Sunday 31 December 2006


Jack was over earlier this week and Mom set him and Corwin the task of taking Poly outside. It had been raining and the boys discovered that if one jumped on the base of the basketball hoop, water would spray out. Naturally, the best way to do this was in a manner such that the water would spray in one’s face.

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Saturday 30 December 2006

Voices of youth

While doing research for this post, I happened up the actress Tara Strong. She does the voice of “Timmy” on Fairly Odd Parents, one of Corwin’s preferred shows. Naturally, I had to show that to Corwin, who was aghast. Strong also does “Omi” from Xiaolin Showdown, also near the top of Corwin’s most watched list. I told him that most boys’ voices were done by women because boys of the appropriate age were too annoying. I couldn’t tell if he believed me or not.

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During their trip to Chicago yesterday (everyone e-mail Mom to write it up!), there wasn’t time to go the Lego™ store. To compensate for this, Mom took Charles shopping at the on-line Lego™ store. This is something completely natural for Charles, as cartoons for children these days refer to on-line shopping as a common thing1.

Sadly, the expedition didn’t end well, the company having discontinued certain items which were natually the ones that Charles wanted. Still, Charles did manage to find a few items that would be tolerable.

1 The best one is Fairly Odd Parents, which uses the word “Internet” as a catch all explanation of where mysterious objects came from

“Timmy, where did you get that?”


“All right then!”

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Friday 29 December 2006

Higher brain functions

At least there’s someone in the house who can focus on something other than the TV

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It's just a phrase

One of the ways in which children help make you a better person is that they so frequently imitate you. Nothing like having a bad habit reflected back to make you rethink it. On the other hand, sometimes the imitiation is endearingly sweet flattery. With Charles, though, it can be both at the same time. His latest habit is the use of the phrase “cooking with gas”. I used it to mean that things were going well. Charles now uses it when he plays Rise of Nations to mean that he is gathering a resource at the maximum rate allowed (the display for that resource flashes yellow when that happens, so Charles doesn’t even have to compare numbers to notice). I think I only said it once, but Charles is a very quick study. On the other hand, rather than thinking of it as providing Charles with a catch phrase made annoying by massive repitition. I like to think of it as preserving our cultural heritage.

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Thursday 28 December 2006

You should be dancing, yeah!

P.S. This is now extra amusing because Alice, over the last day or two, has become obsessed with triplets. She doesn’t carry her Bitty Baby around in the new Bitty Baby stroller she recieved at Christmas. Instead, it carries a set of (completely imaginary) triplets. Sometimes, though, the triplets get fussy at which point Alice hands them off to Mom or Dad for safekeeping. At least the triplets are rather small, so it’s easy to hold them.

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The tipping point

Charles didn’t like the supper Mom made tonight, and he especially didn’t like Mom mixing his macaroni&cheese with the rest of the food on his plate, so he sent himself to bed without supper. You know, as a parent, that you’ve achieved a useful level of discipline when your child thinks that’s the best option.

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The best present of all

As a special Christmas present for the spawn, Erica is spending the day with them. It took some serious cash and negotiating to con persuade her to come back during break, but Mom and I did what it took, because it was For The Children®.

Charles’ reaction was … interesting. He was very upbeat about the impending visit earlier this week. This morning he waited patiently for Erica to arrive, but the instant she was here he wanted to go down and play on his computer. All I can presume is that Erica has a magical “happy child” field about her, so that her very presence brightens the existence of any child near by.

Alice, however, was fine with Charles heading off for the computer, as it meant a full spectrum Erica experience for her.

Corwin spent last night over at Josh’s house, so he missed the actual Arrival Of Erica (hopefully it was late enough that the celestial heralds’ trumpets didn’t wake up the neighbors).

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Wednesday 27 December 2006

The ultimate pajamas

How can it be better for a little boy than to wear dinosaur camoflauge pajamas while carrying a nerf weapon?

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Tuesday 26 December 2006

Resting up from the holidays

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Game boys

It’s been a big week for new computer games around here.

