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April 28, 2007

Baby Development

Watching a baby develop is one of life’s great experiences. It is not so much the thrill of seeing the baby recapitulate your own development—it is quite possible that you, as a baby, developed very differently than your own baby does—but rather the fascination of seeing how the experiential pieces get put together at all.

The number and complexity of things that a baby teaches itself in the course of a day is astounding. That it does so even while its own senses and feedback systems are themselves in a state of flux is that much more incredible. It is also amazing how progress appears to come in leaps. I think this effect is only a matter of appearances though: the baby is constantly learning and every once in a while multiple avenues of progress converge to produce a “major developmental milestone” and “suddenly” your baby is crawling, or standing up, or reprogramming your iPod….

Posted by talia at 4:49 PM

April 26, 2007

Movie: Speak!

It will be a long while yet until he has anything to say, yet still you want him to speak. Of course once he does speak he won’t stop, and he will want you to speak in return: babies learn to converse, that is to say to exchange snippets of sound back and forth, long before they know to attach meaning to any particular sound. For me, though, what I still most enjoy are his involuntary sounds of delight, most notably when I attempt to eat his soft flesh.

Posted by talia at 2:53 PM

April 21, 2007

Baby Transport

So now you have a baby, that’s great, but you still need to get around. You receive a lot of recommendations from other parents: slings, harnesses, backpacks, buggies, car seats, bike seats, the variation is considerable. And you more or less have to try everything and probably will end up needing several different systems at one time or another and of course they are all expensive. And worth it.

For us by far the most useful has been the Baby Bjorn, the only drawback of which is that Talia insists on calling it the Bjorn Borg. One of our earliest what’s-the-right-way-to-raise-the-child disagreements focused on this device: I thought he was ready to be worn facing out, Talia thought he wouldn’t be able to breathe on the bike with the wind streaming in his face. We later discovered that by far the more important factor was the degree to which his legs interfered with our own as we pedaled, which is to say much less if he was facing you. But by then he had found the freedom of facing out and there was no going back.

He has now, at six months, outgrown his Bjorn and we’re migrating him to a backpack device instead. The downside is that on the back he is less likely to provoke screams from Japanese tourists than he did when riding proudly out front through the streets. Also, he loves pulling Talia’s hair and there’s little you can do to control him when he’s on your back. I just bought him his first bicycle seat, and soon he will be able to ride in an umbrella carriage (small, folds easily, can also be transported on the bike); the combination of the two should make the body-carrier unnecessary for many adventures. Stay tuned.

Posted by talia at 3:14 PM

April 11, 2007

Movie: Baby in the Bath (rated R)

A lot of babies are afraid of water. He has never shown the slightest concern. However, he also did not shown a particular awareness of being in water in these early months. He would float, but he wouldn’t splash, he didn’t seem to recognize the surface of the water, or to notice that it got him wet. He didn’t and still doesn’t seem to be particularly interested in flowing water. Still, he enjoyed the warmth and the lightness of being in it, and still does, though nowadays he’s more likely to want to stand than sit or lie in the tub, as everywhere. And, I think, he particularly likes being naked.

Posted by talia at 3:22 PM

Movie: Huey Lewis and the Mustard

Our tribute to Huey Lewis and the News, which, for some reason, is very popular on Portuguese radio.

Thank goodness infant poo is as innocuous as it is because it really does show up in surprising places. This movie also highlights my gift of spontaneous versification, a gift I did not recognize myself as having in such a high degree until circumstances called it to the fore.

Posted by talia at 3:18 PM

April 10, 2007


He was surprisingly easy to travel with, no inner ear problems on the flight or anything like that. But having traveled, he was surprisingly difficult to be with. I guess we underestimated how well we had set up things at home such that away from our domestic infrastructure we suffered. We have rediscovered this since then: to pass a night with him in anything like comfort takes three bedrooms, one for us, one for him, and then a third for him and Talia when he wakes up too early in the morning and wants frequent feedings. Also, travel inevitably means novelty, and the more new sensations and experiences the more disturbed his sleep, or so it seems to us. We arrived home more tired than we had left, and this has been the case on subsequent trips as well.

Posted by talia at 9:34 PM