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Thank you.



P.S. Don't think I won't come up with more annoying creative ways to keep you from forgetting. Love ya!
conuly: (Default)
That's this one. The toddler playground was closed for resurfacing. (And why is it that safety surfaces are invariably black? That just makes their heat-absorbing properties worse! Don't start me on the lack of shade in playgrounds either.)

Now, you know I've talked a lot before about absurd age-ranges on playgrounds. A playground marked for ages "5-12" when it's really more like a 3-9 set-up, or that bizarre one in California that claimed to be suited for kids aged 2-12 (no such thing).

This is one that works for a wide range of ages, this playground. Most of the structures are just hard enough to challenge an older kid, with an easier method for younger kids. Only one structure really was not Evangeline-safe - a platform with no way down but down the ladder or the firepole, and the whole thing some 7 feet up. (Alas, we were *up there* when I saw there was no way to get to the lower level that had a slide! So I had to call for help, and another woman lifted Evangeline down for me.)

The real plus of this playground, though, is that it's not just a random group of play structures. There's a "fort" that really works like a maze, and the sprinkler runs down a channel and makes a little bit of a pool at the end, and the whole place looks like it's just made for kids to run around and pretend in, instead of simply proving that they can climb really high.

More playgrounds should be built with that in mind.

Nearest bathroom is at Tavern on the Green, and they *will* let you use their toilets. Yay!
conuly: (Default)
But now that she's getting bigger, she's a little more interesting. And so, a story.

We were walking to the SICM. Ana was holding my left hand, the baby was on my back, looking towards the right.

Suddenly, she noticed that she couldn't see her sister! Oh no! So she started to call out for her lost sister...

"Anaaaa! Anaaaaaa!"

Then she turned around.



Me: Didn't see her up there, did you, baby?

Evangeline: Der-yu-arr!!!!! Eeeeeee! Eeeeeee! Ana! Eeeee! (yes, those ees were in the death screams of little babies. Right in my ear, no less!)

Finally, a cute story for her :)

I didn't win the contest to win an amauti. But the person who won deserved it, so I'm happy regardless.
conuly: (Default)
No, really. A pair of boys, dressed alike, who looked honest-to-God like Draco must've looked at age five, if he'd happened to wear nice quality Muggle clothing.

And then I saw the third one. Triplets. All dressed alike.

Sunday, I went out with Deniz, Ana, and Su while the respective other adults were busy. (There's another story about that coming, but wait until my thoughts make sense, 'k?) And the whole day was a mess of me yelling one, two, or even three wrong names (Evangeline wasn't even there, but I kept calling her name!) before I hit upon the correct one for the child I was intending to correct.

These kids don't look alike, and they sure weren't dressed alike. And I couldn't get their names right for the life of me.

So here's my question - why do people dress their multiples, especially those identical or very similar in appearance, alike? I'm not judging or criticizing, exactly, they clearly have their reasons - but whatever those reasons are, I simply can't fathom. And I want to know, I really do. All I know is that I don't have the brain power to do it, I'd go absolutely batty and the children in question would grow up insecure and altogether a bit confused about their own names.

So I just don't get it.

Thoughts? Answers? Help?

(I also met another young Topher today. This is me, being startled.)
conuly: (Default)
It's a room in the Children's museum with blocks, a pirate ship, a toy kitchen, and a heck of a lot of plastic dinosaurs.

Another adult was in there teaching his toddler the sounds of the various toy animals (many of which are dinosaurs), and dinosaurs of course, go raaaaar!!!!!

At this point, Mona points out to me that we don't, of course, *know* what dinosaurs said.

I mean, can you picture it? Here you are, walking around, munching on a couple of plants - and you hear it. The scariest sound in the world...


And you run in terror, because that is the sound of the T. Rex.


*cracks up laughing*

Mind, Mona may have been a bit loopy from fasting, but the image her innocent little comment brought in my mind is well worth it. I know now what I'll be teaching Evangeline to say....

Say it with me now:


Ana (again)

Oct. 1st, 2006 12:44 am
conuly: (Default)
Spent Saturday with her and Deniz while the respective parents got various things done. It was a pleasant day to start, so we went to the Central Park Zoo. Got out of the train, and it was already overcast. Got drizzly before we even left the zoo.

