Monday, January 31, 2005

Where names come from

After all the joking conversations about Pete's name here, it occurs to me to share where the real thing came from. The middle name came first: "Jacob Simpson" echoes "Jacobson," Carolyn's last name. The boy's middle name was the first decision we made and the only one on which we never wavered.

The decision on "Peter" came much later. We were tossing around a bunch of boy names. Then friends of ours set up a baby name game with a bunch of people: one group shook up a Boggle cube, and another laid out a bunch of Scrabble tiles. Both groups came up with names that were in or suggested by the visible letters. Some of the results were common names, some funny, such as "Yoda." The Boggle group listed "Kit." I thought "Kit Simpson" sounded like a wicked cool name. Later, we asked ourselves what more mainstream names had the same kind of sound. Pete! said we. Peter? asked we. I like Peter, said Carolyn. Hmm, said Erik. The rock! So do I. Let's keep thinking about that. We also liked the trochaic effect of "Peter Jacob Simpson." Now, of course, we think our little guy couldn't possibly have gone by another name.

And that's how Pip became Pete.

Saturday, January 29, 2005


Pete and I had a loooong diaper change early this morning as I discovered more and more things that he had peed on when my head was turned. Perhaps he is training himself to do this.

Friday, January 28, 2005

First outing

The Pete Potato made his first trip out of the house this morning, to be looked at and weighed at the doctor's office. As I learned recently, newborns generally drop a good bit of body weight (up to 10% is normal) after birth. He had gone from 7 pound, 12 ounces to 7 pound, one ounce at his discharge on Monday. He's now at 7 pounds, 11 ounces--gaining two ounces a day! That's great news for his health. It suggests that we need to have the next size of clothes and diapers ready to go pronto.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Friends gave us a hand-me-down Baby Bjorn for Pete. It has enabled me to walk around and calm him down with my hands free, so he is now sleeping on my chest as I type. I want to lay a big smooch on whoever invented this thing. It's been a big sleeping day for the Pete Potato--an ill omen for the night, perhaps.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


We're home! We came here last evening after dinner. Pete, as expected, screamed up a storm as we took him out to the car for the first time. He tends to cry enthusiastically every time room-temperature air hits his skin (meaning every diaper change, basically), so we knew that would happen when he first met winter. But the movement of the car calmed him down right away, from full-throated protest to mellowness in about ten blocks.

The cats freaked out a little when we came home. Pretty soon, however, Giddy decided that his love of the comforter on the bed trumped his anxiety about the new visitor, and he settled down there while Pete was nursing. Kirby stayed skittish for longer, but he ended up settling nicely, sleeping at the end of the bed with all of us most of the night. We've tried to encourage Kirby to enjoy the fact that he's no longer the smallest member of the family; he outweighs Pete by about four pounds. At one point, we did have all five of us sharing the bed at once.

And Pete has been great. He wanted to be fed a lot during the day and evening yesterday, and the payoff came when he slept really well the first night, including a lovely stretch from four to eight a.m. curled up on my chest. So the transition home is thus far a success, and we now commence the first day home, as well as the first full day without nurses and grandparents to help on demand.

Other baby notes:

* He now goes by Sweet Potato, or occasionally Pete Potato, in addition to Peter, Petey, Petester, Pip, Pipster, Piparoon, etc. We have discovered that baby nicknames multiply rapidly when Pete cries and we are trying to think of things to say to him.

* His yawns and sneezes are especially cute. Sneezing is not a sign of sickness for a newborn, so we can enjoy the funny look of it without worry. He occasionally yawns and sneezes simultaneously. Hottt.

* We had heard from other parents that their bodies somehow adjusted immediately to sensing the position of their baby when sleeping so there was no danger of rolling onto or otherwise harming the baby. This is amazingly true. When Pete was three hours old, watching him from six feet away caused unbearable anxiety--aah! he's moving! what do we do! aah! he's not moving! what do we do!--but putting him on my lap in the stupid hospital daddy recliner felt completely secure.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Oh, baby!

I have NEWS!

To wit:


a.k.a. Peter Jacob Simpson (trochaic trimiter),

a.k.a. Pete,

joined us in the outside world at 10:00 (on the dot!) last night, January 20th. He weighs 7 pounds, 12 ounces, stretches out to 19 1/2 inches, and delights his parents utterly.

