Delphine (old posts, page 4)

Don't You Have Another Kid Too?

Yes, poor Delphine hasn't been getting much screen time here, we're too busy with the baby and books and unsolicited advice. But she's still here, very much so.

Delphine is... funny. Delphine likes to pretend. When she pretends to do something, like open a pretend suitcase or put on a pretend boot, she makes a "shhhick" noise, her own all-purpose sound effect. (She learned that from her Daddy, the master of sound effects.)

The other day Delphine and Daddy were going to the pretend beach, and Daddy had to put on a pretend wetsuit, so Delphine helped. She pulled it up over his legs and arms and zipped the pretend zip up the front. Then Daddy had to put on a pretend sunhat; Delphine patted it around his head as if she were encasing him in playdough, and then, with a flourish, tied it under his chin with a huge, pretend bow. It was at that point that I bust a gut laughing; Delphine didn't see the humour, and so left the room. Blake asked "Where are you going?"

"To the swimming pool."

"Should I swim to the pool with you?"


So Blake did the worm out of the room, oscillating along the floor. I think I actually died from laughing and I'm typing this from the afterlife. Kids are funny, and if your husband happens to be funny too, you've hit the jackpot. (Even if no-one else thinks he's funny, it still counts.)

Delphine's into fairy tales. She likes "Goldilocks", "The Three Little Pigs", "Little Red Riding Hood", "Henny Penny" and "The Three Billy Goats Gruff". Reading fairy tales to her has made me realize how common fairy tale references are; they're everywhere. I am so pleased and excited to be introducing her to this piece of our culture. This is why I became a mother: I get such pleasure from reading, from knowing about things, from recognizing things in unexpected places, from putting ideas together, from intellectual life in general, and I am so keen to share that with my children. I guess this is why athletic types like to take their kids out to play ball and stuff, and why it's so purturbing to have a child who doesn't share your way of thinking.

We've also started reading Dennis Lee poems, and she has a few of them memorized. "Mumbo, Jumbo, Christopher Columbo, sitting on the sidewalk chewing bubble gumbo; I think I catch a WHALE; I think I'll catch a snail; I think I'll sit around a while, chewing bubble gumbo." It's nice to have these things in your head so you have something to say to yourself while you're, you know, in the shower or walking around. She has an uncanny recall for text and poems; yesterday I caught her reciting entire paragraphs of "Henny Penny" to herself. I don't know if that's unusual or just part of the incredible learning machine that is a little kid's brain.

But I'm glad to be filling it with these things; what do kids who aren't read to talk about to themselves?

She's about, oh, eighty percent potty trained. How did we do it? I don't really know. We read lots of books about it, and talked about it a lot, and worried about it a lot, but we didn't reward her or coax her (much). In the end she has almost potty trained herself, just like the books said she would.

She still chooses to wear pull-ups some days, but she always poops in the toilet, and when she pees in her diaper it's because she has decided to do so. How do I know? Because she tells me about it. "Do we pee in diapers?" "Yeah, you can pee in your diaper. Do you want to go pee in the toilet?" "No, I will pee in my diaper." Waits... "I need a new diaper." Fortunately she can change her own diaper now. Hooray for pull-ups!

Incidentally, according to that history of childcare book I read, apparently the potty training of Louis the somethingth of France started when he was eighteen months, and ended when he was around three, so this timetable for toileting isn't some product of our degenerate times and diaper companies; it's just when the brain is ready. (Although I still think you can train, in the Pavlovian sense, your baby or young toddler to go in the potty if you work on it.)

What else? She dresses herself, although not usually as promptly as I would like her to. She loves to wear her yellow rain jacket and gets very angry when she has to wear her snowsuit instead. She eats, but not very much, and I am afraid I don't make fruit and vegetables enough of a priority. When you only eat (apparently) half a cup of food a day, it's easy to fill yourself up with meat and bread. I am trying harder.

