Thursday, November 30, 2006

Set Moksha's Nonsense to Music

My blog pal Mark put out an interesting post. He copied it from one of his friends and now I’m going to copy it from him…it is indeed a world wide web. I find this interesting because I still labor under the college-age assumption that a person’s musical taste can tell you a lot about them. Maybe, maybe not…but it’s fun to think so and certainly a lot less problematic than other criteria. So…here’ the game:

Put your music player on shuffle.Press forward for each question.Use the song title as the answer to the question.No cheating! Who cares if it doesn’t make sense. (And it doesn’t.)
Here are mine:

How am I feeling today?
Don't Shoot Me Down - Old Crow Medicine Show

Will I get far in life?
Tango 'til They're Sore - Tom Waits

How do my friends see me?
Miles Davis' Funeral - Morphine

Where will I get Married?
Astronaut Dreams - Peter Mayer

What is my best friend’s theme song?
The Wild Rumpus - Jerry Douglas

What is the story of my life?
On the Radio - Gary Reynolds

What is/was highschool like?
Ballad of a Teenage Queen - Johnny Cash

How can I get ahead in life?
The World at Large - Modest Mouse

What is the best thing about me?
Porcelain - Moby

How is today going to be?
Where the Wild Roses Grow - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

What is in store for this weekend?
Room to Move - John Mayall

What song describes my parents?
My Good Gal - Old Crow Medicine Show

To describe my grandparents?
Raining Again - Moby

How is my life going?
Sound Check (Gravity Mix) - Gorillaz

What song will they play at my funeral?
Hail to Whatever You Found in the Sunlight That Surrounds You - Rilo Kiley

How does the world see me?
2001 - Kid Dakota

Will I have a Happy Life?
Train Home (Live) - Chris Smither

What do my friends really think of me?
Before My Time - Johnny Cash

Do people secretly lust after me?
Run Devil Run - Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins

How can I make myself happy?
Souljacker Part 1 - Eels

What should I do with my life?
Furnace Room Lullaby - Neko Case

Will I ever have children?
The Mary Martin Show - The New Pornographers

What is some good advice for me?
Dancing Song - Peter Mayer

How Will I be Remembered?
Your Heart is an Empty Room - Death Cab for Cutie

What do I think my current theme song is?
Raga Nat Bhariav - Harry Manx

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
The Medication is Wearing Off - Eels

What type of men/women do you like?
Fannin Street - John Hammond

What Does Your Man/Woman love about you?
Aristocrats - Kingdom Flying Club

What Song do you secretly love?
Dead on You -Mark Lanegan

What do you want to do tomorrow?
Dead Horse Trampoline - Justin Roth

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Here’s to the Dreamers

I’m a fan of anyone who’s willing to push past their fear to pursue their dreams. In keeping with yesterday’s post, I know how easy it is to stay on the couch, how easy it is to keep putting off that first step. So, I wanted to take a moment to say how proud I am of my brother. Last night he took the stage for the first time in pursuit of his long-time dream of stand-up comedy. While I didn’t get to see the show, he was on cloud nine when he called me afterward to tell me that the crowd really responded well. I’ll catch his second show next Wednesday and was thrilled to see some cool pictures of the show. He actually looks like a stand-up comedian.

Way to go, Jet!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I Am A Wartime General

Over the last few years, I have come to realize that I am an excellent wartime general…but a fairly mediocre one in peacetime.

I have only the most vague sense of a job description. This lack of clarity leads to stammering and pauses when asked what it is, exactly, that I do. Well…the best way to put it is that I’m the right-hand-man of the CEO of a multi-state consumer loan company that often dabbles in other industries. While I tend to focus on our technology needs, I do whatever needs to be done. Some days that may mean overseeing the development of our proprietary software or perhaps zipping around the country to open and manage 13 or so eBay drop-off stores. Other days it may mean rafter-walking an additional CAT-5 cable from the D-Mark to our servers so we can access our newest T-1. Some days it means teaching a class to our store managers so they know how to use some new feature of our software. Other days it means planning layouts for our webpage or hiring an electrician to fix the parking lights or meeting with the heads of state financial agencies to discuss regulations. The list goes on because in a company that runs as lean as we do, the upper management wear many hats. Generally, I like this variety. Each day is a bit different than the last and for the most part, I get to choose which situation I’m handling and which situation I’m delegating. On most days, I like my job.

