Tag Archives: Babyology


Achievement unlocked: Sitting up!

Why babies are so small

They haven’t gotten the mushroom yet.


If babies were cars

  • You have to stop every three hours to fill up the tank, whether you’re driving or not.
  • There’s only one warning light on the dash. It’s blindingly bright and offers no information about what’s wrong. The light comes on approximately ten times a day.
  • The warning light also causes the horn to honk. There is no way to turn off this feature.
  • Your car’s garage is located on the second floor, right next to your bedroom, so that you don’t miss any of those delightful horn honks.
  • You have to change the filter about every three hours.
  • The car flails and wiggles the whole time you’re changing the filter.
  • The car does not come with an owner’s manual. You can buy a third-party manual if you wish; there are about 50,000 to choose from, and they all offer conflicting information.
  • You do not get a choice of color. If the car is an unexpected color, people get very upset.
  • The car does not drive. At all. If you want to take the car somewhere, you must tow it using another vehicle.
  • If you try to trade in the car for another, better functioning model, you will be arrested.

Miscellaneous & sundry: New parent edition


  • The rumors are true. Evan Buckley came home from the hospital on September 24. He’s now two and a half weeks old. The lack of posts recently may or may not be related.
  • It’s weird. The whole thing still doesn’t quite feel real. Like, there’s definitely a baby and he definitely belongs to Betsy and me, so logically I must be a father. But so far it feels a bit like some bizarrely intense long-term extra credit project. Evan is wonderful and I love him 100%. But my brain just hasn’t quite caught up yet. I keep waiting for someone to say, “Thanks for babysitting! We’ll take him home now.”
  • His onesie says “World’s Most Adorable,” but I know they mass-produce those. It’s like they’re not even trying to hide the lies. Of course, privately I know very well that Evan is the most adorable, but that’s a separate matter.
  • I don’t understand baby reflexes. Crying, which is meant to elicit sympathy and affection, is among the top 25 most annoying sounds in the world. And the more hungry they get, the more likely they are to flail their arms and block your attempts to feed them. I mean, child. I know you’re new and all, but seriously.
  • The facial expressions this baby makes. I can’t even describe them. He’s like a skeptical hippie on an acid trip. It is the absolute cutest thing.
  • I’ve started reading him a book called “Animals,” which is part of the “Baby Touch and Feel” series (which is probably not the best name for a series, but hey). One of the pages has a photo of a baby chimp, with the words “Baby Monkey.” Chimps are apes, not monkeys. Guys, your book is like twenty words long and the pages are cardboard. You really couldn’t be bothered to fact-check?
  • I once took an aptitude test that revealed – and this is true – I am in the bottom 5% of the population in finger dexterity. This has become painfully apparent as I attempt to change diapers and baby clothes. The snaps and zippers and tabs are bad enough in any case, but when they’re attached to a wriggling squirming infant in the dark while I’m on two hours of sleep, it starts to feel vaguely surreal. I’m getting better, though.
  • I actually don’t mind changing diapers that much. I’m also doing okay on the less-sleep-than-normal schedule, although the first few days were rough. The hardest part so far is the fact that it just never stops. Every two to four hours is another feeding, another diaper change, another time he needs some encouragement to fall asleep. There’s no off switch.
  • On the plus side, I love playing with him. I mean, he doesn’t have much conscious muscle control, so “playing” is mostly talking to him and waving his hands around. But still.
  • I got a flu shot the other day, the first time I’ve ever done so. My weird needle phobia causes me to get dizzy/nauseous when I get a vaccine or a blood draw, so I tend to only get what’s absolutely necessary. Well, with a baby in the house, the flu shot suddenly flew into the “necessary” camp. It was just as bad as usual, and definitely the most personal conversation I’ve ever had with a Walgreen’s employee, but hey. We do what we gotta.
  • I love Evan so much.

Ready Player Three


Baby and mom are doing well.

