Saturday, February 20, 2010

parent training 101 - by the mvp

hi everyone... this is my first time posting here. i hadn't planned to post quite this early. i can't use the shift key at all and, until my arms get a little bit longer, i basically have to lunge between the p and the a on the keyboard, making the word papaya a three minute adventure unto itself. fortunately, i have not yet learned what a papaya is, so there is little reason for me ever to type the word papaya. don't give that condescending look. you try blogging with 8 inch arms. anyhow, when i saw that the edge was directly countering the clear parent-bias on his blog, i realized i must do the same. benjamin button, indeed. really, who are my mom and dad to talk. they look haggard and they shower twice per week. combined.

even baby emperor penguins can benefit from my instruction.

anywho, one of the toughest parts of being a baby is the sleep training. parents have this crazy habit of trying to bunch all their sleep into a single stretch at the end of a day, which makes about as much sense as having one gut-busting meal meal per day. who does that. they also seem to think that I should sleep in a cold, sterile crib instead of in their arms all the time. as a baby, it is my job to break them of this terrible habit. it sure is not easy. parents, it seems, have a mind of their own.

the word in the baby underground is that the key to sleep-training parents is both consistency and inconsistency. consistency, because if you you show just one chink in the armor, you may have to bust your ass for weeks until the 'rents unlearn a new bad habit. for example, I made the mistake a couple weeks ago of letting my parents get the notion that putting me to sleep in the crib is acceptable. like crack addicts trying to match their first high, they have spent weeks trying to recapture that magic even with no encouragement from me. weeks of starting to fall asleep in their arms, and crying the moment they put me in the crib until they pick me back up. sometimes i have to do this six or seven times for a single nap before they give up. i don't think they are too bright. i hope they are good at sports.

inconsistency is important too, because basic pavlovian conditioning teaches us that inconsistent rewards are the most effective. this is simple. every now and then, at random, flash them a little smile or coo at them. then hold back as they try to recreate the conditions that caused it. this is not only effective, but wildly entertaining.

showing me a valentines day cupcake but leaving it tantalizingly out of reach is sort of like an inconsistent reward. jerks.

no, mom. the cupcake goes in my mouth.

these techniques, once mastered, can be applied to myriad situations. for example -- when awake it is important that my parents hold me up over their shoulder, and walk around. my eye position must be exactly 5 to 6 inches above shoulder level so that i can see well without overtaxing my underdeveloped core muscles, and they must stand and move around so that i have maximum visibility of the environment. they must also hold their forearm parallel to the ground so that I may sit on it. this is a great example of comparative advantage. i need not lament not being as tall as my parents, any more than a cowboy laments that he cannot run as fast as his horse.

this position is taller, but inferior.

however, after 10-15 minutes in this position, sometimes my parents get what I call lazy forearms. they either allow their arm to fall, so that their shoulder obstructs my view, or their forearm moves off from parallel, causing me to lean to the side. this is obviously unacceptable. i use the same techniques described in the sleep training - always object, and occasionally nestle into their neck when they have the position right. using these techniques, i have been able to increase their time holding this position to 45 minutes at a time. i'm confident that we'll work up to 90.

this is not the favorite position.

not bad, but not the position.

still not it. come on, stop screwing around.

ok, now you're just being mean.

ahhh. finally.

the mvp has spoken. consider yourselves enlightened.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Your Bill, Sir.

The MVP is 2 months old today, and he received a very special present in the mail.

Running total so far: $182,000+

Though the MVP is very well insured and mostly won't have to pay for his "special delivery", the amount is enough to make his jaw drop.

What you talkin' bout Blue Shield?!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

MVP's First Celebrity Sighting!

Living in Southern California, you occasionally spot celebs as you're out and about.  We're sure this will be the first of many such sightings for The MVP.  Mr. Boy was very gracious about the whole thing.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


MVP went from happy, sweet & scrumptious to upset, frustrated & angry at about the same time Jemifus' last blog post went up about our newly reformed baby.   ENSV, a seasoned parent, did wisely advise me to make sure & enjoy the smiley side of MVP because babies go through phases.  I just didn't think the phase could be so short!

It's quite heartbreaking when MVP looks me directly in the eyes and gives me the whimpering sad face because I know he's really uncomfortable.  Gas is the enemy and its winning the battle.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Hibernation and Jubilation

The MVP's Grandad has a desert tortoise.  I'm not sure if he's technically the MVP's Grand-Tortoise or Uncle Tortoise, so we'll call him Gruncle-Tortoise to cover our bases. Every winter Gruncle-Tortoise hibernates, and Grandad stores him in a plastic bin on a shelf in the garage.  (Conveniently the timing is such that Grandad could use the same plastic bin he uses to store the Christmas supplies the rest of the year, though I don't think he's made the connection yet).  Yesterday, The MVP decided to emulate his Gruncle-Tortoise.  He slept for 26 hours straight, awakening just six times and only for the 40 minutes or so it took him to eat.  I just picked a plastic bin from Target in case The MVP does it again. Maybe we can put him away and go camping or something.

We read that excessive sleeping can be a baby's response to a growth spurt.  But The MVP has gained 11 oz in the last week --just passing the 10 lb mark-- so if a growth spurt is just starting then I'm frankly a little scared about what that might mean.  Along with the growth spurt, The MVP is getting absurdly strong (making feeding, burping, and changing ever more difficult). At this rate, The MVP will be able to beat me up in just a few months.

Fortunately, his disposition has become positively sunny of late. Just a few days ago, it seemed he only had three modes: eating, sleeping, or behaving like an injured racoon. If he was awake, he was angry. I should be knocking on all kinds of wood, but three days ago he woke up and just stayed... happy and alert. I know! He was smiling, following our faces, and doing all kinds of stuff he's never really done.

Here I am now... entertain me.

He's also decided night is a good time to sleep (before yesterday, I mean, when he decided that every hour is a good time to sleep).  This has happened just in time.  The other day, I decided I'd better stay home from work, after envisioning the following conversation.

Me:  Honey, I'm home.  Hey, where's the baby?
V-Train:  What baby?

Extreme?  Perhaps.  But when I casually mentioned to V-Train that there's a law where you can drop a baby off at a fire-station, no questions asked, her response was "Until what age?"  But the last three days have been... fun. 

Ok, who are you, and what have you done with our baby?

It's almost as if he's a real, human baby.  His interaction the last few days has been much more sophisticated.  V-Train was so encouraged that she tried to read him a book today, though he seemed less than interested in her chosen tome with pictures of baby faces.   Perhaps he'd prefer something more... dramatic.

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?

We're almost reluctant to post about this recent turn of events.  Something about counting chickens and blah blah blah.  The MVP follows his own plan, and won't hesitate to make fools of us all.