This weekend we had our first bona fide scary toddler-running-into-traffic moment (and hopefully our last). There wasn't really any traffic, it was a little tiny street next to a park and there weren't any cars on it, but it was still very bad and there was angriness and a stern talking to. What happened was that she was wandering around the park with a friend, and neither she nor her friend were responding to me or the friend's mother calling their names. They got a little too far away from us and too close to the street, and just wandered out between the parked cars.

I'm not sure whether, at this age, I should expect her to respond to verbal commands (and I have just failed to instill that in her), or whether she's still young enough that I need to stay close and keep control over her physically. Either way, I will definitely stay closer to her from now on, in potentially alarming situations like that.

Conversations with Delphine, V

This morning Delphine slept late, and she was in an exceptionally chatty mood when she woke up. She came into bed with farting on the mind, and asked,

"Who farted?"

"I don't know," I said, "who?"

"I think Zaida farted."


"Zaida has a big white moustache. And hair. His hair match his moustache." A pause. "Zaida is very old."

Who's in charge here?

How many times have I publically declared that we will start potty training TOMORROW here? Three? Four? Guess what we still haven't done?

I think I have overloaded myself with information on this matter because I flip-flop, literally every day, between (in a deep, gruff voice) Being The Boss and telling Delphine it's time to start using the potty, or (in a light, floaty, slightly mocking voice) Waiting until She Is Ready. The consensus in modern theory seems to lean towards letting her decide, with vague handwaving talk of Negative Consequences if I force the issue. At this point I am leaning towards going with the consensus on the basis that if it turns out to be the wrong decision I can pull out the "everyone was doing it" defense. That's not a defense I have a lot of respect for, though.

This is complicated and irritated by the fact that Delphine has decided to stop pooping. Pooping is unpleasant and smelly and generally beneath someone such as her. However her body didn't get the memo, so at around 4:00 every day (her body would like to be regular) I am faced with a two-year-old frantically waddling around, penguin-style, moaning "My bum hurts! My bum is sore!" Every third day or so her body wins.

Altogether this means I am spending much more time than I would like to thinking about, talking about, and reading about poop. (Did you know Everybody Poops? I have a book that says so.) I am done. I need a poop holiday.

Everything else is going okay, though. We are reading more and more meaty books (I even got a picture-book version of The Secret Garden!) together. We just discovered Curious George, which I don't remember reading as a kid but quite like now. I gather there is a movie coming out -- we will be sure not to go. (I think two-and-a-half is too young to sit through a whole movie. She can hardly pay attention through a 20-minute Baby Einstein DVD.)

We still don't watch much TV with her. She gets one or two 20 minute DVDs a week, and we almost always watch with her. Actually, she watched TV by herself for the first time yesterday, while I did a Grocery Gateway order. I felt strangely neglectful and inclined to crack open a can of cheap beer and light a cigarette.

(Actually I think I might buy some beer this weekend. Maybe some popcorn too.)

She has lots of dollies now: a Cabbage Patch baby named Phoebe from Baba, a homemade rag doll (with no fixed name that I can ascertain) from my mother, and her first dolly, a rag doll named Boy which Auntie J'Anne gave her. She also has a variety of stuffed animals, which rotate in and out of her favour. My favourite is a purple and orange orangutan-type thing named George. She likes to put her babies to sleep, and push them around in her push cart, and generally leave them underfoot for me to step on and swear. (I am turning into my mother.) Phoebe and the rag doll are both naked at all times, as were my dolls when I was a child. The only reason Boy has clothes is that they are stitched on.

She also likes to play with the Fisher-Price Little People house I got her for Christmas, and to draw and colour. Her drawings are getting more representational, they are no longer just scribbles. Now they're circles and lines which are arbitrarily (probably not to her) assigned meaning: this blob with lines coming out is a mouse, and this smaller blob is a banana. She likes to help in the kitchen too; she stirs things. That's about all I let her do so far, since she's clearly too young for fire and sharp things.

She's cute; she's lovely; she's funny and interesting and I like her very much.

Conversations with Delphine, Part IV

I went to pick her up after her nap. She seemed quite pleased, and said:

"I yike dis."

She rolled something around in her mouth and said:

"I yike dis fing in my mouf."

"What do you have in your mouth?"

"A booger."

