The Elusive Smile

June 09, 2009 By: erik Category: Family, Funny, Offspring, Photos 281 views

Attempting To SmileWhen her American grandparents visited last month, they gave Nora a homework assignment to be completed by the time they visit again in August: to learn to smile in response to attention and goochi-hoochi-coo baby talk. She has taken the assignment very seriously and has been practicing ever since.

The first time I ever saw her truly smile, combined with a not-yet-laughter cooing noise, was in our hotel room in Madrid two weekends ago. I had her in my arms and was recounting the exciting morning of planes, trains, and automobiles. Her face lit up and I saw the most beautiful sight I think I’ve ever seen. Or at least I did for a few seconds before my smile raised my cheekbones up over my eyes and, tears welled up, and everything went blurry. Paralyzed by joy, the storytelling stopped, and eventually we eased back down off of cloud nine. Marga reports the same teary-eyed emotional paralysis and can’t recall anything for those few heavenly moments either.

Naturally we’ve done little else than seek this high ever since. Nora, like a manipulative drug dealer with her junkies, has only given us small samples of joy ever since, but has yet to repeat the full-on high of nine days ago. What follows is an attempt I made yesterday to capture an image of The Elusive Smile.
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Ethics of blogging about your children in the first person

June 09, 2009 By: erik Category: Family, Internet, Musings 187 views

Several dozen times now I have come close to starting a blog or twitter account or Facebook account for my 77-day-old daughter, and updating it as if it was her talking about herself. But there’s something that always stops me. It feels vaguely unethical. Like I’m not sure that I would have wanted my parents to do the same to/for me. The Golden Rule and all that. It would be cute as the dickens, of course, and it would help separate my own identity and thoughts from all the reporting on her activities. Let’s face it, the Offspring post category has rather exploded around here lately. It’s one thing to do it for an inanimate object, but eventually she’s going to grow up and participate in the social internet world, and maybe she won’t like having these old accounts (and scatological status updates) lying around?

Can I get some opinions from my audience about this? Would you do it for your kid? Would you really enjoy reading Nora’s status updates from a separate account? Knock me off the fence.

Dancing A Jig

June 09, 2009 By: erik Category: Dancing, Funny, Offspring, Videos 157 views

thumbThe following is a video I took on Sunday of little Nora in her Sunday dress performing her favorite activity: kicking. She’s been an avid kicker for 6 months now, only 2.5 of which has she been out here in the extramommy world. She’s one calorie-burning aerobic baby. Judging from how much she likes bath time, I’m thinking she might be a good swimmer.
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Falling Asleep At 200x Speed

June 08, 2009 By: erik Category: Funny, Offspring, Timelapse, Videos 207 views

thumbThis video has been sitting on my computer for a month now, and I finally got around to uploading it. No doubt we all look similarly twitchy and ridiculous when we speed up video of us falling asleep, but I think Nora looks particularly so. It’s not a great video, but I figured I’d share it anyway. It’s funny to watch her belly go up and down in the times when she’s not thrashing around.
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Crib Noises – Nocturnal Haiku

June 08, 2009 By: erik Category: Funny, Musings 118 views

Scream of agony.
Distant flatulent thunder.
Sigh of happiness.

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The only thing about me is the way that I walk

June 05, 2009 By: erik Category: England, Musings, Photos 2,375 views

Worn SolesFavorite shoes are a funny thing. I remember vivid details of the stores where I buy my favorite shoes. I’m not sure why this is. Perhaps because, once I realize how great the shoes are, I imagine myself going back to buy more, because good comfortable shoes are hard to find and worth stocking up on if you find a brand and model that agrees with you. Of course I have yet to actually follow the whole process of 1) discover after a week or two that these are really great shoes, 2) make it back to the store, and 3) find and buy more pairs for when current pairs wear out.
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Even More Dresses

June 04, 2009 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos 292 views

1950's HousewifeI foresee a continued stream of photos of brand new dresses in my Flickr photostream’s feature. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law call every day to ask what Nora is wearing. Of course, with each new outfit, she’s so incredibly adorable that there’s not really an option to not take a photo. Since she made it to the two-month mark, she’s been using a new dress just about every day. None of which we have purchased. They were all gifts.
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Meeting Carla

June 04, 2009 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, Travel 444 views

Carla and NoraIn Spain, it’s very common for people to have a pueblo, a little town where they grew up or where their family originated from, where they go to spend vacation time. In August and Easter, these small towns throughout Spain come alive as the towns’ sons and daughters return to maintain both their houses and friendships. The family I married into goes to a tiny town in Extremadura named Higuera de la Serena. Marga has been going there in the summers since she was born, and thus has many friends that also summer there. As we all know, over the years, some friendships weaken, but the special ones remain strong. One of Marga’s best friends from the pueblo is Emi, a woman who is three days older than Marga and lives in a Madrid suburb. Last year, when Marga was four months pregnant and starting to feel like her independent life of youth was ending, she called her friend Emi.

Marga: “Hi Emi! I have some news!”
Emi: “Hi Marga. I have some news, too.”
Marga: “I’m four months pregnant.”
Emi: “I’m four months pregnant.”
Marga [annoyed]: “Hey cut that out. I’m really pregnant!”
Emi: “That’s great. I’m really pregnant too!”
Marga: “Really?? That’s fantastic!”

Marga came out of that phone conversation happier than I had seen her in the four months of her pregnancy. She had apparently been fretting that in 2009, she’d go to the pueblo and all her friends would be going out and partying, and Marga would have to be caring for her daughter while her friends were having a good time. The idea that she wasn’t the only one shackled by offspring pleased her immensely. Emi’s daughter, Carla (she had that name picked out long before we picked one for Nora), was born 25 days after Nora. Last weekend, we went to Madrid to register Nora at the US Embassy, and we visited with Emi, Carla, and Mario (Carla’s dad).
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Bench Mom

June 02, 2009 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Photos 211 views

These are just three photos of Marga and Nora that I took during our trip to Guernica recently. She took Nora and the bottle and sat down to feed her while the rest of us unloaded ourselves and the stroller from the car. Anyway, I like these photos.
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Stuff I Thunk – May 2009

May 31, 2009 By: erik Category: Musings 147 views

Occasionally I have publishable thoughts that are more than 140 characters long, but not long enough for a full blog entry. To allow an outlet for these I’m going to start a series of monthly blog posts where I let these thoughts accumulate, and then I publish them at the end of the month.

The way Apple gives free Apple logo stickers with every product is pure marketing genius. What do people do with stickers? They stick them on things. Not only that, but they stick them in places that will be seen by other people, thus making your logo even more ubiquitous. Genius!

After watching an unhealthy amount of streaming NASA TV recently, it occurs to me that someone putting a satellite in orbit should include an HD video camera pointed towards Earth at all times. I’d tune to that channel and just leave it on my television for a long, long time. They could even put small ads at the bottom.

Note to self: When moving a rotten pear from the fruit basket to the trash, do not assume that the stem will support its weight. When they hit the floor, they explode into a gooey sauce that resembles human vomit, both in color, consistency, and desirability to clean up.