Tuesday 31 January 2006

A can without a face

Driving Alice home today, she spotted on of the many Diet Coke cans stuffed in various cup holders around the van. Alice didn’t call it “Diet Coke” though. She referred to it as “Mommy milk”.

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Not clear on the concept

It’s time for Charles bath, so I run the water to get it warm while Charles gets naked and climbs in the tub. He scoots forward to huddle around the stream of warm water while I fiddle with it to get the temperature adjusted. Of course, I’m putting my wrist in the stream to check the temperature, about which Charles complains with “you getting me wet!”. Getting Charles wet while he’s in the bathtub taking a bath! The sheer effrontery!

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Monday 30 January 2006

Project on a roller coaster

Corwin has undertaken to complete his large Christmas construction toy. He is making good progress, learning valuable lessons about paying very careful attention to the instructions. Corwin has had to rip out large chunks and rebuild them because he didn’t get something right earlier. I have already noticed that he now goes over the instructions much more carefully.

I haven’t helped him much at all on this. I gave him a lot of help with the first subunit he built to get him started, but since then I have only helped him by trying to keep Alice and Charles from interacting with the project.

Corwin was very impressed that the project is now taller than he is. Luckily it isn’t taller than Dad, even though Corwin had his hopes up for that for a while.

UPDATE: I jinxed Corwin. Right after I wrote this, I had to go and help him do yet another reconstruction where he had made an initial mistake that was compounded by subsequent building. I think we got it fixed, though, and construction is once again proceeding.

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She's got legs … she knows how to use them

This is a picture of Alice walking around in Charles’ shoes. She can put those on by herself because they are big enough for her to just step in to.

But the real point of this picture is to demonstrate the muscle definition in Alice’s legs. Notice the shadow from the quadriceps. That muscle really does stick out like that. And you can see the calf muscle isn’t lagging behind. Most of all, this is what her legs look like when she’s just walking around. When she gets … excited, they go to a whole ‘nother level.

I was reminded to get this picture up because Alice has acquired a strong dislike for being strapped in her seat in the van. Yesterday I had to put my hand on her stomach to hold her in while Mom strapped because Alice is so strong that Mom couldn’t strap and hold at the same time. If you keep her stomach back, however, she can’t get leverage for her legs and then she’s not hard to keep in place. If she gets her feet planted she can use her legs and then you’ve got a problem.

Alice and I also had a big fight this morning about changing from night clothes in to day clothes. It was a good workout. At least she didn’t try to rip the clothes off the moment I let go, so perhaps she’s mellowing with age.

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Sunday 29 January 2006

More is always better

For the first time that I’ve seen, Alice put on her own pants today. She even picked them out by herself. I had tried to get her dressed earlier, but she wanted none of that. The next thing I know, she’s pulled out a pair of pants and started to put them on. I tried to help because she had both of her legs in one pant leg but she managed to recover on her own and get it right, although I had to help her get them over her butt.

Alice didn’t stop there, however. Within a minute she had pulled out another pair of pants and had them mostly on. This was even more impressive since she had to pull the second pair over the first pair. She’s still wearing both even now, as having gotten her dressed I didn’t want a big fight about taking clothes back off.

Alice also picked out a shirt a bit later and wanted to put that on over her nightshirt, but I managed through strategic delay to get that shirt off before puttting on the new one.

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Shop hard the huntress

Alice stalks her natural prey — books

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Home schooling

[Dad and Corwin are sitting on the couch. Corwin starts poking at Dad.]

Dad: Are we messing? Because if we are messing, Dad is going to do some messing too.

Dad: Corwin? Are we messing?

Dad: Well?

[Corwin pokes Dad]

Dad: OK, we’re messing [Dad grabs Corwin]

Corwin: [suddenly finding his voice] NOOOOOOO! NO MESSING! [Corwin loses his power to speak from being tickled too much]

Dad: [As he mercilessly tickles Corwin] Corwin? Is there some way you could have prevented this? Perhaps by promptly answering Dad when he asks a question?

Corwin: [gasping] Yes.

Dad: I’m glad we were able to learn a valuable lesson today.

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Saturday 28 January 2006

Chatting with Charles

Mom: Charles, can you pick up these Legos™?

Charles: Uhhhhhh. My tummy is tire-warred (tired).

That ranks right up there with “I pulled a muscle in me ear” as an excuse.

Charles: [cries because his Lego™ construct got Aliced] He broke it!

Dad: Yes, Charles.

Charles: Why he always breaking my stuff?

Dad: That’s just the way she is, Charles. If you have your Legos™ near her, she will break them.

Charles: [anguished cry] I want a different baby!

[Charles watches Swiper get dumped in a mud puddle]

Charles: That funny!

Dad: Would it be funny if we pushed Charles in to the mud?

Charles: No.

Dad: What about Corwin? Would it be funny if we pushed Corwin in to the mud?

Charles: Yes. That funny.

It turns out that pushing Alice in to the mud isn’t funny, but pushing Mom in is.

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Body language

Alice has entered the “body slam” phase. She likes to jump on people. Her favorite location is the coach in the media room, because

  • It’s bouncy
  • It almost always has targets people on it
  • You can get extra height from the back of couch

Alice can be quite vicious at it. Normally she likes to just sit down hard on people, but I saw her hitting Corwin with the classic professional wrestling knee drop. Corwin’s response to has been two fold:

  1. Complain about the parents teaching Alice to body slam
  2. Call out frequently “Hey, Alice, bodyslam Charles!”

Somehow the net result is lots of body slams and very little parental sympathy.

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Friday 27 January 2006

Not even the magic 8-ball excites me

Corwin endures while Mom and Dad enjoy some coffee

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Coat mechanics

Charles has an interesting technique for putting on his coat. He apparently can’t coordinate putting his arms in the coat with holding it, so he puts the hood of the coat on with the coat backwards first. Then he puts one arm in and flips the coat around so that he can get the other arm in. I am reasonably certain that Charles picked up this technique from Corwin, who used to do something similar. It’s really quite interesting to watch.

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Thursday 26 January 2006

Do I see more chocolate over there?

Alice inhales her chocolate treat

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Clean and shine

Charles has been very good lately about getting his morning stuff done. Sometimes he will have dressed and washed up by the time Mom and I wake up. This is in contrast to Corwin, with whom it is a constant struggle to get that done. Last night I had to give him a do over on a shower because he hadn’t realized that he was supposed to wash his body in addition to washing his hair. Alice, of course, cries if someone mentions the ‘b’ word without her actually getting a bath.

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More shoe fetish

Alice has very mixed feelings about clothes. Sometimes she’s indifferent, sometimes she has strong opinions and other times she wants to be naked. What I’ve had some success with when Alice is in her naked mood is asking her if she wants to put shoes on. This almost always generates a positive response and I can then justify putting on the rest of her clothes in order to get the shoes on. I suspect that she’d rather run around in just a diaper and shoes, though.

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Wednesday 25 January 2006

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

Charles demonstrates the plasma car

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The brutality of youth

I had a birthday recently but due to scheduling issues all we could manage was dinner at a restuarant I like and a pie the next day, plus one present. When Charles was asked to help out by handing me a birthday card, he was puzzled. “It your birthday? But no one showed up!”.

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Laying down the smackie

Mom and I were pestering Corwin about doing some writing for this kidlog. One of the suggestions that came up was writing stories about his adventures as Darth Vader or Agent Z vs. Uncle Evil. Corwin said that wouldn’t work because “I would just write ‘Darth Vader won’ and that would be the end”. Apparently Uncle Evil wasn’t as impressive as he thought on his last visit.

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Tuesday 24 January 2006

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

Because Mimi wanted to know more about the plasma car

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Patience has its rewards

Corwin is part of a drama club this spring. Jack was involved last year and so of course Corwin had to join in this year. The club is putting on The Wizard of Oz. Corwin went to a practice last night, at which they talked about the play and other things but didn’t do much practice, as roles haven’t been assigned yet. Mom asked Corwin what he wanted to play and he said the Wicked Witch of the West’s companions. They are, of course, the infamous flying monkeys, about which I have teased Corwin over the years (one of his standard retorts being “there is no such thing as flying monkeys!”). And now Corwin wants to be one in a play!

