Favorite Foods:
Breakfast: English muffins with butter; fried eggs; granola and yogurt; frozen blueberries (A.K.A. “bloobs”)
Lunch: Bagel chips and hummus; tuna and bread; homemade meatballs; veggie “chicken” nuggets with ketchup; green beans, olives, or carrots; goldfish crackers; fig newtons
Dinner: All of the above, in any acceptable combination, plus whatever we’re having, if she’ll eat it
Dessert (occasional): Mom’s “secret cookies” (I’m not sure who taught her that); Lucky Charms (marshmallows first, cat food-looking pieces if forced); ice cream; chocolate (word pronounced with great care — one of her first sentences was “Choc-o-late? Like some? Have a bite?”)

Favorite Songs:
1. “Rubber Duckie,” Ernie
2. “Again and Again,” The Bird and The Bee
3. “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da,” The Police
4. Anything with a beat

Favorite Books:
1. Karma Wilson’s Bear series, including Bear Snores On, Bear Wants More, Bear Stays Up, and Bear’s New Friend
2. Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece and the Big O
3. Goodnight Moon
4. Dr. Seuss’ Many-Colored Days
5. Guess Who’s Coming, Jesse Bear?
6. Pretty much anything by Eric Carle

Exclamations Likely Learned From Mother:
1. “Oh my Lord in heaven”
2. “My goodness”
3. “I’m so excited, I can’t believe it” / “I can’t believe it” (also “I can’t believe it either”)
4. “What in the world is going on?”
5. “Dear God”
6. “Oh my God” / “My God” / “Oh my gosh”

Exclamations Likely Learned From Father:
1. “Jesus”
2. “Damn squirrel”
3. “What the hell was that?” (heard for the first time in the car, as in: “Heard a loud noise. What the hell was that?”)
4. “Dammit” (also pronounced with great care [and joy])

Favorite Adult Behaviors to Model:
1. Pick up phone, hold to ear, say “Hello, mother”
2. Bang (or stand) on children’s Vtech laptop, mutter to self as if working: “Okay…we go back here…cut it…paste it…okay…”

Consistently Identified Colors:
1. Blue
2. Yellow
3. Green
4. Orange

Consistently Identified Letters:
1. S (”is for Sophie!”)
2. M (”is for Mom!”)
3. D (”is for Dad!”)
4. W
5. P
6. O
7. I
8. B
9. L
10. E

Favorite Television Shows:
1. Jack’s Big Music Show
2. Maisy
3. The Backyardigans
4. Sesame Street (distant fourth)

Least Favorite Things:
1. Sleep
2. “No”
3. Car rides
4. Uninterrupted conversations between mother and father
5. Peace and quiet

Favorite Activities:
1. Running around outside
2. Emptying laundry baskets
3. Picnics/parties attended by various stuffed animals
4. Being read to
5. “Up” from Mom (if Mom is unavailable, Dad will do)
6. Dancing

Traits Likely Inherited From Mother:
1. Says “please” and “thank you”
2. Loves “big, big squeezes” and “smooches”
3. Adorable

Traits Likely Inherited From Father:
1. Erupts in ear-splitting tantrums, periodically for no apparent reason
2. Poops a lot
3. Curly hair

Activity As I Type This:
1. Knocking on office door, saying “Knock, knock, who’s there? Is it Cyril?”



Sophie is nearly one and a half (or “18 months,” as I guess all the cool parents say), and all of a sudden, she isn’t a little baby anymore.

I mean, sure, she probably looks like one to you. But to the two of us, watching her go tearing through the house on a daily basis, and listening to her speak in complete sentences (”All done taking a nap!” “Where is my pacifier?” “No more tuna. Put it back on the plate”) is surreal and sort of amazing.

It’s like she always tells us: “Not a baby anymore.” (Actually, since she can’t really pronounce her R’s yet, it comes out “anymoy”…but whatever.)

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows my stubborn and unyielding wife that Sophie has very definite ideas about what she wants, what she wants to do, and — most importantly — what she wants you to do. She’s been fairly easy to distract until very recently, but that’s changing, and I can see a time coming when it might be necessary to send her to boarding school.

I’m just kidding. (Boarding schools are very expensive.)

We had a lot of problems getting her to sleep through the night — problems which really haven’t entirely gone away — but in pretty much every other respect, we’ve been extremely, extremely lucky with this little girl. She’s been nothing but healthy, she’s very vocal and affectionate, and she makes us laugh all the time. Not to mention the fact that we’re living in a house with more than enough room for the three of us, on a beautiful piece of land in the middle of a beautiful part of the country, and that Leah works 10 minutes from home, and I work wherever my laptop happens to be plugged in.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, because Sophie’s been going through a very clingy/hell NO I won’t nap phase, which has made working from home more of a balancing act than it normally is, at a time when work has been particularly intense and/or challenging. Which is why I haven’t written anything longer than a few words here in, oh, forever. Not because of her, necessarily, but because even if you’re living in a beautiful house in the beautiful country with your beautiful daughter babbling up and down the hallway, it’s still very easy to get wrapped up in other stuff. There’s always something else to do. It’s easy to stop being a Parent, and become someone with a child. To get stressed out, to forget about what really matters, to get to the end of every week and wonder where the days went.

So during these trying last few days, I’ve been thinking about how this isn’t supposed to be easy. From a certain point of view, it’s sort of the job of your children to break you open, shake you around, and help you become a better person — less focused on nominal goals, quicker to honest emotions, and soooooooooo much more patient.

None of these things are particularly descriptive of me. But I’m working on it.

She helps me, too. This afternoon, she woke up from her nap way too early, and was all kinds of upset even after I went in and got her out of her crib. This may come as a surprise to you, but a little person screaming in your ear isn’t a lot of fun, and since I already wasn’t thrilled about her throwing an extra-large monkey wrench into my work schedule, I was having a hard time coping with the volume. I needed to calm down. I stopped, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. Sophie, seeing that I was upset, touched my chin to turn my face toward her and said, softly, “…wonderful girl?”

I know when I’m beat.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some things that need to be put off until tomorrow while I get down on the carpet and play with my little girl.


It is my mission to capture our talking genius for you all. As soon as possible, there will be new video footage to share with you.

Also, today is my birthday. It’s strange how ever since I had Sophie, my birthday is a day that that I think more of my mom than myself. What did I do on that day 30 years ago? My mom gave birth to me. We should be celebrating that.

I am my mom’s Sophie. And it’s amazing when you all of a sudden understand how much you are loved. To think that she looked at me the same way I look at Sophie. I’ve written and deleted so many words, I can’t describe why my eyes are watering.

Anyway…It is my plan to make sure that Sophie appreciates ME every year on her birthday. And the best part is that the more kids I have, the more birthdays I will get!



Sophie is almost 15 months old.

These are some things that have made me smile lately.

Sophie cracks up when she hears certain words. Her current favorites are ‘freckle’ and ‘waffle.’ She throws back her head and giggles.

She has recently insisted that we both read to her and put her to sleep at night. I love seeing her run down the hall to get Jeff all clean and snugged in her footed pjs. I love hearing Jeff reading to her.

I love how if you stop before the end of a line in her favorite books she can say the last part. I love playing with her damp curls as she’s brushing her teeth before bed. I love to kiss the side of her chin as she’s tilting her head back and drinking from her sippy cup.

As soon as she hears a beat, Sophie starts to dance. She smiles and proudly bounces her legs. Sometimes we are treated to some interpretive dance-type arm movements as well.

I love her favorite “it” phrases: Hold it, get it, dropped it, broke it, fix it, kiss it, etc.

I love when I come to the sliding door after work and seeing her notice me. She smiles so big and I see her mouth say. “MOM!” I love anytime she is still enough to rest on me. I love how she says, “Come. Come.” with extended arms when she wants you. I love how she snuggles with us in bed in the mornings.

In a matter of a few months Sophie has ceased to be a baby. She’s a walking and talking little girl. She’s getting more fun by the second. I have to slow myself down sometimes. I get so excited for all the things we can do together soon. Will she be crafty? Will she like to go to the pond with me? Will she sit still long enough for me to do her hair?

I can’t wait to see who she is. But I try not to think about all of that too much because it takes a little away from right now. These days are just more blinks.

The three of us are in a very nice place. But I still get giddy when I think about where we are headed.


Sophie turned one last Friday (and walked for the first time!) — we’ve been busy with our houseguests this week, so this is a little late, but we wanted to share some footage of our little girl in action. She’s a toddler all of a sudden!

Click on the picture of the birthday pie to see the movie. As always, RealPlayer (or the generic equivalent) required. Next: Sophie, Year Two!


Our little girl can talk! As I said before, Sohpie loves the letter B and says many B words. However, none have excited her as much as her new favorite word. Duck. I think the letter B may be old news. Here comes the letter D.

Sophie enunciates each sound in the word duck. She says it perfectly and she knows it. She looks at you and beams each times she says the word or retrieves the duck on command. Today she even saw a photo of a duck in a magazine and said, “Duck.”

She’s smart.

she’s assertive!

Our little girl knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to let us know about it. Not even a year of life experiences and this mini munchkin already has some pretty strong opinions. Not being able to talk hasn’t cramped her style either. She has adopted some sure-fire ways to get her point across.

Not walking/dancing/or otherwise carrying her somewhere fast enough? Sophie has developed the “giddyup legs.” She’ll alert you of your dawdling with quick kicks and a torso lift. This is a mild reminder. Warning! If not heeded, she’ll move on to something a bit more stern.

