Month 2 Month 3 : A February of Firsts Month 4

"Heh! Told ya you'd be left holding the baby!" -old Irish man, passing Kevin when he was out for a walk with Charlie (and, in fact, holding the baby).
It's true what they say: they DO grow up so fast. Why, just yesterday she was doing, well, nothing, and now, she's doing... things! And stuff!

Seriously though, it's incredible to watch the exact moment of realisation dawn on a baby, that all the bits she's been given actually have a purpose. Like, she'll just be sitting there staring at her hand, and you'll see her brow furrowing in concentration: "If I just, maybe... ah! There we go. All the pointy bits just moved into the middle. I'm pretty sure I did that with my mind! Cool!" and from then on she's making fists. Then she goes, "Hang on... if I do that same thing with the pointy bits, but there's something in the middle, like this ridiculous conglomoration of multi-patterned plastic rings, I just might be able to... yes... come on... ha HA! DUDE I CAN TOTALLY PUT THINGS IN MY MOUTH!" and from then on she's totally putting things in her mouth. I swear, I could watch her do that all day. Hell, it beats working on the website.

Highlights from February 2007...
2 Charlie recognises me! Today I came home from work, walked into the living room, and there was Charlie in Aimee's lap. I said "Hi, Charlie!", and Charlie looked up at me, recognised my face, and gave me a big smile. It was possibly one of the best days of my life. If only today was the sort of day that a person could get stuck in and repeat over and over...
(By the way, happy birthday Kevin Orpana.)
3 Charlie's first good night's sleep! I don't know if you remember Aimee mentioning last month that Charlie's been sleeping in the bed with us, and we were about ready to switch her into the basket. Last night was Basket Night. We expected the worst. We shouldn't have.

In fact, it was a piece of cake. See, when she's in bed with us, we sleep so lightly that we become conscious of any little discomfort, which makes us move around a lot, which makes the old springy mattress creak, which makes Charlie wake up, which makes us wake up, which makes Aimee have to feed her to get her back down, which results in another 45 minutes to an hour of sleep, and the great circle of life continues. Last night, we carried her until she fell asleep, then slowly plunked her down into her basket, where she slept straight through until 6am. Score!
4 The basket wasn't just a one-hit wonder. Last night she slept from 10:30pm to 7am. Now, that's a sleep to be proud of at two months old. To show her appreciation, she presented us this afternoon with the largest, most unbelievably runny pool of poo you could ever imagine, rolling out the legs of her let's-compromise-on-absorbancy-for-biodegredation eco-nappies. I could use all manner of colourful adjectives to describe it, but I wouldn't want my brother Chris to throw up while reading my site.
7 Charlie is two months old today! Being two months, it seemed like an ideal time for her to attend her first yoga class. When I signed up for the class I asked the teacher what the babies did during the class. Her response was that the older babies played and the younger babies slept. This one statement has had me on edge for the past week thinking that Charlie is going to scream her way through the entire class and I'll be shamed into leaving out the back exit.

As it turned out, I've never been so proud of her. Not a single peep out of the little charmer for the entire class! And, may I brag, most of the other babies gave out at some point, but not my wee lass. She was so quiet that I actually started to worry during the class that the other mothers would think something was wrong with her. So there you have it - a week of worrying that she'll be a screamer for the entire class and then when she's quiet as a mouse, I worry that she's got something wrong. I just can't win.
10 Charlie's first Belfast visitor! Oliver dropped by this weekend, just for a day and a night, but if you're as close as Barcelona you can squeeze a trip like that into a weekend without too much trouble (for you Canandians, Barcelona to Belfast is about the same as Toronto to Winnipeg, except with around 4 countries in between (five if you count Scotland (which nobody really does))). So, what do you do with a visitor who's never been to Belfast before? That's right, rent a car and take them out of Belfast!

