to pull over into a knees-on-the-ground stance. But she can do it as of last week, though only occasionally.
- Once there, she can't crawl. She just sort of lays there.
- She does another arm thing -- a big two handed smack-the-table gesture. I don't know where that will lead though.
- She has occasionally gotten from a lying/sitting position all the way to standing up (as in some photos from a few weeks back) but she hasn't repeated this at all yet. I guess she got lucky. I'm watching her try that right now. It is
- As far a sleep, she is good at night. She sleeps about 8:30pm to 5am or so.
Pascale at 7 months
Junior is now 7 whole months old!
She just did her third video conference to Australia today, which is one more than I've ever done.
Here latest tricks are
- getting from lying down into a sitting position. She wakes herself up at night and certainly surprises us. She's been doing this for about a week.
- she's made some efforts to crawl. Very slow forward motion, some reverse. Looks promising.
- turning effortless from back to front, front to back. She is so delighted by this that she actually occupied herself for nearly half an hour (and spared waking sleeping me) the other morning.
- she pulls herself up from a lying down position to standing!
Here she is the first time we caught her doing it. The crazed gleefulness on her face suggest she knows what she's doing. She seems to be biting the rail of her crib. Perhaps to taunt it.
On the verge of standing
She's on the verge of standing. And we took her to the beach. Pictures.
One thing I'm worried about -- when can't just lay her down and expect her to go to sleep as her only option, what will we do? She'll be able to pull herself up, stand, call out, and variously entertain herself away from sleeping. I suppose we'll have to actually put her through some bedtime somnolence routine.Posted by amol -->
Pascale's new features
Junior is nearing the 7 month mark and we are adding training for her new challenges.
- We are feeding her food. We fed her a jar of sweet potato baby food this week! She ate it with relish. We probably could have started earlier. No effect we noticed on milk consumption though. Shouldn't food take the place of milk? We'll see
- She is lunging. She sits and then falls energetically forward. That's some leg motion. And she even grabbed the side of her crib and got herself to a dangerous standing position. We had to lower the bed after that one. But no crawling on the horizon. Looks like she's interested in straight-legged action.
- She weights about 19 lbs and is about 71 cm long (28 inches). That's the 90th percentile (meaning 90% of babies at 6 months are smaller) in weight but the 100th percentile in height. She started at the 100th percentile on both. She's getting longer and leaner!
- No hand signals yet. We are trying to get her to do things like wave, or sign "milk" or "more" or whatever. No luck. Though she does instantly recognize her Chinese CD when it comes on. Serge is a good teacher I guess.
- She sleeps about 12 hours at night (8ish to 8ish with a 6am wakeup) and then about 2-3 hours in snatches during the day. I wonder if this is enough -- we haven't checked. She seems to be growing fine though.
- She plays with great interest now, whereas she used to look at toys with barely much grabby, mouthy intent. If you sit her in her playpen in the morning, she'll handle her little softcloth books and stuffed toys for 20-30 minutes happily. But repetition through the day reduces her interest -- so it's less effective by evening. She has four playzones -- the crib itself, the playpen, the floor mat with the arched superstructure, and wherever the little chair gets set up for her (e.g., outside) to observe her surrounds. Then there are walks in the stroller and various tossing and playing in her parents arms. Seems to suffice for now but I see that we'll soon need more engaging amusements.
Posted by amol
(try the slideshow -- be sure to adjust the size of the picture to your screen)
We are starting to abandon some baby accessories
- Some clothes of course. She's into the 12 monther wear.
- The original bath "seat" that we gave her baths on in the sink. Onto a tub-like thing.
- The "boppy" pillow. Kind of a horshoe shaped donut pillow which theoretically makes nursing easier. Rarely used and now pretty much irrelevant.
- She has yet to outgrow any toy. She's really just starting to engage with such matters.
- She likes the dog more and more every day. Ultra's antics amuse.
- No sign of crawling. I suppose she will skip to the next stage (or never locomote at all?)
- She's eating rice cereal now and had apple sauce today. Light colored veggies and fruit purees to follow.