Totally unfair. Normally, you can go to the zoo when it's sunny, and it's really crowded - but it's a nice day out. Or you can go when it's overcast and have the place to yourselves. But we had to deal with crowds and clouds together, which was just plain meanness.

I spent a small fortune hyping these kids up on sugar Read more... )

It was a nice day out.
conuly: (Default)
I remember when she was looking for apartments, and I read over her shoulder that one she was looking at was in the "trendy St. George area of Staten Island". Because St. George is trendy now? I guess.

Anyway, it's a very nice place she's picked up. The kitchen's a weird shape, very long and boxy. Used to be a staircase there. A staircase with a door on top.

Yes... they have a door on the second floor that leads to a one story drop into the kitchen. I happened to look up while in the kitchen and spent the next few minutes lying on the floor laughing.

They door isn't blocked off yet - I don't even know that it's locked - so it makes perfect sense that Rachel told the kids to stop going up there "because it isn't safe, guys". Besides, they're doing some sort of work up there.

And I was so mad at Ana. We see Rachel all the time, she knows Rachel, and she knew that this was Rachel's new house. But she didn't listen to Rachel, she only listened when I told her she had to come. down. stairs. NOW.

Pulled that nonsense later when Rachel asked her to give a choking hazard to her. Stared for a minute until I told her to "do what she said" and then tried walking over to me and giving it to me instead of the adult who made the request. (Which would not have been bad in and of itself, it just struck me as terribly rude on top of originally completely ignoring Rachel's non-arbitrary request. Rachel always is careful to explain why she wants things done.)

I do not like this trend. Well, now Jenn and 'dul have seen the report, and if it happens again I'll tell them again.
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"My mommy dooz that!"

Not "does" but "dooz". Very nice, very regular, very wrong.

I've also heard "goed" a few times.

Of course, I tell Jenn when I see her (I saw her before 'dul), and point out that this is a Big Step, which she didn't get. "A big step back?"

But no, it's a step forward - Ana's seeing that language has rules, and she wants to know what they are. She's not just memorizing. This is a really big step forwards.

It's like with "behave". For a long time, if I told her to behave, and she thought she *was* behaving, I'd hear "I am hayve!"

But now she's realized that's not quite right, so I get to hear "I am hayving" or "I am being hayve" or things of that nature. Alas, the proper form is "I am behaving", but she hasn't figured it out yet. Oh well. She'll get there.

The baby now asks me to tickle her - she tickles herself for me. And she asks for milk. And if she wants me to pick something up, or give her a high five, or such, she'll take my hand and position it properly so I can do what she wants. Smart kid :)

Friday, we went to the SICM, as is our wont, and during tunnel time I really tried to not let her go in the tunnel, for fear that she'd stop midway and not want to come out. Well, that didn't happen. Exactly. Instead, she got to the end, saw me there waiting for her, and turned around. Got to the other end, saw me waiting for her, giggled and turned around. Eventually, I had to crawl in after her and push her out. Silly.
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I was out with Deniz and Ana while Jenn and Michele cleaned various houses. Including mine. So I didn't get paid in cash today :)

Deniz thought the sandbox game was quite fun. "YOU ATE THE SANDBOX! EW!" so, in payment, I'm giving the world the "Baby Dinosaur" game. Ana and Elliot love this game no end.

Read more... )

I don't know why, but this game is great fun. Apparently.

Kids are easy to amuse, eh?
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Annoyed isn't even the word.

Here I am, eating lunch with Ana, one of her friends, and the friend's family (mom, brother, nanny), and I pull out a bottle for the baby.

The mother happily (she thinks this is cool and impressive, I gather) tells the nanny that "the baby's still nursing at ten months. This is breastmilk - her mom pumps for her at work!" which is all true. (And to interrupt, that pumping thing makes the weirdest noise.)

And the nanny makes a face - actually makes a face like a child - and goes "Ew. I didn't need to hear that. I don't like seeing that."

