We have company

I’d like to welcome all the new visitors to the Trixie Update. We’re experiencing a tremendous traffic spike thanks in large part to this very flattering link on metafilter.com.

I know that a lot of people are interested in the Telemetry and the seemingly immense effort required to record so many events on a daily basis. I want to assure everyone that it’s not the labor-intensive operation you might imagine. If it weren’t easy, I wouldn’t do it. Taking care of a baby is enough work in itself.

Also, despite the objective tone we strike with the content of this site, we love our daughter. So please don’t call child services claiming that we keep her locked up in an acrylic cage with all sorts of monitoring and recording devices hooked up to her. Just because we don’t use words like “cutie pootie”, “adorable” or “coochie-coo” doesn’t mean we’re bad parents.

Lastly, some readers have inquired about the code that runs the site. We are working to make the code available in some form in the future (it’s a matter of free time – I do have a baby to care for.) Please check back or email us if you would like to be notified.

UPDATE You can now visit www.trixietracker.com for more information

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25 Responses to We have company

  1. Dave says:

    I found your site through a entry on http://www.blackbook.org/index.php … sure glad I did. I asked earlier about your code which I don’t want for a webpage but rather my own personal tracking of this stuff. Thanks for considering to release it in the future. Until then I look forward to continuing to read your entries… cheers.

  2. Ariel says:

    Wonderful, wonderful site, Ben. I (like many others it seems) found you from Metafilter … and I’m totally hooked! The only thing missing is more information about mom & dad, who are clearly doing a great job, judging from all those beaming happy TPOD photos.

    Also: I’m sorry you had to deal with a troll on your last post (the comment from “Regina”). Seems there’s always a 13 year old looking to spoil the fun for everyone.

    I’ve been distracted all morning reading your archives, and I think my favorite post was the one about the chocolate frosties … I’d always assumed that somehow parenthood eliminated one’s gag-reflex when it came to baby poo, but I see that even parents are still humans prone to nausia induced by baby’s play-doh fun factory-esque poo.

    Keep it up! 🙂

  3. Regina Felangie says:

    first of all, i am not a troll. and second of all i am not 13. i am just someone who happened to stumble along to this website and found it very disturbing. seriously how much time do you spend per day tracking these types of things. i just have an honest opinion that the wasted time on this website could be better spent with your child. and i hate to think what dear trixie is going to think when she is older….. perhaps extremely embarrassed that her parents would share with the entire world how many times she shits a day??? you are defenitally going to have a rebelious teenager on your hands

  4. benmac says:

    Hi Ariel,

    Thank you so much for your support and enthusiasm. We’ve thought about putting a little more info about us (the parents) up on the site, but somehow it always comes back to Trixie. She has this bad habit of thinking she’s the center of the universe – everything else just orbits around her.

  5. benmac says:

    Hi “Regina”,

    We welcome a diversity of opinions to this site. Since you asked, we spend about 2-3 minutes a day recording data. All the input is automated on the computer so each event (whether a diaper, bottle or nap) takes just a few seconds to log.

    The return on the daily investment of 2-3 minutes is invaluable. We have a much better understanding of Trixie’s needs. We can easily and accurately see if she’s drinking enough milk and we know when she needs to take a nap. The application of this knowledge compliments a parent’s natural instinct and makes for a much happier baby.

  6. Dave says:

    Right on Ben. It is obvious that the time investment with the automation is minimal and the charts etc. are invaluable to see changes, both good and bad as Trixie grows. I imagine this could be very useful information when you go to the doctor. While perhaps Trixie will be embarassed about the idea of a public webpage about her as she grows up, someday I am sure that she will learn to appeciate it.

    One thing I can for sure say… the amount of time “wasted” on the creation of the site and the charts within is time NOT wasted but rather shows the great deal of love Trixie’s family has for her.

  7. Lurker says:

    Honestly I have attmepted to understand what would motivate you to create such an obsessive compulsive website about your daughter and to be frank I just don’t get it.
    I have a daughter around Trixie’s age and I love her to pieces but to chart every poopy diaper and every bottle? Why? Why do that? What really is the benefit?
    She’s hungry, she eats. She’s got poop in her diaper, we change it. Really it’s not rocket science.
    To complicate it like you have just seems pointless and over the top to say the least.

    I certainly would not want documentation of every poop and morsale of food I eat daily.

    Who cares if it takes youe 2 minutes or 2 hour to update this site raising a child is not about tracking every little freakin’ thing they do.

