Monday, July 25, 2005

I know, I know...

Substantive post, no really, any minute now. really...

But right now, I have to say...

(Something Very Good Has Happened)

Something... Wonderful.

There's been a glitch, but I feel confident that it's only a minor one.

Mazal Tov.


UPDATE: I told you it was just a minor glitch.

PS: Welcome Visitors! I've had a serious uptick in hits, most coming from Danae's site. Sorry I don't have anything fresh for you, but Yes is a world should give you an idea of what I do here, or More than animals . And for those of you with less religious interests, I should probably point out FrumDad gets Political

Thanks for stopping by!

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Linking out.

I realize it's been a while since I've posted for real. I'm feeling too low about it to even apologize, if that makes any sense.

But I wanted to tag this post, over at Willow Tree.

It was like stumbling across a fragment of perfect sea-glass. Unexpected and precise.



Friday, December 31, 2004

Please Try to Remember the First of Octember!

The title of this post really deserves an excellent, introspective essay about the nature of rhyming in the Torah, and how that relates to Rachel's speech development.

But I just wanted to post, quickly, and apologize to all for my absence. And I didn't want to let all of December go by without at least a blip on the screen.

So this is the blip. I'm sorry for my absence; It started out with me taking the election kinda personally, but just evolved into the World of FrumDad being pretty crazy at this point... There's good blog fodder in there if I ever get a chance to sit down and bang it out.

I'm not going to even bother making any kind of promise or New Year's resolution on the posting frequency issue. There's a plan, and a hope, but I'm going to leave the promises out of it. As Tevye would say, "As the Good Book says, 'A tzaddik does much and says little, and a fool the reverse.'" (Bava Metzia 87a) (But I don't think the fool bit is in there.)

Oh yeah... I made a picture for all y'all.

And a special hello to Z from Jewview, Pgh Femme at Giving it a Go, both from the comments, and to those who emailed me. Thanks for taking the minute to reach out.


PS: Why does the animal look that way?? Because freehand-mouse drawing skill has never been one I've claimed. I did this search and tried to vaguely copy this image.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

One more, short and easy.

As some may have noticed (not many, but some), I've been away from the blogiverse for a while, or at least on limited visitation. I may, eventually, explain why. Probably not, since it's not that important.

And the election thing was occupying a lot of front-burner brain space for a while, too. So, for instance, I didn't even know that Julie over at A Little Pregnant was, well, more than a little pregnant.

May the baby come "b'sha'ah tovah, umutzlachas" (in the right time and 'successfully,' but "mutzlachas" is a more complex word than that.)

In any event... Go read this.

Yes, yes, and thrice: yes.

That is all.

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Friday, November 12, 2004

Some Short Easy Pieces

1. "Ze ha-yom asah Ado-shem, nagila v'nismecha bo."

This is the day that Hashem has made, let us exult and be joyful in it. I don't think I even need to post the link, as I'm sure anyone could guess why I'm being all exultant and joyful. Others have quoted Proverbs 11: "at the death of the wicked, there is joyful song." That too.

Of course, this search is more appropriate, but comes up with less relevant results. And of course the whole saga can only remind one of... Oh, wait... THIS JUST IN!!Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead!

Anyway, back to the celebratin'.

2. While we're on this topic...

Who climbs on top of a respected leader's coffin?

Animals. That's who.

3. Check it out (part 1)

Check it out! I got some press and I didn't even know it. Neat-o keen.

4. Check it out (part 2)

A mention on Protocols. And I didn't even have to say anything snarky about Luke Ford.

Of course, he didn't hook me up with a link or mention of the Political FrumDad post, so far as I can tell. So maybe I'll have to go back to snarkiness.

5. Mail Recovery Center (a/k/a - The Dead Letter Department).

The original Mail Recovery Center was called the Dead Letter Department, established by Benjamin Franklin in the 1770’s... but I only mention it because, well, you'll see.

HEATHER!!! (Got your attention, ka?) Heather who gave me the Matt Groening book and whose last initial used to be among the first ten letters of the alphabet and whose last initial could possibly be in the second ten letters of the alphabet now. (I don't know if you're hyphenating, or didn't change your name, or what.)

Either way. Back in August, you sent me an email in response to my Totally Busted post.

I've been meaning to get back to you, really. But I kind of lost that email, and with it your email address. I could probably Google you, but this way seems so much more fun.

Email me again. Please? I'll put you right in my contacts list and in my Palm pilot. Thanks.