Now, let's count how many ways she was rude:

1. She was, first off, rude to her boss, who clearly doesn't tell her things just to gross her out.
2. She was rude to me. I support Jenn in her breastfeeding and pumping. The pumping, I know from being told, is a lot of work. It's not an easy thing. And here I am, with a bottle of breastmilk in my hand, I don't need to be told it's disgusting.
3. She was rude to Ana, who also doesn't need to be told that other people might think what her mother does is gross.
4. She was rude to the baby. Granted, Evangeline doesn't understand any of this, but it is still *never* polite to make faces and rude comments about what another person is eating, especially not in their hearing. Which means...
5. She did wrong by all the kids at the table by setting an *incredibly* bad example.

I don't know. Maybe the woman just doesn't have any self-control. But it really pissed me off. For crying out loud, Ana regularly lifts up her shirt and sticks a doll there! She did that just today! She doesn't need people discouraging her from breastfeeding before she even has breasts, thanks very much.
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No running out of the house before nine to get there by 10. Indeed, we've been missing half of the toddler programs every time because there's no way we were going to rushrushrush for that early hour.

But next week everything's starting at 11 again, except their new Spanish program on Wednesdays. Thank goodness.

They need to update their website. I'd tell them, but then I realized that the whole site actually needs a resdesign as well... I mean, it's not as bad as it could be, but neither is it as *good* as it could, and should, be... so I figured I'd see about redesigning it (my HTML, while not expert, is far from terrible, and it'll be a fun exercise), and *then* tell them. At the very least I'll be able to tell them directly what they need to add.
conuly: (Default)
are you contradicting yourself or have i miss something? you say OMG TV IS BAD, but that the concept of spending every waking hour playing with the baby is a modern conceit because until now, people had to get their work done. so in the past, how is it that kids entertained themselves? did tv not play a part? wacky things like sesame street, the electric company, etc.......

Aside from the fact that I did *not* say OMG TV IS BAD (I said that in very young children, television watching has been linked to AD(H)D), I'm curious how, exactly, this person thinks any child ever survived long enough to invent television.

(After being informed by somebody much nicer than I am that plenty of people have lived their entire lives without electricity, much less television...)

Plenty of cultures don't have tv or even electricity....

True, and plenty of cultures believe in genital mutilation of females. Other cultures are hardly the point here, since obviously we *do* have electricity since it's on the internetses.

And honestly, tv is not the end of the world. I'll never apologise for using it to entertain my kids when I need to get a few things done - nor do I think should anyone have to.

Because not letting Ana watch TV on my watch*, that's *so* horrible! Why, I ought to just go and cut off some parts of her body while I'm at it! Without the benefit of modern medical techniques or anesthesia!

Or maybe I should just start keeping the TV on all day, so that the kid is completely unable to function without having it on, as is the case with quite a few kids I knew growing up. That's a plan.

*I don't really care if Ana watches TV with her parents or grandparents. Or even with me, frankly. A limited amount of television, though, because she's only three (not under one, like the OP, who seems to live in this world, unlike the commenter above). It's just that we go places, and Jenn's DVD player sucks, so there's no real *point* to watching TV. Plus, I find her actions to be more interesting when she's making stuff up on her own rather than watching something. But catch me telling this person that now that she's had to go and be all... I don't know.

I should add that I'm not completely clear about Ana's parents' stance on TV, though I assume that it partially mimics my own. They do a lot of not-watching-tv stuff with her, anyway.
conuly: (Default)
And people are always getting on me for spinning Ana and all...

Lookit, lookit, look at this! Babies who are spun around in spinny chairs have better mobile skills than those that aren't, according to this one study.

Isn't that the coolest thing you have ever heard? Isn't it?

Spinning. It's good for what ails you. It really is!
conuly: (Default)
Now, this is interesting. Free raffles. Must tell Jenn. Because... uh... it's all about her. Yeah. She's the one who wants these slings and stuff.


Of course, they have no idea how to spell "piqued". I should send them an email. A nice one. This could take some time....
conuly: (Default)
I'm looking at the Kanga page, and... yeah... I already know how to dress myself in a single sheet of cloth. Sheet is just the right word for it, too - I've spent entire summers wearing only sheets inside the house because it was so hot, and going naked would only result in uncomfortable sticking-to-the-furniture. It's amazing how quickly one learns how to dress in a single sheet.