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Monday 23 January 2006

First Ski Boy

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You just have to know the magic words

[Dad tries to entice Charles with a special treat]

Dad: Charles, would you like some seaweed.

Charles: [sullenly] No.

Dad: Oh. I think Alice would like some. [Dad heads off to get some for Alice]

Charles: [beseechingly] I want some too!

Dad: But you said you didn’t want any!

Charles: I changed my mind.

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You have to watch Dad all the time

Alice came home the other day with a rather full diaper. I took her upstairs for a refresh. Alice got her coat off on the way and gave it to me to put away. Eager to avoid a containment failure I just put the coat on the chair at the top landing. After Alice was refreshed, she walked out of her room and saw the coat. She was not happy to see it just laying around. She picked it up but wouldn’t give it to me, presumably because i had failed to properly handle it the first time. Instead I had to carry Alice while she held the coat all the way down to the closet. Then Alice gave me the coat and watched me carefully to be sure that I hung it up.

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Sunday 22 January 2006

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

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Last Alice Word Watch

Alice’s vocabulary is now large enough that it’s not worth tracking anymore. It is also growing at a rapid rate. Almost everyday, Alice uses a word I didn’t know she knew. In any case, here’s the last list, which is probably incomplete even at 70 words.

Alice, Charles, Corwin, Daddy, Dora, Jack, Miffy, Mommy, OK, airplane, baby, backpack, ball, balloon, banana, basement, bath, bike, blocks, book, boot, bug, bunny, cake, car, cat, cheese, coat, crayon, cup, dog, done, down, drum, duck, ear, egg, eye, hand, hat, help, hi, hot dog, I, ice cream, keys, look, me, milk, mine, more, mouth, no, now, open, paint, pencil, pig, pillow, please, popcorn, purple, shirt, shoe, shovel, soap, sock, sticker, tail, (tele)phone, truck, up, yes

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Saturday 21 January 2006

Too clever by half

I was watching the kids in the basement when I had to pop upstairs for a minute. I closed up my laptop and left it on the couch, as all of the kids were absorbed in various other activities. When I went back down just a couple of minutes later. Alice had found my laptop, opened it up, and was in the middle of typing vigorously in to my e-mail program. It doesn’t look like she actually sent anything out, but maybe she’s clever enough to erase her tracks as well.

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Builder Boys

Corwin’s Lego™ project

Charles’ Lego™ project
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Alice-saurus ramblings

Our recent trip has caused me to be concerned for the day when Alice is potty trained and I have to help her use public restrooms. Men’s public restrooms. With the boys it wasn’t so bad, as most of the time they just had to pee and they could stand or be held. Alice, sadly, will not have this option. Hmmm. Perhaps I should trade out the diapers for a small potty seat in the diaper bag…

Alice is also entering her terrible twos, much earlier than the boys. I wonder if it’s not a function of language more than age, that the terrible twos are when the child first learns to talk and thereby express all of the things that should happen except for mean and cruel parents. Alice sure can throw hysterical fits.

In the way of hysterical fits, Alice was unhappy about getting dressed the other day and I had to force her in to clothes. She is definitely a little Alice-saurus, with floppy little arms and massive, powerful legs. It was easy to get her shirt on as her arms have very little strength. Her pants, on the other hand, were quite a struggle. You can see the muscles on her legs sticking out, it’s quite the sight.

It looks like she will be able to put that leg strength to good use. She’s not much for throwing but she does kick well. She was kicking a little soccer ball she got for Christmas around the room and was doing well at making it go in the direction she wanted. She’ll probably be beating Charles at soccer before long.

