Thursday, November 1, 2012


For Ollie's Birthday we let him crash sailing boats in to each other...

and then dressed him up as a tiger, which he seemed to think was the best thing this side of an actual tiger.

Last week he attempted to take his grandfather's MGB out for a spin, with his cousin as an accomplice. Doesn't bode well for the teenage years.

Monday, September 24, 2012

People let me tell you 'bout my best friend...

"...He's a warm hearted person who'll love me to the end.
People let me tell you 'bout my best friend,
He's a one boy, cuddly toy, my up, my down, my pride and joy."

I love these lyrics from "The Courtship of Eddie's Father."  And yes, I think both the Blob and I feel this way about our little ginger nut--that we want to tell everyone about him and that he's our pride and joy, etc.

But sadly, I'm pretty sure our babything thinks of another being this way...and the feeling is mutual.

From the day our babything came home from the hospital, Gio has been all up in his business.  Blob made a screencover for our co-sleeper to keep that cats out, but that didn't dissuade Gio from inspecting.  Wish we had a picture of this!  As soon as we all fell asleep each night, Gio would creep onto the top of the co-sleeper cover to sleep for the night, hovering above the babything until we woke up and shooed him away.  It was pretty sweet actually.  Thankfully the Blob built a bomb-proof cover that was able to support Gio's weight easily.

Our babything has been equally enamoured with the cats.  All of them really, but especially Gio.  To show how much he loves cats, his first, real, identifiable, fully-pronounced word was cat.  He was chasing Gio at the time and it's been highly repeatable and often repeated.

Hey guys, look!  It's a cat.  In a box.  I put him there myself!

Gio waiting patiently for the babything to follow him through the cat door.

We have other cats.  None of the others seek him out, want to be near him, need to be part of whatever he's doing in quite the same way.  Still, they're pretty good with the babything too.

Gio was an accidental acquisition (he and his sister were and example of foster failure).  What a happy accident!  It hurts my heart to think that we might have deprived them of each other.

Best buds.  Hangin' under a bench.

I think they get along so well because they match!  What do you think?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our Little Pumpkin Head

Quick warning: this post may be a bit boring for those of you not interested in genetics or how genes are expressed.  Also, I don't understand it much myself so I may have over simplified it a bit or just plain gotten it wrong.

Oliver has red hair!

What!  How did that happen?  Since I always imagined having little brown-headed babies and Blob always imagined having little blond monsters running around, we were both surprised to learn that our baby is a ginger.   Because I can't help myself, I looked into how it works and what the chances of having a ginger muppet were.

I have brown hair.  Blob has blondish hair.  Before looking into this, I assumed that I was solely responsible Ollie's orangey-red locks since my mom has firey red hair and several other member of her family do as well.

But no!

Red hair is a recessive trait and needs two copies of the recessive allele to be expressed.  So in fact, both Blob and I had to contribute a recessive red allele.  We're both carriers!

The Red Hair Gene: MC1R (RR, Rr, rr)
The gene that determines whether or not someone has red hair is called MC1R (I have no idea why!). Let's call  the alleles "R" if it is dominant and "r" if it is recessive.  When it works, this gene creates a protein that converts hair color pigment from red to something else.

If a person does not have red hair, then at least one copy of the MC1R allele is on/working (R).  That means at least one or both parents contribute a working copy  (either Rr or RR genotype).  With one or more working alleles for the gene, a person can convert hair color pigment from red (pheomelanin) to not red (eumelanin).

If  each parent contributes a recessive allele (rr), the MC1R gene does not work.  Pigment stays red (pheomelanin).  So, all redheads have the genotype rr.

Pigment Bunches (pppppppp to PPPPPPPP)
Each person has 8 alleles that determine how dark his/her hair is.  We get 4 alleles that code for pigment from each parent.  The spectrum runs from the lightest light blonde hair, which is pppppppp, to really dark or black hair, which is PPPPPPPP.

Our Genotypes
My genotype for MC1R is Rr.  Since my mom is a readhead, she could only contribute a (r) recessive allele to me.  Since my hair is not red, I also have a working copy (R).  So, my genotype has to be Rr.  It's easy to tell with me because my dark hair is accompanied by red highlights and freckles.  I have dark-ish brown hair, so my pigment making bunch probably is either PPPPPppp or PPPPPPpp.

