Archive for the 'news' Category

Super-Quick Update

Monday, October 12th, 2009

I’ve been spending more time updating the photo gallery (now caught up through late July!) and less time on the blog.  In part, because there’s not much new to report, but at the same time there lots of new stuff to report.


He’s up the same old tricks, but doing more of them.  He’s actively saying more words by a factor of two or three.  He understands more speech by at least that much.  He’s more active, and in more creative ways.  He’s eating more foods, and is more capable of eating on his own.

The list goes on and on.  And of course, he’s still interested in cameras, perhaps even more than ever.


In sad news, Max bid farewell to Kendra, his nanny of a year.


She got a second part-time job in the field she’s been working toward for a long time, so this is a happy time for her.

In good news, however, the border collie seems to be working out well as Kendra’s replacement.  She’s much cheaper, although she  seems to be getting fatter while Max is getting thinner.


An investigation is ongoing.

Month 16: Piggies, Zebras and Camels, oh my!

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Max is sixteen months old today.  He doesn’t seem to notice.

Unrelated, we had something special planned today.  Amalia had the day off.  I had finished a work-project last night at 10pm that I’d been toiling on, off an on in violent spurts, since March.  The weather was gorgeous.  So I played hooky from work in the morning and the lot of us went to the Puyallup fair.


Max got to see lots of different kinds of animals, although the highlight of the day was our first destination, Pig Palace.


Max was overwhelmed with breastfeeding flashbacks.  He was so bedazzled, that when given the opportunity to pet a piglet, he elected instead to pick its nose.


There was also an Animals of the World exhibit, where Max got to see lots of the critters he’s been learning about in his board books.  Like zebras, oxen, and camels.


All in all, it was a fun day.  He saw the cool critters, ate lots of junk food, was amazed by the awesome rides, and pointed at lots of overweight people.

In linguistics news, Max is now trying to say “moon”.  It’s one of his favorite objects, he always points at it when he sees it in the sky, or in the illustrations in his books.  He’s still not saying it very well, usually saying “boo”, or sometimes as close as “boon”, but he’s working at it.

Nanny Found!

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Well, actually … after much toil, we weren’t able to find a suitable nanny, so we decided to go with the border collie.


She’s not so good at changing diapers, but what can you expect for 8 Snausages/hr.?

In linguists news, Max is now has added a couple more words to his active vocabulary.  These words are “baby”, “hi”, and “bye”.  He’s also getting the first few syllables of “communism”, but it may take a while before he perfects that one.

Apparently, there was a time when you could just set Max on the ground and he would stay there.  Like, he wouldn’t move around all the time, bouncing off of fixed objects and literally vibrating with energy.  There are even photos on the photo gallery that prove it.  I, however, have no memory of this.


It’s a bit like the way Stephen King cannot remember composing his book “Cujo”, but without the cocaine.

The most entertaining aspect of his mobility, curiosity, and imitation of us so-called adults is that he’ll pick up objects and leave them in random places.  Like putting the mobile phone in the laundry hamper.  Or Amalia’s glasses in the old car seat.  Or the DVD remote control in the recycle bin.  Hey, he sees us put stuff there all the time, so it must be an okay thing to do.

Now whenever we see him play with something, we keep it strongly in mind that unless we pay some attention to where he puts it, we may never see it again.


“Honey, have you seen my heart medication?”

“Yeah, Max was playing with it earlier this morning.  Why, do you need it?”

Nanny Hunt

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Our current nanny, Kendra, gave notice just under a month ago.  After a year of stellar service, she decided to hang up her spurs and get a real job.


Which means that we need to find a replacement.  It has been neither easy, nor fun.  Well, actually, Amalia has been doing all the work, so in way it has been really easy, for me at least.  Ah yes, if all things in life were so simple.

This time around we’re going to have a significant change:  this will be a nanny-share operation.  We’ll be teaming up with another family (that of Amalia’s former classmate Carolyn), who has a kid roughly Max’s age named Evan, and the nanny will do her best to keep both of them in order.  Kind of like a border collie.


Amalia posted an ad on craigslist and received a cataract of responses.  As in, over one hundred.  In spite of the request in the ad in include a resume, only about a quarter had them attached.  Amalia hand-picked a few candidates, ran them through a rigorous phone-screen designed to filter out psychopaths (surprisingly, there were only two, and we interviewed one of them  anyway, just for laughs), and we called in a few candidates for interviews.

Five candidates walked in, and cage-match style, only one emerged victorious.  Well, actually, an offer hasn’t been made yet, but there’s a clear contender, and I think the final word will be just a matter of communication.


Until then, Max and Evan will remain biweekly play-buddies.

The Labyrinthine Path From Babybabble to Coherent Speech

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Q:  What does the snack food “Pirate’s Booty” and soap bubbles have in common?


A:  They are among Max’s first verbal words.

On Friday night, Amalia and I left Max with a babysitter, and not only did he not cry at our absence, but when we got back he was speaking a new word.


Or maybe it’s “bible”.  We’re not sure.  He says it when we start blowing bubbles and he gets all excited, so that’s a clue.

Max has been communicating quite effectively via sign language for a while, but hasn’t really picked up any clear verbal speech.  His grunts can speak volumes, but words have been a little bit elusive.

Sometimes he’s been saying “ma-ma-ma-ma-ma”, or “da-da-da-da”, and he’s even occasionally got the context correct.  But other times he’ll say one of these to the cat, or the garbage can, or the spatula.  So it’s never been really clear that he’s been trying to say words.

Then came, “Uh oh.”

