Monthly Archives: November 2011

Medical Update: All Good

Nyan Thomas had a check-up the other day, which included some more vaccination shots. Daddy had told him that morning that he needed to be brave and not freak out at the needle (project much, Daddy?), and at the Doc’s office, Mommy was hugging him tightly, trying to console him before the needle came out.

But he was fine. Brave, stoic, didn’t even cry out once. He was, in fact, mostly annoyed that Mommy’s hugs were cramping his style – getting in the way of his flirting with the nurses. He was a little fussy and a little feverish and just a bit off for the next couple of days, but this morning he’s back to his old self – gurgling and chirping and playing and kicking and waking up at 5:30. He also rolled all the way onto his side for the first time ever this morning!

Stats from the Doc’s visit:

Weight: 13.9 pounds, 22nd percentile

Length: 25.75 inches, 78th percentile.

(Yes, he’s lean and tall, apparently. That low percentile on the weight is no cause for alarm, the doc says, as he’s healthy and eats plenty. I guess he just inherited his parents’ metabolism.)

Head size: 42.5 cm, 55th percentile.

Cool factor, as shown by the photo below: definitely a 10.

(click on photo to enlarge!)
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Uncategorized



A Tale of Two Socks

If you’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with Nyan Thomas in person (or if you’ve watched this video), you know that one of his quirks is that he loves to take off his socks. Not with his hands, mind you, but by kicking his legs or sliding his feet along whatever surface he happens to be laying on. We’re not sure why – does he like to stay cool? Thinks baby socks are for babies, and he ain’t no baby? Or are the socks coming off just an unintended side effect of his love of kicking his legs?

Regardless, the dude loses his socks left and right. So I was very happy to find, at a nearby children’s store recently, a few pairs of socks that fit him perfectly, that go up to his knees, and best of all, have elastic that holds them tight (not too tight, just right) to his feet.

We put a pair on him last night before bed, and early this morning, while changing his diaper (this was before I’d had a sip of coffee, mind you), I happily noted that both socks were still on there. Picture the scene, dear reader: his diaper is off; his onesie and PJs are pulled halfway up his chest so I can clean and change him, he’s cooing and giggling as I make funny sleepy faces at him… and when I saw the socks, I told him, “Aha! See? The socks stayed on! You couldn’t get them off! We win!”

Young Nyan Thomas is nothing if not clever, though. What did he do in response to my teasing?

He peed. A lot. All over the changing table, the wall, the floor, his PJs, his doting father… but mostly the pee went right to the socks.

So, yes, I took off the socks. Both of them. (And the rest of the clothes too, and gave him a quick bath, and did a quick load of laundry.)

The little guy won that battle, yes. But did he win the war? After his bath, I slipped his feet into a clean pair of, yes, socks. (But shorter ones, ‘cause that was all I could find.) Off we went to the living room for coffee, formula, and a bit of work for daddy.

And about 10 minutes later, one sock was gone.

Can’t win some days.

Here, just for the heck of it, is a picture of the guy from last night. I’m starting to learn how to get him to smile when the camera is out…

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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


Happy 4th (month) Birthday!

Our boy is four months old today.

And just as a reminder of how far we’ve come, here’s a classic Nyan Thomas pic from four months ago today, when he was about eight hours old

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Posted by on November 26, 2011 in Photos



Today’s photo: Happy Thanksgiving!

Nyan Thomas celebrated his first Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. It was pretty much the same as any day, really, save for Daddy being home, and Grandma still being here. Except she had to leave for the airport while he was napping; he’s seemed a little out of it ever since she left. Still, it was a very pleasant, mellow holiday. Here, in honor of the day, a somewhat fuzzy photo (via the Blackberry) of our boy rocking his holiday outfit.

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Posted by on November 25, 2011 in Photos



Today’s photos: Nyan’s big weekend

It was a big weekend for young Nyan Thomas, with lots of visitors, activities and fun. (Yes, it messed up his sleeping schedule a wee bit, which led to him being wide awake at 4am this morning… his parents were not crazy about that, but it was still a fun weekend…)

First off, he got to meet Aunt Jill, Uncle Phil and the Dunn cousins, all visiting from Chicago for the weekend. Here he is having dim sum with Jill:

And on Saturday afternoon, Grandma L. arrived! She’s here til Thursday and has been having loads of fun with her grandson.