Ah. A booger. "Where did you get the booger?"

"I got it out of my nose."

My friend Kathryn broke her ankle, and we went to visit her over the Christmas holiday. Yesterday Delphine said, "My ankle hurts."

"Your ankle hurts?"

"Yeah. I was walking, and I slipped."

That's what we told her happened to Kathryn, so I said, "Oh, like Kathryn!"

"Yeah, yike Kafryn. Yike my beautiful Kafryn."

Okay then. You want me to get her number, maybe set up a date?

Delphine talking to Morgan: "Daddy can hold two girlies! He is big and strong. Yike Zaida. Yike your Erik."

Becoming Three

Delphine is going through changes: she's gradually transforming from an obstinate and contrary two to a considerate and obedient three. She no longer says "No!" automatically. She wants to please: when she is misbehaving and Blake or I am annoyed she asks "Are you happy?"; the two-year-old sometimes wins out, though: "Are you happy?" "No, Delphine, I'm not happy." "Yes! You're happy!"

On Thursday she suddenly started asking "Why?", and it's a favourite conversational gambit now. It makes a pleasant change from "No".

She makes me laugh all the time. The other day as I was getting dressed I put a couple of breast pads on the bed. Delphine seized them and trotted away, saying "I need pads because my boobies are dripping", and clutched them to her little proto-boobs.

Sometimes she doesn't like being laughed at, especially when she's angry. So she says "Don't laugh!", except it comes out "Don' yaff!" Which of course makes me yaff all the more. Poor thing.

We haven't got anywhere with potty training; I was going to put her in big girl pants this weekend because Blake's got some time off, but I haven't yet. It just seems like a lot of work. News at 11! Parenting hard! I have to get on with it, though, because Delphine's totally ready. She spends ages making her Little People go to the bathroom in her new Little People house. All they seem to do is take turns peeing, complete with pulling down of pants, and wiping with toilet paper and washing hands. She declares "I have to pee" often. The only thing she doesn't do is actually use the toilet, and I figure that's only because so far she hasn't had to. A couple of accidents might convince her to figure it out.

Tomorrow. I swear we will start tomorrow.

(Mystifying) Conversations with Delphine

We're reading Franklin Rides a Bike. It's all about how practicing at stuff makes you better (a lesson, incidentally, that I didn't learn until I got to university, and then it was only when I noticed how much better my typing was after spending so much time on But I digress.) Franklin Rides A Bike says "Fox tried and tried [to hit a baseball], and one day, he hit a home run!"

Delphine: And who else hit a home run?
Me: I don't know, who else? Delphine?
Delphine: Yeah. And Mummy! And Cordelia!
Me: Did Zaida hit a home run?
Delphine, in the tone of one speaking to the village idiot: No! Zaida's a boy!

Huh. I wish I could get into her head and figure out what she thinks a home run is.

Delphine can't pronounce "l"s. It's not a big deal -- you're not supposed to be able to pronounce everything until you're five. But it gives her a unique accent, and I am always interested to see what she substitutes for L. Franklin is "Frankwin". "Mary had a little lamb" is "Mary had a yittle yamb". And Cordelia is just "Cordeeya", with a long Italian-style double-e.

I think she also uses "f" instead of "th", but I am so used to her accent that I don't really notice. (This happens to me a lot -- I will get so used to mentally translating accents that I forget people have them. I'm especially good at Chinese accents, but it kind of blew my mind when I talked to a Chinese guy in England, at my last job. Instead of having a Canadian Chinese accent he had an English Chinese accent. It took me a few seconds to recalibrate my accent filter and figure out what he was saying.)

Conversations with Delphine

Delphine and I were drawing, and I had drawn her a spider. She told me to give him a crayon, so I drew a purple crayon. Then she asked me to draw him a hand (to hold the crayon with), which I did. Then I said "Should I give him a hat?"

She said, "No, he is not going outside."

Okay, then.

We went to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair last weekend, and we brought back a block of fudge. The next day I gave a little piece to Delphine. She asked "Is it from the fair?" I said yes.

"Thank you fair!"