On the intellectual side, Alice has been singing the alphabet song quite a lot, although she does not appear to actually know any letters. She is acquiring a good vocabularly as well. She has reached the stage where she likes to point out things and say their names. Alice had quite a bit of fun doing this to the cat yesterday. She grabbed POset’s ear and said “ear!”. She did “mouth”, “eye” (I had to stop her on that one), “tail”, “hair” and “knee” (a bit tricky on a cat). The best bit was Alice grabbing one of the cat’s ears and saying “cat ear!” then pointing at the other ear and saying “more ear!”.

Alice still likes to put stickers and tape in her hair.

What is more impressive than that is Alice is very accomodating when it comes time to remove the items. She doesn’t cry or fight about it, apparently accepting the unpleasantness of removal as an acceptable price for the joy of decorating her hair.

Alice loves taking baths, but still sometimes poops in the bath tub.

Last of all, I will mention a special transporation device Alice likes, the “Daddy-vator”. Alice really likes to take this up and down the stairs. When offered a ride on the Daddy-vator, Alice will run to the top or bottom of the stairs and wait for the vehicle to get in to place for a big Alice leap. Unfortunately it wasn’t maintained well so I’m not sure how long it is going to last.

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Friday 20 January 2006

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

Alice in her birthday finery

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He must have picked it up on a street corner

[Charles is playing at Grandma’s. He has a long line of cars with a sign in front]

Dad: That’s a long line of cars.

Charles: Yes.

Dad: What is the line of cars for?

Charles: They all stopped at the sign. It called a traffic jam.

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Thursday 19 January 2006

Greater market penetration

I was teasing Corwin about how easy his homework was and said that maybe I should be assigning him homework as well. Corwin inquired as to what type of homework I would assign. I mentioned various things, including writing assignments such as writing posts for this weblog. Corwin was not at all in favor of that idea. I pointed out that I write something every day and he replied “but you didn’t write anything today”. It turns out that he and a couple of his friends had been looking at this weblog while they were at school today. Apparently I’m in trouble over the first picture in this post because it shows Corwin in his night clothes. My view was that at least you couldn’t see his underwear, which was the case with almost all of the other pcitures I had of him from that morning.

On a related note, Jack’s mom told me the other day that he and Anwen had been looking at this kidlog and were particularly amused by the page about Uncle Evil. So it looks like Corwin is reaching the age where his friends can find and read this stuff, so I will need to burn out his embarassment circuts (that’ll be a big help to him later on).

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Delayed gratification

Corwin recieved a number of building toys, such as Lego™ kits. He built most of them within a day or two, even though he didn’t help out with Charles’ Lego™ project. One present, though, provided more of a challenge for Corwin. Here we see Corwin stumped a bit on how to proceed. It got so bad that he was reduced to reading the instructions.

It still must have been tough, as Corwin hasn’t finished it yet. He did make some progress, so at least this will keep him busy for more than just Christmas day.

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Wednesday 18 January 2006

Once I was the student … now I am the master

Charles has recently become much better at building Lego™ constructions. This is one of his vehicles, which started out as the very simple slab with wheels on either end. Charles then alternated between playing with it and enhancing it. This picture is from about half way through the enhancement process. The final vehicle was significantly more detailed than this.

The down side is that when the object gets dropped or Aliced, Charles becomes very distraught because he can’t put it back together in the exact same way. I can’t even take a picture to aid in reconstruction because Charles is constantly upgrading.

Sometimes Charles builds his constructs very long. These tend to end in tragedy sooner.

Most recently, however, Charles has been working more on space ship constructs, which then fly around to Charles’ version of the Star Wars theme. Charles also got a Lego™ speed boat which he managed to put together mostly by himself (with only a little bit of help and guidance from Dad, mainly reminders that he wasn’t done with the current page of building instructions).

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Tuesday 17 January 2006

Pop goes the Corwin

I opened up a box of Champaign Poppers for Alice’s birthday. Corwin used most of them because Charles didn’t have the grip strength to fire them most of the time (he managed to get a couple to fire but eventually he got frustrated and gave up). The price I made Corwin pay for the privilege was to let me try and capture a popper in action. This is the best resutl I got, the timing being somewhat difficult.