Pascale...T-1 day to 6 months
Pascale's newest capabilities here as we approach the 6 month birthday:
* A loud voice. She now howls. Sometimes arbitrarily (for fun?) and sometimes instead of crying. For example, she never has liked going from naked-to-dressed (though either end point is OK with her) and today she did some "Aaaaaaa" type yelling/howling during that.
* She has learned to cough to get attention. Nothing turns our head like a cough. And she seems to be coughing a very fake cough several times a day. I wonder when the novelty will wear off.
* She can right herself when her sitting turns to drooping. I guess her back is getting stronger.
* She is eating limited amounts of rice cereal. Pretty good. Some "digestion" issues persist though nothing like the early days.
* She sure is long and tall! When she stands, she seems so big!
Overall, this 4-5-6 month timezone is really great. No trouble-causing motion, mostly settled digestive track, not overly painful teething, sleeping through the night, playing independently...what more could you want!Posted by amol -->
Human development, Month 6
Pascale is about 5.5 months now and clearly loving it. I was a bit stymied in progress-tracking these last few weeks by losing my camera. But I have replaced it now and we are back in business.
Some big milestones these past few weeks!
- She sat up yesterday. That's a big one. She can't quite get into the position herself, but if you set her up, she can sit on her own for a few minutes. June 30th, 2007. That's the big day.
- We also started her on the first solid food elements. Some rice cereal mixed into her milk. She's not so into it. And boy does it foretell how messy things are going to get.
- She is an adept grabber now, but her fine motor function is still Frankensteinesque. But she can aim for something and grab it. And shake it around. And so on. Impressive.
- She makes gestures that have meaning, even if she doesn't really "mean" anything. The main one: holding both arms up to get picked up. And of course, strategic and tactical crying are becoming areas of great expertise.
- She sleeps about 9pm and gets fed about 2am. Then wakes again to feed around 7 or 8. So she is sleeping a lot but still not entirely through the night. But I think that will happen when we give her some solid food.
- Plus, Ursula has her big summit this month so Pascale will have her first nights away from Mum.
Pascale has been babbling much more loudly here in month 5. She will occasionally shreik and so on. Noisy! She sometimes substitutes it for crying, which is a good thing, but it's a scary new power she has developed. I hope she uses it for good.Posted by amol -->
Pascale in the newspaper
Our pediatrician finds Pascale so cute that she had her come in especially to pose for the New York Newsday photographers last week. Here she is, making news with her good looks and polite behavior.Posted by amol -->
Pascale at 4 months
Pascale just had a 4 month milestone this weekend, and she's learning new things.
She does lots of attempting to stand and sit up. With a little assistance, she can balance for a bit.
Big news though
- She held her bottle! For a few seconds, yes, but she held it up to herself and manipulated its movements a bit (i.e., stuck it in her eye...)
- She grabs at stuff. She has been practicing on her feet, which are always right where she left them. And with all that practice on using hands to aim at stuff and grab it...she's starting to grab me and toys and Ursula and so on. Big advances!
New tricks in Month 4
Pascale got back from Iceland a few weeks ago and has been doing all kinds of new stuff. I keep feeling like I need to report some new little bit, but then a day or two passes and it feels passé. Hmm, I think that will pile up and the aggregate feeling of newness will pass. There are just little feelings of newness. Like watching a fire. Captivating but ephemeral.
The new stuff
* Situps. She is trying to sit up. Not quite getting up, but constantly using her core to try sitting up.
* Standing. She likes being held in standing position.
* Turning over. She turns from back to belly, but not the reverse.
* No big spills yet. For all her moving, she has yet to fall off a table or something.
* We set up her crib now. Man is it huge. Bassinet is gone. The main reason for this is not that she is too tall, but that she can turn now and sometimes turns herself into weird spots. Though after a couple of bad experiences doing that (getting pinned against the edge of the bassinet) she seems to have laid off of it. Good thinking!
* So many noises -- coos and babbles and all. I suppose this will only increase.
* She recognizes people. When someone comes back, she looks. If it is me or Urs, she smiles and laughs.
* She seems to be teething. There are unexplained bouts of crying and lots of drooling.
* The gas is better but not great. It has transformed as an issue -- it used to be a source of unexplained crying, now she cries a bit then just spits up. Lots of spit up around the house lately. We have to clean the floors more often to catch all the bits.