I was folding laundry and every so often I would ask Delphine what something was. (Life is one big pop quiz when you're a toddler.) I held up a pair of Blake's underwear and said "What's this?"

"Daddy's big-girl pants."

We were reading nursery rhymes, and I started reading one out. Delphine said "No, no, Mummy, that's my!" ("My" is "mine".) And then she read it out. After she was done I turned the page and said "Do you want to do this one too?"

"No, you can do it. It's not hard."


She's such a little person. She is taking really well to the baby; she comforts her ("It's okay, baby, you don't have to cry.") and tucks blankets around her and stuffs the soother in her mouth (whether she wants it or not) and wants me to help her when she cries.

Today Blake took the day off (because he is a good husband. Delphine was only in daycare one day this week, and Blake has only been back at work for a couple of weeks so he knew that I was kind of overwhelmed by the idea of four days this week with both girls, so he took the day off today. He doesn't bring me flowers or take me out to fancy dinners, but stuff like that is so much better.) and we played. Delphine and I made pancakes (she is a top-notch stirrer) for breakfast, and then we went down to the playground at the school. Blake and Delphine ran around and climbed stuff while I watched and held Cordelia. Then we came home for hot chocolate and Jamaican patties, then a nap.

After naptime we played with Cordelia (Delphine blanketed and de-blanketed her about twenty times) and went out for coffee, and ate the rest of Delphine's Hallowe'en candy (she did not share). She played some games with her new flower toys, who are called Baba and Zeyda, and looked out the window. ("The clouds are pink, and white. There is water in the sky. Daddy! There is water in the sky.")

Then there was more patty, and Baba and Zeyda (the real ones) came over to pick Delphine up for her sleepover, which might just be a regular Friday thing. It was such a nice, easy, sweet day. The kind of day you imagine when you picture yourself with kids.

We are poking gingerly at the idea of potty training. Delphine is so conflicted between being a big girl with big girl pants, and being a little baby in diapers like Cordelia. It's painful to watch. We put her in pull-ups today but the experiment failed dismally; it's obvious she's not really ready. Fortunately they don't seem to mind changing diapers at daycare, even though she has moved to the preschool room.

I have a three-pronged plan of attack to get her out of diapers: First, I am going to help her practice getting to the potty (I think "run to the potty!" sounds like a fun game) and taking off her pants. Second, I'm going to try getting her to sit on the potty several times a day. Finally, I think I will also switch her back to cloth diapers. I'm getting sick of paying for disposable, and I think they will help her (and me) figure out when she has peed. Hopefully between that and the fact that all the kids in the preschool room are potty trained, she will soon be using the potty for herself, but if not I will launch a more intensive campaign in January, after the new baby/Christmas upheaval is over. Because what the hell else is there to do in January?

Almost Two and a Half

Delphine is almost two and a half. Today was her first day in the preschool room at daycare, so she has gone from being one of the oldest and most senior to being the youngest and not knowing what the hell is going on. It will prepare her for many more instances of the same transition.

It was a little sad dropping her off this morning. I couldn't help looking at it from her eyes; the preschool room is bigger than the toddler room, the furniture is bigger, the other kids are bigger and louder and there are more of them, and she doesn't know anyone. It was all a little overwhelming and scary and I felt bad for her. It's hard not to want to protect her from any scary situation, even though I know she is going to have to learn to deal with life sooner or later.

Fortunately some kids she knew from the toddler room who had graduated earlier showed up, and she got comfortable. When we went to pick her up she was sitting in a circle being read to, which is about her favourite thing. Also she got Hallowe'en goody bags from the toddler room and the preschool room, because she spent part of the day back in toddlers as part of the transition process. Score!

Delphine is taking to Cordelia very well. She likes to touch her and kiss her, and when Cordelia cries Delphine likes to know why, and to help take care of her. This morning we were all sitting on the floor reading a book, and I decided to nurse Cordelia. As soon as I started Delphine went and got us a pillow, which is what Blake usually does.

She is a little jealous, especially when the baby gets to go in the sling or the carrier, but she never takes it out on the baby. She takes it out on us with the whining! And the carrying on! A two-year-old with something to whine about is like a dog with a bone.

