Wednesday 31 May 2006

On the happy side

To balance the sad Charles story, here is Charles enjoying his office supplies

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Tuesday 30 May 2006

Shark bites

Charles didn’t have a good day today. He wore his new shirt and took in his stuffed shark from the trip. Charles really liked his shark, he held it most of the way back in the and insisted on sleeping with it when we got home. But he seems to be alone in his fondness for it, as none of the other children wanted to play with it. Charles was quite grumpy about it when he got home. Even building his new Lego™ van didn’t cheer him up. Not the best way to start his last week, but there was no way he could have been convinced to not take in his shark.

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Traveling Van

We left early Friday evening, to avoid Corwin having to miss school. As usual, we weren’t ready on time (we had originally hoped to leave shortly after Corwin got home). It was a long drive, but the kids and Dad slept through a lot of it. Corwin started asking “are we there yet?” about an hour in. After another hour or so, having been told “you’ll be asleep before we’re there, so don’t ask”, Corwin switched to “are we halfway there yet?”. We had dinner at the Machine Shed1 restaurant, where the kids all ordered grilled cheese sandwiches.

Saturday we woke up groggy and decided to spend some time at the Mall of America. The boyen were somewhat upbeat about this, as they had been told tales of a four story Lego™ store on the premises. One of Corwin’s friends had actually asked for pictures from there, of which, sadly, I didn’t get many.

Both boys had fun at the Lego™ store, even if it was one story of store and three stories of Lego™ constructs. I think Charles actually enjoyed it more. I bought a police van kit for him, plus a Cup of Legos™. Corwin wanted a Star Wars kit (something from Episodes 1-3, which I didn’t recognize) but chose to not get the Cup of Legos™. The resulting bag of booty became Charles’ prize possession for the rest of the time in the MOA. We tried to get him to go on some rides at the mini-amusement park in the center, but he wouldn’t because that would mean letting go of the bag of Legos™.

Instead, Mom tried to get Alice to ride the carousel. Alice was very eager until Mom tried to actually put her on one of the horses, at which point she became frightened and had to be taken away.

Corwin had fun. I rode one of the roller coasters with him, then a log/water ride. Corwin later went on that ride by himself. It wasn’t overly busy so he was able to ride in a log solo.

After that, we took some time to let Mom shop at IKEA. Alice was a bit grumpy by then and would cry and shout “no!” whenever Mom would push the stroller anywhere but along the main aisle. And Mom wasn’t allowed to walk away from the stroller. Nor was anyone besides Mom allowed to push it. Mom did manage to get some shopping in during short periods when Alice was in a better mood.

We bought an easel with a roll of paper for Charles. We asked him multiple times whether he really wanted it, which he claimed he did. Then while we’re waiting in the check out line, he grabs the easel that I am carrying and says “what’s that?”.

After the IKEA adventure, we went to a cookout at a local house. Some other children were there, although the boyen didn’t interact much. Alice was much more willing to play well with others. The house was directly on the flight path for two of three runways at the airport, so we had airplanes going directly overhead every 10 minutes or so, like this.

Eventually we went back to the hotel and slept.

The next day we had a lazy morning. We had lunch with friends and then went back to the hotel. I managed to get some napping in while everyone else went swimming. Then it was off to the big event, the party for the tenth anniversary of Chris and Susan’s wedding. It was a good time. Corwin even interacted with some of the other children. Alice spent some time with Ella, pushing her around in the stroller or playing bumper strollers with her.

Later, we walked from the hotel over to Chris and Susan’s condominium and hung out there for a while. The kids played with some oversized Lincoln logs and (of course!) Legos™. Charles and Alice built some tall towers. I asked if they were skyscrapers and was informed that no, they were office buildings.

Next morning we got up, left the hotel and visited MOA again. I took the boyen to the aquarium there while Mom took Alice shopping. The aquarium was interesting. The first part had some small tanks with small fish, but the primary area had no pools to look down on — all of the viewing was from tunnels under the pools. The pools crossed over the tunnel so the fish could swim directly overhead, just inches away. After that were some additional small tanks with some interesting creatures in them (such as octopi and a pair of 17 pound lobsters). At the every end was the gift shop. Corwin liked to look but didn’t get anything. Charles got a shirt and a stuffed shark. Charles’ shirt read “I touched the shark” but when we went over to the pool where one could, in fact, touch a shark, Charles refused to do so. Corwin, on the other hand, had to be dragged away from it. He touched many sharks and manta rays.