Corwin got a new game and as I was helping him install it, I realized that in the last year he’s started playing games that I don’t know and have never learned. After I installed the most recent one, he started asking questions and I just said “there’s the manual and the training missions, you figure it out”. He did. Little did he realize that this I am setting up to avoid head to head competition by being able to plead ignorance. I don’t need it quite yet, but another couple of years…

Charles has been complaining that he doesn’t get to play. He particularly wanted to play Rise of Nations. I had to shoo him away early today (while I was playing an expansion pack that Santa brought) because Charles kept making comments of the form “why don’t you build half-tracks? You hate half-tracks. Do you want to lose?” Later on, after much pestering, I decided to let him try playing. He managed to get through the tutorials with very little help. Although the tutorials were very well done, I was still impressed that Charles was able to understand most of what they were saying (getting stuck at a few places where the instructions were of the form “Declare war with Germany” and the user was expected to be able to read the names of the nations to find “Germany”). He still doesn’t grasp the process of creating resources during normal game play, but I found a code to just give him massive resources, which is enough so that he can beat the computer on the easiest setting, althoug he’s still a bit shaky on building units. Still, it can keep him busy and not moping at the unfairness of life for an extended period.

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Monday 25 December 2006

Happy Christmas!

We survived the morning present opening. Alice and Poly woke up at 5:30, but Alice went back to sleep. The boys got up at about 7:30, since they were up till almost midnight last night. We made them wait for Alice, but she wouldn’t wake up, even after Mom poked at her.

Eventually everyone was down stairs and the box shredding began. The big hits were a Thomas the Tank Engine play hut with an attached Claribel for Alice and Charles, and a 1/18 scale model Corsair, a WWII carrier based fighter aircraft. Charles liked the latter very much as well, which led to a bit of tension.

Grandma came down to visit around noon (I tried to convince the boys to wait until then, but was unsuccessful). So far the kids are all still speaking to each other and playing with toys, so I would rate it as a good Christmas.

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Sunday 24 December 2006

The cost of imagination

[Charles is playing with a new toy airplane]

Charles: This plane has four torpedo guns!

Dad: Four? Wow.

Charles: How much does a torpedo cost?

Dad: I’m not sure, maybe $200,0001.

Charles: [look of concern] How much does an arrow cost?

Dad: I think $2 - $32.

Charles: [decisively] My plane shoots arrows.

Charles has been putting arrow launchers in his drawings for a while, but now he’s shifted almost entirely over to them due to the lower unit cost.

1 Not even close. The current US Navy torpedo, the MK-48, costs $2,500,000 for each torpedo. An improved version will be $3,500,000.

2 Almost correct. You can get arrows for $3.50 each, those are the low end ones. I am sure Charles’ fighting vehicles would use high quality carbon fiber arrows which are $11 each.

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Alice, Scene

§ Alice had a major meltdown where neither parent was tolerable. because she had been crying so much her nose was running badly enough that I went in to clean it up despite the howls of “go away!”. As soon as I had it clean, Alice blew through her nose until it was running again. I did another cleanup but Alice was able to replace the removed material in seconds. At that point I gave up.

§ I was laying on the floor and grabbed Alice, then held her up over me saying “haha, I have you now!”. Alice laughed and then started squirming. She squirmed so much that I was unable to keep control and she toppled over, luckily on to me (ouch) instead of the hardwood floor. She instantly recovered and cried out “do it again!”. Now, she will squirm on purpose to try and make me drop her.

§ Normally, a parent tells a child “No, I won’t drop you” as re-assurance. With Alice, it’s denial of a request. For instance, I had been holding Alice the other day when she wanted down. I went over to the couch to do so and as we approached she said “drop me! drop me!”.

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Saturday 23 December 2006

How to succeed by managing expectations

We survived Charles’ birthday party. Although Charles invited his entire class, only three girls showed up. There would have been a fourth girl but she broke her arm earlier in the week and her mother thought that expecting her to remain calm and not jump around at the party was unrealistic1. The Saturday before a Monday Christmas, after school has let out for Christmas break, may not have been the very best time to choose for a high turnout.

