Wednesday, February 28, 2007


patrick and i start 2 days of lamaze this coming weekend–even though i am planning for the epidural! we also painted baby chaud's room a nice shade of baby blue on sunday. the curtains are up too…now we just just need everything else. on monday, we visited a day care around he block from my office. our search continues throughout march, as we will likely visit 8 or so around ann arbor. it's a big decision, one that neither of us take lightly. abby and rosey will love the alone time, i am sure.

Rollin' to the crib, getting no-Z.

Construction on Baby Chaud's crib has begun in an official capacity. Uncle Scott (out of his love for his nephew) is lending his considerable skill and time along with a generous gift of the wood itself for the project. Last night was an Evening of Sawdust featuring an endless parade of slats.

At cost. AT COST.
The wood has a thrumming texture to the feel that plastic just can't compete with. So far we have no finger casualties.

56 feet of wood started off pretty big but that pile there is almost all of it. The basement has poor ventilation, and I'm still coughing up expensive Sapindaceae cellulose today.

Next week: Routing!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Prebiotics - or how I became friends with my gut flora

Enjoy here a very technical paper on the significance of breast milk as a prebiotic substrate.

We as humans cooperate with a wide variety of organisms to complete tasks such as keeping our skin healthy, driving away pathogenic diseases and of course, digesting our food. Of course, we don't start out with these great bugs in our guts - we're just full of black stuff. Those vital bacteria must be introduced and in order to persuade them to move in, we need something they want, in this case a food source.

Essentially what this shows is that the gut flora (B. infantis) grows much quicker and greater on the HMO substrate(the squares), the unique sugar found in breast milk as opposed to glucose(the triangles), the simple sugar found in most foods. Inulin (the diamonds) is a ubiquitous prebiotic you find in foods like yogurt and acts as a control for selective growth. The second figure is a control bacterium not normally found in the gut. It appears Mom drives gut flora population, because without all those decent, respectable bacteria taking up all the gut space, you might have some ah, undesirables move in.

Of course, lots of things can disrupt gut flora, including something as innocuous as antibacterial soap. It's not surprising that there's a correlation of antibacterial soap usage with sick kids and adults, eh?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

baby time

it has been 26 1/2 weeks. sometimes i am amazed that i have been pregnant since labor day but other times it seems short since only recently did i "feel and look pregnant."

i think i will never really be ready for the day my son arrives. if i waited 'til i felt ready, i may never have chosen to begin my family with patrick. what will it be like to have a baby, a toddler, a a teenager? how will my day look? how will i fit everything into the little amount of free time i have?

this week is an important week for me. our little son has really gained a lot of strength. not only can i feel little kicks throughout the day, but patrick can now feel him. very cool, and creepy too!

Preparing the Identity

Witness here a link-less, science-less entry upon which one might interpret as feelings. Flavor Flav would be so proud.

So I'm going to be a Dad, probably the last great identity shift I will have in my life. Sure, I suppose the transition to Grandpaw is another, but I view that as more of a lateral change.

Naturally, when considering what I must do for my son, I've looked to my own Dad and how he raised me. Instantly I see differences that troubled me. For instance, my Dad was the model of professionalism. For most of my childhood he wore a suit and tie to work. While I do on occasion dress up for the sake of dressing up, the modern identity has shifted towards customization, comfort and casual sensibilities. I throw on a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt and think nothing of my colleagues discrediting my abilities. However, would my son think less? How do I answer that? It would be foolish to suggest that my Dad's professional, collected nature was housed in a polyester tie he bought in 1971, but on that same turn, I've never made a first impression without making every effort to look the part.