We all went to the 9/11 memorial too. Nyan spent the whole time strapped in to the baby backpack thingie hanging from my chest and napping.

And that, of course, meant another subway ride for the young man:

And there was plenty of hanging out time at home, too, with piggyback rides…

and admiring the baby in the mirror…

and trying out the sound-blocking headphones we got him for his upcoming plane ride. Quite possibly the best picture of young Nyan yet:

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Posted by on November 20, 2011 in Photos


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The ‘NY’ in ‘Nyan’ doesn’t stand for New Yorker…

… but you may be forgiven for thinking so after you learn how quickly the young man took to the New York subway system…

Last Sunday, Beatrice was meeting a friend in Manhattan for a late lunch. I just assumed she’d leave Nyan with me – give us boys an afternoon of bonding over, I dunno, football and other manly type things. But as she was getting ready to leave, she asked, “Should I take Nyan?”

We just sorta stared at each other, pondering, the question hanging in the air. You see, he hadn’t yet been on the subway, period. No real reason, other than perhaps us being protective (overprotective?). We worried a bit about the germs, but mostly about the cacophony of clanging and banging that comes with the trains. Would it freak him out?

After a few seconds of pondering the question, we both agreed that it was time to give it a try: time for Nyan to ride the rails. We loaded him into the Baby Bjorn, packed the diaper bag full of diapers, bottles and other goodies, and off they went.

Did he fuss? Did he freak out at the noise? Did he cry the entire time?

Let this picture speak a thousand words:

No, dear reader, he did not mind one bit. Well, that’s not entirely true: at first, he was indeed fussy. But, Beatrice quickly realized, that’s because she had loaded him in to the Baby Bjorn facing her – thinking he would want the security and comfort of being nestled very close to his mommy. Nope, not our boy. He wanted to see what was going on! So she flipped him around in the carrier and he spent the entire ride looking around the train car, making faces at the other passengers, and generally charming everyone.* Beatrice took a couple of self-portrait pictures, but was having trouble with it, so a lady across the way offered to take some snaps.

After seeing how relaxed he was on the subway, I think it’s fair to say that our boy is becoming more of a New Yorker with every passing day, for better or for worse. (Really, though, as long as we can keep him from growing up a Knicks fan, it’s all good, I say.)

* This being New York, of course, some people were immune to his considerable charms. Like a lady sitting a few feet away who saw Nyan and snorted, then said derisively to her friend (though of course loud enough for Beatrice to hear): “Humph! I would never take my baby on the subway. Think of how dirty it is!” Yeah, yeah – stuff it, lady. Our boy needs to see the world, and that starts with Manhattan and the N train on a Sunday afternoon.

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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Photos


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Sleep, sleep, sleep

Earlier this month, Beatrice and I finally realized/accepted what our parenting advisors (that is, the grandparents) had been saying: Nyan wasn’t eating or sleeping quite enough. There were no health problems or anything like that, but he wasn’t having quite as much formula as he should – most of what we’ve read says he should be having between 20 and 30 ounces per day; he was around 20 – and he wasn’t getting the 16 hours of sleep recommended; he was getting more like 12 to 14 or so. That could impact his growth, and more immediately, it made for some very frazzled and exhausted parents. No good at all.

So we buckled down and got back to a schedule, a routine for his day. It goes something like this: up at 7, feed, play, nap at 9, up at 10, feed, play, nap around noon for an hour or 90 minutes, feed, play, go for a walk, nap, bath around 6, feed around 7, then down to sleep. Then give him another big feed around 11, not letting him fully wake up.

The routine isn’t perfect – his naps tend to be half an hour or so, but that’s better than the single 20-minute nap he was having on some days – but the more we try to keep to that schedule, the better it seems to work. And it’s working for sure: he’s now averaging 25 to 30 ounces of formula a day – right on target – and as for sleep, well, I’d estimate he’s now around 15 hours on most days. Not quite where he should be, but pretty close.

