Archive | April, 2012

Tantrum Quantification

18 Apr

A graduate student friend of mine, who is interested in all things quantification, points me to a story about how psychologists have begun to quantify tantrums, so as to more carefully study them. Well, quantifying tantrums isn’t quite right. They give little ones onesies with high-performance microphones sewn into them, so as to record, then isolate, the sounds of a tantrum. There are, it turns out, phases to a tantrum: 1) Yelling and Screaming; 2) Physical Actions; and then 3) Crying and Whining. As the NPR correspondents point out:

The trick in getting a tantrum to end as soon as possible, Potegal said, was to get the child past the peaks of anger. Once the child was past being angry, what was left was sadness, and sad children reach out for comfort. The quickest way past the anger, the scientists said, was to do nothing. Of course, that isn’t easy for parents or caregivers to do.

Ya, not easy to do is right. I find it’s a bit of area of disagreement between me and the missus is that I am more likely to sit and do nothing while baby cries, and she is more likely to immediately go to comfort (our neighbor, incidentally, noted that she is pretty much done with nursing except for comforting the baby when he cries. I think this is not uncommon, and new mothers everywhere have been whipping out boobs in response to crying baby for longer than we’ve had civilization). In my less flattering moments, I’m also likely to say to baby, ‘aw, come on, quit faking’. Which as you might guess makes everyone delighted round my house.

I also like the idea of sewing the high-performance microphone in baby’s onesie. This is just another reason why SCIENCE is so freaking awesome. I would have gone for attaching electrodes directly to the cortex, but that may have required boring a small hole. And while SCIENCE can do what SCIENCE wants, the Mothers-Against-Young-Baby-Experimentation lobby is unrelenting…

(incidentally, I’m tagging this post as Science! but really it should be tagged with ‘awesome’, right?)


The easiest baby in the world

12 Apr

So, I may have complained a bit about BB’s aversion to the amoxicillin. But it turns out that the aversion is not really to the medicine, it was to the manhandling. So now, when we want him to take his medicine, we simply sit him up, smile, and let him take the medicine a bit at a time through the dropper.

That’s right, our baby takes his medicine with no hassles at all, and then when he’s done, he shakes the bottle for a little post-medicine giggle. And for now he’s sleeping straight through the night from about 7-7:30 until about 6:30 or even 7am.

You may be wondering what we’ve done to deserve such an easy baby. And the answer is: we’ve done awesome parenting.

Got problems with that?


6 Apr

My all-purpose response to everything the baby hates. Now I just need to make the stamp…

Don’t fear the dropper

4 Apr

Hey there, my beautiful baby, yes, just your papa giving you hugs. No, no, there’s no ulterior motive here, just sweetness and light. Awww, there’s a sweet hug, so much love. What, that? No, pay no attention to mama and that bottle of bubblegum pink stuff. No, that’s not for you, you can stop giving her the skeptical looks, just sweet sweet. What? This position? No, I’m just holding you to the side a bit, nothing to worry about, certainly nothing to start getting a little antsy over. Yes, there, there. Why am I holding you so tightly? Just love, all love, no no, just holding your arms a bit to give you sweet hugs. Why are you struggling, just relax, she’s just playing with that dropper full of yummy goodness of OH DEAR SWEET GOD JUST GET THE MEDICINE DOWN HIS THROAT, I’M HOLDING HIM AS TIGHTLY AS I CAN, YES I KNOW HIS HEAD IS MOVING, GOD THE SCREAMING THE SCREAMING…and cries and recriminations, and it’s ok, yes, just some medicine to make you feel bett–OK, QUICK GET THE SECOND DOSE DOWN THERE, JUST SQUEEZE THE THING WE’LL WIPE IT UP LATER AND AHHH THE SCREAMING THE SCREAMING AND–ah, all better, ok, yes, just love and sweetness and the clear knowledge that I will betray you at the drop of an amoxicillin dropper.

wow, this is awesome

4 Apr

I want to do what this guy did, but I wouldn’t even know where to start. But this is 7 degrees of awesome, and you should all know that.

Ear infraction

4 Apr, infection. Baby’s first ear infection! Awwww. Because nothing is better than a baby who is feverish, having been relatively sleepless on a 10.5 hour airplane trip back from Hawaii, with an ear infection. While I was here in NYC, baby mama and mother-in-law traveled back without me. This is such obviously good fathering that I don’t really have to say it, right?

We took him to after-hours medical clinic, where cutey Jewish boy doctor put him on a course of anti-biotics and Motrin. Baby loved getting his ears checked, which I could tell via my mystical father-senses, and the fact that he was screaming bloody murder throughout that process. But it was a bloodcurdling scream of joy.

So all are back at home now, some are sleeping off the effects of jetlag, others are sleeping off the effects of fever and ear infection. And here I am, blogging the shit out of the thing. Time for morning coffee.

When when when will baby do the walking?

1 Apr

Baby is 15 months and not yet walking. I say this with full expectation that one day he will indeed walk. And talk. Eat food. Do math. Don’t get me wrong, we will love him whether or not he does these things. And perhaps, given that we’re on schedule to give him deadly, autism-causing vaccinations, he won’t do some of these things. But he was born with club foot, he’s 15 months, and he is not yet walking.

It’s hard to avoid obsessing with at least some piece of the bell curves of development. To avoid it completely. Intellectually, this makes no sense whatsoever. It is a bell curve, standard deviations around a mean. 1.64 standard deviations encompass 90%. 1.96 SDs encompass 95%. 2.58 encompass 99%. If the average is 11 months, with a standard deviation of 2 months, one in a hundred babies will walk at 16 months. Easily, one in a thousand should be walking at a year and a half. Normal, normal, normal.

At the Tot Lot, a wildly unrepresentative (of Brooklyn, of America, sometimes even of Park Slope) clump of kids and caregivers, a mother tells me, unsolicited, that her daughter is small for her age. A father, when I ask how old his baby boy is, tells me: 14 months. He’s not walking though. But he’s cruising, and that’s what’s important, right? Right? Riiiiiiiggghhhhht?

I try to repeat what a close friend with slightly older kids once told me. That by the time they’re 8, they all walk and talk. Further, you forget about when and which kids walked or talked. What looms large while before you looks little when behind you (ok, that last part is me, not Cary).

I’m not sure what my point is here. I somehow imagine that Pioneer parents never thought much about such things, that they were too busy rendering tallow for candles, or chopping wood, or hunting wild boar. We theorize the hell out our babies, and wonder from where our worries come. Still, I’ll be happier when baby starts walking.