Have a good weekend, everybody.


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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

I'm Ba-ack!

No, I didn't trip and fall off the continent. No I haven't given up on this blog. In fact, my problem's the opposite; I have this off-topic political post I want to write, and every time I start drafting it I get so wound up I end up making no sense. Even thinking about it now, I'm getting all... grrrrr...

Anyway. I'll probably do an interim post because Rachel's been so awesome and excellent in the past few weeks and she's got me thinking about the nature of laughter and some other Torah subjects. That kind of stuff is, after all, what my few (but dedicated) readers keep coming back for.

That and when I bash Luke Ford over at Protocols. But I only do that for the traffic spike.

So, I'm back, and I'm checking in. Sorry for the absence.

While I'm at it, though, I'm going to plug:

The subject this month is adaptation. I'm not a hundred percent sure that this is on-point, but I'm going to submit my previous The Biggest Lesson post for this one.


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Friday, August 20, 2004

A name change for "G!"

As I type right now I can't find the full thread of posts[fn1] back and forth over a number of different blogs, but there's been some talk recently on other blogs about the manner in which bloggers -- especially male, anonymous bloggers -- refer to their wives.
[fn1:] The first time Google's ever let me down, search-wise that is. I ended up finding the Heimishtown link noted below on Yahoo! Search of all places. At least it wasn't MSN.
I remember it started with this post by Cookie at Heimishtown, and then travelled around a bit, generally under the radar of other things going on.

When I first started this blog, way back in my first post, I decided to give my wife a one-letter pseudonym, "G".[fn2] But, to my own credit, I did refer to her in that same post, and still think of her as, "My Holy Wife."
[fn2:] In the interests of disclosure, I should point out that I went in today and edited that post to include the "name" tags that allow me to jump-link to specific words. I wanted to use the Google cached versions (with the highlighting), but Google wasn't (apparently) crawling me back then.
After some thought, I've decided it's worth the awkwardness of this post to "officially" change her name here.

So, henceforth, "G." is no more. Future references to her will be as MHW, MBHW (My Beautiful Holy Wife), MWHW (My Wonderful Holy Wife), or MWBHW (figure it out). The initial "M" may be replaced by "the," as in: "And then, I heard the voice of the HW in my head, saying, 'stop yapping FD, they get the point.'"


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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Blog-to-blog the Other Way.


This is the third or fourth time I've been linked to in the main text of someone else's blog, and each time I've been humbled and appreciative, not least to be considered even in small measure a compatriot of these fine people who think and express themselves so clearly and exquisitely.

This time is no exception.


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Thursday, July 08, 2004

Missin' the loooove.

Hello!?!?!? How about a little love from the folks over at
Jewish Week?

Okay, so I come up #128 on the Google search for [orthodox jewish blog].

But I come in ahead of Shmuley, even!!!

Of course, he wasn't in the article either. So maybe that's not such a good point.

I also come in ahead of AidelMaidel, who did get mentioned. But there's probably another search, like maybe "Jewish Blogs that People Actually Read."

Okay, I just did that search. AidelMaidel comes in soemwhere around 600, and I, erm... well... don't so much show up at all.

Well, let's fix that right now:

Jewish Blogs that People Actually Read!
Hey, If you're into Jewish Blogs and you, like, Actually Read them, and you're a People, you would be interested in reading THIS, which is a Jewish Blog that People Actually Read.

I know this has nothing to do with my daughter, or with how my Judaism informs my being a father...

Oh well.

[UPDATE] Seems the Google Dance has a sense of humor.  I now come in 168 on the "Orthodox Jewish Blog" search, lower than I was and way behind Shmuley and AidelMaidel.  Maybe if I look up "tying self-esteem to blog hits and google rank."  (Which I just did.  Can you believe there aren't more hits on that search!?)

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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Mother's Milk: My Turn.

I should probably make clear as early as possible that the title of this post is not meant to imply that I would be taking a turn breastfeeding Rachel anytime soon. (And how disturbing is that link?) It's just that I pretty regularly read a number of other Dad-blogs (and parent-blogs)[fn1] and it seems almost obligatory to do a post about breastfeeding. I'm not going to go and find all the different relevant spot-links, you can Google this (or this) if you must. As is not unusual, BenMac over at TTU has done the definitive post, and I'd probably be wisest just to point you there and be done. (Also worth checking out: Milk Week.)
[Fn1]: I know, I know; I have to really work on my margin. I've already mentioned it's high on the project list, with a bullet. For now, a few of the regular stops on my blog local: The Trixie Update; Celebrating Colum; Laid-Off Dad; DaddyZine; DaddyTypes; DadTalk; Dooce (a girl); Leelo and His Potty Mouthed Mom (another non-boy. Warning – she is potty mouthed as advertised.) (Actually, so is Dooce.)
Everyone's had a go at this milk business; I'm just taking my turn. Someday soon I'll post about poop, too, and then I'll be a full-fledged member of this blogging fathers club.

