Cordelia (old posts, page 4)

Camera Technology Through The Ages

We have this old Fisher-Price toy camera from the seventies — it was Blake's as a boy — and it's a toy version of the old 110 cameras, remember them? It has a flash cube on the top which rotates 90° every time you take a picture. (Dave, I think we might have had the same one, I remember it or something like it.)

So despite this "camera" being completely unlike any camera the girls have ever seen, they have taken to it very well and pretend to take pictures all the time. "Say 'banana'!"

Cordelia, however, takes it one step further. After taking the picture, she runs up to you, turns the camera around and shows you the non-existent screen on the back; "See yer picture! See yer picture!"

Conversations with Cordelia

Cordelia is so funny and verbal that I think we almost take the cute things she says for granted, but I'm going to try and write some of them down for posterity, and Delphine's too!

Today, Cordelia had just woken up from her nap and she accompanied me into the bathroom while I peed. After I finished peeing she said "You need paper?" I agreed and she got me one little piece of toilet paper, crumpled up into a tiny ball.

I looked at it and said, "I have to get some more because my bits are very big."

She said, "I like your hairy and big, strong bits!"

"Thank you!"

"And also your slippers."

Cordelia's First Parent-Teacher Interview

Due to various factors, it has come to pass that Cordelia has been the subject of a parent-teacher interview several months before her older sister will be. I was supposed to meet with Cordelia's nursery school teachers back in December, but I barely had time to breathe let alone sit around talking about my kids (usually my favourite pastime). So I finally managed to meet with Lakeisha and Simone a couple of weeks ago.

My original thought was, this is going to be kind of pointless; Cordelia's two, she plays in water and makes pictures and builds towers out of blocks. How much is there going to be to say? But as it turns out I am really glad I went because hearing about how she behaves in school has given me a whole perspective on Cordelia.

Apparently Cordelia is very focussed in class; she will work on something for ten or fifteen minutes. If you know anything about two-year-olds you know how weird that is; usually they do stuff for a couple of minutes then move on to the next thing. The "Your X-Year-Old" series of books has a little overhead diagram of a room with various activities set up, and then a map of a typical kid's path through that room, and the map for the two-year-old is like a bowl of spaghetti. Not Cordelia. I saw an example of that focus in action the other day at supper as she painstakingly shelled three snow pea pods. (Ever since we gave them edamame my kids have had trouble knowing what peas need to be shelled.) She apparently also comes back to things; the teachers know to leave her pictures or whatever out because she'll come back later to work on them.

She has only been talking at school since after Christmas; she's been talking for us for ages, but she held back at school and now they're astounded at her voice. Well, mostly the other children. "She talks!" But what Lakeisha and Simone actually said — and if you know Cordelia in person you should make sure you're sitting down right now — is, "They're surprised when she talks because she's usually so quiet." Quiet! Apparently the Cordelia at school is the quiet, studious Cordelia.

She's also observant; she was the first and only kid to notice a new science table the day I went to visit, and she examined everything on it with her (apparently) usual thoroughness.

I am really pleased I went to the meeting and was able to hear about this other side of Cordelia. I think the problem with having exactly two kids is that you end up forcing them into false dichotomies: Delphine is the quiet one, therefore Cordelia must be the loud one; Delphine is the studious one, therefore Cordelia must be the flippertigibbet. This was an excellent reminder that it is profoundly important to step back and see my children for who they really are, not just who they aren't because that's who their sister is. Otherwise I risk missing the most wonderful and interesting parts of them.

This has also made me really glad that I put Cordelia in nursery school, despite the gruelling mess it makes of my day twice a week. (I'm the mother, what the hell else am I doing anyway?) It's such a great opportunity for her to blossom outside of the home and away from her sister and me.

And finally, I am very excited about Delphine's parent-teacher interview. What surprises has my oldest been hiding? What will I learn about her? I can't wait.

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.

Cordelia says...

Cordelia says "free four!" when there is something to be counted. "Free four babies!" "Free four cows!" She also knows six and eight. "Free four six eight!" That's when there are really a lot of whatever it is.

Cordelia says "Feen" for Delphine, and "Heeya" for Zaida, and "Dooya" for Cordelia.

