Posts Tagged ‘ruby’


November 11, 2007

My great-grandfather was John Keelty.  We called him “Pop”.  He had three daughters and so no one in his family carried the Keelty name until I was born and my parents named me Stephen Todd Keelty.

When my great-grandfather died I (as the last of his line to carry the name “Keelty”) was given his war medals.  He fought in both world wars, and received 5 medals for his service.

Today is Remembrance Day, and so I took the medals out, showed them to Ruby, explained what each medal was for.  Ruby’s full name is Ruby Joan Keelty.

Ruby’s 2nd Hallowe’en

November 1, 2007

Ruby had a good time.  She loved her costume and walked from house to house like a pro.  She quickly figured out that it was all about the candy, even though she’s never really had any candy before.  “Trick or Treat” is still a mouthful for her, but at least she said please, thank you, and the occasional “meow”.  Occasionally she’d try to wander into people’s houses after they’d given her a treat.

She had one peanut butter cup when we got home, and she was definitely in the mood for more, but we’re holding her to one per day. And tomorrow, it won’t be so close to bedtime.

Shout out to the G-units

August 18, 2007

Kate and I have been suffering the past few days. I injured my back playing soccer on Thursday and have been barely able to stand. Kate picked up a bug on the way back from Mexico, and so she’s been feeling drained — and hasn’t been able to relax because I can’t step it up (quite literally) to spend more time with Ruby.

Fortunately, Ruby’s grandparents have come to the rescue! We spent last night at Kate’s parents’ house so they could watch Ruby while we draped ourselves over their couches. And tonight, my parents are taking Ruby up north so we can spend all day Sunday doing the same to our own couches.

We’re really fortunate to have parents who live so close (although it is a two hour drive from here to my parents’ house) and are so willing to step in at the last minute give us a hand when we need it. It made a huge difference when she was a newborn, and it made a huge difference all last year when I was juggling Feedwhip and stay-at-home-dad-ness. And I’m sure it’ll continue to make a huge difference in the years to come.

Thanks, Mom and Dad and Mom and Dad!


January 24, 2007

Baby gate? What baby gate?


Now I understand why they were available with a bulk discount at the consignment store.

The Benefits of Boredeom

December 1, 2006

A recent article talks about the benefits of boredom:

Strange as it may sound, bordom [sic] promotes happier, creative kids who are better problem solvers. When children use their own creativity with unstructured play, they find ways to amuse themselves — even if it means simply daydreaming.

This has been our plan for Ruby all along.  It’s why she doesn’t watch any TV right now, and why we’ll keep her organized activities to a reasonable level when she’s older.  It also makes me feel better about the time she spends exploring the playroom alone while I’m in the next room writing blog entries.

Eating, Regressed

November 12, 2006

Well, apparently I gloated too soon.

A few months ago a (different) set of parents in our parents group talked about how their child was vomiting, and my question to them was, “how do you tell the difference between vomit and spit-up?” Well, now I know: if it’s green and stinks and keeps going and going, flowing out onto the floor of the Safeway produce department, then it’s vomit.

That was 2 hours ago, and Ruby had another much smaller spell after we got home. Now she’s lethargic and a little whiny, but no new emissions. Kate is putting her to bed and hopefully she’ll wake up feeling better.

On the bright side, she’s way more cuddly when she’s not feeling well.

Eating, Advanced

November 12, 2006

One of the parents in our parents’ group mentioned that his child won’t eat freshly prepared squash. He’s been eating jarred baby food and the flavor in the freshly prepared stuff is too strong.

greens.jpgNot so with our precious Ruby! The only processed food she eats is Cheerios. Everything else is freshly prepared by ours truly. Her menu board is now full of all the things she’s eaten, and I feel like there’s now enough stuff on there that I can get a bit adventurous.

For example, last night we introduced Ruby to collard greens. But not just collard greens, no! Instead, I prepared an Indian-style curried green puree with real spices like mustard, coriander, fennel, ginger, and garlic. She loved it, of course!

Ruby is starting to eat more and more of the same foods as Kate and I. A few nights ago I made pozole (mexican soup with pork and hominy) and we just scooped the pork and corn out, ground it up in our little baby food grinder, and that was Ruby’s dinner. Last night it was baked chicken (with a vaguely tandoorish marinade) and curried greens. Sadly, I think sausage and anchovy pizza is still a few months away…

Watching TV

October 16, 2006

Slate is reporting today on a new study from Cornell University that links increased television watching with increased autism rates.  It’s nice to have some scientific backing for a philosophy Kate and I think is important just on the face of it.

Surprisingly, we have received a bit of push-back on our desire to not expose Ruby to any television until she’s a few years old — generally from people a generation older than us.  The most common argument in favor of early TV is that it gives the parent a much-needed break, or time away from the child to cook dinner or take care of other chores.  Trust me, I understand how powerful those arguments are.  But Kate and I feel that the short-term benefits are outweighed by the long-term negatives.

The single most important reason we don’t want Ruby to watch TV now is because we don’t want Ruby to want to watch TV later.  In a few months, when she becomes able to make requests (and then demands), I want her to be clamoring for a trip to the park, not for another Dora video.  One of the things she’s learning right now is what kinds of fun things we do.  We go to the park, we run around the lake, we play with toys, we sing and wrestle and play the piano.  We don’t watch TV.