We had lunch at the Rain Forest Cafe, which Corwin remembered from a previous trip and had asked about the previous day as well. He had the grilled cheese sandwich.

Then we took the long drive home, Corwin waiting less than an hour again to ask “are we there yet?”. We told him “it’s a long drive, don’t ask again until it’s dark”. Less than 5 minutes after the sun set, Corwin asked “are we there yet?”.

Corwin got very lost in the mall

Charles is proud of doing his job

Alice the Explorer

1 No webpage for the one we went to, but there is one in St. Paul as well and it looks about the same.

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Monday 29 May 2006

Trip counter

A long trip, but we made it back. For the kids, the big hit of the trip was the Mall of America. We hit that again today before we left. For me, the big disappointment was how late it stayed light up there. It was noticeably longer than here and, having not thought that through, I was stuck with a big bag of glowing toys that were basically useless because everyone would be asleep before it was dark enough to use them.

All in all, a reasonable successful trip. We still have all three children, after all.

Corwin actually interacts with other children

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Saturday 27 May 2006

No rest for the weary

We made it to Minneapolis very early this morning. After sleeping for a few hours, we got up and hit the town. This consisted of going to the Mall of America in the morning and a cookout in the afternoon / evening.

At the Mall of America we went to the Lego™ store, rode some of the rides, and bought too much stuff at IKEA. I will write more detail later, when I am not so tired.

Corwin and Charles wait by the carosel

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Friday 26 May 2006

Something kitty this way comes

Summer is rapidly approaching and so is Erica Season. I was thinking about that and her over the weekend because of a wounded Charles.

The boys now apply bandaids to themselves whenever they get the slightest injury. No mommy kisses or soothing, what relieves the hurt is a bandaid. This weekend Charles had at least three of them on various locations, including his collarbone, bicep, and finger (he might have had one on a toe as well). it’s bad enough that the only way I know if Charles has been injured recently is by keeping a tally on his bandaids. Even worse is that all of them were “Hello Kitty” bandaids.

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Couch Crew: Reign of Chaos

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My pine tar baby

The pine trees are in full bloom and therefore thick with pine tar. Corwin has taken to climbing them which resulted the other day in him getting some pine tar on his hair. His friends were impressed with how crunchy and stiff it made his hair. Corwin tried washing (voluntarily!) his hair with water and with shampoo but it didn’t have much effect. I suggested that he show it to his class to demonstrate why pine tar was used as a glue back in colonial days but he didn’t take well to the suggestion.

I found him climbing the tree again few days later and asked if the pine tar was gone and he needed a re-application. He didn’t answer, but he didnt’ stop climbing either.

Yesterday, however, the pine tar was finally gone, without having to cut that hair off. Now it’s a race as to whether Corwin will get more in his hair before the sap stops running.

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Thursday 25 May 2006

Childhood fantasy

What is better than a girl with Cheetos at the door of your tripod tent?

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Polynomial is a classic passive-aggressive personality. I see this when she encounters other dogs on a walk. She will assume a submissive stance while aggressively trying to interact with the other dog. Poly will also go on full speed charges at other dogs that end in a submission slide. Poly quivers with suppressed energy the entire time as well. All in all, a bit of a mixed signal.

We also discovered last night that Poly can jump the gate in to the basement. We can only hope that the unpleasant landing is sufficient discouragement. Of course, she was down only a couple minutes before pooping on the floor. I suppose that, from Poly’s point of view, everything except the main floor is “outside” and she is supposed to that kind of thing outside. I can’t think of why else Poly will pee or poo at the first opportunity if she gets upstairs or downstairs.

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Wednesday 24 May 2006

Kindergarten treasure

Charles proudly displays the treasure he has found

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Note troubles

Alice has entered a rather aggressive phase in which she is being more than usually destructive toward her brothers, particularly Charles. Mom had to give her a couple of time outs the other day because she was hitting Charles with various objects.

This morning, Alice crumpled up a note that Charles had written. Charles burst in to tears while Mom and I tried to comfort him. We told Alice that she shouldn’t mess with Charles’ stuff. She seemed to realize that she had made Charles sad but her attempts at cheering up weren’t the most appropriate.

