Monday, September 24, 2007

parenting books

We have recently begun to realize that in a few short weeks, we are going to find ourselves at home with a baby, and neither of us has a clue what to do.

Tonight, we are signed up to take a newborn care class, at the same place we're having our childbirth prep class (which is scheduled for October 6th and 7th, a two-day intensive) and a breastfeeding class. But we also went to the library last weekend and took out a few books on babies - Dr. Sears, the What to Expect series, and Armin Brott's New Father book. The first two are encyclopedic and daunting.

Anyone have recommendations?

Friday, September 21, 2007


I went to the hospital today for a sonogram, because at my last appointment Dr. Rutenberg noticed that I was measuring a bit small. She wanted to take a closer look at the baby and make sure that s/he was coming along okay. (She also said really not to worry, so I didn't.)

Well, as the technician noted, this baby is not small! S/he already weighs 4 lbs 13 oz. Sheesh!! We've still got 7 weeks to go! We got to see the baby on the screen, but unlike earlier sonograms you could only see parts of the baby at any one time (there's a leg! there's the head! some random internal organs!). There weren't any really good printouts to share. Sorry.

baby names

Who knew it would be so hard to pick a name?
We have been talking about names for months now, and yet still, if baby were to be born tomorrow, he/she would be nameless for a few days while negotiations continued. Are all prospective parents so indecisive, or is it just us?

If you haven't had a baby recently, you probably aren't aware of some of the fun new options for researching names. The Social Security Administration is a wealth of interesting and sortable statistics - you can look up names by state, by decade, and by popularity:

For a cool graph and historical perspective, check out this site:

In other exciting baby news, I'm having a sonogram today so that they can do a growth check. woo-hoo! I hope to get a print-out that we can post here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

lead paint paranoia, part deux

Some of you are aware that Steve and I have had our own little lead paint drama. We tested our kitchen cupboards in early July and were horrified to discover that they had problematic levels of lead on the surfaces. We know our apartment building is old, but we assumed that the old lead paint was safely buried beneath layers of new paint. For most of the surfaces, that's true. But the doors and cupboards stick and hence there's a good bit of friction, so those particular areas are really not safe. It's fine for now, but when we have a baby crawling around and sticking everything in his/her mouth, it would be dangerous.

We hired an environmental consultant, who made some recommendations. We had a little bit of a letter-writing war with our landlord, who finally sent in his own environmental consultant, who made the same recommendations. More letters followed. (Having a lawyer in the household is a nice little advantage, I find.) And now, two months later, the contractors have finally arrived to fix the problems. The bathroom is being totally repainted and "sealed". All of the internal doors (closets, bed, and bath) are being removed and the door jambs stripped and repainted. And the kitchen cabinet doors are being removed entirely, and the shelves repainted. Work started in the apartment today and will probably continue for 3-4 days. Although it is rather disruptive, we're happy that the work is being done - it will allow us to stay in the apartment for longer without the nagging worry that the paint is poisoning us or baby.

We bought the lead paint testing kit at our local hardware store for $7-8. If you're living in an old place (with a baby) and are seeing substantial friction or peeling paint, you might want to check it out.

food musings

Carl has increased my guilt level about this blog by claiming to check for new posts every day. Since it was a month between postings, I doubt he's telling the truth, but still... I feel compelled to write with slightly more frequency. As there still isn't a baby to show off, I'm left with my own random thoughts. (Carl's daughter Danica has her own website/blog, so his postings are off-the-scale cute.)

We have been, this summer, much more fully embracing the ideal of locally grown food. We have been enthusiastic farmer's market shoppers for the last 5-6 years, even when it meant taking the subway to Union Square and lugging home bags on the R train. (My favorite such experience was when I bought a Christmas tree. The Canadian dude who sold it to me fashioned backpack straps out of twine, and I stuck our little tree on my back and rode the subway with it. Sadly, no pictures were taken.) But we had always supplemented with grocery store produce. This summer, however, we have relied entirely on the Hastings-on-Hudson farmer's market for all our fruits and vegetables, as well as some meat, cheese, eggs, and pasta. (Bananas are the main exception - bananas help pregnant ladies ward off leg cramps, and farmers have yet to grow them in the Northeast!)

I think our increased interest in trying to eat locally stems from a couple of sources. One is the general zeitgeist - locavorism seems to be the eco-chic trend of the day - another is our own increased sense of identification and love for the Hudson River region, and lastly we have been reading a number of foodie books. We both read Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and I also read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Marion Nestle's What to Eat, and Smith and MacKinnon's Plenty. I also like the Oregon-based website All of these books have made us much more aware of how far food travels, the environmental costs of such a system, and the increased possibilities of local eating.

It has been different, but not in the way that I expected. I do occasionally miss some foods, but my dominant impression has instead been the joy of seeing new things arrive, the amazing quality of the food that we've eaten, and the sense of cornucopian plenty that attends each brief season. When sugar snap peas were here, they were amazing. Ditto for cherries. August was dominated by corn, tomatoes, and peaches - we ate scads of them every week. The peaches and blueberries are now gone, but the new crop of apples is arriving. It's been fun to indulge in something - gorging on it - knowing that in a week or month it'll be gone for the season.

Of course, it must be confessed that we are not yet so devoted that we intend to boycott the grocery store once winter hits. Our farmer's market closes in late November and does not reappear until June, and I'm sure we will return to our old habits for those six months. But this summer has been lovely and yummy...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A new belly pic, at 32 weeks. Only two months to go!
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