Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Fever night, fever night Fever..

I am in a perpetual state of exhaustion these days for the obvious reason. Will has this thing about the wee hours of the morning. Last night wasn't horrible. We went to bed early (9pm) had a feeding and changing around 12:30. Then another at 4am. If things carried on that way and he got up at 7am or so, it would be fine. Sadly, that doesn't happen. After the 4am feeding/changing he seems to much more fussy. We assume gas or constipation or something. He would get up and feed for a few minutes every half hour. The rest of the time would be spent crying or falling asleep, in random order.
I am gettig very familiar with the light in my neighborhood at those early hours. And I am not happy about it.
During the day both Will and Sophie are super sweet and easy going. Sophie is getting tall enough to reach things on the kitchen table (and any other table around the house). She has also made the causal leap that buttons do things. This makes many of her high tech toys more interesting, but it also makes remote controls, the TV and Stereo, dishwasher, etc... new toys for her. And that is getting a little out of control. We'll keep you informed about that
Sophie has begun to get very affectionate with me. Hugging, and kissing (although her kisses are just sort of open mouth lip presses, but it is a start) throughout the day. Ican see how parents become attached to these little people.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Best Babies......ever

Carly took the little ones to the pediatrician yeasterday. Evryone was very impressed with them both. Will has gained a couple of pounds and was his usual stoic self enduring shots and other indignities. Sophie floored the people there with her grasp of sign language (she routinely goes through her whole repertoire for audiences) and actually obeying her mothers requests to 'sit on her bottom' when she succeeded in climbing onto a bench.
Dr. Wiles had to stiffle his urge to laud Sophie's sleep habits for fear of jinxing us. So I guess I can't complain.
William was pretty good last night. I slept three hours in a row twice. But he has a habit of waking around 6am and just not getting back to sleep (until I need to leave for work). I don't know why, but that last hour is the hardest for me. I would gladly sacrifice an hour say between 12 and 1am for that 6-7am hour. Oh well. Coffee is still legal right? If that fails I can join the army and get some X.
Ecstasy trials for combat stress

I look forward to "Jacob's Ladder II - I love you man."

Saturday, February 12, 2005

OO.o is SO.o SO.o

Maybe it is the learning curve of using UNIX, but so far I am unimpressed with Open Office. org. It appears functionally equivalent to MS Office. So there is no problem there. But it is UGLY. Checking the boards, there seems to be some issue with the conversion of fonts from the OSX standard to the sort used by Open Office.
The real problem is one I may have foisted on myself years ago.
I have my folders and files arranged in a way I've have them since long ago in a galaxy far far away. A folder for gaming stuff, a folder for academic stuff, a folder for business stuff, etc.. I didn't create these in the 'documents' folder. That whole system reminded me too much of the straitjacket of windoze.

Here are two problems I've encountered with Open Office.
1. It won't allow me to open files or save files from/to my folders other than certain pre-set ones (aka documents, archive, etc..) This is pretty irritating. Should I have to reset my entire filing system to accommodate a program?
2. After I save a document in MS-Office format I am supposed to be able to retrieve those files in that format. However, in the MacOS these files seem to be invisible. I was able to put one of them in RTF format on the desktop. But, if I was just going to save things in RTF, I could use a much leaner word processor (like textedit, or text wrangler).

So, now I am faced with a choice. Is it worth sitting down and spending some hours learning the ins and outs of X11, and Open Office so I can have the privilege of using a non-MS program (and not relying on a program that needs costly updates)? I am not sure. I do most of my writing in TextEditer and then import it into word when I need to make it look pretty (or for quizzes and such I just edit existing Word docs).

I suppose learning how to operate in the UNIX environment might have fringe benefits (lots of cool hacks require it).
But, then, there are likely to be the inevitable inconsistencies.
There is something call NEO which appears to be Open Office for Mac, but it is 'community' created and the disclaimers seem pretty ominous.

Hmmm. Any advice from the peanut gallery?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Joys of the Puff!

Today I was trying to delete a comment, and sadly Apple's Safari + Blogger do not handle that well. So I looked in the help and saw that Firefox can do it. So I downloaded the thing (I use it at work on my Dull.) It worked fine.
Then I went to Explorer to check my St-Aug's mail (something else Safari can't do) and stopped, I though, hey I wonder if Firefox can do that. Sure enough it can.