First Alice tried to stomp on the crumpled paper in Charles’ hand. When I chastised her for that, she started growling like a dinosaur at Charles. Charles did not react well to that and tried to leave but Alice chased him, growling all the while. It was kind of funny to see Charles, fleeing with his precious if damaged note in his hand, a rampaging Alice in close pursuit. But we decided that probaly wasn’t the best basis for sibling relations, so Mom attacked Alice’s hair with a comb while I took Charles away to get shod.

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Tuesday 23 May 2006

Not using his fifteen minutes yet

So close yet so far — I must teach Corwin to be more photogenic or quotable.

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Score box

Corwin had a really bad baseball game last night. He was playing catcher and was doing a reasonable job of it. He missed a lot of catches, but one of the other parents said that it was more because of the pitching (I suppose it’s hard to catch the ones that bounce before they cross home plate). As a result, in the first inning the other team stole home three times while the same batter was up. Corwin struck out his first time up, but got a good hit the second time. He then got thrown out stealing second (I think we’re the only team who ever gets thrown out on a steal). They did have one bright moment, when one kid hit a home run with someone on base. It was probably worse than normal overall, because the rumour going in was that this team was “easy to beat”. Corwin was noticeably depressed for the rest of the evening, but I think he had recovered by morning. Corwin does seem to like playing despite his troubles, so I expect we have a few more seasons to get his game tuned up.

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Gratuitous Picture of the Day

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Monday 22 May 2006

Right lesson, wrong application

[Charles has two of the Nerf Dart guns. He walks over to me, smiling. I reach to get one of the guns and Charles gutshoots me with both barrels]

Dad: Charles! How could you do that? I thought you wanted to get me one. I thought you liked me. How could you do that to me?

Charles: Practice!

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Happy Birthday Corwin!

Corwin catches another year

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Sunday 21 May 2006

A day early

Corwin’s schedule is so full up that we let him open his family birthday presents today, instead of tomorrow on his birthday. He got some small things, but the main gift this year was enough Nerf Dart Tag equipment to equip four players. We’re hoping this encourages more outside play for him. The online reviews were very positive, we’ll see if the reality lives up to the preview.

We played with a bit, Corwin, Charles, and I. Charles couldn’t work the gun at first, but he managed to get it working later. I am glad that we got some extra darts, as Poly has eaten three of them already today. Now Andreas is over and the three of them seem to be having an OK time.

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More Party Pix

Bowling for the boyen is a group activity

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Old and Empty

Alice frequently uses “old” when she means “empty”. This is because the most common use of this word is to indicate that her milk needs are not being fufilled by her current sippy cup contents. She picked it up from her parents, telling her that she couldn’t have a sippy cups that had been sitting around for a few days. However, since Alice tends to drain her sippy cups, she seems to have taken that use of “old” to mean “empty”. If Alice is given a fresh, cold, full sippy cup she will drain it in a minute or two and then wave it at a parent, claiming “old!”. We try to correct her, but all she rememebrs is that if she waves the empty sippy cup and says “old!” it gets refilled, she just has to wait through of bit of jabbering on the part of the milk fetcher.

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Saturday 20 May 2006

Intense boy experience

The tag game reaches a high intensity moment

Corwin is having his birthday party today. We collected his partners in crime around 4 pm and headed out to the bowling alley. The boys bowled for a while, having a pizza and a couple of orders of cheese fries. This meant that we had to stop for supper on the way home. This filled the boys up enough that they wanted to open presents instead of having cake and ice cream right when we go home.

One of Corwin’s presents was a metal detector, which all the boys thought was really cool. It turns out that it detects dollar coins, so I hid a couple of those in the yard. The boys weren’t very successful at finding them unless they had a fairly small area to search. But they all thought it was great fun.

After cake and ice cream (you knew that was only delayed, not avoided), they played some four square until it got dark, at which point I brought out the glow stuff. The boys enjoyed that. I tried out the somewhat big glow sticks. Wow, those things are bright. I let Corwin have one of the 15 inch glow sticks because he is the birthday boy, but the 12 inch ones the other boys had were noticeably brighter. They had a lot of fun playing night tag. Even Charles enjoyed it.

Now they’re watching movies. I wonder if they’ll get to sleep before midnight.

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Gratuitous Picture of the Day

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[Driving home from the kindergarten tour]

Mom: Charles, is anyone else in your class going to kindergarten?

Charles: I don’t know.

Mom: Isn’t Asher going on to kindergarten?

Charles: Asher is not in kindergarten. Bad Pizza!

Dad: [helpfully to Mom, who is looking confused] Asher is not in kindergarten. Bad Pizza.

Charles: [giggles uncontrollably]

[Another van trip]

Mom: And how was your day, Charles?

Charles: Pizza!

Alice: Pizza!

Charles: Double Pizza!

Alice: Duh-ul Pizza!

Charles: Double Bread!

Alice: Duh-ul Bed!

[This goes on for a bit until Charles decides to get rough with Alice]

Charles: Buttered sidewalk!

Alice: Buh tah sah wauk!

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Friday 19 May 2006

In Dora we trust

A month or so ago, Corwin came home singing a call-response spiritual that he learned in school. The chorus goes as follows:

Leader: Won’t you sit down
Response: Lord, I can’t sit down
Leader: Won’t you sit down
Response: Lord, I can’t sit down
Leader: Won’t you sit down
Response: Lord, I can’t sit down. I just gotta have another look around

Corwin forced me to sing the leader part. After numerous trips in the car singing this Alice joined in on the response, but with a slight variation

Alice Response: Dora, I can’t sit down

The song seems to have stuck in Alice’s head. After a month hiatus, Corwin started it up again last night in the car. An Alice’s reply in the name of Dora came back immediately.

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Starting the transition

A rare moment of sibling harmony

When went to a pre-kindergarten meeting last night for Charles. There was a presentation by the staff and PTA followed by a tour of the facilities. Charles was initially very down, because he doesn’t like new situations, but he warmed up as time went on. The tipping point was in the first classroom we looked at, which had a small side room set up like a little store. Charles liked that, but what really set him off was that it had a toy vacuum cleaner. Charles found that intensely fun, even if he is frightened by real vacuum cleaners. He was reluctant to leave it yet the experience of it helped put him in a better mood for the rest of the outing.

Charles also discovered that all of the classrooms had glue. This, as you know, is a big deal for Charles. That, along with the markers and vacuum cleaner, convinced Charles that the supply stockings of the classrooms were adequate for his purposes.

UPDATE: Mom reports that this morning, Charles opened up the welcome pack he got from the tour yesterday and got involved with it. It contained various pads of paper, scissors, pencil, and … glue!. Charles was disappointed, however, to discover that yesterday was just a tour and he wouldn’t be going to the place with the vacuum cleaner toy. He said that he didn’t want to wait “three weeks” to go, he wanted to go now. Mom didn’t bother to clear up that it was three months, not three weeks.

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Thursday 18 May 2006

Archive Challenge

Can you identify this boy and where he is?

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Wednesday 17 May 2006

Moving to book two

Corwin passed his final exam on Suzuki Book One, and he is digging into the first song of book two (Handel’s Chorus from Judas Maccabeas or Thine is the Glory from the hymnal). Due to teacher changes, it took him a fair while to get through book one, but the most recent teacher spent the last year really concentrating on Corwin’s tone. I think that was time well spent. Even tone-deaf Dad commented after the church recital that Corwin’s sound had really improved.

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Wild life

As has been noted previously, we have our share of wildlife in the area. We frequently hear pheasant squawks and see them running around in the field behind us. We saw a male pheasant cruising along the sidewalk across the street last week. We see deer cruising the neighborhood and the park next door and with increasing frequency bounding across the relatively busy road outside the subdivision. Dad has his groundhog buddy, but the groundhog appears to have moved out from under the deck. Plus we see numerous hawks, bunnies, squirrels, etc.

However, this has been the spring of the wild turkey. A turkey family took up residence in town. I heard that a mama turkey raised a family in a park near where Corwin practices baseball. With fair regularity I see these large birds trotting along or just hanging out in a front yard as I drive into town. Monday, one turkey was running around the community garden plots. The gardeners were paying him no mind. Later that day two turkeys were playing in traffic on the same road. A motorist had stopped her car and was trying to direct them safely across. Didn’t do much good. They both made it across the road, then immediately changed their minds and came back and ran off into the apartment complex.

The turkeys have been a frequent topic in the newspaper. A couple front page articles and numerous letters to the editor (Is this a small town or what). There is a camp that is concerned about turkey agression and wants to remove them to the “wild”, where ever that is. Another camp thinks they are cute and wants them to hang around. According to the last news report all but two toms have been removed (don’t know where to). So maybe our wild turkey days are numbered.

Not sure how wild these turkeys really are. From talking with hunters, I always thought that wild turkeys were very shy and hard to spot, but not these guys. No lurking in the shadows for them. One of the news articles talked about one of the turkeys that liked to take naps in the middle of intersections. Concered motorists would call the authorities about the hurt turkey, but by the time the authorities got there the turkey was long gone. Guess that turkey just liked the attention.

Urban turkeys probably aren’t a great idea, but I will miss them.

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Another one moves away

In other news, Andreas and his family will be moving to Michigan by the end of June, due to job issues. They put their house on the market and it sold in less than two days, so the move is unavoidable at this point.

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Can you tell which is which?

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Tuesday 16 May 2006

Stream of Trivia

Corwin can now push himself on the swing, although he prefers to use his feet. This limits how high he can go but he seems OK with that. I am not sure how long ago Corwin acquired this skill, but it’s definitely since last summer.

Charles can open the gate on the stairs. He is very proud of this.

Corwin got new shoes because the old ones wore out. He’s back to laced shoes, we’ll see how that holds up.

I bought Charles some office supplies: glue, mini-stapler, small scissors, etc. Charles thought these were wonderful and spent an entire evening playing with them. I bought him glue specifically because he had complained that he couldn’t use glue at home, even though he could use it at “school” (daycare). I offered glue sticks but he said “that’s not real glue”.

Alice now has the habit of picking her nose and then complaining to a parent “boog!” which we then have to clean off.

I can do more situps than Corwin. Hahahaha!

We put a gate on the storeroom as well, where the kitty litter is. This keeps both Poly and Alice out while letting POset in (the bottom of the gate is high enough for her but not the others).

Remember, it’s Corwin’s birthday on Monday, so get those presents in the mail!

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Hurt himself laughing

Corwin was cruising the web over the weekend and found this thing. It’s not even really a game (the website refers to it as a “clickable”), but he found it gut wrenchingly funny. Charles was there too and naturally, since Corwin was laughing like a hyena, Charles thought it was intensely funny as well. Corwin laughed so hard, in fact, that he hit his face on the table (you can see the bump right next to the arrow in the picture). It seemed like hours that it kept them amused, but it was probably only 10 minutes or so.

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Monday 15 May 2006

Let's go to video tape…

Today’s imagery is video clips.

For the last three, these are the cars which lead to tragedy.

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Magic Ninja Squirrels

Polynomial is discovering wild life. When we first got her, she was so afraid of everything that she had no interest in the little beasties that inhabit the area. She’s feeling much braver now and is eager to give chase to any little creature that moves.

Poly chases birds, but never comes close to catching them. Squirrels are becoming a popular target as well, although they posess magic ninja powers that confuse the heck out of Poly. For example, we were all out for a walk recently when Poly spotted a squirrel. Poly took off and I tagged along to give her room to run. Poly chased the squirrel down a tree but then, using its magic ninja powers, the squirrel disappeared!. Poly searched and searched all around the tree but could find no trace of the squirrel. She could also see that it hadn’t run past the tree either. But where could it be? Poly checked carefully for holes in to or under the tree, but there were none. Magic ninja powers was the only explanation.

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Sunday 14 May 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

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Saturday 13 May 2006

Hat trick

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Dentists, Doctors and Dogs

Charles and Corwin went to the dentist this week. I don’t know about other children, but ours frequently ask when they can next go to the dentist and complain if it’s been too long. Both boys checked out fine, although Corwin needs to start brushing a bit more often.

Alice went to the doctor for pink eye problems again. We kept her home on Thursday because her eye was swollen (although so big it was all the way shut, like Corwin used to do). The doctor gave Mom some eye drops which Alice has been resisting. It turns out that Alice is strong everywhere, even her eyelids. But after just a day her eye was noticeably better so it’s worth having both parents hold her down to administer the medicine.

When Alice went off to the doctor, Charles asked why Poly never went to to doctor. As it turns out, Friday was Poly’s day for a visit to the vetrinary. Poly is doing fine as well, although she has now been scheduled for an operation to keep her in a nulliparous state permanently.

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Friday 12 May 2006

Poly want a biscuit

We are having a lot of problems with Poly and grabbing food off the table. Last night Mom brought home some of the bakery shop rolls the kids like. At one point during the evening, Charles asked if he could have one. I got one for him and sent him over to the table to eat it while I tracked Alice. Within a minute or two Charles was in tears because Poly had taken the roll away from him and was proudly carrying it over to her treasure lair by the front door. I extracted the roll but decided it looked a bit too mushy to give back to Charles. I got another roll for Charles and told him to keep it away from Poly. Of course, a couple of minutes later Charles is in tears again and I have to extract another soggy dinner roll from Poly’s maw. Not seeing a learning pattern, I declined to get another roll for Charles, but I think that he ate enough in the brief periods before the rolls got Poly-merized.

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Return of Destructo Baby

Alice broke my laptop last night. I was on the couch trying to keep track of Charles, Alice and Poly and had to put my laptop down. I closed it up but neglected to put it under the couch, so naturally Alice walked over and stood on it. I didn’t notice immediately and by the time I did, she had cracked the screen so that there is a huge streak of white about an inch wide down the middle.

It’s not just Alice, though. Mom had to yell at Corwin last night during violin lesson because he kept standing on his violin case and even Mom gets a little testy after while of saying “Corwin, don’t stand on your case!” once a minute.

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Sweeping Adventure

With his trusty broom by his side, Charles prepares to sally forth

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Thursday 11 May 2006

Looks like an engineer to me

Alice isn’t fighting getting dressed in the morning as often. In fact, she now frequently asks to be dressed. Mom claims, based on this picture, that this is not an unmixed blessing.

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Wednesday 10 May 2006

Chick magnet

We had to split up last night, with Mom going to the daycare picnic with Charles and Alice while Corwin and I went to a Cub Scout cook out.

Without his older brother for competition, Charles really hit it off with the girls. He was on the swing and several of the girls from his class eagerly took turns pushing him. When Mom dropped off Charles this morning, one of the teachers commented that several of the girls had been asking about Charles and when he would arrive.

Charles is also popular with the 12 year old girl set. Mara’s sister Amalia, Anwen, and of course Kirsten all like to hang out with Charles when they are at soccer games or practice. There are also Chloe and Jessie who are very fond of Charles, giving Charles quite the harem.

Charles is mostly oblivious, although he does seem to enjoy playing with the older sister gang. His daycare girlfriends seem to be more of the service relationship, where Charles performs tasks for them (such as giving them rides on the double tricycle or hooking up water and power lines for their play set ups). Maybe this will still work in the fall and help ease Charles’ transition to kindergarten.

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A bit too meticulous

Mom had Corwin out helping in the yard last weekend. He wasn’t very effective, probably because he hand inspected each piece of mulch before he put it down.

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Alice's kirstening

At the picnic after the last soccer game of the season, Alice hung out with Kirsten for a while. Kirsten liked that for a while, but she’s not overly large for her age and Alice weighs a significant fraction of her weight making it a bit tiring after a while. Mom tried to rescue Kirsten from a permanent spinal tilt but Alice didn’t like that at all. Alice threw a major fit over having to be held by Mom instead of Kirsten. Oh, the horrors of childhood.

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Tuesday 09 May 2006

Perp Walk

From a charity walk at school — they look like a bunch of mafioso with a lawyer avoiding the camera

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Monday 08 May 2006

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

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Growth spurt

I played a trick on Alice the other day. I was holding her, and she said she wanted to be put down. I wrapped my arm around her and lowered her to about 9” above the ground. Then I told her “Oh, Alice, your legs aren’t long enough to reach the ground!”. Alice looked at that, and started making some noises of concern. I said “let me see what I can do”.

I then rubbed my hand down her legs repeatedly as I slowly lowered her to the floor. Alice then inspected her legs carefully and gave them an extra tug or two before wandering off.

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Sunday 07 May 2006

Can you tell which is which?

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Speed popsicles

Charles and Alice had a another first today, their first vehicular accident.

Mom was trying to to nap, but despite Alice and Charles helping it wasn’t working out for her. I was tasked with taking them away for a while. I decided to haul them in the wagon over to Mara’s house to drop off a picture of Mara.

We had a nice trip over there, the kids enjoying the trip and Dad getting some exercise. I intended to just drop off the picture and head back, but Mara’s sisters grabbed Charles and Alice and started playing. The girls started pushing Charles and Alice around in some small plastic cars. This went on for a while until Charles started pushing Alice. Eventually he pushed her down their sloping driveway as fast as he could right in to the back of a minivan. Alice started screaming and Charles was crying. I picked up Alice and noticed that her mouth was bloody. Mara’s Mom offered up a popsicle to control the bleeding but Alice was calm and no longer bleeding in about 30 seconds and completely recovered in about 2 minutes. Charles threw a fit when Alice got a popsicle and he didn’t so we ended up letting him have one too. So Charles learned that if he runs his sister in to a parked van at full speed, he gets a popsicle.

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Saturday 06 May 2006

Conversational branching

[Alice and Dad are in the yard]

Alice: Too big!

Dad: Too big?

Alice: Yes.

Dad: Alice is too big?

Alice: Yes.

Dad: OK … too big for what?

Alice: Tree.

Dad: Alice is too big for the trees?

Alice: Yes.

[Alice points at various trees, waiting until Dad says “tree!” to point at the next one]

Dad: Alice! Look out! Right behind you! It’s a tree!

[Alice looks — it is a tree. She looks all the way up the tree]

Alice: Big tree!

Dad: Yes, it’s a big tree. Did it sneak up behind you?

Alice: Yes.

[Alice starts to point at trees again — Dad tries to distract her]

Dad: There are lots of trees.

Alice: Yes.

Dad: Does Mommy like trees?

Alice: Yes. [pause] Mommy picked Corwin

Dad: Mommy picked Corwin from a tree?

Alice: [disdainfully] Noooooo.

[Alice wanders off]

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Weekly Soccer Report

It was a good game, hard fought with lots of good plays and a victory at 1-0. I thought it was going to be a wipe out because the other team was short a player (Our coach tried to get a volunteer to switch so we could have a full set of players on the field, but no one woud go) and it started badly. However, they warmed up quickly and it was hard fought from then on. Jack managed to score early in the second half to put the team ahead. Several of the kids had excellent drives at the goal but were stopped by good defensive plays. Corwin put up a good defense himself, with several good tackles and kicks.

Interestingly, the other team’s primary problem was a lack of offense (something I have seen Corwin’s team have troubles with as well). All of them would congregate on their side of the field during defense, so that if someone did get the ball away from the goal, it would just come right back. This was fortunate as Corwin’s team was playing too far forward, where a strong break away by a good dribbler would have put the goalie in serious trouble.

Afterwards there was a picnic for the team and parents. We had a game of parents vs. kids and unlike last season, the parents won. The key was having the game right after tiring the kids out with a hard fought regular game. That’s the kind of thinking that keeps us old folk in the game. I would ike to note that we had help from Jack, who managed to score on his own team.

As for me, I hit a personal best of 899 pictures on the day, with a little help from Corwin’s baseball coach from last year.

An excellent end to the season.

Season Summary

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Friday 05 May 2006

Score box

Corwin’s baseball team got crushed, but the kids weren’t too upset because they had a very good rally in the last inning. The key sign that it was a real rally was that the other team, despite a large lead in the last inning, first had to have a conference to adjust their strategy and then switched pitchers to close the game. One of Corwin’s friends’ team had played this team the other night and didn’t manage to get a hit. So as I take comfort from the fact that Corwin isn’t the worst fielder on his team, at least his team isn’t the worst in the league.

Corwin did reasonably well on a personal level. He was up three times, got hit on the elbow for a base, got a solid hit and struck out. His hit was the first hit for the team in the game and sparked the rally. Unfortunately, he dropped a fly ball that he caught, otherwise it would have been an oustanding game for him. On the other hand, he did pop off a foul ball that got stuck at the top of the fence, which greatly impressed his teammates. Corwin played catcher for one inning and demonstrated more hustle than usual. I think he might make a good catcher, except he’s a bit too helpful and helps clear out the bats while the play is still going on.

The other pitcher was a bit wild - he hit Corwin once, another kid once, and poor Jack twice. He came over to apologize to Jack after the second hit.

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Charles seat

Poly’s favorite seat for van rides

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Thursday 04 May 2006

Playing smart

Corwin had his play today. The play was a variant of the Wizard of Ozz and Corwin played one of the “Flying Defenders”, which is what they changed the Flying Monkeys to.

There was one show for the school during the school day and another this evening for the parents. Charles and Alice lasted most of the play before starting to complain, but Grandma (who came down for the event) was well behaved all the way to the end.

I took my camera (of course). On the way home, Corwin asked me if I had taken any pictures of him. I told him no, I had taken the camera along just to get pictures of Mara and Maggie.