And best of all is the evenings: instead of him fussing and crying from 6 until finally passing out around 9 or 9:30, he’s now pretty much asleep by 7, and mostly sleeping through the evening. He’ll have a big feed at 11, and that’s it: knock on wood, but he’s slept through the night for at least the past week. That lets *us* sleep through the night, with remarkable results.

Getting up at 7 hasn’t quite worked out: he’s been mostly waking up around 5:30 or 6. We’ve been having him sleep in the bed with us – yes, I know, there’s a school of thought that says this is bad, but having him in his bassinette or even the crib in the other room just doesn’t work for this routine; we’ll get there – so from 5:30 until my alarm goes off around 6:30, he’ll lay there and make little noises. He’s bored, basically. He’s  patient, mostly, but I do find myself bargaining with him in my still-want-to-sleep daze: “Just half an hour more, please, then we’ll get up and play.” He goes along with that, mostly. Then we’ll get up, hang out on the couch for half an hour or so as I sip some coffee until I have to start my work from home routine. Some mornings Beatrice gets up around this time, other days she sleeps in. If she’s sleeping in, I’ll drag his little portable rocking bed thingie into the bathroom so I can keep an eye on him, and have conversations with him, while I shower; by 8:30 or so, as I’m getting ready to leave, he’s getting ready for a little nap, and he’ll sleep from 9 until 9:30 or so. Then it’s off for a day of fun and games with Mommy!

Nyan Thomas takes an afternoon siesta

It’s not fool-proof, but it’s a great improvement over what we had slipped into, which pretty much had him deciding when (or whether) to nap. And since he’s so alert and always wants to know what’s going on, he would never want to sleep, and so would be nap-free to the point of exhaustion. Then it was crying and fussing so much that he had trouble falling into a nap, even though he was tired.

The other downside is that he’s asleep by the time I get home from work at 7. This is a major downside, but it has to be this way for now.

In any case, if we’ve learned anything in three-and-a-half months of being parents, it’s that things change rapidly. So by tomorrow, who knows? Maybe this routine will no longer work at all. I sure hope not, and I kinda doubt it. But we’ll see.

Naptime! For Daddy. For Nyan, not so much.

Other new developments: he’s needier than ever when it comes to wanting cuddles pretty much all the time. We’re told this is normal for a baby his age, and we’re fine with that, except when, say, Mommy wants to do some cooking or cleaning while Daddy is at work. She straps him in to the Baby Bjorn, which helps, but it’d be nice to be able to put him on his play mat for an hour or so. He does spend time on there, but he also wants physical contact more than he did before. Although, let’s be honest: we are more than happy to oblige and give him lots of cuddles.

And the noises he makes continue to evolve. A new one is major crying bouts: crying not because he’s hungry or needs a clean diaper, but just because. He’s in a bad mood or something, but whatever the cause, he’s just wailing. Beatrice’s mom taught us a good technique that involves holding him upright against the chest – the so-called ‘recovery position’ while keeping his head upright, rubbing his back, and rocking or swaying constantly. Works like a charm – although, happily, this has only happened a couple times. Let’s hope that keeps up.

We don’t have a support network here in New York, which sucks, but thank god for parents and other experts who are just a phone call or Skype session away – that’s been an immense help.

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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Uncategorized



Today’s Photo: Three months of Nyan Thomas

A triptych: Nyan Thomas and Mommy at about ages one month, two months and three months.

L to R: Nov. 11, 2001; Oct. 2, 2001; Aug. 30, 2001

(Click on the photo to enlarge and check out how he’s changed!)

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Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Photos



Hey Kool Thing

Nyan Thomas got his first pair of sunglasses this past (very sunny) Sunday:

(Click on the photos to enlarge.)

His new shades are a bit big, but he rocks them well, we’d say. Passers-by on the street tend to agree.

As you can see from this picture, taken a few minutes before we went sunglass shopping, the poor little guy needed some respite from the glare:

And oh yes, this was also his first time as spectator at the New York City Marathon, which rumbles up Brooklyn’s 4th Avenue, about fifty feet from our apartment. Mom, Dad and Nyan came out to cheer on the runners.