So with much pleasure I pulled the Firefox icon onto my dock, and pulled the Explorer Icon off. It disintegrated with a satisfying puff of smoke. One more Micro$oft product no longer in use. Huzzah. Now, if could just find a decent replacement for Word and Excel (that will save as both for work use.. or have Windoze equivalents) I can rid the varmits off my computer forever. Any suggestions?

I hope the new version of Safari will be able to handle all that stuff so I can just se it. I really prefer it to firefox.'

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Have I mentioned I really love my kids?

Today I was holding Will on my chest as Sophie went about playing. Then she approached and smiled at me and lil Will. She moved as close as she could get and patted Will on his legs, gently this time. I exposed Will's little feet, which for some reason fascinate and amuse Sophie to no end. She giggled and touched them gingerly. Then she approached and laid her head on Will and gave him a little hug and squeeze.

I nearly died.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

In-de-pen-dent Study

Main Entry: 1in·de·pen·dent
Pronunciation: "in-d&-'pen-d&nt
Function: adjective
1 : not dependent: as a (1) : not subject to control by others : SELF-GOVERNING (2) : not affiliated with a larger controlling unit b (1) : not requiring or relying on something else : not contingent an independent conclusion (2) : not looking to others for one's opinions or for guidance in conduct (3) : not bound by or committed to a political party c (1) : not requiring or relying on others (as for care or livelihood) (2) : being enough to free one from the necessity of working for a living "a man of independent means"

I have had several students ask me for one of these each semester. Usually this is because they cannot take my class (either too full, or conflicts with their other classes) Not once has one offered to try to ask the other professor if they could take an independent study in their class.
If Independent studies were in fact "not looking to others, and not requiring others.." then they would not be such a problem. Instead, I get a couple students who occasionally show up with blank stares on their faces.. "Uh...what should I do?" Then if I don't offer them a detailed course plan which requires no extra work (beyond taking the quizzes) they run to their advisors and complain to the provost about me.
I seem to be laboring under a false understanding of the concept. When I took an IS in grad school, I went book in hand to my prof. I asked him if he had time. I said I wanted to read the book and write about it for an IS. He offered several other books I should read before or after. I wrote up a schedule of things I would give him... dates of papers, dates..of readings, etc.. Then I worked around his schedule to meet with him on occasion (usually after handing him written work). Isn't that the normal way an IS is supposed to work?
The DH wants me to make a standard form for IS students so there is no confusion about the requirements. Sigh. So much for Independent.

Did I mention I get $0 for each IS student?

First Day of School

Okay not really. But this was the first day of school for me with two children at home with only their mom. They are a handful. One needs constant attention and supervision, the other is unrelenting with his demands for milk, or cuddling. It can be a challenge for two people. I worry about Carly's mental health.
Tomorrow will be more difficult. I only had one class today. Tomorrow, I have three. That will probably be the test. If that works okay then I will feel a lot better. But I am nervous none the less.
I wish we had some unemployed neighbor who had experience taking care of children and had nothing else to do (and who would refuse all payment... and who had a pony).
We'll make, lots of people have. It is just a big step.
Class was okay, but in the weekend had forgotten everything from the previous week. sigh.
High hopes for tomorrow.

Monday, February 07, 2005


I updated my homepage with photos of William.
Pictures of William

More to say soon.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Family of Four

So I thinking about being the proverbial family of four and I decided to google the phrase. On of the first ones I found was this. Family of Four

Ah, how fun. The Heritage Foundation my favorite. Actually though, if this stuff is accurate, it does make an interest benchmark. I don't really care where we are in terms of median income and such, but it is interesting to see what conservaties expect people should be like in terms of income, etc..

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Looking for MP3 of the Simpons' Screamapillar

Why am I looking for that you ask?
What the H-E-Double Hockey-sticks is that you ask?
Does the RIAA know about this you ask?

In reverse order...
The RIAA and I are aleady working on a plan for free electricity for everyone (under 30).
The screamapillar was the endangered species that made its home in the fountain that Homer gave to Marge for their anniversary. This required Homer to spend day and night preserving the poor thing whose every instinct was bent on its self destruction.
It is the closest sound that approximates Baby Will's crying. He doesn't really whimper or sob, he just screams. From being asleep to the piercing scream in seconds.

