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I think the Ukelele is adjusting to our move pretty well. I hope she is. We've thrown a lot at her this summer. First, of course, the arrival of her brother, ejecting her from the absolute center of our solar system into some kind of shared binary star formation (which, unless Star Trek has lied to me, are always at risk of collapsing or flying apart). Then the move to Utah, and with it a new house, new neighborhood, new preschool, new routines.

Her brother* is adjusting just fine. I know I haven't posted much at all about him yet. I will--love, after all, warrants yadda yadda--but as long as he remains a jovial bundle of smiles, chins, and drool, the imperious diva that is his sister is inevitably going to commandeer more than her share of our psychic resources. I'm sorry, little buddy: you seem to have inherited my big ears, my placid temperament, and my propensity to sit in a bouncy chair and be overlooked for hours.

Damn the Norwegians! )
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So E. has been in the hospital since Monday with some kind of infection. They've ruled out all the scary possibilities like meningitis and nobody is ultra concerned, but it is hard to sit with him there all covered with electrodes and IVs - he just doesn't have that much surface area to attach everything.

Plus the logistics of having one parent in the hospital with him at all times and then another parent taking care of a very energetic three-year-old at home. [ profile] papersource and I see each other in the hospital twice a day - kiss, pass off the car keys and parking pass, and that's that. It gets old fast.

Last night, [ profile] papersouce said, "We're like Ladyhawke." I HAD JUST BEEN THINKING THE EXACT SAME THING YO. We are geeks, wretched 80s geeks, but is there any doubt we were meant to be together?
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or, WAYS SHE IS LIKE HER DAD (First In a Series)

And you're so much like me
I'm sorry

It may be that all two year olds exhibit geek personality traits. Or that all geeks exhibit two year old personality traits. My sample size is too small to be sure. Of two year olds, that is. My sample size of geeks is pretty robust.

1. A List Is Not A Conversation,
but don't tell the Ukelele that. Here's a scene that gets replayed every couple of minutes at our house:

U: "Let's talk about Muppets!"
Me: [any response other than immediately listing Muppets]
Me: "Well, OK. Kermit the Frog is a Muppet."
U: "Kermit is green! And what else?" [means: "and who else?"]
Me: "And Fozzie Bear is a Muppet."
U: "Kermit and Fozzie sing 'Moving Right Along.' And what else?"
Me: "And Doctor Teeth is a Muppet."
U: "Doctor Teeth is so many colors! And what else?"
Me: [any response other than immediately naming another Muppet]
Me: "Well, which Muppet plays the drums?"
U: "Animal! And what else?"

And so on through pretty much every named Muppet, catching me if I repeat ("No, already DID talk about Fozzie!"), flipping out if I try to stop ("MORE MUPPETS!!!!"), and cataloging one or two facts about each one along the way ("Tatlo and Waldo [Statler and Waldorf] laugh like dis: HA HA HA!").

(some time later:)
U: "Oh! We didn't talk about New Alien!"
Me: "New Alien? I don't know that one."
U: "New Alien throws the fish!"
Me: "Oh, you mean Lew Zealand. No, I guess we didn't talk about him yet."

She's also very interested in Muppet emotional states:

U: "Why Beaker is sad?"
Me: "Well, sometimes his friend Bunsen is not very careful when playing with him."
U: "And what else Muppet is sad?"
Me: "Uh, most of the Muppets are pretty happy, I think."

[ profile] papersource  makes me handle these conversations more often than not. She figures the obsessive memorization and recitation of pop culture data is my genetic imprint, not hers. For some reason.

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I JUST TUCKED the Ukulele in to her big kid bed for the first time, which means, I guess, that I tucked her in to her crib for the last time last night. (Astonishingly, the tucking seems to be holding--I guess she hasn't figured out yet that there is nothing keeping her from getting up.) I feel suddenly, surprisingly bereft.

TANGENT: Every night before going to bed, and I mean EVERY night, the Uke demands to watch this and then this.

