Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bear quizzes the Bishop on football and other details

The family went to an ecumenical prayer service for life today, this near-anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It was at our town (and diocesan) Cathedral, and the local Bishop was presiding.

Afterward, as we had some cookies and juice, Bear went up to the Bishop (who he doesn't know, FYI) and asked him if he was a Vikings fan or a Saints fan--being a bishop and all. He replied he was a beleagured Detriot fan, but he'll root for the Vikes today.

It didn't help. In the great heritage of Minnesota, the Vikes came really really really close to winning the NFC championship and lost in OT, 31-28. Darn it. Bear was bummed. I have to admit, so was I.

Other than that, it has been a week with continued adjustments to me (Starling) working at school while Mudpuppy turns his nose up to the bottle. Poor Jackrabbit.

Jaybird has had strep (sad girl), and Mouse had her rite of election at church this morning--she's getting ready for First Communion.

The weather has been unseasonably warm (mid-upper thirties)...but that's a mixed blessing, with all the snow on the ground. The sidewalks and streets have suddenly become moats. Bring out the gondolas!

Mudpuppy update

Well, Mudpuppy continues to say "goo," as demonstrated in this action-packed video. Actually, it's not so action packed. I've been trying all week to get good video of him smiling and laughing, but every time I take out the camera, he gets real quiet and just stares at it. I guess that's not surprising -- it has a light on it when it's recording, after all.

It has been a joy to have a baby in the house again, even if he does continue to buck the bottle. We made a big push to get him to take the bottle, though -- basically offering him nothing but the bottle consistently from 8:00 to 4:30, and it seems to have helped.

He's also manipulating things much more with his hands--if a blanket is on him, he picks it up and looks at it (and looks at himself holding it with some amazement--wow, I did that!).

He's a cutie, all right!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mudpuppy discovers his hands

Here is a quick update on Mudpuppy. As the title of this post suggests, he has discovered his hands. He looks at them with fascination, and is beginning to exercise some very basic control over the general direction in which they fly. He can hold onto objects, which we discovered about two weeks ago when Jaybird gave him this wand. If we had it on video, you'd see him waving it wildly, which is pretty hilarious.

He is smiling and laughing quite a bit now. This is the stage that I always hold out for: the smiling, cooing, and laughing stage. They're not big enough to mess up the house, but they're SO DARN CUTE when they do that big smile and laugh. I will try to capture some video of that for the benefit of far-off relatives.

For the most part, this is a pretty laid-back baby. He actually likes his car seat most of the time, and he sleeps for long stretches. We all feel so blessed to have him in our home.

The only downside is that, ever since Starling went back to work, he has had trouble taking a bottle. This is a big problem, since Mom can be gone for as long as nine hours. We're not sure why he stopped taking the bottle: I am hoping that it's just a technical issue, like upgrading to a larger hole size on the nipple. (I ran out to Target and got a new bottle nipple -- the "medium flow" variety -- on Friday.) Most of the time all it takes to set him off is just showing him the bottle when he's hungry: I put the bottle in his line of sight and he sets off screaming his head off, making it perfectly useless to even try feeding him. Sometimes I manage to get him sucking on the bottle for a little bit. He'll be doing fine for about 10 or 20 seconds, and then he'll pull off and just start crying. A lot of times he doesn't even latch on to the bottle correctly, or he'll try sucking and breathing at the same time and start choking. If it's not the nipple, then the other possibility is that he's just mad about not being able to breastfeed, and he's going to cry until he gets what he wants. People say, "Well, he'll eat when he gets hungry," which I suppose is right, but then you've got a fussy, crying, screaming baby on your hands for hours at a time. One day he went the whole day without eating, which can't be good for him -- and of course that means that I am trying to calm him or feed him for most of that time, which means everything and everyone else kind of goes by the wayside.

People have offered a wide range of possible solutions, but I think the bottom line is that eventually he will figure out how to take the bottle or we will just bump along until he's old enough to take a cup.

Anyway, he sure is cute most of the time. Here he is with his Twin Cities grandma; below, he's the first baby in the lineup of baby cousins at my parents' house at Christmas. My sister is the picture, too -- she looks very good for having had a major heart attack just a few weeks earlier.

Posted by Picasa

Little theologians

So today we had our home GIFT session, and since we had already covered a lot of the material (on the concept of the human soul and the imago dei), we opened it up for questions. Boy, they ask tough questions! Bear asked, "How can Jesus be so Godly and so Manly at the same time?" Basically, how can Jesus have two natures, human and divine. Mouse jumped on that: "Yeah, because there can only be one human being inside a person, right? And how could Jesus change the water to wine if he was wholly human?"

And then Bear asked, "If God is everywhere and can do anything, then how come bad things happen like the earthquake in Haiti?" So we talked about theodicy for a while. And then Mouse asked, "If Jesus lived forever, then was he the one single thing at the beginning of the universe, before the Big Boom?" So we talked a little about Jesus as the Word of God, and how God also created through his word.

People tell us, "Well, look at their parents" when we relate these stories. While that is definitely part of the mix here, I think a big part is the fact that we have been very intentional about their catechesis, and we haven't shied away from the big topics or fancy terminology. They certainly don't understand a lot of this at a deep level, but I think (and hope) that we are giving them a solid foundation -- a toolkit or vocabulary that they can draw on when they are older. Down the road, hopefully they will be able to draw on their Catholic tradition in a way that helps them grow into mature faith. It's not something that we can control -- we might be raising the next Richard Dawkins, for all we know -- but we can give them what they need for a strong spiritual foundation, if they choose to develop it.

We told them they were asking really hard, good questions that even the wisest adults struggle with -- but that it's good to ask questions. Now if Starling could only get her college students to ask questions on this level!

Ice Skating 2010

After several weeks of very cold weather, the temperature finally got up to just below freezing today, so this afternoon we dug the kids' ice skates out of a very messy storage closet and took them for a spin. Mouse is much improved from last year; she made the leap from basically just walking on the skates to actually gliding on them. Bear fell a lot, mostly because he's pushing the envelope a little more than he had been. And Jaybird went solo for the first time. She fell a lot -- including once on her bottom hard enough to make her bawl -- but she kept getting back up and trying it again. I held her hand for a while, but she said, "I've held your hand for long enough, Daddy. I need to try it myself, even if I fall, because that's the only way I will learn."


Friday, January 08, 2010


(Starling here again--)

Mudpuppy and I both have thrush.

He has mastered the word "goo."

I have mastered the word "ow."


Mudpuppy is indeed very talkative these days, with Goo, Geh, Gah responses to us smiling or doing anything much at all. Often with a big smile. What a sweetheart. He is also reaching for things and grasping them (like a pinwheel). We were at the doctor yesterday to get checked for thrush, and he weighed in 15 lbs 9 was his 3 month birthday.

I'm back at work and it was a rocky transition week, to put it mildly. But at least there is a day off tomorrow.