Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Lara and Gloria are now 4 weeks old. They are gaining weight and are growing and keep us off from sleeping as you'd expect from 4 weeks olds. We've been swamped with congratulations and pink clothes, especially socks which we're using as gloves because the girls keep scratching their cheeks trying to maneuver fingers into direction mouth. We got two EUR 40 vouchers from the state, partly covering attendance of a parenting course which we decided to stay away from as far as possible. We certainly have no lack of advice, and we have meanwhile accumulated several stacks of books on the subject matter "Happy Baby," given to us by friends, relatives and neighbors. Maybe one of these books has advice on the question when to find time to read all these advice books, but till now they've been catching dust.

A month ago, neither Stefan nor I had ever changed a diaper. Meanwhile, we've gotten used to being peed at, spat at and burped at, and we can tell the babies apart by the way they cry. Besides that, in the 21st century becoming parents evidently means reading a lot of manuals. There's the stroller and the car seats and the carrier. There's the bottle warmer and the milk pump and the baby phone and the sterilizer. And then there's, oh my, the baby wrap. It comes with a 40 page manual and 100 or so different options to knot your baby to your front, back, hip, and maybe you can tie it to your head too, I never made it past page 3. After watching the instruction video, I figured the problem was I had forgotten to put that moronic grin on my face. Compared to that the babies seem quite simple at first sight. Stuff goes in one end and comes out the other. At closer look though, digestion is a terribly messy and complicated procedure.

The girls now have their own health insurance and their mommy too has, after more than 6 months fighting bureaucracy, a card from a German health insurance partnering with the Swedish Försäkringskassan. Lara and Gloria are properly registered as newborn German citizens which brings with it loads of forms with stamps and signatures, one of which will hopefully please the Swedish authorities when time comes.

And Stefan will be eternally grateful for me talking him into spending good money on a tumble dryer.


  1. Stuff goes in one end and comes out the other.

    And sometimes right out same end it went in, the mouth! Uncertainty in action. Also, I bet you're surprised how many different colors and consistencies human feces comes in.

    Looks like one's a blondie and the other a brunette, or did we catch a pic between haircuts.

    Also which one is Lara? Or Gloria?

    They're smiling now, right? Especially after a burp? Which 90% of the time is why they're crying?

    So many questions, so little time. Stay well.

  2. Best wishes to all four of you. Hair color: can shift around, my sister was blondish but moved into brunette with age.
    BTW interna has become externa.

  3. "Stuff goes in one end and comes out the other".

    If you try to know the body language and hear the tones, you can learn to catch the pee and sh.t straight to the toilet ;=> (or sink).

    Saves nature, money, effort and the same time you understand your qutie better. The bonus is that they will learn to use potty much more early.

    Topi, with 2 kids; average about 1 diaper in two weeks.

  4. Save the paperwork! It will be a wonderful counterargument when the kids know more than you do, typically beginning shortly after puberty.

    The 1950s US polio epidemic is directly traceable to Dr. Benjamin Spock's 1946 book Baby and Child Care. Babies raised in a sterile environment developed weak immune systems. A little dirt is a good thing in all endeavors. Sensory input builds working brains.

    Exclusively breast-fed babies develop anemia starting around age six months. Supplementation with other foods has been widely discussed.

    Soya might not be human food. The protein content is high. However, soy flavonoids (isoflavones) degrade mammals' health. Genistein and daidzein are phytoestrogens. Increasing soya addition to cat food as cheap protein is accompanied by chronic nephrotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, diabetes, and obesity.

  5. Gee - i didn't know that children came with user manuals these days. Will wonders never cease. Uncle Al is right about the immune system - i thought BF Skinner was on that clean room thing too. Speaking of manuals, my morning ArXiv ritual finds
    Bernhard Lasche "The c=h=G=1 question" 1101.4827
    have read just a bit, but looks better than Spock.

  6. Just remember, it's never too early to start teaching them Dimensional Analysis. Or tensors! Theoretically, the alimentary canal is a (convoluted) one-dimensional vector in 3-space. Quasi-tensor! Eureka, and egads, I think I've got it!

    Dr. Spock screwed up a generation. Mr. Spock began the repair process.

  7. Click here for the worst idea ever. We may be crazy here in the States but at least we're consistently crazy. Do that do that is Europe? It's bad enough in-laws grade parents but teachers too? Who gets to grade teachers? Oh yeah ... peers.

  8. "Theoretically, the alimentary canal is a (convoluted) one-dimensional vector in 3-space."

    It's a torus. The Scots discovered this long ago, and attempted to induce an isometry of sheep-tori along that axis: see

  9. Hi Steven,

    Ha, that gave me a good laugh. But isn't it the logical consequence of measuring and ranking everything?

    The blondie is Gloria. They're not yet smiling. Best,


  10. Hi Practical,

    Gee, I'm impressed. Can't imagine I'd figure that one out. I'm all pro pampers. Best,


  11. Hi Joel,

    Actually, one of the advice books we got is a 'manual for the baby' (this one). Evidently directed at a male readership it features sentences of the sort 'Vigorous shaking may lead to malfunction' and instructions for a 'burrito wrap' etc.

    Will look at the paper if I find the time.