Year One

Apr. 25th, 2007 09:55 am
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One year ago today.

If any more profound ruminations come to me on parenthood and the meaning of it all, you'll be the first to know. In the meantime, a year in the life of the birthday girl:

Year One

(Her mother is pretty gorgeous too.)
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So [ profile] peaseblossom linked to the NYT article on the Princess Industrial Complex that looms so large these days in the lives of young girls and their hapless parents. "Sorry, ladies. Your puny second-wave feminism was no match for the power of the Dark Side..."

There's little need for me to repeat the arguments against Disney's sparkly pink Stalinism here. But there were two other things I found interesting about the article: first, the fact that before the 1930s or so, the gender meanings of pink and blue were apparently reversed--"Pink was considered the more masculine hue, a pastel version of red. Blue, with its intimations of the Virgin Mary, constancy and faithfulness, was thought to be dainty."--and second, the slightly creepy observation that, by edict from the Mouse itself, the eight Disney princesses never make eye contact with one another--"each stares off in a slightly different direction as if unaware of the others’ presence." No, it's not to forestall Poca-mulan-rella slash-fic, but to "ensure the sanctity of their individual mythologies." Seems to me like a JLA-style League of Extraordinary Princesses would be a no-brainer. They even have the ethnic makeup of the Superfriends: you've got your bunch of WASPs, your token American Indian ("'Apache Chief'? I'm not Apache, and I'm not a chief. How would you like it if I called you 'Minnesota President'?"), your Asian, and your fish. But in fact the princesses slide by one another, never quite deigning to notice each other's presence, like, say, debutantes at a ball rudely crashed by an American Indian, an Asian, and a fish. For those geeks who catalog pop culture crossovers and shared universe continuities, this is a stunning epistemological revelation: characters may appear to inhabit the same universe, but they don't, as long as they don't make eye contact! Think of the crises that could have been avoided if Earth-Prime Superboy and Earth-Two Superman had just tilted their eyes demurely to the floor. Maybe this resolves the Seinfeld-Mad About You-Friends paradox that has threatened the space-time continuum for so long.

The article also mentions the new Disney Fairies line, which the Mouse is positioning to capture the hearts and minds (and wallets and body images) of 'tween girls as they graduate from Princess pink. (Disney Prince and Pirate lines are being developed for boys--which doesn't seem at all the same kind of slam dunk.) We visited friends of ours over the holidays with a daughter deep in the target demographic, and she'd gotten the Disney Fairies hardcover for Christmas. It reminded me of nothing so much as a White Wolf hardcover: gorgeous art, a surprisingly detailed world, and signature character portraits for each of the Fairie splats: Water-Fairies, Garden-Fairies, Goth-Fairies, and so on. [ profile] mgrasso, your next campaign awaits you. I was also amused by the boy-band-esque male fairies, or "Sparrow-Men." Tinkerbell apparently has an admirer named Terence, a muscular young fairie lad who delivers the Pixie dust to all the fairies in Pixie Hollow, and is therefore "more sparkly than the average Sparrow-Man." Why do I think Tink's relationship with Terence is never going to get much farther than fashion tips, catty remarks about Wendy Darling's ankles, and the occasional night out clubbing with the Lost Boys? Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Dec. 23rd, 2006 11:30 am
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X-posted to Old is the New New.

Tags: All reading for fun at Fessenden, our quirky electronic childhoods, the great American elevator inspector novel, I find I don't know Dick.

It's year in review time, Loyal Dozens, that magical time of year when we review the year that went by since the last time it was time to review the year between the times when it's time to review it. I'll dispense with such fripperies as the year in movies, music, or current events, but I read a lot of books and every year I like to take some time to record a few that stayed with me, both for their own merits and for vaguely autobiographical purposes. (I try to associate the subjects of books with the places and times where I read them. Even though you can find a copy anywhere, for instance, it's cool to me that I bought Colson Whitehead's old weird NYC novel The Intuitionist, along with Ann Douglas' Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s, at the awesome Strand bookstore in Greenwich Village. Or that I read Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon while actually en route from Paris to the moon.) This is made easier this year by the LibraryThing account I started last December. Most people use LibraryThing to catalog the books they own, but I use the library so prodigiously that my the set of books I possess bears only a passing resemblance to the set of books that have passed under my eyeballs. Instead, I used LibraryThing to catalog books as I read them, regardless of their provenance. You can, if you care, see all the books I read in 2006 here. But here are some highlights, starting with fiction first.

