Monday, October 22, 2007


Britta sent me this lovely poem a few months ago, and it has seemed more and more apt as my due date approaches.

A Tale Begun

The world is never ready
for the birth of a child.

Our ships are not yet back from Winnland.
We still have to get over the S. Gothard pass.
We've got to outwit the watchmen on the desert of Thor,
fight our way through the sewers to Warsaw's center,
gain access to King Harald the Butterpat,
and wait until the downfall of Minister Fouche.
Only in Acapulco
can we begin anew.

We've run out of bandages,
matches, hydraulic presses, arguments, and water.
We haven't got the trucks, we haven't got the Minghs' support.
This skinny horse won't be enough to bribe the sheriff.
No news so far about the Tartars' captives.
We'll need a warmer cave for winter
and someone who can speak Harari.

We don't know whom to trust in Nineveh,
what conditions the Prince-Cardinal will decree,
which names Beria has still got inside his files.
They say Karol the Hammer strikes tomorrow at dawn.
In this situation let's appease Cheops,
report ourselves of our own free will,
change faiths,
pretend to be friends with the Doge
and say that we've got nothing to do with the Kwabe tribe.

Time to light the fires.
Let's send a cable to grandma in Zabierzow.
Let's untie the knots in the yurt's leather straps.

May delivery be easy,
may our child grow and be well.
Let him be happy from time to time
and leap over abysses.
Let his heart have strength to endure
and his mind be awake and reach far.
But not so far

that it sees into the future.
Spare him
that one gift,
0 heavenly powers.

--- Wislawa Szymborska

Thursday, October 18, 2007

new: poll!

My colleagues threw me a surprise baby shower today, and one of my coworkers decided to have everyone cast a vote on whether the baby was a boy or a girl. She decorated a box with cute pictures and people had to put in either a blue or pink piece of paper. Our less cute version appears to the right (you can pick more than one option when you vote).

Oh, and my colleagues were nearly evenly split: 9 to 7.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Halloween pumpkin!

This is the first time I've carved a Halloween pumpkin that wasn't just a funny looking (lopsided) face. Steve found a picture online and drew the outline for me. Isn't it awesome?! My Halloween kitty cat. I'm so tickled by it.
Steve wanted something scarier, so I think we might have to buy another pumpkin next weekend and make him one.
Here's where we found the pic.
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sleeping babies

Steve (my current baby) napping on the couch with Gaoji (spelling?).

Our crib, waiting for our new baby!
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

food fights

This article on children who are picky eaters appeared in this week's NY Times:

Apparently, children will eat anything until they're two, and then nothing. Maybe. If you or your spouse were a picky eater, the odds that your children will also be picky is quite high, as pickiness seems to be a genetic trait. The article details some of the evolutionary reasons that refusing new and strange and bitter foods might have been a survival skill. (The main lesson for those of you with infants is to feed them the maximum diversity of foods until they're old enough to refuse, in the hope that they will return to variety sooner rather than later.)

Now, anyone who ate dinner with my family during my childhood probably remembers (and may still be scarred by) the epic battles that occurred at mealtimes. I refused to eat most things, especially if they were green or touching each other. Mom and Dad insisted I try at least one bite of everything (this was later upped to finishing whatever small portion of green things was on my plate). I was pretty stubborn and so were they, and so many meals ended with me sitting at the table by myself, staring down some peas. By some magic transformation, I now eat pretty much everything - I am not only omnivorous but open to new tastes and spices and ingredients. Overripe bananas and tapioca are still out, however, on textural grounds.

Steve was picky both as a child and as a young adult. He didn't like a lot of foods and he wasn't terribly open to trying new things either. He too is fairly adventurous now - he's more of a germaphobe than a finicky eater - although there are still some foods he is squeamish about. Liver is a definite out, as we discovered in Taiwan when I mistakenly ordered it (hey, my Chinese wasn't great, and I saw the character for beef and thought the dish sounded fine!).

