Sunday, July 30, 2006

But how's the traffic?

I just wanted to share a picture with you. We've had our website here for a couple of years, but I think you'll notice that we've had a sudden surge in traffic in the last few months. Here's the pic:
traffic spike
It represents the traffic on our website in the last 12 months. The most recent month is on the far left. Take a wild guess when Tobin came to live with us.

Fatherly Explanations

Tobin gives us looks sometimes like he needs things explained. I admit I feel some level of responsibility to explain all I can. Since Allison and I are are both pretty good with sports (the stereotypical realm of the dad), I've been trying to figure out which topics I can weigh in on as "Expert Dad." I've gotten pretty good with stringed instruments, so I feel ready for any question he could ask me about those. And I've learned a couple of things around the house that I feel like I could explain with some degree of certainty. By degree of certainty, I think I mean the level of comfort I would have talking to a hardware-store employee. Example:
Comfort level high:
"Can I help you sir?"
"Yes, I need to replace the seats and springs on my kitchen faucet. Could you direct me to home plumbing?"
Comfort level low:
"Can I help you sir?"
"Yes, uh . . . I think my refrigerator isn't . . . well, there's a smell that I . . . and the electricity seems to--um--on and off a lot. Sometimes."
And what about the things in the world that are inexplicable? For an adult, that's a difficult concept. But how tough is it for a kid to realize that the people who decided to bring you into the world can't even explain it? I imagine Tobin asking me about a laundry list of things that I can't explain or even understand myself.
"If it's the Holy Lands, why do they hate each other so much?"
"Why are people mean to each other?"
"Why do some people live in the streets?"
"Why would you have pillows on a bed that are only decorative?"
"Why are half the sitcoms on TV about a chubby guy and his implausibly attractive wife?"
I don't have any problem saying "I don't know" to my students at school. I know I'll say that to Tobin a lot too, but there's a significant part of me that wants always to be able to explain everything to this face.


Saturday, July 22, 2006

What nice eyes you have . . .

So. From the very beginning, we have been quite taken with Tobin's eyes. Compare then (May 18, less than an hour old) and now (today, 9 weeks & 2 days old).

what just happened?

you don't say

Friday, July 21, 2006

Two-month stats

At 2 months and 3 days (or 9 weeks and 1 day), Tobin Lee measures 24.25 inches long, weighs 14 lb. 5 oz., and has a head circumference of 16.5 inches. He ranks in the 93rd, 97th, and 95th percentiles for each measurement, respectively. Since birth, he has grown 3 inches in length, gained 5 lb. 3 oz., and grown 2.5 inches in head circumference.

Most importantly, he is healthy (not even a cold yet) and happy (smiles more each day). We remain slightly perplexed by his giant proportions, given Matt's and my sizes. But we wouldn't have it any other way, since he is so obviously thriving. We remain immensely grateful and humbled by the blessing God has given us in our son.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

My day job

While Allison is diligently studying for the bar exam, Tobin and I spend most of the daylight hours together. One thing that I'm grateful for is the front row seat it gives me for his development. Allison described his independence really well in a previous post, so I'll just add that it's fun to see him choose his own activities and express his will beyond the original "I'm hungry" or "I'm sleepy."

I got a look today that can only be interpreted as "You're boring me. What else can we do?" In his defense, I probably was boring him: I had been showing him how I reset the bridge on my mandolin to lower the action and try to reduce pressure on the headstock. Allison gives me the same look sometimes when I say things like "I've been trying for an hour to figure out the correct attribute to standardize the margins and spacing on our website."

After the "boring" look, I put him in his crib under his mobile, which held his rapt attention for 25 minutes before he slipped away to Napland. After he wakes up, I'll go over his appointment schedule for the rest of the day before letting him check over drafts of Toblog posts. He picked up a keen eye for detail in utero when Allison1 was editing the NCLR2.

final edit

1. More commonly known as "Mom" since May 18, 2006. See previously published articles of Toblog. Digital archives availabe since May 2006 at Toblog, published by Smith, Smith, et al.
2. the North Carolina Law Review.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Well, it isn't Fellini . . .

We have more video to share. When I first edited the below clips from this week, the video came in at over five and a half minutes. I thought that was a long time to pay attention to one thing (Tobin has taught me that extended concentration on one object is overrated anyway), so I cut it into two parts.

But more than cutting it in two, we're going to make a game of it. You can view each clip by clicking the pictures below. The one with the picture of Tobin and me will take you to a video where I'm the one holding the camera. The picture below that one will show you the part of the video with Tobin's mom controlling the camera. I'll check the download files and data transfer to see which video is more popular. And, of course, I'll take that as a sign of which of Tobin's parents you like better. :)

I think you'll notice we have similar directorial style and focus. Be sure your speakers are on. Tobin talks it up.

tobin video capture

tobin video capture

The pictures are captured frames from each of the videos. I think they are hilarious. In fact, I imagine Kung Fu movie sounds when I look at them, like Tobin is in attack mode.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Tobin turned 8 weeks old at 5:32pm today. It's hard to believe he's been living here that long and also hard to believe there was a time when he wasn't here.

At 8 weeks . . .

He smiles a lot. His face lights up with a smile regularly when Matt & I put our face near his and talk to him.

He talks. Okay, it's just a lot of "coo"s, "gah"s, and "ah"s but it's pretty amazing. He's communicating in ways other than just crying and rooting. We spend a lot of time echoing back to him. He also seems to love it when I start the cooing. His face lights up, he smiles, and most the time he coos back. Perhaps his dad will post some video evidence soon.

