Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Extended Vacation

Well, it’s the second day back from vacation, and Chris is still feeling the worst of the cold. Gabe and I are putting up with a residual cough, which would have meant going back to work for me. But just as I was about to head out the door, snow started falling. I checked the weather report, and the storm looked serious, so I decided we all needed another day of rest. Happy new year to us!

Gabe’s grip is now amazingly strong and accurate. If he grabs a handful of skin, it pinches; if I lean over him in a hoodie, he grabs one hoodie string in his left hand and the other in his right – and quickly, too.

He has become a danger with small but hard toys, because he will shake them up and down so violently that the toy is likely to crash into his face.

His newest stunt is to go rigid. I was wondering how I would know when it is time to start holding him up to hold his weight on his own feet – and now I know. And this is perfectly timed to go with the two bouncy seats that he got for Christmas!

The Christmas gifts were amazing, but the best gift was seeing Gabe and his cousin Mason side-by-side.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Playing with the Camera

We still have a bunch to learn about how to use our new camera to its full advantage. In between coughing fits I took some time today to learn more about how to use customized settings on the camera to achieve different results. Overall I ended up with a lot of blurry photos, but managed to get a couple that I liked.

Here Gabe was tiring of Daddy fiddling with the camera as he sat next to his companion cube. Eventually he curled up around it and eyed me sleepily.

While he has a neutral expression, I liked the depth of field change keeping his left eye blurry and his right eye sharp.

If you click on this picture and look at Michelle's left eye (the one on the right) you can see me in the reflection of her eye. While some detail is lost in the translation to web, it is amazing how much detail the camera captures.

Finally a happy smiley Gabe munching on his fingers.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Return of the Sleepy King... Please Return... Please!

From the mouths of babes,
A divine keening arises.
Stirring all parents.

We woke up this morning at 5am in order to catch our train back home. Now, you'd think that since Gabe only really napped for an hour or so to the station, and maybe for another hour on the train that he'd be ready to drop. He's not. As far as I'm concerned this just lends further credence to my theory that the energy sucked into black holes is used to power babies, and allows them to drool as much as they do among other gifts. No baby powered by mortal means could possibly still be protesting everything we do with the fervor he's sustaining.

Right now Michelle is feeding him his second bottle of formula after draining his first and milk-shake and hamburger. There are some ever so subtle signs that he might be ready to drop, which is good because both mommy and daddy are ready to. Next time we catch the later train, since getting home early really hasn't bought us much in the way of unwind time.

Still it is good to be back home, and the trip was a resounding success on all fronts. We just need to get back into our routine with Gabe and bring some sense of order to the chaos that vegging out over the wonderful holiday break created.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Great holiday cheer,
With love to those far and near.
On this Christmas day.

It was a fun morning down here in Washington, with lots of excitement and smiles. Mason was adorable beyond belief and Gabe seemed to really enjoy himself. Michelle's present was a new Canon Rebel camera with some nice lenses, so expect a flood of pictures in the near future!

Grandma Sullivan with Gabe.

Gabe picking up a present.

Mommy helping Gabe open the present.

Gabe's cousin Mason bringing joy to all.

How sweet!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Assorted Photos

Just cleaning out the camera. . .

Early Christmas Gift

Gabe got to open some of his Christmas gifts before heading down to Virginia. We remembered to snap some pictures for this one. . .

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First Fever

Gabe was making unusual little grunty and grumbly noises as he slept this evening from around 10-11pm. When he woke up mommy at midnight he felt warm and sure enough his axillary temperature was 100.6. This is high enough to prompt a call to the doctor who said so long as he was consolable and alert that we should give him Tylenol and keep an eye on him until the morning. Since we can still get him to smile he'll be going in for a visit in the morning to check for ear infection and such so we know what is causing the fever.

