The Shapiro Files

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


MilestonesI’m back. What few readers I have left are probably pretty tired of that Cows posting by now!

The semi-short story is that upon returning to work in April after my month-long paternity leave, I was promoted to a management position. I generally don’t like to talk about my job here at The Shapiro Files (nor will I ever include the company’s name in order to avoid getting indexed by Google and other search engines) because the company I work for happens to have a very enthusiastic (more like fanatical) fan base. As such, I wouldn’t want anyone to ever think they can get the “inside scoop” on my company’s activities here — something I would never provide in a million years. So I’ll just say that things have been incredibly action-packed at work for quite some time now and it all culminated in a major activity on Friday. I’ve had to work many late nights and weekends and what remaining free time I had was always spent with Marcie and our wonderful little girls. Somewhere in there, I needed to find some time for sleep. Blogging unfortunately had to be put on hold for a while.

And now that I’ve gotten all that out of the way, let’s get to the important stuff — namely how Melody and Julianne are doing. Both have reached several milestones, so here’s the quick update:

  • Melody finally started crawling in March.
  • Beginning around April, she started pulling up to furniture and cruising.
  • She has gradually been able to stand independently for increasingly longer periods of time.
  • Most recently, Melody has gotten extremely good at walking with the assistance of a toy walker (this one, to be exact).
  • She pretty much can do all the expected gross-motor activities except walk entirely unassisted. It’s bound to happen any time now!
  • Other milestones include now eating at a children’s table (no more highchair for her!) and drawing with crayons and all manner of other writing devices.
  • Oh, and how can I forget: she loves to sing! She even improvises her own melodies (appropriately enough) when I’m improvising chord progressions at the piano or on my guitar. Talk about nachas!

  • Began smiling at around 2 months and now smiles all the time (and very beautifully, I might add!).
  • Does lots of fun vocalizing (probably trying to catch up with big sister Melody).
  • Still not sleeping through the night (sleep cycles can occasionally be as long as 5 hours, but most are closer to 3-4 hours), but like many exclusively nursed babies, is expected to improve sleep-wise in the near future once her diet gets supplemented by other nutrition.
  • On the verge of being able to roll over (at least we think she is).
  • Still has blue eyes, which means they now have the potential of being permanant. Who would have thought we’d have a blue-eyed child?!

As far as how the two interact together, Julianne is still a little too young for Melody to be able to do much with her. But they clearly like each other very much. Julianne always smiles when Melody goes up to her and says “Hi baby” or “Hi Jules.” And Melody is always looking for her sister around the house and gets very excited when she sees her. They both also seem to enjoy watching Sesame Street together! Actually, I really enjoy watching it too (it’s been over 30 years since I last watched regularly)!

As for Marcie, she recently returned to work on a very flexible work-from-home schedule. But even with the flexibility, she is really exhausted from all the things she has to do each day. At the moment, we have a babysitter watch Melody most weekday mornings and Marcie tries to get some work done during that time while also attending to Julianne as needed. Then when the kids take their afternoon nap, she gets a little more work done then. Finally, once both kids are sleeping in the evening, Marcie works until quite late to ensure she completes all job tasks. In between, she’s running around taking Melody and Julianne on walks or errands and making sure they’re both fed. Talk about a tough day!

In terms of my parental activities during the week, I always get Melody up, dressed, fed, and her teeth brushed in the morning. In the evenings, I usually help feed Melody dinner and then give her a bath or some other pre-bedtime activity. Additionally, during dinner and frequently after Melody goes to bed, I’ll hold and walk around with Julianne to calm her. I also feed her her Mommy’s pumped milk via bottle every 2-3 nights to ensure she’ll always be able to take a bottle (very important for allowing us the ability have a babysitter look after Julianne).

I wish I could do even more during the work week, but with my new management position, I don’t have the same flexibility that I used to have. Weekends are a little better in terms of our sharing Melody/Julianne duties. But I’m still not able to help out with those middle of the night feedings, given my biological inability to participate in the nursing duties!

In late August, Melody will be starting at a great preschool (the same one that Marcie and her Palo Alto cousins all went to) three mornings a week, with the option of expanding to five if she loves it as much as we think she will. When Melody is in school, our babysitter will continue coming, but will attend to Julianne instead. This will allow Marcie the ability to focus 100% on working (even coming in to the office for meetings if necessary) for the first half of the day. The remainder of the work will continue to be done during afternoon nap time and after evening bed time. It’s still going to be a tough schedule, but hopefully a little less stressful.

Marcie has been absolutely amazing balancing everything while getting very little sleep and being constantly dehydrated (nursing will do that). It’s a true Herculean load she has to carry each day and most people would crumble under the pressure. She deserves all the respect and admiration in the world for everything she does.

In the weeks/months ahead here at The Shapiro Files, I hope to get back in the groove of posting on a regular basis again. Planned future topics include Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro), a look back to Julianne’s first month, and a new Netflix DVD review recap. Plus, I’m overdue for Julianne’s 3-month photo album (I have hundreds of pictures to choose from), so hopefully I’ll get that put together before too long. Stay tuned.


  • Hi Steve:

    SOOOOOO glad to see you back posting! I was getting worried!!

    Thanks for the update on your family doings!! We love to hear all the good news!!

    Lots of love to all of you!
    Aunt Linda

    By Anonymous Aunt Linda, at 7/05/2007 8:53 AM  

  • So glad to see you back! I'm sure both you and Marcie are doing a great job... and hopefully, with time balancing all the work load will get easier. I'm really looking forward to those pictures! ; )

    By Blogger Irina Tsukerman, at 7/06/2007 8:27 PM  

  • Aunt Linda and Irina, thanks for your comments. Its certainly good to be back. Work is still pretty crazy, but at least I feel like I can back some of my life!

    By Blogger Steve Shapiro, at 7/14/2007 11:31 PM  

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