Copyright ©1997-2011 Glenn Fleishman except as noted otherwise. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact Glenn Fleishman at glenn at glennf.com. Photo © 2008 Laurence Chen; used with permission.
Turning technology from mumbo-jumbo into rich tasty gumbo
Cold appears to have hit its apex this morning, ebbing through the day, so that I actually felt better in the evening. A couple of doses of cold medicine, spaced the appropriate distance apart are taking me closer to the arms of Morpheus here shortly.
Glenn: Up you go, Birdman.
Ben: What’s a birdman?
Glenn: You. You’re a junior birdman.
Ben: I’m Benjamin.
Glenn: You’re Benjamin Birdman. No, I’m sorry, you’re Benjamin Fleish-MAN [pronouncing it MAN]
Ben: That’s Fleishman [pronouncing it correctly, as “min”]
Glenn: Oh, good, you’re correcting how I say my own name. [laughing]
It’s neat to see him internalize pronunciation.
Ben also has an eye for typography. He is obsessed, and I mean obsessed, about letters right now. A few weeks ago, he burst into tears because “I want to read words!” We explained that that could take a while. So he’s reading letters everywhere, and recognizing patterns. He looks at “HarperCollinPublishers” at the bottom of his Goodnight, Moon book, and says, “There are three ‘r’s in HarperCollinPublishers.” Wow.
On the typography front, I realize how tricky it is for a kid to sort out all the different ways in which a given letter can look. Goodnight, Moon’s interior typography uses Kabel, a face designed by Rudolf Koch, one of the greatest of the 20th century type designers. The cover uses a different font that I can’t identify.
Left, cover g; right, interior g in Kabel
Ben says when he looks at the Kabel g that “it’s a tricky one.”
Rex, by the way, has begun separation anxiety, a period in which an infant, who is already strapped to his mother’s hip, can’t stand to be more than a few feet away or out of view.
This morning, Rex rolled over from his stomach to his back for one of the first times on his own. A big accomplishment! And presaging more to come. Rex hasn’t been that compelled to move around, although he’s been sitting up quite well on his own for weeks. We’re not anxious. He will develop at his own pace, and when he becomes mobile, life becomes more challenging anyway.
I slept poorly last night, a combination of a cold that got worse, daytime cold medicine (the ban on pseudophedrine seems to make it impossible to get a decent drowsy medicine), and Rex making a little (not much) noise overnight. At what I thought was 4.30, Rex starts talking, and he needs to get up when it’s nearly 5. I’m in slight despair. I think I’ve slept maybe 4 or 5 hours, and it’s an ungodly hour.
I pull the first shift with Rex, because he needs to get a dose of prescription acid medication that has to be in his stomach 30 minutes before food. On a good day, I get up, Lynn sleeps for another half hour (and sometimes through Rex’s preparatory “singing” and talking), and entertainment him. I get Lynn up, and if it’s really early, I go back to sleep for an hour or so. Sometimes she can then put Rex down and go back to sleep herself, although with Rex going longer between naps, that’s not happening very often.
Lynn takes pity on my state, gets Rex up, and I put in earplugs and go back to sleep for a couple of hours. When I wake up and come out into the living room, I look at the new clock we put up yesterday and figure it’s already broken. It reads an hour later than the clock on my bedside. I cogitate about this in the back of my head for a few minutes, and then remember: my clock, a Timex brand made under license by another firm, handles daylight saving time.
But not the current DST. It handles the DST before Congress changed the rules, which went into effect last year. So twice a year for about two weeks from now on, my clock has the wrong time. I contacted Timex last year, which handed me off to their licensing partner—how nice to know that Timex doesn’t really mean Timex—who said that there was no way to upgrade the clock, which I figured. I like the clock. But now its time is out of joint forever.
Rex woke up at 5.30, got up at nearly 6, which is pretty good for him. I slept an hour more than I thought I had.
I was (and am) still sick, though.
Ben: Can you take a picture of me buying the monster truck at the dentist’s office? [It was given to him, but I get the notion.]
Glenn: That happened in the past. I can’t take a picture of what happened in the past. I would have had to have taken a picture of it then. Does that make sense?
B: Some day I want to go there, the past.
G: The past is what happened yesterday, or when you were younger. We can’t go there.
B: Some day when I’m bigger I want to go there.
After some more back and forth, it becomes clear he thinks the “past” is another word for the dentist’s office.
Lynn and I can tell this parent thing is getting a little easier again, because in our precious time in which we have no conscious children—about 2 to 3 hours in the evening—we are no longer exclusively paying bills, catching up on stuff we couldn’t do during the day, or watching bad TV. No, we are in fact watching some movies and DVDs. We let our NetFlix subscription restart, and we are not just receiving films, we are returning them.
We took a look at High School Musical the other day, given that it’s a crazy-huge phenomenon, and Lynn and I were both very active in high school theater. I’ll have to get her to enumerate her roles, but I was Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady, the Marquis de Sade in Marat/Sade, and the sad little man at the heart of Last of the Red Hot Lovers. Among other parts.