I'm feeling a little under the weather myself and the only thing that could be worse than watching your child be sick is being sick while their sick! Allergies, definitely allergies on my part.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Night Time with Daddy

Like a burrito
Wrapped snug and tight in my crib
Drifting off to sleep

Gabe has a clogged tear duct, so his left eye has been full of wonderful puddles of gunk today. Michelle thought it was pink eye at first, but having grown up in a pediatrician's office I was quite confident it wasn't. The lady at day-care suggested a plugged tear duct and that made the most sense. Overall Gabe could care less as far as I can tell and Michelle has been clearing out the gunk with wet cotton balls.

Michelle has passed the torch of putting Gabe to sleep at night to me, and I have to say that tonight went surprisingly well. Though he clearly was trying with all his might to stay awake, he drifted off fairly quickly. My swaddling is still rough so the first time he managed to escape it, perhaps aided by the power of his staccato of gas dulling my senses. The second time though he was clearly and unhappily immobilized for the minute or so it took to rock him into dreamland.

Not unlike a clown
You work to make me smile wide
And giggle with joy

Michelle was on the phone with her mom while I was working to get some giggles out of Gabe. Nan could hear Gabe cooing and asked what was up. In reply Michelle explained how I was so good at making Gabe giggle. Nan's response was "Of course he looks funny!" Sigh:)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What's Up Doc - Gabe's 4 month checkup

That goes in what hole?
Yikes your hand is ice cold doc!
What horse gets that shot?

Gabe got he's four month immunizations yesterday, and while somewhat sore and cranky he's doing fine overall. The real shocker, that wasn't so much of a shocker is that he's 28 inches long now. That means he's been growing about two inches a month since he was born, and puts him above the 97th percentile by enough that it looks like he's on the wrong chart. He's still above the curve until you get to 7 months. He's in the 75th percentile for weight, so he's doing better than his dad there.

He's taking up nearly the whole swing. I'm beginning to understand my parents comments on how hard it was to keep me in clothes when I was a little weed growing up.

It's hard to believe that just a few short months ago he was this tiny little guy that I dwarfed. He hasn't been really snugly lately, but hopefully we'll be able to get a comparison picture soon. My arms are telling me to believe it though as he becomes heavier and more unwieldy. He's long enough now that there is a lot more places his arms and legs can end up:)



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gabe's Car Seat Haiku

I rage at restraint.
Shackled to the car I cry.
Can you not hear me?

Gabe cried the whole car ride home this evening. I have particular trouble with this because there isn't anything I can do to calm him down, and I really don't like to hear him in distress. Especially not for a half hour or more in a confined space. About twenty minutes into it I pulled over abruptly and let Michelle drive the rest of the way while I tried in vain to calm Gabe down.

Once we arrived home it became clear that our assessment that we didn't need to change his diaper before the ride home was wrong. His diaper was soaked and this clearly displeased him. To drive the point home after I had him all cleaned up and dried off he pissed all over my hand and the changing table.

During the bath tonight Gabe was practicing his new kissing sound. He would make a kissing sound or two, and I would in turn. This would make him smile and then he'd start the process over. It was adorable in the extreme. He's been working on his razz as well. He doesn't always get it right, but he's getting better at it.

He's upgraded to size 3 diapers and he's getting too long for the sleeper sacks we got him. They're supposed to be good until 9 months, but he's turning out long and lanky like his dad. It looks like we'll need to do another round of baby clothes shopping after the new year.


Solid foods – or should I say “solid foods”, since rice cereal thinned down to a runny gruel nearly thin enough to be fed through a bottle can hardly be called solid, are coming along nicely. Gabe opens his mouth willingly for the mysterious non-milk substance, and then rolls it around in his mouth looking concerned. He doesn’t yet eat any significant quantity, but he doesn’t reflexively spit it out, either. We are officially in the land of new mouth experience.