Cordelia says "haavee" when something is hard, and "ow" when something hurts. If I am hurt she says "owwee Mommy" and then gives me a hug; she's very compassionate for a little person. She also likes to hug Delphine when she's sad, especially after they have had a fight.

More Sleeping

You may be wondering how Cordelia's sleeping situation is working out. Probably not, but I want to write this down because it's one of those things that parents forget, like the pain of labour.

If you recall, last I posted Cordelia's crib was in our bedroom, and she wasn't sleeping very well at night. We had it like that for a while because we were going to go on vacation and didn't see the point in trying to fix anything until we got back.

When we were on vacation, Cordelia slept in another room and Delphine slept in our room. Cordelia took good naps, two a day, and slept in her own bed from around six in the evening until three in the morning. When she woke up at three, I brought her into our bed because I didn't want her crying to bother my parents. Needless to say we weren't well-rested on our holiday.

When we got back, we recreated the situation with Delphine in our room and Cordelia in another room -- Delphine's room, actually -- because that worked very well. Delphine sleeps like a log so we don't wake her up when we come to bed, whereas Cordelia is a delicate flower when it comes to sleep.

So far that has been working perfectly. I put Cordelia down at around 5:45 -- the routine is diaper, pyjamas, brush teeth, nurse (usually to sleep but sometimes she doesn't fall asleep), soother, bed -- I close the door and either she sleeps or she cries and then sleeps. She doesn't usually cry for more than five minutes, but you can tell we're second-time parents because we don't even time it any more.

She doesn't seem to wake up overnight, or if she does it's for one or two cries, then back to sleep again. She wakes up at around 5:45 or 6:00 in the morning.

She has two naps, at around 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. The routine for them is diaper, nurse, soother, bed, and again sometimes I put her down still awake. Sometimes she cries, sometimes she doesn't, and she usually sleeps for between forty-five minutes (bad) and two hours (good).

So chalk up another victory for Weissbluth. The only remaining challenge is figuring out how to get both girls sleeping in the same room, so we can have our bedroom back.

Seven and A Half Months

Cordelia is seven and a half months, and she is...

  • Sleeping in her own bed all night.
  • Eating vegetables, fruit, cereals, milk products, and some meat.
  • Chewing! So I can give her little pieces of toast and stuff and she doesn't gag. Hooray! Table food!
  • Pulling herself up to standing (and then falling over)...
  • ...but not crawling properly.
  • Although she does get around pretty well doing the worm.
  • Still really charming and smiley, but...
  • ...showing some separation anxiety. Whenever a stranger stops to talk to her she gets this slightly worried (but friendly) expression and looks at me to make sure everything is okay.
  • 19 pounds -- still large for her age, but well-proportioned.
  • Muscular and strong.

People Food

Since I started Cordelia on "solid" food at six months, (instead of four as I did with Delphine) it seems like she's graduated from starter mush to real, chewable food really quickly.

Some time in the last couple of weeks she has learned to chew, and today for supper she had pasta, peas and canned salmon -- the same thing Delphine and I had for lunch yesterday. People food - cool!

Nineteen Months: Running, Climbing, Laughing

Cordelia is just about nineteen months old. I took her to the doctor for her eighteen month checkup and she has gained almost no weight and grown, like, an inch. I don't have the exact numbers but really, no-one is all that interested.

She recently uttered her first real sentence: she pointed to a spot that Morgan had recently vacated and said "Morgan sat, uh, there." She says "uh" a lot, and she's fairly bad with names, including mine. I was holding her and looking in the mirror a few weeks ago and I said "Who's that?" She said "Baby!" So I said "Who else?" "Baba... uh... Mummy!"

She's good on her feet; she runs, she climbs, she tries to keep up with her big sister at the park. She can almost, almost, climb downstairs like a normal person. Except today she was standing on a step and she overbalanced and came headfirst down the stairs. Fortunately I was standing right there and caught her, head first, but she's not allowed to go downstairs by herself any more, unless she goes backwards which she never does any more because going backwards is for babies!

She likes to walk; every time we try and put her in the stroller she protests, and she would much rather be out and walking on the sidewalk, climbing up onto every ledge and wall, picking up dubious bits of jetsam, wandering onto people's lawns. But once she's in the stroller she's usually cool with that, too. She's generally a laid back little kid, really.

