The following is a specification proposal for a new pseudo-random character generator (PRCG), tentatively called the “Tiny Tots PRCG”. This specification is to be considered open and royalty free; everyone is free to implement and extend this specification, although attribution is appreciated. It usefulness, however, may be limited and may only be of interest to cryptographic and mathematical academics or really bored parents.
Caveats, Limitations, and Additional Notes:
You know you’ve officially earned your fatherhood stripes if you can say the above sentence with a straight face and a casual, nonchalant inflection.
One of the first real trials by fire any parent has to face is the dreaded poopy diaper. I’ve been told that babies have no concept of things smelling “good” or “bad”; they only differentiate things as smelling differently. This is probably good since they could spend an unspecified amount of time sitting in their own filth until their guardian finally finds out what happened and takes care of it. Nevertheless, we as a species eventually developed a total aversion to the odor of our own feces, most likely as a mechanism to make sure we don’t accidentally consume any in our quest for sustenance. As a general rule, things that smell bad aren’t very good to eat, certain types of fragrant cheeses not withstanding. Many of us in today’s modern, high-tech, hyper-sanitary world tend to forget this fact, as we rarely need to use this knowledge for survival. We forget it, that is, until it comes flying right back into our faces–in some cases, literally–when we start reproducing.
Anecdote #1: My wife called me in yesterday morning to help change the boy’s diaper. He had just awakened from a nice, restful, 12.5 hour night’s sleep (lucky him!) bearing a full load (OK, not so lucky). Having obtained such a high quality and quantity of sleep, he was in no mood to lie there peacefully. He was in full go-mode with the wiggle quotient cranked to high, babbling happily with every other word being “Da da”. In such situations, one of us takes the low road and performs the actual toxic clean up while the other takes the high road and does their best to restrain the flailing legs as he kicks and squirms.
Well, my wife extracted him from the crib and was on clean-up duty when she ascertained that she required my assistance with restraint. So I walked into the room and instinctively reached out and grabbed the pair of waving ankles before she even had the chance to start uttering her warning. “He just stuck his ankle in it,” she said sheepishly, still wiping frantically at his bottom. I extended my index finger into view. Yep, there it was, right there on the tip of my finger.
I’m not sure if it was the fact that I hadn’t had my morning shot of caffeine yet or just the jaded numbness of parental experience, but all I could manage was, “It’s all right, it’s just poopy.” My wife nearly snorted with laughter. I very calmly remained at my station until the clean-up was completed, the diaper was closed, and the boy secure. I then proceeded calmly yet briskly across the hall to the bathroom and scrubbed until my finger was raw.
I have a bad habit of biting my fingernails. I think I kicked that habit, at least for the day.
Anecdote #2: Hours later, we’re about to head out for some longer over-due shopping. It’s usually my job to carry the boy downstairs to the car and buckle him in while my wife gathers all his various accessories (diaper bag, toys, etc.). Right now the two burdens are about equal in weight, but he’s steadily increasing in mass, giving me the weightier load. I hoisted him up to my hip in the typical carrying configuration, and a faint yet unfortunately familiar scent wafted to my nostrils.
My wife undoubtedly noticed the odd look on my face. “What’s wrong?”
“I smell poopy.”
“I just changed him.”
“Well, it’s either the boy or Daddy, but I definitely smell it.” I spun him around, lifted him higher, and planted my nose into his tush. (This maneuver is not recommended; only trained professional parents should attempt this.)
“Powder fresh.” I didn’t like the implications of this deduction.
UPDATE: And, of course, not long after I post this, the “Powered by Perl” onesie is no longer for sale. Curse you, ThinkGeek, for having dynamic inventory!
Just have to share a proud parent moment this morning. Those easily nauseated by baby cuteness or sappy parental sentimentality should avoid this post.
Ben’s been sleeping well through the night now, but the little guy has had the occasional tendency to get us up ridiculously early in the morning. This morning, it was around 3:30 AM and for no apparent reason. Yesterday, it was more like 4:30, but the reason was definitely legit; the poor little guy had an “accident” in the middle of the night, so his pajamas, blanket, and bed sheets all needed to be changed. Since he woke up in quite the fuss, we whipped up a bottle and fed him until he fell back asleep. Once he was down, we got to go back to bed ourselves. I’ve never been one to go back to sleep easily after I’ve been awakened, but that’s changed in the past ten months. I’ve also stepped up in teaching him the days of the week so he’ll hopefully realize that on weekends we sleep in and weekdays are when we get up ridiculously early (and usually not because we want to).
I woke up again around 7 AM, unable to get back to sleep. So I got up and started poking around with our newest toy (our anniversary present to each other, which I’ll probably post about shortly in a separate post). It wasn’t long before Ben woke up again and I could hear him moving around through the baby monitor, so I went in to check on him. As I walked through the door, he was laying on his back, which told me he was wide awake, as he’s been taking to sleeping on his side and belly lately. As I walked up to the crib, he opened his eyes and looked dead at me. Then, plain as day, he said rather definitively, “Da da.” It wasn’t a stream of endless “da da da da” babble or a mixture of bizarre baby sounds strung together in a haphazard fashion. He looked at me, he recognized me, he knew what my “name” was, and he verbalized his acknowledgment. That’s a big step there in infant development. It’s also something that should turn any father’s heart into a big squishy mush. I immediately picked him up and snuggled him up to my shoulder, in part because I knew he’d be hungry and would need another diaper change, but also because I didn’t want him to see me getting all misty-eyed. Needless to say, I was on Cloud 9 the rest of the day.
