Dec 302013
 

The end of the year, that is. It’s been so long since I tried to sit down and capture thoughts (instead of simply share pictures), I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t think I’ve rambled about life and kids in nearly three months. Chilkat and Chilkoot will of course receive most of the attention, but I expect I’ll be writing a pretty long post. For those who will skip this because it’s just too long, here’s the condensed version: Lotsa stuff happened. Happy New Year!

On Chilkat

She’s approaching three years of age. She’s no less opinionated than before. Verbal communication with her is pretty straightforward. She still has some pronunciation issues (she’s not even three, man, back off!) and she still likes to say “this” or “that” without clearly specifying its target. Obviously, KrisDi and I communicate better with her than other people, since we spend much more time with her and know more about the context in her head. She tends to answer questions with “I don’t know” even though she definitely knows, but then whisper the right answer. It reminds me of the character Brick.

She wants to do more and more things by herself:

  • Picking her outfit (I’m totally in support of this, no matter how much dismay other family members may experience)
  • Putting on and taking off clothes. I taught her how to take off shirts fairly robustly, but she still needs help getting one on most of the time. She can get her pants and underwear on without help, but frontness and backness seem to defy her.
  • Getting on and off the potty
  • Getting on and off the barstools — she has known for a long time how to get up on our tallish barstools, but has had to ask for help getting down. I showed her step by step how to get down all by herself safely, and she was exceedingly proud of her new skill. She immediately practiced several times, and then showed off to her mom (who was duly impressed)

Yesterday, Les and D watched Chilkoot so we could take Chilkat to her first movie. We watched Frozen. She was pretty good — we took her to a Sunday matinee, so it was mostly other kids. I had to shush her loud talking several times, which yielded some mild yelling in return, but for the most part, much better than I expected. She also ate almost an entire hamburger.

She’s very interested in letters and numbers. She can mostly sing the alphabet song, but she often skips DEF and gets the J and the K mixed up, but she’s pretty reliable on the rest. She can recognize a lot of letters, maybe half or a little more, both upper and lower case. She can recognize her name when it’s written out clearly. She can spell no, Mommy, Daddy, and yes. Every time she sees a McDonalds, she yells, “Look! M for Mommy!” She still reliably counts to twelve and loses reliability after that. She can usually recognize numbers, but she gets some of them mixed up. She doesn’t get the idea of putting more than one digit together to create a number larger than 9, but she’ll figure it out.

When she wakes up on her own (weekends, holidays, and Christmas vacation), she’ll generally get herself out of bed and out of her room, and wander around bleary eyed for a while. She’ll usually come join us if we just tell her where we are, but sometimes she gets all whiny and you have to go and carry her down.

She was very excited about Christmas this year. She knows Santa was in the North Pole, and waited until Christmas to come down. She also knows Santa came while she was sleeping. She got lots of toys and more fancy clothes than she’ll be able to wear while they fit. Luckily we went out and bought clearance Target clothes for day care. I’m waiting for us to just start using fancy dresses and whatnot as daily wear-around-the-house stuff for her. She had a strange reaction to present opening; she quickly got tired of it. She acted all frustrated and exasperated when a new present was presented to her, but she was still excited to get new stuff.

With her increasing understanding of what’s going on around her and ability to communicate what she wants and recognize that she’s not getting it, her willfulness is getting expressed more and more regularly and clearly. And consequently she’s getting yelled at more. Typically by me.

She really likes her teacher at day care, Miss Christie. Sometimes she pretends she’s Miss Christie, and her stuffed buddies are the kids. Once she asked me to be Miss Christie, and have circle time. I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to do, until she asked me, “Miss Christie, can I sit in your lap?”

Mom recently told me that Chilkat seems smarter at her age than I did at a similar age. I’m not sure if Mom’s calling me dumb or Chilkat smart, but I think this child is freaky smart. She remembers, understands, generalizes, extrapolates, analogizes, observes, and communicates to a degree that continues to surprise me. But, this could just be because I’m dumb, and she seems impressive because she surpasses me in these areas.

