February 19, 2015

Felix has gone around the sun eight times

Felix, as he will tell you himself, has today finished his eighth trip around the sun, and to celebrate he has climbed the Pyramid of the Sun. This, and many other feats, are featured in a slideshow, containing a few select shots of the hundreds I have of this beautiful boy over the last year. The penultimate shot is from the top of that Pyramid, and the very final one, taken almost a full year ago, is of the same three wonderful people at the top of our own local pile of rock. It is a pleasure to set out with such intrepid souls, and of the three, the bravest of them all, Felix. Hip hip Hoera!

Posted by atshuldiner at 6:24 AM

July 27, 2014

Felix loses a tooth

Felix lost his first baby tooth! Boy is he excited, we've waited months for this, and it's a surprisingly affecting moment, even if it did happen because he fell over.

You'll find a very short photo album here.

Posted by atshuldiner at 6:02 AM

July 14, 2014

Felix swims

This is really about how cool my camera is, but Felix is pretty cool too.

More lovely photos here.

Posted by atshuldiner at 4:02 PM

February 19, 2014


So it's come to this: Felix is SEVEN YEARS OLD. And for the first time he could read his birthday entry, that is if anyone thinks to show it to him. So in case he does: FELIX, WE LOVE YOU!

Felix at the center of everyone's heart

Yes, to know him is to love him, and if you love him you probably want to see a whole lot more of him. Not terribly good about the order here, but it's Felix (and some Gideon, plus a few guest stars) all the way through.

Happy Birthday Felix!

Posted by atshuldiner at 2:43 PM

Felix is SEVEN (and can read this posting himself)

Posted by atshuldiner at 7:39 AM

December 8, 2013

Nature After School, 8 Dec 2013

last week we visited the sunny south facing slopes of Sorich Ranch open space and had quite the adventure there. After hearing the story of how concho came to be, we started by having snack and playing on the big rock. After a game of guardian of the rock we headed up the trail to the special trees with swings on them. We harvested soap root all along the way for our firekits so that we can make a fire in the upcoming colder sessions. We had a nice time playing at the swings and identifying trees. Just as it was getting to be time to go, someone noticed a big wing on the ground. It had dark brown feathers and was still quite intact. We spent some time questioning who it belonged to and how it got there. In the middle of that, dane noticed something on the ground close by. Upon closer look, it turned out to be the remains of a young deer! We found hooves and rib cage and skull and everything. Wow, quite the mystery. For closing circle we were blessed by a beautiful moonrise and sunset as we tried to sit in silence for a bit and enjoy it.

We apologize for having been late. We got so excited about the nature mysteries we found. We will be earlier this time. I hope no one got too cold waiting for us.

Posted by atshuldiner at 6:33 AM

October 30, 2013

Nature After School, 30 Oct 2013

I love these emails from Felix's "nature after school" program so much.

For our halloween edition of nature after school we ventured to a spooky tunnel in the Loma Alta Open Space. On the way there we heard a story of kids who spent their halloween outdoors, a story that at first seemed spooky but turned out to be more nature and magic then that. We had snack on a grassy spot while listening to the story and then hiked out towards the tunnel paying attention to tracks and trees along the way. Being careful to avoid poison oak we climbed down and enjoyed the strange acoustics and special rocks. We played a running game to get back as fast as possible since we were running low on time. I was amazed that the kids still had energy to play a game back at school with all the Halloween specialness that had gone on all day.

Posted by atshuldiner at 6:11 AM

October 17, 2013

How Felix learns

Hi there,
well we have been so lucky with the weather this fall. It's been so gorgeous every Wednesday. Yesterday was no exception and we took advantage of the clear skies to go to yet another amazing spot with a view. I took the kids up to cascade open space preserve in the Laurel Drive neighborhood of Fairfax. On the way up we got to hear a story about how deer defeated the dragon from Ashwer who was filling in for Spencer. Once at the open space we noticed soil color differences and looked for madrone berries. We ate snack under a madrone tree, reviewed some hazards and then headed up a steep trail on top of which we found a amazing view of downtown Fairfax. We tried to find our houses and school and such, we definitely found good earth, it was easy to spot. Afterwards we were challenged to practice our scout skills by walking down the fireroad as a blindfolded group with just one person being the eyes for everyone. For some it was a highlight for others an edge, a worthwhile game in any case. As a last treat we took a steep secret trail down to a great tire swing. After closing circle we headed back and got to hear the story of the cedar woman from Asher.

more tails an trails next week.

With smiles,

Want to know a lot more about Felix's school environment? Read this.

Posted by atshuldiner at 6:28 AM

February 19, 2013

felIX sIX

Felix is SIX. Not one, not two, not three or four or five. He is six, and six is a wonderful number to be. But first, let's look back at five.

And don't miss this, Felix's incredibly precious birthday celebration in his kindergarten class. Thanks kinders for helping make this the best year yet!

Posted by atshuldiner at 5:54 PM

April 12, 2012


Felix, from the top of the slide: "Go stand by the snout of the slide."
Dada, from near the bottom: "How do you know the bottom of the slide is called the 'snout'?"
Felix: "Because a slide is like a glacier."

Posted by atshuldiner at 6:47 PM

February 27, 2012

Felix speaks

Some memorable recent Felix quotes:

Overheard in the shower this morning: "Oh cool, I can make my penis look like a flying squirrel!"

Screamed at me when told he'd have to just let Gideon keep the binoculars because it was time to go to school: "Gideon is my nemesis!"

"Have we ever been to this little breakfast place called, I think, McDonald's?" (There's a McD's next to the breakfast place we do most often go to.)