Technically, I don’t think this was his first word. He’s babbled quite a bit the last month or two, and he was doing “ma ma ma” a bit before he was doing “da da da.” At the same time, I can’t think of anytime he’s verbally acknowledged something by name. I’m afraid, though, that we’ll have to officially say his first word was probably “pooh”… which I’m hoping he meant “Winnie the” and not any other connotations thereof.
Not surprising given his parentage, Ben has taken an early interest in computers. If he’s awake in the mornings while I’m doing my morning Web surfing, I’ll often put Apollo the laptop next to me while holding him, so I can keep reading comics while he watches Baby Einstein. This often becomes a distraction for him, though, as he’d much rather see what Daddy is up to that’s undoubtedly more interesting than puppets. This usually turns into a wrestling match as he wants to play with Daddy’s toy, which is infinitely more cool than any of his.
Well, this morning I decided to give him a crack at the thing. After waiting for Apollo to boot (“Remember, Ben, this is a Windows box, so that takes a while….”), I opened a word processor, changed the font to something large and bright so it was easy to see that he was actually making it do things, and let him go to town. I had to intervene a couple times when he hit Control or Alt, and I deleted a good bit of the unnecessary whitespace (he was particularly fond of the large Enter key and had nine pages of carriage returns), but otherwise left it as it was and thought I’d go ahead and share.
So without further ado, I present baby’s first blog post:
l———;p J;kj;lj;lkjjupoytouigry 8 7yj/
. t vmb jku g
Not a lot of substance, but he’s still getting the hang of this “language” thing. Still, it’s probably better than 90% of the blog posts out there anyway….
To the tune of “Hush Little Baby”:
Hush little baby, don’t say a word,
Daddy’s gonna download Thunderbird.
And if Thunderbird won’t catch your spam,
Daddy’s gonna set up SpamAssassin.
And if SA won’t trap the lot,
Daddy’ll catch those jerks with a honeypot.
And once he’s blacklisted their IPs,
He’ll report their crimes to their ISPs.
And once the feds are knocking on their door,
Daddy’ll DDoS them back to 1984.
And once that scum succumbs to their fate,
You and daddy can deathmatch to celebrate.
Sorry for the recent quietness, folks, but with the holidays often come extreme business, and I’ve definitely been busy. However, I thought my first post of the year should be an interesting one, and it definitely is. A word of warning: extreme baby cuteness lies ahead.
My wife and I started last night with the long, arduous task of taking down all the Christmas decorations. Of course, putting them up this season took longer than in the past because of our new then-four-month-old distraction, and I’ll bet taking them down will face the same temporal challenges. I took the job of babysitter (literally, as I was making it him sit up) while my wife started taking ornaments off the tree. This was largely uneventful, as Ben was distracted by the TV most of the time.
Then my wife took down my Darth Vader Hallmark ornament. I seem to receive a bunch of Star Trek and Star Wars ornaments every year, and I’ll be that over the years I’ve probably ended up with almost every ornament in Hallmark’s collections from these series. Well, she set Lord Vader down next to me while she started opening his box. I was exhausted and doped up on several prescription medicines (I’m currently battling my yearly bout of bronchitis), so that was probably affecting my sense of humor. I picked up Vader and started marching him through the air toward Ben, doing the Vader breath mask sound. In my best James Earl Jones impersonation (which is admittedly pretty bad), I said, “Ben… I am your father.” And something amazing happened.
Ben laughed. He laughed hysterically.
Since Vader’s lightsabre was fully extended (yes, there are occasional jokes about the comparative lengths of Vader’s and Luke’s ornament’s lightsabres), I started making the lightsabre swooshing sound. Having grown up during the golden years of Star Wars, I got really good at making that sound growing up. Once I started that, though, Ben laughed even more. Each swoosh brought more giggles, which were incredibly infectious. Mind you, we’ve heard Ben laugh before, but never have we found anything that predictably made him laugh on cue.
I am contractually obligated (via a marriage license and the fact that I’ll be sleeping in the back of the Ford for the next few weeks if I don’t) to post the above picture. Tonight, WVU is playing Louisville. Personally, I have very little interest in sports (I’m a geek that way) and at my best have only the tiniest comprehension of (American) football and its rules. My in-laws, however, are huge WVU football fans, as is just about every other person (living or dead) in this state. My wife is positively giddy about the game, which is undoubtedly a big deal as both teams are highly ranked this year (by some truly bizarre ranking system that I think requires a university degree in its own right to understand). By pure coincidence, the nanny dressed Ben in his WVU onesie this morning (a gift from one of our baby showers). This sent my wife over the edge, forcing her to demand that I post the picture. And here it is.
Mind you, I’ll have absolutely no problem if Ben turns out to be a total jock someday (negative connotations removed, of course). I’ll support any healthy endeavor he decides to participate in, be it athletic, intellectual, creative, or what have you. Just so long as he isn’t embarrassed that his old man is a code monkey and living proof that white men can’t jump. (Yes, I know that’s a basketball reference in a post about football. Sue me.)
I never understood why people abuse their infant children by dressing them up in obnoxiously cute costumes for Halloween, even though they’re way too young to ever remember it. Anyhoo, in keeping with this apparent age-old tradition, here’s our son’s first contribution. Since I didn’t get to carve our traditional jack-o’-lantern this year, we’ll have to settle for a squirming, smiling, farty one. Happy Halloween, all.