Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcome 2011

Mom and Dad rang in the New Year in traditional fashion by inviting people over for D&D and Rock Band. Then we all stood at the windows watching the neighbors send hundreds of euros' worth of fireworks up in smoke and sparkles.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Method for Transfering Information Using Sequences of Non-Repeating Linguistic Tokens

Who would have believed it? As much as you can say with one word, you can say even more with two or three. Abby wuh-wuh, more bottle milk, no apple, mommy eat this, more ducks please... the list of possible combinations goes on and on. I may have to contact a patent attorney.

Pod People

Sadie shares her pacifiers with me, so I'm returning the favor by letting her use my overstimulation pod. She cheats, though: she controls her hands.

Incidentally, that mustard-yellow spot on my blanket-sack isn't what you think. It's curry. The Indian restaurant down the block was happy to see us all there again. I looked pretty different last time Mom carried me in.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wash and Wear

My bedtime routine has been pretty well established for a while now. Drink bottle of milk, eat vitamin, wash hands and face, brush teeth, apply face cream, take fluoride. Diaper, game of "Boo!", pajamas, books, song, sleep.
Thing about established routines is, they get boring. So I'm adding a new step: soak hair. I wasn't sure Mom and Dad would be too keen, so I've been rubbing maple syrup and yogurt on my head. They tried preventing that, but I had a fallback plan: runny nose.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Abby Wuh-wuh

I fell off the pacifier wagon since they're around all the time for Abby to use. Ironically, Abby never wants to use one, even though I offer them constantly and insistently. Come on, sis, show some solidarity.

Sadie Lou Who

Daycare asked me not to wear barrettes anymore, because after I pull them out of my hair, some of the smaller inmates try to eat them. So Dad's practicing with ponytails. Why do I feel a sudden craving for roast beast?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bye-Bye, Tree

Seems like either Mom and Dad leave stuff hanging around forever, or they get rid of it in the blink of an eye. Mom got a bee in her bonnet this afternoon and pushed the tree and its decorations into the second category. I helped by winding a string of beads... around my leg. Abby, as usual, helped by sleeping through the whole thing.

Ducks On Film

You can make fun of my outfits, take away my giant purple bunny, even step on my blue suede boots, but you'd better not deny me my 15 minutes of ducks. I highly recommend Bubbaist's videos for all your duck-watching needs.

Flat, Broke

Imagine my surprise the morning I noticed that my wheeled Chariot was limping. Riding in the Daddy Saddle wasn't so bad, but I'm glad Dad finally got around to fixing the flat. He was starting to protest too loudly when I kicked him.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow Business

The visiting relatives are staying at the local Holiday Inn. Dad made me walk with him there and back, in minus-ten-degree weather, through two feet of snow (my feet aren't very big), uphill both ways. At least there were ducks to watch, and cookies at the other end.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Look Out Behind You!

Red is clearly the color of the day. Even the dining room got the memo.

Until Mom took this picture, I hadn't noticed the trio of zombies on the couch behind us. The Princess Bride melted their brains, or maybe it was Robin Hood. I'm sure I'll understand how that happens when I'm a little older.

Thanks for Sharing

Figures. My first Christmas ever, and all I get is clothes. At least Sadie understands. Thanks for sharing your new cars with me, Sis.

Present Accounted For

I wasn't clued in last year, but now I've definitely figured out the meaning of Christmas. I don't want to chew on the wrapping paper anymore. The presents, though...

Friday, December 24, 2010


What do you do for Christmas Eve dinner with the whole family in Munich? Visit a cultural institution, of course: Hofbräuhaus! (It's also one of the few places open tonight.) They only had a table for 10, so Abby sat on a neighboring bench.

It was late and our food took a while to arrive, so I munched on zwieback and read the riveting tale of I Spy Letters while we waited. I tried to get Abby to flirt with the cute waiter, but as usual she fell asleep instead. We save our best behavior for restaurants, so they don't make us scrub the floor.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Swan Stone

The whole gang traipsed off to Schloß Neuschwanstein today. I wanted to spend more time with my cousins, but I didn't think 8 hours of it would be on trains and buses.

Here I am showing Mom the view of Schloß Hohenschwangau from one of the Neuschwanstein balconies. It's been a long time since I last rode in the Mommy Saddle, but after a long day with no nap, no lunch, and no afternoon snack, I felt I deserved whatever concessions I wanted.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's for the burned dinners

I made these decorations at daycare with only the most incidental of assistance from the teachers. Shh, don't tell Mom and Dad — they think they're getting an ashtray.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Just like Clementine

I've been telling Dad about the people I miss when they're not around. Oma (German for Grandma), my friend Maxim, and Maxim's Elmo doll: Out of sight, but not out of mind.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sitting down to a meal

My babysitter invited all 11 of us to her mom and dad's house. I prefer to think it's my charm, but maybe Tina having been my cousins' au pair back in Boston had something to do with it, too. Dad wouldn't let me help with his beer, so I ate cake till I groaned instead.

Since we spent the evening at the babysitter's house, does she have to pay us?

Showering Affection

Time to clean the accumulated milk deposits from behind my ears again. Bathing in the bathroom sink was too awkward, so I'm sharing a shower with Mom, just like Sadie does. It's warm and soothing, plus the steam is helping clear the congestion from my latest cold. And there are toys, which will be loads of fun when I learn to control my arms.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Present Arms

Mostly what I remember about today is lots of naps, in lots of different arms.

This is the life.

Hand Cleaner

Blueberry jam makes kind of a mess, but I don't mind. I have a highly effective, self-propelled hand cleaner.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sufficient Incentive

Cousins Martha and Sarah are a little intimidating, but I'll brave their rambunctiousness when brownies are on the line.

Holiday Addition

A bunch of Dad's relatives (my relatives too, I guess) came all the way to Munich to play with me. But they got cold feet at the last minute and hid in baggage claim for 2 hours. Their feet are going to get a lot colder, because it's -6 C outside and their boots are in Rome with the rest of their stuff. From left to right, that's Sarah, Aunt Martha, Ethan, and Uncle Colin riding in from the airport. Cousin Martha, Dad's shoulder, and I are reflected in the train window.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bunny Booties

I got dressed up for a LoAHf lunch at a cupcake bakery. That's a meal worth braving the weather for — especially since I'll be riding in my cozy cocoon while Mom slogs through the snow.

OK, so I didn't get any duckies, but I'm totally rocking the bunnies.

A Sinking Feeling

Sadie tells me she took baths in the sink for her first few months too. Somehow I don't think it was quite this cramped. And my request for a duckie was summarily ignored, even though I saw at least four in the living room. The Baby Union will be hearing about this.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


At my U3 appointment, I tipped the scales at 4350 g (9 lb, 9.5 oz) and measured 54 cm (21 in) long. Plus, they let us go home afterward, unlike last time. Mom's glad, because the grown-up food in the hospital isn't nearly as good as the cafe we visited to celebrate.


Today is my U3, Germany's fancy name for a one-month pediatrician appointment. In the name of cultural sensitivity, we're being extra efficient by taking the recycling to the bins on the way to the doctor.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I got kicked out of school today for crying and acting tired. If they had let me stay, the whole class would have agitated for more nap time: mass unrest for rest. Can't let one rotten apple spoil the whole barrel. I blame Dad for leading me astray.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Don't worry, sis. We're gonna break you outta this joint this afternoon. Remember the password: "The elephant is in the middle."

Back Where It Came From

Because I kick my legs and cough when I'm exiled to the baby cage, Mom let me sleep next to her for a while early this morning. It was less lonely, which was nice. But she was nonplussed when I tried to put my last meal back where it came from.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I'm trying out a new fashion trend. I call it "Oxygen Haberdashery", and I think it sets off my cheekbones rather well.

Dad calls it "The world's worst handlebar mustache". Well, Mr. Mode doesn't know he's wearing my lunch as a boutonniere.

Mom calls it "Too-Small Tube Set". Boring Mom.

Dad's Wrinkles

There's nothing like sucking on a tasty Dad-pinkie when you're feeling a little under the weather. At least, not once Mom gets grumpy and takes away the real thing.

In other news, today I weighed in at 4130g (9 lb 1.5 oz). I guess hospital food agrees with me.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I've had a cold for the last few days, thanks no doubt to Sadie's daily trips to the germ swap — I mean, her daycare. Yesterday I started coughing and running a low fever, so this morning I dropped in on the baby doctor.

Now here I am, seven hours later, in the isolation cell of the Krankenhaus with a case of RSV. Do not pass Go, do not collect your clean pajamas. It's not too severe, as such things go, but they wanted to hook me up to more wires than we had at home. (And if you know Mom and Dad, that's saying something.) I don't like the oxygen tubes much, but I'll tolerate them for the tape hearts.

On the plus side, I get Mom all to myself until they send us home.

Collect all 16

I now have all the teeth any toddler should have: 8 incisors, 4 canines, 4 bicuspids. And Dad's fingers have marks from every one.

Baby Passport Photos Redux

I'm ready for my cameo on Hollywood Squares now!

