Monday, December 31, 2001

When the kids were younger, we tended to not differentiate who owned which toy, and would avoid fights by getting two of anything popular. However, now that we're starting to encourage the kids to learn to share, we first have to instill a sense of ownership: "it's mine, but I'll share it for a little while, and then you'll give it back," etc.

For example, this Christmas the kids received a pair of stuffed animals from their grandparents -- a monkey and a lion. It was easy to decide who got which one, since Maya's climbing prowess has gained her the nickname "little monkey".

The next step? Name that critter, with bonus points for accuracy and/or humor:

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Verbatim dialog excerpts from the last 24 hours:
"Maya, what's this?"
(lots of excited clapping)
"Bryn, what's this?"
(grownups fall down laughing)
Out of the mouths of babes. :-)
1:09:00 PM

Friday, December 28, 2001

Heavy weather. We woke up this morning to heavy rains, pretty typical for this time of year. But before we could get depressed by the gloom, we heard about the record snowfall in Buffalo: 6 feet in five days...

... and still snowing! OK, call us spoiled rotten by CA living, but the verdict is:
Buffalo -- a wonderful place to visit relatives, but we'd never want to live there.
2:19:00 PM

Thursday, December 27, 2001

On the advice of various safety experts, the kids have done all of their car travel to date in rear-facing seats. The panoramic views they've been getting through the back window must have been pretty neat, although as they've gotten taller, there have been more and more complaints about too much glare from:
  • the sun (early morning, early evening), or
  • headlights, especially from all those SUVs.
So, to commemorate their 18-month birthday tomorrow, Maya and Daddy took a trip to the sheriff's office today to confirm that we could safely install their seats in a forward-facing position. Yep. Now everyone has enough leg room again. What a relief!
9:15:00 PM

Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Outtakes. A thrilling, behind the scenes, exposé of the making of this year's evohr.org holiday card.

Have you ever wondered what it really takes to get a cute picture of young, active twins with a mind of their own? You know, one where you can see both faces equally clearly, with no dorky expressions or chopped-off heads?

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Well, we chose this year to find out which was the most important factor:
  • a good digital camera,
  • dogged persistence,
  • careful planning, or
  • sheer dumb luck.
From prior experience, we planned on throwing away lots of takes -- in this respect, digital "film" is free, after all -- and we even started more than a week ahead of time, in case the first photo session(s) didn't pan out.

There's a technical term which captures the essence of our naiveté here: "suckers!"

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[ In the interests of equal time, Bryn and Maya would like to take this opportunity to point out that they are consummate professionals. Any reported difficulties during filming couldn't possibly have had anything to do with them. They humbly suggest that you keep an eye out for crouching monsters that are this big. No, bigger, and they make horribly silly faces, too. ]

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Anyhow, during a total of four separate sessions over the span of a week, we took over 130 pictures, nearly 70 of which got deleted immediately. We've spared you all the:
  • blank stares,
  • missing hats,
  • blurred motion,
  • redeye,
  • slightly out of focus,
  • too far away,
  • badly framed,
  • etc.
Still, it's amazing how many of the cutest of the remainder still just wouldn't do, for one reason or another.

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Don't get us wrong, though. The whole effort was a ton of fun.

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So now that you've seen the outtakes, what do you think the real image looks like? Stand outside and keep a close eye on your mailbox this week!

PS: If it doesn't show, please make sure we have your current address and we'll send another pronto.
12:43:00 AM

Monday, December 24, 2001

Now that Gramma and Grandad are here for their holiday visit, we're getting more insights into the kids' vocabulary. Specifically, we're learning what you need to listen for if you want to understand all the words the kids are using these days.

For example, it always helps to pay the most attention to vowels, since those tend to be pronounced in pretty conventional ways. By contrast, it takes a little while to get used to which consonants they'll choose to substitute (or just plain omit) when their tongues get twisted.

However, some words are just total stumpers until you get enough context. For example, you can't help being stumped by one of the words on their last list, unless you've been here long enough to learn about ... happy feet!

Sometime this fall, Paul unwittingly created the following evening ritual. After a long hard day, it's not always easy for tired, hungry youngsters to sit down calmly in their high chairs and focus on eating. Thus, as a relaxing distraction, he'd ask "Who has happy feet?" and then take off shoes and/or socks, one at a time, until both kids were gleefully focused on wiggling their tickled toes.

Thus, for over a month now, they've been using the easily-pronounced word "appy" (short for happy) to request the removal of footwear. Then, about two weeks ago, Bryn started using it more generally to talk about feet. Of course, now that we've started hearing the entire phrase "appy fee", that brief coinage isn't likely to last long.
4:20:00 PM

It was only a matter of time. Both kids have long known that laundry baskets have the following wonderful characteristics:
  1. They're lightweight, so they're easy to move around.
  2. If you flip them over, they're a perfect height for standing on.
Well, this morning young Maya, climber extraordinaire, put two and two together. Eureka! Guess who just reinvented the stool?

And boy is she thrilled. You can just see the wheels spinning in her head as she plots her approach to all sorts of previously unreachable delights...
3:35:00 PM

Thursday, December 20, 2001

Off-topic, again. When Paul nattered on last month about the "small world effect", he couldn't find much about current work in this area. No longer. Welcome to the cutting edge, as of yesterday! If you feel like it, they're currently recruiting for research subjects.
5:56:00 PM

Saturday, December 15, 2001

Recently overheard. We've been remiss. The "language explosion" (to quote one of Kath's colleagues) has descended upon us in full force over the past month or so.

We're now hearing lots of requests, many of them vehement:
  • mow (more)
  • piece (the magic word)
  • reet (this book for me)
  • uppppp (with plenty of saliva)
  • offff
  • out
More specific requests, especially for Bryn, are starting to include the indefinite article ("a"):
  • uh bye (bite)
  • uh bippy (binky)
We're also hearing more about the material world:
  • tee (tall leafy thing)
  • wa-doo (H2O)
  • jooss (fruity wa-doo)
  • cheess (Maya's favorite food)
  • app-uh (any red fruit)
It's not clear whether this is a typical twin phenomenon, but in addition to their prior vocabulary, the kids seem to be in nearly total agreement on the pronunciation of all of the above, with the notable exception of Maya's "wa-doo" coinage, which Bryn hasn't adopted. Yet.

Of course there are still some idiosyncracies with newly adopted words. For example, while she's still not fond of plurals, Maya's gamely plugging away on body parts:
  • eye (what you see with)
  • noh (what you smell with)
  • e-uh (what you hear with)
  • hai-uh (keeps your head warm)
  • mao (what you eat with)
whereas Bryn's interests seem to be a bit broader:
  • na! na! na! (I really don't want to)
  • ice (what you see with)
  • appy (what you walk on)
Finally, we should note that this list is still woefully incomplete. We didn't think of writing this down until after the kids fell asleep, so tomorrow we'll probably notice other stuff they've been saying for weeks now. Ah well.
1:18:00 AM

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

With apologies for the delay...

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... pictures of the kids' spoon prowess, from last month.
8:05:00 AM

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