Monthly Archives: September 2013

Four Months!

Whaddup?

Whaddup?

With four months under our belts, it is amazing to think that a third of Evelyn’s first year has already gone by. Thinking back on it, I feel like that it went by really fast and slow at the same time. I think I feel this way because things ARE happening really fast, but because I am sleep deprived dealing with everything, it feels like it has relatively been slower and longer than usual.

Updates from the growth spurt
In what seems like overnight, both Helen and I think that Evelyn has grown longer by a couple of centimeters from the growth spurt. Her grip is stronger and overall, she seems sturdier than before. We won’t know what her new weight is until we visit her pediatrician later this week, but we expect that has gone up a bit too. With a stronger neck and overall posture, we have started to sit her up on our laps, lift her up into the air, and recently, we put her in the Jumperoo. She was so excited that she tired herself out and was starting to fall asleep during her bath time.

Thanks for the Jumperoo, Uncle A!

Thanks for the Jumperoo, Uncle A!

Sleep and feeding changes
The aftermath of the growth spurt feeding schedule was that Evelyn got into the habit of snacking in the middle of the night. Previously, she was able to sleep from 8:00 -8:30 pm to 8:00 am with one dream feed between 10:00 or 11:00 pm and one night feeding around 3:00 – 4:00 am. Immediately after the growth spurt, she continued to wake up every two hours until we realized that she wasn’t actually hungry. So we tried a day or two where we didn’t feed her during any of her night wakings and trying to put her back to bed with patting and gentle coaxing. This process was extremely exhausting, much worse than waking to feed her. However, it did seem to work! After about three days of this, she was well on her way back to her pre-growth spurt schedule. We even had two nights where she slept at 8:30 pm and woke at 8:00 am with only a dream feed in between. We have been trying to get her back to this state ever since. It’s like getting a hole in one and double paring every hole afterwards (I miss golf).

Tummy time success
According to our parents, both my wife and I started to roll over at around 5 months. Evelyn seems to be hitting her milestones a bit earlier than us. We think it’s because of the general push for “tummy time” that child development specialists advise nowadays. We started to put Evelyn more on her tummy which was usually before feedings. (We don’t do tummy time after feedings because she’ll likely spit up – even up to an hour or more after a feed.) When we asked our parents if we ever had tummy time, they both replied that nobody did that back in the day for fear of suffocation. These last couple of days of month three, she has started to roll onto her tummy all on her own. She has yet to master rolling back on her own, but I am sure she’ll catch on eventually. I guess the initial screaming and crying during tummy time really paid off!

The new schedule
I have said before how your schedule is no longer your own, but I didn’t realize to what extent. All I can say is that we totally understand why parents of young children have to leave dinners so early now. Sadly, we also totally understand why new parents cancel some social obligations because sometimes, between sleep deprivation, logistics, finding childcare, etc., it is just easier not to go… Our catching up with friends used to take place over dinner at a nice restaurant on a weeknight. Those nights are now just few and far between. Evelyn’s schedule is like clockwork – at around 7:30 pm, she will start fussing and complaining about still being up. This may escalate to full-blown screaming and crying unless she is either in the bath, getting fed, or being put down to bed. Given that, either we have an early 5:00 pm dinner or we have to call in the cavalry and have our parents watch her while we are out for a more “normal” 8 pm dinner. Thinking about it, it is understandable that she behaves this way… how would you like being out at a noisy restaurant and getting overstimulated when all you want to do is sleep? Also important to note here that her timely circadian rhythm is much more preferred to a confused one where day becomes night and no one gets any sleep.

Some Additional Notes:

  • She no longer likes to sit in her bouncer or swing on the side lines while we eat. She lets us know that she wants to sit with us at the dining table and watch us while we all eat.
  • She started to dislike her infant car seat and it was becoming heavy for us to carry her with it. She would cry every time we went to strap her into it and often wouldn’t sleep in the car at all, which she used to love to do. So we upgraded her to a 3-in-1 car seat still in the rear facing configuration. It’s a bit roomier for her and so far, she is able to fall asleep again in the car and our backs thank us for this decision.
  • We have now retired about a “Banker’s Box” of infant clothes. She is now wearing clothes labeled for 6-9 months.
  • She is also showing a strong preference for us and her home. When being cared for by anyone besides her parents at home, she usually does well. However, out of our apartment, she usually needs to be able to see one of us, or she will be more fussy.
  • She really likes sleeping a particular way in her crib. No matter what position we put her in to start with, she manages to shimmy herself to that exact same spot without fail.
  • We think that she is in the beginning stages of teething. Everything goes into the mouth, her chin is always glistening with drool, and if you put a finger in her mouth, she sometimes chomps on it! So we bought her Sophie the Giraffe and she has been om-nomming on that like a drumstick. We can see why most parents are always being given this at showers, etc. Babies seem to love it!
Evelyn meets Sophie for the first time. 'Mmm... Chicken...'

Evelyn meets Sophie for the first time. ‘Mmm… Chicken…’

Looking forward to more milestones in the coming weeks.
Add Oil Evelyn!
E

P.S. Add Oil – 加油 – A Chinese expression of encouragement, often heard during sporting events or right before exams.