In any event, over the past few weeks, I've noticed Rachel being much more active in her learning. She's always, B'H, been pretty much right in the middle of the curve w/r/t most of the standard developmental milestones, with a little deviation here and there, but recently I've noticed that she's moving into a new phase, where she generalizes from one lesson to another. So that learning to put the round block into the round hole is no longer just about that one toy (and why can't I find a picture of the one we actually have?) but has become a larger proposition, where Rachel now generalizes the concept and has started putting things in and on each other in ways that not only has she never been able to before but, more importantly, that she's never seen anyone else do before; she'll look at the soda can, then at the roll of packing tape, and try (with moderate success) to put the can inside the roll of tape. Not because she’s seen me do the same thing, but because she herself has done a similar thing in another context, and is generalizing to this context.

This change is a quantum developmental leap in Rachel's learning, and it's got a lot of implications for G and me. It's got me thinking about chinuch (Jewish education), which in turn got me thinking about breastmilk.

I know that seems like a big jump, but stay with me here. I'm not sure I'll be able to pull it together, but I've got something in mind, at least as I write these words.

We'll start with a schtickle (little bit of) Torah. Let me quickly summarize a lot of the necessary background: After receiving the Torah, the Jews in the desert spent some time (about 40 years) traveling. During that time, every time they moved they would have to disassemble, move, and reassemble the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Some of the items to be moved were built with rings attached, for the insertion of poles or staves to facilitate moving them. One such item was the Aron -- the Ark of the Covenant. Yeah, that one.

If you look again at the image of the Ark itself on that page (or here), you'll see the rings and the poles. There's some beautiful Torah about the details of those poles, especially with respect to the Ark and who's carrying what (or vice-versa), but that's not where I want to focus.

For all the other items that were moved in that manner, when it was time to set up the Tabernacle again, the staves would be removed (and presumably stored). For the Ark, the poles stayed in. A curtain (the "Parochet") was hung around the Ark, such that the curtain would hang down over the staves, but the staves would rest against the Parochet, causing two protrusions in the curtain.

They look like breasts. I wouldn't say this if I didn't have legitimate rabbinical authority backing me up. They're supposed to look like breasts.

The idea is a beautiful one. We are humans, and live in a physical, limited world. But we yearn for (and are obligated to pursue) connection to Hashem, which are transcendent, unlimited, super-physical things. The universe as conceived of by Hashem is too much for us; if we tried to interact with it directly it would destroy us.

So Hashem gave us the Torah, which serves as a sort of interface between us and Him. The Torah (represented by the Ark, which contains the Tablets) interacts with the "true" universe, and then frames it and gives us a construct through which we can deal with it.

That's why the breasts. It's to explain that the Torah is serving the same function at one level that a mother's breasts serve at another.

The world is a beautiful place, full of wonderful things to eat and from which we can derive sustenance. But an infant can't handle it, and if they tried it would destroy them. No matter how much G or I might enjoy a big fat steak with fried onions and garlic, Rachel couldn't have handled that when she first got here, and even now with teeth and hands and everything, that's probably not the best way to go about feeding her.

So this is what a mother does: She interacts with the world. She takes it in, and processes it, and takes out of it only what will be perfectly useful to her child, what won't destroy the child, and gives only that over to her child.

Something that gets missed very often in the discussion of nursing is that breastmilk is, in many ways, a perfect food. It's not unusual for a child to go days without pooping when they're breastfeeding exclusively, and it's not unhealthy. The food is giving the child everything they need, as well as nothing they don't need. Even the part that eventually does get pooped out is really only there to teach the baby's body how to poop, how to process the unnecessary bits.

This idea is even reflected in halacha (Jewish law). Normally, a person can't pray or study Torah when in the presence of feces. It's not so much a question of distastefulness or even respect, but rather a function of feces "separating" a person from the most elevated image of themselves. But one is allowed to do those things in the presence of the excrement of an infant who is only breastfeeding. Even though essentially waste is waste, the halacha recognizes that the waste from breastmilk isn't really waste at all; it's just the satisfaction of a different kind of need.