Posted by atshuldiner at 4:18 PM

February 20, 2012

Felix's 5th birthday party

A very happy birthday, Felix, and a very happy party. A few highlights:

The theme was "Animals Around the World," and so, having constructed a fleet of balsa planes, off we flew to Australia:

Having hopped like everyone's favorite large marsupial we took off for Africa for an elephant walk:

And then, no time to be lost, further south to Antarctica where, after some instruction from an actual Antarctic scientist, we helped penguins move their eggs:

Having criss-crossed the globe we applied the knowledge gained to select suitable Safari Cards:

And then, all animaled-up, we had cake:

Thanks all for a great party!

Posted by atshuldiner at 7:34 AM

February 19, 2012


Happy Birthday Felix Five-year-old! What a great boy you are and what a great year it's been, full of family, friends, and fun! Here's the year in an even 100 pictures:

Posted by atshuldiner at 1:51 AM | Comments (1)

January 7, 2012

Felix is...

Posted by atshuldiner at 12:05 AM

November 7, 2011

Felixbits: Branch dressing

At dinner the other night, the waitress brings some ranch dressing. Felix must have misheard: having sampled the goods he found them delicious and wondered aloud if branch dressing contains wood and bark and such. Would you like it less if it did?

Posted by atshuldiner at 1:54 AM

March 15, 2011

Felix is...

This morning Felix announces himself to be:

Half dinosaur
Half lizard
Half dynamite
Half Tyrannosaurus Rex
Half Triceratops
Half fairy
Half horse
Half unicorn
Half tiger

Good imagination, bad math.

Posted by atshuldiner at 5:16 PM

March 11, 2011

Felix in NY

Felix and I had a day together in Manhattan. Good times.

Posted by atshuldiner at 12:31 AM | Comments (1)

February 21, 2011

Felix's 4th Birthday Party

We survived. Then we had cake:

And afterward, we drank:

Posted by atshuldiner at 9:09 PM

February 19, 2011


It's that time of year again! Yes, Felix, after asking us several times daily for the past three weeks if this morning it was, or this evening it will be, or just right now it actually is your birthday, now, finally now, we can answer: IT IS. A very Happy Birthday to you, number one son!

To start with, a photo of your beautiful four-year-old face! You'd think that'd be enough for anyone, but just in case our viewers want MORE FELIX, this is just the first shot in a @ 140-photo slideshow, all of YOU, all from this past year, and pretty much all in chronological order. Enjoy, everyone!

(Click through to see with captions, though it's better without.)

Felix got $2 from his grandma for his birthday, nice fresh bills, too. So we took them to The Scoop and bought some birthday ice cream. Vanilla Fudge. $1.75. We're investing the quarter in penny stocks.

Thanks, all, for the many wonderful gifts, and here's looking forward to another fantastic year! Keep going, big boy, keep going!

Posted by atshuldiner at 10:25 PM

February 1, 2011

Potty training in pictures

No, not those pictures! What's shown below are a series of photos from Felix's calendars for 2010. While we do not often resort to bribery, we very consciously did so for the purposes of potty training our then-three-year-old. The system was simple: dump it in the toilet, get a sticker; dump it in your diaper, get nothing. You may measure our success for yourself, as depicted in two calendar runs:

By April we were quite done, but it's worth showing May, too, for it marks the advent of the new baby, which fact was also recorded in stickers:

Gideon, may your training go as smoothly!

Posted by atshuldiner at 9:29 PM

December 1, 2010

Losing skills

Felix was asking this morn why he can't seem to speak Dutch anymore but mama and dada still can. I explained that we’d been speaking it longer so have more to forget, and that he has forgotten it only temporarily and would remember it all when we next visited. I proposed we read more Jip en Janneke, and that turned into a morning of his asking if we could play Jip en Janneke. For some reason this ended up with his being Janneke and me being Janneke's mother.

Even though I do believe his Dutch will come back if it's given a chance, it's still sad to see him lose it and very much so to find him conscious, and unhappy, of the process of loss.

Posted by atshuldiner at 11:55 PM | Comments (1)

August 31, 2010

Felix grows

You may recall a posting some months back about Felix's first visit to a dentist. We went again today for his six month checkup. February...August...February...August...February.... Whoa, the boy has grown.

And his teeth are still good!

Posted by atshuldiner at 6:45 AM

July 17, 2010

Felix in July

I know, July's not even half over, but hey hey, here he is anyway!

Posted by atshuldiner at 12:27 AM

June 27, 2010

Birthday party at a fire station

Talk about setting the bar too high for the rest of us.

Posted by atshuldiner at 8:29 PM | Comments (1)

May 25, 2010

Felix in the merry month of May

It's been a good month for you, Felix. Lots of time with good friends, a visit from Saba, and no shortage of novel experiences! Love ya big guy!

Posted by atshuldiner at 10:07 PM

April 20, 2010

Old times, new times

In anticipation of the arrival of a new child I have gone through a lot of Felix's early material. "Hard to believe" doesn't begin to cover my reaction to this, nor to the thought that we are about to go through all this again. This time, though, we'll do it in style:

Not incidentally, I have fixed all the movies that were failing to play. Enjoy (and email me if you find anything else not working!).

Posted by atshuldiner at 6:44 AM | Comments (1)

March 9, 2010


We took Felix skiing this past weekend. As usual, we were careful to prep him for the experience. We explained to him that we would go to the mountains, that there would be snow there, and that in addition to doing all the usual snow-related activities, he would also be able to take a lesson with some very nice ski instructors and a magic carpet ride. He interrupted our first attempt to explain this with a lengthy list of all the things one can do in snow--make snow angels, make snowballs, go sledding, eat snow, and so on. But he seemed game, and away we went:

Going up...

Jumping the gun...

A proper run...