    And if you get some the time take a look at what has been written about parents who obsess about their children’s eating and pooping. Ever heard of the phrase “anal retentive?”

    Good luck to you and for the love of God lighten up!

  8. Dave says:

    Everyone’s a critic! Let individual parents do their own parenting. I see no harm in anything on this site and find it endlessly facinating as someone who is trying with his wife now… 🙂

  9. Lurker says:

    Right. Nothing wrong at all. Sure.

  10. I just discovered this little treasure.
    If I were to have had a child, I would likely have done something like this. What a great way to chronicle yours & her experiences.

    It’s a living, breathing, combo photo album/journal. A great way for friends and family who are at a distance to remain informed. And a great way for other parents or parents to be to find information, and share experiences.

    My best friends had me take care of their son for 4 days when they went out of town due to a death in the family. They had never been away from him, and he had never stayed with anyone for more than a few hours.

    I kept a written journal for his mom (a suprise to her) of our experience. All the mundane things like eating, sleeping, pooping etc… but also little “moments” we shared, things he said & did, our mutual feelings of joy and frustration throughout the 4 days. He wasn’t yet talking, at least in a language anyone other than his parents understood. I spent a day there with them, and walked around with a pad of paper writing a glossary of terms or “strange made up words” and their actual meanings. The funny thing was, by the end of the 4 days, he was actually speaking much clearer. Mom and Dad were shocked & pleased. Poor thing had to…or else not get anything he wanted from auntie Michele.

    My long winded point is, that had I been web savvy at the time, I would have uploaded all of that to a site so Mom and Dad could check in and catch up from the road. Reading up on our tales and looking at the pictures of our adventures.

    I think in this day and age, this is a logical and creative keepsake. Make sure to back it up on disks so she can look back and reference all of your experiences when she is a first time mom.

    Kudos to you both.

  11. Regina Felangie says:

    Benmac, thank you for explaining to me why you do this website. although i do believe it is a little obsessive and unnesessary i can see that you have the interests of your child in mind. and although i cannot believe you spend only a few minutes per day on here, you obviestly love your child very much to put so much effort into this. i apologise if my remarks were narrow minded and offensive before

  12. Ariel says:

    Oh and Regina, sorry I called you a troll. (Group hug, anyone?)

  13. Dave says:


    Several weeks ago in one of the entries Ben left a comment on how the stats get updated. He said there is a computer on in the house 24/7 and he has the F-keys preprogrammed for “new bottle” “new diaper” “awake” “sleeping” etc. Basically after a diaper change or pulling a new bottle out he walks by the computer, presses ONE button, and voila… stats get updated in real time. So yes, minutes per day unless he posts a update in text which I am sure is more, but hardly every day.

  14. Katy MacNeill says:

    I just wanted to say that I don’t get to see my niece grow up because I live in a different state and this website is a great way for family members to watch Trixie grow up when we can’t always be there for all of her special moments… I look forward to seeing the picture of the day and all the different aspects of her life. Also, Some of the new company to this site may not know that Ben is an artist / graphic designer and this website is a form of art. By the way Ben, I loved the picture of Trixie and the nose plunge, mom and I laughed pretty hard at that one.

  15. John says:


    It isn’t “obsessive” to keep track of a baby’s bowel movememnts; it’s *normal*. While we don’t report them on a web page, my wife and I keep track of them for two reasons: whoever’s taking care of the baby wants to know if he’s had his poop of the day or not, so we can know whether to expect it, and because any changes to a baby’s stool frequency, color, size, smell, etc could be a signal of illness.
    Further, the site is useful/entertaining/encouraging to other parents; the Sleep Log, for instance was helpful to my wife and I because we had been worried that our baby wasn’t sleeping properly, since almost all of the advice we were getting from our parents’ generation about sleep suggested that our son was supposed to be one some kind of Family Von Trapp-ish routine, which actually isn’t true.
    And I think that since it’s part of a teenager’s natural psychological development to be rebellious, there’s pretty much nothing the family MacNiell can do prevent it, and they probably don’t want to.

  16. Kristin says:

    I just have to say that this is SO cool! It’d be a lot of fun to do this for my son… but I’m so computer illiterate! 🙂 I’m marking this page to keep up on Trixie! What fun parents she has!

  17. Lennon's Dad says:

    Wow. I was just forwarded this site, and i’m amazed. My son also has his own website (www.lennonokun.com), but my amateurish web abilities are put to shame by this site. People who comment on the “time spent” are probably not aware of how self creating websites like this are … a lot of parents out there keep records of things like bottles and diapers anyway, so it is a negligible difference to add it here. I, frankly, am humbled. I think it’s really cool, and Trixie will (hopefully) appreciate her place in cyberspace when she’s older.

