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Archive for July, 2007

Scary Machine

July 24, 2007 6:28 pm

For the last couple of weeks the breast pump I bought has been sitting in our entry area intimidating me. I took it out the box, looked at all the pieces, read the instruction manual and promptly put it back in the box. This past weekend I was determined to tackle it. Jace and I went to a new mom’s group on Friday and several of the other girls expressed that they had similar fears but that once you start to use it, you figure it out and get used to the idea of being a cow hooked up to a milking machine. So Sunday night (well really the wee hours of Monday morning, I took the bull by its horns (or the machine by its parts) and gave it a shot. Not the most elegant piece of equipment but it did the job and I didn’t end up with pieces of me missing.

Last night Steve got to give Jace his first bottle. It was a little traumatic for him (both hims, I imagine) at first but Jace eventually got the hang of it and devoured the whole 4 oz bottle. We will try again tonight.

Our first week alone

6:27 pm

Jace and I were alone last week. Steve went back to work, my mum went back to New Hampshire and I stayed home. This was incredibly intimidating for me because Jace and I are still trying to find our rhythm and getting to know each other. There are times he cries for no apparent reason and can be very hard to console.

I decided on Monday that we would go out on an adventure because sitting at home all day seemed like it would last forever. We left the house right after Jace ate lunch (about noon) and ventured off towards Everett to visit our favorite shopping plaza (Like many of our friends who live around here, that shopping plaza gets most of our disposable income since it has Costco, Target, Home Depot, BabiesRUs, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Old Navy. Talk about dangerous!). As soon as we left the house, I realized I had forgotten one thing. To eat. Jace was fed but I wasn’t so we stopped at Qdoba on the way. Once inside the store, Jace wasn’t too happy but I decided to eat outside and he settled right down, soothed by the noise of the trucks and cars flying by! The rest of the trip to BB&B and BabiesRUs was a success as Jace slept through most of it, waking for snack at BabiesRUs. They have a nursing room and I think we will visit it again if we have to run more errands in that shopping center, even if we don’t really need anything at BabiesRUs.

Tuesday we decided to stay home. Not so good. Lots of Jace crying, me crying and general frustration. The tendinitis in my wrist (which was originally caused by mousing) has flared up so carrying Jace around is a little uncomfortable. And, of course, Jace will only stop crying when carried, bounced and cuddled. Steve came home around 4pm and boy, was I happy to see him.

Wednesday morning Jace had a visitor. My freshman and sophomore year college roommate, Kiri, stopped by with her daughter Danielle and lots of lasagna. We like friends who bring food! We played and visited for an hour or so then Jace took a nap. Steve actually worked from home that day but he really wasn’t needed too much as Jace and I took a walk and he was generally much happier.

Thursday I decided we needed another adventure since Tuesday at home at been so rough. So we headed out to more stores, this time Carters and a different Target. Not so good. It took us a while to leave so by the time we got there Jace was starving. I fed him on a bench in the mall (it is a very empty mall so it was a good introduction to feeding in public) then we went to the stores. Jace apparently does not like the Watertown Target because he screamed his head off most of the time. Try carrying a screaming child and pushing a stroller and shopping at the same time. Not easy. We forgot several things that we went for. Next time I need a list.

Finally, Friday morning, we went to a New Mom group that I had heard about. I figured it didn’t matter if Jace cried there so we headed over for an hour. It was nice to sit around and talk to other moms and got some tips and ideas from them. I think we will try to go again this week. That afternoon and evening, Jace decided that he was starving and fed every hour and a half to two hours for 45 minutes at a time. I hope that was him 3 week growth spurt because it sucked all my energy out (literally as well as figuratively!) When we finally got him to sleep at around 1 am, I was so happy that the week was over.

It was full of ups and downs but we survived. I’m sure that it will only get easier as we get to know each other better and figure out what works and doesn’t.

Baby Straight Jacket

July 23, 2007 3:31 am
Baby Straight Jacket

Jace has arms, he just doesn’t always know that they are part of him when they flail about in his sleep. So we swaddle him whenever we put him down for a nap or bed.

Most people use a blanket to swaddle and that is what we did for the first week or so when we came home from the hospital. Problem is, Jace squirms around so much, he managed to escape from the blanket especially as he got bigger. So we went with the kiddopotamus swaddle me wrap which has velcro to keep it closed. It isn’t always 100% successful, but most of the time Jace’s arms at least stay inside even if a hand wanders up to his face.

When I was talking to my friend Brian the other day, he said “oh, so you use the baby straight jacket”. Well that had never occurred to me before but hey, if it keeps Jace happy and asleep, I don’t care what you call it!

Got Blog?

July 14, 2007 8:11 pm

If you are a friend of ours and you have a secret alter-ego blog that you forgot to tell us about, please let us know. We are always looking for new reading material and ways of keeping in touch with friends near and far.

