Archive for October, 2003

hallmark moment

Wednesday, October 29th, 2003

Toby made Emma cry last night, but in a happy way. At bedtime I gave Toby his bottle, and then put him down in his bed – he’s been really good lately at getting himself off to sleep which is great. After about 5 minutes we noticed that he’d stopped babbling and singing, so I went and checked up on him, and had to call Em through to see what was going on. He’d got himself sat up in the corner of his bed, and had just fallen asleep sitting up. He was kind of folded over, with his head on one side on his lap, out cold. So while Emma got emotional, I unfolded him and put him down on his side. Aww.


Monday, October 27th, 2003

Toby had his 9 month checkup at the doctor’s this morning, and seems to be doing very well – no problems at all. He was very well behaved although I think he would have preferred to be playing, and the only tears came when we made him lie down for measuring/weighing and for his shots. So here are the stats:

Weight: 20 lb, 7oz – 60th percentile

Height: 28.5″ – 65th percentile

Head circumference: 45.25cm – 50th percentile

We’re happy about his weight, we’re finding it a tad hard to keep track of what he’s eating and what his needs are now that he’s on solids and so active. As for his height, we’ve measured him at home lately and he’s been over 29.5 inches, so perhaps it was just because he was extra-wiggly for the nurse today.

After his appointment I walked him down the road to playschool and as soon as we were in his classroom he was dying to be down on the floor, playing with toys and his friends.

better than phone

Saturday, October 25th, 2003

Based on this article in Slate magazine, I have downloaded Skype, a new internet telephone system which apparently is amazing. However I currently have no beSkyped friends, so if you fancy getting in touch using this system, download it and look me up. I’ll report back here as to how good it ends up being.

nine months already

Saturday, October 25th, 2003

Toby is nine months old today! We’re congratulating ourselves on the fact that he still wants to live in our house with us after all this time. We’ve had a few major developments just in the last seven days:

Firstly he decided that he doesn’t “do” baby food any more. So we’ve been racing around trying to find foods that he will eat – basically things he can eat with his fingers. Baked squash, some sausage, herb omelette, toast, Boca burgers and especially macaroni cheese seem to work really well. He even appeared to enjoy tofu – more than Emma and I will eat. Last night we went out for curry and he seemed to like the spicy stuff too which is great. Imagine only having eaten pureed fruit and veggies your whole life and suddenly having crunchy, seasoned things.

Also last night when we got home we were sitting around on the floor and for the first time ever he crawled forwards. After a round of applause he forgot that he could do it and reverted to crawling backwards and spinning to get around, but I guess it’s just a matter of time before it locks into his brain and he’s finally able to get himself out of the corners into which he backs himself. Good job, sonny.

level field

Thursday, October 23rd, 2003

Well, this is nice for them: Senate Approves Pay Increase for Itself. Not just a pay increase but a cost of living raise too. It’s good to hear that they’re in tune with the country, at a time when many of the lucky people who still have jobs and are working themselves into the ground are facing little or no pay increase or even pay cuts. Oh yeah, and the insane budget deficit. Sheesh. Incidentally, this page shows that Minnesota’s Democratic senator voted against the raise; our Republican senator (weren’t they supposed to be fiscally conservative?) voted for.

Speaking of pay and such, I had a discussion with some friends last night about the University of Minnesota clerical workers who are on strike to protest against their new pay/benefits deal. A couple of stats – the average salary of the clerical workers is $30,000, and one of the things they’re upset about is that their health insurance for a family is going up to $27 per month. To put this in some perspective, I’m paying over six times that (and my employer generously pays a whopping three and a half times what I pay). Seeing as only in my dreams am I earning six times what the average salary of a University clerical worker is earning, I’d suggest they’re on to a good thing. But hey, what do I know?

hardened criminals etc

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2003

This story, from the BBC, is almost too good to be true: Pupils took Viagra in lunch break. It raises, as it were, a number of questions, including: if they took this over lunchbreak, what were they expecting to do in class that afternoon? What lessons did they have timetabled? Note also that they attend an all-boys school.

capsule hotel

Friday, October 17th, 2003

Just before I moved here to America, I went to stay with my old university flatmate Andy, who moved to Japan just after we graduated and has lived there ever since. We had a pretty fantastic time – he was a great host and I really appreciated being there with someone who spoke the language and knew his way around.

One night we went down to Osaka and wandered through seemingly endless malls/tunnels/bizarre entertainment and shopping districts till late at night, stopping for the occasional beer or sake. That night we stayed in a capsule hotel, and the memory was brought back today when I read Tokyo on One Clich� a Day in Slate’s diary. It sounds like the writer didn’t have such a plush place as we did – in ours once we’d checked in we went down to the basement to a variety of steam baths, hot tubs and regular baths. You could even pay to have an old woman clean you (which we didn’t do). We were provided with swimming shorts, bathrobes, towels and flip-flop shoes. Sleeping was actually quite comfortable too, and it was quite nice after the crowdedness of most of the rest of Japan to have a little capsule to myself. Only flaw was that the guy in the cube below me snored SO LOUDLY, and that they didn’t serve coffee in the morning. When I found that the Starbucks round the corner didn’t open till 11 in the morning I almost lost my mind. But later that day we travelled to Kyoto for a wonderful walk around the temples in the snow. Magical.


Friday, October 10th, 2003

Toby’s had some problems sleeping over the last week or so, or more correctly he’s had problems getting back to sleep when he’s woken in the night. It started when he had a cold and was sleeping in our bed – he’d wake every couple of hours and need to nurse to get back to sleep. However it’s become a bit of a bad habit and a difficult one to break with the result that we’ve all been really tired.

So Em and I have decided to try to train him to sleep in his own room, and if he wakes up to get back to sleep without nursing, and preferably without needing to be picked up. We’ve done this for the last couple of nights and it seems to be going fairly well, and he’s actually been sleeping better during the day too. He’s had longer naps at school, as much as two hours at a time, and the last two evenings he’s been asleep around 8pm, and apart from maybe one wakening has slept right through till 7 the next morning.

Of course any normal person would regard being awake from midnight till 1 as ridiculous, but it’s such an improvement over where we were before.

Last night we had a whole bunch of people over for a surprise birthday party for our friend Arwen – lots of fun. We’d changed Toby into a smart outfit, but he fell asleep in it almost right away, at about 7:45. We further confused him this morning by changing him into his pajamas – it’s wear your PJs to school day at his daycare, so he went in wearing his Tigger PJs.