We decided to stick as close to the ocean as we could for most of the day, and see where we ended up. Lots of twisty, mountainous roads brought us to several castles, plenty of scenic overlooks, the occasional foggy patch, a Sunday Roast, and a World Heritage Site: the Giant's Causeway. What a weird place! The rocks were reminiscent of that scene in The Golden Child where he wasn't allowed to spill any water, only there was a ground in ours. We also had lunch at a town with a statue of a goat in it, next to a real live goat, which made me think the statue was dedicated to that goat, who had performed some act of valour, or was part of the goat family that had been trimming that patch of grass since the 1500s. But no, it was a memorial to the good old days of the hoof and mouth epidemic. Nice.
12 Charlie rolled over today! And it wasn't just a fluke, she actually meant to do it, and did it twice (tummy to back)! She's been thinking about it for a while, but usually when she gets close to rolling, I let out a gasp of excitement and she gets distracted, rolling back onto her tummy. Today she did it, and I was so excited I called Kevin at work. He told his friends around the cafeteria table, but they didn't know that was a big deal, so he ended up looking stupid. That makes two fun things that happened to me today! Yay!
13 Some days I'm a supermom, some days nothing goes right. Yesterday was a supermom day. Today was not.
14 Happy birthday Pake!
17 Charlie's first laugh! She's been smiling for weeks, and her smiles are like big wide open mouth smiles, so they're almost as good as a laugh, but they're still not a genuine laugh. In fact, she hasn't even squealed yet, which would also be almost as good as a laugh, just big smiles. Until today!

I started the day with a brand new game: Near Dad Far Dad. Here's how it went... I'm sitting up in bed. Charlie is lying down on my legs in front of me. I've got her hands in my hands, and I pull my legs up so she gets closer to me, while at the same time I move my head down closer to her. That's "Near Dad". Then I go back to relaxed position. That's "Far Dad". Now, do that over and over saying "Near Dad, Far Dad, Near Dad, Far Dad" in a sillier and sillier voice. That's how you play.

As it turns out, her laugh is not a squeal, and not a gargly sound, and not a hahaha. It's actually a really dumb sounding "huhuhuh... huhuh" like Beavis, or Butthead. The one with the braces, not the underbite. And that makes the laughter even funnier.

Note from the future: Near Dad Far Dad should be used sparingly. You only get two or three laughs out of it, tops. Children of the Internet Generation have such a limited attention span. Maybe I'll just let her watch some Jackass next.
18 Charlie reaches new decibel levels in crying! Our little girl is definitely getting more vocal. She's started talking back to me when I talk to her, although I'll say something like, "Hi, Charlie, are you playing with your frog?" and she'll respond with, "Aaaaaaaaaggggggggggggggggggggggggggg..." which I take as a yes, since I only ask her that when she's playing with her frog. Strangely enough, I was singing her the alphabet song (which always makes her smile right around the letter D, so sometimes we sing the whole song "A-B-C-D-Dee-Dee-Dee! H-I-J-K-Dee-Dee-Dee-Dee-Dee!") and she was singing along with me ("Aaaaaggggg"), but when I got to "H-I-J-K", she made this strange howling sound that sounded remarkably like "L-M", which was really weird and a bit creepy.
20 The loudest movie EVER. Charlie and I have been to a few movies over the past few weeks - they're a nice alternative activity for us TV-less folk. I had my rythme all worked out - feed her right as the movie starts, with luck she eats for the first half and then watches the second half of the movie. As the movie ends, she would be ready for another sleep and just starting to get fussy. All in all, well rehearsed. That being said, I invited some of the ladies from my yoga group to take their babies along to a movie, thinking that they would find it as relaxing as I do.

Well, relaxing for them it was not. Four different babies, four different schedules, four different moms... we probably still could have made it work if it hadn't been for our movie choice: Hot Fuzz. Officially the loudest movie ever created. Each scene cut was accompanied by scathing slashing sounds and it was one of those movies that adds sound effects to normal things, like taking a sip of tea. All in all, NOT the best movie for a group of babies. Two of my friends lasted a mere five minutes (and I can't blame them!) and two of us stuck it out for the whole show, but practically wrapped our babies heads in all the clothing we had. Not exactly the relaxing afternoon I had planned!
21 All day long Charlie's been doing this hilarious thing where she's sucking her top lip with her tongue. She wouldn't do it when anyone else was watching and she only did it for today. I'd like to think it was a special goofy thing just for mummy. Thanks Poot!
25 Charlie's first trip to the hospital. Don't get too worried, everything turned out okay. She was playing on her tummy before bed when she spit up, and, where spit up is usually milky white (in the most literal sense of the word "milky", although, occasionally "cheesy" is a bit more appropriate), this spit up was white with reddish-brown. We were concerned, so looked it up on the web (as any modern self-diagnosing parent would do, which has its pros and cons), and all signs pointed to an intestinal blockage (pro: a possible diagnosis you would never have come with yourself), and SEEK A DOCTOR RIGHT AWAY (con: alarmist reactionary hypochondriac websites).

We were faced with a dilemma: do we sleep through the night, risking further harm to Charlie in thinking that something was nothing, or do we find a doctor, risking looking like overprotective internet-consulting parents, to find out that what we thought was something was nothing? In the end, we thought it was better for Charlie to do the latter: rather a doctor say "it's nothing" than the internet say it's something and we decide "yeah, but it still might be nothing."

Charlie, at midnight, smiled at all the doctors, got tickles from all the nurses, and the doc who examined her ended the examination with, "well, I could do some more research, but... no. Look at her. I refuse to believe a baby this happy has anything wrong with her."
27 Congratulations, Danny and May! Welcome, Naomi! Charlie's got a brand new cousin to play with (well, maybe on webcam, since she's in Ottawa). This morning at 12:12am, my brother and sis-in-law added one more girl to the Lingman grandchildren, bringing the balance up to three and three for Grampa! Can't wait for the family reunion tug-of-war: three boys of 13, 9 and 7 years against three girls of 3, 0.25 and 0.001 years. We'd have to make the points back in the swimsuit competition.
28 Sheesh. What a week for baby worries. We went for Charlie's regularly scheduled healthy baby check and quickly realised that our baby isn't quite as healthy as she should be. From her growth chart, she hasn't gained weight in almost five weeks! At this stage, babies should be gaining aroung 6 ounces each week, while she's only gained about three ounces in five. While the midwife isn't too worried about her because she's so happy and is meeting all of her milestones, this doesn't stop us from mildly freaking out about it. As I'm exclusively breastfeeding, this adds a ton of stress to me. I have always worried about whether I'm feeding her enough and this just adds to that paranoia. And of course, it's stressful to think that stress reduces your milk suppy. ARGH. We've got a plan with the health visitor that we're going to wait one more week to see if she's gained anything and then we'll discuss topping her up with some formula... in the meantime, my plan is to get as much food into her as possible and hopefully she won't go poo for a few days before she's weighed. I've got really mixed feelings about having to give her formula. On one hand, it would be nice to be able to share some of the feeding routine with Kevin, but on the other, I'm going to feel like I've failed a bit if I can't keep up the breastfeeding exclusively. But I can't be making the decision based on how I'm going to feel about it. It's got to be what's best for Poot. It's never simple, is it?

Charlie Tivoli, 10 weeks old, posing for her first passport photo.

Let's talk about... CRYING

As a parent, you have to learn to read the few niblets of interactivity your child throws your way. To one parent, a grunt is "I want something I can't reach", where to another it's "Hold onto your hats, poo on its way." However, it's the cry that takes centre stage when it comes to baby communication. Charlie, like tropical storms, has five known categories of cry:

1) "Aaaaaaaaaah."
Not so much a cry as a monotone moan. It's one note, falling slightly at the end. It usually means "Whatever I was doing a moment ago was slightly better than what I'm doing now. I'm not upset, it's just, things could be better."
2) "G-D-Heh! G-D-Heh! G-D-Heh!"
Like a galloping horse, storming toward despair. Still fairly quiet, but if something isn't done fairly quickly, there'll be trouble.
3) "Ah-HaaaHHH! Ah-HaaaHHH!"
Category three usually doesn't take long before rolling over into category four. You only have about four or five "Ah-HaaaHHH"s to do something, so it's really not even worth hurrying.
4) Gasp, "AAAAAAAAAAAhhhhhh-h-h------------hhhh---h-h-h-h."
That's the "I've cried all the breath that I have and it is still not enough to represent my discomfort. If I could force more air from my lungs, I would, but alas, I am so tiny."
Developed this month, even my change in font size doesn't do justice to the sounds of her cat cries. I'm sure she's bound to get worse, but for now, these are pretty heartbreaking... so we took a video of it!

Download it here! (7Mb)

Did you know?

...the volume and sound of a baby's cry can begin to cause hearing damage to a person next to the child after just 15 minutes! In comparison, a jackhammer might take up to an hour!

Here's a noise comparison chart:
80 dbA - Power Lawnmower
100 dbA - Motorcycle
110 dbA - Crying baby
120 dbA – Ambulance, Thunder
140 dbA – Airplane take-off
155 dbA - My sister screaming when she sees a spider

Q. What's the best method you had to stop your baby from crying?

You'll get the results some other day.

Charlie's Book of the Month

The Little Miss Collection
By Roger Hargraves
I used to have the Misters when I was a kid, and I loved them, so it's been fun to sift through some of the Little Miss, which I've never read. Charlie's mood usually dictates which book we open that day (Giggles and Curious get far more airtime than Tidy and Shy). They're rather silly, longer than they first appear, but entertaining enough for adults to read to children. A far cry more interesting than reading "SHAPES AND COLOURS" or something.