* I noticed the "human board" thing for the first time this weekend. She stiffens her core so you can't lay her down, or sit her, or anything. It's a principal tactic of non-violent resistance, but is that why she is doing it?
* She holds things but is not coordinated in actually grabbing. Still, she can hold a rattle and find that amusing.
* She knows when a bottle is coming toward her mouth. She used to be utterly ignorant of "where milk comes from", but now she subsides when the bottle is inches in front of her.
* She knows about english. Over the weekend, I was playing a chinese podcast and she found the chinese language lesson really amusing and captivating. She paid a lot more attention than she does to my ordinary utterances.
Human development, part 15
Pascale did two big things this week.
- Today she turned over. She was laying on her back, we left her alone for a sec, and we came back to see her on her stomach (with a little pool of spitup in front of her too!)
- She slept from about 830pm to about 8am. Granted, there was some awake time as we took her to the wine bar in the neighborhood, but not much complaining. Crucially, she passed that nearly 12 hours without feeding! Then she had lots of milk sessions in the morning to catch up. But this is the key -- sleeping long means going without milk for long.
Update: she turned over a couple more times. She's doing it! (April 30)Posted by amol -->
Human development, part 14
Junior has hit a few milestones in the last couple of weeks.
- She went to Iceland for 7 days with Urs and her parents. International and Scandinavian travel, done
- She calms as soon as we start putting the swaddling blanket on her. She knows to expect it. Before she just cried straight through
- Her bowel movements are now only once daily. It used to be like a leaky faucet!
- She can turn onto her side
- Her head is very stable, and she can almost sit up (if you support her lower back). Not as much tottering in the wind like a stack of dishes
Child-rearing as a nativist
I spent a lot of time in graduate school being a "nativist" in a theoretical way and now that I actually have a baby my Ph.D. is finally practical.
Now I'm a nativist in ways that actually matter. Well, the big way is that I have the view that babies "develop" much more than they "learn" in their process of getting going. Stimulus helps it happen, the way the Spring weather and day lengths help flowers bloom. But language and motor function and proper digestion are things that babies just sort of unfold from their back pockets and do.
That's my slightly too-theoretical view, of course. I haven't read any of the infinite "how to make your child successful" books, and I suspect that the *whole point* of such nonsense is to play up the natural inclincation (or fear?) that a child's development depends on you, the parent. If you go into it believing that -- and who wouldn't, given all the "play Mozart" and "teach them Swahili" crap you hear every day on the Oddly Enough pages of the newspaper -- then you will be laden down with worry that you are under-performing and constantly racing to keep your kid on track/ahead.
So, dear reader, my bottom line assertion is: all that is wrong. The kid will be fine as long as you present "normal" stimulus (like you feed it, are around a bit, whatever).
I have a second view that's perhaps more controversial. It's that raising children is a lot like being "fit". Many people live with the myth that dieting or a new workout regime or whatever will turn them from slightly or very fat to trim and terrific. In general, people are wrong. I have seen this endlessly -- people start working out, time passes, they are pretty much the same as before. Sorry to be cynical but most people do not undertake transformational programs of change and actually change. (Excluded from this are the transformational life changes of "your early 20s" or "getting married" or whatever. Big structural changes do have impact. But my point is few people wake up on January 1 and go on to lose 30 lbs and run marathons.)
Given this "diets are futile" view of the world that I have, consider it's implication for your child-rearing. Insofar as the child's development is not simply innate (i.e., the baby learns English rather than French because of stimulus you provide), the pattern and quality of that development depends on you. Big studies have shown that children of rich or smart people turn out to be rich and smart. Why can't a try-hard illiterate and indigent person produce an Ivy Leaguer offspring? Probably because they don't use many SAT words in every day life, construct weak logical argument, have little interest in esoteric pursuits, and so on. Nevermind the kiddo's intrinsic capabilities, how well will they be filled with relevant content and experience during youth?
In my case, for example, we got the New York Times every day but we didn't get the New Yorker or debate fundamental physics at the dinner table. I kind of missed out.