We just played a memory game she got for Christmas (the kind with pictures on cards that come in pairs, you array out in front of you, and get to turn them over until you find pairs, trying to remember everything anyone has turned over). Chilkat won pretty honestly the first game against me and KrisDi. Beating me in this is not much of an accomplishment; beating KrisDi is pretty good. She kind of shocked me with how much she clearly remembered correctly, not just guessed. She had some trouble following the rules and concentrating on the game, but she’s not quite three, as I’ve mentioned, and this is to be expected to some level (although I still find it frustrating because I’m an asshole).

Of course, we try to take advantage of her abilities. For example, KrisDi taught her to respond to the compliment, “You’re cute, Chilkat!” with, “I’m the total package!”

On Chilkoot

He’s a sitter now. He can sit unassisted, although he’s prone to falling over if he reaches for something or turns his head or is sideswiped by a passing breeze. He can get up on all fours, and he wants to move oh so badly. He’s basically mastered the jumpy seat. He’ll usually sit in there without much assistance if he’s well fed, well rested, and he can see a parent’s face or watch his sister. He has discovered his fingers. Occasionally, he’ll sit and stare at his hand as he flexes his fingers.

He makes syllable noises now. “Dadadadada…” and “Ahhyadadada” and whatnot. He loves his mom, and gets upset when she leaves his line of sight. He usually has big smiles for either parent, but if he’s giving up Mom for Dad, that might result in a tantrum.

He had a few weeks recently where he wasn’t sleeping as awesomely, but he’s mostly back into a good routine now. Last night he slept about 10 hours. I even put him to bed, which is odd. He hasn’t been swaddled in a while, and he’ll frequently sleep on his side or stomach now. Last night he slept chest down and butt up like his big sister used to do.

Chilkoot is grabby as hell. He wants to grab everything. Especially things people are holding near him. Or his sister’s hair (which is exciting, with his iron grip of death). If he successfully grabs onto anything with less mass than an elephant, it is immediately drawn toward his mouth. His strength is alarming. If I have one child who is clearly smarter than me, was it a good idea to have another who will clearly be stronger than me?

So, last time I posted, Chilkoot was just starting to go to day care. He’s doing fine there. There’s nothing really special to note, except that the care lady seems to think he “does more” (i.e. jabbers, sits, grabs, watches…) than other kids that are a few months older than him.

On the Parents

Our camera broke. Something about buying a used camera and then taking ~25,000 pictures with it might have had something to do with. Canon did a poor job of telling us what was actually wrong and accounting for the money we spent on the repair, but they did a great job of collecting the money promptly. If you’re curious, we got the nice camera when Chilkat was 262 days old, which is well to the right of the end of this chart. I think you’ll see an elbow at that point in Chilkat’s curve, whenever Chilkoot gets there. I think the difference in camera technology accounts for the fact that we have more pictures of Chilkoot.

Surprisingly, Chilkoot is winning. But, we've had a nice camera his whole life.

Kid photos by age (in days)

We had snow a little more than a week ago. Not much, but enough to make the roads a bit slicker than I expected. I wrecked my car. Slid in the snow and hit the curb at a bad angle. Busted a tie rod, some other minor damage. About $3,000 to repair. Still at the shop. Sucko. Someone has to revoke my NoDak card.

Starting New Year’s Day, I will be a supervisor for eight people. This is a promotion, but I’m not convinced it’s a good idea. I have thought a lot about it, and took more than a week to make the decision, and I probably would have declined the opportunity if I felt it was a one-way-only route. I have confidence that if I hate it or suck at it, my management will let me go back to the previous non-supervisory role that I’ve been in for some time. This is a pretty big deal to me, and I don’t know what to make of it yet.

If you know me, you know I’m a beer geek. I’ve tried many beers. Probably not 1,000 different ones, but probably not far from it. I’ve participated slightly in the homebrew process several times. I have come to the conclusion that while homebrewing is fun and interesting, it’s much more cost and time efficient to buy good beer than to brew bad-to-mediocre beer until I get good enough at it to make good beer. At least until I have more spare time at home. One of the gifts I requested for Christmas was a book about tasting beer. It contains quite a bit more than just tasting information. It’s pretty interesting. It’s a mark of how beer-nerdy I am that I want to spend my limited reading time reading about something I drink regularly.