Read more... )
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It's lame, perhaps achingly so, to break a three month LJ silence with nothing more than baby pictures, but my brain has atrophied to the point where this totally cracks me up:

Our hat for Xmsa know no bound. )

In other news, uh, hi! Sorry about the silent running: this term's been a bear, workwise. Just two more days and we're off to some sunny island somewhere with beaches and probably no internet. We'll be in DC the week between Xmas and New Year's (is anyone reading this in that vicinity?), then back home on the 31st. I hope you and yours are happy and well.

Random wistful observation: tomorrow is the three year anniversary of the final Unknown USA session. Face shooting! Ben in the Burning Man! The Wicked Witch of the West! Sinister conjoined pickled twins! I intend to observe the date with pancakes.

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I am not getting enough sleep.

Tooth Hurty

Sep. 5th, 2006 10:25 pm
robotnik2004: (Heart!)
We're in Boston! We're at the Kendall Hotel. It's pretty swell.

You Know Who seems to be getting a new tooth.

That is all.
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"OK, first question: why are you so awesome?"
--Bruce Springsteen to Puff Daddy, on MTV’s Fanatic (sort of)

You, Me, and Ukulele
Yesterday was the Ukulele’s three month birthday, and she just gets more and more awesome. She’s a pretty good-tempered kid, as far as I can judge, but on her birthday she celebrated by being several orders of magnitude more smiley and giggly and hilarious than she’s ever been before. It was so much fun. Last week was Ukulele’s first visit to Wolf Lake, and that went great, but I’m sorry her grandparents, aunts, and cousins didn’t get to see her as blissed out and tweaking as she was yesterday. I played with her all morning, then [ profile] papersource took her to the movies with the Mommy Posse, and not even You, Me, and Dupree could dampen the birthday girl's spirits.

See, they've got these special baby-friendly matinees at the local Googolplex, where you are encouraged to bring your babies, and they don't dim the lights all the way, and you can park your stroller in the aisle, and you won't get shushed if your baby starts hollering or flinging poo at the screen. (It's kind of like every movie screening at Loews Assembly Square. Hey-O!) But they always pick the lamest movies. Maybe they've got a focus group of witless parents picking the flicks (sleep-deprived Mommy: "uh... what's the longest, quietest movie with the least light on the screen you have?"), but I think they're just being sadists. "You former urban hipster parents--you used to love going to the snooty big city rep theatres, didn't you? Thought you were sooooo trendy, discussing the new Wim Wenders and the Wong Kar-Wai. Well, there's no Wim or Wong for you now, grup-boy! So just how desperate are you to go the movies? Are you willing to sit through The Lake House? How about Click? Little Man? Just My Luck? Mwaa ha ha!"*

16x your RDA of Cuteness
OK, so I've never used "mood icons" or the "current mood" field on LiveJournal. No disrespect meant to you if you do, but to me, nothing says "LJ is not a serious blogging platform, LJ is for high school dream journalling and poems about goth unicorns" like having a field for "current mood." And I'm definitely not the sort of guy who would a make up an LJ mood theme or icon set entirely of pictures of his baby daughter.


That ought to cover it, don't you think? I think she's nailed every mood / emotion / expression I feel while reading or commenting on LiveJournal, from Rock! to WTF to TMI to MAN TRUE.

