Delphine (old posts, page 7)

P-t-e-r-a-n-o-d-o-n spells Pteranodon!

The other day Delphine peered intently at the world map we got for my birthday for a while, and then announced "I read San! S-a-n is San!" That's the first word she has read apart from her name and a few words that she'd memorized like "o-f-f off" and "n-o no". And it's in Spanish! She's bilingual!

Then later she read the first syllable of "Doritos", which is now that I think about it, faux-Spanish. I'm going to assume that's a coincience until I get more data. Anyway the point is she's almost reading! Hooray!

Delphine Goes to Kindergarten

Delphine is four years and five months old, and she just started Junior Kindergarten. She's in a mixed JK/SK class and she loves it. When people ask if she likes Kindergarten she says "Fun!" That seems to take them by surprise.

On the first day of Kindergarten Delphine didn't cry or cling, she marched right in there with, literally, not a backward glance. (I actually had to call her back for a kiss.) I guess all that daycare paid off.

When I went to pick her up she said "I have a new best friend!" When I asked her name, Delphine didn't know. Ah well. It's now a few weeks later and she knows the names of everyone in her class. In fact, the other day we were at the grocery store when some little boy in a grocery cart said "Hi Delphine!" It's really weird when your kid all of a sudden knows people you have barely heard of, let alone met.

It's taking a while for us to get into the new routine after a long summer of sloth. Summer was lovely; we spent our time in the garden, going to the library, going to music class, watching the deck being built, sitting on the deck, generally just kicking around. Delphine had so little to do that she spent her time growing: altogether she has grown four and a half centimeters since her birthday. I was measuring her every two weeks!

Delphine wants to be a paleontologist. She is all about dinosaurs lately; one of the main activities on Thanksgiving was making a cardboard model of a stegosaurus with Auntie J'Anne. She knows, well, plenty of the most popular dinosaurs (your Tyrannosaurus, your Stegosaurus, your Apatosaurus, your Ankylosaurus, and so on) and the December 15th re-opening of the dinosaur gallery at the ROM is a red-letter day in our calendar. This seems to have ameliorated the princess thing somewhat, thank heaven. Now she waffles between being a fairy princess or being a parasaurolophus for Hallowe'en.

Delphine's getting really good at riding her bike. Not really riding, of course, she still has training wheels, but she can keep up a pretty good clip and she doesn't tend to fall over at every curb. I don't let her get much practice because I am a mean and lazy mum and I don't want to bother with carrying a helmet and locking up the bike and hanging on to her crossing streets while pushing Cordelia, and stuff. But somehow she has still managed to improve, and I harbour hope that she will magically learn to ride safely without any practice at all. Or maybe I will get Blake to take her out.

Delphine still loves to be read to. We just bought a whole pile of Robert Munsch books which are a hit, plus a few Sam and Stella books (by Marie Louise Gay) which both Delphine and Cordelia love. (I love Scholastic. They do sell some crap, but their good deals are great.) We also plough through some incredibly advanced dinosaur books; I don't know how much is sinking in, but she sits and listens for ages. Incidentally, I just got a picture book about the latest dinosaur science; sort of an "everything you thought you knew about dinosaurs is wrong!" kind of thing. I am a little conflicted about reading it to her; on the one hand I know I love to have the latest information about things. On the other hand I know it takes the wind out of my sails to know that all those pictures of Apatosaurs with their heads up in the air are wrong. It's kind of depressing, like what else in this book is wrong? But then that's science; if we wanted certainty we would read her Bible stories.

On that note I am going to go sit on the couch and eat sweet potato pie. I love pie. (But not as much as Delphine! We were having pie the other day and she said she loves it more than cake. The Cake or Pie war continues. Don't worry, cake, I will never put you second to pie.)

Midnight Cravings?

A couple of months ago Blake and I were just settling into bed at around 11:00. Just as we were dropping off to sleep we heard the familiar Thud. Creak. Thud thud thud thud thud of Delphine getting out of bed and coming down the hall to our room. She came in and stood silently on Blake's side of the bed. Finally he asked, "What do you need, Delphine?"

"Choux pastry!"

Silence, then, "Would you like me to tuck you back into bed?"


Whatever happened to...

Delphine loves to know whether things are real or pretend, so after a lengthy discussion about ghosts (starting with "what do ghosts eat?") she changed the subject:

"Are dinosaurs real?"

"Not any more. They're all dead."

"Why are they all dead?"

"Well, that's a good question." (The lovely thing about having children is that you can occasionally answer questions with that without meaning "I don't know.") I then took a big breath, about to explain the asteroid theory (because who doesn't love the idea of a flaming rock flying at us from space?) when Delphine advanced her own theory.

"Maybe they're all dead because people took the bones out of them to put in museums."

Well, I can't say I'd thought of that.

Delphine Talk

Delphine says "Do you remember when I was three (free) but not even three and a half and we lived in the old house..." Or, while we were in the middle of the reno, "...and we were not renovating" Ah, the good old days when we were not renovating.

We finally managed to drag the electric piano upstairs and the girls love it; Cordelia just bashes away but Delphine would really like to play properly. I am going to see if there are decent piano lessons available for four-year-olds. In the meantime, though, she calls the high notes "light" and the low notes "dark"; synaesthesia or just good sense?

Delphine Watches TV

Sometime in the last six months, Delphine has gone from a little kid who almost never watches TV to a little kid who habitually watches one or two shows every day. It started after we moved, when the house was littered with choking hazards, falling hazards, breaking hazards and general getting in the way hazards and the TV was a handy way of keeping Delphine happy in one place. Since then we just haven't seemed to phase it out, and now I let her watch a couple of shows when Cordelia is napping.