Since I'm already an expat, I need a passport, which means I need a picture. Mom and Dad are pros at this after taking Sadie's passport photo. Mom picked a cloudy day (plenty of those in Munich this time of year) and laid me on the floor near a window ("no distracting shadows on the face or background"). First she put a white sheet ("plain white or off-white background") under me, but that was too wrinkly. Then a white piece of felt, but that also wasn't smooth enough. Finally a pad of Sadie's drawing paper did the trick.

Even though I was lying on my back ("nothing used to support the baby may appear") and I'm not old enough to smile ("encourage subject to have a natural expression"), I could still look off to the side ("full face, front view, eyes open"). But 28 shots later, we have some good candidates. The two in the bottom right corner of the mosaic above are our best choices; stay tuned for a report on whether one of them is accepted.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Swing Assembly

Grandma sent me a swing. Mom put it together tonight. Once again I helpfully slept through it all. Don't count on too much more of that, Mom. Unless that swing is as relaxing as Sadie says they are.

A Tangled Web

Mom opened the box that's been sitting in the living room for a few days, and pulled out a strange tree and some pretty baubles. Apparently the idea is to put the beads and ornaments on the tree, then plant it on a table in the dining room. I helped by artfully tangling the beads, and Abby helped by sleeping through the whole thing.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

General Relativity

I like to read a book called I'm a Big Sister. It's about a girl named Sara, who has a baby sister named Abby. And that's just the beginning. Book-Sara has a book-mom and book-dad just exactly like I do. Who knew other kids could have family relationships that parallel my own?

Then the similarity takes an eerie turn: the baby they took out of Mom's tummy is named Abby too. What a coincidence! And truth really is stranger than fiction: Book-dad is a mensch, but my dad is a dork.

Probably a Milk Snake

I've been growing quickly. I'm a half-inch longer and nearly a pound and a half heavier than when I was born. That must be why I'm molting.

Too Rich For My Blood

When you see a woman walking around the baby store wearing a real fur coat, you can guess the stuff's going to be pricey. But €85 for cotton pajamas was still a little unexpected. Does that come with nanny service?

Hue Grant

It started out with the bath book. Orange fish, blue fish, yellow fish. Then there were the blocks: red block, green block, white block. Now Dad's asking me for help identifying colors every day. Does colorblindness run in the family?

I fooled him, though. He asked about a red block, and I pointed to my bright red shirt instead.

Stacking Up

Bricks are a lot easier to stack when they have these pegs to hold them together. The single-peg size are my favorite, mostly because the bigger ones hold together too well for me to get them apart. Plus, now that I have a horsie, I need a lance for jousting.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hard Rockin'

The League of Accidental Hausfrauen had a meeting today at the Hard Rock Cafe, and since it's around the corner from Dad's office, both Mom and Dad went to introduce me. The food is good but overpriced, the videos are nostalgic if you're an old fogey like Dad, the decor is aggressively thematic, and the co-marketed schwag is the envy of college students everywhere. I showed my disdain by sleeping through the whole meal.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Up a Pound

At the midwife visit today, I weighed 8 lb 6 oz. Most babies regain their birth weight by 10–14 days old. I'm more than a pound over!

The midwife also rubbed off most of my remaining umbilical-cord scab. I'm not sure how I feel about her hurrying nature along like that, but my navel is prettier this way. Are there positions open for baby belly-button models?

Snow Big Deal

I went out in my mobile throne again today. This time there was even more of the fluffy white stuff falling on my canopy, and several inches of it piled up on the branches and ground. I like the looks of it, but I can do without the wind blowing it into my face.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fooled Ya'

Never mind. Staying up all night, fussing and spitting up, is way more fun than sleeping after all. Bait-and-switch, remember?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

No Neti Pot Necessary

I've heard that sinus rinses are healthy. Sadie's got a doozy of a cold right now, so anything I can do to avoid catching it would be good. Unfortunately I don't have any way to tell Mom and Dad what I want, so I have to do it myself. Milk works well as a sinus rinse, even when it comes from inside.

I may be a little too enthusiastic, though. During morning diaper change today I rinsed my sinuses all over my pajamas, my sleep sack, the changing pad, and the wall. Mom just sighed and said something about not wanting to ruin her perfect record of at least one load of laundry every day anyway.

Night. Right.

I think I'm beginning to catch on. When Mom and Dad lay me in my command center and stretch out next to me, that's called night, and I'm supposed to sleep.

Last night I slept from 11:30 pm until 3:30 am, and then again from 4:30 am until 7:30 am. It feels weird to miss the most tranquil part of the day like that, but it seems to make Mom happier if I take my cuddles when it's light out.