(I managed to mention poop in this post after all.)

Thought of in those terms, it makes somewhat clearer the role of a parent in general, and particularly with respect to Rachel's education. I don't mean the standard Readin' Ritin' Rithmatic education, though that's certainly included. I mean the education she gets from dealing with the world on a daily basis. Everything from the Physics experiments that are hidden in the way she throws her pacifier out of the crib to the Sociology experiments hidden in my repeated but increasingly frustrated retrieval of said pacifier to the Peer Group Management lessons involved in times G and I decide to let Rachel play with someone, or be held by someone, and so on.

Rachel's growing up. Fast. She's interacting with the world that's expanded beyond me and G and maybe her
. And she's learning from it.

The lesson of mother's milk is that as her parent, it's my job to interact with what's going to be too much for her, break it down into chunks she can handle, and then let her handle them. And as importantly, just like eventually the babies get weaned and eventually Rachel will be (hopefully) tuckin' into Steak and Onions right next to me, I also have to make sure not to stand too much in her way. The things I break down for her now, so she can handle them in small chunks, those are the same things that eventually, after having handled enough small chunks, she'll be able to deal with directly.

I also have to make sure that I remember to teach her not only how to deal with the useful, the psychologically and spiritually and emotionally nutritious parts of the world, but also the detritus, the husks. I can't give her such a perfect food that she never learns how to poop. I have to remember that in that way sometimes the husk is as much food as the food part is.

There's much that amazes me about mother's milk, but not least this idea, new to me at least, that it carries a lesson in raising and educating my child.


PS: See, I told you I could pull it together.

PPS: Bonus Links!


          . . . only by theKohanim. . . .

          . . . a recasting of the "protect the baby" idea I've mentioned before . . .

          biting gold coins to test them.

PPPS: See, I told you. I got a post up by Wednesday. I still need to doodle with the formatting, though.

PPPPS: How lame is the multiple-P-S format?

PPPPPS: Very Lame.

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Friday, July 02, 2004

I will be soooo grumpy.

I'm getting a nice little traffic spike thanks to this very nice link from DaddyTypes. And of course, I spent this week actually (a) trying to make some money and (b) doofing around with the format instead of (c) putting up content.

Now, I've posted on the subject of my conflict over the traffic issue before. It's actually sort of settled down a bit: I write for me but I enjoy the traffic. And there is a certain community aspect to the blogsphere (silly word, that) and particularly my little chunk of it, overlapping as I hope it does the Fatherhood/Parenthood, Faith and Religion, and tacitly left-leaning neighborhoods that it does.

(As well as the poorly-edited-because-I-have-to-get-home-before-sundown neighborhood. I'll try to fix the preceeding paragraph along with the hundred other things that need fixing in the near future.)

So anyway, this has happened once before, and I gotta say I'm gonna be grumpy if it happens the same way again. I mean, given the relatively narrowband content I'm only going to get a very low stick percentage anyway, but I'd be bothered if I missed the opportunity to grow this space, even if just a little.

Hopefully, barring unforeseen circumstance, I'll have a substantive post up by Wednesday (or sooner). Any returning visitors will hae seen posts like this before; to all you new visitors, "Hello from [a] child[] of [the father of] FrumDad".

Okay, that last sentence was pretty lame too. I was just thinking of that movie from 1984 where the spaceman comes back supposedly quoting from the Golden Record on Voyager.

Okay. I'm clearly tangenting out of control here. Which means it must be time for Shabbos!!


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Friday, June 25, 2004

Bonus Links! (and a quick explanation)


Editing the previous post forced me to take out two worthwhile links, which I include here, with only a little context.

1: "On the other hand, womengirls in America seem to be the victims of an early sexualization. . . "

2: ("For God's sake, Alvy, even Freud speaks of a latency period.")

3: . . .greeting the boyfriend. . .

4: . . .Ogden Nash poem about baby girls and their future husbands. . .


Sometimes I'll link to a dictionary definition of a word I use. I've been told this is patronizing. I just think they're cool words with cool definitions, and so I link 'em. I invite this (small) community to chime in and tell me if I'm being condescending. See, there! I did it again! Bwa ha ha ha!

Have a Gut Shabbos!