This one, about Yone's first skating experience, sounds just the same: psyched to do it, perhaps a bit put off to find out that it was not as easy as the Youtube stars made it seem, but we parents determined to get him right back up on the horse for a second day

In addition to all the above, we also made mole tunnels and yellow snow. And we discovered tubing.

Posted by atshuldiner at 6:37 AM | Comments (1)

February 26, 2010

Time with Saba & Safta

Saba and Safta visited. I'm not sure who likes the zoo and its rides better!

Posted by atshuldiner at 7:04 AM

February 23, 2010

Felix goes to the dentist

With great age comes great responsibility. Great toothy responsibility. We've been playing "dentist" at home for a few weeks to get him ready, and, having been assured there would be no vaccinations, we set off with great confidence. Not, as it turned out, unjustified:

Good dentist, great patient.

Posted by atshuldiner at 4:35 AM

February 21, 2010

Felix's 3rd birthday party

Thanks to all who attended!

Posted by atshuldiner at 4:45 AM

February 19, 2010


Hey hey hey, it's Birthday Time again! Please join us in wishing a very HAPPY 3rd BIRTHDAY to FELIX...



You've never known a year without a lot of change, but the past twelve months it wasn't just you changing, it was the entire world around you. In accompanying us to America...

...you switched houses, schools, languages, and countries. Weather, transport, food, it's all so different. And frankly, you're handling it beautifully, and certainly a lot better than your parents at times...

...though even you don't always manage to keep your balance!

Jokes aside (and you don't yet really get jokes), you have taken to your new home and your new home to you. As a plaque on a wall at your new school says, "blossom where you are planted," and that you have done, quickly developing a coterie of friends and earning a big place in your teachers' hearts:

You and your bike are well known around town and are often recognized even by people we don't (yet) know. You do cut a distinctive figure:

Most of the people we meet on the street either haven't realized or, more likely, don't mind that allowing you to start a conversation is a major time commitment: you are always ready for an extended chat about any of a thousand topics, most of them dinosaur-related. They, and we, seem to feel that you belong here, don't you?

The entire year has been full of new challenges, even before we moved. There have been new heights to climb,

New things to learn,

And new experiences of all sorts.

On the physical front you're now about three feet tall and thirty pounds. You're a healthy kid, not often sick (and especially cute when you are):

You've a mouthful of pretty teeth and have had your first haircut, shown here:

Sorry about that. Our favorite change is that you're done with diapers, naps and nights excepted. Yes, the toilet is now a definite fixture in your life, so to speak:

We have had quite some progress on your sleeping habits, though uninterrupted nights remain in the minority. Still, you are never more adorable than when you are sleeping:

In fact, sometimes you're downright beautiful:

We wonder, though, what effect giving up your ba will have on your still-tenuous sleep patterns. You have promised to give it up for your third birthday: will you actually do so?

No picture can show it but most remarkable of all is your speech and, motivating at least some of it, your thought. People have often been surprised to be told (by you) that you are two-and-a-half (though as of today you'll have to update that of course). Most nearly-three-year-olds do not state that something is very big and then, upon further reflection, decide that it is actually the largest in the world. This is typical for you, using a phrase correctly even when you don't really understand what it means. Understanding will come and in the meanwhile the flood of sentences continues.

You have developed some new manias, most notably dinosaurs and jigsaw puzzles, and you now have some idea which way is left and which is right (though we still don't know if you yourself are a lefty or a righty), but some things have remained the same. You are still enormously fond of being read to, and though numbers and letters hold few secrets for you anymore you have not yet decided to learn reading for yourself. As always, no laundry basket is safe from you...

...and you are as passionate as ever about construction equipment,

Trains in general,

And above all else, Thomas the Tank Engine...

(Indeed, we wonder sometimes if you'll ever leave the Island of Sodor...)

But you're growing bigger,

And with you your toys it seems:

(Funny though that somehow the same jacket still fits you a year later!)

Your favorite place remains the beach,

Wherever you may find it,

Your favorite mode of transport--and other things--your loopfiets,

You still prefer a bath (and bubblehat) to a shower,

And you still love many of the same wonderful foods:

You remain helpful in spirit and increasingly so in practice, whether outside the home...

Or in it...

And you may be counted on 100% for certain household duties, especially anything to do with baking, arguably your favorite activity of all:

You still have a bad moment now and then...

Not to mention the occasional questionable choice of morning-wear...

But don't we all now and then?

You are lucky to have so many true friends both old...

And new...

And even luckier to have the same great family around you (if we do say so ourselves):

Yes, you're a boy who's going places...

But you still take time to lie back...

...and enjoy the ride...

...and, of course, to admire all the new marvels your world holds:

Keep going big boy, keep going!

Posted by atshuldiner at 12:12 PM | Comments (12)

January 29, 2010

January Felix

Posted by atshuldiner at 11:50 PM

December 3, 2009

Emergency preparedness

Felix's daycare requires an emergency pack for his use in case of, well, emergency. Here's what's required:

* Two types of non-perishable food (how about raisins and more raisins?)
* Two water packets
* Space blanket
* Family photo
* Note to child
* Small comfort toy

These last three bring too vividly to mind the image of FM, without us, dealing with his little world gone topsy-turvy. We have reason to believe he would not deal all that well: a couple of weeks ago he somehow (we still don't know how, but would like to) got the idea that his daycare building was falling down and mentioned this repeatedly, and worriedly, for several days thereafter. His pack will contain one of these pictures:

We will put one of his Thomas trains in by way of comfort and distraction. The thing that's really holding us up is the note: it's just too sad to think about. Maybe I'll have monkey write it.

Posted by atshuldiner at 7:58 AM | Comments (4)

October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

Posted by atshuldiner at 7:16 AM | Comments (2)

October 10, 2009

Felix in California

Posted by atshuldiner at 3:00 AM

May 29, 2009

May 2009: 27 Months

Posted by talia at 12:28 PM | Comments (1)

May 10, 2009


Just back from Venice. We loved it of course!