Back to the point though -- since diets are futile, there is little plausibility in radically transforming your Archie Bunker existence into a Murray Gell-Man type of household. My parents were good to get the NYT but it would have been tough for them to deliver chess grandmasters or global political leaders to the kitchen table. That diet would be futile -- a child's life is long and filled with innumerable experiences. The one off discussion of Philip Roth after an NPR story isn't the kind of thing I'm talking about.
The short of it then is: kids develop mostly innately, so don't feel so bad. And even the parts that draw from exposure to you are 95% those parts of yourself you can't reasonably change.
That will be my strategy with Pascale. Let's see how she turns out (though you can't blame me...)
P.S. More pictures of weeks 10 and 11
Human development, part 13
Statistical progress is earlier than threshhold progress, and this week we had a meaningful result. 5 nights of 7, she slept for a 5-6 hour stretch. She went to sleep around 10-11pm (which is earlier than her normal midnight), and then slept until about 4-5am. She essentially skipped the 2:30am wake up call. Interesting (and merciful)! I feel more rested already.
Coming soon is the Iceland trip, which will be an intriguing experience. I wonder how that will scramble her patterns.
In addition, her "looking around" has really developed. Just a few weeks ago, it seems, her head was nearly stationary and barely looking at anything presented to her. Then she started to follow primary objects of focus -- like us as we moved around. Today, she sits on my knee and looks around the room at various things of interest. She likes the dot picture on the wall so looks there, or maybe she looks at Ursula, or somewhere else. Today she was looking at the writing on my sweatshirt.Posted by amol -->
Human development, part 12
Pascale is at 10 weeks this week. I think she's starting to like it.
- she is clearly following objects with her eyes now. She sees stuff and turns her head to watch.
- abrupt noises actually register. It used to be unclear that sounds mattered to her at all. But now if Ultra barks -- she jumps and it might take a minute to soothe her back down
- she regularly sucks on her fingers to soothe herself. She did it last night for an hour. She's not totally in control of getting her hand into her mouth, but she sort of swings her hand around until it happens
- she looks at babies. Ursula takes her to baby yoga and music classes, where Pascale sits and looks at other babies with great interest. She did it last night at the restaurant too. She clearly knows the difference between adults and babies on sight.
- same with Ultra. This morning she seemed to watch the dog with interest as Ultra sniffed around. In the past, she has barely registered.
- she has been supporting her own head for a few weeks but she's not totally stable. Certainly needs support to sit; as much as she likes it, she can't do it on her own.
- our picture taking has slowed down. In part, this is because of the settings she is in (our house). The shots all look repetitive when so little changes from one day to the next.
- we have some green poop this last week. One of those mysterious "oh no! but it's harmless" things.
Pascale at 8 weeks
Pascale at 8 weeks is starting to show some signs of sentience! Check out her grins here.Posted by amol -->
Sleeping at night
"Is she sleeping the night yet?" is pretty much the single most popular question people ask about Pascale, but it's sort of a tricky one to interpret. People without babies don't really know what they are asking, I think. And people with babies may be asking "Does she wake up for hours and torture you in the night?" or otherwise perhaps "Has her stomache reached the stage where she can sleep 6-7 hours at a stretch without waking to feed?"
Thankfully Pascale has always treated night as night. After waking at night because she's hungry, she makes generally little fuss before going back to sleep. Sometimes she even sleeps through needing a changed diaper. She sleeps the night in that sense.
The more modest interruption is just needing to feed a couple times each night. After going to bed at 11 or 12, she's up once around 1:30am and once again around 4:30. Unfortunately, this does require waking up to handle and spending up to 45 minutes or an hour feeding her. That's a big interruption! In that sense, she doesn't sleep the night. According to our books it will be another 6 months until she can make it through the night entirely. Scary!Posted by amol -->
Human development, part 11
How long will I keep a list of every little thing she does? I don't know. At least until she reads the Critique of Pure Reason, I'd say.
This past 10 days she has started some new things:
- time on her back, under the little play-arch (like a Gymnee). seems to work. She sees the toys and is interested. Similarly, when we change her it is possible to distract her from the unpleasantness by showing her something
- she is grabbing on things more, though mostly by chance. She doesn't seem to intentionally do things yet -- no "give me that" type grabbing by any stretch
- quiet alert time is ever longer. Maybe 30-45 minutes in the morning times.