Friday, November 26, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot...

Weihnachtsmärkte are springing up all over. Everywhere people would normally meet outside for beer, they're now chugging Glühwein and browsing gifts and ornaments. Tonight was the big tree-lighting in Marienplatz and official opening of the markets.

I'm not having any Glühwein, so I'll be the designated stroller driver.

Initial Public Offering

Today we all went to Mom and Dad's office for a Christmas cookie decorating party. Dad decorated cookies, Sadie ate handfuls of raw dough, and I entertained gaggles of admiring fans.

It was my first trip out of the apartment since we came home from the hospital, my first time riding in the baby pouch, and my first meal out. The menu in the conference room had only one item, but service was prompt.

Bye-Bye, Belly-Button Blob

At the midwife's second visit this morning, she tugged a little too hard on the valve stem on my belly — and it came off! Now how will Mom and Dad reinflate me when I run a little flat?

Do Be Due, Two

Happy due date to me! What, no cake?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Weighing In

According to the scale at home, I'm now 7 lb 12 oz, up 15 oz from my low point a week ago. At this rate, when I'm 25... I don't even want to think about it.

Clothes Make the Baby

It's 2 PM, and I'm in my third complete outfit of the day. Can you believe Mom started me out in yellow? It is so not my color. No way did I want to spend the whole day looking sallow and sickly. So I peed all over it at the first diaper change. Woot, communication.

Next was blue, which is fine as far as it goes, but those puppies were far too cutesy for a sophisticated girl like me. So I peed all over it at the next diaper change. Woot, communication again.

Now I'm in blue-and-green stripes, finally something I can live with. Good thing, too, since the pajama drawer is empty.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bath Time?

My first bath! Sadie loves baths, so I've been waiting for this moment.

Mom stripped me down, put me on the table in the freezing cold kitchen, and rubbed a wet washcloth on my head and neck. I really don't know what Sadie sees in these things.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Abby Fab

The midwife came for her first visit today. She says I'm doing great, gaining weight and looking fabulous. Tell me something I didn't know.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bye-Bye, Grandma

Grandma left this morning. I never managed to talk her into a pony. She'll be back in just a few weeks, though, so I'm planning my strategy now.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Welcome Home, Abby

Nothing says "Welcome Home" like fresh-baked brownies.

Mom is Nuts

Time to go home! Although Sadie's old carseat was perfectly modded for Munich winter by Mom, she decided not to call a taxi. So we caught the bus around the corner, transferred to the subway, and finally climbed the 45 stairs to our 3rd-floor apartment.

Mom says she did it just to see how her mom would react. I can't wait to meet my other grandma.

Oh, Not the Band

Woo! I get to go to U2!

Oh, wait, it's just a doctor visit. Following Germany's standardized pediatric schedule, I had my U1 exam when I was born, and my U2 exam this morning. I weighed 3180 g, up another 70 g from yesterday.

Dad says we live on the U6 subway line. Does that mean I have to wait until I'm 10 months old to go home?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Or maybe they're squished ants

Mom's book has a lot of pages, but it reads faster than any of mine. After reading it a dozen times, though, the story is still confusing. The little black dots are doing the same thing in every picture.


I got called down to the doctor's office this morning, where they stabbed me in the heel, played sounds in my ears, and took a sonogram of my hips and abdomen.

Everything looks good. The doctor thinks I have a double kidney on the left side, like about 2% of people. Usually nobody knows about it until they're old and getting an ultrasound for some other kidney problem. But here in Germany they do the exam on all newborns, so they turn up this kind of thing more regularly. The doctor isn't worried, because my bladder and ureters all look normal, but we'll have it checked out again at my next doctor visit.

Did You Feed Me After Midnight?

Only two days old, and already I'm pulling the ol' bait-and-switch on the parents. By day I'm an angelic child, sleeping peacefully for four hours in a row, eating eagerly and politely, and blinking adorably when cameras are around. OK, so I spit up once in a while, but that's cute, right?

Then night falls, and I show my true colors. I kicked off last night with a bang, giving Mom a good-sized spitup 5 minutes after Dad left so she could have the fun of hobbling to the changing table and replacing all four layers of my outfit.

I followed with a lusty bout of crying that attracted a passing pediatric nurse, who took off one layer of my clothing on the theory that I was too hot. Mom's bemusement, given that every other pediatric nurse had been telling her to keep me bundled up because I was cold, only added to the moment.