As for Lemony Snicket, we've just finished with the Lucky Smells Lumbermill and are on to Vice Principal Nero of Prufrock Prep School. That's book five. "That's book five!" replied Nero, in a mocking, nasal voice.

What the...?

The column that tries to explain the unexplainable.

SITUATION: All Charlie eats is milk, yet to me her breath smells like apples.

ANALYSIS: I assume it has something to do with acid breakdown, enzymes, or the purity of the food she eats. However, I may be the only one with this experience. When I looked up "breath smells like apples" on Google to explain the phenomenon, I got 5 results, all from blogs:
1) "My little one's breath smells like apples." The best bet, but it was just a posting in response to some poetic schmaltz about beauty. No science at all.
2) "God's breath smells like apples" from a ministry website, which made me curious (but not curious to explore further) which of the evangelists were close enough to God to smell his breath, and thank goodness it didn't smell like rotting meat or sulphur.
3) "His hair smells like smoke and his breath smells like apples." some story about a Nirvana concert (perhaps she sat next to God at the concert, or met Kurt Cobain, who may in fact be God.)
4) "Should you venture along those railroad tracks and run into a doe who's breath smells like apples please let us know." I didn't even click this one.
5) "I freakkin love your hair too and you know what? your teeth look like a flock of sheep and your breath smells like APPLES!!!!" Also no help.

STATUS: Remains unexplained.

Silly song of the month

How to spell your name
Sung to the tune of the alphabet song

That is how you spell Charlie

Give your middle name a try,
T-I-V, O-L-I

Then we'll spell your last name last,

Irish English

Fish Slice:
An egg lifter or spatula; a kitchen utensil rarely used for fish, and even less so for slicing.

This came about in a conversation at my job at the animation studio. Sandy, the Scottish Scene Prep Guy, was asking my opinion on the scene where Rab the crab is having a barbecue for his shrimp friends. The conversation went like this:

Sandy: Should Rab have a fish slice?
Kev: A what? (remember, he's Scottish, so it sounded like "Fushslois")
Sandy: A fish slice?
Kev: A what?
Sandy: A fish slice.
Kev: (pause) One more time?
Sandy: Fish. Slice.
Kev: (goes to Sandy's desk) Show me.
Sandy: (points at screen) FISH SLICE!
Kev: Ahhhh you mean an egg lifter.
Sandy: No, I mean a fish slice.
Kev: You call that a fish slice? Why?
Sandy: It just is. You say egg lifter?
Kev: Yes, because you lift eggs with it. Do you slice fish with it?
Sandy: No, but it's a fish slice.
Kev: Okay. Yes, Rab should have a fish slice.
Sandy: That took much longer than it needed to.

that's one fashionable baby!
uncle ollie enjoys fish n chips and a guinness in an irish pub
baby's first adventure
failed attempts at baby's first passport photo

We've got mail...

Wow! Charlie is gorgeous - Thanks for the update look forward to hearing more as soon as you have time ;o) Aren't the smiles just the ultimate motivation and loveliness :O) Makes one go weak at the knees - heart melting :o)
- Mikki
Fareham, UK

My goodness....I want to leap through the internet and eat her up! What am I doing in Mexico? I should be in Belfast. I feel like I am missing too much...
- Gramma
Morelia, Mexico

Your mum forwarded the photos of charlie and they are just darling. I hope youre future plans include a trip to Thunder Bay this year. The picures just make you want to pick her up and hug her. But the photos I loved best were the ones in the bath with the soap suds over her head. She looks like an Anne Geddes baby.
- Jan
Morelia, Mexico

Just checked out the photos you recently sent of Charlie again, and I have to say she's really as cute as ever. My quilt was in a couple of them, and I hope it's washing well, and none of the seams have popped. :)
p.s. Congrats on Charlie sleeping 7 hours in a stretch! That's awesome, and congrats on getting her to sleep in her cradle!
- Cindy
Airdrie, AB

Hi there in Belfast,
What a little sweet heart, thanks for the picture and the Happy Valentine wish.
- Aunt Helina
Strathroy, ON

Good morning,
Happy valentines day to u3 2. Isn´t Charlie beautiful....the bubble girl. Had a lovely time in Ireland with a very nice company. thank you for everything and take care.
- Oliver
Corbera, Spain

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Interested in Kevin and Aimee's other adventures? Of course you are!
Lose a month out of your life reading the Roadtrip or the Bikeabout. They're rather funny.

© 2007 Kevin & Aimee & Charlie Beimers.
Two extra scoops of cute.