Interesting note: neither the vial of blood drawn from his arm, the shots to his feet and thighs, the imprinting, the measuring or the rectal temperature takiing ellicited this howl. Only, waking up from a nap, or getting his diaper changed seems to cause it.
I am not sure whether this is a blessing or not. But he certainly need not fear us sleeping through his cries.

In good news. Like his sister, he appears to be a quick study. Last night he slept for around six hours, (1-4am and 5-7am). That left both Carly and I relatively refreshed. The benefits of a good night sleep are not to be underestimated.

BTW: Sophie is fascinated by Will and not very jealous at all. She wants to touch him all of the time. Luckily, she has also decided it would be fun to copy mommy and daddy's act of handwashing. She will pick up the hand sanitizer and point it into her palm and then rub her hands together. So she is happy to have us squirt some on to her palm for the full effect. Of course, most times right after this washing, she sticks her fingers in her mouth. Oh well. It is a start.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

You say it's your birthday.... da da da da da da, da duh

Here is the promised birth story.
All last week we were counting down to the birth. Our baby was in fact due today, according to "modern science" (just a bunch of unconfirmed theories in this Red state by the way), but Carly was hoping for an early birth, I was willing for a slightly less early one.
I picked up my parents at the airport Friday afternoon, so we had babysitters for Sophie if the baby came.
Early Saturday morning (3:45 AM) Carly got up and I sensed something was different. By 4:45 she was confident these contractions were not Braxton Hicks. We timed them and they seemed about 10 minues apart, so in theory we had some time.
By 5:30 Carly called my cousin Cindy (who gets up early to open her restaurant) and let her know. We slowly started our day. Around 7am I was making coffee and starting my breakfast. At this stage the contractions were still 10 minutes apart. Then Carly started to looked stressed and the contractions came suddenly one after another. We called the Doula and decided to head to the hospital. We didn't want a repeat of last time's race there. I woke up my parents and told them we were off. This time we packed a suitcase well ahead of time so we were ready to go.
We called our doctor's answering service and were told he was referring his patients to another doctor. Carly nearly freaked and called his wife's cellphone to leave a message, and his partner (a midwife) to beg him to come.
We hopped in the car and headed our. It was clear with no traffic (they had predicted snow or ice, so we were lucky). En route we got a call from our doctor saying he got word from three sources that Carly was in labor and that he'd be there. We were relieved. We got to the birthing center without incident and after a slightly longer check in period were admitted. I was a bit coarse with the admissions staff which probably prolonged it. Carly as usual was her steely contained self.
We got in and our back up doula showed up (our normal doula was away this weekend). Dr. F. showed up moments later. I had to run outside move the van and get our bags. When I returned to the labor room, I was informed Carly was 10 cm dilated again, and ready to push (just like last time).
This labor went pretty quickly. The nurse was more formal and pressed us more about the standard procedures, a hep-lock, a baby monitor, etc.. Demanding our reasons for each step we declined, and frequently looking to the doctor before assenting, though all of these procedures are subject to the mother's choice. But having done this before, we were firm. This did not amuse her, but hey, it is our birth not hers. Dr. F supported us as usual.
This time there were two minor complications. First, Carly had earlier tested positive for B-Strep. 1 in 300 children born to someone B-Strep positive develop Strep Pneumonia, and among them it has a 40% mortality rate (someone can make this into a Story problem for basic math I think). But if the mother receives anti-biotics an hour before giving birth, the odds get better for the baby. So shortly after arrving, Carly was given an IV. She has a thing about needles, so that was tough for her.
Caustic Note: She wasn't immediately given the IV. Why? Because the nurse first had to ask such important questions as "How tall are you?" and get Carly's signature (during labor) on several waivers before we could proceed at all. I would think papers signed during labor may not stand up in court all to be honest(duress anyone?). If our child had died because we were not given timely treatment in order to fill out forms, we would see how much those waivers were worth.
There was doubt that she would complete the IV before the birth anyway, as she was well into labor by the time the IV was introduced. But we figured it couldn't hurt (more than having a needle shoved into your arm during a contraction would hurt anyway). So we went along with that.
