April 2010


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During a recent trip I noticed the cover of More magazine with the tagline “Celebrating What’s Next”.  I have no idea what the contents of this magazine are, and I strongly suspect that I am not their target demographic, but the name and tagline certainly have meaning because Everett has now reached the point where he wants more of everything: more beach, more bath, more train and especially more outside.  Most of the activities Everett is involved in are time-limited either by their very nature or because he loses interest after a while.  Not so with being outside.  He loves it and will stay out indefinitely, even if he is freezing.  And you could have a long, long wait on your hands before he has had enough.  One outside activity we meant to do last year but never got around to was taking Everett out in our kayak.  We bought a kayak a few years ago with the REI gift cards that were given to us as wedding gifts.  It’s a tandem, but is unusual because it has a jump seat for children in the rear cockpit (those who are curious can see details here).  We had already introduced him to the idea by showing him kayaking movies, giving him a life jacket and having some play time with the boat in the yard.  And in April this year we took him out for the first time.  I posted a movie documenting the event here.  We have also started taking him for bike rides in the Burley, which he seems to enjoy a lot once you can get his helmet on him.  Because both the kayak and the Burley are in the garage he will take every opportunity to walk up to the door and ask “More kayak?  More bike?”

The magazine tagline actually has a double meaning for me because I used to babysit the daughter of some dear friends when I lived in Utah.  I think she sensed my lack of experience and saw that this was something she could work to her advantage, so I became less of a babysitter and more of a cruise director.  I would dream up one activity after another for us, and at the end of each one she would look at me with wide eyes and ask “What’s next?!?”.  And she would effortlessly integrate each new activity into a rich fantasy life.  I recall being surprised at how quickly a game of Chinese Checkers transformed into an elaborate romantic tale of a prince and princess along with a large cast of other characters.

More was also one of the first words that Everett reliably communicated to us via sounds and sign language.  Here is an old (old in baby years anyway) video from August 2009.



On a different subject, we recently starting thinking about the idea of potty training.  Gabby and Grandaddy helped out by giving Everett a small toilet for Christmas, which we put in plain sight in his room but otherwise never mentioned.  Beyond that we never really encouraged the idea other than reading “Everyone Poops” from time to time.  Anyway, one day recently he said “I want to go potty”, so we put him on it and he went.  High-fives all around!  I was expecting more books, videos and angst, but I have no doubt this will allow us to save our energy for other issues.  Next step: getting rid of diapers altogether.

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Technical Difficulties

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Hi everyone,

Well we were all set to upload three new blog entries when Chris’ laptop crashed.  This happened on Tuesday morning, and we have now been able to recover everything up to March 29th.  It is unclear if we will be able to recover the last week of work, which in the grand scheme of things could have been much, much worse.  The website is going to slow down a bit while this gets worked out, so in the meantime here are some photos of Everett and family and friends.  And here is a video of his first kayak trip:

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Baby Products

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It has been said that necessity is the mother of all invention, and with Everett’s arrival we have identified the need for the following new baby products, none of which we have ever seen and few of which seem likely to be made:
1. The Pack n’ Prison: Most parents have pack n’ plays, but these all suffer from a significant design flaw: they are open on top, allowing the child to climb the walls and escape. The Pack n’ Prison has a lockable lid on top to make sure the kid stays inside.
2. The Crib Bottle: This is really a new use for an old idea. Take one of those inverted water bottles used for gerbils, hamsters, etc. and mount it on the side of the crib with the tube pointed inward. Fill it with milk or formula and you have an on-demand baby feeder.
3. The Baby Washer: All parents have had diaper blowouts, and I imagine many have had the experience where the kid poops everywhere and then rolls in it or kicks it while you are changing him. Or the slow motion horror movie where you take the diaper off and the kid sticks his hand right in the poop, then touches his other hand, then his clothing and other parts of his body, then you. In this instance you need a way to get the kid and clothing clean without undressing and risking further spread of poop. The Baby Washer is kind of like a dishwasher but with a hole in the top for the kid’s head and without a top tray for dishes. Just put the kid in, close the door and turn it on for a gentle wash cycle that cleans baby+clothing.
4. The Baby Handle: There are many instances where you need to have a firm grip on the kid, either for his safety or your sanity or both. The Baby Handle is a body harness that is worn over clothing and which has a handle on the back, the kind you might find on a very large flashlight. With it you can grab him from behind, which could be especially useful during escape attempts.
5. The Anti-Energy Bar: Probably the main reason you don’t see energy bars for children is that they have enough already, and sometimes beleaguered parents just need a break. These energy bars would be prepared with valerian and melatonin to help take the edge off.
6. Energy-Capture device: Along the lines of the previous idea, it could be useful to capture all of the excess energy that children seem to have. Not exactly sure what this would look like, but it would be some kind unobtrusive mechanical device that harnessed energy from the movement of limbs.
7. Babarrest: This is a portmanteau, but it’s not a typo. I am not suggesting a device for helping baby rest (which would be spelled “Babarest”). No, this is a system for safely arresting the motion of a baby or toddler who is running away and is in danger or you are just too tired to chase after them. Basically it’s a special type of lasso that wraps around their midsection so you can reel ‘em in.

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