- we are having some trouble with the feeding cycle. We "demand" feed, though maybe it is time to get her on a schedule. Sometimes she wakes to be fed twice or three times in the night. It used to be just once (around 3).
- still no cause-and-effect reasoning. The only things she recognizes are predictors of what she wants are the bottle and Urs.
- she slept 7 hours last night. A double shift! That was amazing. Down at 8 and up at...3. At least she went back down quickly after a feed.
- toys are still useless though she at least notices moving things now
Pascale's 0th party
Posted by amol -->
Human development, part 10
Pascale is starting to show some signs of intentional action. Thus far she has been governed by reflex. Give her a bottle, she sucks. Wrap her up tightly, she sleeps. Look at her, she looks back.
She has been wide-eyed and looking around ever more these last two weeks. She will regularly spend 30 minutes awake and observing. Especially in the morning after waking up, she likes to laugh and look at us pleasantly.
The most interesting cognitively-demanding behaviors I have noticed are:
- she remembers faces. Ours of course, but also others as she meets them. She looks longer at the ones she has seen before
- she uses her tongue "intentionally" rather than reflexively. If she doesn't want the bottle, she pushes it out and purses her lips
- she sticks out her tongue in imitation if you stick your tongue at her
She can't really control her arms or legs for any purpose yet, so this much expressiveness is a marvel.
She seems to mirror by smiling too, which is a real treat. It's just about the only thing she does that is actually nice! The rest is all complaints and demands (some of which are issued in a very loud voice).Posted by amol -->
The chart is from a nice baby info site, so it's generic, but it's not far off. At night she sleeps in a few big blocks, and in the morning she's generally more active (when the nanny gives her a bath etc.)Posted by amol -->
Pascale at 46 days
Pascale is developing.
- She stays alert for longer stretches. Half an hour at a time of quiet (non-crying) alertness on occasions during the day. After a run like that she'll typically need something or be heading for sleep.
- She's harder to feed by bottle. She seems to prefer breastfeeding and the last week or so she's been showing it. Fussy by bottle. Last night was really tiresome.
- Continuing vocalizations - more frequent coos and ahhs. A week or two ago it was 2-3 per day. Now it's probably 20. She'll frequently do them when she's calm.
- No notion of object constancy really. Peek-a-boo doesn't work yet.
- No toys. They are meaningless to her.
- She definitely recognizes me and Ursula. She's great with faces. When we return after a few hours away, she looks long and steady at me or Ursula. The look of recognition. Two weeks ago, when I came back from my five day trip to Barcelona she actually smiled and bubbled at me upon my arrival.
- This Sunday she had her first away day. Spent a few hours with my parents. Ursula and I went shopping.
- Overall, she does cry a fair bit. Not a peaceful little angel by any stretch! But once she gets what she's after, she'll settle down and sleep for good stretches. In general, it's about an hour of awake time (fussing or quietly bobbing around or feeding) followed by a few hours of sleep.
How you get old
I think I have learned an important insight. You get old because of babies. Lots of older people with no kids are just incrementally different than much younger versions of themselves. But people I know with babies...well, they
- have stopped excercising (too busy)
- gotten gray hairs (stress)
- gotten more boring (have to do baby stuff)
Human development, part 9
Pascale's coos are evolving. She did sort of a proto-raspberry today.
She's also getting heavy. We weighed her at a friend's house and she is 13 pounds. 5.5 weeks and she has added 2 lbs 1 oz, or about 5 oz per week, or nearly 1 oz per day. (I weighed 200.0 lbs by the way. So she's got a long way to go. About 3100 oz, or 10 years till she catches up:)Posted by amol -->
Pascale at about 1 month
So far she has visited
- 6 restaurants (Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan)
- 1 mall (Time Warner Center)
- 1 museum (Cooper Hewitt)
- 2 art openings and 1 international contemporary art fair (Armory)
- the subway on a range of occasions
- diaper changes in various restaurant and museum bathrooms
- had a bottle in the back of a taxi
- slept through a dogfight at the dog run
Perils of changing the baby
The worst thing that can go wrong when you change the baby is that she pees once you get the diaper off. This is worse with boys (much worse) but it's bad with Pascale too -- everything gets wet. You have to change all her clothes, change the changing pad, and of course you have to give her practically a bath to clear off all the yuckiness.
So changing the baby is all about avoiding that outcome.
Secondarily, it's about quickly getting it over with since Pascale doesn't really like the cold and disruption.
My approach is:
- lay her down
- tell Ultra to get lost
- open up the box
- stretch out the diaper and get the wipe ready
- then open up pandora's box
- wipe with wipe
- then the key moment -- switch one diaper for the other
- tape up
- and soothe the bawler
Takes about 2 minutes...but if you do it 10x per day, it gets old.Posted by amol -->
Human development, part 8
Pascale is now:
- crying differently. No more "eck" and no more "la la la". Now it's more of an "Aaaa"
- holding her head up for long stretches. She basically doesn't flop around any more unless you suprise her by pulling back support
- feeling pretty gassy and complaining sometimes at stretches. Is it Ursula's diet fluctuations that are causing this?
- making more smiles and faces. Mostly in the morning. She starts the day sweetly and ends the day tired and more short-tempered. Her naps through the day are relatively brief (2-3 hours vs. 4-5 hours at night).
- she looks around but it's hard to know if she "sees" anything. There is the classic philosophical "problem of other minds" in all our dealings with other people, but with babies you don't know if she is a mind yet. With other people, you know they see the red square and the white circle. With the baby, you have no idea what they are perceiving. You cannot use the principle of charity to establish reference and traverse the chasm of otherness by radical translation. And so you change the diapers instead...
1 month birthday and human development, part 7
Pascale turned 1 month on Monday. Hurray. She's slowly changing. It's interesting to watch day by day, like melting snow, how different elements of human behavior emerge.
On the glacial pace, I have no doubt that we are developing entirely new cognitive, emotional, and higher-order psychological capabilities on a daily basis even in teenage or later years. It's just so subtle that it's hard to notice. For example, person A and person B are likely to be much more different from each other than person A at time n vs. person A at time n + 1. That is to say, your change from Monday to Tuesday is easy to miss when all the people around you are so different and wacky.
But wouldn't it be interesting to see the first time a person empathized with a stranger, or suggested a double entendre, or appealed to a group's demagogic passions...or whatever.
Pascale is a long way from that just now. In the last couple of days:
- she gave some real yelps. Kind of a "coooo" sound. Usually happens a few minutes before the stimulus for the coo becomes vivid enough to get her to cry
- she holds up her head a fair bit now - maybe 30-60 seconds at a time
- she isn't crying as "inexplicably" for us. There is a basic rhythm, and the worst cases (maybe once a day?) seem to be gas related. In such cases, patient soothing is really the only remedy and after 30-40 minutes (daytime) or 10-15 minutes (night), it usually works.
Baby steps indeed!Posted by amol -->
This 11 pounder is quite a load to bounce around and handle all day. I think I may be getting RSI or something -- wrists, shoulders, hands and fingers. Man, it's a work out.Posted by amol -->
Human development, part 6
I was away for a few days and Pascale learned some new tricks.
- Control over her face muscles. She was smiling and making little o's with her lips and generally expressive. It seemed to coincide with other bodily processing activity though still it was quite nice to see
- After being away for 4 days, she really looked longer and leaner than when last we meet. She's developing well
- She's easier to read. We sort of know that she's hungry or sleepy or whatever.
Our toolkit of palliative or soothing techniques is getting pretty good (knock wood)
- Sling. Walking around with her in there is great. She just quiets down and nods off. And you have both hands free. You just can't sit still too long though or she'll flare up.
- Bjorn. Similar to the sling but this upright papoose-style frontpack is really ideal for going out, not for around the house.
- The white noise CD. Pop it on, she quiets down, and then even we can go to sleep.
- Other white noise sources: the vacuum cleaner or dustbuster, the fan in the bathroom, the washing machine or dryer, and even a loud "shhh shhh shhh" seem to work great.
- Swaddling. Especially with the custom-designed miracle blanket, she calms down when her hands and legs are bound up.
- Nursing. Giving her food always helps. But we are trying not to overdo that (i.e. in frequency terms)
Some things that don't really work yet (that you might have thought would...)
