Friday, January 25. 2013
There’s a theory that shark bites are caused, not by the desire of sharks to eat delicious human, but rather by sharks’ combination of an inquisitive nature and a lack of hands or facsimilies thereof. The theory goes that the reason so many shark bites involve the shark biting a chunk out of a swimmer and then trundling off into the distance is that the shark has only one part of their body, the mouth, which can has the sensitivity and control to find out what something is.
Watching the emergence of Investigating Finger puts my strongly in mind of this theory.
Rosa has hit a point in her development that I’d semi-forgotten from Ada’s: Investigating Finger Investigates. Suddenly she’s gained enough control over her hands and her index finger to be able to carefully and deliberately poke at and manipulate, well, everything. Peering intently, a little crooked finger will work over any intriguing object untl it’s been investigated to her satisfaction.
The interesting thing is that this has correlated with a sudden drop in the urge to cram everything into her mouth: hence, I conclude that like sharks, urge to taste the world is driven as much by the mouth being the only part of the body thet have much control over
Thursday, November 22. 2012
Monday, November 19. 2012
Ada, Lias, et moi sommes allez à «Southwards Car Museum». Les enfants ont fscine par la voiture de le ganster, la grande Rolls Royce, et la Cadillac de Marlenne Dietrich. Ada a pensé cést unjust que le chauffer s’asseoit dans un petit place, mais les passages s’asseoissent dans le grands places.
Sunday, October 14. 2012
Ada continued her record of leaving me perplexed as to what scares her in movies; Mulan was declared “too scary” after 20 minutes, with a request to switch to Star Wars. Because the tale of a girl who becomes a soldier to save her father and will ultimately lead the armies of China to victory over the invading Huns is scarier than one with torture, genocide, and the killing of all the parental figures.
Still, it warmed my heart on two accounts; afterwards Ada spent some time perfecting her C3PO arm-wave so she could be “Ada Robot” for the rest of the afternoon, which gave me a certain amount of geek pride. More importantly, though, she sat down and explained seriously to me that she was disappointed that there was only one girl character in Star Wars, that this seemed unfair to her, and that she didn’t care how cool Leia is, she thought it should be half each girl and boy characters. This made me especially happy because she appears to think it normal that she should she a decent range of female characters in her movies; it’s a great natural assumption for her to have, and it’s on the back of a considerable effort, in the face of the overwhelming norms of kids’ movies (and let me offer a hearty fuck you very much to Pixar, and your fanboys who assert you’re the finest film studio in the world, on that particular front), to present her with enough female-lead films that she’s got a counter to the boy-with-maybe-a-token-girl-on-the-side norm.
Friday, September 7. 2012
Ada’s school assembly ended with a bit of a surprise today: a visit from former All Black Josh Kronfeld and boxer Shane Cameron as part of the “Choppers for Child Cancer” initiative; it’s a group of riders who have been touring parts of the country raising funds for the Child Cancer Foundation. The group spoke at the assembly, outlining what the CCF does and warning parents they’d be hit up for donations on the way out; in the school playground, the bikes were parked up and the kids allowed to roam over them. Kronfeld and Cameron signed arms, papers, clothes, and various other bits and pieces thrust at them.
When they entered they were greeted with a waiata; Josh missed some of it because apparently he’s a complete sucker for a toddler pulling faces at him to get his attention. Cameron, on the other hand, was rapt with it, and made mention of how impressed he was with the display when it was his turn to speak. Kronfeld noted that one of the things the CCF does is make bead necklaces for kids undergoing cancer therapy: every treatment is a new bead, and during his trip he’d met kids with over 2000 beads. Two thousand. For a child. It was something that had made a pretty obvious impression on him.
Josh Kronfeld speaking at Roseneath
I lined Ada up for his impressive orange and bronze bike; he’s great with kids, helped her onto the bike and up to reach the handlebars. She enjoyed it mightily, although she was a lot more interested in the bike than one of the great All Blacks, and she was bemused by the autograph-seeking. All the guys—there were 5 all up—were very patient with the kids and happy for them to clamber over their inordinately expensive bikes.
One other thing that struck me during the visit was how Kronfeld is. I’m not small myself, but he’s bigger, and still has big, solid arms on him. Seeing someone on TV in the company of other similarly-sized sportsmen leads one to rather underestimate how large and solid they really are.
Saturday, August 11. 2012
Dimanche Rosa a rit pout la première fois, parce que sa soeur a sauté dans un grand morceaux de embellage de bulles. La deuxième fois, lundi, ella a rit parce que sa soeur a éclaté beaucoup de bulles.
Sunday, June 17. 2012
In 2009 I had a real “Living in the Future” moment; at a conference in Brisbane, I ducked out of the last presentation a few minutes early, found a quiet spot in the lobby connecting the hotel’s conference rooms, popped open my laptop, and videoconferenced with my daughter in Wellington to say good night to her. It hit me afterwards that this felt like such a “golden sci-fi moment”.