He's showing some independence. He doesn't like to be held and cuddled that much during playtime. He prefers to sit in his bouncy chair or lay on the floor or bed, so he can kick and move his arms and turn his head. He still likes naps on Dad's chest and snuggling in the morning. Another new development is that he's been putting himself to sleep at night. We've been putting him in his bed with his mobile and soothie and he coos at the mobile for a while and then drifts off . . . with the occasional squeal of protest to tell us his soothie has popped out of his mouth. We're against letting him cry it out, but we're also thankful that he doesn't need to be coaxed to sleep every night.

He sleeps through the night . . . sometimes. For a big boy, I think the expectation is that he sleep through the night consistently already. He's been waking only once a night since he was like 3 weeks old, so I have no complaints. And then this week, he's been waking twice a night. But oh well. For some reason, nighttime waking has never bothered me much because he just eats and goes back to sleep. What I would like him to work on is not wanting to get up at 5, which has been the case the last two mornings. :)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Study break

It's been way too long since I posted. Alas, I am studying for the North Carolina Bar Exam, which is just 18 days away. (It made me wince just typing that.) I go back and forth between being stressed that there's so little time left to study and being thankful for the same. Come the evening of July 26, the bar exam will be behind me. Hopefully, for good. I could at this point share my musings about what happens if I don't pass the bar, but that's really only so interesting and I need to remain positive about it all. Writing about Tobin is much more interesting . . .

So here are some things that have been happening with Tobin. You can pick up a lot with our pictures. For instance, he smiles. For real. A lot. And at least twice, I've heard an almost-laugh. He's quite unpredictable and yet quite consolable. I feel like he has a new trick a week. Like last week, his trick was falling asleep in his bouncy chair. We would have him in there for playtime, listening to music; we'd walk a way for a sec and return to find him just dozing. This week is totally different. His chair is a very active place from whence he laughs and "bicycles" his arms and legs.

The other on-and-off again thing for Tobin has been his relationship with the pacifier. We gave him one kind which he took in the evenings during his "fussy" periods (which also come and go--so it's difficult to call them regular). We were reluctant to give him one because of the whole nipple confusion thing that affects some babies' breastfeeding. But since Mr. T is gaining a pound a week, it seems that feeding is something he has down pat. The first few times we tried it, he flatly refused. He either wanted my breast or Matt's pinkie. Then one night, he was fussing for no apparent reason, so I tried and he took it. And then just peacefully observed his mobile and then the ceiling fan for a while. That pacifier lasted for about 3 days. Then he refused--acting as if I was asking him to suck on a lemon if I put it near his lips. About a week ago, we introduced him to the "Soothie" brand pacifier. And he likes it. It's been consistent naptime/fussy time/night time companion for him. It's a rare night that Tobin isn't nursed or rocked to sleep, but he's had a few nights and naps where he can be put in his bed with the Soothie and drifts off on his own. All the while, it's comforting for me to know that he will refuse it if he's hungry.

Here's a recap of Tobin's and his parents' last week, since I haven't been too good about keeping a daily account:

July 1 - Matt & I celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary by going on our very first post-Tobin date. My parents were in town, so we went out for a one hour and 45-minute (who's counting?) dinner at Bocci, an Italian place around the corner. It was quite nice. Tobin and his grandparents had a lovely time. He showed them how much he likes his new mobile and then took a nap.

July 3 - Tobin meets his Granddad Smith for the first time. He greets him with a cozy nap.

July 5 - Tobin takes his first bottle. He gulps down four ounces of expressed breastmilk with aplomb. Okay, with a little too much air and some spills . . . but he was satisfied until his next feeding.

July 6 - Tobin turns 7 weeks and goes to his first baseball game. I can't capture it any better than his dad did in his earlier post.

In the past week, Tobin has seen both sets of grandparents and his Aunt Ashley. Tomorrow, he will meet Amy and Travis, friends who are coming up from Charlotte to see him.

All in all, Tobin has a very good life, just seven weeks in. And his dad and I continue to be amazed by and are completely in amoured of our sweet, strong little boy.

Sadly, I must return to studying the rules of evidence. Fortunately, Tobin is also due to wake for a feeding in about half an hour, so that will be another study break.

Oh, here's my favorite picture of late. Tobin and his sister, chillin' on the love seat.

siblings and friends

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Baseball with Tobin

Tonight we took Tobin to his first baseball game. The Durham Bulls beat the Richmond Braves 8-2. His parents and Walsh grandparents had a nice, pleasantly cool night at the park. Tobin was great. He seemed to like the music -- and he even slept a little.

tobin's first baseball game
I tried to explain to him that Richmond's starting pitcher was struggling with his location because of poor mechanics on his drive leg, and as you can tell from the picture and the look on his face, he seemed to appreciate my fatherly nugget of wisdom.

It meant a lot to me to take him to a baseball game. I think of Papa (my mom's dad) a lot when I watch baseball, and when I coach it. I've decided to take a break from coaching for a while. As much as I have loved coaching, it's not a difficult decision to give those 20-25 hours a week to Tobin instead. But tonight, being outside with the game in front of me and my son beside me was unspeakably good. Walt Whitman wrote about baseball before it was blown out of proportion by the big leagues. I looked it up to be sure I quoted it correctly:

Baseball will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair these losses, and be a blessing to us.
Before I thought about it tonight, I always ascribed that "Repair these losses" line to the Civil War, but tonight it made me think about how much I loved--and love--Lee Yardley, and how much I love Tobin Lee. And to a much lesser, though still significant degree, how much I love the game of baseball.

Monday, July 03, 2006

When the grandparents visit

Tobin has gotten to see all of his grandparents in the last 3 days. We're having a good time, and as you can tell from the clip below, Tobin seems to be enjoying himself too.