Current Happenings

  • Betsy and I assembled a sort of hanging/swinging motorized baby rocker device yesterday (evidently I need to brush up on baby tech nomenclature). Packages ordered from our registry are appearing on our front porch with alarming regularity.
  • Betsy now answers the questions “How are you feeling?”, “When are you due?”, and “Boy or girl?” approximately 735 times per day. I have postulated that learning a person’s emotional state by asking how they’re feeling is like learning a quantum particle’s position: The act of measuring changes the status.
  • Baby shower coming up this weekend. Just like in that song: “Hallelujah, it’s raining men babies.”
  • Why do we give plush toy bears to babies? The bear is the baby’s natural predator.
  • Recently ripped the carpet off the front porch. (Yes, there was carpet on our front porch. No, we didn’t put it there, but we did leave it on for about five years longer than we should have.) Now I’m midway through the much more difficult process of scraping off the carpet glue using a de-gooping agent (the technical term).
  • Now that Trump is officially the nominee, I’ve started putting real thought into what I can do to oppose him. I’ve got a small project in the works that I hope to unveil next week. Nothing amazing, but hopefully a start. Not that I’m crazy about Hillary or anything, but I really don’t want to explain to my kids someday how Trump became President and I didn’t do anything to try to stop it.
  • Speaking of which – I don’t have too many nice things to say about Ted Cruz, but his non-endorsement of Trump was pretty great.
  • Star Trek Beyond (coming out tomorrow) is currently at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is about 90% higher than I would have guessed, based on the initial trailer. Always glad to be wrong about things like this.
  • I’m seeing that Batman Killing Joke animated movie on Monday. I don’t have high hopes for that (although I liked the graphic novel), but – as with Star Trek – I would love to be wrong.
  • My Great Bible Read (with Betsy) continues apace. We recently finished Leviticus, which is a truly horrifying book if you take it at all seriously. Leviticus 21:9 has God himself explicitly ordering people to be burned to death. As a Christian, you have two choices: Believe in a God who commands people to be tortured to death, or believe that not everything in the Bible is the word of God. If I were a Christian, I’d go emphatically with the latter.
  • We’re on to Galatians now.
  • The Ohio chapter of the EFA (which I’m the coordinator of) recently had its third meeting. Lots of exciting plans in the works, including some strategies for recruiting new members.
  • I’ve stopped putting the hyphen in “email,” upending a decade of personal tradition. TIMES CHANGE AND WE MUST ALL CHANGE WITH THEM.
  • Yesterday I finished reading Bart D. Ehrman’s book How Jesus Became God. Regardless of your religious beliefs, it’s a fascinating historical study that will open your eyes to all kinds of important but seldom-discussed information about the theological development of the early Church.
  • Still doing a bunch of copyediting for Dragonfly Editorial. I have thought more about hyphens and dashes in the past twelve months than in the rest of my life combined.
  • Congrats to Ben Trube. He knows why.

Binders for Women

I made Betsy a binder for all the pregnancy papers, pamphlets, and forms we’ve accumulated over the past seven months.


She’s so lucky to have me!

Thoughts on the Five-Month Ultrasound

baby ultrasound

We had our second, possibly final, ultrasound on Friday. (More precisely, Betsy got an ultrasound and I watched.) The kid is a boy, as I mentioned Saturday.

It’s strange. The whole thing is strange.

First of all, ultrasounds are magic, it’s that simple. It’s technology and science that causes the magic, to be sure, but that doesn’t make it any less wizardlike. Think about it: they can pulse sound waves into a woman’s abdomen and create a three-dimensional real-time moving picture of an unborn human. We are living in the future, there’s no other explanation.

Surprisingly, though, the picture at 21 weeks is not as good as the picture at 10 weeks. There’s a lot more information, yes (gender, for instance), but because each picture is a cross section, and the baby is so much bigger now, it’s hard to get a single snapshot that shows you the whole kid at once. The one above isn’t bad, though.