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Strapping boy

I think maybe we should skip Christmas presents. The other day Mom bought a box of paper for the printer. I opened it up with Charles watching. He immediately demanded possession of the plastic wrapping strips that I cut off to open the box. He played with those for at least a couple of days before they fell by the wayside. That’s longer than most of the toys we buy him.

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Monday 16 January 2006

Light play

Alice and Charles play with light while Corwin does green background

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Sunday 15 January 2006

Alice word watch

  • green (two color words now)
  • (french) fries
  • piece
  • off (meaning “take off, remove”)
  • sure (meaing “yes”)
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Liquid fun

Charles and Corwin erupt in the driveway

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We’re all back now, some of us more tired and sore than others (Corwin and Dad just have some muscle aches but Mom seems to have done something nasty to her hip). Charles and Alice were happy to see us when we picked them up at Grandma’s house (to which we traveled over the hills and through the woods from the hotel we stayed in).

Alice is learning new words all the time. On the way home, we stopped for a snack at McDonald’s and when Mom came back to the car Alice said “Oooh! Fries!”.

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Saturday 14 January 2006

Fun for the whole family

Charles has been enjoying Alice’s birthday presents almost as much as Alice. Both of them like to take care of Alice’s Bitty Baby, putting her to bed in her little Bitty Baby Bed and taking care of her with the various accoutrements Mom has accumulated1.

Alice also got a Plasma Car which everyone liked, although there’s a bit too much Dad for him to use it. On the down side, everyone wants to drive.

Charles: Can I drive it?

Corwin: Not yet.

Charles: When can I drive it?

Corwin: Maybe in a million years.

Charles: That take a long time.

[The next day, Charles is riding the car around the basement while dragging another riding toy behind him]

Charles: [stops suddenly] Door opening …

Charles: [pauses for a few seconds, moves forward a bit] Door closing …

Charles:: [pauses a few seconds, then continues zipping around the basement

1 I’m not sure who likes the Bitty Baby more, Alice, Charles or Mom. Mom, for instance, was pestering Alice more than Corwin about opening additional presents that contained various Bitty Baby accessories.

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Friday 13 January 2006


Mom took us off on a ski vacation in north-west Illinois this weekend. We left yesterday evening and spent the night at Grandma’s. We had planned to leave Alice there, but Charles declared that he wanted to stay as well. Charles was very excited about going to visit Grandma, complaining that he hadn’t been there “for a long time!”. Alice didn’t sleep well and how to be calmed at 3AM with some Dora. It was kind of cute, though, that when Alice was tossing and turning she would call out words from the show, like “Dora”, “Boots” and “backpack”.

We managed to get off in good time in the morning anyway. It turns out be for the best that we left Charles behind because it was Corwins first time skiing. It was hard enough getting him on the right slope without having to deal with Charles as well. Corwin was very frustrated at first, but by the end of the day he was handling the green slope reasonably well, although he was getting very tired, which made it much more difficult for him. We gave him ski poles at first, but Mom took them away after a while and Corwin seemed to do better without them. After the first trip down the bunny slope, as we got ready for the second, Corwin asked “can we do this one and be done?”. Now he’s willing to go back for more tomorrow.

As an overall assessment, I am pleased to report no permanent injuries1, although I am quite sore and expect to be one big mass of muscle ache tomorrow. Corwin had a couple of hard falls on his knee, but he only notices the agonizing pain of it when we ask him about it, so we’ve stopped asking in order to cure him. I took a good tumble myself and managed to just barely avoid a concussion (I managed to get my legs out from under me in a way that caused my head to impact the slope first).

We are staying at a hotel with a pool with a water slide and a hot tub, so of course Mom rousted us out of our comfortable vegetating to try it out. Corwin had some fun, but he didn’t last long being somewhat tired. Meanwhile, I’ve taken to writing this post in an effort to look busy so that Mom doesn’t decide to embark on some other adventure this evening.

1 I made the mistake of mentioning to Corwin that I had suffered a disfiguring thumb accident my first time out. Corwin later remarked that he was doing better because he wasn’t injured.