We did not get our first computer until around 1988 or so, a 386 that ran good ol' 5.25 floppies. Back then my Mom was the only one who typed. Of course, here in the modern age everyone takes working the qwerty as a given skill in the professional world. Nicole and I each have a computer and I keep a second functioning one in my lab downstairs for creative work and general tinkering. Even with that generous setup, I see room in my day for a laptop so that I may continue my access at remote locations and when I'm watching Pistons games, or need a recipe in the kitchen. It's also the central source of news; I only dabble into cable news for newsertainment or real lazy information dredging, we only buy newspapers sporadically, mostly to have that sophisticated look at the diner on Sunday morning as we ruffle the front page and give a scholarly peer over the fold to those around us. Even then, I go do my own research if the television or paper has anything of note to offer. How will I integrate children into that scenario? I remember watching the news with my Dad who had a devoted penchant for the stuff. Back then I only knew about Iran-Contra, the presidential elections and the Soviet Menace because I watched the news on television with my Dad, too young to read newspapers. I seriously doubt my son will sit and play near me while I surf the net for information on stem cell research or North Korea. Will that be lost to my son? Will I need to actively bring up current events, become my own talking head? Will that even work?

Bear in mind this is mostly an academic exercise for myself. I have bold confidence that I'll find the right balance - I just expect good things to continue to happen to me. On a subconscious level I presume I'm trying to create an idyllic version of my childhood for the template of what I want for my son, but I don't see that as a bad thing as long as I keep policy practical but my morality rigid.

Obviously I want my son to be an enlightened freethinker like myself. Once he's seven or so I will demolish the validity of Santa Claus and hope it is the first steps towards using knowledge and reason to find truth. Many parents head back to church when they have kids, I think I'll be doing that with the library, something my parents did for me, even when the Canton Public Library was just a crammed office floor in the modest City Hall. I often recall my Dad would spend long periods lost in his own findings, and our rounds about town almost always involved a stop at the Little Professor or B. Dalton. I envision a family evening at Borders*, everyone gets to pick out a book, we'll finish a waning night with drinks and some crumbly morsel. A night of capitalism spent on books is the snapshot of childhood I see; making it a reality sounds like a labor of love.

*All family members invited.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

First Contact.

This morning, after fourteen days of earnest palpation, I finally felt Baby Chaud push through Nicole's body to the surface. While I certainly have the intellectual capacity to digest such an event, let me tell you, it was as close to a transcendent experience as they get.

I've made a point to speak to Baby Chaud with regularity, not really worrying so much what I say. Have here an interesting review article on a neat economics study.

When parents praise their children’s intelligence, they believe they are providing the solution to this problem. According to a survey conducted by Columbia University, 85 percent of American parents think it’s important to tell their kids that they’re smart. In and around the New York area, according to my own (admittedly nonscientific) poll, the number is more like 100 percent. Everyone does it, habitually. The constant praise is meant to be an angel on the shoulder, ensuring that children do not sell their talents short.

But a growing body of research—and a new study from the trenches of the New York public-school system—strongly suggests it might be the other way around. Giving kids the label of “smart” does not prevent them from underperforming. It might actually be causing it.

I must say I have experienced this myself. Too many times I've had to resist rolling my eyes as a parent of a child hails how amazingly smart their offspring is, usually when the child is under the age of two. They see some scholarly thought, some emergent brilliance because they counted to three or pointed out where the light bulb is, all I see is rote regurgitation and indifferent, sophomoric sapience.

I'd have to credit my own parents by drawing a bit of a distinction when layering most praise upon me, as they almost universally made a point to speak of my potential and possibility rather than some sort of ethereal accomplishment. That said, there are many concrete achievements in my life I know they are extremely proud of; not many parents can lay claim to fomenting a childhood that gave rise to my vast and accredited intelligence.

Truth be told, while my son was getting along fine under the new praise regime, it was I who was suffering. It turns out that I was the real praise junkie in the family. Praising him for just a particular skill or task felt like I left other parts of him ignored and unappreciated. I recognized that praising him with the universal “You’re great—I’m proud of you” was a way I expressed unconditional love.