The ultrasound took about an hour, and the nurse was great. There are a million things they have to check for, and she explained it all as she went: making sure the hands open sometimes (non-opening hands are a sign of Down syndrome), measuring the femur, counting bones in the hands and feet, and so on. I’m sure she’s done this a thousand times before, but she still made it sound like it was interesting to her (and hey, maybe it was). And she answered all our questions.

It’s weird knowing it’s a boy. On the one hand, it makes the kid seem more like a real person, which is good. On the other hand, it makes the kid seem more like a real person, which is bizarre. This is actually going to happen, evidently.

Also, for some reason, we’re finding it much, much harder to pick a name for a boy. There are a zillion girl names we like, but our shortlist (read: full list) for boy names only has four possibilities. And one of them is a long shot.

What are they? Well, I suppose I could share:

  • Agamemnon
  • Radagast
  • Jα§ρer
  • Palpatine Iscariot III, Jr.

Five months down, four to go.

Additional Data

miniBuckley.Gender = "male"; //visual confirmation

Babies and the English Language

As a father-to-be, you get excited and nervous, but there are also some real frustrations and challenges to deal with.

I’m talking, of course, about grammar.

The hoi polloi have never needed an excuse to mangle sentences, but during pregnancy and beyond, the offenses seem to multiply. I’ve noticed three big ones so far.

Who’s Pregnant, Anyway?

“We’re pregnant.” You hear that a lot. Or “You and Betsy are pregnant.” I knew about this construction before, of course, but it’s different when you’re at the center of it.

And I get the sentiment, I really do. It’s a nice thought. It’s emphasizing that the husband and wife are a team, that she’s not on her own. Pregnancy is a situation that encompasses both of us.

But really? “We’re pregnant”? Really?

If Betsy said, “Brian is pregnant,” no one would believe her without some convincing (and improbable) medical test results. If I said, “I’m pregnant,” I might be pregnant with meaning, but I would qualify for zero health insurance coverage. So we’re meant to understand, evidently, that Betsy is pregnant but I am not pregnant but we are pregnant together.

Look, nobody said English was logical, I understand that. But in this case there’s a perfect solution: expecting. As in, “We are expecting a baby, because Betsy is pregnant.”

So About This Baby

The normal way to talk about babies – or so I used to believe – was to say things like “their baby” or “our baby” or “the baby” or “this baby.” You know – standard English.

But as you begin to enter the vortex I am tentatively calling the Baby Dimension, a curious shift occurs. All extra words are dropped, and you simply have “baby.”

“Take good care of the baby” becomes “Take good care of baby.” “Your baby’s heartbeat is strong” becomes “Baby’s heartbeat is strong.” As if “baby” is now a generic, uncapitalized proper name.

It saves you a word, and it’s unambiguous, so I ought to love it. But it just sounds weird.

I wonder what wife thinks about that?

Baby Talk

I understand why babies talk wrong. They’re babies. If they know any words at all, it’s a staggering accomplishment. Good pronunciation and grammar are further down the road.

What’s less clear to me is why adults talk to babies as if they themselves are babies. Grown men and women will pick up a toy locomotive and ask their toddler, “What sound does the choo-choo make?” like some temporary trauma has erased their memory of the word train.

This would make slightly more sense if babies learned words independently, from some external source beyond parental control. But in fact, scientists are pretty damn sure that kids learn language from people who speak it, which is largely the kids’ parents. So if you’re already fuzzy on this whole English thing, it probably doesn’t help if your role model does it wrong on purpose.

I know it doesn’t matter. I’m just grouchy.

What I really don’t understand is when adults use baby talk when speaking about babies to each other. (I’ve seen it happen. And I’ve seen it happen in print.) I mean, at some point you just wonder if they know what the grown-up words are.

Parenting, I’m told, is all about being flexible and going with the flow, and having your priorities in the right place. Pretty sure I’m going to nail it.