  12. Girls are indeed cute, but Stefan is smiling charmingly at the title photo. BTW Quantum vacuum simulated with density fluctuations of fluid.

  13. Gloria always sleeping and Lara always looking - at least from both published pictures... :)

    Yes, hair color may completely change with age. Happened to myself and my son.

    But still, you didn't reply to my previous question: how do you find energy to read, blog, etc? This is amazing. I couldn't even *think* in the first month. But I see that Stefan looks tired. Perhaps it's different in Germany - mother and father share 50% of the work each? Brazilian women probably get > 80% - this must be the explanation!... :)

    The girls look great. Best,


  14. Hi Christine,

    Mostly, I'm reading with a baby on the left arm which works well, but one-handed writing is very cumbersome, so these days I clearly have more input than output. Regarding time-sharing, Stefan is working 9-5 weekdays, so I'm on duty 100% during this time, but he's doing his share and often more when at home. All in all, we're getting along, though at the moment it's very exhausting indeed. Esp. Gloria often cries unless you carry her around. The baby wrap comes in very handy there. Best,


  15. Hi Bee,

    Isn’t it amazing Homo sapiens were able to survive all those years before books were invented? I had a look at that wrap thing and found it interesting how they are able to market a simple rectangular piece of cloth as something unique by placing a label in the centre of its longest side and including knotting instructions that would have had Harry Houdini challenged if needing to escape:-) Never the less both parents and their prodigies seem to be doing fine.

    ” A baby is an inestimable blessing and bother.”

    -Mark Twain



  16. Hi Bee,

    Yes, the baby wrap is very useful, worked fine for me, but I don't recall for how long... Just in the beginning I guess. My husband also had to work, if I recall correctly he had one week absent from his job, at most. At the end, we were both very tired, and we had only one baby. You both seem to be doing fine. I think the most difficult part is lack of sleep. Well, every parent survived that, so you will get used with the routine.



  17. Gloria often cries unless you carry her around.

    Uh oh ... so she's only 4 weeks old and ALREADY she's learned how to manipulate her parents!?

    Impressive. VERY impressive. Expect more of that, and she's far from a teenager yet!

    I do believe we have the potential next Euler/Gauss/Einstein on our hands. Oh yes, Gloria Scherer, we have our eyes on you. :-)

    However, don't look now, but "quiet" Lara is waiting in the wings.

    Which reminds me. Professors, a question: Who was it, Einstein or Dirac, who didn't talk until their 2nd birthday, to the point the parents thought they might be "mentally" disturbed?

    Nice quote Phil, now let's see some W. C. Fields quotes on children. Hmm, better not come to think of it.

    Yup, Christine is 100% correct about the tiredness thing, but after another month, they should be sleeping through the night, you'll see, so hang in there. Like you have another choice? Ciao.

  18. Al, what I've read is that soy compounds like isoflavones are good for people (in moderation of course, whatever that means if not a circular definition - but then it's a matter of defining an actual amount), especially nervous system and with phosphate groups. Where did you see that they weren't? But your notion about immunity is latest cutting edge thinking, even the idea that worms help your immunity (note trade offs.)

    Rastus, about alimentary tract: a torus would run in a circuit, I don't think that's what we've got ... I got a kick out of your bringing up haggis since I've had it before and liked it rather well. I think the kind I had was in the intestinal casing, not stomach like the real authenticist troopers feast on.

  19. Hi Bee, hi Stephan,

    seems it's all doing well more or less with the kids. It's new to me that parents of twins decide who is who by their crying voice. This sounds like a good concept.

    Best, Kay


    Soya emasculates males in utero and thereafter. Native Asian male pornstars are statistically, ah, underrepresented. 5-foot tall Chinese emigrants to Canada have kids who gorge on fast food. Two-meter mountain of muscle hockey players result. The women are tall and curvaceous.

    Feed your underclasses soya and corn syrup. Defective genetics cannot realize full potential absent deficient nutrition and depauperate environment. Of such are Presidents borne.

  21. Ed Yong has an engaging and quite interesting blogpost up at Discover blogs' Not Exactly Rocket Science titled Celebrating female science bloggers. I pointed out what in my personal opinion a certain someone who I believe should have been listed. ;-)

  22. "There's the bottle warmer and the milk pump and the baby phone and the sterilizer."

    Why not just nurse? That saves you the bottle warmer, the milk pump and the sterilizer and is probably more fun for both baby and mother (not to mention the father)?

  23. Ich fühle mich im Moment genauso wie ein Küken, das gerade geschlüpft ist. Ich entdecke eine neue Welt : Überraschung! Bee und Stefan sind Eltern !

    Congratulations !!!!!

    One is called Lily, just like my last daughter : that's crazy !

    You will be dazed to see that little babys are great energy producers, especially when they are 12 months or so.

    But that's enough now, I do not what to spoil your day.

    Also noch Mal : Herlichen Glüchwunsch zu euren süssen Töchtern.

  24. Well well, well, look who's back? Welcome back, Jérôme. Jérôme has a new job at a Science museum. I'm jealous, and I don't think it's just me. :-)

    Google translate was able to translate what you wrote except "Herlichen Glüchwunsch." What does that mean?


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