she’s assertive!

Our little girl knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to let us know about it. Not even a year of life experiences and this mini munchkin already has some pretty strong opinions. Not being able to talk hasn’t cramped her style either. She has adopted some sure-fire ways to get her point across.

Not walking/dancing/or otherwise carrying her somewhere fast enough? Sophie has developed the “giddyup legs.” She’ll alert you of your dawdling with quick kicks and a torso lift. This is a mild reminder. Warning! If not heeded, she’ll move on to something a bit more stern.

Take a prized possession away from Sophie and you’ll be faced with “rigid girl.” Her displeasure is voiced with a red face and a stiff extended limbs. Often this is paired with an arched back. Rigid girl goes into effect with such speed that dropping her is entirely possible.

For some reason, Sophie has grown to detest being changed into or out of clothing and/or diapers. This is when we see “spaghetti girl.” It’s as if all bones in her body have melted. She can twist and turn in amazing directions slipping through the firmest of grips. She either goes to bed without pants or we play “Where are your toes?” And it better be convincing.

Oh, I love her.



Attention Everyone!

Sophie has slept through the night for the first time!

And she was in her crib! I feel like leaping for joy on a hilltop in the wind.

We always said that things would be different once we got settled in our new home. I have to admit that I feared we were all talk. (I have a bit of wussiness in me.) You may know that Sophie was sleeping in our bed for the last 5 months. This wasn’t something that we planned. Our trip to RI in February somehow broke her sleeping mechanism and in order to stay sane, we just put her in our bed and I nursed her to sleep. Well, I had to nurse her to sleep almost every hour. Yes, I love her plump little arms wrapped up in me. Yes, I love being cuddled up with her. No, I can’t sleep with her crammed into my bossom each night. Sophie and I were just not sleeping. (I just learned that Jeff was sleeping fine. His motivation for needing her in a crib was to get our “marital bed” back.)

Even worse than the sleep deprivation was the constant fear of her falling out of the bed. Naps were especially nerve wracking as we’d have to barricade her in with pillows. I’d also have to lay down next to her until she fell asleep, which sometimes took 30 minutes or more. As you probably have gathered, I had absolutely no time away from our sweet little love. It was wearing on me.

So, I gathered all my patience and inner strength and attempted to change things. I had the help of the Sleep Lady. And it really worked! If I ever see the Sleep Lady I will hug her with all my might and kiss her on both cheeks. I learned to teach Sophie how to settle herself and get the sleep she (and we) so deparately needed. We’ve been doing it for about three weeks, but we saw results after the first three nights. Saying that those first three nights were “rough” would be an understatement. She cried and cried and resisted like crazy. I sat by her crib for all of it, sobbing and writing in a journal to convince myself not to give up. I am so proud to say that I didn’t give up. She’s slept in her crib ever since we began. We are all much happier.

Thanks for allowing me to share.

Now, Let’s talk about our little beauty. SHE IS SO ADORABLE! First of all, she is plump. Also, she is sweet and funny. If she sees my belly, she blows on it and looks at me with a huge smile. She gives love on command and she cracks up when we dance. The letter B is her favorite. She tries to say words like bye, ball, and book. We’re convinced that she knows what they mean. She’s getting more playful and curious by the second. I want to show her off to everyone that we meet.

I feel so lucky that I have been able to have these past 3 months home with her. Even though two of them were filled with packing, moving, unpacking, and other nomad-like behaviors we were all together. There was plenty of time for kisses and attacking. She’s our girl.

Now that we’re settled and sleeping, expect more pictures and more updates.



So, here we are, in New Hampshire, and after what seems like many months of insanity, life is returning to normal. Which should, in turn, lead to the long-promised awakening of this here website from its extended slumber.

To the much older Sophie who is reading this and wondering why we didn’t do any in-depth chronicling of the last six or seven months of her life: If you had just been willing to go to sleep once in awhile, kid, it would have been so much easier.

Anyway, before we commence talking in detail about how cute our baby Bean is, and all the products we could not have lived without during the last nine months, I was inspired by J at Thinking About… to share some genuine celebrity correspondence.

That’s right, I’m talking about the Supernanny. Well, specifically, someone who works in casting at Supernanny, but whatever. The point is, we have an autographed picture of a real live television celebrity and you don’t. So there.

Dig it.

But that isn’t all. I will now share with you the unexcerpted wisdom offered to us by Supernanny. (Again, this was technically written by someone who works for her, but I’m sure she dictated it. Or at least read it before it was mailed out):

Dear Mrs. Giles,

Thank you for watching Supernanny! We understand that all parents need a little help sometimes, and that’s why Jo is happy to help. Sure, maybe you’re not the best parent in the world, maybe you huck whiskey bottles at cop cars while taking your child for a stroll, but who can honestly say they’ve never done that?

Jo Frost, Supernanny, understands. We hope you like the signed photo of Jo, as well as the car window shade.