In addition to being a nice situation on a daily basis, it has also afforded me the opportunity to see what sort of situations I gravitate toward. I can look back over six years of work and can now see a fairly obvious trend in the sorts of tasks I chose, the sorts of tasks I excelled at, and the sorts of tasks on which I did less than stellar. And what I see is that I am a wartime general.

I like a short-deadline crisis. My mind snaps into focus amidst the crossfire chaos of high-stress multitasking. Got a time critical project that requires work from varied groups within the company and an understanding of how those groups relate? No problem. Just drop me behind enemy lines with a survival knife and a ball of string and you’ll have your product on time. I like making fast decisions and seeing the results of those decisions spin off in real time.

Conversely, long-term projects will never fail to make my mind wander. When the gunfire stops and the general is asked to cease building emergency triage units and instead put his mind to designing a well-thought out hospital that will serve the community for years to come…this general stumbles.

In fact, give me a long-term project and I’ll meander away from it and find crisis. I’ll tackle any and all unrelated problems that flow in until I’ve turned the long-term project I was supposed to be working on into a crisis…THEN I get interested.

And don’t get me wrong. I’m good as a consultant on the long-term projects. Let me swing by and take a quick overview of the project…I’ll make good observations and recommend useful changes. But don’t put the whole thing in my hands…it will flounder.

In retrospect it all seems very obvious that I would be this way. You see, I’m a procrastinator. I come by it naturally as my father was a procrastinator as well. Nature? Nurture? No idea. But he certainly passed it along. And as a procrastinator, I will inevitably put off a project until the last minute. Fortunately (or unfortunately since it has lead me to continue this trend) I am very good in those last few moments right before the bell. I remember being asked to get up in front of my Research Writing class during my sophomore year of college. Seems no one else had met the profs expectations and she felt certain that an explanation of the prep work that I had done on the project would help prove her point about the long process that is research writing.

“Well,” I said. “I did some research on Sunday morning. Started writing Sunday evening around 7 but got pulled away for a card game. Got back to writing around 11 or so. In the morning I ran spell check and read back through it once. Printed it up ten minutes before class and stapled it together as I was running across campus.” She never asked me about my prep work again.

And so, years later, I’m still that same guy. I cannot bring myself to do the prep work. I cannot keep up the energy needed to tackle such long-term projects. I need the adrenaline of chaos.
In the end, I guess what this means is that outside of my children I’m probably never going to create something truly amazing. Truly amazing takes either a) planning or b) enough prior dedication to craft that inspiration seems natural. I have neither. However, I have a niche. When the shit really hits the fan and you’re no longer even trying for truly amazing…when time constraints and disorder mean reaching pretty damned good would be a miracle…I’m your wartime general.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Red Letter Day

It’s sort of a dreary day here in St. Louis, but I’m eating my lunch of Thanksgiving leftovers and feeling pretty lucky to be me. You see, November 27th is a pretty important day to me.

It was exactly two years ago that Moonshot stopped being my girlfriend and became my wife. And while quite a bit has changed in the last two years…I still feel just as thrilled as I did on that day to have found someone who fits me so well

And it was exactly one year ago that Moonshot and I discovered we would be having a baby. We’d been trying for a few months, but it was November 27th that we first knew. We had booked a night in a local bed and breakfast to celebrate our year together. A bed and breakfast because it felt sufficiently decadent; a local one because we’d just been traveling for Thanksgiving and didn’t want to travel again. We had been eying the Booneslick Trail Inn for years. It’s right across from the Trailhead Brewery, one of our favorite local restaurants, and it looked so inviting. But staying in a B&B that’s less than a mile from our house had always seemed ridiculous…until we wary travelers went looking for a fake getaway. So, we spent our romantic retreat reading newly purchased books on pregnancy, talking to Moonshot’s belly, and generally getting ourselves excited about the future.

We still go to the Trailhead Brewery quite often, but now Norah comes with us too. I look up at the windows of that inn every time and remember our excitement.

Both my wife and my daughter have made me a luckier man than I ever had a right to expect And they both became permanent parts of my life on this date. So you see, November 27th is a pretty important day to me.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Thanksgiving Picture Post

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving. Although we didn’t get to spend as much time with family as we’d like, what we did get was wonderful.

My cousin NoNo from Reno was able to come and meet Norah and I was particularly thankful for that.

NoNo and Norah

I'm also thankful for the impromtu concerts that inevitably break out when we're at MoMa's. Uncle Norman on guitar, MoMa on mountain dulcimer and Jet’s hand on rhythm guitar.

Thanksgiving Concert at MoMa's

No pictures of the meal itself...I was too busy shoveling in food.


Redneck Yacht ClubOk, this is off the subject. But I wanted to post this because I know Mark likes interesting business signage. In addition, this place is about 5 minutes from where I grew there's some element in shame involved here. There are all sorts of jokes I could make about this place, but I’ll leave the wit to you. Sorry about the blurry shot but this was as still as I could hold without a tripod for this lowlight shot.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

So Many Firsts

Little Miss had two major firsts this week. She is not only now an Interstate traveler; she is also a consumer of solid food.

On the first point, we traveled north to Iowa and Moonshot’s parents this past weekend. Four and a half hours there and the same back…nine hours strapped into a car seat for a little girl who had never been in the car longer than half an hour. The potential for frustration (on her part and ours) was high. I’m proud to say, however, that she complained less than her Daddy did. Slept the whole way there and half the way back. And when she did wake up, she gibbered to herself happily as she played with her toys. I hadn’t even dared to wish for such a positive result; would have felt greedy wishing for such a turnout. Luckily, she seems to have higher expectations of herself than I do.

Norah and HobbesShe dealt with the new environment with her usual calm curiosity. She was pleased to look out new windows and thrilled to meet a new doggie. And although she seems genuinely excited to be back in her own home on Sunday night, she never complained as her routine was jostled about for the trip. She was clearly born for the road. And this is a good thing since her grandparents live in opposite directions. The upcoming holiday travel schedule will give her many more opportunities to impress us with her love of the open road…starting this afternoon with a trip down to Grandma MoMa’s.

Norah and the SpoonMonday night brought Norah and rice cereal together for the first time. She’d been having difficulties holding down enough formula to satisfy her for long periods. Because of this, we found ourselves feeding her more often as she got older, a trend we had not expected. She had no problem sleeping through the night, but during her wakeful hours she demanded a bottle every three hours. We’d been trying, in good “first time parent” fashion, to stick to the book for her advancement. We weren’t supposed to start the cereal until after her 4-month check-up in a couple weeks. However, it was clear by her physical development that she was ready for something more substantial and clear from her newfound interest in our food that she would be generally agreeable to a step forward in her diet. We called her pediatrician and were instantly given the go ahead. Silly first timers…we should have called weeks ago.

Since we finally made the decision on a Monday, it meant Uncle Jet could take part in the festivities. He comes over on Mondays to watch Heroes with us. It’s a new tradition these last few weeks…a good excuse for him to show up and spend time with Norah and us and a pretty fun show to boot. Anyway, I was very happy that he was able to be there for the first spoon-fed bite.

Norah Tires of the SpoonNorah greeted the first spoonful with pure joy. She grinned ear to ear as pasty gruel was loaded into her mouth. Having watched Superfly and Mr. Chubbers go through this process, I knew this was unusual and again started wondering just how easy our daughter could possibly make this child rearing thing. However, when it became clear to young Jolly Green that we were going to keep shoveling this stuff at her…she became less enthused. At first she squirmed, then she fussed, then she screamed. However, she quickly learned that this left her mouth open. Within a minute, she had taught herself a new technique…the closed-mouth cry. Her little jaw would open, but her lips would stretch closed to ward off any further attacks by spoon. The cry was muffled and outrageously cute. We decided to call the feeding a success even though she had probably only swallowed half a spoonful of cereal…and even that on accident. We didn’t want to torment the poor girl with the spoon so much that she got upset at the sight of the torture device. She finished her feeding with a bottle that she savored more than usual. Having seen the alternative, her she suddenly stared at her bottle with newfound appreciation “Oh, Bottle, I’ll never take you for granted again!”