During labor, Pete's wee head got caught slightly out of position for the descent, resulting in a difficult stretch for him and Carolyn and ultimately a caesarian section. Everyone got through that all right, and we've now had a very good night and morning together. Carolyn is doing very well today.

We’re scheduled to be in the hospital until Monday. Somewhere along the way, I’ll be getting pictures and whatnot on the internets. There will soon be a picture here, but I don't know when.

We all thank you for your good wishes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


We'll be headed to the hospital early tomorrow morning to see what we (meaning other people) can do to help Pip into the world if Pip the journey hasn't begun already.

Monday, January 17, 2005

And waiting

The baby passed its fetal monitor test with flying colors again today, and for the first time, the test also showed a pre-labor contraction--a sign that Carolyn's body has come out for the pre-game shootaraound, as it were. We are now in the home stretch of the race between labor occurring on its own and the calendar dictating further steps to bring baby into the world. Whatever happens, we'll very probably meet Pip by the end of the week. (Yes, we're nervous.)

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Small baby update: baby continues to look great on the fetal monitor tests, but we're still in an increasingly anxious holding pattern, hoping that things kick in on their own before being helped along next week.

Monday, January 10, 2005


Brief update: still no baby. Thanks again for all the interest and good wishes. Pip put in another fine performance on the fetal monitor this morning, so there's no sign of anything to worry about other than the date. (The fetal monitor tests the baby's movement and heart rate to make sure that the placenta is still intact and keeping the baby healthy. This is important because placentas are not made to last much more than nine months.)

I noticed yesterday that I had been assuming Carolyn and I both faced boatloads of people asking us whether baby has come yet when we leave the house separately. I finally thought about that for a minute and realized that nobody sees Carolyn and then asks that question. Duh.

Friday, January 07, 2005


No baby yet. Since the due date has arrived, we are now in the emotional and medical process of worrying about the baby waiting too long--testing the baby's movement and heart responses (no problem) and fretting about induced labor, which is generally seen as a difficult process and has specifically resulted in difficult labors followed by C-sections for two of our close friends recently. On the other hand, as we remind ourselves, everything is perfectly normal now: due dates are always +/- two weeks, the baby seems fine, and everybody says that first children tend to be late, as Carolyn and I (first children both) were. I have begun to lecture baby about the advantages of the outside world and all the good people waiting to greet him or her.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Almost ready

Thanks for the continuing good wishes for Pip. No news, but the house is almost ready!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


from Carolyn--

Just a quick non-update to say that there's no baby yet, of the Pip or the Fathead variety. There's also no indication that today is the day. I'm imagining him or her stifling a giggle behind a little baby fist, getting ready to wait until the snow really hits hard to make an appearance. I'd better get Erik to build a sledge today, in case he needs to pull me to the hospital.

Baby socks

I have completed the first washing of all the baby clothes and linens. The nice thing about baby stuff is that zillions of tiny outfits will fit in one load of laundry. But there is a scary side to that: we are now in charge of keeping track of many pairs of baby socks. Do you realize how small those suckers are?

No baby yet, but I'm set for delivery-room snacks. We're told babies like to arrive during nasty winter storms. Carolyn will continue working from home tomorrow.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Letter about impending Pete

Link (pdf file)

New year's nursery

No baby yet, which is bad news for our 2004 tax return (that's OK) and good news becuase it's getting more likely that our doula, who is in Hawaii and returns Monday morning, will be able to attend the delivery. Knock on wood. We realized yesterday that it was the first day we could answer the question "When are you due?" with one word: Thursday. Two of our good friends from grad school called to announce their Dec. 30th baby yesterday. Hooray for second-generation friends!

Carolyn's parents and I painted the nursery Thursday. (Pregnant women aren't supposed to be near paint fumes.) Painting a room with one's in-laws sounds like a bad sit-com episode plot, but we all get along well, and the process was productive--we're very happy with the room--and even kind of fun, though exhausting. I'm now painting to match the bookcase made of big wooden milk crates and boards that Carolyn inherited from her dad, who made it for himself in grad school.

[someone]: you're right about the tension between Fathead and Pip, but is not a baby a little Pip with a Fat head? Pip is becoming very popular in the family, as Carolyn's mom is actively lobbying for it. It will be interesting to see whether it's one of those pre-natal nicknames that has some traction after the birth.