That feeling was probably heightened by my experiences, 30-odd years before, when my father had been travelling on business. He would head off to such then-exotic locales as Kuala Lumpar or Tokyo for a week at a time, perhaps more, and from the time he stepped on the prop plane at New Plymouth airport until the time he came back with t-shirts, Air New Zealand hard-boiled lollies, or, on especially extraordinary occasions, Nintendo portable games (impossible to get in New Zealand), he would be out of contact. Timezones weren’t the problem; we couldn’t afford to call overseas, what with calls being in the ‘many dollars per minute’ bracket, and travelling didn’t allow for such fripperies as phoning home. This was the bad old days, now alleviated by cheap ubiquitious Internet access and webcams providing the option of making the stuff of my childhood sci-fi (well, the bits about video calling, not so much the bits about interplanetary travel) a simple thing indeed.
Continue reading "The Bad Old Days"
Sunday, June 10. 2012
A much belated note, but there you are:
Rosa Cecelia born 7:12 am 20/05/2012 at Wellington Base Hospital, almost 5 years and six months to the day of her big sister. Hospital midwives were superb, and frankly an infinitely better experience than we ended up having with independents.
Rosa weighed in at 4 kilos, bigger than her big sister, but otherwise her resemblence to Ada is striking. Ada is delighted by her little sister, and Lias appears to be profoundly pleased at having another half-sibling.
After 3 weeks to the day, Rosa is going well, Maire is tired, and Ada is still delighted; on the day we took Rosa home, we picked Ada up from school early and when her teacher signalled to the class Ada’s little sister was here, Ada announced, “Don’t you wish you were me?” in a tone of happy pride. The difference between the old delivery suite and the new one is amazing and delightful, as was Maire having a room to herself during her post-delivery stay; moreover our experiences last time taught us to camp out in hospital until a couple of difficulties that recurred this time were cleared up, rather than heading for home.
I’m delighted. I now have two wonderful girls to chase after.
Friday, November 4. 2011
Over on ask.mefi I threw together some random thoughts on the first bits of being a Dad; I wanted to capture them here, too:
My wife’s best friend from high school was a support person during the delivery. It worked really well - we’re not best buds, but we get along well, and having someone there who could go get wheat packs or cups of water or whatever, or stay with my wife if I needed a toilet break or food, was absolutely fantastic. It has to be the right person, but if you can swing someone both of you are happy with, it makes it heaps easier. The fact she’s a professional photographer so she could take happy snaps of the new family was just a bonus.
Having some snacks for the labour? Sounds wierd, I know, but it was great when some friends dropped by to deliver some eats. 27 hours of labour, well, my wife wasn’t exactly in an eating mood, but something to keep my blood suger up was welcome.
My daughter was 3220g on delivery. It’s one of those things that the experience etched in my mind. It’s the sort of thing that’ll go after everything else. It’s that kind of experience.
The weirdest thing was that after 27 hours of labour and an early morning delivery, people looked at my wife, looked at me, and the general consensus was I looked worse than her. A little odd, you know?
Job 1 pretty much became managing access. Everyone wants to come and play with the baby and Talk About The Experience. If your partner likes that, great. If, more likely, she wants some rest, some time with her baby, and some time with you, well, you need to fend folks off. Relatives with a sense of entitlement are the worst on that front...
The first month or so is a bit of a blur, but mostly a good blur. I discovered that the single most relaxing, blissful, magical sleep in the world is the sleep of a dad with a baby sleeping on him. She’d flop down, face-first, head resting on my neck, and I’d be gone within minutes, no matter how hard I tried to sleep. Sleep when the baby sleeps, indeed.
I took 5 weeks off work (unpaid, since I’m a contractor), and wish I could have afforded more. It was precious bonding time with my daughter, support for my wife. I cried leaving the house most morning when I had to start going back to work. I felt like I was tearing my heart out every morning. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done emotionally.
Don’t be surprised by the sheer contempt often demonstrated to fathers. For my daughter’s second round of immunisation jabs a nurse snatched her out of my arms to “comfort her properly.” Don’t be shy about getting angry at that crap. I had her sacked from the medical clinic our family uses.
That shitty situation was merely a high point on a mountain of subtle through to overbearing unpleasantness: my daughter was going to carry her mother’s surname, but (unprompted by me), Maire was so ticked off at the hospital’s generic treatment of dads that when she was given the naming forms, Ada ended up with my surname instead.
Make a connection. I’ve got little greater contempt for the idea, repeated to me a few times, that an infant is “mothers’ business” and she should be making all the calls, and experience, not only of my own, but of friends and the advice of midwives and Plunket nurses, reinforces that contempt.