Last night was her second experiment with the spoon and she did even better. She swallowed a little over a spoon and a half and never got overly upset. She’ll have this down in no time.

One final update. We had our first meeting with Parent’s As Teachers last night. If you have small children and are unfamiliar with this organization, they are well worth looking up. I know they boast a nationwide presence, but I have no idea how visible they are in other cities. Here in their city of origin, however, they are omnipresent. And well they should be, it’s just a wonderful organization. They are a group of volunteers who make routine visits to your home and just check in on your baby’s progress. Let you know what they should be working on, give you tips for dealing with issues you may be having, and generally serve as an on-the-scene consultant. It’s a free service and I have no idea why someone would opt not to take them up on their offer. Our pediatrician can measure Norah’s physical development, but she’ll probably never see Norah in her home setting. She’s not as interested in our parenting technique or making suggestions for getting Norah to sleep easier. Our pediatrician will never walk our house with us and help us catch baby-proofing concerns that we would have overlooked on our own. Like I said, I think it’s just a great deal and I’m very proud that my city can claim it as something we offered to the country. (Sadly, they don’t seem to have grown into Canada yet…sorry to my northern friends. Hopefully you guys have something similar)

This first meeting was not as informative as I think future meetings will be. At this stage of her growth, Norah doesn’t have any behavioral issues we’re working on; her size and strength means she’s advancing quickly through her physical checkpoints; and her requirements are pretty straightforward for Moonshot and me. Basically, The PAT lady just kept praising Norah and us for doing so well and we were all pleased to receive the praise. She’ll be coming back in two months and I think that meeting will be more informative since Norah will be doing even more by that point. And as she adds versatility and variability to her little arsenal, our range of parental responses must grow accordingly. I, for one, am glad to know that Parents as Teachers will be swinging by periodically to help us beef up our responses. Even if we manage to stay one step ahead of them and all they ever do is come out an tell us how awesome all three of us are…well…I’ll go right ahead and pencil that onto my calendar. I mean, I could listen to people praise my daughter all day.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thanks to All Who Served

I will admit that I got so wrapped up in my daily life that I completely forgot about Veterans Day until Simon and Mark reminded me this morning.

It’s sad to admit, but this is an easy holiday for me to forget since I really don’t have many veterans in my life. My Dad serviced B-52s at Anderson Air Force Base on Guam during Vietnam, but I don’t think he ever really thought of himself as a veteran. He had hearing loss in the high-pitch range from the engine noise and he had a cool black line across the top of the fingers of his right hand from where an engine access hatch swung shut on him and basically tattooed him with grease. But when he talked about veterans, he tended to refer to other people…people he felt had risked more in their service for the country. So, while I’ve always been grateful for our service men and women and their sacrifices…it’s always been rather abstract.

So, while I can’t write any glowing praises for specific veterans…I do want to take a moment and thank a few veterans in the making that are important to me.

JonathanUncle Norman’s eldest son just returned last week from Iraq. He’d been over there for about a year as part of a service crew that kept helicopters in flying condition. Prior to that had been stationed in Korea. For the foreseeable future, he’ll be down at Fort Hood in Texas and our family is thrilled to have him safely back. Uncle Norman and his family just returned from a welcome home ceremony, but the rest of the family will get to hug him for the first time at Thanksgiving. Can’t wait to see you, Jonathan!

IanIan is my cousin on Dad’s side. He was stationed in Iraq for quite some time as part of some sort of special forces. I’ll admit that I’m a bit unclear on the details. He, like Jonathan, has found a reprieve from Iraq recently. He’s currently stationed in Guam which is much better than Iraq from what I understand. Enjoy the island climate, Ian.