Repeated by Kendra whenever she dropped everything, it soon became Max’s catch phrase.  Drop the fake chicken nugget onto the floor.  “Uh oh.”  Knock over the magnetic tower I built for him to knock over.  “Uh oh.”  Run out of raspberries.  “Uh oh.”  Watch the vortex of Drosophila swirl above our compost bucket.  “Uh oh.”

We’re not sure when he started saying “Booty”, and we assume that it pertains to the Pirate’s Booty snack food.  That is, he says it whenever he wants to eat it.  I suppose he could be referring to something else and is still working on context issues, but the evidence is highly in his favor.  It didn’t come immediately.  He sounded like Jabba the Hut for a while (”Booda-booda!”), but now he’s got it down.


And as mentioned already, just by leaving him alone with Rana for a couple of hours, he picks up the world “bubble”.

(”Bubble booty?”  I’d rather not think about it.)

But even as Max is only starting to get his English skills down, he’s been fluently speaking with crows for about a month now.  So English is only his second language.

Battle Scars: Gravity is a Harsh Mistress

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Max has been walking, steadily, for over three months now.  But it hasn’t come without a toll.


It’s tempting to say that his greatest enemy is pavement, but really, it’s gravity.  Pavement might have been the cause of the abrasion you see in the photo above (occurring today circa 16:30), but he’s had worse spills.  A trip on the deck had him looking like the cover of an Andrew WK album.  Nose bleeds, puffy lips … even standing up while beneath a table can deliver a head-bonk that can ruin his day.

Recently, he stood up in the bathtub, and slipped, sliding all the way down on his back.  The no-slip adhesive pads in the tub scratched his back, and he had these cute red little abrasions down his back, exactly on the points made by his vertebrae.  While that’s pretty elaborate, he’s also be working on the basics:  just a week ago, he skinned his knee for the first time.


But he’s certainly getting better.  He walks, even runs, without thinking about it, and has ever-lofty goals:  climb the stairs on this own, upright.

Time warp

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Wait, what happened to all those posts I made between January and today?  I’ve been posting almost every day for the past eight months and now all of those updates are gone.   All the joy, the tears, the laughs, the embarrassment … technology today, you can’t trust the stuff.  I swear, people who design computers must be communists.

Anyway … behold the new era!  More frequent, yet shorter posts!  Quick anecdotes, updates, news-bites, factoids, and trivia.


Today’s special:  Max loves raspberries.  But only if they’re picked fresh off the bush.

We have this cute little unruly raspberry patch in our yard, and Max will go out of his way to get us to take him there, so we can pick and feed him fresh raspberries.  He’ll eat them until he poops sulfuric acid.

But if we offer him a big ol’ raspberry from the store, fresh from the ABS plastic clamshell container, he’ll just squish it up.

Oh, and he also likes to imitate crows.

Random Update

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

A lot has been going on lately, so I thought I would provide a quick update.

To whit:

That mystery tooth, it’s still a-growin.  It’s plainly visible now (although difficult to photograph, like Sasquatch), and man, he can really grind that sucker into your flesh when he wants to.  If I didn’t know any better, he seems to enjoy it.

Also, Max’s cold/flu/leprosy/whatever has receded.  It only lasted a few days, and while he (like his father) still coughs occasionally (okay … frequently), he’s in much better spirits, as if the entire episode has been forgotten.  That little dude has some heavy fortitude.  His goofiness is back, he’s wrestling once again, and the house’s morbid, sanitarium-like atmosphere has abated.

Max has even started sleeping through the night again, back to a 50/50 schedule.  Here’s to hoping that things improve!

Behold, Vomit!

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Just after visiting Amalia’s family for Xmas, I came down with a nasty cold.  Or maybe it was the flu, it’s hard to tell.  Either way, I was left with fierce congestion and a heavy fever that lasted for maybe 18 hours, and I was effectively bedridden for three days.

But I got better, and while a cough lingered, both Amalia and Max seemed to get through unscathed.  Max even started sleeping through the night — out of nowhere, as if the trip to Arizona flicked on a switch — for four consecutive nights.

But then:  Max threw up his lunch three times since Sunday morning, developed some fierce congestion, and a fever in the range of 101F.  He’s been pretty unhappy, but at the same time he’s been a serious trooper.  This is his first serious illness, and it’s just as much of a mystery for us as it is for him, and he seems pretty keen on just roughing it out.

He’s been sleeping a lot and drinking a lot, and his favorite sleeping position seems to be face-down on either my or Amalia’s chest.  Perhaps the angle improves his respiration.  Amalia spent much of Monday night with the sick little guy passed out on her chest.  Even so, his sleep is very punctuated, waking up a few times during the night.  Let’s hope for a quick recovery.

Behold, a Tooth!

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

One of Max’s favorite games is to grab something — anything, actually — stick it into his mouth, and chew on it.  He’s especially fond of human fingers.  The rules of this game may need to change pretty soon, because Li’l Max is finally sportin a chomper.

Amalia found it first, in the morning, and sure enough.  It’s more easily felt than seen, but it’s there, a hard little nubbin erupting from his gums.  It’s an upper incisor.  This is just the beginning, and his mouth will never look the same from here on out.

Of particular intrigue is the fact that this appears to be a mystery tooth.  Typically, the first teeth to appear with babies are the upper and lower medial (inner) incisors, but this is the right, upper lateral (outer) incisor.  Maybe it’s not a tooth after all, but … no, it’s best not to speculate.

Amalia blames those dominant Greek genes that led to her crooked teeth.  Either way, the end result is sure to be interesting.