Blob's genotype for MC1R is Rr also.  We know his since our baby-thing has red hair (rr), but Blob doesn't have red hair.  That means that Blob has to be a carrier of the recessive trait (Rr) and passed his (r) recessive allele on to the baby thing.  It's a bit harder to tell that Blob is a carrier, but after doing a bit of reading, we learned that we should have been able to tell since his beard grows in with red hair.  Neither of Blob's parents have red hair either, so one of his parents also has to be a carrier of the recessive trait (Rr).  We're guessing it's probably his dad.  Rob has blondish hair, so his pigment making bunch probably is either PPpppppp or PPPppppp.

Oliver's MC1R genotype is rr.  We don't yet know what his pigment bunch looks like.  If he's a strawberry blonde, he'll have less pigment (e.g., PPpppppp).  If he has bright orangey hair, he'll have a split (e.g., PPPPpppp).  If he has auburn hair, it will be more like (PPPPPPpp).

Phew.  That's all the boring for a bit.  Here are some cute baby pictures.

And here is where most of my info came from:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rock On

Working it out.  His new favorite toy.

Eat It

The time has come.  Our little one eats.

To introduce solid foods, we're trying "Baby-Led Weaning".  It's not terribly common (at least I don't know anyone else trying this way), but we love it.  In this situation, weaning means introducing solid foods, not cessation of breastfeeding.  It aligns with our overall parenting approach (in that it's both lazy and uncontrived).  The basics for starting are:

  • Prepare food for your own meals and use some version of that to feed your baby (you may need to chop differently or cook a little more or less initially).
  • Give your kid 2 inch long pieces of food (one inch to hold and one inch to eat) while they are learning.
  • Let them figure it out.  They get to figure out how best to hold the food.  They also get to perfect their aim.  Once they get it into their mouth, it may involve activating their gag reflex, which is not the same as choking.  In infants, the gag reflex is further forward in their mouth, just for this reason, to protect them from choking when they learn to explore foods.
  • Food is fun!  Since he still gets most of his nutrition from breast milk, he doesn't need to eat any particular amount.  In fact, some days if we're really busy we just don't get around to it and he's fine.

It's been going really well for us.  Our little pumpkin head loves it.  Here are a few things we like about it:

  • He feeds himself.  This means we can all eat at the same time.  
  • He feeds himself.  Definitely worth mentioning again.   His dexterity has remarkably improved after just three weeks of introducing solid foods. He uses his hands to explore the food, turn it around and aim it at his mouth.  He has so much fun eating.  
  • He feeds himself.  Yes, again.  Another benefit is that he regulates which foods and how much food he puts in his mouth.  I think this will help with portion control.
  • He eats almost anything we offer him.  He'll try it, move it around in his mouth, see what he thinks.  It's a fun way for him to discover all sorts of flavors and textures.
  • Mouthy manipulations.  Soon, about two days after he started solid foods, he started saying many, many more consonant sounds.  The timing may have been a total coincidence, though I think having greater control over his mouth and how he uses it may have helped.
  • Chewing.  Yes, at 6 and half months, he had only been "eating" for three weeks, had no teeth, but already started to chew his food!  I'm kind of amazed.
  • It's convenient.  When we go out to dinner or eat at friends houses, I don't need to worry about packing food for him, I can just give him something from my plate.
  • The magnificent gag reflex.   I actually think it's fascinating to observe your child's built in features working well and the way they ought to.  It's interesting.  He infrequently gags, but when he does, the food just comes back up quickly.  He's not at all bothered by this and will pick the same piece of food right back up and try again.  For him, it's just part of the learning process.  Ooops, I put that one in too far.  Ooops, too many at a time.  

Here he is in action!

Here's another video where you can see him loving the ever so unhelpful bananas.  He gags a bit in this clip, at about 37 seconds.  You can see how little he's affected by it.

As much as we love this, it's not for everybody.  
  • Gagging.  If you're a nervous person, the gagging might worry you.  We're pretty laid back, so have accepted that this is just part of the natural learning process.  And Ollie isn't damaged by it at all, not even a little.  If it bothers you or your kid, then it's not for you.
  • Constipation.  We accidentally constipated him.  Whoops.  That was a mommy fail.  Somehow, I've lived my entire life without knowing that bananas stop you up.  Since they were easy, I gave him bananas every day in the beginning.  We resolved this with a bit of (diluted) prune juice and also give him a bit of  dried plums with every meal.  He loves them and has no problem navigating the skins.
  • Mess.  At first, there's a lot of it, especially with avocados.  It's so much fun for him and I have the time, so I don't mind cleaning up with him afterwards. 
  • Time.  If you don't have time, it's quicker to just feed your kid yourself..
  • Allergies.  If you're introducing one food at a time and are worried about allergies, this may not be the best approach for you.  You can still make it work, but some of the convenience factors disappear. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Unkle Mandy

This post is loooong overdue.  Back in March, my fabulous little sister, Amanda, came to visit from the Bay Area.  Ollie was a big fan!  Here are some of my favorites from her visit:

Unkle Mandy is so funny!