The toughest part of solid food so far is finding the time to feed it to him. During the work-week we’re on a rather rigid schedule, and spooning goo into a baby’s mouth takes both time and focus, so we can’t exactly multi-task this. Miss Kathy at the daycare says she’ll be happy to start feeding Gabe, but I’m not ready to turn over this exciting new development to someone else.

Gabe looks so tiny in the highchair! I will have to get pictures soon.

I think we have already got Gabe off on the path of adventurous eating, because we periodically give him a tiny taste of whatever gravy or sauce we are eating. The raspberry jelly was a particular hit. Gabe now watches our toast go to our mouths, enraptured. I suspect his concerned look when contemplating rice cereal has something to do with it not tasting as exquisitely nummy as jelly.

At the Christmas party I let Gabe gnaw on the rind of a tough and flavorful whole-wheat dinner roll. To say he liked it would be an understatement. He got angry when I took it away.

Gabe’s first session with rice cereal was terminated abruptly when he ninja-grabbed a loaded spoon. Rice cereal squished out between each finger. I realize this is the wee tip of the messy iceberg of baby-feeding, but somehow I wasn’t expecting mess just yet. Silly me.

The age of bibs is upon us.


Oblogation: an incessant need to maintain one's blog.

Hello loyal followers of Gabe! I know there are at least two of you! You are under no oblogation, but if you leave comments on the posts, we are likely to post more often. Just sayin'! We love you! Gabe sends you big, drooly smiles!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mister Personality

Many parents had told me that were able to see their child’s personality “from the beginning”. So ever since Gabe was born I’ve been watching him and trying to put my finger on that essential “Gabeness”. But is wasn’t until month four, when he became social, and daycare, when I had the chance to compare him to other infants, that I could really see what was unique to Gabe.

For comparison, there is a little girl named Emma at the daycare who has a sweet sweet smile when happy, but who has an icy glare otherwise. When she wants something, she lets the world know. And don’t try to stop her from getting her hands on that toy on the other side of the room! Little Emma has a warrior’s spirit. She is going to be a lawyer or a politician someday.

Another kid at the daycare, Logan, is a passive and fussy sort. He hasn’t got the hang of entertaining himself, and when left for very little time unattended he will quietly cry. Once he has the attention he wants, he has got a delightful smile. I imagine he will be a gentle and soft-spoken adult someday.

Gabe. . . is a charmer. He is the one who still beams when all the other babies are bawling. He is the one that the other daycare teachers come to visit when they want to smile.

In the words of his teacher, Miss Kathy, written on one of Gabe’s daily reports:

Gabe “had belly/play time on the mat, lounged on the boppy, flirted with all the girls, and played with toys on the bouncy toy bar.

Watch out ladies, here comes Gabe!

Anger Management

Growing up I never quite understood how my dad could get quite so upset when we woke him up at night by being too loud. Having Gabe around has clarified that for me, as I've found in the wee hours of the night that my temper flares to anger without warning and I have to tamp it down after the fact instead of working with it before it happens.

When I tell people at work that I have a horrible temper it usually gets a confused look or even a laugh. The reason is I work incredibly hard to keep my temper in check and have a full suite of behaviors to diffuse it before it becomes a problem. For instance getting up and walking out of meetings is me diffusing my temper, and is seen as someone getting pissy instead of enraged. This is damage that is much easier to repair and keeps the myth that I don't actually have a bad temper alive. I've had a decade to master these work coping skills, but only four months of being a father to call on.

Last night my temper flared to anger twice, and twice I had to tamp it back down. I was trying to get Gabe to go back to sleep and failing miserably. I didn't do anything to Gabe, but it scares me every time I get angry around him. Even if its only for a few seconds before I squelch it, it is a state of being that I don't enjoy being in. Emotions are a tricky thing, you can't control them so much as you can acknowledge them and then move on. I hope to get to the point that when I'm tired and cranky I have an opportunity to acknowledge that I'm becoming angry and move on before I actually get angry. It is something to work on.

In the light of day it is hard to imagine I could ever get angry at sweet little Gabe, I do love him so.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holiday Party

Michelle and I braved the Turbine Holiday party with Gabe in tow on Saturday evening. We we're quite sure what to expect from Gabe, but overall he acted like he was on his best behavior. It reminded me that it won't be long before we'll have to find a sitter if we want to attend a function like the Holiday party. The age of immobility is coming to an end, and I can see its harbingers emerging day by day.

Gabe is doing much better at sitting up with a little help from cushions or some other support. During the holiday party he was in the baby bjorn on my tummy facing forward, and he had enough head and neck strength to let me fill up my own plate at the buffet. Though I would have dropped my plate of food in a heartbeat if I needed to catch and support him for any reason.

Gabe and I have taken a bunch of baths together lately and I have to say it is something I look forward too. He's long enough at this point that it is really awkward to wash him in the baby tub, but I can support him in the water with my long thighs. His head sits between my knees and he delights in kicking my tummy with his feet. Tonight he laughed delightedly at my response to his kicking my tummy.

He's been much more fussy the last couple days. When he doesn't want to be on his back he will really turn red and fuss if you set him down. If he decides he isn't happy he'll just let fly with the cry. I look forward to the point when he'll be happy to crawl in and snuggle with with his daddy. I truly enjoy that few chances I've had to just curl up in a ball around a sleeping Gabe.

I had a funny thought this evening. Is it worse to have no stories to tell, or to have no will to tell the stories you have inside you? Until next time take care.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Blurry Baby


Gabe must be ready for solid food. He hasn’t got a tooth yet, but anything that he can get his hands on gets pulled towards his mouth. This includes toys, his clothes, blankets, and other peoples’ hands. If his sleeves aren't kept rolled back, they become soaked with drool. When nothing else is available, he sucks on the fingers of both hands, all shoved into his mouth like a sandwich.

When I let him suck on my finger, he chews and chews. When nursing, he tries to cram a hand in his mouth.

What to Expect has not mentioned that long before the days of canned baby food, forks, and sanitary dish-washing, that that the way to give a baby his first solids was to chew it for him. Gabe has surprised me by instinctually opening his mouth when I lean close to kiss him. He’s just like a baby bird saying, “Mama, put worms in my mouth please!”

Solid foods coming soon!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mutant Baby

Last night I put Gabe to bed swaddled, with his head pointed south. This morning, he had one arm out of the swaddling, a big grin, and his head pointed north. Our baby can teleport!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

We have so much to be thankful for here at the Clay house. Yesterday we had a small gathering of friends. Jen cooked biscuits, pies, and a brined turkey that was to die for. I made what was possibly my best batch of stuffing ever. We all played Little Big Planet and ate until it hurt. Gabe wore his hair spiked up in a mohawk for the occasion. He was a show-stealer, of course.

All at once Gabe seems to be learning new tricks. Yesterday he supermaned himself right from his front to his back, without crying. It’s not the first time he has rolled over, but this time seemed deliberate: he was working hard to see what happened if he kept his hands and feet in the air, whereas on previous rolls, the weight of his head had accidentally toppled him over, frightening him in the process.

Gabe enthusiastically grabs anything within his reach with both hands, and herds it to his mouth. This includes toys that he hadn’t shown an interest in before, as well as the hands and hair of grown-ups, loose clothing, and anything else we allow within his reach. His hands try hard to be helpful when he is drinking from a bottle, which usually means they are in the way. And he has settled on a favorite hand-sucking position: both hands, overlapping slightly, palms-down, with all eight fingers crammed into his mouth. If he could get his thumbs in there too, I’m sure he would.

I have never been good at seeing the resemblance among my own family members, but finally I’ve looked at Gabe and seen how he fits into the family tree. Gabe looks like my sister! I can remember what she looked like at about five years old, round-faced and sucking her thumb. If I had memories of any other family members in their childhood, I bet I would be able to see a resemblance there, too.