Take a prized possession away from Sophie and you’ll be faced with “rigid girl.” Her displeasure is voiced with a red face and a stiff extended limbs. Often this is paired with an arched back. Rigid girl goes into effect with such speed that dropping her is entirely possible.

For some reason, Sophie has grown to detest being changed into or out of clothing and/or diapers. This is when we see “spaghetti girl.” It’s as if all bones in her body have melted. She can twist and turn in amazing directions slipping through the firmest of grips. She either goes to bed without pants or we play “Where are your toes?” And it better be convincing.

Oh, I love her.



Attention Everyone!

Sophie has slept through the night for the first time!

And she was in her crib! I feel like leaping for joy on a hilltop in the wind.

We always said that things would be different once we got settled in our new home. I have to admit that I feared we were all talk. (I have a bit of wussiness in me.) You may know that Sophie was sleeping in our bed for the last 5 months. This wasn’t something that we planned. Our trip to RI in February somehow broke her sleeping mechanism and in order to stay sane, we just put her in our bed and I nursed her to sleep. Well, I had to nurse her to sleep almost every hour. Yes, I love her plump little arms wrapped up in me. Yes, I love being cuddled up with her. No, I can’t sleep with her crammed into my bossom each night. Sophie and I were just not sleeping. (I just learned that Jeff was sleeping fine. His motivation for needing her in a crib was to get our “marital bed” back.)

Even worse than the sleep deprivation was the constant fear of her falling out of the bed. Naps were especially nerve wracking as we’d have to barricade her in with pillows. I’d also have to lay down next to her until she fell asleep, which sometimes took 30 minutes or more. As you probably have gathered, I had absolutely no time away from our sweet little love. It was wearing on me.

So, I gathered all my patience and inner strength and attempted to change things. I had the help of the Sleep Lady. And it really worked! If I ever see the Sleep Lady I will hug her with all my might and kiss her on both cheeks. I learned to teach Sophie how to settle herself and get the sleep she (and we) so deparately needed. We’ve been doing it for about three weeks, but we saw results after the first three nights. Saying that those first three nights were “rough” would be an understatement. She cried and cried and resisted like crazy. I sat by her crib for all of it, sobbing and writing in a journal to convince myself not to give up. I am so proud to say that I didn’t give up. She’s slept in her crib ever since we began. We are all much happier.

Thanks for allowing me to share.

Now, Let’s talk about our little beauty. SHE IS SO ADORABLE! First of all, she is plump. Also, she is sweet and funny. If she sees my belly, she blows on it and looks at me with a huge smile. She gives love on command and she cracks up when we dance. The letter B is her favorite. She tries to say words like bye, ball, and book. We’re convinced that she knows what they mean. She’s getting more playful and curious by the second. I want to show her off to everyone that we meet.

I feel so lucky that I have been able to have these past 3 months home with her. Even though two of them were filled with packing, moving, unpacking, and other nomad-like behaviors we were all together. There was plenty of time for kisses and attacking. She’s our girl.

Now that we’re settled and sleeping, expect more pictures and more updates.



So, here we are, in New Hampshire, and after what seems like many months of insanity, life is returning to normal. Which should, in turn, lead to the long-promised awakening of this here website from its extended slumber.

To the much older Sophie who is reading this and wondering why we didn’t do any in-depth chronicling of the last six or seven months of her life: If you had just been willing to go to sleep once in awhile, kid, it would have been so much easier.

Anyway, before we commence talking in detail about how cute our baby Bean is, and all the products we could not have lived without during the last nine months, I was inspired by J at Thinking About… to share some genuine celebrity correspondence.

That’s right, I’m talking about the Supernanny. Well, specifically, someone who works in casting at Supernanny, but whatever. The point is, we have an autographed picture of a real live television celebrity and you don’t. So there.

Dig it.

But that isn’t all. I will now share with you the unexcerpted wisdom offered to us by Supernanny. (Again, this was technically written by someone who works for her, but I’m sure she dictated it. Or at least read it before it was mailed out):

Dear Mrs. Giles,

Thank you for watching Supernanny! We understand that all parents need a little help sometimes, and that’s why Jo is happy to help. Sure, maybe you’re not the best parent in the world, maybe you huck whiskey bottles at cop cars while taking your child for a stroll, but who can honestly say they’ve never done that?

Jo Frost, Supernanny, understands. We hope you like the signed photo of Jo, as well as the car window shade.

And always remember what Jo says: “Your children are like flowers; flowers who will one day grow up and be pretty pissed off at you for being such a crappy parent, and who’ll probably try to murder you, probably in your sleep, and to make it even more painful, they’ll probably do it while pretending that they love you, so, you know, look out for that, and also, be careful when anyone loves you.”


[name redacted]

Supernanny, Inc.

You are so unbelievably jealous right now that you don’t even know what to do with yourself.

Be back soon!