Handling babies is a skill, and the earlier you get comfortable dressing, changing, burping, comforting, and generally interacting and looking after your kid, the better you’ll be at it; that’s one reason, but it’s the mid to long term that’s really important: I know guys who spent the first 6 - 12 months with little to do with the baby, and they spiral into a sort of vicious circle where mum does everything because dad is hopeless and dad is hopeless because he never gets left to cope and learn, and they’ve subsequently spent literally years learning how to connect with their kids.
And the mothers... they burn out. My wife flirted with post-partum depression, and the first thing her Plunket nurse wanted from her was a run-down of who did what around the house and with the kid. I was at work for the conversation, but the nurse, who specialised in these situations, told my wife that when there’s an overload contributing to driving a mother into “baby blues”, half the time she has to give the dad a bollocking to get him pulling his weight, and the other half she has to drill into the mother that she has to let other people look after the kid sometimes. And yes, that means dad. Get into healthy patterns from the start.
On top of that... you’re going to be making decisions about your child together for the best part of two decades. Get in the habit early on.
House-proud? Get over it. You have a baby, if people don’t like that you can’t be arsed putting laundry away, fuck ‘em.
Comforting babies: I often had an easier time of it than my wife. It’s common talking to a few other parents, as well; we put it down to the fact that small babies can’t really tell if they’re upset because they’re hungry, tired, sitting in their own shit, or have wind, or just need a cuddle. But when they smell that breast milk, well, they’re upset, the boobs are there - that must be the answer! Then they get agitated about not getting a mouthful of tit, even if that’s not going to help. Since Daddy doesn’t smell of milk, little Miss 1 month old went along with, say, laying on me until we both went to sleep.
Try and fall into a routine that gives mum some breaks. I’m an early riser, so I’d get up at 6, take Ada away, get her out of her night gear, changed, into fresh clothes, ready for the first feed, make breakfast for my wife, and then get ready for work. Getting home I’d take Ada, play, snuggle, whatever. My wife’s evening bath would be sacrosanct: unless the baby actually started squirting blood or something, I was on my own for 30 - 60 minutes. Small things, all of them, but part of trying to keep everyone sane and happy.
The first 3 months Ada was pretty low-maintenance, for me; adore her, change her, dress her, play, what have you. Tiny babies are, food and wakefulness aside, generally pretty easygoing. Around 6 months it felt like one of those hockey-stick graphs. “Sleeping on daddy’s knee while he argues on the Internet” was cool at 2 months, but a six month old needs way more active attention. Don’t be surprised if you have a storm, a lull, and then start getting really busy again.
Saturday, July 30. 2011
Ada was at her friend Jar’s fifth birthday party today and discovered water pistols for the first time; she was quite delighted.
(I know, I know, I’m most remiss not to have introduced them before. As penance I allowed myself to be shot several times by an initially nervous but quickly gleefully transgressive four year old.)
Most of the play consisted of rather tame use of said pistols: Jar was washing the windows of the house when we arrived; subsequent adventures tending to consist not of soaking each other and squealing, but rather squirting balloons, streamers, and other inanimate objects. At one point, Ada and a trio of the boys came upon a pink flamingo statue, and squirted it. “We’re cleaning it,” announced one of them.
A gimlet gleam came to Ada’s eye, and she positively danced with excitement at the thought: “Let’s kill it!”
Three small boys shuffled back very quickly. Ada relented upon seeing their rather horrified reactions.
I put this in the same category as her fairy-mermaid games, which feature Ada, the fairy, with her fairy sword and armour, which are made of “the hardest metal in the world”, killing monsters which have the temerity to menace the mermaids (such as her mother, Lias, and from time to time, her father). Either that or I’ve been reading doo much Dahl and Fleming to her.
Fuck you, gender stereotypes.
In more fuck you, gender stereotypes, last weekend, she got to indulge her interest in cars; the folks from Independent Prestige had set up shop in a storefront to show off some of their Gallardos, Bentleys, and Aston Martins. Ada was taken by the yellow Gallardo, delighted to discover she could almost see over the roof, the matching stitching of the upholstery, and the marching yellow of the brakes; she was enraptured when one of the Prestige team opened the door and ushered her in. She clambered around the driver’s seat; sadly, it’s the closest she’s likely to get to a house-price sports car.
Turning (eventually) away from the Gallardo and its white Spyder twin, she gave the Astons a cursory glance, but was fascinated by the Bentley Flying Spur, with its vast interior, wooden trim, and the separate air conditioning controls for the passengers, an amentity she requested, a week later, for our next car. I was forced to explain that “I would like us to have a car like the Bentley” is a request incompatible with my wallet.
In between she’s been attending the excellent Capital Kaizen school program. She was quite overawed by the occasion and the quality of the other kids (most of whom are at least a year older) on the first morning, but hit her stride after an hour or so, and hit the ground running the next day. The coaching team, from Stu through to his younger assistants, were absolutely fantastic with a little girl who’s desperate to reclaim the simple fluid joy she had for the first 6 months she played. Really well-run, heaps of fun for the kids, and Ada’s keen to go again.
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