Bad Parenting 101
Even if you're not a parent, there are probably a number of basic health and safety tips for babies and toddlers that you've absorbed by osmosis over the years. Breastfeeding is healthier than bottle feeding, always put babies to sleep on their backs, etc. etc. You probably hear those things, shrug, and think "OK, fine by me, what do I care?" What I never realized before becoming a daddy was that the reason these bits of advice are repeated so frequently and stridently is that there are compelling reasons to do exactly the opposite. In other words: Bottle feeding is way easier than breastfeeding! And fun! Ukelele sleeps great on her front, and she sleeps longer too! And, as we've just discovered, a plastic bag makes a terrific toy! We put it under her bum and she flips out for the crinkling sound it makes as she kicks it. So now I know why you don't see warning messages that say, "this meat cleaver is not a toy" or, "this blowtorch is not a toy," but every plastic bag insists it's not a toy. Because actually, it is.

Yeah, we're bad parents. I can't wait until she's old enough to run with scissors.

*Answers: No, no, no, and yes. (What? We like Lindsay Lohan.)
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Good news, everyone! I survived a busy weekend in "South Toronto," that dreaded enclave of radical Islam and Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals.

I was there for a conference, but managed to sneak off the reservation and see [ profile] sneech515, [ profile] dilyshaner, [ profile] tickermicker, [ profile] gammafodder1, [ profile] krustukles (briefly), and, rara avis, [ profile] dreamsanon. (Most of whom don't really update their journals, but it is the LJ convention to list everyone you meet like that, and it's nice to know that nearly my entire social circle can be delineated with nonsensical nicknames and little faceless mannequin icons.)

Saturday night was the first full convergence of the original four Donut RunnersTM since my wedding, I believe, and that was great. We stayed up until all hours playing reprehensible video games, and it really could have been any Saturday night with us four friends from 1986 on, except that Chris' TV is much bigger these days, and the graphics of those reprehensible video games have markedly improved. There was a brief window of opportunity, as one of the Seans pointed out the next day, when we almost turned the Xbox off to spend some time catching up with one another and perhaps even sharing our thoughts and feelings, but the pull of scantily-clad wrestling polygons was too strong, and the moment passed. As we trundled home just before dawn, I felt a little sheepish about how thoroughly we'd wasted the evening, but in retrospect, a thoroughly wasted evening may have been just what the doctor ordered. Thanks, guys. Let's not wait five years to do it again.

The conference itself went well, considering I'd slapped my talk together between diaper changes and late-night soothing sessions. It was one of the first conferences I've been to where I wasn't on the job market, wasn't trying to hook a publisher, and basically didn't have anything to prove. That was a great feeling. I didn't even bother to put a PowerPoint presentation together—just offered to show pictures of You Know Who instead. It helps that I've been to this particular conference a couple of times now: I still remain mostly beneath the notice of the serious old guard, but there are lots of friendly folks at the middle of the profession who know me now, and a genuine cohort of recent PhDs and advanced grad students that I actually like to hang around with.

I also went to a dinner at the UofT business school for "business historians and business leaders," and even that was kind of fun. I didn't bone up on my Canadian Business Leaders Trading Cards before hand like I should have, but as the avuncular old guy I was chatting with was Jim F——, and the room we were in was the James D. F—— Atrium, I suspect he's done fairly well for himself. I have to say, I like hanging out with ridiculously successful businessmen. They tend to be smart, droll, and hilariously un-PC. They usually love history, in an A&E sort of way, and they spend most of their time talking about how to give away vast sums of money. Plus they often look like classic character actors.

It was weird to be away from You Know Who for so long, though—these were my first nights away from home since she arrived. I tried not to spend the whole damn weekend talking about her, with limited success. She seems to be punishing me now for going away by only letting Mommy soothe her. Which could mean more sleep for me, but at the cost of a broken heart.

Mea culpa: Between prepping for, and going to, the conference, I've barely looked at the For Want of a Nail lexicon in about a week. Final round due tomorrow? Alternate time flies! Sorry for my slackitude: I'll try to get something up at least, so I can pretend like I was in it from start to finish.
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Early in the morning, full belly, clean bum
I got my cup of Cheerios in case I want some
Jacket, hat, diaper bag, carried out the door
And I know where we’re going cause we’ve been there before

First, thank you all so much for your emails and phone calls and congratulatory comments. The little one is doing great, and her mom is strong and brave and amazing, if a little tired. We still couldn't be more thrilled, and I can't wait to show Yuki off to all of you.

