April 2014

Differences & Similarities

Teddy and Gwen have been quite different from the moment they were born. For starters they have very different eating habits. According to Everett:
“Gwen is like a goat – she gives everything a chomp.”
And: “Gwen loves to eat! That’s why her thighs are so meaty.”
As far as we can tell the only thing she doesn’t like is bananas. In contrast, Teddy is a pretty fussy eater. He won’t eat anything with texture or chunks; instead he wants everything smooth and pureed. He also prefers sweet flavors to savory. It’s been a challenge to get him to eat very much at all even though food is plentiful. If you give him a bite of something he doesn’t like then he opens his mouth, points his head down (to get some help from gravity) and then proceeds to retch and gag. Fortunately we have been able to find some sources of regular yogurt (i.e. non-non-fat yogurt, also known as just yogurt, that defies the current trend in the US of making everything non-fat). We now call it fat yogurt and we give it to Teddy often as a source of fat and protein.

The babies are also different with regard to mobility. Teddy is very mobile – he is on his way to mastering crawling and has already started to pull himself up to stand. Gwen just doesn’t seem as interested in moving. Until recently she was pretty passive. Over the last month she has become more and more wiggly, to the point where her continuous alligator rolls make her a bit difficult to hold, but she hasn’t yet taken in interest in crawling.

One thing the babies have in common is that they both find Everett very amusing. Often they will start laughing while watching him, even without any particular effort on his part. And thankfully Everett is very good at cheering them up when we ask him to. In fact, we have often acknowledged that he gets more responsibilities simply because he is so responsible. We try to consistently catch him being cooperative and helpful, and provide him with plenty of rewards. We had to get into some heavy bargaining with him while we were in Salt Lake City and we were able to maintain his cooperation by mixing in visits to the playground and the yogurt shop.

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Announcements II

We are moving to Utah. This has been an incredibly difficult decision. Chris turned down offers from Hogwarts and The Barrow Institute, and finally chose to join the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute at the University of Utah.

We are excited about the move but also sad to leave Wauwatosa. As we have said many times, we love it here and don’t want to move.

When we tell people that we are moving to Utah we get very mixed reactions. Utah has an image problem that it just can’t seem to shake: most of the time when the state is in the national news it is for reasons that, at least to outsiders, sound crazy. This is a little curious because there is plenty of crazy news that comes out of nearby states such as Arizona as well, but they don’t seem to have the same image problem. Anyway, we feel it’s best to get some things out in the open from the start:
-Yes, we are moving to a red state. It is extraordinarily unlikely that we will register as Republicans (though Independent might be an option).
-We don’t plan to join the NRA unless they change the R to rutabaga.
-We are not becoming teetotalers. Contrary to popular perceptions, alcoholic drinks are available in Utah. Honestly, the liquor laws in Montgomery County, Maryland where Chris grew up are more restrictive than the laws in Utah.
-Chris will not be seeking additional wives to add to the family. It just seems messy and complicated, and Melissa probably wouldn’t allow it anyway.
-We are not Mormon, and we don’t plan to convert to Mormonism. There is nothing wrong with being Mormon – Chris has several Mormon friends and colleagues who don’t fit the outdated stereotypes that are applied to the members of that church.

Now that we got those things out of the way, here are things we are excited about:
-We get to buy a new house. This is something we would need to do even if we stayed in Wauwatosa because with the arrival of the twins we have outgrown our existing house. We are looking forward to finding something that has more bedrooms and more space for children.
-We are moving to an area with mountains and spectacular scenery.
-Chris is starting a new job with an excellent group of colleagues.

We recently took the entire family to Salt Lake CIty to look at schools and houses. It was tricky to pull this off with the three children in tow, but we had a great realtor who was very accommodating and as a result we were able to see about 30 houses over five days. Everett was very cooperative for the first couple days. His job was to count bathrooms and tell us what he liked about each house such as areas that seemed to have good roughhousing potential. He was also patient as we took him to look at a couple of schools. However, by about day 4 his patience was running out. He woke up that morning and said “I am done looking at houses. I am done looking at schools. I am just done!” So we minimized the amount of time he had to spend with us and took him to the home of one of Chris’ new colleagues who has three children who were also on spring break. The babies had similar ups and downs as their nap schedule was pretty disrupted, but we were able to make it work by having one adult in the car while they slept while the other two went into the houses.

The next few months are likely to be very challenging as we move our family and Chris moves his lab. We will do our best to keep the blog up to date as we make progress…

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Recent big news stories in the Butson household:

We recently took the family to visit friends in Austria (I’ll post those blog entries soon). A couple days after we arrived Gwen had a toy in her mouth when she seemed to wince in pain. Chris saw it, but she recovered quickly and he didn’t think any more of it until later that evening when Melissa noticed there was blood coming from her mouth. Gwen is getting her first tooth! Her bottom left front tooth is just breaking through her gums.

On a similar subject, Everett told us yesterday that he has a loose tooth, and later that day during his visit to the dentist we learned that two teeth are loose! He is very excited about losing his teeth and getting new ones. He is curious if it will hurt or not, and naturally he can’t resist wiggling them from time to time.

This morning during breakfast Everett exclaimed “Teddy just sat up!”. Teddy has been working hard at crawling and figuring out how his body works, but today is the first time any of us has observed him sitting up on his own.

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Tonight Everett read us a book for the first time. The book he chose was My Friend is Sad, featuring Piggie and Elephant. Melissa and Chris listened carefully while Teddy and Gwen rolled around on the bed. Recently Everett has been seemed very motivated to learn to read, and has been spontaneously reading things that we see around the house and in public. He has been a bit confused about acronyms and slang, but this is to be expected. He has also been a bit confused about the idiosyncrasies of English but this is also to be expected, especially for a language that has borrowed so liberally from many other languages.

Everett also informed us that today has been the most exciting day of his life because he got to climb the ladder to the attic. To put this in perspective, we insulated the attic a couple years ago and Chris put in a ladder to make it accessible. Since then we have used it for storage. Each time Chris goes up there Everett wants to know if he can come with. The answer to this has always been no. This was made easier by the fact that Melissa wasn’t allowed up there either (climbing ladders is contraindicated for pregnant women). However, today we were cleaning out the garage and biked over to Dan O’Callaghan’s house to deliver the Santa trailer to it’s rightful home (it’s been in our garage since December 2012). Dan has built a spectacular tree fort in his backyard, and while he and Chris were hoisting the trailer into the storage rack in Dan’s garage, Everett climbed the ladder to the tree fort. Perhaps this is why our attic ladder didn’t look so intimidating to him tonight. He asked Chris if he could climb the ladder and look around, which he did. Then he asked if he could go all the way up there and walk around. Chris said no, it wasn’t safe to do that without shoes on. Soon afterward Chris was wondering why Everett was putting his shoes on at bedtime, but the purpose should have been clear. So we climbed up there and looked around. Everett was reunited with several snugglies he found in a box. Chris was able to find some things for Teddy and Gwen, both of whom are outgrowing their 6 month clothes.

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