Anyhoo, High School Musical was sort of hilariously bad and really enjoyable. The music was fine and mostly generic, but there were some great numbers, including a song about cliques that was great. A supporting actor playing a basketball player who liked to bake stole scenes. A choreographed basketball dance number was so amazing, I had to think, why had no one ever done that before? The leads were generic. At one point, I said, “Lynn, put those people in a paper bag.” Her reply, “No! They’d never be able to act their way out of it.” Have I said how much I love that woman?
We caught up on some French & Saunders, the middling series by two fabulous British actors. It was a sort of a special, we think, so didn’t have all the charm of the run of the show.
And we watched Blades of Glory, which was insanely overproduced for what was basically a silly farce. But it was very beautiful to watch, and all the actors skated, although there were plenty of rigs and harnesses and such, too. But there was a lot of skating. Actually rather funny.
When I’m staring at your happy, alert baby, it’s 10 pm, and all I want to do is be in bed 30 minutes before, that’s when I feel old.
Following two successful nights with Ben and Rex in one bedroom, all heck broke loose last night, by our definition. Lynn and I are both a bit tired, still catching up from, well, the last six months, even as routine settles in. Last night, Rex ate his first solid food (see photo), went down with little grumbling at about 6.45 pm, and we thought all was well. But before we’d even brought Ben into the bedroom an hour later, Rex erupted. Lynn brought Ben in and got him into his bed, and then tried to nurse Rex so he’d fall back asleep. No go.
Lots of bouncing, nursing, switching Rex back to our, darker room (Ben was upset about losing Rex for the night), and so on, and no go. Awake baby. So we brought Rex back out to the living room, and he was very calm, and still, but just wired alert. This time, pretty sure caffeine wasn’t the culprit; just brain development. Ben would get the same look on his face, like a whole bank of neurons just made their connections, and electricity was flowing through at excessively high current.
Lynn was exhausted and I seemed to have nominally more energy, so I volunteered (put that done in the Things Husbands Do For Brownie Points and Because They Love Their Wife/Children column) to get a bottle ready, and stay up with him for a while until we figured out what to do next.
Rex didn’t last long. He seemed to fade pretty soon after Lynn went to bed, so I wrapped him up (he’s still being swaddled, but likely not for much longer—that’s another adjustment), made the room mostly dark, gave him the bottle in which he expressed nominal interest, and tried to figure out what to do next.
With Ben, I would spend hours overnight in the early months rocking him. Rex has never gone for that. In the interests of trying something new, I hoisted Rex onto my shoulder in the rocking chair, started shushing—“shuhhhhhh…shuhhhhh…shuhhhh”—and rocking, and tapped him lightly on the back, something we know makes him go quiet and sleepy.
Within a few moments, he seemed to get into it. His head lolled onto my shoulder, and then rhythmic breathing followed. I had no clock, no watch, and my arms were going numb. Still, it was one of those precious moments that’ll never come again, and so it was pretty sweet despite what I’d rather have been doing.
I rocked for an incalculable time, which later turned out to be about 30 minutes, and after a few test moves, got him up, into the bedroom, and down, where he slept from 11 pm to nearly 6 am, which is past his normal wake up (you can set the clock by him at 5.30 am these days). Lynn managed to sleep from about 10.15 to 6.15, which is a full night’s sleep, despite our worries, and I picked up an extra hour in the morning after handing him off to her.
I know we’re pretty blessed to have a baby that sleeps this well. That’s what throws us off. We have friends whose babies are all over the place at night, but mostly easier during the day, including being more adaptable about sleeping anywhere. We have always had real trouble with Ben and now Rex in terms of them only sleeping in their cribs or beds, and that means we basically can’t travel much or have an unusual day without lots of crankiness or just outright screaming. So we like the nights, but we miss the daytime flexibility.
If Rex was uneven at night, we’d have developed some coping mechanisms, and arranged things differently. But since he’s so solid most nights, we’re at a loss when something weird happens.
Ben and Rex will sleep tonight, hopefully not For One Night Only! Only! Only!, in the same room. Ben has been asking us for Rex to move in with him for some time. We’re on pins and needles, partly because of the getting-them-down part. We think that once they’re both asleep, we’ll be ok, since both of them typically sleep all night with an overlap.
Ben was taking a nap a few days so hard that after 3 hours (unheard of at this age), I went in to wake him up and it took several minutes of calling his name, and rubbing his back to get him awake! So perhaps he can sleep through the baby in his room in the morning, too. We’ll see.
Wish us luck. Rex is nearly 6 months old. Ben, nearly 3 years, 2 months.
Morning: The boys did it! Lynn had to pop in a couple times after we put Rex down and then Ben down, but Ben passed out immediately, and Rex wasn’t very resistant. Rex woke at his usual 5.30 am, but we’d gone to sleep ourselves at 9.30. Ben got up at 7.30…yee, and might I add, ha.
Howdy, loyal listeners! (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, visit KUOW’s Web page for Sound Focus—a show on which I appear weekly—listen to streaming media or subscribe to the podcast, and donate! It’s fundraisin’ season.)
This week, we talked about the Starbucks/Apple deal for iTunes access and what’s playing in the stores; Amazon.com’s protection-free MP3 beta store; and coffee mugs that have Pantone colors printed on them, coffee colors printed inside, or, in one I didn’t mention, typefaces on the mug combined with coffee colors.
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