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Concert on the couch

Dan and Uncle Evil perform a personal rap concert for Charles

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Location, location, location

Mom and I were teasing Charles about being put up on a shelf because he kept hurting himself. I said off to Mom “I’m going to roll him up in a ball and put him on a shelf in the storeroom”. Charles paused his rambling “no!” repition and said, “where’s the storeroom?”. He considered the issue carefully after I told him where it was and then said “no!”. I just wondered in what room a shelf would have to be to get Charles to agree to being put on it.

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Thursday 12 January 2006

The vortex forms

Corwin and Jack start the spin up to total boy induced mayhem

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A clever and invective boy

Charles has acquired the habit of hurling invective at people when he’s disagreeing with them, or sometimes just for the laughs. What’s very Charles-like about it is the form of the invective. In years past, Charles used the term “swa swa” as an all purpose insult, although he was never coherent on what it actually meant1. Lately he switch to used “shoogie” (rhymes with “boogie”) as his verbal assault of choice. However, sometimes he dips in to the surreal for effect. The other day, I was accused of being a “pipe” and today Mom got tagged as a “trumpet” (later a “trombone”).

What I like to do is call Charles a “shoogie shoogie swa swa” (to the rythm of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). Charles doesn’t like this, so he responds with basically the same phrase but with a lot more repitition — I’ve counted up to twelve iterations of “shoogie” when he really wants to make a point.

1 I can’t believe I never wrote that up, but I can’t find anything about it when I search.

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Wednesday 11 January 2006

Alice size update

I took Alice to her annual checkup yesterday. No shots. Just measuring, poking, and prodding. Alice was well behaved through the whole thing. Overall Alice was rated healthy and developmentally on track, but she has a bit of a head cold right now.

Current size: 33 inches tall and 26 pounds.

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A chase in the park

We all went over to the park and took Jack along in an attempt to promote physical activity on the part of Corwin. It worked out reasonably well, as I also took a high-tech child exercise device, my camera. I managed to chase Corwin and Jack all over the park with very little effort on my part. Eventually I relented and played some soccer with them, which wore me out a lot faster tham because they traded off being goalie but I had to play forward the entire time.

Charles had an OK time, although he managed to scrape his nose in a major way about 10 seconds after we arrived by tripping and falling on a new sidewalk. After a bit of comforting he was back in action.

At one point I was trying to get a picture of Charles and he was running away as well.

Charles: Don’t take my picture!

Dad: Why not?

Charles: I not like pictures.

Dad: Why? It doesn’t hurt when I take your picture.

Charles: Corwin and Jack don’t like it. And they both my best friend.

Dad: What about Chloe? I thought you liked her.

Charles: She my best friend too.

Jack: Corwin! Charles has a girlfriend!

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Tuesday 10 January 2006

Light House

Charles got some Lightastix for Christmas. This consists of balls with holes and sticks to connect them. The resulting construct can be hooked up to a power supply and made to glow. This is the only thing Charles got that he had specifically asked for and he quite likes them. Alice likes them too, unfortunately.

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Pedagogical Construction

[Charles shows Dad a very long, narrow and delicate Lego™ construct]

Charles: Do you know why it’s shape liked this?

Dad: No, I don’t.

Charles: It is because it has sounds in it.

Dad: Oh. What kind of sounds?

Charles: Lots of sounds.

Dad: Sounds like “shoogie shoogie swa swa”?

Charles: No. It not have that sound. It have better sounds.

Dad: Like what?

Charles: It tell you important things. Not make funny sounds.

Dad: So it has only serious, instructional sounds?

Charles: Yes!

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Monday 09 January 2006

Dawn of the Third Age




Alice greets the crowds of her adoring fans

Alice spent the day at daycare, where she got a cute little construction paper crown which she wore most of the day. Mom worked hard to get a good selection of presents ready for Alice. Alice, however, wasn’t much in to opening the presents and had to be prompted by Mom to work her way through them. Until Alice unwrapped the care kit for her Bitty Baby. After that, when asked “do you want to open another present?” Alice would reply very firmly “No”.

