Our newest member...
At dinner tonight, eating his egg wasn't good enough.
This is what happens when the entire face goes into action.
Today is Meir's birthday. He would have been 75 today. Meir was my Karate teacher and much more for over 20 years until he passed away a year and a half ago. I wont delve into stories about him now. It is still too raw and too painful.
Happy birthday, Meir. You are always in my mind.
'Kol Hakavod' is Hebrew for 'Well Done'. Naturally we use this phrase when Bips does something nice or just really seems to understand us.
Recently, Bips learned how to clap his hands. I don't know were he picked this up, but a few days ago he started clapping his hands whenever we say Kol Hakavod. Sometimes he claps his hands when he feels like he deserves to get a Kov Hakavod. I really think this guy understands much more than we believe he does.
Bips likes it very much when I carry him in my hands. I like it too, so I don't complain. Sometimes, we take the stroller but forget the Baby Bjorn at home. We then spend at least part of our walk with him in my hands. This gives him a good 360 view and keeps us close to each other.
Today this wasn't good enough. He insisted on climbing down and sitting on the paved path. It was covered with leaves and other fallen tree parts. He was as happy as he could be just crawling around and examining stuff. He took leaves and small branches in his hands. He dug into some dirt to see what was under it. Surprisingly, he didn't try to put every new thing in his mouth. Only most things.
It was the first time he was decidedly more keen to explore than to be close to Daddy. Maybe that's one of the differences between a baby and a toddler.
Happy birthday! Bips is one year old today.
This is Hav. He is a dog we found in the closet last week when we were reorganizing our home. We put him on the self planning to add him to the pile of birthday presents. Alas, Bips found him two days ago and kept pointing and asking for him. He since became his favorite huggable doll, so here he is, in the birthday shot.
(If you look real close you'll notice that Bips looks a bit down. He's been really sick all week and only got better today. We keep our fingers crossed and hope the night will go by quietly)
Two days later Bips was already okay. On Tuesday evening his fever broke and never came up again. It took him a while to return to his normal smily self but it was clear the we were on the right track.
At exactly the same time, as soon as I realized that he was okay, I caught the bug. And caught it real hard too. I spent three days in bed and am only now recovering. I'll try to go to work tomorrow, see how things work out.
Now Bips is back in daycare. We'll probably see another round of this pretty soon...
Bips started baby-kindergarten this week. Zohar took him over on Monday (that's last Monday) and spent a couple of hours with him over there. The next day we both took him there and even left him alone for an hour and a half. By alone I mean with about 20 other kids and about 6 care takers. It really is a great little place. There are two classes, one for smaller kids like Bips and one for older kids up to age 3. We've seen many places before this one but its the first that really felt Alive. When we came to take Bips home he was already too busy at play to notice his Mommy coming in the door.
On the third day Zohar left him in kindergarten for a little over two hours. He was already showing sign of crankiness. Of course everyone warned us that as soon as kids meet other kids the viruses start to celebrate. Warning is one thing. Living through it is another.
When Bips came back home we took his temperature. It was already 38.5. Now that's in celsius, and no, I'm not going to convert units every time. Just go to google.com, type in 'x celsius in fahrenheit' and voila, you've got your converted value. Hint: this works for other units as well.
So we measured 38.5. Being fever veterans we weren't very concerned. But when the fever lasted unchanged for three days we started feeling uneasy. We even went to the doctor who said, of course: 'Its nothing! Probably just a virus...'. We were still okay with this.
The real trouble began on Friday night. In the middle of the night Bips' fever spiked to 39.9! That's high. We know that babies get much hotter than adults but still 40 was just around the corner. We gave him some medicine and a cool bath and it helped. So next morning we went to the doctor (this is Saturday so we had to go to the emergency clinic with all the other sick kids) and, low and behold, he sais: 'Well, its nothing! Probably just a virus...'. He did however take a blood sample to test for bacterial infection which Bips didn't have. No antibiotics for us!
The high fever lasted for over 24 hours and only came down this morning. We were very relieved only to have it spike again in the afternoon. Its now back down and I hope its all over this time. Now I'm on fever watch so I have time to write this all down. I do promise more fun stories next time...