My mom and dad read the Times article and promptly descended into finger-pointing. I quote:
"Given the article's suggestion that genes account for 78 per cent of the child's eating habits, we wondered here about the two of us. I called your grammy. She says she doesn't recall any of the four of us being finicky. Then again, when I was a toddler, she and I were alone and she recalls I could eat whatever I pleased. So perhaps I wasn't really tested. Your mom promptly said she was a perfect little child, of course. But then she had to admit her mom used to say she was a bit cranky about what she would eat. So perhaps that's where the genes come from?"

Anyway. I think we're doomed. :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

wall decorations

Since we rent our apartment, painting the walls isn't really an option. And since I am artistically challenged, painting or stenciling figures on the walls is similarly out of the question. But our walls are rather bare and our paint (see previous postings on lead paint) is not great, so I've been trying to figure out what fun thing can be done to add some interest and color and cover up the cracks.

I've discovered wall stickers. They seem great - easy to apply, removable, colorful. I'm thinking I might put some up next to the crib and some near the dresser/changing table. Here are a couple of websites with cool designs:

Steve and I particularly like the "Jungle" series under Blik's Wee Gallery.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

false advertising

Cousin Luke and I were Google chatting yesterday about the unbearable cuteness that marks all published baby pictures, videos, and blogs. I mean, is Silas always grinning that much? Does Danica make noises other than giggles? He mentioned that he and Cassie had babysat their friend's two daughters, and amid the wailing and crying and screaming wondered where the cuteness was.

Steve and I talked about it over dinner and decided that, in the interests of truth in advertising (and birth control?), we'd have to take some video and post some pics of our baby screaming and generally carrying on while we helplessly paced and rocked and cooed. Wait for it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

childbirth classes and other things

Well, Steve and I have finally emerged from the disaster that was our apartment post-renovation. We have new paint in the kitchen and bathroom, new doors, and unleaded door jambs. However, our landlord appears to have hired someone without the first clue about working with leaded paint, and the place was a dusty, dirty mess. We have cleaned everything we own, as well as the walls and floors of the apartment. Twice. Sometimes three times - Hepa vacuum, soap and water, Hepa vacuum. It took probably four solid days of both of us working. (On a happy note, we bought our first ever vacuum, a Miele Sirius, and it's so cute and light and awesome that we love it.)

phew. We're so glad that it's over and we are finally able to enjoy our home again - particularly the kitchen. Two weeks of eating out was more than enough for us - we had homemade white bean and kale soup yesterday and it was so wholesome and yummy.

We had our childbirth classes this past weekend. We opted for the intensive weekend edition - 6 hours on Saturday and 6 on Sunday. Saturday was really helpful and informative. We really liked our instructor and learned a lot about the process and our options and what to expect. I had done some reading, but the class definitely answered some questions that I had. We also watched 3 birth videos, which I found really tough going - I know that they're supposed to demystify the process and thus empower you, but they had sort of the opposite effect on me. I felt more anxious afterwards - but not in the sense that I needed more information, just that things looked really very painful. (I'm not saying this came as a surprise, but I don't know if I found it helpful to be so reminded of the fact that something painful is in my near future.) And then on Sunday... we skipped class entirely. We didn't really have any more questions, and we didn't feel we needed to practice various breathing techniques or positions, and it was such a beautiful day...

We went to Rockefeller State Park instead. It was a gorgeous autumn day, with the leaves just beginning to change colors and fall onto the paths. We wandered around for over an hour. I was so happy to be out and enjoying the air and the forest - very peaceful and soul-restoring - much more what we needed from the day.

We've now had classes in newborn care, breastfeeding, and childbirth. I won't say we feel ready, but we certainly feel more informed. We were talking yesterday about how interesting it is that these sort of paid classes have, for a certain segment of the population (urban upper middle class?), effectively replaced the more organic and ad-hoc and historically common way of learning what to do from friends and family. It makes perfect sense, but it's still sort of odd.

Anyway, back to work. Happy Columbus Day!