Blog-o! Notes from

Fri, 31 Oct 2008
Things They Say

Yesterday Blake taught Delphine about contrails. This morning we were out walking and she looked up into the clear blue Hallowe'en sky and saw a plane. "It has a cotton-trail!"

We were talking about everyone's costumes. "Mrs Thompson was a lady who works in a church. The ladies who wear necklaces with a criss-cross thing on." I love that my kid doesn't even know what a cross is. (Mrs Thompson was a nun.)

Cordelia and I were reading Dr Suess's ABC: "Big A, little a, what begins with A?"


"Aunt Annie's alligator, A..a..A. Big B, little B, what begins with B?"


"Barber, baby, bubbles, and a bumblebee." And so on with Cordelia chiming in whenever she knew someone with that letter. After C ("CORDELIA!"), D ("DELPHINE!") and E ("ERIK!") she said "Almost everyone we know has a letter in this book!"

Yeah, almost!

Delphine and I were talking about meat today, because we were walking over to a friend's house to pick up a quarter cow. She asked if someone killed the cow, and I said that they did.

"That's sad. We should be nice to animals."

"That's true. But then we couldn't eat meat."

"Meat is tasty."

"Some people don't like to kill animals, so they don't eat meat. They're called vegetarians."

"But meat is so tasty!"

"I know! It's a hard decision to make."

So we talked about how Daddy and I decided to keep eating meat but to try and make sure that the cows and chickens and other animals we eat are happy when they're alive, hence the trek to pick up cow.

Not my kid but my friend's kid (and my kid's friend) Ursa. Yesterday they were eating a Chinese beef dish and Ursa said "I like this dark brown chicken!" (Good thing, because they got a quarter cow too.) What's the deal with kids thinking everything is chicken? The other day Cordelia called tilapia chicken. The kids at daycare used to call tofu chicken. No wonder everything tastes like chicken, it's because chicken tastes like everything!

[Posted at 22:44 by Amy Brown] link
Thu, 30 Oct 2008
Spooky Hallowe'en

Our school website contains a list of handy Hallowe'en safety tips, among them the old chestnut about inspecting kids' candy before they eat it. I suppose that wouldn't hurt, but it might be interesting to know that there has never been a case of random poisoned Hallowe'en candy. There have been a few reports of candy with pins, and apples with razors, but the vast majority of those were hoaxes or pranks.

Here are a couple of links from the valuable Snopes website:

Perhaps it seems harmless to continue repeating these needless warnings, but I think it breeds cynicism and fear, which we have far too much of. (Don't even get me started on "Stranger Danger".)

(I'm going to have to think further about the appropriateness of cynicism and/or fear with respect to Chinese candy.)

[Posted at 13:19 by Amy Brown] link
Tue, 28 Oct 2008
Sun, 26 Oct 2008

We're in the midst of the fall festive season, and as anyone who is less than four feet tall knows, that means it's Hallowe'en. Both Delphine and Cordelia are very excited, and it's clear that Cordelia remembers a thing or two about last year.

Delphine is planning to be a penguin this year. We haven't bought a penguin costume; rather we are hoping to kludge something together with a white shirt and a black hoodie and orange construction paper beak and feet. I hope it works because we haven't had a chance to try it out and we're running out of pre-Hallowe'en weekend. Delphine has a pretty convincing penguin waddle which would sell the lamest costume, though.

Cordelia has independently decided to be a black cat. For a while there she was going with ghost and I thought we would have to find and then butcher a white sheet — you always see that white-sheet-with-holes ghost costume in cartoons and stuff but I've never seen it in real life. I thought it would be cool to try it out. But about a week ago she switched to black cat, so I dropped a whopping $19 on ears and a tail, which together with black clothes and some eyeliner whiskers will make a convincing and adorable cat.

The great thing about Hallowe'en is that it gives you lots of chances to talk about such topics of childhood interest as death and scary things. Last year we spent a lot of time talking about being dead and what death is (and who Death is — a house around the corner has an inflatable Grim Reaper). This year we are leaning more towards Hallowe'en imagery and what is scary. Delphine wanted to know why someone had fake gravestones on their lawn. "Gravestones aren't scary", she said. I said they mark where dead people are buried, but she was unmoved by that because to her mind dead people aren't scary. And of course by extension, skeletons aren't scary either. What is scary? Witches, spiders and ghosts are apparently scary. I don't think bats are and rats definitely aren't, although we did decorate with black rubber rats.