His vocabulary of pre-speech sounds has grown enormously. His chattering still mostly consists of vowels, but the range of pitch, rhythm, and emotion now spans the gamut. Just right now, for instance, he is telling me all about how he was having fun on the floor, but he is rapidly getting tired of being there.

Okay, time for me to entertain the baby!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

He's Got His Daddy's Hair

Super Baby

During Tummy Time, Gabe now lifts his arms and legs while arching his back, causing him to teeter about on his belly in imitation of Superman. I think he will be rolling over soon!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Finally, the Perfect Wall Decoration!

Thank you Grampa and Ruth! What a sweet gift!

And thank you Bill and Helen for hanging it up!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Now That Gabe Has Stopped Pulling His Own Hair. . .

Here we see the result of the hapless mother lured in by the temptation of a kissable belly.

Gabe likes the game of Pull Mommy’s Hair.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Finished with the Fourth Trimester

Gabe is into his fourth month of life now. He is done with the “fourth trimester”, that period of babyhood which has much in common with a potted plant. Now, instead of being just a cute eating-sleeping-pooping machine, he is a cute eating-sleeping-pooping machine who also plays with toys and can hold entire conversations with the vowels “ah” and “oh”. He is in that golden stage of babyhood where he is social and entertaining and capable of entertaining himself, but doesn’t yet have to be chased around while he attempts to kill himself with wall outlets and pointy furniture edges.

Watching a baby grow from scratch is so much more interesting and enlightening than seeing someone else’s baby now and again. This week, Gabe is grasping at toys with both hands at once. He wasn’t doing this last week. It’s such a simple thing and yet because I have seen where he started, I am astounded by what he is doing.

The complexity of his cooing is also new and breathtaking. He likes being talked to, and he likes talking back, even though the conversation is nothing but sound. The older kids at the daycare speak entire sentences of nonsense. Gabe so far generally just says one syllable at a time, but sometimes that one syllable gets stretched out into a long, singsong sound, hitting various pitches. Sometimes he seems to startle himself when he yells a syllable loudly.

Giggling is still a rare, and delightful, event. His smiles are easy to come by, but no less magical for their frequency.

A Chair for Gabe

Gabe loves it! Thank you Al and Lorraine!

Companion Cube Celebration or Nik & Rebecca Vist!

Our good friends Nik and Rebecca flew out from Washington for a visit a couple weeks ago and a grand time was had by all. They brough Gabe out a new best friend as well! Gabe now has his very own Companion Cube and he couldn't be happier!

Unfortunately we didn't get many good pictures of Nik and Rebecca, mostly because we were enjoying their company to much to remember to take pictures most of the time. In this one Nik is contemplating what it would be like to have a baby that you couldn't actually give back when it started to fuss. Gabe is currently in his very own Golden Age as he doesn't fuss much, smiles a lot, and can't move around. In other words he's the perfect sell up to couples that don't have any children yet.

The women folk left the men folk at home with Gabe while they went out shopping for wine and other such stuff. After several hours of Gabe wanting to be paraded around the house, and fighting against the bottles I gave him I was well done. We decided to go out for food and left this message for the girls which I see they took a picture of.

It was great to see them, and hopefully once Gabe is a little older we'll be able to fly out and visit them. I know we don't want to take Gabe on any flights if we can help it. For the holidays we'll be taking the train down to visit Michelle's parents in Virginia. It will end up taking just about as long as it would to fly when you take into account arriving two hours early to get through security and layovers. It also means it'll be a lot easier to handle Gabe as there are no manditory in seat times. I'm sure we'll have lots to post to the blog after that trip:)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Vist

The Clay grandparents Helen and Bill made it out for Halloween weekend, and it was an absolute blast. An exhausting blast, because I think we managed to get done in a weekend what Michelle and I might have accomplished otherwise over the winter. We managed to clean out the garage and open up one of the bays so we can keep the outback in the garage. This will make loading Gabe on chilly mornings so much easier. We moved tons of boxes into the attic from nooks around the house. Broke down tons of boxes for recycling. Went to Ikea and bought shelves and wooden boxes, and put said shelves and boxes together. We cleaned out one of the closets in the laundry room and have now turned it into our pantry. It is full of emergency foods and such. Michelle and Helen gathered up dried seed pods and dad fixed our dish washer so it doesn't dance the mamba every time we do the dishes. Oh, and we played with Gabe endlessly. I don't think I've ever seen him smile and coo so much! He's definitely more interactive than for their first visit.

Gabe tries to use a spoon as a phone. Dad let him try out various cutlery, but I think Gabe liked the spoon the most.

Gabe's getting much better at grasping things and manipulating them.

Like all babies Gabe tries to find out what flavor the spoon has.

Gabe takes care of some business on his mobile spoon during breakfast.

Gabe rocks out on his spoon microphone, luckily it doesn't have an amp.

Gabe is tuckered out by the Ikea experience and takes a nap while pushed around by Lala.

What diabolic plans does Opa have for Gabe? Noisy toys for X-mas? Sweets before bedtime?

Gabe's tongue seems to spend at least half of the time out of his mouth.

Gabe is tuckered out after an exciting morning about the house and naps on Helen's shoulder.

The weekend isn't over yet, but it is winding down. We're all downstairs sitting around a cozy fire and enjoying the extra hour daylight savings time has given us.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The First Week Back Continues

The week continues to go better than I could have hoped. There is a woman in HR who had enthusiastically leapt to the task of setting up a room for me to use the breast pump in. But it turns out that going to the nursery to feed Gabe is just as easy as using the breast pump, so I don’t need to use the pump at work at all!

We’re still ironing out the details, but so far it looks like if I nurse Gabe in the morning when we drop him off, at lunch, and then once during the afternoon, followed by a bottle, I can keep up my milk supply without being out of the office more than the typical smoker or latte-a-day employee. It means I have to give up going out for lunches and walks with my coworkers, but it’s a worthwhile sacrifice. Chris has been bringing me lunch, and I get nearly a mile of walking to and from the nursery over the course of a day.

And I get to spend time with Gabe! While watching other babies!

It is such a dramatic contrast, crossing back and forth between a game development studio and a nursery. After recharging in the peaceful glow of happy human larva, I am recharged, and ready to pour my focus into getting the next task done. An unexpected benefit of having a baby is that I feel like a more efficient employee, since my time is limited and valuable to me in a way that it wasn’t before. In much the same way that I have been able to relinquish non-essentials from the rest of my life, it has been a natural next step for me to drop the fluff from my workday.

I think in the back of my mind I was worried that I wouldn’t be as productive now that I have a baby. I am deeply relieved to find that the opposite applies.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Off to a Very Good Start!

We couldn’t have asked for a better start to daycare. Gabe started out by sleeping through the night, which he hadn’t done in a week. Then he melted my nerves with smiles. After that, while being loaded into the car seat – an activity that usually causes him to cry – he giggled - and giggled some more, and then giggled some more. Chris was so ecstatic at getting giggles that he fell down and stood up again several times in a crazy funny monkey dance. The more he hopped, the more Gabe giggled.

Despite so obsessively packing every last potentially necessary item, I still managed to forget a critical piece of the breast pump. So, instead of just nursing Gabe over lunch, I also paid him a snack visit in the middle of the afternoon. That worked out so well that I may be able to do without pumping at work altogether.

I had feared that Gabe would be miserable with crying each time I visited, but each time he had napped well and was ready to smile and eat.

During the second visit I got to watch the two teachers roll around on the floor with the four other infants they were watching. It was like watching kittens play, seeing them wiggle, roll, and crawl about. It was reassuring to see the babies so happy – and also to see at just how good the teachers were with them. Those were professional baby-wranglers at work!