That still doesn’t answer the question about why we think TV is bad, though.  Autism studies aside, I don’t like the passive nature of watching TV.  I’d prefer Ruby to be active — not just physically, but mentally.  Her downtime can be filled with quiet reflection, reading, daydreaming, and wild bouts of imagining.  The ability to enjoy quiet time without depending on outside stimulation is an important skill that (IMHO) is sorely lacking in modern society.  Her spiritual and mental development will be greatly enhanced by learning to contemplate.

Another reason to avoid TV is the mass-consumption mythologies it peddles.  Dora and Spongebob and the latest Disney animation are all for sale, and the people marketing to children are very good at what they do.  I don’t want Ruby to get hooked on other people’s stories.  And I don’t want Ruby to learn to view the world through a Disney lens.  When we go to the zoo, I hear kids calling the lions “Simba” and the giraffes “Geoffrey”.  At the aquarium, all the clown fish are “Nemos”.  Although it’s nice to give these kids a way to relate to the animals, I worry that it’s a dead-end road.  The natural world is much more complicated (and interesting) than a cartoon.  (For similar reasons, we’ve tried to avoid mass-market characters in our house — and, curiously, received similar pushback from the same people.)

There are so many stories that we can tell each other — about our pasts, our futures, our dreams, and our feelings — and I want those to be our family mythology.  When Ruby sees a clownfish, I want her to think about her Mama and Papa swimming in Mayalsia.  When she sees a pygmy marmoset, I want her to remember that she’s the Queen of the Tiny Monkeys.  These stories are important, they belong to us, and they are a part of us and our family.  Those family stories are something that television can never provide.


Table Food Day 4

August 23, 2006

The night of Ruby’s first applesauce was a nightmare.  She went to sleep around 8:30pm but awoke, crying, at 9:30pm.  She continued wailing for an hour until finally settling down and going back to sleep.  Kate’s back has been bothering her so I’ve been on bounce duty for the past few weeks.  Anyway, from the way Ruby’s legs were kicking around we thought maybe the applesauce had given her some kind of cramps.  However, we’ve now given her apples for four days in a row without a repeat of the first episode, so we’ll just chalk it up to coincidence.

Ruby hasn’t quite got the hang of unbottled food yet.  If she’s not really hungry, she’ll ignore the food.  When she’s interested, she’s very… lengual?  tongue-oriented?  licky?  …she prefers to lick food off the spoon.  If you catch her with her mouth open and get a large amount in, she’s just extrude it down her chin.  She’s not eating much; maybe two tablespoons today, of which half ended up elsewhere than inside her belly.  In any event, she’s not averse to this new experience and I’m looking forward to the next food.  Bananas, maybe?

Update: Kate fed Ruby her first bananas for dinner tonight.  Ruby seemed to enjoy them more than the apples.  Still messy, but with less extruding all around. 

Only So Much You Can Do

August 15, 2006

Last weekend we went to a reunion of our childbirth class.  There were eight couples there, and we all told the stories of our babies’ births.

About halfway through, we got to a couple who had needed to have a caesarean birth.  The mother was in tears — she was a doula and a childbirth advocate, and she had really, really wanted to experience natural birth firsthand, and listening to the other birth stories had been very difficult.  In her words: “I never even got to feel a contraction”.  Despite that couple’s best efforts, their medical situation ruled out vaginal birth.

I think one of the important lessons of parenting, which this woman had to learn the hard way (and before her child was even born), is that there’s only so much we can do for our children.  We need to accept that we are physically incapable of providing the absolute best, 100% of the time.  We’ll get pretty close, but we’re not perfect people and we’re certainly not perfect parents.  Our skills are finite. Sometimes, we just need to step back and let things happen outside of our control.

I experienced this a few months ago with Ruby.  Late one day, abdominal cramps brought on her worst crying spell ever.  She screamed for about an hour.  I held her and bounced her and changed her and did everything in my power to soothe her, but nothing would work.  In the end, she had calmed down enough to sniffle, sob, and quietly moan while I held her.  I felt powerless — especially at the end, when she was quieter, when I could see the difficult journey she’d just gone through.  I came to realize that despite everything we would like to do for her, Ruby will have to take the lead in battling her own demons.

That brings us to last night, and my final example of the physical limitations of parenting.  Kate’s milk supply has been slowly decreasing, and we’ve been using milk from our freezer cache to make up the difference.  We’ve tried many things to boost Kate’s production.  As the freezer supply has dwindled, we’ve become increasingly aware that supplementing with formula might be the only answer.

We’re now down to about a half-dozen meals in the freezer, and we wanted to try formula before it became an emergency, so last night Kate gave Ruby her first formula bottle.  (Ruby will continue to get the vast majority of her food from Kate; we’re only short about two bottles per week.)

Giving Ruby that bottle of formula made Kate very sad.  She wants to provide Ruby with the superior nutrition of breastmilk.  She has struggled through incredible pain, anxiety, and frustration to provide her milk for Ruby.  In the end, though, she had to accept that there was nothing else she could physically do.  It would have been in Ruby’s best interests to drink nothing but breast milk for as long as possible, but her caloric needs won out over our ideals.  We just need to accept our physical limitations and move on.

(For what it’s worth, Ruby sucked down the formula with her usual gusto and didn’t seem to notice the difference.)