[this was originally written on LiveJournal by Juliet's Papa]

Hello all,

I am sitting in the living room, listening to some classical piano works, and Juliet is sacked out on the futon next to Julian. I have been trying to sound out her name to her, "Juliet Jing Arya Sascha Hartshorn"; she finds this endlessly amusing but I don't know what she thinks I'm doing. Doubtless she is unaware that I'm saying her name(s). But at least she'll be familiar with the sounds. I tried alternating that with my own name: point at her, say her name, point at me, say my name. She got a wide eyed look of concentration, like she could tell there was something important going on, but I would be surprised if she really understood what I was doing.

I have said before, that babies are the best science projects ever.I was discussing this with my friend Rog at a party last night (more on the party later), and we pondered the various theories about babies' memories (or lack thereof). There is one theory that says that the reason we cannot remember the first year or two of life, is that we don't really have a well-developed sense of self then. In other words, it's not that we forget, it's that we never really knew what was happening to us, and where our selves stopped and the rest of the universe began.

It's an odd concept to think about, but I could see why it would be difficult for Juliet to figure out. She has more ability to get Cassandra or I to hold the bottle for her, for example, than she has ability to hold it with her own hands. So how would she know that her hands are part of her, and we are not? She can feel sensations from her hands, of course, but then she can hear things we do, and cannot hear her hands doing anything much. I think her primary impression of her hands is that they are comforting to suck on. At the party last night, Phil said, "Juliet appears to want us to stick her fist in her mouth."

Oh, yeah, the party. Our friend Spring Green Jennifer had a wine-tasting party, in which every attendee was supposed to bring a bottle of Red Zinfandel wine, each of which was put in a paper bag and given a number. Then everyone was supposed to taste each bottle, note on a piece of paper what we thought, and at the end we all shared our opinions and then unmasked each bottle to see which was which.

I was a plebeian, and had to admit that I couldn't tell too much difference. But then, I showed up late. Still, the $32 bottle tasted much the same to me as the $9 bottle. I guess it reinforces our current policy of mostly buying cheap wine.

Oh, yeah, showing up late. Our strategy was to stow Juliet in the back bedroom, away from the hubbub. That is what we eventually ended up doing, but it took a while. When we first came in the door, there was a chorus of "Ahhhhhh"s, and a line of people (ok, actually all women) wanting to hold Juliet. She likes people generally, but I think got a bit overstimulated after a few minutes. Once she was put in the back room she took a little while to calm down, but then eventually went to sleep for the night. Actually I think she liked hearing the happy burble of voices from the next room, as long as it wasn't all around her. We didn't leave the place until about 3 in the morning (thanks to Spring Green Jennifer for her hosting and patience with the late-leavers).

At the Green Muse coffeeshop yesterday, I sat out front (where nobody is, usually) with Juliet in the stroller. She has limited patience for this; strollers are fine while moving, apparently, but she is only good with a few minutes in them after we stop, unless she has fallen asleep en route. I could have circled the block a while until she was snoozing, but instead I just more or less gulped down my mocha and wolfed through my bagel, and skedaddled back to Cassandra's store. Before I left, though, a fellow who said he had four kids handed me a note with a web address which he said gave evidence on the harmfulness of vaccines, and how to avoid having your child vaccinated. "They tell you you have to do it to send 'em to school," he said, "but it's not true. I've had four of my own, so I know."

Ok, one more reason not to send Juliet to a public school, if it's got unvaccinated kids there. I realize that vaccines are injecting foreign material into the body, and there's a risk there, but I have read about what cities were like when we didn't have vaccines, antibiotics, and the other high -tech products such as antiseptic cleaners (e.g. chlorine). I don't much like the sound of it. I'll take the vaccines, thank you very much. Juliet wouldn't be here at all if not for modern medicine; it would be a bit hypocritical of me to start turning against it now.

Whoah, this is starting to get a bit long. I'll attach some pictures of her from this week. Hope everybody had a good weekend!