The labor went well. As usual Carly was in good spirits and seemed to handle the pain (greater this time that last she exclaimed) with stoic coolness. It was truly amazing, and several people remarked that had this labor appeared on a TV show people would declare it so fake because Carly looked so calm and beautiful during the labor that it couldn't possibly be real.
I promised not to refer to her as a 'trooper' during labor, or here and, and kept (and will keep) my promise. Let me just say, that she conintues to amaze me, and I am such a lucky man.
As labor proceded another complication showed up. On a quick check of the baby's heartrate, the numbers appeared dangerously low, less than 100bpm. We weren't sure if the monitor was picking up Cary's heartrate instead, or for some reason the baby was not getting enough oxygen (or some other reason). Dr. F. placed a monitor on the baby's head, and the nurse gave Carly oxygen through a mask. Cindy and I ended up trading off holding the oxygen mask for Carly.
The report of the low heartrate, and my ability to watch the heart rate dive down to uncomfortable levels on the machine adjacent to the bed, tore at my heart. I did my best to put on a brave face for Carly, but inside I was trembling in fear and anxiety. My cousin Cindy kept giving my reassuring looks and hugs as we proceded but I was so frightened. There are so many things that can go wrong in any birth, I think it is impossible to just watch blissfully as it takes place. But with a known complication... I was breathless throughout the birth.
There were some nervous jokes about our very competent doctor's inability to predict the normal stages of labor (as he first claimed we could wait for contractions 5-7 minutes apart, and later that she might feel an urge to push several minutes after she began pushing). None was as funny though as the moment Carly's water burst dramatically showering him and the wall across the room with amniotic fluid (he was not really ready for that one). Luckily, this time it was basically clear. But Dr. F. had not yet donned his protective outfit and shoe covers. His wife will no doubt chastize him for that.
With the oxygen, the baby's heartrate rose to more comfortable levels, and despite our nurses apocalytic warnings that Carly would be wisked off to the operating room for an emergency C-section, Dr. F. was sure the baby would be born before that could happen. This time he was correct because a little after 9am Carly began to bear down. The hearrate probe had a little wire which gave ample evidence to the progress through the birth canal.
Soon the crinkly head of a baby could be seen crowning, and again this time the cord was wrapped around the baby's neck. This may explain the fluxuating heartrate, by the way. Like last time the doctor was able to deftly unwrap the cord in a few seconds, as Carly pushed him out. He came free and was quickly placed in his mother's arms.
The drama of the heart rate, and the wonder of the birth reduced me (and my cousin) to tears. Carly just seemed relieved, and I am sure relief was part of my tears as well. But, once again, the whole experience was awe inspiring and very dramatic.
Our beautiful baby was placed in Carly's arms, and his blue face soon gained a more comforting pinkish red color. Again, I was allowed to cut the cord, and even with lots of experience, it still took me two cuts (those cords are tough). We were all amazed how much our baby looked like Sophie. They could be twins.
We dubbed our child William August (a name we had selected some time ago), and it seems to fit. William by the way happens to be the name of one of Carly's grandfathers, and August was the name of my grandfather's grandfather. So they are family names, and we like them both, normal enough to avoid name calling, but unusual enough as well.
Shortly after the birth. Cindy had to go off to work, my aunt and uncle made a brief appearance, but by in large, we were left mostly to ourselves for the next 36 hours. The weather was partially to blame, since it kept threatening to ice over the roads, but the post partum experience was somewhat different this year.
1. We were not inundated by friends and relatives. In fact, we had only a few visits, and were allowed to spend most of our time alone.
2. The staff kept their visits to a minimum. We were left pretty much alone from midnight to 7am, unlike last time where they seemed to need blood-tests or vitals every 30 minutes.
3. Having prepared ahead of time, I was somewhat more comfortable (I brought a sleeping bag). We planned our meals and snacks better this time.
4. Carly suffered more painful contractions than last time (which pretty normal for second births). But, William was ahppily sleepy throughout the day (though not very sleepy at night)
So all in all, our experience was the opposite (but still good) of last time. This time the labor and birth was more medicalized and formal (less friendly) and our post birth care was more comfortable and less clinical.

Dr. W. Our pediatrician came by and asked we wait 36 hours before checkig out, so he could be confident that Will was fine. They took a big blood sample, but the Strep test came back negative. So far it all looks good.