Delphine likes Monopoly. I know, weird. I wouldn't have occurred to me to put her in front of a game of Monopoly, but my friend Tanya, who is nothing if not ambitious with what she exposes her kid to, brought it over and Delphine loves it. She loves the money: she likes to sort it out, stack it up, pay for things and get money from other people. She likes choosing which piece she will be, and she loves to move around the board. She got tired of it, though, after maybe forty minutes, and started acting up. "I'm so bored of giving people money!" Yeah, tell me about it. So for Christmas I got her Monopoly Junior. I'm normally not in favour of kiddified versions of things, but this looks like it retains the main elements of the adult version (including the lovely money) but goes faster. Plus the setting is a carnival, not some boring old city. Delphine loves carnivals and fairs and things.

Cordelia went for her birthday sleepover at Auntie Morgan's house this weekend. Unfortunately I have no idea what they did because Cordelia said she had fun but she didn't want to talk about it. I know what Delphine did, though, because she stayed home for what we have termed a "sleepunder", which is what you get when you're the sister who stays home and has Mum and Dad to herself. Mostly we played Monopoly. Delphine chose KD for supper, and we read lots of chapters at bedtime because we didn't have to put Cordelia to bed. In the morning Delphine decreed that Blake should get up early (that is, when Delphine and I got up) and join us for a breakfast of French toast and pancakes. Then more Monopoly, and then we went out to get Cordelia back.

(Incidentally, the thing with Blake getting up with us turned out abysmally. Usually he stays in bed for an hour or more on weekend mornings while I get up with the kids and make breakfast and read the paper. Having missed that extra sleep, however, he was logy and grumpy all day. He napped twice but it didn't help. God knows what he's like during the week, but from now on I will gladly let him get his morning beauty sleep.)

The sleepunder was lovely. Unfortunately at the moment the girls are much more pleasant to be around one at a time than together. Delphine alone is insightful and contemplative and interesting, Cordelia alone is funny and clever and demonstrative. Together they are whiny and scrappy and tiresome. Not all the time, but often enough that it wears me out. Hopefully between them they will eventually grow out of it and figure out how to enjoy each other's company more.

[Posted at 15:09 by Amy Brown] link
Fri, 10 Oct 2008

Cordelia is three! She has been three for almost two weeks now! We didn't have a big party or anything, because she doesn't really have any friends yet, and also I couldn't be bothered. I asked her what kind of cake she wanted and she said "a tomato cake!" Apparently there is such a thing, but I didn't feel up to that kind of experimental weirdness, so I asked her (on a different occasion) whether she would like a chocolate cake or a white one. (This is how you get little kids to do what you want, you trick them and then you paint them into a corner.) She said she wanted a white cake with chocolate icing (this is how they get what they want). And since she had been talking about having a tomato birthday for months, I drew three juicy tomatoes on top of the cake in red icing. That seemed to satisfy her.

We didn't have a party, as I mentioned, but a few people did end up coming over for cake: Baba and Zaida were there, and Tanya and Douglas and Ursa and Otis came too.

Cordelia's choice for her special birthday dinner was sushi, so Zaida kindly brought over a platter of sushi from our favourite place. Extra kindly, because his car wouldn't start! He walked it halfway over to our place and Blake met him and brought it the rest of the way. What these men wouldn't do for their little girls.

Cordelia really seems to have bought into this three thing. Her new favourite word is "why", in that reflexive way little kids ask when they're trying to get as much information into their little brains as possible. She has stopped fighting so much with Delphine, and is generally more easy-going lately. We don't lock horns so much over silly things like which way her toast is sliced.

Her latest favourite book is a counting book called "Ten Black Dots" by Donald Crews. We've read it at every nap and bedtime for the last week. She likes to point at the dots and count them, which she now does perfectly, even down to pointing to each dot exactly once. She can also do rudimentary math in her head, adding or subtracting one or two. I said rudimentary! Generally she seems more numerically-oriented than Delphine was at her age.

She's also really big! Actually she's right on the 50th percentile, but dammit, she seems big to me. I'm still coming to terms with the fact that my baby days are behind me. I know that means that also behind me are spit-up and leaky boobs and diapers and baby gates and food allergy scares and chokable object embargoes, and ahead of me are piano lessons and baking together and interesting conversations and going for walks and joking and reading and doing crossword puzzles. But I've been a baby-mummy for five years; it was such a huge part of my life — it was my whole life! — for such a long time and yet it's already over. How can that be?

[Posted at 14:56 by Amy Brown] link