Blah Blah Blah Parenthood Parenthood Me Me Me
The closest analogy I can think of for what the last two weeks has felt like is falling in love. Falling deeply completely in love, 0 to 60 in five seconds. The same euphoria, the same fuzziness of head, the same inability to concentrate on anything except the object of my affections. Food tastes different. The weather's been gorgeous almost every day since she arrived, but I haven't noticed--or to the extent that I have, I've interpreted it as pathetic fallacy, merely the universe paying her tribute. I find myself flashing back to the last time I fell this hard for a girl.

I'll bet you're all thrilled I posted that. Because that's what people who don't have kids are looking for when they log on to the internet: "Boy, I'm dying to know what it's like to be a parent! Give me a treacly, narcissistic, self-satisfied post about breeding that glorifies the author and ever so subtly suggests my own life choices are lacking!" While people who already have kids are just on the edge of their seats to hear all the sage wisdom I've amassed in fourteen freaking days. I don't want to be That Dad, honest. I can't help it, though. Not yet. The "all baby all the time" phase will pass, I'm sure, but for now it remains in full effect.

Which is why God created LJ-cuts. )
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Please say hello to Yuki Josephine, born last night 2:43 am. She is perfect and healthy and beautiful and awesome and so is her mother. Yuki is shown here at about 30 minutes of age, weighing 8 pounds 0 ounces, and looking slightly dubious about the whole proposition.

Now I have to go back and stare at her some more.
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I don't normally find the webcomic PVP nearly as emotional as I did last week.

Which is another way of saying, [ profile] papersource and I are pregnant.

Which is to say, she is. But I'm involved somehow.

The due date is late April. We found out in September—in fact, the first ultrasound was the day of my first class. We've had a couple of doctor's appointments and ultrasounds since then, and the Seamonkey (our current nom de fetus, though "Secret Squirrel" is also in contention) apparently has hands and feet and was about 63mm long last time we checked. L is doing very well. I'll let her decide for herself how much or how little she'd like to share with you about alternating nausea, narcolepsy, and craving for deviled eggs, but I can tell you that she is a rock star and a trooper and a machine. I love her so much.

Oddly, LJ doesn't seem to have a mood icon for "simultaneously thrilled, elated, scared as hell."

Edit: Thanks! for the congratulations and well-wishes that are already pinging in. But don't forget to share the love with [ profile] papersource too. She told me I could spill the beans, but I'd feel bad if I hogged all the comments. :)
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"And down the stretch they come!" [/david letterman]
All extremities are crossed and ESPs of encouragement are beaming out to [ profile] peaseblossom, [ profile] jeregenest, and [ profile] dreamsanon, all of whom are expecting babies! babies! babies! in the next few days. Well, just two babies between the three of them, but it's still a big deal.

Names Pregnant Friends of Mine Have Given Their Unborn Babies:
  • The Lump
  • The Belly
  • The Wombat
  • Feetla
  • Mbobo
  • Rob Schneider
  • Seabiscuit
  • Mysterio
Pregnant people are weird.

"The waiting game sucks. Let's play Hungry Hungry Hippos!"
I'm playing a waiting game of my own after umpteen job interviews, from whom I could be hearing yay or nay any day. In the past I often didn't answer the phone when I was working, but now I leap up and bound across the room like Pavlov's dog every time it rings—I've talked to more damn telemarketers this month than over the previous year. I also leap up when the mailman comes, but letters are usually bad news. I've been getting a rejection letter pretty much every day since December. The American ones have mostly dried up now, but the Canadian rejection letters are starting to trickle in. It's no big deal, you send out a lot of CVs, you get a lot of rejections. But they do wear you down after a while, just a little blow to the ego in the middle of each afternoon.


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