And always remember what Jo says: “Your children are like flowers; flowers who will one day grow up and be pretty pissed off at you for being such a crappy parent, and who’ll probably try to murder you, probably in your sleep, and to make it even more painful, they’ll probably do it while pretending that they love you, so, you know, look out for that, and also, be careful when anyone loves you.”


[name redacted]

Supernanny, Inc.

You are so unbelievably jealous right now that you don’t even know what to do with yourself.

Be back soon!



Have I mentioned how much I love being Sophie’s stay-at-home dad?

I won’t lie, I was a little freaked out going in. Leah likes to tell people that I’ve had more experience with babies than she has, but my younger siblings are all in their 20s now — that was a long time ago. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to get any work done. But honestly, Sophie’s a peach (and a Bean). She sleeps, she wakes up, she eats, we play, repeat. Today, we actually had some sun, for the first time in I don’t know how long, so she and I went for a little walk.

Driving back from the hospital the night she was born, I realized that everything I’d ever worried about in my entire life was totally meaningless next to what had just happened. Just a mosquito’s hiccup in the wind. Everybody tells you how your life changes the instant your child is born; it’s one of those things (for me, anyway) that you hear so often it doesn’t really register anymore. But it’s absolutely true.

It seemed like we waited forever for Sophie to be born, and I realize now that the whole time, I was certain on some level that there was no way this could all work out. I mean, making babies is pretty simple and lots of fun. But I guess — if you’re me, anyway — as soon as you want one, it seems like you’re going to need an endless list of things to happen perfectly, exactly right just to have a happy birth. (And then the real worrying begins, right?)

I didn’t realize I was holding my breath after Sophie came out, but I was. And hearing her cry for the first time unleashed the sweetest flood of relief I think I’ve ever felt. There’s nothing like hearing that first cry. And then to hold her — to look at this living thing that’s really, holy crap, a part of you — well, wow.

I felt a tremendous amount of guilt at first. I mean, this is just an embarrassment of riches, too much for anyone to be blessed with, right? My wife, my family, my friends, my health, our baby. I spent some time waiting for the other shoe to drop — feeling like the unbelievably stupid way I’ve lived my life, combined with this unbelievable good fortune, was going to tilt the balance of the universe so far out of whack that the only way to fix the situation would be for the forces of the cosmos to pull some kind of “yoink” on the proud new parents.

And that’s another thing: Having a child has enabled me to, for the first time, really understand why people believe in God and religion. Not only is it comforting to believe in a being great enough to dwarf your immense new responsibilities, but it’s impossible not to look in your child’s eyes and want to believe in divinity. Some kind of universal plan for life. The idea that, if you get your ducks in a row, you can help shield your family from the bad stuff — or, barring that, the idea that things will be better in the next life, or the afterlife, or whatever.

Like I said: It changes you. Instantly.

I don’t feel guilty anymore, just incredibly fortunate. I couldn’t have imagined a better baby, and I can’t believe I get to stay home with her for awhile. Not many fathers get to spend this kind of time getting to know their child.

I’ve been a lot of things so far in my life, but nothing compares to fatherhood. She is both my main concern and my greatest joy. And it just keeps getting better.

I’m a mom.

Has it really been only two months? I feel like it’s been a lifetime since I last wrote. I guess it has been a lifetime.

My life now is made up of three hour blocks of time. Feed Sophie. Entertain Sophie. Convince Sophie to sleep. Repeat. (Oh yes, throw in 7 1/2 hours of teaching on weekdays.) She’s incredibly adorable and all it takes is one smile to melt away the frustration of spending 5 hours trying to get her to fall asleep. (I’m not exaggerating. That was yesterday.) All I want to do is play and cuddle with her. I kiss her continuously.

I felt like a real mom the other day. We went shopping for a gift for our new baby friend, Samantha Rose Reading. I knew what to look for! Clothes that snap up the front make dressing much easier. I’m feeling more confident each day. I’m learning what Sophie’s sounds mean and how to comfort her.

(Can I just say one more time how much I love to kiss her? Her cheeks are so round I can’t even stand it. Just look at her face!)


I can’t get over how quickly she is changing. It’s only been 2 months and she’s so different than the helpless bundle we took home from the hospital. She smiles all the time in response to our smiles and coos. She has found her hand and can move it to her mouth. Mobiles are her favorites and she follows her animal friends around and around with her eyes. (Lady Monkey, Big Man Elephant, Mr. Stripes, and Jenny Giraffe have been her best friends since she opened her eyes.) Sophie’s arms used to flail up and smack dangling toys, but just the other day she impressed us with a new trick. Whenever I dangled a toy above her left side, her left arm slowly reached for it! I moved it slowly to the right and her right arm reached for it! That happened in a day. See how we can spend hours just staring at her? She’s growing so much each day.

Having a baby is the only way to truly feel the truth of certain things. Although she always tells me, I finally understand how much my mom can love me. And everyone says it, but I feel what a miracle life is.