Posted by atshuldiner at 9:11 PM | Comments (1)

April 28, 2009

FM makes his first pie

And here he is eating it.

Posted by talia at 7:44 PM | Comments (1)

April 12, 2009


We had a really lovely vacation in the Ardennes, camping in a small town called Houffalize. But this entry's not about Houffalize, it's about FELIX!

Posted by atshuldiner at 10:38 PM

April 5, 2009

FM in Philadelphia

Posted by talia at 1:25 AM

December 27, 2008

Naked baby!

The year in naked review.

Posted by atshuldiner at 8:36 PM

May 9, 2008

Sneak Preview: Month 15 photos

Posted by talia at 3:00 PM

April 18, 2008

Month 14 Photos

Posted by talia at 3:18 PM

March 3, 2008

Movie: Grapefruits, part 1

As we have noted elsewhere, FM is oddly fond of sour flavors, and in particular he shares his father's love of grapefruits. Shown here, one of his frequent attempts to empty the grapefruit depot:

And here, he enjoys a grapefruit piece:

Note the similarity in style with the previously published insect-eating movie:

That's our boy!

Posted by atshuldiner at 9:58 AM | Comments (1)

February 25, 2008

Movie: Mastering the Ball

You're probably wondering: How's his walking? Answer: good and getting better. Check it.

Posted by atshuldiner at 4:35 PM

February 19, 2008

Movie: Getting the boy to the bath

I keep calling "naked baby" in this movie because normally FM recognizes that as his cue to get to the tub. For some reason, today did not go as per usual. Long film, but funny.

By the way, this was taken on his birthday!

Posted by atshuldiner at 7:32 PM | Comments (1)


featuring all (well, mostly) new material, winsome reflections, and a lesson or two learned!

OK, first of all, who we talking about? We talking about the one and only...




The boy's a year old, which means a year ago today we were here:

In some sense we still are. It's not that the experience is unforgettable--to the contrary, the stress of it all kind of makes it hard to remember clearly, or at least it does for me--but rather that it changes you, it becomes part of you. There's a before and an after and from then on it was after.

He was quite calm there at the beginning, a rather misleading first impression as he has since proven to be as active as babies get. Still, given what he'd just been through it's no surprise he was a bit tired:

I especially like how his entire head crinkles up when he yawns in this movie. Fortunately, he's filled out quite nicely:

Yes, he was wrinkly to begin with, but what struck us most of all was how tiny he was:

Note the huge bags under Talia's eyes, and the fact that Felix's ear is no bigger than a brussel sprout.

By definition, his first year was a year of firsts. Now, for your pleasure, a review of the best of these firsts:

The first time he rocked out:

The first time he peed on me (within hours of getting home--funny how it looks like the cow did it--however since then he's only peed on Talia):

His first spy mission, what a sneaky guy:

His first plane ride (he's great on planes):

His first trip to NYC:

His first "werkbeurt" at the garden:

His first boo boo:

And thus his first band-aid:

And right around the same time, by no coincidence I'm sure, the first time he tried to run away from home (he might have gotten away with it if he hadn't tried to take so much stuff with him):

Blowing his first bubbles:

With his first patient:

His first case of motion sickness:

We could go on and on, especially if we started blogging about all the firsts with food, but there's more to get to so we'll end the Firsts with this: his first milk!

In truth he's taken to milk without a hitch, so long as you serve it in a bottle, and thank goodness because we're all out of formula. In all respects he is and remains a great eater, happy to eat, or at least try to eat anything:

He's not the neatest baby you've ever seen however:

The happy result of all this eating is an ever-growing baby:

Which unfortunately means a heavier load day by day:

If you've been following this blog (or listening to us in any other venue) then you know that FM's weak point is sleeping. It's not that he can't fall asleep...

...it's that he won't stay asleep. But that's finally changed! For this I have no footage, so you'll just have to take my word for it: he has finally given us a few uninterrupted nights. A perfect night sees him in bed by seven (where he'll often spend some time pulling on his two music box animals, but within fifteen minutes or so he's out) and then asleep until 5 AM or later when he calls for his bottle. A quick refill and he's out again for an hour or longer. He has done this half a dozen times in the last couple of weeks and already we feel sanity returning. WE ARE GRATEFUL AND HAVE REWARDED HIM WITH A BLUE BALLOON!

Felix has been quick to nail a lot of the various baby milestones. Turning over, crawling, sitting up, standing up, all child's play, so to speak. But what about the biggest, most exciting (to us) milestone of all? Well good news, and JUST IN TIME for his birthday, WALKING. Yes, yes, but let us build to it....

He was an early crawler and a fast one, and he learned to pull himself up things quickly too so he's had little reason to learn walking. Still, he’s had the elements of it for some months: he will happily stand up if he has something to pull himself up with, and he loves running behind his cart, as shown here:

But recently he’s taken it to the next stage. To start with we discovered, quite by accident, that he can stand independently. If sufficiently distracted, he'll simply forget to drop to a crawling position and can easily go several seconds before realizing what he's doing and coming down. Here’s proof:

With this example before us we started to practice walking with him:

This was reasonably successful, so much so that we thought we'd see if we could get him to really walk in time for his birthday. With proper motivation he did!

This footage is from TODAY, so I think we can safely say he walked at 1 year of age. I expect he'll really put it all together within a week or two and then he’ll be running around like crazy and will no doubt abandon the less efficient crawling motion. I’ll really miss the "splap splap" noise of his fat little hands whacking the floor as he goes from point to point though. That, I suppose, is part of growing up.

Before going on with the footage I should follow up on my promise to share a couple of lessons learned. Here are two. #1: If you’re having sleep problems try everything. With us, for example, I think a good deal of his improvement in sleep may have resulted from switching him to non-disposable diapers which keep him drier overnight. Didn’t think of that until month 12. #2: Try splitting the nights one-on-one-off rather than doing it in shifts. May sound harder, may prove easier.

Here’s another one: don’t worry too much about how difficult changes will be. You have to guide a baby through a lot of changes in the first few years, or so the books tell us. For us, every time we thought it was going to be a fight it turned out to be no such thing. We thought he needed his pacifier, that he had to have night feedings, that he was going to miss breast milk. No, no, and no. He will have trouble with some transitions, not everything goes smoothly, and perhaps he would have had more trouble had we tried some of these things sooner, but the point is simply that you can’t necessarily predict what will and will not be a problem, so don’t lose (even more) sleep over it.

OK, now back to the good stuff....

FM’s a great kid, robust, outgoing, fearless, strong, ineluctable...

...and he’s ONE YEAR OLD. Felix Milo Shuldiner you're the greatest and your daddy super loves you, especially when you dress just like he does:

Your mother and I are sorry about all the vaccinations...

...and about making you wear fuzzy hats on cold mornings...

...and I'm still sorry for calling you "babiac"...

...but it's not like you haven't gotten us back now and again...

...and you have to admit we take you on some pretty fun adventures...

...and whatever else happens we promise we'll always be by your side!

Keep going, baby boy, keep going!

Posted by atshuldiner at 3:38 PM | Comments (11)

February 12, 2008

Movie: Intro to stamppot

Stamppot is Dutch mashed potatoes with veggies mixed in. Often eaten with sauerkraut. It's the sauerkraut that was really new for him. Took a little getting used to but he liked it.

Posted by atshuldiner at 10:26 AM | Comments (1)

January 12, 2008

A day at Stinson Beach

Posted by talia at 8:38 PM

January 7, 2008

I can haz hand-dipped corn dog?

IMG_3159 (Medium).jpg

Posted by talia at 8:28 PM

At the Aquarium in Seattle

Posted by talia at 8:20 PM

December 30, 2007

Felix hits the big city of San Francisco

Posted by talia at 1:49 AM

December 5, 2007

Photos from Month 9

Posted by talia at 7:58 AM

November 29, 2007

More funny faces

I didn't put any captions on these photos--for the most part they speak for themselves. They are in roughly chronological order and feature Felix covered with one or another food-based paste, or his own baby spit, or both (except for the one that features him covered with filth from the dishwasher: told you not to play in there, son). My favorite is probably the one where he has his eyes closed: that's an avocado he has clutched in his little fist and smeared all over his body and his environs; the photo provides graphic evidence of what happens when you sneeze while trying to eat one.

I include the last photo by way of proof of this statement: he's lucky he didn't come out worse.

Posted by atshuldiner at 8:27 PM

November 11, 2007

Felix funny face

In reviewing the past posts, it occurs to us that the reader/blogviewer/whatever may suspect us of offering an unbalanced view of Felix. "How," this r/b/w thinks, "can any one baby be so consistently cute?" By way of answer we offer these photos, taken of Felix in his very off moments...and yet still the cute shines through.

(What isn't cute is his continuing sleep disturbances, but that doesn't make for very interesting footage.)

Posted by atshuldiner at 5:26 PM

October 19, 2007

Movie: Ricecake

The first in a no doubt long series of Felix-eating-stuff films. Perhaps not the best one to start with though, it's not exactly action packed (unlike the forthcoming Ba na na epic), but he just so looks like a squirrel, it's adorable. Less adorable is the fact that inevitably bits of ricecake end up stuck to his various parts and thereby migrate, like so many fleas, to the furniture and rug and bathtub, where they assume new and horrible forms. So consider it a horror movie sans dénouement.

Posted by talia at 12:29 PM

October 14, 2007

A Sunny Sunday

It was a sunny and warm day in Amsterdam so we decided to pack a lunch and head to the goat farm in the forest. We are most pleased the Felix likes to chill out as much as we do!

Posted by talia at 7:27 PM

October 7, 2007

Movie: Small but not defenseless

As some of you may recall, I used to have a horror of baby drool. One gets over such phobias quickly, but watching this movie brings it all back.

The worst is when he gives you the old one-two-three: a couple of fingers up your nose, another hand clenched in your hair, mouth on the ear, copious saliva stream entering your aural canal.... I still have nightmares. As you can see, Talia is less easily perturbed by these things, but even she has her limits.

Posted by atshuldiner at 10:16 PM

October 4, 2007

Movie: Too clever by half

Parenting is so bittersweet, or perhaps funirritating is what I mean. You are always happy and often entertained to see your child figure something out that previously would have puzzled him (or, as likely, would not even have been remarked upon as a potential puzzle)...and then seconds later you are annoyed as he puts his new-found knowledge to use for EVIL.

This movie also illustrates well Felix's increased focus: now, when he wants something, it is not so easy to divert his attention. This is an important step as it forces him to figure things out. Unfortunately, it also means that he constantly returns to any puzzle he has not been allowed to finish, for example, opening all the drawers in the Japanese cabinet in the dining room. He learned that the metal handles can be used to open the drawers. Foolishly, I had hoped we could teach him right from wrong before he figured out this chest of treasures.

Posted by atshuldiner at 7:32 PM | Comments (1)

October 1, 2007

Movie: A Tooth Unrevealed

OK, a bit anticlimactic for you, dear viewer, but for us a simply enormous thrill. Why this milestone more than many others? I guess because we've waited so long for it--we thought he was seriously teething for more than two months now--and because while it is in reality a gradual process, from the outside it seems sudden: no teeth, then one day BOOM there it is. Also exciting--though we should try not to get our hopes up--is the possibility that this explains his frequent waking the past several nights.

