I have to go to work unpleasantly early to give an exam, and then I’ll be occupied for most of the day with a visiting speaker. Here’s something cute and fuzzy to compensate:


That’s the plush triceratops I bought Tuesday at the Natural History museum shop, as an advance gift for FutureBaby. We’re developing a sort of reptilian theme in baby decor– we registered for a ridiculously cute dino-themed set of linens, and Kate’s cross-stitching some baby dragons to hang on the walls.

I’m not sure what this says about us. But the next time somebody asks how we’re decorating the nursery (which happens all the time), I can safely say “Reptiles.”

FutureBaby Chronicles: Open Pseudonym Thread

Kate and I have been discussing possible names for FutureBaby when he or she ceases to be a baby in potentia and becomes an ActualBaby. We’ve also talked a bit about the issue of FutureBaby’s Internet identification– specifically, whether I should refer to him or her by name in the eventual blog posts (and oh, yes, there will be blog posts…), or adopt some sort of pseudonym to preserve a tiny bit of privacy in this Google age.

At the moment, we’re leaning toward adopting a pseudonym for blog-reference purposes. Which raises the important question that I will throw open to you, oh wise and worldly readers:

How should I refer to FutureBaby on the blog in future years?

It’s a tough question…

Continue reading “FutureBaby Chronicles: Open Pseudonym Thread”

Physics for Babies

Kate and I made a run to Babies “R” Us today, and looked at a bunch more baby stuff. We got a little punchy after a while, so it was perhaps not surprising that I was tremendously amused by the idea of Penguin Bowling.

On further reflection, though, it’s really only natural. After all, the toy is really nothing more than a child’s introduction to the study of physics. It’s really an educational tool that captures the very essence of physics: we learn about the world we live in by throwing things at other things, and seeing what happens when they collide. Sometimes we throw photons at atoms, or protons at anti-protons, and sometimes we throw rattly plush bowling balls at crinkly stuffed penguins (or farm animals or fuzzy monsters).

Whatever the target, and whatever the projectile, it’s all good physics.

Get a Grip!

A few days back, John Scalzi posted a piece celebrating YA books and authors, which included some reading recommendations. In the comments, a few people said that as childless adults they were reluctant to go into the YA section of the store, lest people think they were creeps looking for kids to prey upon.

I can honestly say that that would just never occur to me. I can’t really imagine how skeevey somebody would need to look before I thought “Gee, I wonder if that guy is really a pedophile creep?” rather than “There’s a guy looking for books for his kid.”

Of course, the sad thing is that the people saying that might almost have a point, given the preposterous level of paranoia we have about evil creepy people stalking children.

Continue reading “Get a Grip!”

FutureBaby Chronicles: Naming Names

We’ve asked not to be told the sex of FutureBaby, even though Kate’s doctors know it, having done an amniocentesis to screen for genetic defects. So far, they’ve been very good about not hinting at anything. We may have cause to reconsider this decision, though, as we get deeper into the issue of names.

There’s really nothing for exposing latent class prejudices like thinking about baby names. Not only do I cringe at names that have a hillbilly sort of ring to them, I also reflexively shy away from names that are too “Yuppie.” This is somewhat ironic, because in social class terms, I’m solidly in the group of people who use those names, but there you go.

Anyway, after some deliberation, we’ve adopted a systematic approach, with each of us going through a couple of recent lists of popular baby names and crossing off thins we find unacceptable for whatever reason (any girls’ name ending in “-elle” is out, for example, because I don’t want to stick a child with a rhyming pair of names). This has cut it down to forty-ish (total for both genders– slightly more boys’ names survived, make of that what you will), all of which look perfectly acceptable to me. Now it gets difficult.

For amusement purposes only, though, I’ll throw this open to the Internet:

What should we name FutureBaby?

One suggestion per gender per comment, please. I’m not half foolish enough to promise to use any of these, but it’s possible that somebody out there might have a great idea for a baby name that we haven’t thought of. So have at it.

This is your one and only chance for name-related commentary, by the way. When we make a final choice, it’s final, and that’s that. I’m undecided as to whether I’ll be posting the name at all, or whether I’ll use some sort of nickname to provide FutureBaby a tiny bit of distance from this blog, but regardless, you won’t be told our choice until after the birth, if ever.

FutureBaby Chronicles: Medical Mascot Choice

One of many parts of the FutureBaby! process that I was lamentably ignorant of is the idea of the hospital tour. When I first mentioned to colleagues that we were expecting, many of them (mostly women) asked “Where are you going to have the baby?”

My initial response was “How the hell should I know? In a hospital, I hope. Preferably not in the back of a cab.” I always just assumed you went to whatever hospital was closest when things started happening. Probably because I grew up out in the sticks, where hospitals aren’t exactly thick on the ground.

But no, this is a Major Decision– people choose hospitals well in advance, and in fact, the local hospitals all offer tours of their delivery areas, so you can see what they have to offer. So, guess how we spent our Saturday?

There were a lot of “LA LA LA LA LA” moments on the tour (“We’re really just a baby-and-mother hospital, but we do have a crash cart in case the mother has a cardiac event, so we can stabilize her, and then transfer to another hospital…”), and some TMI stuff, about which more later. One thing that amused me, though, was the baby warmer in the delivery room.

First of all, the concept of a “baby warmer” is pretty amusing– the woman giving the tour said “Once the baby is delivered, we take it over here, and pop it in the warmer…” I half expected her to finish that with “…and in three to five minutes, it’s toasty warm and ready to serve!”

Beyond that, though, I was amused by the fact that it was a Panda brand baby warmer. Now, really, could there be a worse choice of a mascot for maternity products?

Continue reading “FutureBaby Chronicles: Medical Mascot Choice”