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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Photos



A Bunch of Firsts for Nyan

Our boy got several firsts last weekend. His first road trip. His first sight of snow. His first visit to a Burmese Buddhist temple in New Jersey. Okay, on that last one, it was a first for his mom and his dad as well.

We’d been wanting to visit this temple for a while now. It was founded by some Burmese immigrants, and features a stupa that’s modeled after the Shwedagon Pagoda in Burma. That one is several hundred feet tall, and is said to house, somewhere in its base, six hairs plucked from the head of the original Buddha himself. The one in Jersey doesn’t quite have that. It’s only, perhaps, 50 feet tall, if that, and it’s surrounded by McMansions and New Jersey. But it’s a beautiful structure, and the attached temple serves a noble purpose. It was a great place for a quick road trip.

Last Saturday, New York and much of the East Coast got blasted by a rather nasty, wet, slushy, icy, snowy – and early! – storm. In Brooklyn, we got a full day’s worth of cold rain, sleet and really heavy snow that snapped some tree branches, caused plenty of localized flooding on the roads, and generally made for a wet mucky day. (Really looking forward to winter!) Sunday, though, came bright and clear, although cold, and by midday most of the snow and slush had melted away. So we picked up a rental car, strapped Nyan into his car seat and his car seat into the backseat, and headed south – down the BQE, across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, through Staten Island, and into the quasi-rural setting of Central New Jersey.

It was actually only about an hour’s drive, and that included the slow bits through Brooklyn before we got on the expressway. Definitely a world away; lots of freeways and tollways, strip malls, McMansions, even open farmland. Felt like we were in the opening credits of The Sopranos. We found the temple pretty easily, and pulled in to a muddy parking lot.

We weren’t entirely sure what to expect, and it took us a few minutes to figure out the lay of the land. The stupa itself was obvious. And there was a long, narrow two-story building under construction and a small wood-frame two-story house. Nothing that said ‘temple’ to us… but we walked around to the back of the house, slopped through the muddy back yard, and walked in. Sure enough, this was the temple – at least until the under-construction temple/community center is done – and it’s a working temple, with Burmese Buddhist monks and an abbot overseeing them. It’s also a community center, and we had to pass through a small kitchen packed full of Burmese women cooking Burmese food. They of course offered us some; we declined, out of politeness mostly, I’d say.

It wasn’t hard, in this small house, to find the front room, which serves as the main room of the temple. We hung out here for a bit, bowing before the small statue of Buddha, reading about the history of the temple, making a donation to help with the construction. The temple’s monks, it turned out, where in prayer downstairs, and would be for a while, which put a crimp in our plans to have Nyan blessed by the abbot. But that’s alright. We did have a brief conversation with one monk who passed though, and who took the boy into his arms. Nyan, being Nyan, pretty much charmed him. And then, as soon as the monk handed Nyan back to us, he started fussing. Nyan, that is, not the monk. (Nyan had been so good on the drive over, napping or just sitting there quietly.) We’ve learned that sometimes when he’s fussing for no good reason, a change of scenery, or just some movement, will do the trick. So we gave some cash as a donation to help the construction of the community center outside, slipped back into our coast and shoes and headed out to the stupa.

It’s an impressive structure, a tall column of white concrete, I guess, partially covered this day in snow, and glistening in the bright late October sunlight. Atop the column were many small bells which tinkled softly in the breeze. We found the corners of the stupa that correspond to the day of the week we were born – Saturday for Beatrice, Tuesday for Nyan and I – and said our prayers.

A few photos and soaking in the quiet atmosphere and it was time to go. We strapped Nyan back in and headed up the highway, stopping for an early dinner at a random Italian restaurant along US 9. The food was good enough; Nyan sat quietly next to us in his car seat, and we marveled at how the stereotype of the New Jersey native is, in fact, not far from the truth, based on our fellow diners. ‘Nuff said.

We got home after dark. It was a long day, and a lot of driving for a relatively brief stop at the temple. But well worth it. We may go back to get Nyan a more formal blessing from the monks, and may make further donations to help the cause. Not bad for his first road trip.

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Posted by on November 7, 2011 in Photos


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