- the dog
The presence of presents
Wow, did we get a lot of presents this weekend.
It's kind of a shame. People want to do something nice, so they do, but they can't possibly get us what we really need, so they all bring clothing, and we end up with a huge pile of duplicated stuff.
That's what this list is for, our little non-redundant wish list of modest things people can buy for us if they really really feel they must do that instead of giving money to people who really need it.Posted by amol -->
Pictures from week three
Pascale's third week was very productive:
- ten to twelve diapers a day
- as many wipes
- a load of laundy per day minimum
- a team of three people dedicated to caring for her
Update: now I've posted the pictures from the 0th Birthday Party (Sarva family edition). In case you are wondering when we will have 0th Birthday Party (Friends edition), we are thinking February 24th. A little later than planned.Posted by amol -->
Human development, part 5
We are now on day 22. She's been here three weeks. Some new things we are observing:
- some vague facial expressions. "Smile" wihch is a brief expression of seeming happiness. Also, frown.
- occasional vocalizations. Like a yelp during a yawn.
- holding her own head up for 30 seconds at a time. Turning it from one side to another when she's on her belly.
When some babies cry, they seem to say "wahhhh" or "aaaaa" or something similar. Our says a word: "la". So there you have it. First word at 2 weeks.Posted by amol -->
I'm spending a lot of time with a four-alarm crier 2 inches from my left ear. Am I risking my hearing?
There seem to be three phases in every cry-athon. It all starts with some stimulus (wet diaper, hunger, whatever).
The first phase is a physical behavior that literally responds to the discomfort. She squirms if uncmfortable, smacks her lips if hungry, turns her head from side to side if gassy. The clearest is hunger -- it looks like eating. The others are less 'legible' as related to the problems that cause them. Head turning as a way of relieving gas? Luckily there are only a couple of sources of discomfort besides hunger, so you try them all. We haven't yet had to deal with 'tired' (she just sleeps if tired rather than complaining); nor with 'sick'.
Second phase is where she begins to announce the discomfort - oral noises that are not quite cries. She is trigger-happy on this too, so there is a high probability (currently 30-40 percent?) that a yelp will be in isolation. That is, it will lead to nothing and possibly come from nothing. However, the yelps are a step toward boiling so you know your time is running out when you hear these. We usually start soothing her with words at this point -- e.g. 'Coming!' or 'Hang on a second' in hopes that this delays things (perhaps naively).
Final phase is hyteria/tantrum. It's relatively easy to puncture this through aggressive soothing - shushing, swaying/rocking, swaddling, sideways hold or sucking (5 S's framework...).
However, it is not a memoryless beahvior. One tantrum builds on the next into a higher state of 'crankiness'. The fuses get shorter. Only a long sleep resets the game clock.
Surprises of parenthood
I have been chronicling in my mind the things that surprised me most upon the arrival of Pascale. I answered "yes" to the "have you prepared?" question many times, but I had never thought much about:
Family. I had not budgeted 1-2 days a week for dealing with family. It's really a big job! People want to come over, have events, talk on the phone, see pictures. Man!
Cluckiness. Once you show up with baby in arms, suddenly everyone is talking about "well we are thinking of having a _____" (baby, house, dog, plant...). It's hard to deal with people's life plans and aspirations like that -- friendly interactions become deep discussions pretty fast. "Are you planning on having more kids?" and so on.
Week 2 in movies
Almost 20 more videos from Pascale's second week. Lots of firsts this week:
See the videos. There are five pages of them so be sure to leaf through the links.Posted by amol -->
Human development, part 3
- She used up her 40th diaper. The first packet finished
- Her first dose of gripe water.
- She grabbed at my collar. Grasping is happening!
- Her weight is now 10 lbs 3 oz. She has gained 7 oz since her first ex-hospital checkup. One ounce per day! 2 pounds per month. In 10 years, she is going to be 240 pounds!!
Pascale's first week at homePosted by amol -->
Most surprising things
There were lots of "are you ready?" discussions before the baby, and now she's here. Were we ready? We kept saying "yes, we think so...." and on the whole we were right, though only in the skills and supplies sense.