However, Jack and Anwen showed up as well, although (as expected) Jack played with Corwin and Alice latched on to Anwen like a tick on a deer. I don’t think Anwen was permitted to pass beyond visual range of Alice the entire time.

Charles, at least, didn’t completely ignore his guests, although he was completely flumoxed by the idea that he should greet them as they arrived. Still, he played with them a little bit. He was better when they want outside to play on the dead end, where he had several verbal exchanges with his guests.

It was a three hour tour party so things were getting a bit slow at the end, but the mothers were on time for pickup so there was no major dead time and nobody broke down in tears (except Alice, who had a major meltdown because Mom dared to move her tricycle). I think we can count that a success.

You can see on the table some sparkling apple cider, which Corwin (and Jack, I think) like quite a lot. Corwin et. al. finished off one bottle early on, at which point Corwin gets up from his place and says to Jack, “Would you like another bottle?”. I could only hope Mom had selected a proper vintage that wouldn’t stigmatize Corwin socially.

1 As her mother noted to the doctor when told to keep her daughter in that state, “Just how do you think she broke it in the first place?”. Alice doing that at any moment for the same reason would not be the least bit surprising.

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Mighty hunters

I managed to photograph the primitives immediately after a successful cookie hunt

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Dad works, Mom critiques

Alice is back in a Daddy phase. I had to get her dressed this morning (*not* Mommy, that would be wrong, so said the Super Horsey Princess). However, as I was dressing her, she selected a dress and tights because “Mommy say I so cute!”. She repeated this a few times and as soon as she was dressed and washed, she took off down stairs so that Mommy could admire her cuteness. Not spoiled a bit, no at all.

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Friday 22 December 2006

Draw 2

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Trust but verify

I was getting Alice ready for daycare the other morning. Mom suggested that Alice wear her red poncho because she looks so cute in it. Alice agreed and I put it on. Alice then said “I need to see” and walked over to the mirror on the front door closet to check. She examined her image fora few moments and then announced “Yes”. Alice was indeed looking cute.

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Thursday 21 December 2006

Big Lego

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Benefits of cloning

A while back, Charles’ stuffed shark “Sharky” was Polymerized. Luckily, this was discovered during the day before Charles got home and Sharky’s remains were placed in a secure recovery facility. I figured that if Charles forgot about Sharky then we could get on with life. Mom, however, reported that Charles still asked about Sharky now and then. Eventually, since Christmas and Charles’ birthday were approaching, I called the Mall of America and was able to have them ship me a clone of Sharky. It arrived Tuesday, the day before Charles’ birthday. I gave that to Charles, who was very happy to be reunited. The original Sharky then suffered a medical setback and was sent to the great fish tank in the sky. Charles we left in blissful ignorance — he still thinks he just misplaced Sharky.

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Wednesday 20 December 2006

Happy Birthday Charles!

Charles becomes six years old today. Mom let him open two presents this morning, even though his party isn’t until Saturday. He got a set of small, die-cast airplanes and a large plastic battleship complete with helipad and rotating turrets. Charles is much concerned these days with turrets and whether they rotate.

We had macaroni&cheese with ham for dinner, because that’s what Charles wanted. A big box of presents from Mimi arrived during the afternoon, which was impressive timing on her part. Charles liked the presents, although later that evening while I wrapping presents for Christmas he wanted to know “why you not wrapping more presents for me?”.

Charles self portrait

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Tuesday 19 December 2006

How tough is tough enough?

Alice continues to explore the boundaries of physical toughness. Since yesterday evening, she’s been limping around (when she remembers) because of an big scrape on her knee.She was hobbling around this morning, hand on knee, having spotted the scrape after taking off her pants to go potty. Before that, she had had no problem walking to the bathroom from the bedroom. She recovered after I got her dressed because, as Alice noted, “my pants cover my boo-boo!”. Perhaps that’s how bandaids work.

Of course, one can’t discover limits without exploring both sides. Last evening I caught Alice standing on the arm of the couch. I told her to get down, which she interpreted to mean “free fall to the couch”. She pushed off a little bit and did a full body slam to the couch, followed by giggling. Not really the message I was trying to convey.