Anyway, completely different tangent. I got the kangas to tie the baby or Ana to me when traveling, on the theory that sometimes it's got to be easier than the mei-tei (no, not really, but it does take the weight off my shoulders for a while). And now I'm looking at this page of information on various one-piece-of-cloth carries for babies and toddlers and... hey, this is pretty cool. And I'm a show-off. If I can waltz into the SICM carrying the baby in a different way every week, I'll be one happy aunty*. I mean - it's a chance to show people exactly how fancy I can get carrying a baby, and how long I can do so** in one fell swoop! How can I resist being holier-than-thou, I ask you!

But they all seem to require at least... um... *does some quick calculations* about... uh... anywhere from two to three and a half yards of fabric.

And checking out the wraps of that length - hoo-boy. I'm not too keen on the idea of shelling out $65 for a few yards of cloth. Maybe that's just me.

I am *convinced* I can make one cheaper. I mean, it's not like I can't sew well enough to hem up some cloth, right?

But I'm a bit wary about picking out cloth for this sort of endeavour. I'd like some cloth that's strong enough for an older child, cool enough for summer, and probably quick-drying as well.

So! I know I know people who sew, and I know I know people with experience with baby slings, so... What should I get?

*This leads into an Ana-cdote! Read more... )

**So, Sunday we pass some people going from Hoppin' John's, and they coo over how big the baby is getting (we know them a bit), and say "Pretty soon you won't be able to wrap her up anymore"

Which got my dander up because, dude, I didn't get a mei-tai "good for 30 pounds" for nothing, you know? So I had to point out that yes, we still could, and I could carry Ana like that, did it just a few days before. Nice, I mean - I didn't yell, but... I wish people wouldn't say things like that, it's very annoying. Though I suppose it does give me a chance to be my self-righteous know-it-all self....
conuly: (Default)
So I'm walking him through our basic routine this week, and next week I can go with them or not, whatever. Yay for time off!

Oh, I'll probably go with them every day. But I have the *option* to not do so, or (more likely what I'll do) to skip out early.

So today we visited the Met (holiday Monday!), and, of course, every good exhibit was closed. I stuck Ana in the brand-new Kanga (trying to get used to it, and I'd rather do that with Ana than with the baby, thanks very much), and discovered another reason I like slings:

The kid can't see anything in the stroller. They can't see most of the exhibits at the Met, they can't see above people's butts in the real world, they're right with all the cigarette smoke and car fumes and all....

Of course, most children have this problem when walking, too, being so short - but assuming I don't have anything to prevent me from using a sling, I think I prefer that as my default option. It's nice. And it's easier to talk to a child when you don't have to hoist them up or bend down every time.

Last week or the week before, I had two opportunities to push another kid in a stroller (Su and Elliot, if you're curious), and... lemme tell you, it felt weird. That's not a judgment call. There are so many things I get judgmental over, judging people for using strollers is a bit of a low priority*. But... wow, did it ever feel weird. I couldn't see them, and I couldn't talk to them easily, and I felt I was about to bump into people (though that last one is probably because I'm a bit of a klutz about things like this, and routinely bump into things when pushing objects like dollies and shopping carts and, I suppose, strollers). Very weird.

*Meaning it comes somewhere *above* judging people for how they dress or speak, but somewhere *below* judging people for killing others in cold blood. Just so we're clear on that. I know it's a wide range, but I try not to be pinned down.

(Oh, if you're curious, the kanga? Carried her on my side, and it was great - didn't kill my arm *or* my shoulder, as the mei-tai will eventually do if I wear it too long (especially on my side) now that the baby's gotten heavier.)
conuly: (Default)
It's not that it isn't listed on Every Single List of What Abusers Do... it's just the one nobody talks about.

It's the one where the abuser puts all his/her feelings on you. You make me happy. You made me love you. You're the reason I keep on living (like we can't recognize a veiled suicide threat when we hear it, right? Except that lots of people don't).

Now, plenty of reasonable, well-meaning, non-abusive people say things like that, thinking they're sweet. In and of itself, this isn't a good way to tell if your new person is abusive.