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Sunday 08 January 2006

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

Jessie breaks the ice

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Sometimes you just have to rant

While children’s television programming is in a golden age, with a variety of good shows on specialized channels available, there are still a few clunkers. Our current least favorite show is Oobi. This show is even worse than Barney. It’s basically hands with googly eyes glued on that talk to each other in broken English, even the putative adult hands. At least Barney used complete, grammatically correct sentences. And while the Teletubbies use baby talk, the narrator and other elements of show use proper language and in some ways I think that’s better, so that the children can identify with the Teletubbies while still being shown proper speaking. Oobi, on the other hand (ha ha!) has no examples of proper speech, along with all the sappiness of Barney. I think I’d rather watch Little Bill.

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Alice word watch

Alice can also say “yes”, “train”, “please”, “up” and “down”. She also used her first color word yesterday, “purple”. According to most theories, purple should be about the last color a child learns. She doesn’t know the standard first colors like “black” or “red”, but she’s quite familiar with “purple”. It’s an important word, you see, quite critical indeed. How else can she make sure that Dad dresses Alice with the proper shoes? “Puh-pull shoes! Puh-pull shoes!”.

P.S. Alice is still a bit conflicted about clothing. Yesterday morning she actually slept all night in her bed. When she woke up, I went and retrieved her. She had overflowed a bit so I tried to change her out of her night clothes, but she would have none of that. I handed her off to Mom but after Mom failed as well Mom just rationalized “oh, she’s just a little damp”. After Mom did finally get the old clothes off, she couldn’t get new clothes on as Alice preferred to lounge about au natural.

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Saturday 07 January 2006

The sleep of the storm

Alice takes a break from her dance and destruction

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Pathos of retail, the sequel

Charles is still struggling with making it in the retail industry. The other day he set up a “kitchen” (presumably he meant “restaurant”). I wandered out from my office to check it out, but I was too slow.

Dad: Can I get something at the kitchen?

Charles: Kitchen is closed. That what happen when nobody show up. Nobody came so the kitchen closed.

[a few minutes later]

Charles: Kitchen open!

Dad: Oh. Can I get lunch now?

Charles: Yes. It cost $100.

[Dad counts out 100 tokens and gives them to Charles]

Charles: OK. You get a hamburger and a drink.

Yow, that’s steep for a hamburger and a drink! Apparently Charles knows how to treat a captive customer. What gets to me, though, is how both sad and determined Charles sounds when he discusses the failures of his various retail establishments.

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Friday 06 January 2006

Charles size up date

Charles had his 5 year check up today. He now measures 43 inches and 42 pounds. This was his first visit to the new doctor. Eventually he talked to her, so she didn’t have to take my word for it that the boy wasn’t mute. He seemed to be generally healthy, and he got his last three shots for the next 5 or so years. The first two were no problem, but the last shot caused some tears. But Charles was a brave little trooper and seemed to recover pretty quickly.

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Corwin assembles, Charles rumbles

Some of the Legos™ the boyen recieved at Christmas

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Coat tales

I am relieved (to some extent) that my children aren’t the only ones with clothing issues. Andreas and Matias were over the other day. Eventually their mom came by to pick them up. As they left, their mom asked them at least twice if they had worn coats over to our house, to which they made no or indifferent replies. Their coats were laying on the floor next to the closet and they walked right by them even as their mom asked about them. I didn’t notice this at the time and so had to run them over later.

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Thursday 05 January 2006

Armed and dangerous

They say that putting pictures of cute girls with guns will always boost your traffic

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Clothing priorities

Charles and Alice sometimes have a bit of a problem properly prioritizing their clothing.

Alice doesn’t much like clothes to start with. Frequently I just give up trying to put pants back on her after I’ve changed her diapers. More interestingly, Alice has figured out how to put on her purple shoes by herself. This means that sometimes I find her with shoes and socks but no pants, which makes it even more difficult to get the pants on.