P.S. We had to buy new bandaids a couple of days ago because Alice went through an entire box trying to put some on herself. The table was covered with bandaid wrappers and tangled bandaids. Alice was completely unapologetic, explaining “I need a bandaid!”.

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Mom promises, Dad delivers

Corwin does his part in the Christmas show
He was one of the few to memorize his lines

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Monday 18 December 2006

Sand dancer

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Permanently petite

[Alice is taking the Daddy-vator down the stairs]

Dad: Oof! Alice, you are getting bigger!

Alice: No I not.

Dad: You’re not?

Alice. I can’t get bigger. I little.

Dad: You’re going to be little forever?

Alice: Yes. I always be little.

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Dinner crown

Last night at supper, Charles’ habiting of bouncing around in his seat at supper instead of sitting and eating finally ended in tragedy, when he literally toppled over on to his head. I told him to get back up and sit, but Mom (the softie) felt sorry for him and let him go over and lie down on the couch.

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Alice counted to twelve all by herself today in the kitchen.

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Sunday 17 December 2006

Church Christmas Program

Charles and Corwin were in the church Christmas program this morning. Charles was a lamb, and Corwin was a shepherd. Charles came up with the other lambs, cows, and donkeys, gazed adoringly at the Christ doll, and sang Away in the Manger. Corwin had a speaking part, and he was one of the few who actually memorized his lines. He spoke about God’s promise of a savior to his people.

The shepherds got to carry staffs which are assembled from two feet segments screwed together. In practice Saturday, the shepherds had staffs that towered over them by two feet. The shepherd thought this was cool and some combat ensued. The people running the show wisely decided to truncate the staffs for this morning.

Dad was in the back with the other geeky dads documenting the event. There were about three dads videotaping and two or three photographers. Since the pastor had asked Dad to take some photos, Dad felt that he had been given free reign to be un-self-conscious about taking pictures. No doubt some pictures will follow.

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Violin concert

Corwin and Charles were in a violin concert last Monday at a nearby nursing home. I got to provide accompaniment. It was interesting seeing all of the violin teacher’s students. There were about 20 of them ranging in age from 3 to a mother about my age. Quite a diverse group. Just in the twinkle group the age ranged from 5 years old to 25 years old.

We got there a bit early and were sitting up front as the residents started coming in. Of course they wanted to talk to cute little Charles, but he was in full shy mode and would not talk above a whisper. Charles started with two little girls in the pre-twinkle group. They did a bow exercise and just generally looked cute.

The rest of the concert was a “play-in” intermingled with solos. In the play-in, you start at a point in the Suzuki repetoire and work your way down to Twinkle. For each song, more kids are capable of playing it and join in. Corwin was among the five in the starting group.

The kids got good experience in playing with distractions. During the first solo, another resident got pushed in right in front of the player, but he soldiered on well. Plus, people with poor hearing don’t make the best quiet side commentary, so there would be the occasional loud comment during the playing. Corwin played Hunter’s Chorus with much gusto, and his trio group played Gavotte again.

All and all a good evening. We celebrated with a sandwich from Subway, Corwin’s new favorite fast food place.

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Saturday 16 December 2006

Speaking of tummies…

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Royal matters

Alice has moved beyond “Super Princess”. She liked being “Petite Flower” for a while, but now she wants to be “Alice, Super Horsey Princess”.

The horse concept is a theme she is building. I tried poking her in the tummy and saying “Monkey!”, which resulted in the following conversation —

Dad: [poking Alice tummy] Monkey!

Alice: No, Daddy.

Dad: No?

Alice: I not like that.

Dad: I can’t say “monkey”?

Alice: No.

Dad: Can I poke you in the tummy and say “horsey”?

Alice: Yes!

On the other hand, I bought Alice a set of little squeezable horses and she uses them to make “horse soup” in her kitchen.

Charles is catching on as well. This evening Alice and Corwin were fighting over possession of a pillow (because there are only a dozen or so in the crib next to the couch). Charles weighed in with “Corwin! Do what Alice says! She is a princess!”.