Kieran...with fangs!!Duran’s younger brother has recently joined the Marines. He hasn’t left the States just yet, but we don’t see as much of him as we used to since he’s currently training out in San Diego to be a communications guy. His Xbox Gamertag is Khyron42 if you want to buzz in and tell him hello. We missed you at the Halloween party, Kieran.

Thank you to each of you specifically and to the thousands of veterans and soldiers who have risked so much. I know that the only reason I’m able to sit here on a lazy Saturday and watch my daughter joyfully thrash about on her play mat is because of the countless people through the years who have made sacrifices like yours. And thanks to the veterans like my Dad who never thought of themselves as heroes.

Thank you, all.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bottle Feeding Strategies

By Norah

It is a common misconception, among both infants and adults alike, that bottle-feeding is solely about sustenance. While caloric intake is a vital requirement, to focus on this as the sole purpose behind the bottle will deprive you of a wonderful opportunity to train your adults. And as we all know, missed opportunities at this stage in their development can come back to haunt us in later years. So, it’s important to pay attention to the little details now.

Alter Your Feeding Schedule as Often as Possible
Never fall for your parents’ devious ploys to make you follow a “routine.” Remember, once you fall into a recurring pattern, they will quickly notice whenever small changes occur. This could lead to detection of any future plans you may wish to enact. By keeping your routine mysterious to them, you substantially limit the value of whatever data they are collecting on you.
In addition, if parents are able to assume your pattern, they may perceive this as an ability to schedule some free time…watch TV, read a book, spend some time together alone. And this, of course, is completely unacceptable behavior from our caregivers. They should constantly be concerned that we may need something. Prevent the formation of bad parental habits by keeping them focused.

Fight Your Bottle
I know you want the bottle. We all do. But it is critical to proper parent training that their patience and single-minded focus on our happiness be cultivated in these early months. A parent who is able to daydream while you are feeding is a parent totally unprepared for the whirlwind that we will unleash as toddlers. You must get them used to trying over and over and over again to accomplish a simple task.
Below I have listed some techniques that I am employing on a regular basis with my own parents:

  • Shake your head vigorously from side to side. This will dislodge the bottle and possible sling formula.

  • Push the bottle away. It requires surprisingly little force to remove the nipple from your mouth and the effect is quite impressive. The bonus to this method is that early on, your parents will be so busy marveling at your ability to grasp the bottle, they will be unable to protect against nipple-removal.

  • Push your fingers into your mouth. Suction doesn’t work if you break the nipple seal with your fingers. This technique works well after the parent becomes wise to the bottle shoving technique discussed above. It is wonderfully difficult for a parent to protect against this attack since at least one of their hands will be holding the bottle. With only one free hand, they cannot possibly keep both your hands away from your mouth.

  • Dribble milk down your chin. While effective in its own right, this tactic works very well as a diversion. While the parent is cleaning your chin and attempting to wipe the milk from the folds of your neck…use the time to try any of the methods listed above.

  • Spit up. Even if you parent is able to get the milk into you…nothing says it has to stay there.

  • Poop. That’s right; mealtime is the perfect time to poop. The grunting needed to have a proper bowel movement will necessarily stop your feeding and will often lead to a spit up. In addition, the parent will be tempted, either by concern for you or by the stench, to pause the feeding to change your diaper. This truly is a great strategy.

With a little patience and practice, you can train parents that will be ready to deal with whatever you throw at them down the road. Just keep them on their toes, never let them forget where their attention should be, and make sure they understand that caring for you is hard, frustrating work.

One final note. As you use these methods to train your parents, remember to smile and giggle. These simple things keep them happy and entertained and seem to increasing their willingness to keep trying. Without occasional positive reinforcement, they are likely to run out of patience. Also…the laughter keeps them from guessing that you’re doing it all on purpose.

NEXT CHAPTER: Sleep is the Enemy!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Curse My Antisocial Ways

As previously mentioned, Moonshot and I are big fans of Halloween. Each year our home is overrun by creepy decorations, and each year we put massive amounts of effort into our annual Halloween Party. It’s the one event that motivates my wife and I to open our home to a relatively large number of people. We begin planning next year’s theme almost as soon as one party ends. And while no one can fault us on our theme, and hopefully no one can complain about the fun level of our parties…it is clear that next year we need to spend more time focusing on our guest list.

Our first party was in 2003, the first year Moonshot and I lived together. We had about 25 people in our cute little home and quite frankly, any more would have been too much. We developed a murder mystery for the party and doled out clues throughout the evening. All in all it was a success, but it was overly structured. It was a lot of work to script the evening and in the end what the party needed was more freedom. We took note of this and began work on the next party.

There was no party in 2004 due to an impending wedding that Moonshot and I were planning that November. Much sadness, but everyone seemed to understand.

However, after our hiatus, we returned to form in 2005 armed with our experience from our first party. Our theme this time was Hollywood Horror Movies. Through a series of games, each person was “auditioning” for one of three roles in our film: Killer, Victim, or Hero. Each person decided prior to the party which role they would pursue and came dressed accordingly. We sent out overly fancy, handmade invitations to a slightly smaller group than the year before. Since we were going for more controlled games, we were shooting for around 20 or so. We ended up with slightly less, 14 total if you counted Moonshot and I. That left 12 people to play the games since Moonshot and I couldn’t fairly participate. At first, we were disappointed. Only 12 people we moped. However, 12 divides nicely into teams of 2,3, or 4 and everyone had a really good time. By the end of the evening, we were convinced that 12 was just about the right number for the type of game-based party we threw. We’d take more, don’t get me wrong, but as long as we broke 12 at future parties, we’d be happy. And we were very pleased with the structure vs. freedom level of the party. People roamed, people mingled, but they gathered together and competed fiercely and laughed the whole night. Plus, it was much easier to orchestrate. We had our formula.

This year found us pressed for time. With Norah demanding so much of our attention, we opted not to go as all out on the theme as the previous two parties. We went with this year’s trend and followed Moonshot’s Pirates of the Caribbean obsession to a pirate themed get-together. We sent out about 20 invites with historically researched pirate language on them, realistically expecting around 12 – 14 guests. We designed nautical themed games and purchased generous prizes in keeping with the sea-faring spirit. We juggled our responsibility as parents and did everything we could think of to make sure this year’s party was success. Well, everything that is, except follow up on the invitations. Seems a large number of them got lost in the mail. People who we considered a lock to come to the party assumed we weren’t having one because of our 3-month-old daughter and made other plans. In the waning days of last week, we watched our guest list crumble. Everyone sounded truly sad to miss out and I couldn’t fault anyone for the decisions they made, but when 7:30 Saturday rolled around…we had one guest, Jet, in attendance. We spent a half hour in sullen depression. We stared with slack faces at the impressive collection of fake gold and gems piled around the house. We stared at the poster explaining the point values for the various games. We stared at each other in our full pirate regalia and I’ll be honest…we fought back tears. MoMa, having driven up just to care for Norah through the party, tried to say encouraging things, but there really wasn’t much to say. So we sat there, weighing our desire to even try again next year.

It was 8 before another guest showed up, but luckily it was a carpool of the full O’Fallon Crew: Duke, Pinky, Duran, Dolly, Rack, and Blondie. It made a total of only seven guests, still a depressing total that hardly seemed to justify the effort Moonshot and I had put in, but as good hosts the Grens sucked it up and started the party.

Click here for Details from the Party
By midnight, the games were done, the prizes had been awarded, and everyone was stuffed on snack food and candy. We all lounged around the living room laughing at inappropriate conversation and I have to admit that we all had a good time. Moonshot and I had to get creative and find ways for us to play our own games to make even teams…but even that was kind of nice for a change.

