March 11, 2006

Wow, Trixie Tracker's All Growed Up

trixie_tracker.gifBen Macneill's geek-heavenly Trixie Update was a formative introduction to impending fatherhood for me. Not only did Ben transform the daunting, inscrutable cycles of a newborn's food, sleep, and poo into funny, startle-your-friends! charts and graphs, but he actually teased meaning from them. Trixie Update showed the minutiae of daily life with a new baby while helping a new dad get to know his kid--and learn how to interpret signs and how to respond better as a parent--by discerning patterns, trends, and surprises in the kid's daily activities.

Trixie Update was the product of a non-traditional data/business/coding/and-yes-male approach to parenting that proved to be extremely effective and insightful and sensitive for the kid and for both parents. I took it as a sign that dads' roles were undergoing a re-envisioning, maybe even the revolution. Two years on, I still think that's the case.

Unfortunately for us, the kid came a few months too early for the beta launch of Trixie Tracker, the web-based application version of Ben's blog-based Trixie Telemetry analytics. Now after 1.5 years plus of development, Ben and Jenn have just launched the full-featured application, and it looks AWESOME.

As helpful as Trixie Tracker might be for a SAHD or a SAHM, and as neat as friends and relatives might find it, I think the real importance of Trixie Tracker is facilitating collaborative parenting. If one parent--dad or mom--has to work away from the kid for long stretches of the day, he's inevitably going to miss out on the minutiae and the accretion of the inconsequential experiences that ARE hands-on childcare.

Such a parent can feel out of touch pretty quickly, and it takes real effort not to get put off, intimidated or baffled when he DOES spend time with the kid. Trixie Tracker is an elegant, easy, sophisticated workaround and a way to share meaningful information between new parents--and between parents and other caregivers, too. Whether you use it for the first few months or for a couple of years, I think it can be an excellent parenting tool.


So what's all the hubbub, bub? With just a few clicks, Trixie Tracker creates a real-time log of what and when your kid eats, when he sleeps and for how long, and his diaper output. [A new favorite is this greyscale Sleep Probability Chart, which shows the likelihood your kid'll be asleep during any given 10-minute increment of the day.] It also includes sections for medicines, for transitions to solid food, and for managing breastmilk production and inventory, [Ben's posts during Milk Week still resonate in my head, especially the dread of calculating the pumping time for breastmilk that later expired and had to be thrown out.]

TT has a variety of other features, including multiple users, optional sitesharing and password-protected access, and anonymized averaging and benchmarking against other TT users. [I hear the next version will include a Google Map of diapers blowing out around the country in real-time.] They'll even archive your account and data for you if you like, after your subscription expires, in case you want to remember the good old days--or if you eventually have another kid and decide to renew.

Trixie Tracker is $59/yr, $39/6 months, or $8/1 month. [ via dt's steven and matt ]
Previous DT posts on Trixie, including: Celebrity Baby Takes One Nap/Day, Celebrity Baby Uses Disposable Bibs, and the Baby Industry's feeble response to TT, Mom's Abacus

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