On Christmas Eve at E Dubs’, I had a blind Double IPA taste test. E Dubs, P Dubs, and I have had a several idle discussions specifically concerning the relative ranking of 90 Minute, Whoop Pass, and Double Jack. We never tried any of them side by side. So, I brought those three plus Sucks, Green Bullet, Hop Stoopid, Celebration, Sculpin, and Hercules. So I wouldn’t know exactly what was in the mix, I asked KrisDi to select only three of the extra six. E Dubs, P Dubs, and I then blindly ranked them from  best to worst. “Least best” may be a better description. Long story short:

Double lines denote a

For the record, this is the ranking according to BeerAdvocate as of right now:

  1. Sculpin (98)
  2. / Double Jack (97)
  3. \ Sucks (97)
  4.  90 Minute (95)
  5. Hop Stoopid (94)
  6. Celebration (93)
  7. Hercules (92)
  8. Whoop Pass (90)
  9. Green Bullet (88)

I thought this was super interesting. I also don’t think I could do a similar tasting with more beers. After my first cycle through my samples, I laughed and said, “I wouldn’t be sad to have a pint of any of these!” I would do fewer next time. The only one I was able to correctly identify blindly was Sucks, even though I’ve had most of them in the last month. I’m most surprised at the relatively poor showing Hop Stoopid had. In comparison with the other beers, Hop Stoopid had a notable smoke/onion character that I have never noticed the many, many times I have enjoyed it on its own.

A lot of my spare time this break has actually been spent programming (and drinking beer). I have three programs that I’ve written over the course of the last few years that I regularly use for actual purposes. All of them are related to the way that I deal with photos. I use one in particular almost daily. I’ve actually had the chance to make a few improvements to this one, and I’m looking forward to using it over the next year and deciding what improvements to make next Christmas break.

In mid November, I got strep throat, or something very similar. It was pretty crappy. I had a fever for a week; it peaked at 102.5. It went away once I started taking amoxicillin. Since then, I’ve had a variety of stuffy nose, sore throat, and chest congestion. I haven’t been healthy in six weeks. Totally awesome. I think I breathed through my nose last night.

I asked KrisDi, “Aside from the kids, what’s going on?” Her response was, “Whaaa?” You know what are plans for New Year’s Eve are? Watch a movie after the kids are in bed.

Dec 272013
 

You just never know what will come out of a toddler’s mouth, but typically can be sure it will be either whiny or entertaining. With any luck it’s the latter and Chilkat lately has been *mostly* just that.

Another thing you can be sure of is that you will no longer have any privacy when you have a toddler, which leads me to my latest conversation with said toddler. It went as follows:

Me: [walks to the bathroom]
Chilkat: Mommy, what are you doin’?
Me: I have to go potty.
Chilkat: Are you telling me?
Me: Um sure, I’m telling you.
Chilkat: You need someone to watch you. I’ll do it.
Me: Um, ok thanks.
Chilkat: [proceeds to follow me into the bathroom and tries to sit on the lid of the big toilet like we do when she’s going potty in her little toilet.]
Me: Um, I need to use that.
Chilkat: Oh, ok. I’ll watch you from here.
Me: [proceeds to go and wipes]
Chilkat: Mommy, you’re going to get your hands dirty, You need to wash them.
Me: Don’t worry, I planned on that honey. [proceeds to wash hands.]

Then we leave the bathroom.
Papa: Did mommy wash her hands?
Chilkat: No.
Me: Yes I did.
Chilkat: No you didn’t. We need to have a talk about this. Go! Wash your hands!
Me: Ok. [and I proceed to wash my hands again]
This time she feels them to ensure they are still damp and concedes that I did in fact wash them.
*sigh* Toddlers.

In other news, Chilkoot has been such a chill and delightful baby, He’s recently been sitting unassisted very well and has made it onto all fours. It won’t be long before I have two mobile children. How’d that happen? God, help me.

 Posted by at 7:13 pm
Dec 172013
 

…and barely keeping up with life.

Hopefully during “Christmas Break” (read: “Two weeks of non-work-related hassle”), I’ll have time to hastily splatter some words on your screen and pretentiously portray it as painstakingly prepared prose.

So, here’s two batches of photos from November. The first half, and the second half. As you may have expected, most of the pictures are of the two most important children in the world.