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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Grumbles and a BlogBirthday

Wow. So when I actually start trying to keep a regular posting schedule, it turns out I have a fair amount to say. Or at least maybe I’m just more aware of blogworthiness. In any event, as was the case last week, I’m totally swamped at work, but since I’ll be offline at least until Friday (and probably until Sunday or Monday) I wanted to make a few quick posts. This will be the administrivial one (which is easier to write). The more substantive ones. . . well, I'm tired of promising content and delivering meta, so it'll be up when it's up.

Grumble grumble grumble. Last week, I got linked from a site called TeamDandy. This produced a hit spike, which excited me and got me all happy. For like a minute, until I realized that I had a wet computer (don't ask) and a ton of work, and there wasn't going to be any substantive post forthcoming. So all those nice people went away.

Now, eventually I have to sit down and figure out what my relationship is going to be with the hit counter. I make a big deal of this being anonymous, except that anyone who reads it and knows me will glark [fn1] it in about five seconds. I make a big deal out of not publicizing this blog, except whenever I comment on the other blogs I visit, I make sure not only to link to it, but just to make sure Google gets what this blog is about (and stops confusing me with sites about David Frum), I GoogleWangle those comments with a tag like Orthodox Jewish Father. Clearly I'm conflicted.
[FN1:] I know that's not exactly how glark is used, but when I was looking up the link for a dictionary definition of grok (which I also realized wasn't what I meant) I followed links to the word and just really liked it.
But apparently my hits mean something to me, because when I realized that I had a traffic spike that I wasn't going to be able to follow-up with, I kept thinking, Wait! Come Back! There'll be good content soon! (Better link, with related sound file). When I come back from the holiday!!

Which brings me to my next point.

Which holiday? Why Shavuot, in fact! Look at my first post, ever!, footnote 6, for a reference to the very same holiday, just last year.

Which makes it almost exactly a year since I started this blog. A lunar year, anyway; I have a few days for the solar year to swing around. Though I'm not sure if I should count it, since I took that nine month break in the middle there. Happy Birthday to!

I know my BlogRoll is a mess, and I know the site could use some template work. I'll do it, honest. Just not right now. Look at the time stamp of this post and realize that I'm still at work, and you can figure the stress I'm feeling to get! out! now!

So that's what I'm going to do.

To those to whom this is appropriate: Have a good holiday.


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Monday, May 17, 2004

*Another* "Protect" follow-up

Yeah, I know; this is just lazy blogging.

The fact is this week is looking totally hairy at work and at home, if I do get to post it'll be short and probably Friday.

So when I saw this post, I thought it would make a nice follow-up to my Protect post, but more with the funny.


PS: The hairy picture is from this site, which I link only because I feel bad direct linking to the picture without linking to the site. I haven't even really looked at or read the site, and make no endorsement or promises or anything. I just did a Google Image search on "totally hairy."

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Monday, April 26, 2004

(More) Administrivia

and more blog-to-blog linkage!

Just a little something about my vision, here. I'm hoping to do about one substantive post a week. I'm shooting for Wednesday or Thursday, but sometimes it'll go to Friday or Sunday.[fn1] I'm hoping to ramp up to two or three updates weekly, as I get more facile. And sometimes I'll just be busy at work, and it won't happen, and I'll feel guilty and miserable about it. It's complicated by the fact that G doesn't even know I'm doing this, so I can't disappear for a couple hours on a Sunday to write these entries.
[fn1:] Not Shabbos (Saturday), because even though it's theoretically possible to make an entry Saturday night after sundown, Motzei-Shabbos (Saturday Night, lit. Exiting of Shabbos) is more a spend-time-with-your-wife time than a spend-time-with-your-blog time.
This week I'm hoping for either another substantive entry or for a chance to do something with my sidebar. I want to organize the links and keep the BlogRoll to a minimum. But we'll see.

I bring this up now, because BlogPatrol tells me I have a few actual not-me readers. Not a lot, but that's fine. At the end of the day there's a strange dynamic here, anyway, since I'm really writing this for myself, but I need the conceit of an audience -- and the responsibility of an audience.

Not less than that, though, one of the coolest parts of the traffic blip is that I have actually gotten a few pieces of feedback -- Yay, Pea! (John, props below) -- which is tremendously exciting. I feel an obligation here to point out that I might not (probably won't) respond to all/some of the feedback I get, and like that. It's not that I expect ye olde flood-o'-mail, it's just a general time-management issue I have, but probably no one reading this doesn't have a comparable situation.