Cordelia loves sit at the dining table and colour when Delphine is there drawing. She loves stickers even more, but I don't really have any that are big enough for her to manage. I will have to pick some up. She also tends to draw on the walls, which Delphine never did, so walking around the house with writing implements is another thing she is not allowed to do.

She dances! I was reading a book of nursery rhymes this morning, and singing the ones which have a tune, and she got up and danced; "dancing" is just turning around and around and then throwing herself at the ground, which works best for Ring a Ring a Rosie but which she manages to adapt to a surprising number of songs.

What else? I gave her a haircut a week or so ago; she was getting a little mulletty in the back while the wispies at the front were getting in her eyes, so I just generally hacked at it all around and it came out mainly pixie-ish with a little of the Franciscan monk around the front. You'll have to take my word for it, it's pretty cute. Delphine didn't like it, though, on the grounds that she didn't look like Cordelia, and that she looked like a boy. She seems to have gotten used to it, though.

Cordelia is very independent; she wants to put in clothes by herself, she insists on feeding herself (and in the manner of her choosing, which is usually with fingers -- did you know hummus is finger food? Me either.) She gets very irate if you try and do things for her.

Cordelia is still a lot of fun; she is quick to laugh and recovers from setbacks quickly. She's affectionate and cuddly and generally easy and pleasant to be with. It's probably also way easier to deal with a second child; I am fairly sure that nothing I do is going to break her, so I just let her be most of the time.

Cordelia at Seventeen Months

Cordelia is almost seventeen months old, and she's a little bundle of fun. She's learning lots of new words; she's at that age where she learns new words every day, and loves to imitate. Today it was "snowsuit". She started off with "nosnos" and by the end of the day pretty much had it down perfectly.

Lately her favourite word is "here", pronounced "heee-yer"; it started off as the word she uses when she gives you something, but now she mostly uses it when she wants something, accompanied by urgent gesticulation.

She comes to me when I am on the computer, with a dolly and a hat, and says "Hat! Hat! Hat!" until I put the hat (usually far too large) on the dolly. When we're on the floor, and I'm sitting cross-legged, she turns around and reverses onto my lap from about a foot away. She loves to be read to: "Book! Book!" is another of her favourite utterances.

She calls both cats "Mimi", and in fact she calls all four-legged mammals Mimi, as far as I can tell.

She bring boots: if we're going out (or if she would like us to go out) she goes to the front hall and finds my boots and brings them to me, one at a time. "Boot! Out?" She loves to go out; the other day we went out and I shovelled snow while she played in it. Because she was trapped in a snowsuit with thumbless mittens there wasn't much she could do, but she climbed up and down our step, and sat down hard in the snow, "plunk", then laughed and got up again. She finds her own fun.

When she goes downstairs she goes backwards, and she's very conservative about it: she likes to turn around and start crawling backwards a good two feel away from the top of the stairs.

Cordelia is very demonstrative; several times a day she comes up to me, unbidden, and hugs me around the knees. She loves to give kisses and hugs around the neck, too. She laughs a lot, and if she falls you can often get her to laugh instead of cry.

She still sleeps really well, from around six-thirty until around six am. She has taken, recently, to waking up and crying around ten or ten-thirty, but Blake loves it because he can go in and have a cuddle with her before putting her down again. I suppose that's a bad habit to encourage, but I doubt she will keep it up forever. And honestly, if she's fifteen and she still wants a few minutes of attention from her parents at ten-thirty at night I will count myself lucky.

She's still nursing, in the morning and before her nap and at bedtime, and sometimes during the day if she's hurt herself and needs comfort. It's lovely. She also more or less feeds herself at table; we bought a cheap Canadian knockoff of the overpriced Tripp-Trapp chair for each girl and Cordelia loves to be at table instead of behind everyone in the high chair. She makes a colossal mess but she has a nice time.

She's good company; she is easy-going and quick to laugh and to learn. I can leave her to her own devices during the day and she'll play by herself for ages. She plays with dollies, she climbs onto things, she pulls stuff out of boxes at an astonishing rate. She plays nicely with Delphine too, or I should say Delphine plays nicely with her. They are so different and so delightful; I could not have picked out better children from a Children Catalogue.