Posted by atshuldiner at 9:07 PM | Comments (1)

September 29, 2007

Felix in September

Sorry about the relative dearth of photos (as opposed to movies). There are lots and lots of photos of course, but I try to save them up until I have enough to make a themed post. No real theme here, just a pleasant baby and his mother.

Posted by atshuldiner at 6:41 PM | Comments (1)

September 28, 2007

Movie: Spic and span baby, part 2

Following his successful conquest of the dishwasher (one in a series: see also Conquering the Oven), I thought he might turn his attention elsewhere, for example to the refrigerator or some other novel appliance with pleasingly cold steel surfaces. No, he wanted to show it was no fluke, so back he came for round 2. Which just goes to show: I never should have let him start on this in the first place. Emptying the dishwasher, previously a streamlined process in which, for the sake of speed, we didn't even sort the silverware, now takes a quarter hour, most of which is spent fishing Felix out of the lower dishrack.

Posted by atshuldiner at 7:47 PM | Comments (1)

Movie: Spic and span baby, part 1

He tried doing this the other day when the dishwasher was full of dirty dishes. (One tries hard to feed him only the purest of foods, then he goes ahead and gets his hands in a lot of half decomposed kitchen slops.) Obviously not something we want to encourage, but this was so cute I didn't have the heart to stop him.

Posted by atshuldiner at 5:23 PM

Movie: Felix find your apple

Three favorites in one: his bungee jumper, an apple piece, and the "Where's the XX" game. Now that's a happy baby.

Posted by atshuldiner at 2:03 PM

Movie: Conquering the Oven

Some explorers are motivated by a desire to see what no man has seen before. This explorer is motivated by a desire to lick every surface in the house up to a height of two-thirds of a meter or so.

Posted by atshuldiner at 10:23 AM

September 27, 2007

More Feeding Felix

We have two big projects where Felix is concerned: teaching him to eat solids, and getting him to sleep through the night or something close thereto. In both arenas we have booked some success but teaching him to eat is a much more photogenic process, hence this update. Want the details? Here's the menu as it stands:

Current likes:

*Apple, the more sour the better
*Rice cakes
*Grapefruit juice
*Duck a la orange

Deserves a second chance:

*Sweet grapes


*Rice cereal
*Bulgarian banana rice cereal


*Breast milk

Bon appetit!

Posted by atshuldiner at 6:06 PM

September 22, 2007

Movie: Baby battle

This is why we try not to let him near other babies.

Posted by atshuldiner at 11:17 PM

September 21, 2007

Movie: Learning to walk, part 1

Step by step....

Posted by atshuldiner at 2:20 PM | Comments (1)

September 15, 2007

Surrounded by so much love

Surrounded by so much love (Medium).jpg

Posted by talia at 9:44 PM

September 14, 2007

On Saba's Shoulders

Tall (Medium).jpg

This is the tallest you've ever been.

Posted by talia at 9:43 PM

September 10, 2007

Felix Milo: Carpet Clasher

Carpet Clasher (Medium).jpg

Posted by talia at 9:38 PM

800 Days

800 Days (Medium).jpg

Happy 800th day anniversary Alec!

Posted by talia at 9:30 PM

September 8, 2007


IMG_2142 (Small).jpg

We read somewhere that blowing bubbles around a baby will help to calm them down a bit. We promptly purchased a bottle of the best money can buy, it only cost a euro, to see what would happen.

Felix was a bit dazed by all the movement, trying to reach for them and making them burst.

Posted by talia at 7:49 PM | Comments (1)

Movie: If he eats all that...

If he eats all that how come he won't eat food? No, really, this morning we sat him down in his high chair and put two carrots and a piece of broccoli, well steamed and cooled, on his tray. He looked at them, looked at us, and then spent ten minutes pointedly ignoring them. If we had put two orange pieces of plastic and a green piece of plastic on his tray all three pieces would have been covered with baby spit within seconds. How does he know? Why does he care?

Posted by atshuldiner at 1:21 PM



Posted by talia at 7:08 AM | Comments (2)

September 6, 2007

Felix the Fashionista

Stepping up to plate.jpg

Sliding into first.jpg

The first in likely a long series of ridiculous baby outfits...Shown here stepping up to the plate and sliding in to first.

Posted by talia at 7:43 AM

August 22, 2007

Feeding Felix

We are very eager for Felix to learn to eat solid foods, not only because we are big eaters ourselves, but also because we hope that with solid food will come solid sleep. The mess he makes is spectacular, of course, and we don’t even picture the worst of it (the worst was yesterday when I put in too big a spoonful whereupon he cheerfully threw up, creating a large pool on his high chair tray, and then raised his hands to try his splashing routine, learned in the tub just the other day…I grabbed him just in time). He strikes me as very patient with us as we suddenly start pushing these outré flavors into his sensitive little mouth. Rice pap is perhaps not such a shock, but think about eating a banana for the first time, or how sour even a sweet apple is if you’ve never tasted anything sour at all. Still, he adjusts quickly: apple today didn’t produce anything like the amount of grimacing as apple did yesterday.

He has shown a lot of interest in our eating motions. I wonder if he realizes that what he is now doing is the equivalent.

Posted by talia at 4:41 AM

August 15, 2007

Coming to America

It was a long trip, and an unsettled one. Mostly we did not have a separate bedroom, which is problematic, and of course he was experiencing so much novelty. Both led to lack of sleep for us all, which made it hard to really enjoy things a lot of the time. We both long for a true vacation (i.e., sans child).

But he certainly did encounter a lot of firsts, quite in addition to all of the new people. First swim in water other than the bathtub. First taste of salt air. First encounter with silverware. First serious air conditioning. First sand. First long car ride. First dog. First mosquito bites. First fall. He took the bad with the good. He’s a fine baby.