Speaking of feedback... Right now I'm using BlogExtra BackBlog for comments. But I did a quick Google search and came up with a few other possibilities. Before I start mucking about with my template, though, I'm willing to hear if anyone has an opinion. It's gotta be free and work with BlogSpot. Easy is better, too.

Also speaking of feedback, and of organizing my links: I've sort of started using this page as a de facto homepage, and in addition to TTU (see this post) one of the blogs I jump to almost every day from here is It's another blog I'm a little leary of mentioning, because it's better than mine, but what are you going to do? Also just like TTU, this post is the "closer" post, the one that made me realize I would be coming back again.

We now return to our regular content -- you know, the one about being a father, not a blogger.


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Friday, April 16, 2004


(was Good v. Expeditious, part I)

Please read the apology above for an explanation of the weird content shifts that have been going on here recently.

Or, skip this post, skip the apology, and you're missing none of the FrumDad experience. Trust me.

Ahh... forget it.

As noted in the update of the "Sorry" post above, I've decided that the intellectual honesty angle was a smokescreen.

When I was in college I had a professor who used to circle what he called "sweetheart sentences" on students' papers. They were sentences that contributed nothing and should have been edited out, but of which the student was so enamored that they (the sentence) had stayed in.

So basically my blustering about "intellectual honesty" and so on was just my reluctance to un-publish anything I had given the time and effort to writing.

But blogging isn't just about self-publishing. It's also about self-editing.

Because I linked to them already, and on the conceit that it matters, I'm keeping these links in this post:

This Normal Life
Daniel Gordis' dispatches (Gordis archives here)
pyrrhic victory.


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Thursday, April 08, 2004

Passover Tires Me Out

and my first blog-to-blog link:
The Trixie Update

I was out for a couple of days for Pesach. [fn1] Pesach is tremendously centered on the education of children, and over the course of the holidays I had some thoughts about some of what I could take away that would relate specifically to Rachel. But simple (yet extraordinary) fatigue has cleared my mind of these thoughts for now. I'm still recovering from two nights in a row of seders going to three o'clock in the morning and then early Shacharis (morning prayer) the next day. So I'm going to hold off on the entry for now.
[fn1:] Also known as Passover. Information at the OU site or the Aish site. Although lasting eight days, the first two days are considered centrally important, and include the night-time ritual of the seder (plural seders or sedarim ).
Maybe when I'm a bit more coherent.

While I'm making some sort of entry, though, I pretty much have to make mention of The Trixie Update (TTU). I have mixed feelings about even putting up the link. On the off chance that this blog actually gets a visitor who isn't, you know, me, I don't know about the marketing smarts of linking to a site as awesome and easy to get lost in as TTU.

I'm taking some solace in the fact that TTU is more about Trixie, with some fatherhood insights, and I'm trying to make this blog more about the fatherhood insights and only a little about Rachel. Though of course I'll probably end up writing as much about Rachel as anything else, since between her and G I'm as in love as I've ever been, ever, with anything or one.

But at the end of the day, it's really just an awesome site, and I can't help myself. It's clear all over that this guy is super-geek-dad (the 'super' to modify both, I think), but it was this post that finally convinced me that I would be checking the site regularly as long as it was up.

I have to admit that I think Rachel is (a little) cuter than Trixie, but since this is a kinda-sorta-anonymous blog I'm not going to be able to put up pictures and you're just going to have to take my word for it. Also, Rachel is a little bit older than Trixie, and of course the development of each child is unique, so Trixie shouldn't feel insecure that Rachel is already riding a unicycle and playing master-level chess.

That last, of course, is a joke, and is in fact a modification of the line I've told all concerned parties to use if they ever find themselves involved in playground olympics [fn2].
[fn2:] Not any sort of real playground olympics, but the kind where parents sit around the playground and make each other feel insecure. "My little Johnny is walking, and he's only 9 months old," says one, and another ups the ante with, "Oh, Jennifer walked at eight months, but she's busy learning to read now," etceterah. While the third mother sits quietly and thinks she should have eaten more folic acid during the pregnancy. My mother has a competitive streak, and my lovely wife G can sometimes let people get to her, so I've asked both not to play that game by simply trumping the entire issue as soon as it comes up: "Rachel is riding the unicycle pretty well, and her piano playing has really gotten better since last month," or like that.
So, anyway, The Trixie Update. Great site, interesting stuff. There's a little community springing up over there, too, which is one of the best things about the blog-verse. In my own lurky way, I guess I'm a part of it. I don't expect this post to generate a ton of traffic for TTU, but I think it needed posting anyway.