Swizzy, I’m still here

So, uh, we went silent for a while.

There are a few reasons for this. One is that back in September I wrote a post called “Christopher Hitchens is a creep,” which generated by far the most (and the lengthiest) comments this blog has ever had, thanks in part to vigorous dissent by a new commenter named “Lee.” I think I started off misunderstanding Lee, who came on pretty strong, and at first I was within a hair’s breadth of banning him from the comments section. We dialed it back a little and ended up having a pretty constructive conversation, along with another commenter named “reka.” I’m not sure any of us moved off our positions that much, but we all had a lot to think about.


But having a vigorous disagreement with someone on the internet is something I usually do on someone else’s blog. Here, for example, or sometimes here or occasionally even here. Under my own name, more-or-less, but maybe not in a space with quite so much information about my infant son, for example, or so intimately tied with my wife’s name and career. And it seems to me that maybe the place to take strong stands on the issues of the day is not necessarily in your family blog.

Elana and I once had a lengthy and tense family meeting about the wisdom of using this space to debunk an urban legend about abortion. Her position — which I came to realize was quite correct — was that you shouldn’t mix family business with crazy people. I.e., if you want to have a blog where you take on the abortion crazies, you should make it as anonymous as you possibly can, because some of those people will firebomb your fucking house. This is not that blog. I have pictures of my kid here.

And maybe the thinking that applies to extreme subject matter like abortion ought to at least play a role in one’s decision-making on lesser issues as well. And to that end, I’ve decided to curb, in the future, my tendency to pound the pulpit and holler to the choirloft and make provocative statements. There’s plenty of battleground on the internet, and I think I can still stand up for truth, justice, and the American way without attacking public figures and stoking controversy on our baby blog.

So it took me a couple of months to figure out how to back off from that and figure out a new style that’s more appropriate to this space.

That’s reason one. Reason two is, of course, that we’ve been busy. I’ve been super busy, at least by the standards of a guy who works at home as a sippy-cup-holder and diaper-changer. I recently took the LSAT (after a month of frantic cramming) and began applying to law schools. I also started this Twitter feed, which takes, you know, basically no time out of my day. Elana, of course, is still working her studio job, and Henry has been spending a lot of time doing this:

We also took a trip to Washington, D.C., to visit My Sister The Doctor and Henry’s grandparents. His aunt took him to a toy store, where he got to play with his first model train set:

So. Busy, as you can see.

So here are some brief updates.

  • Henry has been developing rapidly. Still no words, although he babbles “Datdatdat” and I pretend he’s talking to me, because, come on, I’m home alone with a toddler. He’s quite physically agile and loves climbing. (He has also figured out that we don’t like him to climb on the end tables, and so he will now clamber up onto the couch and leeaaaan out over the end table and wait for someone to see him, then giggle like this is an amazing joke.) He has learned to imitate behavior: a few nights ago, Elana was brushing my hair (don’t judge me!), and he came up and took the brush and — quite gently — started to run it over my hair. He was amazed and delighted and continued for quite some time.
  • On the other hand, he is still having iron-deficiency anemia. You may recall that iron supplements made him throw up like a college kid in Cabo. We also tried a hippie remedy called Floradix, which tastes like prune juice, if you threw a bunch of nickels in the bottom of your bottle of prune juice. He spits it out. Also it doesn’t actually have that much iron in it. So…. We were hoping that his rapidly increasing intake in solid foods would do the trick. And it has, somewhat — his hemoglobin has risen from 8.5 to 9.4 since September. But after his latest checkup, his doctor again urged us to try oral supplements. Of course, now he’s a big, smart toddler, not an easily-controlled baby. So now he is clever enough to refuse any cup or spoon that has been once tainted with the dread iron. Also, it still makes him throw up. The AAP claims that this shouldn’t happen: “[T]herapeutic iron up to 6 mg/kg per day given to infants is well-tolerated.” They cite this study as evidence. But I call bullshit on that study, because (a) it’s a small study and (b) it’s 25 years old and (c) I don’t like the way it dismisses the many people who dropped out of the study as irrelevant and (d) my kid just puked all over the couch, which he has never, ever done except when taking iron supplements.
  • Our bear is very cheerful and social now. This, for some reason, causes adult women to say things like “Aww, he’s flirting!” and “Wow, what a little flirt!” I find this creepy and weird.
  • He doesn’t really talk yet, but he does have one or two signs that he’s learned from his mom, who started a dedicated program of teaching him Baby Sign almost as soon as he was born. One is the sign for “milk” or “nursing,” which he figured out a few weeks ago and now uses for, basically, everything: sandwich, water, banana, pick me up. And today he may have deliberately signed “more” when asking for more banana. Or not. Hard to get him to repeat a trick. (Also, thwarting him results in a lot of shouting.)
  • He brings us books to read now, partly because he adores books, and partly because it’s a reliable way to get us to put down our laptops and pay attention to him. He is particularly fond of the kind of book that has flaps with things hidden under them. Also a few times he has pointed at something on the page — again, hard to know if this is for-real pointing. But he does often point at things in real life now, so… maybe.

So I guess that’s about it. We’ll try to keep this more updated in the future!


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