2 Weeks Old

12:55 pm

chill Jace

Well Jace is now 2 weeks old and weighs 9lbs 10 oz. How has he changed in the last 2 weeks? Well, he has mastered the eating thing. He no longer falls asleep while eating. In fact, he doesn’t like sleeping after eating either. Once we eventually get him settled down, he will sleep for a while but it is a challenge to get him to go to sleep. From his point of view, the world is far too exciting to waste time sleeping. The one thing that works for sure is putting him in the sling and going for a walk. I’m so glad it isn’t the middle of winter right now!

He loves to squirm and wiggle despite the suggestion in the picture which shows a very chill Jace. He loves sucking on things. Nipples, our little fingers, his hands; doesn’t matter to him so long as it can be sucked on. He is trying to suck his thumb but he hasn’t quite figured out how to get it in his mouth with any regularity yet. He keeps trying though.

How are we doing? We are adjusting. Slightly sleep deprived and rather overwhelmed at times as we try to figure out this parenting thing. But he is darn cute and snuggling with Jace makes up for all the trying times when he decides to scream his head off for unknown reasons.

My mum was down last week since Steve had to go back to school and work. She was a great help holding Jace when I wanted to take a nap, shower or check my email. She also went grocery shopping, cleaned and other mundane but important tasks. Next week I have to figure out how to do it all on my own. But I am setting expectations low. So long as I can eat every once in a while and keep Jace fed, clean, and relatively happy, I will be satisfied. Good thing he likes to nap with me so we will get some sleep for sure.

Jace Adventures

12:52 pm

Image: Jace and the curse of...

Tummy Monster recommends the use of RSS readers

July 10, 2007 1:13 pm

Jace has friend named Tummy Monster who, despite being in utero and the size of a baby potato (as of 7/7/2007), is an expert on web-related technologies (you can see Tummy Monster’s website here: http://tummymonster.blogspot.com/). T Monster recommends the use of RSS feed readers for anybody who regularly visits web sites with RSS feeds and frequent updates (news, blogs, etc.). An RSS (“Really Simple Syndication”) feed is basically a specially formatted version of the content on a website like this one, designed for use with RSS readers (like the Google reader seen here:

http://www.google.com/reader/view/).

Tummy Monster has a more detailed description:

http://tummymonster.blogspot.com/2007/07/on-being-web-savvy.html

For anybody who cares about such things, I’ve placed a link to the RSS feed for our website over on the right side of this page. Those of you who followed the instructions to get email updates are actually already using the RSS feed indirectly (the feed is being interpreted, converted to email, and then sent out to subscribers).

Feeding An Octopus

July 9, 2007 10:40 am
Feeding An Octopus

Ever tried to feed an octopus? Well, it is as hard as one would think. It seems like whenever we try to breastfeed, Jace grows extra arms. These arms grab at me, try to push him away from me and generally get in the way of him latching on. Swaddling can help but then he tends to fall asleep. At least the vacuum cleaner attachment seems to have found a lower setting!

Raised by frogs

July 8, 2007 1:01 pm

When we were getting a room ready for housing our child, we thought it would be cute to paint a little scene with frogs on the wall. But we underestimated the degree to which children imitate their surroundings. Based on his new favorite pose (seen here), Jace has obviously been spending way too much time with the frogs…

froglet

Time to start cutting down on frog exposure.

The name: Jace

July 6, 2007 5:05 pm

When novelists write books, it’s not unusual for them to create the entire text before they figure out what the title should be. Because they want to build the plot and texture of the story on its own, without being constrained by the handful of words on the front cover that define and hint at the contents of the pages.

Not so with names. We have the responsibility of picking out a name for our kid — a title for somebody else’s book — before we’ve even met the main character, much less peeked at the plot lines.

So we go with something that is flexible enough to match anything in the range of personalities we expect. Something fun and bold yet easy to say, easy to spell, and which hopefully won’t be the primary topic of future counseling sessions.

We had a handful of names on our short list, all with a similar flavor to them, but some of them were so incredibly common among recent newborns that their popularity seemed like a liability, and we decided to go with something a little more unique. We didn’t actually settle on a name until the day after Jace was born, but we did discuss it and give it a little thought before that time. Here’s a glimpse at some of the research behind the name.