Zohar has a thing for fitness. She used to frequent the gym four, five times a week before Bips was born. As with many other things Bips changed that too. But Zohar wasn't about to give up and a little while after he was born she started going again. Since I was already back at work she had to go early in the morning so I could stay home with him and get to work a little later.
The first few weeks were a disaster. I was trying to figure out how to keep an eye on Bips while trying to decide if he's crying just because he wants me to hold him or if he's already hungry. Then trying to make sure the milk was at the right temperature while still making sure Bips didn't get into trouble. Apart from the rare occasions when he fell asleep in my arms (this is the most relaxing and amazing experience) the whole thing was a nightmare.
Until one day I had enough. I didn't know what to do anymore so I packed a bag full of everything I could think off, took Bips in my arms and went for a walk. It was a short walk. Only 500 yards or so. Just a stroll around the block. A stroll that changed everything.
From that day on, whenever Zohar goes to the gym I pick Bips up in my arms and off we go. We have our fixed route around the neighborhood because I am a man of habits and Bips will probably be one too. Its one of the things that brings us closer and closer as he grows up. On one of these trips, between taking a closer look at the flowers and checking out the cars on the street we figured out a name of our small venture. We formed the Magical Time Society. A society of two dedicated to spending magical time together. I have since put these trips in my calendar to make sure no one at work tries to schedule anything that would force me to come in earlier and cut them short.
About two months ago Bips became too have for me to carry in my arms. Our trips have become about an hour long and he was already over 7 kilos. It was then that we got the Baby Bjorn Synergy carrier which was definitely one of the best purchases I ever made especially considering that it was a gift from my Grandpa. We could now take even longer trips and my hands are free to point at stuff or answer the occasional call from Zohar telling us that she's on her way back home. Bips has grown so fond of his carrier he now smiles with excitement whenever he sees me putting it on.
Tomorrow will be our last MTS trip in this format. Zohar is going back to work in two weeks and Bips starts baby-kindergarten on Monday. Zohar and I are both tense a fearful but I guess we'll just have to brave it. Anyway, our schedule will change and our trips will have to change with them. No more coming in late to work when Zohar goes to the gym. Maybe we'll just take our trips earlier in the morning, before kindergarten starts. This will work nicely with the weather which is heating up pretty fast in Israel. I don't know.
I do know one thing, though. I'm not about to give up on our trips or on our time together. It has been great for Bips and it has been wonderful for me. We'll just have to find our magical time together somewhere on our busy schedules.
Bips is two-thirds old today. Happy birthday!
Okay, okay! Don't gang up on me all at once. I know that if this is only going to be an account of Ori's birthdays, nobody is going to stick around for long. In time I might even find it boring myself, though I doubt it.
Now, I really do have some nice stories to tell. I just haven't had the time to write them down yet. I've also finally had an idea for a redesign of this site. Something that would fit better a site that has more then 10 posts.
And so I sat down to prepare my excuses. Its been a really tough month at work, both professionally and politically. Home has been demanding as ever in the best way possible. I've also started working on a new project in my spare time. Its too early to give out anything more at this stage but its going to be quite awesome when it sees the light of day.
So you see, I'm covered. Back up and let me breathe here. By the way, you see that thing at the top of the page? Right there, just below the banner, next to the small stamp? That's an email address. Just read it out loud and you'll know what to do. Let me know what you think. I bet the two people who read this have tons of comments on everything from design to content. Let me have it all. That's what this is all about anyway, isn't it?
Bips was sick this week for the first time. Sure, he had is ups and down before. Some times he would be cranky. Others he'd have a runny nose or even a slight cough. But he had never been measurably sick. Not until this week.
It started with a very bad night. Bips went to sleep at half past eight as usual. Unusually, he woke up at about 11pm and wouldn't go back to sleep. He kept crying for most of the night and only fell back asleep in the very early hours of the next morning. When we finally took his temperature around 8am it was 38.5 celsius (that's 101 in Americans).
Now that's not considered a very high fever, especially not for small children. But being the first time and being the kind of parents we are, all we could do was worry. Yes, we are that kind of parents. In Israel we call this being 'Polish'. Apparently parents in Poland are always worried about their children. Maybe its just the Jewish ones. Maybe its just being parents.