But for a certain segment of the population, it's just too easy to move from "You make me love you" to "You made me hit you" or "You were so hot, I couldn't help myself" and "If you leave me, I'll have to kill myself".

It's a complete lack of acknowledgement that they're ultimately in control of their actions, and some of it is abusive in and of itself. Threatening to harm somebody if you don't do what you want? That's abusive. My uncle is pulling this crap on my grandmother right now, threatening to leave and not take care of her if she doesn't start giving him more money. Half my family is making a mass trek to her right now to re-convince her that her son, unfortunately, is a jerk, and he doesn't deserve any more handouts or attention - other people can help out.

I'm a bit strange. Since I've read so many of those lists on what abusers do, I always associate those phrases with abuse (and that's definitely it - it's not personal experience that taught me "I had to love you" can be dangerous, no worries there!), which is causing me some trouble now - Ana goes to her toddler/pre-schooler things, and I cringe every time I hear a child's adult tell them that such-and-such an activity "really makes mommy/daddy/grandma happy", or "made me upset".

I know the point is to teach the kids to think about other people when deciding what to do, and I certainly don't think that these adults are abusing their kids - but the association in my mind is still there, y'know?
conuly: (Default)
I've been trying, lately, this new technique of not-really-praising Ana, but restricting myself to things like "Yes, I see you did it, looks like you had fun" or "You can do that by yourself now" and whatnot.

It wasn't reading up on the subject that really convinced me, of course - it's being around parental-types who go insane with the praise they heap on their kids. Kid scribbles a line on a piece of paper? "GOOOOOD JOOOOOB, KAYLIE!", every time the kid does it. Kid shares a toy? "GREAT SHARING!!!!!1111" Every time. Kid picks up something their mom asked them 20 times to pick up? "GOOD BOY! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!"

And all in the same syrup voice, most suitable for babies at least half the age of the child they're speaking to.

Even though I never went that way, my visceral reaction to hearing these people made me consider how silly (at best) the whole thing sounded.

I have two little anecdotes to illustrate my point more fully.

Read more... )

I don't know now which kids are going to be the happier ones, the better artists, the kinder ones. I don't know who's right and who's wrong. I don't know who I'm going to offend after this post. I don't know a lot of things.

I do know that patronizing is a big word.
conuly: (Default)
Good read. Taken from [ profile] sff_corgi (whom I just shamelessly linked to instead of linking to the article proper).

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I avoid pink when dressing Ana in the morning. It's so... bland. Plus, it makes her easy to lose in the crowd, and how I can do *that* in a room full of white kids (SICM. Lovely place, but the toddler programs are lacking some needed variety in their customers), I *don't* know.

Anyway, her favorite color seems to be orange. She asks for it a lot, if I give her a choice.
conuly: (Default)
This will either be Very Very Good, or Very Very Bad.

In favor: Narnia movie is said to rock. I'm still debating where my ethics lie, and my finances.
Against: Cheaper by the Dozen sucked, and was a travesty. A travesty, I say.

Oh dear.


Nov. 11th, 2005 06:21 pm
conuly: (Default)
Wonder where rich Canadians go when they are sick? They cross the border to America for health care.

What American, if he were really, really sick, would voluntarily go to Canada, Germany, France or Sweden? Keep health care in America private.

What about poor Americans? Where do *they* get to go when they are sick? Nowhere, that's where. Not that this seems to matter.... I see no problem myself in having a public health care system alongside a private health care system, as we do with the schools, but I'm really a bit ignorant on the subject.

Anyway, some Times articles....

On colic, and remedies thereof

Trigger warning? )

On the return of standards from the Revolution

Read more... )

On being French, and other things

Read more... )


Nov. 10th, 2005 08:18 am
conuly: (Default)
Remember the link yesterday? There's a sequel. Again, we're told that asking children to behave is the same as asking them not to be there at all. I'd make a comment about earth logic, but I'm not sure how I'd squeeze it in there.

conuly: (Default)
The can't-miss article on the Sign in the Chicago Coffee Shop about Behaving Properly.

