RAPID GROWTH

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Archive for August 2008

In the Big Quicks

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Well, we made it here. We have been in Grand Rapids for about two weeks now. The move went well, thanks to a lot of help from Bryn, Alissa, Matt, and some friends at both ends of the move. We have some friends from Illinois who moved to Grand Rapids a few weeks before us, so they showed up to help too.

Alissa, Matt, and Bryn helped us unpack and the place was fairly livable within a few days. Things still aren’t totally unpacked (especially bike and tool stuff in the basement), but the upstairs feels something like home. We really like the new house, especially because Felix has his own bedroom, which means that we sleep lots better.

The big announcement is that we discovered that we have a real baby, not just a screaming machine. He was pretty good during the trip to Utah and was quite good (and slept a ton) in Oregon, and then when we got back to Illinois, he was terrible. About three days before the move, he started acting like an angel and he was great through the whole move. He has been smiling a lot more, kicking his legs to roll over onto his side, making all kinds of noises, and even giggling occasionally.

BUT…, the Saturday before school started, he reverted to his old ways and was horrible. We think he was going through a growth spurt because he was only sleeping 2 or 3 hours at a time at night. The first few days of classes, he barely let us sleep at all and on the first day I was gone all day on campus (I was gone from about 8:00 a.m. until 10:45 p.m.) he was really bad. Like this:
IMGP2031… again…

But we think that he’s back to being a real baby. Yesterday was a good day and last night, he slept from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. without waking up, then he woke up to eat and be changed, and went back to bed and was still asleep when I left for work at about 8:45.

Grand Rapids is nice and has some really beautiful things. We just discovered that we live really close to the White Pine Trail, which goes along the river here and then extends for 100 miles to the north. Here is a view from the trail near our house (i just found this online, the trees have leaves right now)

My bicycle commute is kicking my butt, but maybe I’m getting in better shape.

And, now for some pictures (mostly of Felix) :

BreelixCoast1

At the Oregon Coast. His first trip to the ocean.

breelixCoast3

FelixPhones

We have some music that really soothes him. In fact, sometimes it just knocks him out. During our trip, we started resorting to using my headphones to keep him calm during drives. Now they’re a regular parenting tool. I’ll try to remember to put up a small mp3 of his music.

jammin

Okay, sometimes he might not be calmed by it. Here he’s rockin’ out.

snuggledCrocodile

lambkins

When we were putting a onesie on him, he suddenly looked like a little lamb.

holdingHead

He’s getting really good at holding his head up now. This was early in his progress.

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Written by rapidgrowth

28 August, 2008 at 3:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

MarioIllinois

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Driving back from Grand Rapids, this was the sky. The landscape looks like Mario Land.

MarioIllinois

And, there’s an artist named Cory Arcangel who hacked Nintendo cartridges to make them do things other than what they were intended to do. One that he made is a great minimalist reinterpretation of video games. On an empty, Mario-sky blue background, clouds float by endlessly.

You can see his description of it as well as an animated .gif here

He also hacked a shooter game called Hogan’s Alley and made a piece called I Shot Andy Warhol in which you use the Duck Hunt gun to try to shoot Andy Warhol.

Yes, that is also the Pope and Colonel Sanders.

If you’re interested in this, there’s lots of other really clever and funny work documented on his web site, which is here.

Written by rapidgrowth

5 August, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Breakdown of a Meltdown

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IMGP2028 IMGP2034 IMGP2023 IMGP2036
IMGP2026 IMGP2032 IMGP2031 IMGP2024

Felix has fewer meltdowns than he used to. But they still happen. We understand how people used to think that some babies were possessed by an evil spirit. He really goes berserk and he looks possessed.

This is what a typical meltdown entails

  • He starts to twitch, flail, and kick. He doesn’t have a whole lot of control over his limbs, and sometimes they seem to control him.
  • He makes machine-gun sounds, crying with a bunch of glottal stops in rapid succession.
  • He starts looking out the right corner of his eyes a lot. This is when you know you’re in trouble. The meltdown has gained momentum and there is probably no avoiding it.
  • He starts crying.
  • Then he screams.
  • Then he hyperventilates.
  • Then he sounds like cat being strangled. He screams so hard that his vocal cords don’t vibrate and it’s just a hoarse, strangled-cat sound.
  • He keeps doing all of these things, looking out of the right corner of his eyes, flailing. You can’t get his attention or distract him. He will do this for a very long time unless he is brought back from the edge

During the first month with him, we had no idea how to bring him back from the dark side. Then we read The Happiest Baby on the Block, which is basically a book on how to calm crying infants. We started applying the techniques described in the book (swaddling, very loud white noise or shushing, swinging or jiggling, sucking (finger or pacifier)) and, while he still has many meltdowns, they don’t last hours like they used to. They’ll last a while and then we’ll bring him back to sanity. He might stay on the edge for a while, but it was a huge change in our lives to be able to stop the screaming.

We hope he will grow out of these soon. We fear he might keep doing it until he’s twelve.

Next post will be cute, not scary like this one.

Written by rapidgrowth

5 August, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized