Blog-o! Notes from

Sun, 30 Sep 2007
Cordelia Is Two!

Cordelia turned two on Thursday, which was kind of sucky for her because it was her fourth day of nursery school and so she's still suffering from lots of separation anxiety. I felt like a monster leaving her crying and miserable in the arms of Lakeisha the teacher on her birthday, but when I waved at her through the window on the way out she was already smiling a little bit. They made up for it by giving her cake because it just happened to be the day for their September birthday celebration.

Altogether, counting the nursery school party, Cordelia had four birthday parties; one last weekend at Baba and Zaida's with a chocolate cake and presents, one on Thursday night at home with a plain cake with pink icing and more presents — we got her one of those rugs with roads and railways and stuff printed on it (Delphine's idea), and Hop on Pop — and yet another this weekend when we made a dinosaur-shaped cake just for the fun of it. We like cake, what can I say?

Nursery school is going well. I signed her up not to give myself a break — I think it's actually created more work for me — but because I thought it was time she started to have a life of her own, to gain some independence away from me, and to be exposed to all the rich and interesting things they offer at nursery school. It seems to be a really good facility; they always have lots of interesting activities set up when we get there in the morning, the teachers are lovely, they have a real music teacher with a guitar in every other week, and every week they take a picture of your child and save it in a portfolio that you get to keep at the end of the year.

The only catch is that the school is about one and a half kilometers from home, around a fifteen minute walk. I originally thought it was going to be a longer walk than that, before I actually tried it, so I was quite pleased. On Thursday I strapped on my running shoes and put the girls in the expensive but very cool jogging stroller / bike trailer and ran up there, which of course also took about fifteen minutes because I am that slow and also running with a stroller sucks. But it's better than running at 7:30 at night when all I want to do is collapse on the couch.

Cordelia can count to twenty, which is kind of odd for a two-year-old. She loves to count, but she's not really counting per se. I think she knows about counting in some sense; she knows you do it when you have a lot of something, and that you count for a while and then stop and the number you stop at means something, but she really doesn't map the actual number of things to the words she's saying. She loves to over-count and usually ends up with "seven" of whatever it is. Also when people ask her how old she is she says "three!" She just likes numbers.

Incidentally, Delphine's friend Ursa also loved counting and numbers, to the extent that she still calls both letters and numbers "numbers". This is interesting because Delphine used to call numbers "letters". Shall we typecast them as the Wordy One and the Mathy One already?

Cordelia talks in full sentences, and she has reached that age when she comes out with syntactically perfect sentences which leave me speechless. "Help me put my sweater on!" I hear it and it's a perfect sentence, and then I realize it came from my tiny baby! She doesn't do full sentences all the time, though. Mostly she's still trying to cobble together communication with the few words and bits of grammar she knows, backed up with pointing and when all else fails, shouting really loud.

Communicating is complicated by the fact that she doesn't know her colours yet; when Delphine was this age at least we could figure out what she wanted by saying, "What colour is it?" Cordelia, for whatever reason, can't get her colours straight. For a couple of weeks everything was blue ("bah-loo!") and now things seem to be mostly red. If you drill her you can get her to get a colour right for a few minutes but then if you go back to it later, she goes back to guessing. I find this rather perplexing; she doesn't seem to have trouble learning the words for anything else. Either she can't map the colours to the names, or she can't distinguish the colours for some reason. Anyway, you aren't really expected to know your colours until you're three or even four, so maybe there is some mental or visual development yet to come which will resolve this. In the meantime all the grandparents have made it their mission to help her learn colours.

Cordelia sleeps from about six thirty until six thirty or seven in the morning. Well, I put her to bed at six thirty; usually she stays awake talking and singing to herself until seven. She also naps from one until two or two thirty. (I got all my sleep advice from Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, so if you want a narcoleptic child and a rich adult-only evening life you should read it too.) She scared me on Friday by not napping at all; I wondered if she had decided that since now she's two she doesn't need a nap. But then she napped yesterday and today, so I think I still have a napper. It's nice because she naps while Delphine is in kindergarten, so I get some time to get stuff done in the afternoons. If I am not too tired to think; afternoon is not my brightest time.

Cordelia has peed in the potty exactly twice, both times under the tutelage of Baba. I suppose she is more or less ready to be properly potty-trained, which is exciting in the sense of no more diapers, but I am not looking forward to the process, the constant trips to the potty and interrogation regarding her need for the same. "Do you have to go pee? Do you have to poo? Do you want to sit on the potty?" However, it has to happen sometime! The nursery school teachers say they are happy to help, so maybe I will rope them in and see if we can get it over with. That would be awesome.

Tomorrow is Monday, and October, and I have a million things to do so I had best get to bed so I am not tired and grumpy all day.

[Posted at 22:14 by Amy Brown] link
Sat, 29 Sep 2007

If anyone out there has been trying to email Amy or I, we haven’t gotten it. While I was home alone with Delphine, I subscribed to a few podcasts in iTunes, so that we would have a ton of new music to listen to, but when I went back to work, I forgot to unsubscribe, and as a result filled up my entire hard drive with music and videos. This caused a bunch of things to fail for various reasons, the most notable of which being that no-one has recieved any email for the past few days. I can only hope that the various mail servers around the world will continue trying to send the messages, but if there’s something urgent that you really wanted a response to, you might consider re-sending it.

[Posted at 13:34 by Blake Winton] link
Sun, 23 Sep 2007
We're Back!

Cordelia and I are back from Saskatchewan so Blake's adventure in single parenthood is over. He was obligingly overwhelmed by it — “I hardly had any time to read at all!”, and that's with only one kid, and the easy one at that. Yeah, keeping house and raising babies is, in fact, a lot of work. Who knew? I am only kind of being sarcastic here; I used to think I would feel guilty about staying home until I realized how much damn work it is.

But anyway, Saskatchewan. We went to visit my parents, and the timing was good because my dad just went into a nursing home so my mom needed help with getting him settled in and getting the house sorted out so she can manage on her own. We cleaned and sorted and went out for lunch and shopped (as much as you can shop in Big River); it was a regular ladies' week. Cordelia was a huge hit with my mum; they read the Sears catalog and watched TV and looked at all the stuff my mum has.

Cordelia and I visited my dad at the home every day, and Cordelia was a huge hit with the grannies and grandpas, with her big grin and very loud observations. “Dinosaur there!” “See fishies!” She also pulled out all the grandbaby stops on the last day and gave my dad lots of nice hugs and kisses.

So there is a huge blog entry just waiting to be written, about this summer and how Delphine and Cordelia are doing, about my thirty-second birthday; all that narcissistic blather you have come to expect from this blog. Whether I will ever get around to writing that entry is yet to be seen, but I have high hopes for this next month, what with school and all.

[Posted at 21:19 by Amy Brown] link
Fri, 21 Sep 2007

I have no idea what happened to last night’s update. Well, that’s not entirely true. I was at a FogBugz demo given by Joel Spolsky, and Delphine had a sleep-over at her Baba and Zaida’s, so I took the time to write a spec, and that led me to whip out a bunch of code. The spec is written in something called reStructuredText (uh, that’s the link to the spec, which probably isn’t the best way to learn about it, but is the document I’ve been using the most), but my favourite Mac text editor (TextWrangler) doesn’t support it in any way, shape, or form. So I started writing a plugin that would teach TextWrangler what the heck reStructuredText was. (You can apparently get a tarball of the project from this link, if you’re so inclined, or if you’re not, you could just try the compiled plugin itself. Just double-click the .dmg file, then double-click the .bblm file inside of it, and it’ll tell you what to do. Or mail me, and I will.)

So yeah, a busy, busy night, but I got to sleep in until 7:00, which was really nice. Today was more of the same, except it was really hot out when Delphine got out of kindergarten, so instead of playing in the school playground, Delphine and I decided to go to Hollywood Gelato, the local ice cream store. Tasty. Tomorrow Amy gets home, so it’s looking like it’ll be a pretty busy day as well.

[Posted at 20:47 by Blake Winton] link
Wed, 19 Sep 2007

And today it all fell apart. Instead of pre-preparing dinner when Delphine was at kindergarten, I read my book, and watched The Daily Show. As a result, the salmon casserole was nowhere near ready at 5:00, and indeed, wasn’t ready until about 6:30. So Delphine had chicken noodle soup, billion-grain toast (I’m serious, there’s no flour in this freakin’ bread. It’s all just seeds and nuts packed together somehow!), and some cherry tomatoes which my parents brought over last night (in exchange for the apple cake and apple pie and ice cream). And after we went out for fish & chips for lunch, too. Thank god for the tomatoes, or I’ld feel like a completely bad parent.

And now I’m off to read some more (by which I of course mean watch some more TV), before turning in for the night.

[Posted at 21:11 by Blake Winton] link
Tue, 18 Sep 2007

Yeah, today is coming together much better than yesterday did. I just skipped the Starbucks, and came home from kindergarten, stopping off at Valumart to pick up a couple of pie shells. Oh, yeah, this morning, Delphine and I made an apple cake, but our bundt pan wasn’t nearly large enough, so we were left with a ton of apple filling. I threw it into a (store-bought, shhh!) pie shell, cut the other shell into strips, and made a nice lattice on top, and I’m now baking it at 350º for 25 minutes. (I totally guessed at the time and temperature. I suppose I should go look it up in Betty Crocker, huh? Damn, did I ever mess that one up! Betty says 425º for 40-50 minutes, with foil around the edges and stuff. Good thing I checked.) Easy-peasy (even with the foil).

Anyways, I think I’m going to end this entry now, and go sit on the couch and read my book. Muhuhehehahahahahahahahaaaaa

[Posted at 14:10 by Blake Winton] link
Mon, 17 Sep 2007

Ah, kindergarten. After dropping Delphine off, I went to Starbucks, grabbed myself a latte, and sat and started to read my book. Sadly, the presence of two wasps flying past my head sort of ruined my quite interlude, and I headed on home. When I was here, I managed to check my email, increment the laundry (you all use that term too, right? When you put the stuff from the dryer into the basket, the stuff from the washer into the dryer, and stuff from the dirty hamper into the washer), and hang the wet load out in the backyard. Yeah, apparently when Amy isn’t home I get all domestic. Who’lda thunk it?

But even given that, I really seem to have less free time than I thought I would. Somehow, between checking email and the various household chores, I haven’t been able to read as much of my book as I would have wanted, much less write the specs/code that I was hoping to. Ah well, perhaps I’ll get used to the routine by Friday, or maybe I’ll just put those tasks on pause until I get back to work.

[Posted at 21:29 by Blake Winton] link
Sun, 16 Sep 2007

Today seemed a little more in control than yesterday. I was really slacking yesterday, doing as little housework as I could possibly manage. Today I got a load of laundry done, and hung up in the basement, and I would be on my second load, but apparently the door didn’t close, or something, and so the load was completely dry when I went to check it after dinner. Dinner was another thing I handled a little better. Since my father and sister were coming for dinner, I made chili from around 3:00 until 4:00, and let it sit on the stove on low, mellowing. It turned out really well, I think, and there are some leftovers. Delphine and I also made some Rice Krispie Squares that afternoon (I made them, she licked the various implements), so we had a fun dessert as well.

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, though, since I’ll have two fairly large blocks of free time, in which to attempt to beat the house into something approaching shape. The kitchen really needs a cleaning, there are three more loads of laundry to do. (Four if you count the failed attempt in the washing machine.) In the morning, I’ve got to make sure that Delphine has all the stuff she needs for kindergarten. Okay, that’s not actually something I can do in the blocks of free time, but I figured since I was listing all the stuff I need to get done, I might as well just slip it in there. And on that note, I think I’ll be off to try and get another couple of things done before I head to bed.

[Posted at 20:50 by Blake Winton] link
Sat, 15 Sep 2007

Amy and Cordelia left for Saskatchewan at 6:30 this morning, and so Delphine and I got to spend the whole day together. The first of seven. It’s going pretty well so far, I think. We played together in the park this morning: digging in the sand, flying kites, and kicking a soccer ball. We got home, and had some leftovers for lunch (grilled cheese and pizza, both heated in the toaster over), then watched the obligatory Charlie and Lola show, and read some books. Ooh, we also had banana/frozen-strawberry/milk smoothies for afternoon snack. They were really good, and a convenient way to get some fruit into our bodies. After hanging out a little, we went to the grocery store, grabbed the week’s worth of groceries, and headed home. So I thought I’ld take a few minutes to write a quick blog entry while I’m cooking dinner (frozen President’s Choice vegetable lasagna).

Dinner was tasty, and Delpine liked it, even though she started off saying “I’ve had this before at daycare, and I don’t like it.”. Then we looked for recipes for apple cake, found one, and headed off to bed. And now I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do for the rest of the evening. I suppose there’s a FIFA Women’s World Cup game I’ve got taped, or I could watch a video about Haskell by Simon Peyton-Jones, but I dunno, neither of those seem to really be grabbing me. Ah well, I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

[Posted at 19:50 by Blake Winton] link
Mon, 03 Sep 2007
New Pictures!

Damn, I didn't realize I hadn't posted pictures since April! I guess it serves me right that it took over three hours to get them posted this evening.

My only excuse for this and all my other website slacking (and general life slacking) lately is that I have had both Delphine and Cordelia home full-time since mid-May. This Friday Delphine starts kindergarten in the afternoons, and next Tuesday Cordelia starts morning nursery school two days a week, so perhaps I will have more time to do things. That's if I don't wear myself out schlepping them around. We'll see!

[Posted at 23:26 by Amy Brown] link