Corwin was dubious but not outright incredulous. He continued to pester me the rest of the evening about whether I had taken pictures of him (going to far as to ask Mom if she had noticed me taking pictures while he was on stage).

Eventually I printed this picture and Corwin was left with the awful realization that I had (as he explained it) “taken advantage while he was unable to do anything about it”. I agreed, pointing out what an excellent strategy it is and expressing my hope that he had learned something from the experience.

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Boxing Alice

Dad bought a box of roses for Mom’s birthday. Mom got the roses, Alice got the box.

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Wednesday 03 May 2006

Hopefully, the last in a series

Phrases you do not want to hear from your wife, out of the blue, while driving to soccer practice:

I think we should get Alice a pony.

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Free hair care

Charles has decided that he needs to get in to the hair care business, presumably since his other ventures have not worked out.

I was sitting on the couch the other day when Charles asked “do you want me to comb youse hair?”. I agreed and Charles hopped up on the couch and started combing (if rather ineffectually) away. Charles has repeated this a few times over the last week and now Alice is getting involved. The most recent time Charles offered some hair care, Alice was around and declared that she was going to “comb hair!”. I was double teamed, although honestly it didn’t seem to help the quality much.

Luckily, Mom made all of her menfolk go to the barber yesterday and we all have haircuts short enough that combing isn’t an issue.

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Neighborhood terrorized by bike gang

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Score box

Corwin’s baseball team did OK last night, ending up in a tie of 10-10. Corwin was up at bat twice, getting one walk and a good hit. Nothing was hit to him while he was in the outfield so he didn’t make any fielding mistakes. Last game he was up three times, for two walks and a double, so his batting average must be quite stunning.

On the other hand, his coach got tossed out of the game for some verbal altercation which I think involved Corwin. When Corwin got his hit, he ran to first and there was some kind of fielding problem by the other team. Corwin started for second, but was sent back because the ball was dead (how does that work? I didn’t see if it was thrown to the pitcher). As he went back the other team tried to throw him out, leading to a collision. Apparently that was wrong because Corwin was sent on to second afterwards and a few minutes later the coach was gone. Because of that, it wasn’t the kind of thing I wanted to pester people about, so I have no idea what happened. I tried to ask Corwin but he was less aware of what happened than I was. It is odd, though, how Corwin manages to get involved in that kind of situation without being a cause of them (I remember the problems at one of his swim meets).

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Tuesday 02 May 2006

Water dodge

Alice plays with the water droplets (you can see them if you look closely)

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Yes they are

[Walking on campus with Charles]

Charles: [points] That is a dress shop.

Dad: Yes it is. Do you want to get a dress?

Charles: No!

Dad: Why not?

Charles: Only girls wear dresses.

Dad: Can girls wear pants?

Charles: Yes.

Dad: Why do girls get to wear pants and dresses?

Charles: Girls are special.

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Monday 01 May 2006

Language watch

Alice used her first four word sentence today — “I ate it all” — after snarfing down half a pickle at lunch.

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Not quite grasping the concept

Andreas and his brother Matias were over last evening, playing with Corwin. After they watched TV for a while, Mom finally managed to kick them outside. It didn’t take long until they were trying to hit each with various objects. I noticed them using croquet mallets, so I took those away.

So naturally they found some sharp pointy wooden sticks to use and naturally I took those way.

Then they switched to sharp pointy metal sticks…at that point I had to forbid hitting at each other in general, as I didn’t want to see what came next.

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Mixed Blessing Department

We went out shopping over the weekend and Mom let the kids get news clothing items. Everyone got a hat (because Alice needed one for daycare), plus sandals and a shirt. Corwin had a hard choice between two shirts he liked, one reading “Blame my sister” and the other “It’s my brother’s fault”, before deciding on the latter. I wanted Corwin to get the “Guilty as charged” one. Alice got one with “I’m little but I’m naughty”. Alice picked out a Dora hat and Dora sandals. If she’d only start using the potty she could be completely a-Dora-ble.

Charles originally wanted a skate board themed hat, but I persuaded him to go with a NASCAR one as more appropriate for his interests. Mom and I predicted that interest in the hats would last until we got home. That turned out not to be the case, as Charles misplaced his hat and then decided he had to have it (were those unrelated events? I have my doubts). I spent quite some time looking for it, but on the other hand we got twice the expected use out of it.

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