We're starting to work on discipline, which in our case generally means "getting her to pick stuff up". She's a great one for dropping things on the ground wherever they happened to lose her interest, and between the baby and my bad back I am not much inclined to pick up her trail all day. Unfortunately neither is she. I haven't had a great deal of luck getting her to obey me when I tell her to pick things up, but I am trying to be consistent and get down to her level and "help" her pick things up and so on.

This seems to be her personal battle; I have been able to institute other rules, like "give me your jacket when we get home" and "don't get down from the table unless you are done eating" pretty successfully.

What else? She's really verbal -- she talks in whole sentences and constructs new words and new phrases using the rules she has already learned. It's cool! I can have conversations with her. She still refers to herself in the third person interrogative, though; she says "are you hungry?" when she is hungry. I'm not sure whether to go along with it or to pretend I don't know what she means and take her literally to force her to use the correct grammar. I am leaning towards the former, though; she knows I know what she means, so it's kind of patronizing to pretend I don't. And she will figure out how to communicate properly sooner or later; it's what she's hardwired to do.

Two and Two Months

Delphine is twenty six months old (or thereabouts) and all seems to be well. She talks in full sentences, and occasionally they are gramatically perfect, which is a bit of a thrill.

She's still in daycare, three days a week. She is quite stuck on one of the other kids there, a little boy named Antonio. She has taught herself to jump two-footed, and when she does it she says "Are you jumping like Antonio?" (She communicates a lot in rhetorical questions.) And whenever we talk about daycare, Antonio's name is always the first to come up. "Who did you see at daycare?" "Antonio." "Who is going to be at daycare today? "Antonio." Antonio is a very boisterous and energetic little boy, kind of the alpha male of daycare, and I don't know if he holds her in the same regard, but I don't think she really cares.

Her latest literary love is Franklin the Turtle. My dad sent her a couple of Franklin books for her birthday. I was a little skeptical at first because they are pretty wordy - several paragraphs - and they are just prose, not rhyme. But she sits through them and asks for them again and again. We also go back to the usual favourites all the time; "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish", "Each Peach Pear Plum", and lots of nursery rhymes.

We haven't really started potty training in earnest. I'm hoping it will just happen all by itself. We have a potty, and sometimes she sits on it, but never for long enough for a result. They also encourage her to sit on the toilet at daycare (they have the cutest little toddler sized toilets), so I'm hoping one day soon something will happen. Antonio is close to being potty trained; maybe that will help.

We're having trouble with sleep; for the last week (or two?) she has been resisting going to bed, and crying for ages before finally sleeping. We have been going in to see her intermittently. She always has a raft of byzantine demands; a different blanket, Boy (her doll) in the crib, Boy out of the crib, a kleenex, and so on. Clearly she is just stalling, and it was working really well for her; lots of attention and extra time with Mummy and Daddy..

But I got Weissbluth's "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" out of the library again and having re-read the first few chapters, I think that she is probably sleep-deprived because we moved her bedtime later a few weeks ago. (In addition to the trouble sleeping, she has also been acting very two-ish in the afternoons and evenings -- very contrary and tantrumy and generally not like herself at all.)

So we are going to move her bedtime back up to 6:30 or 6:00 (even though I have no idea how we're going to make it work with our schedules) and starting tomorrow we will let her cry herself to sleep instead of going in every few minutes. It's mean but it works. I was going to start today, but Blake thought it would be nicer to go in one last time and explain to her that he wasn't going to come back, and she should just go to sleep. Sure enough, she didn't cry after that, so maybe the same thing will work tomorrow.

So, in general, she is getting smarter, and I think prettier, and definitely taller. I think my very favourite thing is when Blake brings her into the bedroom first thing in the morning, and she says "Hi Mummy!" and we cuddle and read books.

Like Baba.

Amy made some really tasty chicken for dinner last night, and when Delphine saw Amy's drumstick, she immediately wanted one for herself. And thus, this picture-entry was born.

I see someone takes after their Baba.

Who, me?