A sad state of affairs when saying that everyone has to behave appropriately is tantamount to hating children.... )

An article on sleeping

Read more... )

That's it. I really only posted this for the first one.

Y'know, to get back to that, people often tell me that Ana behaves well. I don't see that - indeed, compared to how well she behaves with her dad, her behaviour with me is almost bratty! (Not really, but she does behave beautifully for her dad.) Even without the comparison, I still don't see it - I see her behaviour as perfectly appropriate for a child her age. Maybe I really *do* just have higher standards than most people. Which is sad. If she were to act up in public, I guarantee, whoever is with her leaves. I've even threatened to get off busses if she didn't quiet down and stop yelling. (Fortunately, she did, because I really didn't want to have to walk to the boat carrying a screaming or sullen toddler.) I don't even accept that sort of behaviour in child-centered places like the children's museum, so you can be certain nobody accepts it in places like a coffee shop. And our reward for being stringent with her behaviour is that we can take her out, even up to her bedtime, to actual, adult restaurants and eat a nice meal. See how that works? Everybody's happy!
conuly: (Default)
Usually, when we go out to dinner, we look at everything on the menu, see a thousand things we want to get, argue about it for a while (since we expect to share our food, it's important we don't pick things that nobody else will want to eat), and then finally say "if we're still hungry after eating this, we can come back and pick something else".

And you know what? We never are "still hungry". It's just a ploy to get us to shut up and order!

*rants and raves for a while*

So, I'm getting all excited about Jenn's new kid - kinda have to be, she's going to have my middle name, and anyway, I'll be watching her for a while - I'm doing all this research and all. I'm thinking Jenn doesn't have nearly enough sling styles. Those things are expensive, though. The best solution may be to buy fabric and make them ourselves - with luck, we can make some slings for Ana to wear as well, so she doesn't feel left out.

Let me just say something here: Strollers? So not worth it. When the baby *can't* walk, they're fairly light, and when they *can* walk - make them walk. (Hell, we even make Ana carry her own diapers, though in that case it's more a situation of "we can't stop her from wanting to carry a bag, so we fill her bag with her diapers".) There's no fun lugging a stroller up and down stairs to get into the subway, or onto a bus. So slings are definitely the way to go. (Unless, of course, you, y'know, can't.)

And that's my theory on child-rearing: Make them walk, and leave the stroller at home, because those things are a pain. It's not *much* of a theory on child-rearing, but I'm sure it's helpful to at least some people.

(Hopefully, not everyone, because I'm more than willing to beg for stuff, and begging for slings is one of them - though you may want to send used but still usable baby equipment to the New Orleans Hurricane victims.)

Oh, and, right. I feel cheated out of food I could've looked at and not eaten all those times we've gone out to dinner. Sniffle!

(I know this entry is lacking in substance, but everything in the world outside of my life is kinda bad right now, to the point that even *I* don't want to dwell on it.)

Ew, ew, ew.

Aug. 3rd, 2005 05:01 am
conuly: (Default)
I honestly have no idea how Xiggy finds this stuff.

This one is going to be recorded for posterity. I can just see the potential in this site to really creep me out....

Read more... )

Of course, her parents aren't, as near as I can tell, raising her that way because that's not what they believe. I'm still surprised when I realize that some people today believe that way. It squicks me out. Not that much more than the other articles here I'm seeing. Note to self: If I ever have kids, this isn't how I'm raising them. (Odds of having kids is slim, due to feelings about responsibility, other people in general, and adoption, but very little is impossible. Personally, unless Jenn or Lizziey suddenly died, though, I'd rather just be an aunt. More fun, and I get to give them back when I'm bored.)
conuly: (Default)
I can safely say I'm disgusted.

Sure, you teach the kid to do something "because I said so". And as soon as you're not around to boss them - or they're old enough to move out, they won't do it anymore. Alternatively, you end up with a kid like me, who will never do something for that reason, because "that's not a reason". Sure, you punish your kid... and then you forget about them? Prisoners in jails aren't expected to stay there indefinitely because, well, we forgot when you were supposed to get out.

I don't know. Maybe it's just me, but I have this strange idea that when you treat your kids with less respect than criminals get, you're just setting yourself up for problems.


conuly: (Default)

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