  18. hannah says:

    I’m so happy to see that many strangers are now hooked on TTU – I’m not alone anymore and don’t have to feel like (as much of) a voyeuristic freak with my own obsession w/TTU! Maybe I’m obsessed b/c it’s obsessive compulsive and it’s contagious or something. TTU is the greatest and Ben and Jenn love Trixie more than anything – reading it makes me love my own baby girl more.

  19. Kaden's Dad says:

    Hi Trixie’s Dad,

    Big fan of all your efforts, both as a parent and web designer. We have a common friend, Larry Dworkin, who directed me to your site some time ago for a little inspiration…we have a six-month old son at home and have been struggling to keep family and friends updated on our son’s progress. Your site is clever, insightful and well planned–and, too bad for us, probably more than we could probably muster. Dare to dream.

    I’ve snuck occasionaly peaks over the past few months (even compared our son’s development at times) and after not looking for some time, am disappointed to see some negative comments posted. Idiots. What you’ve come up with is a great tool. We have some friends who recently had twins, both a little under weight, and spent months methodically recording every bottle and diaper change on charts provided by the hospital. What a difference good software would have made. In fact, we keep track of each messy diaper, knowing that when go more than 24 hours wihtout one we’re likely to end up with a cranky, uncomfortable little boy until the big events happens. This has become particularly important as we introduce solid foods and adjust his fluids intake accordingly, all in effort to maintain his “equilibrium.” Again, what a difference good software would make.

    I’m no expert here, but it seems to me instead of being a distraction your site proves exaclty the opposite: helping a child develop at this point is all about understanding and meeting their basic needs. Get it right and you’ll have a healthy, content baby with time enough to focus on the fun stuff; get it wrong and you’ll barely make it through the day.

    Enjoy the fun stuff.

    Take care,
    Mark R.
    Portland, Oregon

  20. Sharon says:

    Just wanted to say this is an amazing site! I could personally never do this(I never even finished filling out my daughter’s baby book)and I think it’s so cool that you have all this info for her. Who cares if some people think you’re anal or obsessive, at least you’re not going to be worrying all the time about whether or not she’s getting enough to eat or hwta cuase that weird rash she came down with. I have an 8month old son and while I try and be pretty laid back sometimes I find myself in a panic cause I can’t remember if I gave him his puffer or when the last time I changed his diaper was. Trixie is one lucky baby, she’s really going to appreciate all your hard work, especially when she has kids of her own. This site is a wonderful treasure for all of you to share

  21. Lurker says:

    I guess I’m considered one of the “idiots.”

    Isn’t it shocking that even one baby ever survived before people could track their poopy diapers on an internet site?

    Isn’t it amazing that my 6 month old is still alive and kicking and doing quite wonderfully even though I have not obsessed about her every bowel movement?

    I really still don’t get why it’s so hard to instinctually know when your child is hungry.
    Is it *really* that hard. Seriously.

    How did the human race ever survive?!?!?!?!?

  22. Regina Felangie says:

    alright, alright! ive been spending some time searching through this site and i must admit…. trixie definitally is a sweetheart. very very cute! still my opinions are the same but just didnt want to seem like the “bad guy” i probably wont visit here again but just wanted to leave by saying that trixie is a very lucky girl to have such dedicated parents.

  23. benmac says:

    Hi Mark R.,

    As they say all over this country, any friend of Larry Dworkin is a friend of mine. Thank you for visiting our site and for your comments. We had a similar situation with Trixie back when we were introducing different solids. Now, Trixie was not as regular as every 24 hours, but I realized one morning that we were going on 3 days without any messy diapers. We gave her a jar of prunes in the morning, and the problem was gone that evening. So, I’m inclined to agree that good records make taking care of her easier. thanks again-

  24. benmac says:

    Hi Regina,
    Thanks for giving the site a second look and seeing some of the other aspects of Trixie’s little world. All the best-

  25. Zenzile says:

    Re: Lurker

    Dude! You need to lighten up. These are human beings, not the Cleavers! How seriously can they take the ranting of complete strangers on a website anyway? This is a learning process. Obviously they’re open enough not to censor such diverse opinions like your on this website an that’s a good quality that more parents should have. What they do right or wrong, is not up to you to judge. Judgement is not helpful, only presumptious.