Charles does things a little differently. It snowed a few evenings ago. The other children we had over all charged out to play in it. Charles wanted to go along as well and managed to get his coat on and wanted mittens as well. I had just finished getting those on when I had to stop Charles from rushing out to join the other kids because he had bare feet. It was all I could do to get him to hang around inside long enough to put socks and boots on him, as he apparently didn’t see the point of that.

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Wednesday 04 January 2006

Stage Why

Alice achieved the second major milestone in language today. The first, of course, is mastering the word “no”. This greatly changes how a child interacts with its parents and is quite intoxicating in use. The second milestone is mastering the word “why”, another word of great power and reward in its use. It, too, can have profound effects on the child / parent relationship. I am sure it will be one of Alice’s favorites.

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Gratuitous Picture of the Day

Corwin impresses the girls at the party with his puppet skills

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Simple numbers and simple pleasures

One of the presents Charles got for Christmas was a large calculator (it’s a little larger than an 8½&mul;11 sheet of paper). He likes it a lot. One time he started asking me about some of the functions on it. We got to the ‘%’ button, which was a bit harder to explain, so I just typed in “Charles is 5 and when he is 120% older he will be 6”. Charles found this interesting. He then hit the ‘%’ button himself and the display changed which Charles found hilarious. He giggled for a bit and then made me do the original computation again so he could hit the ‘%’ again and mess up my result. We did this a number of times, never failing to amuse Charles.

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Tuesday 03 January 2006

A girl's corner is her castle

When some other children were over visiting, Alice wanted to go in the basement with them but they were a bit rambunctious for her. So Uncle Evil built this little shelter for her, complete with a roof. Alice hid in there for quite a long while, happy and content. Uncle Evil later added some of the card board bricks to protect Alice from … Uncle Evil.

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Ballooning troubles

What I learned today is that buying balloons for the children when I’m on an errand is not a good idea.

I dropped Mom and Corwin off at Corwin’s violin lessons and popped off to run a couple of errands, taking Charles and Alice with me. We stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up some sealer. Having located that, I headed for the checkout but Alice spotted some helium balloons and demanded one. I decided to give in. Of course, it didn’t take Charles long to start crying because he didn’t have a balloon. I was forced to get one for him as well.

When we left the store, it was windy and Charles was literally shaking with fear about it. I thought he was worried about getting cold but he was really concerned about his balloon. Of course, just as we got to the van and I was putting Alice in her seat, I heard a great cry from Charles. His balloon had come loose from its string and floated off. Charles was devastated. He went on and on about Alice getting two balloons (presumably one from a previous outing) and Charles not having any balloons. Alice, of course, became upset a few minutes later for some unknown with her balloon, but she objected vociferously when I tried to transfer it to Charles.

Because of all this, I didn’t want to hassle with the balloon in the next store, which set off another round of unpleasantness. Now, as expected, the balloon floats abandoned and forgotten in the van.

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Monday 02 January 2006

Why we used a picture from last Spring

The best result from our attempt to take a family Christmas picture

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Alice word watch

The other morning Alice picked up Simm’s Taback’s Big Book of Words and had me help her page through it. It was clear that Alice has picked up a lot of words lately: airplane, block, duck, boat, [tele]phone, crayon, coat, egg, popcorn, truck, hat, boots, and banana were just the ones she could say from pictures in the book. She did, however, call everything drinkable thing “milk”, even if it was orange juice. Alice can also say “up” and “basement” and the sentence “where’s Corwin?”. She’s definitely on track to be talking much ealier than the boyen.

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Sunday 01 January 2006

Dancing to a darkling beat

Charles and Alice dance to Uncle Evil’s tune

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Day of many finals

The last day of the year was a busy one for us. We ended up spending most of the afternoon and evening over at Laurie’s house. It was her birthday and the last day in town for Uncle Evil. We tried to get the solid wall of cute together (Grace, Ella, Alice) but due to attention and nap issues it didn’t work out. Maybe next year.

Mom and I stayed up for the New Year. Charles almost made it. Corwin and Alice conked out well before the magic hour.

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