Server Migration

Server Migration: Raspberry Pi to an old Server Box

Server Migration: Raspberry Pi to an old Server Box


On to some house keeping…
If you are reading this, you may have noticed that the site seems to be much faster.
I have been trying over the past couple of weeks, to speed up the Raspberry Pi so that it can handle the website a little faster, but to no avail.
With ArchLinux always on the cutting edge or software, WordPress seems to be lagging a little bit behind with compatibility. There were some recent updates that changed the APC cache package and WordPress was not able to use it. And with the PHP upgrade, warnings were appearing all over the site because it was using a deprecated method to access the mySQL database. My requests per second dropped to single digits and the site slowed to a crawl. Also, an interesting symptom that I found was that the scheduled posting was not working as desired. My post, The Art of Changing Diapers, was originally scheduled to be posted earlier, but it did not get published until later than expected. I could have done more investigation to see what needs to be done to get it running, but there just wasn’t any more time I could spare on working on this. So, I decided that it was time to migrate the site to another location.

I had been toying with the idea for a while now, I was debating whether or not I should go with a paid remote server that can ensure up times and allow me to not have to manage the server maintenance. Maybe even go straight to WordPress.com and have them host the site so that compatibility is ensured. But in the end, I didn’t like the idea that I would be running this site on hardware that I could not physically tinker with.

I managed to find an old machine that was not being used and re-purposed it as a web server. The processor was about the only thing that was decent on it and even then, it’s an old i5. It had come with a small slow hard drive and it did not have enough ram (though I am still using the original sticks currently as I hunt for more, sitting at 12 Gigs after adding 8). I bought an SSD, a hard drive, and some ram to upgrade it. With Ubuntu installed and no real fancy graphics capabilities, it is now a pretty good lightweight web server. It’s kinda funny though, with the extra SSD and ram, I needed to unplug the CD Rom drive because with everything plugged in, it was drawing too much power.

The migration itself was actually easier than I thought. I had looked online for the instructions and they all say that WordPress is robust enough to handle most situations. The key steps were to copy the existing /www directory structure, and to also move the WordPress database over. There were some additional details to sort out but that’s server specific, like setting up the new mySQL user on the new database, or setting up the Apache web server and enable the site on the usual ports. All in all, not so bad and easier than I expected. I thought it would going to be more difficult because I was moving from Nginx to Apache.

And now, it is with a bittersweet happiness that I announce that the Raspberry Pi Experiment was a success and is now over. The Wired Fatherhood project will continue now with a more powerful server and hopefully, more regular scheduled posts.

Onward!
E

3 Months!

3 Months

3 Months

And with that, we are a week or so over 3 months!
I think I have to reiterate that these last three months has been one of the most trying times in my life. There were many challenges to overcome, not because of Evelyn herself, she has been good (most of the time), but setting up all of the infrastructure that is required to support this little person. That, along with the lack of sleep, shorter temper (because of lack of sleep), and the constant worrying about whether or not you are doing a good job. It’s quite stressful, I don’t know how my grandparents did this with 6+ kids!

But when the dishes are washed, the laundry has started, the day job is managed, she is fed and happy, all is said and done, I have her in my arms, and she looks up at me and smiles because she recognizes me, I realize that it’s all worth it.
After she is fast asleep in her crib, and I am unwinding with some beverage late at night, I am excited for the future and can’t wait until she grows older. I think of all the adventures we’ll have and the places we will go. While it makes me want a fast forward button, I know (and I have been told) that I’ll need to cherish these moments when they are like this.

This past week has been particularly tough because of the constant night feeding that she required. I know Helen is at wit’s end trying to stay awake and alert. From 6 pm until 6 am, she basically wakes up and cries every 2 hours wanting some milk. Apparently this is normal for a growth spurt. Usually, she wakes up and smiles at you and then starts to show signs of hunger. These bi-hourly wake up calls are not as sweet. You go from sleeping baby, to non-stop hunger crying, do not pass go, do not collect $200. The only way that she will calm down is with some milk, and then she goes right back to sleep.

Some additional notes:

  • She can recognize us now! She’ll look around and then when she catches our face in her field of view, she’ll chuckle and move around in a sort of happy dance kind of way.
  • She is laughing and chuckling.
  • Tummy Time, designed to build up neck and core strength, has been interesting. You have to flip her on her belly and make sure that her airway is not obstructed while she is trying to exercise those muscles. Last month, she would not be able to hold her head up for more than a couple of seconds. Her head would drop and she would start crying. This month, she is able to hold her head up for over a minute. It’s quite impressive when you have her on her belly, and is looking up and smiling at you. Sometimes she even doesn’t use her hands and she’s doing the superman lifting both her head and her feet.
  • Because of the work done with tummy time, her neck is now strong enough so that I can put her front facing on the Stokke MyCarrier. I can now walk around the house and outdoors and she can see what I see!
  • Growth spurts suck…

Tummy Time

Tummy Time


Chin up!
E