There will be a Halloween party at the Gren homestead next year. We’ll probably send out save the date cards and give follow-up phone calls starting in late August out of paranoia. We’ll definitely shoot for a large crowd next year. However, even if we only get seven people again next year, I think it will be worth all the effort. Because, it’s a nice moment in an odd way, to be on the verge of despair and to be suddenly pulled into revelry by a small group of friends. You can’t help but sit there afterwards, basking in the friendship and crude jokes, and be thankful for each and every one of them.

So, thank you to those of you who came to the party, I hope you had as good a time as Moonshot and I did. And to those of you who were unable to make it, just know that there will almost certainly be a party here next year…go ahead and mark your calendars.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Absent Minded Professor?

I have been working on a post about our Halloween party. I’ve sat down several times over the last few days and attempted to give it the time it deserves. However, daylight savings time has prevented it. A weak excuse, you say? Well…maybe, but hear me out. Ever since Simon reminded me to feel guilty about not working out, I’ve been rising between 5 and 5:15 to go downstairs and work out. Afterwards I either read or work on the blog until 6:30 when Norah typically wakes. Now, this was a great system. I hated getting up so early, but I felt wonderful about having a productive hour and a half every morning to do a few things I really enjoy doing. However, the routine was not to last. About a week and a half after I started, daylight savings time ended and Norah’s 6:30 became 5:30. I try to persuade her that it’s still Daddy’s time and that she should go back to sleep…but thus far, she remains unconvinced. So now I still get up at 5, but it doesn't really add to my productivity.

In addition to my blog time having been invaded, the party blog is a rather time-consuming post since it involves html coding and color glassy photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one is so that they can be used as evidence against us. But…despite all these valid reasons for delay, there sits my stagnant blog with no new update for a week. For shame. I’ve decided, therefore, to beat a temporary retreat from the party story so that I can distract you with a delightful conversation about the real reason you all come here anyway…Norah.

So, enjoy my stalling tactics and I’ll try to get the party pics up a little later this week.

The Absent Minded Professor?

In my continuing reporting on young Norah’s scientific experimentation with motion, communication, and cognition, I feel it only fair to clear up any misconceptions I may be causing about the young scientist’s progress. While I have reported nothing but the truth on this site, a reading of this blog would give the impression of a far more advanced child than Norah is at this moment. As you read of her progress, you undoubtedly assume that she’s stacking one discovery onto another and continually adding to her arsenal of life skills. However, the truth is…she’s a bit forgetful.

Yes, she works diligently on a problem, solves the problem, and even repeats her solution so as to prove that she has, in deed, mastered the challenge. However, it is at this point that her grasp of the scientific method fails her. Logically she would remember this advance so that she could continue to perfect the skill and perhaps expand on its usefulness. Instead she grows bored with it, casts it aside, and begins working on a new task.

She conquered the mystery of the button, pressed the button endlessly for a few days…and has not so much as thought about a button since. Couldn’t care less. She mastered the linguistic hurdle of “L” and even showed interest in “M.” She gibber-jabbered up a storm for a few days…and has made no sound outside the vowels since I reported to you. Ever since, she’s been experimenting with pitch and volume.

I see two primary explanations here. First, she has inherited her father’s jack-of-all-trades / too-many-interests-to-truly-master-any-of-them mentality. It’s possible that she, like me, will find it difficult to finish a book – even a book she is thoroughly enjoying – simply because a new story will catch her eye before completing the first. Or, the second possibility is that she’s just showing off for you fine folks. It may well be that her main goal in all this is to get me to mention her amazing feats in this blog. Having accomplished this on both the above mentioned examples…she felt no need to further pursue the lines of research and instead began work on her next blog-worthy accomplishment.

As mentioned previously on this blog, intent is a notoriously difficult thing to prove when it comes to babies. She’s either the absent minded professor or a deviously clever mad scientist. So, while I have no way of knowing which reason is true, I can’t help but think my Jolly Green has become overly competitive with her Internet peers. She knows there are a lot of cute kids out there vying for your attention…from Samantha to Sarah, and from Tavish to Sebastian. I think she has succumb to the oldest temptation in science…she’s fudging the numbers to meet expectations.