Everything was fine if you ask Bips of course. Apart from the runny nose he was never bothered. He went back to his normal self the next day and we were fine too. Still, its amazing how every small bump in the road makes you skip a beat when your kid in concerned. Isn't it great?
Original of the Species is also a great song by U2. This song, or rather its video clip, was used in the introduction of the 5th Gen (video) iPod by Steve Jobs on October 2005. Get it at Amazon or the iTunes Music Store.
Charles Robert Darwin changed the way we look at the world. It is very difficult for centennial beings like ourselves to grasp how species can evolve over tens of thousands of years to adapt to a changing environment. Even today, 150 years after it was first published, the theory of Evolution still sparks passionate controversy. Many claim that it simply can't be true and that a master designer must be behind life as we know it today.
We have proven Evolution to be wrong.
Let me explain. A few days back we were sitting on the couch in the living room when Bips discovered the remote control. Such a look of joy lighted up his face. He couldn't keep from putting it in his mouth and pressing every button in the process. It since became one of his favorite toys. The level of intent and concentration in which he plays with the remote is simply amazing.
But this is nothing. A day or two later he found the keyboard. We have a Mac Mini we use as a media center with an Apple Wireless Keyboard. As soon as Bips got his hands on it he wouldn't let it down. He kept banging the keys and trying to put the whole thing in his mouth. Putting things in his mouth is the norm. The keys where something new.
But this is nothing! My point is made as I write this post. I'm sitting on the couch with Zohar holding Bips at my side. Not for long. As soon as he found out I was using the laptop he cared for nothing else. His eyes were wide open. His hands were reaching for the screen and the keys. He even managed to punch some keys before the excitement got the better of him and he spewed milk all over my notebook. Luckily it didn't sink in through the keyboard.
It would seem strange for such a young man to be so interested in technology. Bips likes everything shiny but I've never seen him react to enthusiastically to anything but computers. My parents say they couldn't drag me away from phones and cables when I was a baby. Maybe its in our genes. Maybe its a faster way of Evolution adapting us to the information age. One thing is for sure, the Apple does not fall far from the tree. This makes me very happy.
One more thing. If you take a close look at this picture you will notice one interesting thing. Its wasn't me who sat with him in front of the computer for the first time. And no, it wasn't me who suggested Zohar should sit by the computer with him. And no, there wasn't anybody else at home with us that day. Women are, and have always been, the strongest force behind Evolution.
One last thing. Since he was very young, Bips liked our books and bookshelves even more than he does computers. This makes me even happier.
The only democracy in the middle east is supposed to reelect its parliament every four years. In Israel election day is a sabbatical. No one works except for anyone who's selling something, but we'll get to that later. Of course, you don't really need a whole day just to cast your vote, a process significantly simpler in Israel than, say, in the US. You simply pick one party (out of 33!), put its ballot in an envelope, drop that envelope into a box and your done. This leaves you with most of the day off. Maybe this is why we have an election every two or three years instead of the subscribed four.
Having a day off means that we had a 65% turnout this year. The previous elections had the lowest turnout in the history of Israel but still 63% came to vote. The 2008 US presidential elections has 57% turnout but the turnout was only 55% in 2004. Maybe we're more politically inclined or maybe we have hotter debates. Come on, 33 parties? Thirty three? I still don't get anyone who can be a part of his or her own government but is simply too lazy to vote.
Having a day off also means that people need something to do. They also have to figure out what to do with the kids since all schools are closed. A blessed rainy day meant that most people stayed closer to home. What a better chance could there be to sell them something? Almost every mall and every retail chain had significant price drops on election day. Some businesses reported revenues twice the normal. The malls were so packed, some had to call local radio stations to tell people to stay away. Literally, there was no way to let them in.
We took advantage of this day to visit Zohar's family near Haifa. We drove through heavy rain north from Tel Aviv. Haifa is about an hour's drive on an okay road but the rain made the trip more difficult. We had a home made lunch at her parents' and arrived at her sister's house later that afternoon. It was the first time we were planning to sleep with Ori away from home. I was kinda weary because I never sleep too well away from my own bed and Bips is really like me in many ways. I was happy to find out that he got this part of himself from his mother. He had no trouble sleeping away from home.
We stayed up to watch the results of the exit polls. Those are published at 10pm and were surprisingly similar to the real results we heard on the radio the next morning. We were already on our way back to Tel Aviv but decided to stop for a few hours in a Kibutz to visit another branch of the family (mine). We had a great breakfast, a great visit and Ori even got to see the calves:
We'll get to the larger cows when he's a bit older.
All in all, this was a great trip and the pinnacle of my week of vacation. Tomorrow I'm going back to work. I'd love to stay home some more but the bills wont pay themeselves. We saw on the weekend newspaper that we can get flight tickets to LA for $1000 if we fly before April. That's about half the normal price. Any thoughts on taking a baby on a 14 hours flight? Send me an email. The address is at the top of the page.
When this blog finally had an RSS feed and a mail box for responses, I decided to let some people know. I sent this site's address to a number of friends and family members. If you're reading this, odds are you're part of this group or closely related to it.
I have received some wonderful responses. Its great to know that there actually is someone out there who would take the time to read this. Thanks to everyone who responded to my mail. Thank you all for reading.
I took this week off from work. I started a new job just a couple of weeks before Bips was born. Not a good idea. Having your first baby is a full time job by itself. Like every new job it has many unknowns and many challenges. Who would have figured that unless you sing that very specific tune, he's going to cry every time you tried to put his shirt on? Besides, this specific job leaves you very little time to sleep. Prolonged sleep depravation is very bad for your mental abilities.
I started a new job in a software company I helped my friends start up a few years ago. I since left the company, but now that they were bought by a large corporation, it was a good time for me come back to a stable place. Did I say that this was a bad idea? Starting a new job where you have to learn a large lots of new things at once, identify problems and solve pressing issues while not sleeping... well, you get the picture.
But this is not a rant. As I was saying, I took this week off. The first real vacation in six months and the first family vacation for us. It was the best week I had in years. We didn't do anything special but mostly stayed at and around home. It was so relaxing and so much fun just being with together. I find myself planning the next vacation while this one isn't over yet.
I also managed to get this site up and running so here's another plus for vacations. Geeks need their projects and you didn't really expect me to kick back for a whole week, now did you?
Here are Zohar and Ori in their weekly lesson at the pool. I think its mostly for the moms as all the babies seemed pretty indifferent to the various games they played during the class. Anyway, I got some nice pictures out of it:
So why BIPS, you ask? I was holding young Ori one day in my hands and walking around the living room. I think he was about one month old at the time. The nickname just came into my mind. That's it. No fancy explanation, no hidden reasons. Pure chance. Of course, the name was so cute it stuck.
One could later reason that BIPS might also stand for Baby Interface Plain & Simple. But then that one would be quite a geek, wont he? Well, the name did simply come into my mind and well, I am a geek. Plain and simple.
My name is Avner and Ori is my first son. We live in Tel Aviv with Zohar, my wife and his mother. Ori's picture is up there at the top of the page, taken near our home with a random cat that wondered by.
Ori was born on August 7, 2008. We celebrated his half-a-year birthday this Saturday. Now that he is six months old, I finally have the time to take a breath and look around. I like what I see! Having a family of my own changed my world like nothing else could. Being a father brought focus into my life. The kind of focus you miss without even knowing that something is missing.
This will not be a chronic log of events in Ori's life, though probably most of it will be just that. This is a place for me to write my thoughts and our stories. To share the discoveries that startle me but every parent in history has already discovered. Its a place to post some pictures and home movies. Finally, this is also a place for me to play around with code and interface design.
I write this in English even though we live in Israel and speak Hebrew. Most of my Israeli friends read English. None of my American friends speak Hebrew. I hope this doesn't drive people away. I hope to learn to write better English.
Raising a newborn is a little like Army boot camp. You hardly get any sleep, you never know what to expect and a drill sergeant has complete control over every moment of your day. And night.
But having a new baby is a little like boot camp. There are those wonderfully funny, exciting and amazing moments. Moments that last a lifetime.