Gathered below for your reading pleasure, we have some information on:

1. The popularity trend
2. Geographic distribution
3. Spelling
4. What real live grown-up Jaces have to say about their name

The popularity trend

We didn’t really want to be influenced too much by the relative popularity of the name we chose, but the trend for Jace is interesting:

Year of birth Rank
2006 187
2005 208
2004 228
2003 249
2002 281
2001 299
2000 310
1999 336
1998 379
1997 406
1996 466
1995 524
1994 568
1993 555
1992 550
1991 559
1990 552
1989 603
1988 626
1987 616
1986 616
1985 665
1984 736
1983 747
1982 850
1981 a
1980 947
a Not in top 1,000 names for indicated year of birth
Note: Rank 1 is the most popular, rank 2 is the next most popular, and so forth. Name data are from Social Security card applications for births that occurred in the United States.

In most of the years prior to 1980, the rank was above 1000.
[From http://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/babyname.cgi]

Geographic Distribution

Though the name Jace barely makes it into the top 200 male names nationwide, it is in the top 100 in a handful of states (the distance between rank 200 and rank 100 tends to be fairly large in terms of the frequency of occurrence). The states identified in the map shown here [for those reading this post in an email, you might need to go to the website to see the image] come from the 2006 data on the Social Security website at http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/.

jacemap

It wasn’t until after I examined this distribution that it occurred to me that there may be a connection to Mormon naming strategies. It has been widely observed that Mormons have a higher than average tendency to choose uncommon names and to invent new ones (consider “Mitt”, for example). The only explanations I’ve ever seen for this phenomenon reference the statistical fact that Mormon families are larger than the national average, and that their surnames tend to come from a small common group (“Smith”, “Young”, etc.).

We wouldn’t be shy about picking up some naming tips from our Mormon friends if we thought it was appropriate. After all, they chose well when naming the guy who turned out to be one of the best quarterbacks of all time (Steve Young). However, it’s not necessary in this case. My investigation shows that, while it isn’t really tied to any particular group, instances of “Jace” correlate more closely with a geographically overlapping set: the western-style names such as Cody, Wyatt and Austin.

Spelling

Jace. Definitely Jace.

If it were a short form of Jason, it seems like you might spell the name “Jase”.

But the part of my intuition that connects spelling to pronunciation tells me that, on its own, Jace/Jase is like face/phase or lace/lase (to use a laser).

In other words, the spelling “Jase” is incorrect and easily mispronounced as “jaze” (though at least it’s probably not as varied in its pronunciation as “vase”, which ends up retaining the French-like “vahz” sound for half one-third of our household :-) ).

Spelling happens to be one area in which popularity does matter, and it seems that the world agrees with us: in 2006, “Jace” was rank 187, with 2,119 males receiving that name. “Jayce” was way down at rank 427, and “Jase” landed at rank 565.

What real live grown-up Jaces have to say

In early June, I sent email to 14 different guys named Jace, and got detailed responses from 10 of them. The recipients included, among others, Jace the history professor; Jace the 18-year old professional race car driver; Jace the programmer; Jace the investigative reporter; Jace the random blogger dude; Jace the attorney; Jace the musician; Jace the other musician. I asked a handful of silly questions about what they think of their name (silly because, well, what the heck are you supposed to say when somebody asks you whether you like your name?). I also asked whether, “as a real-life adult Jace, you have anything to say about your relationship with your name over the years.”

Out of the 10 respondents, one had changed his name to Jace as an adult, and the rest had been Jaces since birth. All respondents thought it was fun and slightly flattering to get the question, and all highly recommended the name.

Among the unexpected revelations was the comment: “My parents got it from the 60′s Saturday morning cartoon show ‘Space Ghost’.” When I read this comment, I realized that I have a vague memory of Space Ghost hanging out with two sidekicks and a little monkey (the show was revived for a year around the time that I was 6 years old). And sure enough, one of them is Jace (this image swiped from http://www.animationmeat.com/modelsheets/spaceghost/spaceghost.html):

space ghost

Right now our little squirmer looks a bit more like Blip the monkey than like Jace the sidekick.

jace/blip

Other comments included:
“I definitely get ‘cool name’ a lot.”
“A close friend of our family just had a baby boy and named him ‘Jace‘ and we were thrilled!”
“In college a fellow asked my permission to name his son jace. that was a few years ago now.”
“Good luck with your new son. The name Jace has served me extremely well!”

There was some acknowledgment from many of the respondents that the rarity of the name could present challenges. For example, one of the responses contained this statement:

Of the people who comment, about 80% say they really like it. The
others are a little confused. The most common points of confusion are:
- wanting to call me “Jason,”
- not knowing how to spell it,
- or mis-pronouncing it as “Jackie.”

But it doesn’t seem like this is too significant as a negative point. In fact, it’s probably best if our son stays away from anybody who would mispronounce “Jace” as “Jackie.”

So there you have it.
And for anybody who doesn’t know us and has just happened across this post on the internet, Jace says that it’s okay if you name your son Jace too. Actually, what he just said was, “squirk! erk,” but I think it’s what he meant.

(C) Steve and Heather Leibman, 2007.