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  • Today I bought four bags of books at my university library's used book sale. Score!
  • Henry has TWO teeth now, and he likes to chew my fingers with them.
  • I'm doing a conference presentation at LACC on Saturday, and I think I might do a ten-minute presentation containing the primary information/argument, then use whatever time I have left for some outtakes. The title is "'No More Than a Year': Isocrates and the Assessment of First-Year Writing." With this presentation, I may or may not be embarking on a new series of research projects. I am definitely entering an area that is not very familiar to me (assessment) and another area that is outside my main specialty (classical rhetoric). The outtakes, which have to do with ideas of natural ability, are interesting, but they don't quite fit into the main focus of the presentation.

Pediatrician Michael Melancon

He's good. Two weeks ago today, we saw him for Henry's six-month visit, and I showed him Henry's shaky sitting-up technique. He took one look and said, "I give it two weeks, then he'll be sitting up without assistance." One week and six days later, Henry did it. Here's a video from earlier this morning:

In case you were wondering, immediately after I shot this video, I covered up that electrical outlet in the background with a couple of those plastic dummy plugs.

No! Not that face!

is what we say when he makes the following face:


Yeah, bullets. What of it?

  • One unfortunate and very minor side effect of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike: I have the cloyingly sentimental song "Two Sparrows in a Hurricane" in my mind and have for weeks. It's by Tanya Tucker; I had thought it was by Lorrie Morgan.
  • During the many hours I was half-asleep, half-awake last night, I thought about an assignment one could give in a Classical rhetoric course. In my class, we've been talking about the rhetorical excesses of some sophists, the ones criticized by Plato and Isocrates. I thought it might be fun to do a "sophists travel through time" kind of assignment. Here goes: "you're one of those shady sophists who make big promises for what you can teach students. You can make ANYONE a great speaker who can use the power of rhetoric to make an audience do whatever you say. Who cares if that's the right thing or not? Make a video commercial advertising your services." What I saw in my head was a cheesy commercial after the fashion of for-profit colleges, but with florid, Don King-like language and delivery and gushing testimonies from former students. I'm not going to give this assignment in my class, but it seems interesting enough to write down anyway. Maybe I'll do it myself and send it to Disputatio.
  • The theme of the NCTE convention is "Because Shift Happens: Teaching in the Twenty-First Century"? I'm sorry, but FAIL. The subtitle is a total throwaway, and the first part is just bad taste.
  • To teach is to learn twice, as they say. I'm learning a lot in my Classical rhetoric class, and I hope to get some sort of publication out of it. One idea I have is about Isocrates and assessment, though that's some low-hanging fruit that I'm sure has been done.

The Baby Meme

I figured I'd create one of those survey/meme things for us babies as a way for us to get to know each other better. Remember, it's what YOU like, not what your parents like.

1. Cloth or disposable? Both, I don't have a preference.
2. Breast or bottle? Breast, unless I'm starving
3. Eczema or reflux? Eczema, but it isn't too bad.
4. Jumparoo or play mat? Jumparoo, I guess, but I'm not that into either of them.
5. Mommy or Daddy? I like them both about the same, but if I have to pick one: Mommy.
6. Sling, front carrier, or stroller? Front carrier
7. Pacifier or thumb? Thumb all the way
8. Bumbo seat or bouncy seat? Bumbo
9. White noise or silence while sleeping? White noise, LOUD -- and ceiling fan
10. Crib, Pack'n'Play, or parents' bed? Pack'n'Play, sometimes bed

I tag: Chico, AndyZ,, and Win.

My First Hurricane

Someone at work today remarked that I'd experienced my first hurricane (Gustav). We left Lafayette on Friday and were in Florence, AL for a week. Luckily our house didn't suffer damage. I really want Ike to stay away...

Now back to playing catch-up.

So, how's life with Henry?

Professing Mama wonders what I'm doing with Henry while she's hanging out with/blogging about her baby boy, Chico. Chico was born one day after Henry, but Henry was a couple of weeks early and Chico was a couple of weeks late. So Chico is technically about a month older than Henry, if that makes any sense. I'd expect Chico to be a little developmentally ahead of Henry.

Here are some cute facts about Henry:

1. He loves to "stand" on my and Jonathan's laps. We hold him up under his arms (just barely, only for balance), and he sort of surfs. I mean, he loves putting weight on his legs. Sometimes he'll be fussing and standing him up will calm him. I think he might be figuring balance out a little too, as he has started holding his arms straight out.

2. He doesn't have to be held quite so much anymore. He can sit for short periods in the Bumbo seat and observe what we're doing.

3. He still doesn't like tummy time. His upper body strength is getting a little better, but it doesn't compare to his lower body.

4. He can roll from his back to his side, then back to his back.

5. He's reaching for things. Toys still aren't that interesting to him, though.

6. We're making slow progress with the sleep training. Last night he barely fussed, and only for five minutes, when I put him in the crib. He's sleeping for very long stretches, and I'm working on getting him on a consistent nap schedule. He reliably gets sleepy two hours after waking, but the afternoon naps are harder to come by. Yesterday he took two 30-40 minute afternoon naps, which was good. I think that's why he didn't fuss so much last night; he wasn't overtired.

7. I put bibs on him to catch spit-up, and he somehow turns them around so that they're going down his back like superhero capes. You can see this in the video that follows.

8. Finally, he makes the cutest noises. Here's a sample:

Sleep Training very sad. I finally got to a point where co-sleeping, a.k.a. sleep sharing, a.k.a. letting a thrashing baby sleep next to me while I lay awake for hours and hours because of the thrashing, wasn't working anymore. This is night 5. When we started this, Henry wouldn't even let us put him down in his crib for one full minute without screaming.

From a 1992 edition of Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care, regarding babies who put up a fuss when being put in the crib to sleep (p. 259):

The habit is usually easy to break once the parents realize that it is as bad for the baby as it is for them. The cure is simple: Put the baby to bed at a reasonable hour, say good night affectionately but firmly, walk out of the room, and don't go back. Most babies who have developed this pattern cry furiously for 20 or 30 minutes the first night, and then when they see that nothing happens, they suddenly fall asleep! The second night the crying is apt to last only 10 minutes. The third night there usually isn't any at all.

Usually? 20 or 30? 10 the next night? NO. That's all I'll say about that. Before you say anything, my pediatrician has said that no, Henry is not too young for this, and yes, he does weigh enough. My mom's parenting books from the 70s instruct parents to sleep train starting at two weeks old, actually. I may get flamed anyway, but oh well. I need sleep, and so does Henry. If I shifted to get comfortable in the bed while he was next to me, he'd wake up, so I was disturbing him. While he isn't sleeping through the night yet -- not even as the doctors define it, 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. -- he is sleeping for longer periods than he has been.

And my goals are modest: I just want him to sleep for most of the night in his crib. If he needs to sleep for thirty minutes next to me after a feeding before going back to the crib, that's fine. I'm also fine with rocking/nursing him to sleep.

And with that, I'll watch the opening ceremonies and hope that Henry stays asleep as he has been for the past 30 minutes.

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