Delphine doesn't like anything with any kind of, how to put this... conflict. She is still very easily scared so we stick with shows where the conflict is mainly inter-personal or internal -- Max can't find his monster mask; Franklin needs help tying knots. Even still, she hides her head in the couch for the scary bits of Franklin and the Thunderstorm.

So we watch Franklin (love that theme music!), Max and Ruby (but it's just not the same now that Samantha Morton isn't voicing Ruby), Timothy Goes To School, and of course Charlie and Lola, which I love because it's so very very English and I'm a big ol' Anglophile. If you can be a -phile of what you are, anyway.


Delphine just had her fourth birthday! To celebrate, Blake took the day off work and we had a nice quiet day together. We all went to the bike shop and Delphine got herself a new green bicycle! It's very pretty and she rides with verve and confidence, mainly because they have numerous pedalled vehicles at daycare. She also got a Playmobil house, which seemed exorbitant but I hope it will amuse her and Cordelia for years to come. Playmobil stuff is so cool.

Those were the main presents; in addition to that bounty she got a puzzle, a Little Red Riding Hood Cape, a bunch of books, some markers and paints... all kinds of things. I almost never buy her any toys apart from at Christmas and birthdays, so she gets buried under an avalanche of stuff twice a year.

Later on Delphine's big day, Ursa and her mom and new baby brother came over, along with Baba and Zaida and Morgan and Erik. We all had pizza and cake (yellow cake with pink lemonade icing) and everyone seemed to have a nice time. I was torn between having a big party, which I really didn't want to do, and just having a family dinner which seemed too small and quiet. I think the extended family plus Ursa gathering that eventually happened (after a whole day of planning) was perfect.

We have taken Delphine out of daycare. It was a decision after its time, since daycare was just a big indulgence what with me not working and all. I am a little scared of the prospect of life without "days off"; I got a lot of mileage out of the just-Cordelia days, running errands and doing housework. But plenty of people somehow manage to run their households while raising all their children, so I am sure I will manage it too. Delphine will quite enjoy it, I think; for the last few weeks she has been saying she doesn't want to go to daycare, she just wants to stay home with me. Be careful what you wish for, child. I suspect she will be quite happy to go to Kindergarten in the fall.

Delphine and I are reading Ramona the Pest, an actual novel-type book with chapters and really very few pictures! It was recommended in a "Read to your Kids" book I just read, and I thought I would give it a whirl. I suspected Delphine would get sick of it after a page of two without pictures, but she sits patiently and listens, and wants to carry on to the next chapter ever night. I am very excited to read her a book I remember enjoying myself, a real proper book!


It's not all puppies and roses with Delphine. She's testing us all the time lately, on matters both trivial and not. This morning we wanted her to be quiet so she wouldn't wake up Cordelia, and instead she screamed "I don't want to be quiet!" Cordelia woke up, I got really mad at Delphine. So I pinched her.

I don't want to admit that, because some people think I'm such a great mother, but I have to be honest. There are people who read this blog who have crazy kids (like mine), who have trouble handling their anger, who have made parenting mistakes, and to sit here and act like Delphine is always good and I am always cool and perfect would be a disservice to them and to the whole concept of talking about parenting.

I wasn't cool — I was really really angry because it was 5:30 in the morning and I wanted Cordelia to stay asleep and Delphine picked that stupid time to see if we were serious about the "be quiet" thing.

I didn't pinch her all that hard, but I wanted to. This isn't the first time I have wanted to hurt her because I was angry, but it's the first time I ever did it. I hope it's the last. I have a horrible temper and Delphine is trying it more and more lately. Hopefully this testing phase will pass quickly, but of course there will be other irritating phases in the future. As is always the case on all those parenting shows, the problem that needs to be fixed is me.

Anyway, now Delphine is happily reading books to her Daddy, none the worse for her experience. I just hope I can keep the ratio of good parenting to appalling mistakes high enough that she is always resilient enough to bounce back so easily from my bad behaviour.

You should need a license...

Blake said I should post something to the weblog, so I direct your attention to this Government of Canada site about car seats, specifically the answer to question number nine, "Are there other concerns in the use of a infant car seat outside a vehicle?"
Two incidents have been reported where infants in infant car seats were left unattended on hot stoves, resulting in one death and one infant suffering serious burns.

Conversations With Delphine, Part VII: Beer

One the way home from daycare I stopped off at the LCBO to buy beer because it was just that hot.

"Erik likes this," said Delphine as we walked through the store. "Erik likes these", she said, as we walked into the beer section.

"Mummy likes these too, and Auntie Morgan," I said.

"No! Just Erik. What is this called?"

"It's called beer."

"Oh. I don't drink beer. I'm too little."

"That's right."

"When I am older I will drink beer. But not now. I am still young."

It's good to have something to look forward to.

Conversations with Delphine, Part 6

She doesn't say such curious things any more, because her language skills are better, but she's still pretty amusing.

Today I went to pick her up from daycare, and asked if she wanted to wear her sweater home. She said "I would rather not wear my sweater." We don't talk down to her or modulate our vocabulary or grammar, so she comes out with these very grown-up-sounding words and constructs. Maybe they're only funny if you can hear them coming out of a three-year-old.

On the way home we walked past another mother with a baby, and Delphine said, loudly and in a scandalized tone, "The baby has no shoes on!" Fortunately the other mother just laughed.

After supper Blake arrived home, having biked. It's warm today so he was pretty sweaty. Delphine said "You're wet like water, Daddy! We could swim in you!"