As a final touch, I demanded food every 30 minutes until 4 AM. Now I think I'll catch an hour or two of sleep: the nurse visits start up at 7:00, and I need to recharge my halo.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

That was your birthday present

Abby brought me a welcome gift, all the way from Mom's tummy. That's what Grandma told me. But my Big Sister book says babies are too little to play with toys. Maybe she just re-gifted me her own birthday present.

I'm not one to look a gift pony in the mouth. There's a cat and a dog and a bunny, but no pony. That's okay. Thanks, Abby!

We Meet at Last

I went back to visit Mom again this afternoon. She saved me her cake from lunch! There's plenty of time to meet Baby Abby when I'm done with cake.
Here we are, one whole, happy family. I've been looking forward to playing with my baby sister for weeks. Did you know my fingers fit perfectly in Abby's eyes?

Sugar Water

A girl can get mighty hungry during a hard day of sleep. After trying to feed me continuously for five hours, Mom finally gave me some sugar-water. Did you know that bottles will dispense water about ten times as fast as Mom dispenses milk, if you suck hard enough? And that drinking too fast makes you gag and swallow air? Maybe sucking on Mom's pinkie for a couple of hours will cure it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Found Mom, Lost Abby

Dad and Grandma took me to daycare together this morning. I guess he's back for good.

They came to pick me up early, and we went to a big house near the English Garden, where we found Mom. Most of her big tummy is gone, which I suppose means there's no baby in there anymore. But this "Abby" I've heard so much about is nowhere to be seen. Don't tell me they managed to lose her already?

Watch Me

My first visitor! What'd you bring me, Grandma? Ah, cuddly arms. Yeah, that'll do for now.

Back to the nursery for more oxygen observation this afternoon. They say they need to keep me until 6:30 PM, to have 24 hours of data. I think they just miss me too much, after the amazing job I did with the disco lights last night.


I admit it — I love to suck. Even in Mom's tummy, I sucked blisters on both my wrists. But now I have much better targets: I'm working on removing the skin from Dad's pinkie, and I've put blisters on both Mom's... well, let's not go into too much detail. Suffice to say we'll all be happier when I can get more milk with less vacuum.

I slimmed down to 3250 g (7 lb, 2.5 oz) as of this morning. I actually think I look a little better, with some of the swelling starting to go down.

Now playing: Rents

It sure is weird having two parents to contend with. I was just getting into the groove of managing one, and this other one comes along. What am I supposed to do with him? He doesn't whoosh or gurgle or make any of the parent sounds I know.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Disco Dominion

At 6:30 PM, they came for me.

They wheeled me down to the newborn lab and hooked me up to sensors they watched all night long. They told Mom and Dad something about Streptococcus B and monitoring my blood oxygen level, but I think they were really using my biorhythms to control the blinky lights in their disco.

Dad went home before I left. Why do I get the feeling Mom wasn't all that disappointed not to have me disturbing her sleep for the first time in months? I still joined her for a few meals, so she wouldn't get too lonely overnight.

Never mind

Dad came skulking in just in time for supper. Can you count a pony before it hatches?

I knew it

Grandma came solo to the Krippe (that's German for daycare) this afternoon to take me home to an empty house.  Mom and Dad are definitely out of the picture. It's probably for the best: I hear Grandmas are a real soft touch when it comes to ponies.

Room Sweet Room

I was so cute at birth, the nurses carted me off for inspection and cooing after letting Mom hold me for only a couple of minutes. They brought me back to her after an hour or so, though, and I grabbed the best meal I'd ever had and some cozy chest time.

Then it was off to room 54, our home for the next few days.

Vita 34

Storing umbilical cord blood is way more common here in Munich than it was in California. Mom and Dad didn't even have to call the courier themselves. Cool! They're having my blood listed on the public donor registry, too, in case somebody else needs it and I don't. Even cooler!

Stat Block

Big day for me: I was born. It doesn't get much more life-changing than that.

I hear grownups like numbers, and that it's good to humor them so they keep giving you milk and snuggles. So here are the boring details:
  • Name: Abigail Bailey
  • Date/Time: November 16, 2010, 12:37 pm
  • Location: Frauenklinik Dr. Geisenhofer, Munich, Germany
  • Weight: 3330g; 7 lbs 5 oz
  • Length: 51 cm; 20 inches
For those of you paying attention, you'll note that I'm two inches longer and more than two pounds heavier than Sadie was when she was born. Watch out, "big" sister — I'm gaining on you.

Abigail is for my mom's dad, Allan. Bailey is for Mom's Aunt Barbara, and it's also Dad's great-grandmother's maiden name. This must be that German efficiency I've heard so much about.

Like Sadie, I clawed my way out of Mom's tummy. It was pretty easy, though, since there were clear trail markers from when she took that path.