Posted by talia at 3:15 PM

June 17, 2007


We took Felix to an island for a cultural festival, but really, of course, we went to hang out with our friends. We shared a house with Sophie and Frank and their lovely daughters Julia and Jasmijn. Cisca and Jorge were there as well, with Yone of course. All much more experienced parents than we, able to get enough sleep, to go where they want with their kids, to live life just as they like…well, not quite. But we certainly did learn a number of new tricks. A couple of favorites: Upon arriving at a particularly crowded event at the festival, Cisca and Jorge grabbed Yone and a marker and wrote their cell phone number on his little tricep. Very smart, given his penchant for wandering off and making new friends. (Actually, given this penchant I’m surprised they haven’t had it tattooed on him.) Frank and Sophie were an inspiration, as always, in the patience with which they correct their children, but what we had not previously seen was their at-home gymnastic lessons. Our attempts to imitate them, either as patient parents or as gymnastic ones have met with only middling success thus far.

Posted by talia at 5:50 PM

June 10, 2007


Talia took Felix to Israel to meet his great-grandparents when he was four months old. She can tell that story elsewhere. For me, what was remarkable about the trip was the use to which I put my ten days or so of free time. I worked. I didn’t sleep, I didn’t do much socializing, I just wrote up a multi-page to do list and went at it. It felt so good to be able to get things done. It felt better than sleeping in, or going out, or just relaxing.

You lose control over your time when you have a baby, but you respond by getting a lot more efficient with how you use it.

Posted by talia at 5:51 PM

June 7, 2007

Mother and Son

They are quite a duo. Felix is very fond of both of us, but there are certain things only a mother can offer, like a clear explanation of html syntax, so their connection is special. Also, Talia talks to him a lot more than I do. It’s something either one has a knack for or not, and if not it is kind of hard to do. But important to do; he owes her for this (and for one or two other things, like providing him 100% of his sustenance for the first six months of his life directly from her own blood, and let’s not even get into the whole shared bloodstream thing pre-birth). Hey, he owes me, too. I trust he won’t forget that, ha ha ha.

Posted by talia at 5:53 PM

May 1, 2007

More Milo

In the second month he started to take form. Others claimed to be able to see Felix’s parents’ features in Felix’s face, but I at least could not. Nor could I in the second month, but I did notice that at least his face started to look more or less the same from moment to moment and day to day. Oh, and back then we switched over to calling him “Milo” for a while. Then he was simply “FM” (at least in my writing). Then we learned that babies learn their names very early and realized we should stop messing around. So we went back to Felix and have stuck with it. For now.

Posted by talia at 2:51 PM

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 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 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

March 31, 2007

Old Friends New Friends

There was a brief period when FM reacted with fear to new faces. Brief, like perhaps a few days or a week. Since then he has shown a great appetite for faces of all kinds. He is sometimes bothered by smells—strong perfume, cigarette smoke in your hair—but seems to be pretty happy to see anyone who is happy to see him. This eases introductions, of which there have been many. Interestingly, he seems to (and I suppose most babies do) recognize other babies and children as somehow different than the majority of new people he meets. I don’t understand how this is possible. Perhaps babies measure the size of the face they are seeing? But that works only if they can get a good measure of the distance to the face, and I don’t think they can always do that. Perhaps they use the absence of a hairline to recognize other babies? But how then do they recognize children, for example Yone, our godson, whom Felix finds particularly amusing and who has a quite clear hairline? Or is what he likes about Yone is how he makes such wildly modulated sounds, and how he runs away and then runs back again and again and again? Is it that children treat each other without the sort of exaggerated gentleness with which adults treat children?

Posted by talia at 5:04 AM

March 28, 2007

Quiet Moments

I love him when he’s asleep. I love him all the time, and even more as time goes by and he becomes more whatever he is, but really I love him the best when he’s asleep. He does everything with great enthusiasm, he’s very high energy when he’s awake…and then he’s out.

That having been said, by far our biggest problem with this child is that he doesn’t stay out for long. More on that elsewhere.

Posted by talia at 3:52 PM

March 23, 2007

Medical Moments

The Dutch system of post-birth care is excellent. I think the equivalent in the US is the “well baby clinic”: you take your baby in periodically for checkups, measurements, and inoculations. Here the process starts in your home when a sort of extension service of the clinic sends people to your house for the first hearing and blood tests.

What I like about these visits is seeing other parents with equivalently young babies in the same situation as yourself, and hearing the noises and seeing the things their babies do. It can be very isolating being a new parent, and seeing other parents reacting just as you do to babies that cue them in just the same way as yours is in some way comforting. What I don’t like about these visits is that not every baby who comes in to the clinic is actually “well,” so one can’t help but wondering what your baby will bring home. To date, nothing, but I worry anyway.

Posted by talia at 6:52 AM

March 19, 2007

The Many Faces of Felix

We took dozens of photos Felix around this time and I did what I usually do: went through them all and deleted the ones that were either bad shots or effectively doubles. It didn’t work. First of all, Talia bought this SLR camera with a portrait lens so pretty much every shot looks incredible. Second, Felix somehow just doesn’t look the same from shot to shot. In fact there’s a series of about ten portraits in which he looks like a different US president in each one (the “something surprised him” photos; in the one posted he looks just like Gerald Ford) despite the fact that they are all taken mere seconds apart. The irony is that being foreign born he can never be president. I do not mourn this fact.

Posted by talia at 10:58 PM

March 15, 2007

Movie: Waking up...or not

Babies at this age spend a certain amount of time in a sort of half-sleep, and moving from one phase of consciousness to another is not the seemingly smooth process that it is for most adults. They can also be surprisingly hard to wake up. Not a problem, of course, since mostly what you want them to do is sleep.

