17 Days and Counting

I have a special treat for you all today, a guest post!  I’ve mentioned her here before, but the illustrious Dear Wife would like to address your attention today.  So, without further ado, I’ll turn you over to her:

It’s less than three weeks until Christmas, which means that I’m scrambling to write a Christmas letter and print cards for our friends and family.  This year, I plan to print our photo cards at www.shutterfly.com.  We used Shutterfly to print BT’s birth announcements earlier this year and they turned out wonderful!  We recently had some amazing family photos taken by a friend and I can’t wait to show off BTs cuteness and our growing little family in our Christmas cards from Shutterfly.
I love Shutterfly’s Christmas photo card (http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/christmas-photo-cards) and other holiday photo card (http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery) designs for this year.  Also, now that I have oodles of cute baby pictures, I’m considering using Shutterfly to create a calendar (http://www.shutterfly.com/calendars) with some of my favorite photos.  I’m also eying some of the other photo gifts contemplating which I like most.
Back to our Christmas card – each year we’ve been married I’ve written a letter updating family and friends on the big happenings in our family during the year and mailed off the letter, a photo card, and brief personal notes to our friends and family.  It’s also a nice way to briefly document our year and I’ve been saving a letter and photocard each year and plan to put them in a scrapbook.  It will be nice to be able to flip through to see how our family has changed. 

Weekend Assignment: Last Day

A little late to the punch, again, but I haven’t forgotten the latest Weekend Assignment:

Tell us about the last day of anything: the last day of school or a job, your last day as a smoker, the last day before you moved or got married, the last day before you got that car you always wanted, or even the last day of a particularly memorable vacation. Here’s the catch: I’m looking for happy memories here, happy endings rather than tragic ones.

Extra Credit: What happened the next day?

I honestly struggled with this one, for a while.  And then I remembered my truly quintessential “last day”, the anniversary of which is actually right around the corner.

In October of 2006 I said good-bye to my home-town of ten years (though it was never my true home town; military brats don’t have the luxury of a true home town) – a place I like to call V-town.  My destination: the “big city” of the South, Atlanta Georgia. Continue reading


Most friends and family have already heard the latest news, but I thought I’d share some updates on B.T. with the blog community.

B.T. was always a great sleeper – from about five weeks of age he started sleeping straight through the nights.  But a little over a month ago he started waking up at nights, growing restless and moody at nights.  Partly this was because he got sick.  Partly it was because this was apparently normal at this age.  And partly, we believed, it was because he was teething. Continue reading

First Word

Well, not really.  But dear little B.T. is well into his baby-babble stage, and he’s making multisyllabic sounds.  His “first word” was something like [a’ʕɯ]¹ or possibly [a’ʢɯ]² (to my english-speaking ears, it’s hard to differentiate a voiced pharyngeal fricative and a voiced epiglottal fricative), which we transliterate as /a’gu/.  It is, so far as I know, a nonsense word.  Certainly not the “mama” or “dada” we’re looking for, not yet.

What I find interesting, from a linguistic perspective, is which sounds he is choosing to make.  Obviously, vowels are first, and easiest.  He specialises in [a], [u], and [i], primarily (that’s, “ah”, “ooh”, and “ee”), although I think the [u] is actually usually [ɯ] because he hasn’t really learned to round his lips at the same time as making a sound.  But it’s even more curious that his first consonant is a sound that doesn’t appear in English natively at all.  Again, I’m guessing it’s because of ease of pronunciation.  Making a voiced radical fricative involves little more than vibrating your vocal chords while forcing air through it. (Maybe it’s a little more complex than that.  The sound he makes is like a rolling-g sound.)

In other news, I am well aware of the fact that attempting to analyze the phonemes my baby is sounding out classifies me as a special kind of nerd.



¹The funny-looking stuff is from the IPA.  That’s basically a linguistic nerd alphabet.

²Clearly I learned how to do footnotes this week.

Paternal Paranoia Part 2

On Monday, my wife and I went to an “Infant Safety and CPR” class, in preparation for impending parenthood.  (It’s still Spring Break, so I can do this kind of thing on a Monday night.  All the rest that I’ll be attending will be on Saturdays.) 

The second half of the class we learned some basic CPR first-responder techniques that are good up through age 1.  We practiced on baby-sized dolls.  One thing that was surprising was the amount of physical force you have to use to help a choking baby expel something blocking his air passages.  The teacher advised: “A broken rib we can fix, but if the baby’s gone we can’t bring him back!”  Wow.  Yeah, I can see it, but it doesn’t make it easy to accept.  I’d rather have my baby alive, in the hospital with a broken rib or two, than suffocated and dead.  But what a way to bring a parent-to-be’s day down!

The first half of the class was no better.  It was all about rethinking your world and the environment around you as something that’s potentially deadly to your baby.  Things we take for granted, things we don’t think about and would never consider dangerous, things like that can kill your baby.  Things like the cords hanging down from the blinds on your windows.   You think they’re a convenient way for you to open and shut your blinds.  In actuality, they are a convenient way for baby to accidentally hang himself.

I act flippant, but really, that class scared me.  I think acting flippant is a coping mechanism.  Once we got home, I looked down at the AC vents on the floor.  “I’m worried about those,” I told dear wife.  “B.T. can be crawling along and get his fingers stuck in the slats.  And there are sharp metal edges.”  I bent down to inspect the vents on the floor.  “Huh,” Dear wife said, “I’d never thought about the air vents before.”

Suffice to say, I see us (and by “us” I mean “me”, Dear wife being a bit pregnant at the moment) in the very near future crawling around on the floor getting up close and personal with a baby’s-eye-view of our house, checking every nook and cranny. 

I look forward to the next 18 years of life.

Games With My Son

So, over the weekend, I think I got to play my first baby games with my son.  I’ll refer to him here as B.T. (to my wife: that’s a replacement cipher for B.T.’s actual first two initials.)  My wife has been playing some of these games with B.T. for the last few weeks already.  When I poked my wife’s belly, B.T. poked back, and if I poked 2 or 3 times, he poked back 2 or 3 times.  Frankly, it was kind of cool.  It’s like an in-utero version of peek-a-boo or something.  We hope B.T. will be an avid player of games as he grows older, because we have a nice collection of board games, many of which can’t really be played with only two players.

At this point, you can kind of tell where B.T.’s head is at any given time, because it’s a big, hard round thing that pokes out of my wife’s belly.  Sometimes you can tell where the butt-end is, because it’s round but not quite as hard, and has small hard things coming off of it.  He spends a lot of time rolling around, but mostly seems to hang out on my wife’s right side.

Anyway, that’s enough of my gushing over impending fatherhood.  I just wanted to take this break to talk about that since it gave me such a fine feeling.  I’ll return you to your regularly scheduled whatever-it-is-I-usually-talk-about on this blog.