And on top of this, my coworkers are so excited to have me back that it feels like I’m going home again, and a wonderful woman in HR has been incredibly eager to help me get a room set up for pumping. Today downright gave me the warm fuzzies!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Melancholy October

Well, that was my last week of maternity leave. On Monday I’ll be heading back to work, and Gabe will be off to daycare. I imagine the first week will be rough for both of us. But my coworkers are eager to have me back, and the other babies at the Kinder Care seemed happy to be there, so I suspect we’ll settle into comfortable new routines.

The Thursday before last, Gabe received his first immunizations. He was quite the little trooper at the office visit, bouncing right back to a good mood. Chris was more traumatized than Gabe was. But then over the weekend Gabe was prone to irritability and sudden outbursts. Added to that, Nik and Rebecca were here for a visit, so it was a busy, fun-but-stressful weekend. We chased that with a dry run to the daycare, and Gabe’s first visit to our workplace; and then I had my own doctor’s appointment. I’m just now realizing that it took me a couple of days to recover from all of that.

October is always a tough month for me, what with the plants going dormant and the days shortening; but as I told my doctor, just getting out of the house helps me shake the blues. So Gabe and I went straight from the doctor to lunch (at an old-fashioned soda fountain in an old-fashioned drug-store) to Babies R Us. We chalked up two diaper changes and feedings while out, which was a liberating first.

Now that dangling toys are of interest to Gabe, Babies R Us is a more tantalizing place for me. I resisted the temptation to buy extra toys, and bought only the bouncy chair I was after. It still intimidates Gabe a bit, but I suspect in a couple of weeks it will be his new favorite thing.

As of last week Gabe weighed in at thirteen pounds and eight ounces. And my typing is keeping him awake, so I had better get going now.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Gabe is becoming much more agile with his hands. It used to be that when he wanted to suck on his fingers, he could bring his hands near his mouth. But generally his hands would go cruising past their goal in an arc, while his grasping fingers did their own thing. Gabe would turn his head and lick at the flailing fingers while they went past, which was comical and, with all the thrashing about, a bit noisy. Generally, if I heard him chasing his fingers in the middle of the night, he was in the process of waking himself up with all of that hard work.

Now he can bring a fist to his mouth and keep it there. He doesn’t yet favor any particular finger. Instead, he nibbles on the side of his fist, though sometimes his fingers will end up in his mouth when he grabs his lower lip. Overall it’s a much more restful gesture, and when I hear him doing it during the night it typically means he’s on his way back into deeper sleep.

Gabe’s hands have also discovered each other. He gets a contemplative look when playing the hands-together game. And sometimes he gets his mouth in the game, too. It must be a strange sensation, being aware for the first time that one of your sensory inputs is touching another. I imagine how engrossed I would be if suddenly I realized that my eyeballs could peer at each other.

Gabe has a plush infant jungle-gym toy that features an arch, from which toys can be hung within arm’s reach. He used to hate this thing – I think perhaps it frightened him. Now it ranks up there with the fan. In fact that’s usually where it goes: right beneath the fan, so that he can enjoy both at the same time.

As with every other new thing Gabe does, it seemed like an accident the first time his flailing arm bumped into a hanging toy, causing it to jingle. But it’s been three days now since that first accident, and he has rung the bell with his baby karate chop over and over and over. He also slows his hand down and attempts to grab the toy – and when he isn’t under a toy, he reaches out and swats at the fan. (I guess he hasn’t figured out that depth thing yet.)

This had pointed out a new game to play with Mommy and Daddy: high five! Mommy and daddy provide squeals of delight when little Gabe successfully touches a hand or a face.

And which hand does Gabe prefer to reach out and touch with? So far, the left is in the lead. We may have to stock up on south-paw scissors and baseball gloves! But then, it’s still only the third day since he started using his hands to reach out to things, so maybe it’s all just an accident and really he’s going to end up using his prehensile toes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stonybrook Wildlife Sanctuary

I loaded up Gabe in the Baby Bjorn and took him out to see some fall foliage. More photos are posted on our garden blog.