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Friday 15 December 2006

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

Don’t fence her in

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Paper boy

I finally got around to re-ordering from Mister Art, which is where I got the paper roll and dispenser in the basement. The paper ran out months ago but it was fun while it lasted. We had another roll, but it didn’t fit on the dispenser. We tried using it anyway, but that never turned out well.

I bought three different rolls this time, all of which seem to fit. However, they are not all the same.

282-5624Looks nice, but only 24 inches wide.
400-5615Quite nice, but heavy at 100# for kids. High cost.
410-0209This is the good stuff. The hole is a little big but it seems to work adequately. The paper quality is very good for the price.

Charles and Alice thought the paper was nice, but did not quite equal my level of enthusiasm.

I also got Charles a couple of Bienfang newsprint pads. Charles likes the 12×18 inch one, but he much prefers the 18×24 inch. It’s a nice size for him, about as big as it can be and still fit on the table (the 36×36 pads are OK but too big to be used on a table).

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Thursday 14 December 2006

Edging right up to helpful

Last time it snowed, Corwin volunteered to clean off the sidewalk
Not, of course, the sidewalk people walk on, but it’s a start

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Wednesday 13 December 2006

It's a matter of noticing, not figuring

Jack comes over to visit after school on Mondays, and for revenge we send Corwin over to Jack’s house on Wednesdays. This afternoon we received a call from Jack’s mom, saying that Jack was home sick. She asked “do you think Corwin will notice that Jack’s not there and go home on the bus?”. I indicated that I was dubious, but I would check with Mom. In response to my query, Mom laughed out loud. So I called the school to pass on the message to Corwin that he should come home.

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Look Mom, no mittens!

As soon as she was free in the snow and cold, Alice’s hands escaped their confining garments

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Tuesday 12 December 2006

Limited suspension

[Alice and Charles are charging up the stairs]

Charles: Let’s go defend!

Dad: From the flying space monkeys?

Charles: Flying space monkeys are in space. We on the planet, not in space.

Dad: What about flying planet monkeys?

Charles: [dismissively] There no such thing as flying planet monkeys.

[Alice and Charles switch to drawing]

Mom: Poly is trying to give you a big kiss!

Charles: A big kiss?

Dad: Yes. Mommy wants to give you a big kiss too.

Charles: [plaintively] But I busy drawing!

Alice: [deadpan] That right. We busy drawing right now. Sorry, Daddy.

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Eject! Eject! Eject!

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Power of the Smooch

I taught Alice how to be a brother seeking smoochie missile last night. I got her to try to kiss her brothers on the cheek, to which they reacted as expected, a reaction that Alice found hilarious. Corwin, after being hit, fell on the couch and wailed “what reason is there to live now?”. Alice and I tried it on Mom as well, but with her incredible self control, Mom managed to maintain a cool exterior despite what she must have been feeling inside.

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Monday 11 December 2006


Alice, for the first time, announced that she had to go potty and then went and used the potty all by herself. Yay! Woo!

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Real value

I want to laud the Crayola company for bringing out a value pack that has actual value. I picked up one of these GelFX Teacher Packs the other day because the crew here goes through a lot of markers. In addition to being a lot of markers in a single unit, it contains five extra caps. Until you’ve tried to put markers away after a horde of children have used them, you can’t really appreciate how useful that is.

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You're next

Calling out Dad

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Horror comics

Corwin has been reading Dilbert for several months now. He rarely (if ever) asks any questions about it, which leaves me to wonder if we have toughened him up enough with sarcasm that he can mentally survive the exposure. Hopefully he still be willing to get a job when he grows up. On the other hand, perhaps I should start some prepatory work for evicting him…

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Sunday 10 December 2006

Working the couch

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It's only funny while someone is getting hurt

As noted previously, Alice likes to jump on Dad. I had thought that my grunts of pain were just a sort of background effect, but I hve discovered that Alice will get upset if Dad doesn’t make some sort of pained noise on impact. I think I need see if I can get her just touch me instead of making a full scale impact, as long as I grunt as if she had landed on a tender spot.

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Saturday 09 December 2006

What more does she need to know?

[Charles has drawn a picture]

Charles: That a king.

Dad: What is he king of?

Charles: Everyone.

Dad: Is he king of Charles?

Charles: No!

Dad: Then he is not the king of everyone.

Alice: Mommy!

Dad: Mommy?

Alice: Mommy king of everyone!

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Rise of Boyen

Corwin has been playing Rise of Nations quite a lot since the new boyen computers arrived. This is is a “real time strategy” game, where you build a civilization and then conquer the world. The games play continuously, there are no turns. The game pieces are very detailed — for instance, when an artillery piece fires, you can see the crew setting up the gun and reloading it.

Charles also spends time watching Corwin play, in case Corwin gets to a stage in the game where carriers can be built. Corwin even lets me play with him now and then, the two of us versus a set of computer players (Corwin refuses to play directly against me).

I think the boyen may be playing a bit too much, though. Not only does Charles get worked up about unit building strategies, but last night at dinner Charles started humming the main musical theme from the game. He did it well enough that I recognized it (although poor technologically impaired Mom didn’t). I started humming it with him and then Alice joined in, at which point Mom declared “No more singing at the dinner table!”.

Here you can see Corwin gaming away on the new computers (isn’t that just the cutest little thing? — the computer, I mean).

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Friday 08 December 2006

Princess Snowy-Pants

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Princess pastimes

It’s interesting what children remember. Way back, months ago, I tricked Alice by pretending to lengthen her legs. Last week, while I was holding her in the air and teasing “you can’t touch the ground!” she reached down and did the same motion down her legs to make them reach. Naturally, I lowered her slowly down as she did that, so as not to break the spell, even though she laughed at me afterwards for being so easily thwarted.

Alice is still completely sold on the concept of things randomly getting stuck in her ear (I pulled her coat out of there the other day). Once, when we were looking for Charles, she suggested we check her ear in case he was in there.

Our DVD player and / or cable has a problem where the picture will go out now and then, leaving just a blue screen. With a bit of wiggling of the player, the picture will come back. Alice has now figured out that she can do this on her own, without having to wait for her immensely slow Dad to get around to it. I am still working with her on the “play button” concept, or more accurately, the concept that Alice can press the play button. She has had the fundamental concept down for a long time, occasionally to the extent that I have to explain that I have to actually do certain things, I can’t just press a button.

Alice’s hair is long enough that Mom got some good braids in it this morning.

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Thursday 07 December 2006

Picturing Payback

Charles shoots himself in the foot

Alice has been playing with her Bitty Baby camera again over the last week or so, but it’s Charles who has taken to imaginary cameras with a vengence (literally).

Charles had fun with my little U-30 camera which I let him use as “his” camera. This tends to not last long, as he really likes the flash and that drains the batteries in short order.

Charles is also proclaiming interest in video. He saw advertisements for the Hasbro VCAM Now video camera for children and declared that he wanted one and that if I got one for him, not only would he be “very happy” but I could then tickle him as much as I wanted. Luckily, he had forgotten about it within a week. Mom figured he could just use my nice video camera — as if!

To complement all of this, Charles has “installed” cameras on one of his Lego™ ships. He put in both video and still cameras and the ship flies around taking pictures. He also likes to use it as a threatening device, sometimes with very odd demands, such as when I am playing a computer game — “If you don’t build [aircraft] carriers, my ship will take pictures of you!”. Given the lack of download capability and that Charles is too lazy to do the necessary photo editing (unlike dedicated Dad who slaves away for your viewing pleasure), I don’t take the threat very seriously.

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Corwin and I got a last minute (ok last 30 minute) offer to go to the local college basketball game, so we blew off homework and violin practice and went. The tickets had been donated to a friend of Corwin’s, but thanks to a behavioural incident the friend’s parents didn’t think the reward of going to a game would be wise that evening.

It was the first time Corwin had been to a college men’s basketball game, and I hadn’t been to a college game in ages and ages. It was a classic pre-season warm up game, so it was never very close (no doubt one of the reasons the ticket was offered by the original owner). But it was still fun to sit in a large auditorium in a sea of orange, see many three-point baskets sinking, watch the cheerleaders do their thing, and hear the pep band.

Corwin seemed to enjoy it. I think perhaps the highlight of the evening for him was using his money to buy overpriced food at half time. He spent the second half eating a pretzel with cheese and a huge bag of skittles.

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Wednesday 06 December 2006

The Mind Of Charles

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Tuesday 05 December 2006


Alice: Look at what Poly doing!

Dad: It’s OK. She’s chewing on a bone. Dogs are allowed to chew on bones.

Alice: Yes. And girls are allowed to draw.

Now who is responsible for putting ideas like that in her head?

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Comfort augmentation

Cousin Dana is so skinny, Charles has to add a pillow to rest comfortably on her

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Cutting to the chase

Charles is in an inquisitive mode these days, although with a somewhat narrow focus. He basically has two questions that frequently sum up all that he thinks he needs to know about an object or class of objects —

  • Can it shoot?
  • Is it useful?

Charles has difficulty understanding why things such as passenger airplanes aren’t equipped with serious firepower, much less no guns at all! How, he wonders, can an unarmed vehicle be useful?

In contrast, all of Charles’ vehicles are armed, some with 1,000,000,099 guns (and several have a really big 1,000,000,099 inch gun).

Charles is also practicing math by asking question such as “what is 4 plus 2?”. This means that he has seen a picture of a vehicle with 4 guns of one type and 2 of another and he wants to know how many that is total so that his vehicle can have more than that. When Charles is told “4 + 2 = 6” then he announces “my ship has seven guns!”.

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Monday 04 December 2006

Observing nature

[Alice is playing with a toy horse and making horse noises]

Charles: Alice said “turn on the neigh”.

Dad: I think she was just making horse sounds.

Charles: Horses do not say “neigh!” when they are eaten!

Can’t argue with that.

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Thanksgiving weekend pictures now available

The Builders Three

All three of the kids, beavering away at Legos™ at Aunt Debbie’s house over Thanksgiving. I will be milking that set of photos for a long time, so don’t go here and look at them early.

Charles has part of an airport constructed, along with a destroyer. Corwin was building some sort of tank thing. Alice just likes it when two pieces snap together.

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Kid Talk

[Playing in Alice’s room]

Alice: Charles, get out of my house!

[Charles leaves the “house” under Alice’s bed]

Alice: Charles, you come in to my house? [pause] Daddy, why Charles go away?

[Alice knocks over Charles’ model of the Sears Tower for the third time]

Charles: Alice keep knocking over my Serious Tower! A princess never do that! Alice is not a princess! Not even a super princess!

[Alice is taking a bath]

Dad: Alice, what are you doing?

Alice: I not drinking water from the bathtub!

[Dinner, Sunday evening]

Mom: … at least we have the Christmas decorations up.

Dad: And we didnt’ have to pay the boys their allowance this week either!

Mom: It’s not the end of the weekend yet.

Dad: We should take care not to remind them of it.

Corwin: Can I have my allowance?

Mom: After supper.

Dad: Nice move! They’ll forget about it by then.

Corwin: No I won’t.

[He did. Charles was oblivious the entire time.]

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Sunday 03 December 2006

Popped Corn

Corwin and I managed to deliver and collect money for all of his Cub Scout popcorn on schedule. We did last Sunday afternoon and the rest Wednesday evening. The latter was a excellent choice, as everyone seemed to be home and we beat the incoming blizzard. Other scouts ended up having to brave the weather to get it done. We even ended up with the correct amount of money, although Corwin had some difficulties adding it all up. He knows the theory, he just needs a lot more practice.

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Alice and her Flying Po

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Saturday 02 December 2006

Anyone want a little girl for Christmas, cheap?

Alice has not been having a good potty day. After not having an accident all Thanksgiving weekend, she has been making up for lost time this afternoon.

She had a containment failure at the front door first. Mom took her up, cleaned her, and made her sit on the potty. Then Mom sent everyone else down to the basement so she could do cleaning. Within 10 minutes Alice had pooped in her pants. I cleaned that up. About 10-15 minutes later, Alice had another containment failure. I cleaned her and that up and put a diaper on her. About 10 minutes later, she said she had to go pee, which she did. As I was starting to put her diaper back on, I noticed that she had wet that, too. All I can figure is that Mom sticks a hose in her when I’m not looking.

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Gift List 2006

Certain people have asked for this again, so here it is. Suggested gifts for Christmas and winter birthdays.






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Artistic license

This picture is one of the first that I noticed where Charles changed from space battles to naval operations. I think he was influenced by The Encylopedia of the World’s Warships that we picked up at the recent book sale. That is the primary motif of his drawings now.

While I was preparing this image for publication, Charles was watching me. He commented that he wanted the picture in red. I pointed out that he had used a brown marker to draw it. He countered that he had wanted to use a red marker but couldn’t find one. I indicated that I wanted to preserve the historical record, and since he had drawn it in brown, I wanted it to be brown. Charles then asserted a copyright claim, saying that since he had drawn it, he had the right to decide what color it should be. I said that he had released the image in to the public domain, therefore I could do with it as I liked. He then threatened to have every ship in his fleet fire at me if I didn’t change it. After forcing him to rescind that order, I relented and used a feature from my new image editing software to flip the color to mostly red. Charles declared it acceptable, so here it is for your viewing.

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It's fun because the parents don't want to be there

The kids and Poly have been enjoying the snow. Poly has moved from “I think I like this snow stuff” to full fledged exuburance. This is the only picture I have of her from yesterday where she isn’t just a blur.

The boys liked it so much that they went outside after school, without having to be shoved out the door.

Charles went out again this morning with Alice to enjoy the sunshine with the snow (Corwin is off on a Cub Scout adventure). We had to send Alice in after a short while because she decided to take her mittens off and we thought finger frostbite wasn’t the kind of fun adventure we wanted this morning. Charles played outside for a good while, even asking about Corwin when he was armed with a snowball.

I let Poly out with them and she discovered ice. It rained a couple of inches Thursday and Friday and the end of the dead end street flooded as usual. This morning it was iced over and Poly ventured out on to it. It turns out that her doggie pads don’t grip it any better than people shoes. It was fun to watch her do the doggie acceleration move (spread back legs, digging in with close together front legs) but not actually move.

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Friday 01 December 2006

Snow fun

We were hit with a mild blizzard last night and this morning. Rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow, high winds — the kind of weather we live here to experience.

When the boys got up, it was snowing and blowing so much that was almost whited out. Charles looked out and said “It snowing so much it’s froggy out!”.

When it was time to wait for the bus, I bundled the boys up. I tried to keep them inside, because we can see the corner from inside our front door, but Corwin and Charles both insisted on going out in the cold and blowing snow. I remained inside, watching — I didn’t want to wander off and forget they were out there if the bus was very late. Oddly, the bus was right on time despite the weather so the boys probably didn’t get frostbitten.

I took Poly out later so she could get re-acquainted with snow. I think she liked it, she was bouncing around and digging in it, despite having been shorn down to a whole body buzz cut earlier this week at the dog groomers. I had to drag her back inside when I got cold.

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Battlefield casualties

Although Thanksgiving was overall a good time, there were some tragedies.

Here, Corwin and Charles are setting up the army men in precise formations. Note that both have selected high traffic areas for this, leading to results that are obvious to anyone — except Corwin and Charles.

Even worse, because the museum trip took longer than expected, Mom was in a great rush as we left. In straightening up before the museum trip, we had put all of the military related hardware in a bag so it wouldn’t be in the way. We then forgot to extract Charles’ air force from it. Once we got home, Charles almost instantly remembered it and had a melt down because of the loss. He wanted to drive back and get them, and when that was rejected, he wanted new planes and was crushed to learn that you can’t order them online and have them show up the same evening. He’s mostly recovered by now, but Christmas and his birthday are coming up …

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