Posted by talia at 4:20 PM

March 10, 2007

Why Did We Do It?

Circumcision. You have a perfectly healthy baby, you voluntarily have him cut. It does not, on the face of it, make any sense. As it happens, we didn’t think much about it in advance: we’re Jewish, we’re American, it’s the “natural” thing to do. But having done it, I found the process unpleasant and above all senseless enough that I hope our future children are girls simply so that we don’t have to even think about doing it again.

Posted by talia at 7:20 PM

March 6, 2007

A Few Early Portraits

What is so odd about these and the many dozens of similar shots we made in this early period is (less than a month old) that he somehow looks different in all of them. I found it very difficult to keep an image of his protean face in my head. I also found it impossible to say what features came from where. It was only after several months that I thought “OK, this is what he looks like.” But looking back, some of those features were always there, even in such utterly bland photos as his passport photo, a classic of its kind. Want to see it? You’ll have to come visit.

Posted by talia at 7:21 PM

February 28, 2007

In the First Month

It’s incredible to think that there was ever a time that Felix would just lie still. He gave the impression—probably our projection—of being a deep thinker. Now he moves all the time. Does that mean he’s not thinking any more?

Posted by talia at 10:28 PM

February 24, 2007

Meeting Relatives

This is Talia’s parents’ first grandchild and they are a bit gaga about him. This is not surprising. What is surprising is that it is my parents’ 12th grandchild and they are pretty interested in him, too, and this despite having had 7 children of their own on top of it. One would think that at some point you would just be fed up with this life stage, but apparently not.

Actually, I fancy I can see how one never gets sick of it. I never had any interest in babies, and now that I’ve had one I find them fascinating. I don’t mind when they cry in public, I look at them and think about them when I encounter them, and instead of seeing if I can scare them I usually smile at them. I write this six months down the road, and am feeling a bit nostalgic for the early days, as crazy as they were. All of this blogging makes me perhaps a bit maudlin.

Posted by talia at 7:16 PM

February 22, 2007

A Period of Adjustment

The first week or so is simply crazy, but especially the process the Dutch call “stewing.” The milk comes in, a process the violence of which took both of us by surprise, but the baby doesn’t have much of an idea what to do with it, and the initial pressure is more than his little mouth is able to deal with. We spent a lot of time mushing his face into the boob. There are lots of parts of the process that an “intelligent” design would improve upon, and this is definitely one of them.

It’s also crazy how small he was. Now, six months on, I occasionally see a very young baby out and about and think again of what it is like to have this little thing in your hands. He never struck me as very fragile—I’d been worried about that, that it would be like handling glass all the time—but he was very very small. No hat fit him, his socks were absurdly tiny, he made small sounds and small gestures. Adorable, of course. And now somehow impossible to imagine.

Posted by talia at 7:14 PM

February 19, 2007

A Child is Born

Either you have been there or you have not. Certainly the movies I saw 15 years or so ago when I was receiving emergency medical training did not do a lot to prepare me for the real thing. Nor the reading we did, nor the advice we received. Not that it wasn’t all very helpful, it was (and some of it was very interesting; for example, I never realized that the baby plays a very active roll in the birth, it’s not simply being passively squeezed out), but nothing can really prepare you.

It didn’t take too long, the entire process, and it wasn’t too short either. Of course I wasn’t the one suffering through it so it’s not for me to say, but I was glad it didn’t go too quickly, that there was time to see it progressing, to try to cope with what was happening. I am even more glad that it wasn’t overshadowed by a reasonable expectation that either wife or baby or both would not make it as was the case in earlier times and still is in many places even today. All things considered we had it, and have it, very easy.

Posted by talia at 7:13 PM

February 15, 2007

Movie: The Fetal Escape

The late stage fetal movements which absurdly distend the mother’s belly are simply freaky. At the time we always thought of them as his attempt at exercise, but now I suspect that some of it at least was him settling in for a sleep. Certainly now he does a lot of sort of humping around the crib before he settles to sleep. Was he perhaps just finding the most comfortable position in the womb? Whatever he was doing, it was good exercise: he was born able to hold up his own head and generally in pretty robust shape.

Posted by talia at 10:10 PM

May 27, 2006

Being Pregnant

Being pregnant wasn't easy. I know, I saw it all. And now you can too....Well not all of it, but at least a selection of highlights from May 2006 (conception) through February 2007 (delivery).

Getting pregnant and being pregnant takes a lot of time, let’s say a year or so, and for us at least that was when we found our lives starting to change in many ways.

Being American, and first time parents, we were perhaps overly cautious about factors potentially affecting the health of the mother’s body and therefore the fetus’s development. It is essentially impossible to go out in Amsterdam without encountering a lot of cigarette smoke, and it gets tiresome asking even one's friends to be more considerate of this: helping developing fetuses avoid smoke simply isn’t part of Dutch culture. So our social life started changing long before FM was born.

Sleeping patterns are also infamously affected by having a baby, but it is less widely recognized that disturbance in sleep patterns begins already during the pregnancy (though in our case it was nothing in comparison with what was to come). Nor is the change simply a matter of there being less or different sleeping at night: Talia’s energy levels fluctuated widely during the day as well and she was, on average, a lot more tired at most points during development. This, too, had an impact on our social lives.

In some way this pre-adjustment is helpful: if it all happened at the birth, when so much else is going on, the shock would really be too much. Better, then, to get used to the idea of always eating at home, occasionally inviting friends in, lots and lots of DVD rentals, going out pretty much only by day, and only the very rare special nighttime event where previously that had been our norm. Well, we’ve adjusted.

Want to hear something cool? Check out FM's in utero heartbeat: Baby's heartbeat.WAV

Posted by atshuldiner at 9:37 PM