Cappy Came for a Visit

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Power of Smiles

As most of you know Michelle and I work at Turbine, and as many of you know Moria is wrapping up. This has always been one of the hardest parts of a project for me, because its the part where you have to let go and accept the imperfections as they are. It has been even harder for me in this case as I'll likely not be on the live team to fix many of the issues that remain. I've been working late a bunch to try and get as much polish in while I can and tonight is no exception. I'm working extra late tonight so I can try and get more smile time the rest of the week with Gabe. The last month I've often made it home in time to give Gabe a bottle and help put him to bed, but little more. If you're wondering why I'm typing this, it is through the miracle of building data in the background making an 'real' work difficult.

The time I do get to spend with him has been getting more and more enjoyable though. His personality is showing through more and more, and its pretty darn sweet. After all, anyone who can be best friends with a fan has to have some level of empathy;) I'm getting better and better at making him smile too. Those are the moments that make the day's cares melt away in a little shining rainbow of hope and joy. Its like at any moment Care Bears are going to spawn into the room and hit me with a Care Bear stare while pony unicorns prance about the room farting butterflies and fresh flowers. I bet you didn't know that the day's cares are what you'll actually find at the end of a rainbow. It is why I don't suggest chasing one down.

There are, of course, moments when Gabe drives me crazy. Being the barren one, not having a boob to pop him on, there can be times when there's nothing I can do to soothe him. Having to thaw a bottle of frozen breast milk or mix a bottle is a slow way to answer his calls of...

'Feed me now you insolent man. It isn't rocket science! I stick out tongue you insert food through the aperture which the tongue sticks through. Look it up on wikipedia for god sakes if you must you techno-idiot-savant. Are you simply incapable of even the most basic interactions with one such as I!' - Gabe

At least that's what it feels like he's saying. Still having pictures like this one definitely helps make the day run by that much faster when I get to see it on my desktop.

Guess Who Slept Through the Night!

How ironic, after yesterday’s post! Gabe sucked on his hand during the night and comforted himself right back to sleep. He awoke this morning full of smiles.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Zen of Baby

Parents of older children love to tell newly pregnant parents about all the things they will have to do without: no more long uninterrupted nights of sleep, no more endless weekend hours to play, no more spontaneously going out. “Your life is over”, they seem to say, and they relish saying it. “Come join me in my misery!”

But I see it the other way around. In having a baby, I had to set aside all of the inessentials. I had to carefully manage those things which I *needed*: daily grooming, a weekly dinner with friends, time with Chris. And slowly, I am getting back the things I had to set aside.

As a result of having the fluff stripped away from my life, I am left pondering that which I still have. I have the time this morning to leisurely brush my teeth? Wow! I haven’t found scraping the morning gunk off of my teeth to be pleasurable in, well, ever. Now, it’s refreshing.

So many little things I have taken for granted now bring me satisfaction. The kitchen is clean again, hooray! OMG, a vacuumed room is a welcoming room!

Even the dreaded task of waking up in the middle of the night to change and feed the baby has stopped being a chore. Gabe is always at his sweetest. There are good programs to listen to on the radio, the internet is always open, snacks are in the kitchen, and nothing is required of me aside from taking care of a happy baby.

Last night Chris took a turn, and I stayed in bed. It was a little rough for the both of them, since it’s a change in their routines. Dad instead on Mom, bottles instead of breasts, different lights on, different rooms used. (And it was strange for me, too. I found myself laying in bed missing the feeling of a warm baby in my arms.) I heard some crying, and when Chris tried and failed to get a sleeping Gabe to stay asleep for the transfer into the cosleeper, he sounded frustrated. But he said that Gabe had been so very happy to see him! So full of smiles! And when he went back to bed, Chris seemed deeply content.