We have all the stuff: diapers, wipes, furniture, blankets, socks, bath accessories, and so on. And "skills" as well: we are full of tips and wisdom for nursing (touch her cheek), sleeping (swaddle the baby tightly), changing (keep the dirty diaper under her until you put the new one on).
But in another sense we're not sure we were prepared. There are lots of surprises.
- People come over a lot. It's not just us and the baby. There are lots of adults to entertain too
- It's not an always always always on thing. The baby does sleep a lot and we can do our own thing
- The gas thing sucks. You don't know if you've fixed it and there is no 100% way to do it (unlike solving hunger or a dirty diaper)
- It's pretty fun to play with the baby. It's fun to just watch her sit there
- The process is extremely repetitious: feed, burp, change, put down to sleep, repeat.
- The labor and delivery really are pretty tough and awful. I cannot believe people do it "naturally"
- You can't be too tired; the baby does her thing no matter what else is going on in the house
Human development, part 2
Pascale is a week old now. Just in the last couple of days (days 7-9):
- proper bowel movements
- drinking from the bottle (and nursing too)
- slept 6 hours at a stretch (Saturday night into Sunday morning, days 8 and 9)
- has lost about a pound
- eating voraciously though
- dropped her little umbilical cord bit today
- awake for 30-60 minute stretches, sometimes quietly alert though other times grouchily complaining (about gas?)
One of the funniest things about all baby gadgets is that they are often invented by busy moms who just thought there *had* to be a better way.
Well, Ursula and I have our own ideas.
1. Diaper litmus. A moisture sensitive tab that goes in the diaper, and signals a change by the color of its tab hanging outside the diaper. So you look at the baby, see if the little tab is red, and thereby know if she needs a change. It would work sort of the way pregnancy tests work (similar "home" chemistry sets...)
2. Shush box. Babies like the loud "whoosh" sound of the prenatal environment. It quiets them right down and there is lots of lore about washing machines or rickety fans that make the baby soothe. There are CDs with this white noise music too. But what would really be handy is a little square box with internal batteries, something the size of a remote control, that would emit a loud woosh. You could just drop it in the crib near the baby and shut her up. (More on the whooshing and the theory of the five Ss -- swaddling, side/stomach positioning in the parents' arms, shushing, swinging, and sucking.)Posted by amol -->
Human development, part 1
- nurse; move; react to swaddling
- near hibernation; wake only to nurse
- recognize mom and dad's voices -- "follow them" with eyes
- "look at" (move head/eyes to track) big stuff; open eyes
- look at a vivid black and white drawing
- look around for a few minutes before falling back into newborn hibernation
- kind of smile; drink actual breastmilk; spit it up;
- tummy time
Pascale Nico Sarva
Posted by amol -->
Videos of Pascale's first 4 days
Have a look at Pascales first 4 days - the movie.Posted by amol -->
Pictures from the big day
Gallery of pictures from the big day. In chronological order, starting from about 9:30am 1/18/07, ending up during 1/19/07.Posted by amol -->
First picturesPosted by amol -->
Things progressed! Now we had the epidural at 715pm.
We're finally admitted. Contractions seem to be about 6 min apart.
Over the course of the evening, there are enough signs that it's definitely the real thing. However, nothing active enough yet to take us into the hospital, so we are turning in for the evening.
We'll either wake up in the night like in all the movies, or I suppose it will be at a civilized hour after breakfast!Posted by amol -->
Ursula and I are expecting today -- it's the due date right on the button. And indeed, when we woke up this morning we felt like today would be the day, and after this morning's appointment Ursula was feeling the first movements of the delivery machinery.
Now, at 5pm, looks like we are into the early stages of contractions. Very weak, about 1 minute long, irregular intervals (last one was about 7 minutes apart).
Check http://www.drownout.com/blogdrwn/junior/ for news -- now and for the next 18 years!Posted by amol -->
What to expect, when you're expecting
Urs and I are indeed expecting this January, and there is one thing that is sure to happen: gifts! We have really, truly stocked up floor-to-ceiling with every little possible thing we'll need. So never mind gifts and all that at all -- just say hello!
However, if you feel you are about to buy us something anyway (and want to avoid the inevitable fate...that we have to trudge off to wherever and return it...), please consider a children's book from the list of them here below:Posted by amol -->