Offering praise has become a sort of panacea for the anxieties of modern parenting. Out of our children’s lives from breakfast to dinner, we turn it up a notch when we get home. In those few hours together, we want them to hear the things we can’t say during the day—We are in your corner, we are here for you, we believe in you.

In a similar way, we put our children in high-pressure environments, seeking out the best schools we can find, then we use the constant praise to soften the intensity of those environments. We expect so much of them, but we hide our expectations behind constant glowing praise. The duplicity became glaring to me.

Eventually, in my final stage of praise withdrawal, I realized that not telling my son he was smart meant I was leaving it up to him to make his own conclusion about his intelligence. Jumping in with praise is like jumping in too soon with the answer to a homework problem—it robs him of the chance to make the deduction himself.

And there it is - it seems to me praising your child (and bragging to every person within preaching distance) is an addictive behavior for the parent.

I think I'm going to demand a lot from my son, but then again, that's just a credit to me, right?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

taking some time

this weekend i treated myself to a prenatal massage and 3 days off of work. i always have 2 massages a year and i didn't want this year to be any different. a prenatal massage is a little more technical than the traditional aromatherapy massage. each position is carefully maneuvered. so i think it is less relaxing because of the interruptions, but nevertheless, i enjoyed the massage! my therapist was also very helpful with instructions of how to properly move this new body of mine, including great tips for sleeping. (rosey and i will need to have a talk!)
25 weeks 4 days

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Infanticide Alert

Jason Maxiell Eats Babies.

Maxiell is the sophomore power forward known for his running back physique, hard-nosed throwback defense and tomahawk jam rim rockers. Apparently he's a bad, bad man.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


Most folks know I'm a hardcore scientist and a bit of a skeptic, thus I tend to discount things like psychics, magical thinking, belief in the supernatural and of course, Zodiac astrology beyond pure entertainment. That said, I do believe in others believing in various astro-delusionotainment, and with the Chinese New Year in a couple weeks, I figured to have a look as to what Baby Chaud was in for.

It turns out, 2007 will be the Year of the Pig, but not just any old pig, but the rare Golden Fire Pig. This combination only dials in every 600 years or so.

It is said that children born under this sign will live in comfort as wealth and luck are always near. The Fire Pig is known to have traits of wealth, prosperity, luck and fertility but people in Korea and China have taken this “Golden” prophecy to new levels. Reports indicate that fertility is on the rise – over 10% in Korea and China – sparking the onslaught of everything from websites for “Golden Pig Mothers” to hotels creating special maternity “stay” packages for Fall 2007.

The idea that the baby will live in comfort and wealth appeal to me, since in the formative years Nicole and I seem like the most likely source of said commodities. Of course, most commentary I've seen is ridiculously watered down, suggesting one may be one sign on the outside and another inside, and this, that and the other to the point there's nothing a reading can or can't be interpreted into meaning.

For the record, Nicole and I are both Fire Dragons. I think the fact my sign ended up being the one with the most majesty made it a lot more palatable for me to stomach all the mystical psychobabble. Had I been a Pig or Monkey I likely would have tolerated the whole charade much less.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

we love data

it is very fun to look at my progress from week to week. i am starting feel the baby when i put my hand on my belly. the feeling goes away almost as quickly and i try to feel the spot he's kicking. my hope is that by next week, patrick will be able to as well.

Baby Ripsaw

Scott and I have decided to build a crib for Baby Chaud. Plans are in, and hardware is on the way. I'm no slouch when it comes to building things out of wood, but Scott's got the goods when it comes to slapping these things together. He must have gotten it from Mom, who has built a number furniture pieces, who in turn got it from Grandpaw Callahan, who could like, build just about anything.

The original idea was to build and paint the crib white, but a sea change of thought over the last few weeks has turned us to a stain/varnish choice. I know Scott prefers such a look, and Nicole likes the idea of matching the crib to the red oak floor and cherry stained trim already present in the room, provided we can find a dresser that matches decently.

I'll post some pictures when the construction gets underway. We start sawing boards in two weeks.