Pants on my head!

Ollie liked Unkle Mandy so much that he decided to dress like her for the day.
Our older sister, Elissa, and her son, Alex, came to visit for the weekend while Amanda was in town.  Amanda was initially concerned that Alex might not like her, but he was also a BIG fan.

Unkle Mandy.  Good at nephews.

Line up in increasing order of height.  Midgets on the left!

Three Zadrozny Shes

Now, the only aunt/uncle left to meet is Auntie Joe Z.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

6 Months! Wait, Really?

Apparently, this baby-thing's been around for 6 months. He's so easy, hilarious, and generally amazing that it's hard to believe.

For his half-birthday, he went on a swing:
Faster! Faster!

And for a hike in Umstead Park. Obviously, he found this very enthralling, even though normally, a few thousand trees would be just what he wanted for his half-birthday.
Wake me up when we get there. Wherever 'there' is.

And for an encore, he got dressed in the dark.
If I chew on this ZebraDonkey, maybe they won't notice my outfit.
As I write this, he's smiling in his sleep. That's just how happy this little man is.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Egg-citing times for Easter, hunting for eggs with the neighborhood kids and then again with cousin Isla.

Hat whimsy!  With Poppy and Gordon!

Hey Isla, we're on a lake!  We'll have so much fun here!

Finally caught one of those pesky eggs.

Also, just as exciting, a weed.



We've got lots of material!  Here's a series of pictures that I love, atop Stone Mountain a couple weeks ago.   He's definitely our kid.  He LOVES to be outside!


Please.  Please, don't make me go.


Natural high

I'm coming for YOU!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sand: extra dietary fiber?

Easter weekend outing: Beaufort, NC to visit Christine & Jody!

First, a trip to Emerald Isle. Oliver was pretty excited about the ocean, but he was REALLY excited about the sand!
As long as I can eat that, you are welcome to bury my feet all day.
Also: look how amazingly good I am at sitting up!

This is SO much more water than I get to play with at bathtime.
The next day he got to paddle in the river. He was equally impressed despite the not-terribly-warm water. 

I'll be fine if you let go, honest. No face-planting or anything!
I think I'm ready for swimming.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The [tooth] is rarely pure and never simple

I know every parent says this, but ours kid--OURS--is different.  (I hope you're picking up on the sarcasm that I'm ineptly trying to convey.)  But yes, our kid is slightly advanced.  No, I'm not shouting from the rafters with glee.  He's a bit advanced in the teething department.  Of all things!  We caught a glimpse of his first tooth at 3.5 months and we haven't seen much more of it a whole month later.  Instead of getting that tooth to grow (lazy tooth), he spends most of his days like this. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

One way or another...

I'm gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha
One way or another I'm gonna win ya
I'm gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha!

I love how he takes a brief hiatus from his mission to wonder why I'm laughing hysterically at him.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Yadda Yadda

Not quite the Gettysburg Address, but give him another month or so and a few more beers.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gratuitous cuteness

This week brought an exciting present in the post from cousin Emma in the UK: Bashful Bunny. At first, Oliver was a bit concerned.

However, never one to shy away from a challenge, our boy decided that maybe he could make friends.

And after a few minutes consideration he decided that maybe rabbit was on the menu after all.

In other news, global reserves of cute continue to dwindle.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

So sorry.

As a new parent, one thing I didn't count on was needing to expand my repertoire of regular apologies.  Here are some of the new things I find myself apologizing for:

- I'm sorry I can't ever coordinate the baby-thing well enough to get somewhere on time.
- I'm sorry my son pooped/burped/spit up on your lap (e.g., Grey, Monita).
- I'm sorry he mistook your hair for a toy.
- I'm sorry he fell asleep on you.

(and my personal favorite)
- Sorry my son just motorboated you (e.g., ABC)

Thankfully, he's still small and cute enough to get away with these things.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cute Things: Oliver and Isla

First, some great news: we welcome to the family Tim & Anna's little girl, Isla Elizabeth, born 11 January 2012 at 8.04 am and weighing 7lb 5oz:

Oliver had this excited response
which may be down to his extremely poor English.

However it's a marked improvement over the previous week's response to one of my jokes: