Parenting Win

August 31st 2012

Aaah, I keep meaning to do up a longer post about Ada and her development, but perhaps I should settle for putting up vignettes whenever I can.

Here’s the most recent one.

Last Saturday, we bundled the family into the car and headed out to Hudson for a family outing with our friends the Preston-Leblancs. The destination was Finnegan’s Flea Market – which is a good-sized market that’s about half an hour from our house. We headed out earlyish, and got there as some people were still setting up.

It was a beautiful day – sunny and hot, and there’s very little shade around. Ada was good for the most part – though a handful. She insisted on walking around on her own, getting in and out of her stroller and pushing it around herself -without ANY guidance. (Heaven help you if she sees your hands helping to direct the stroller from going straight into a table!)

We had a lovely time, and enjoyed an early lunch under some trees. By the time noon rolled around, Ada was hot, tired, cranky, and DONE. We tried to wheedle a few more minutes out of her – would she like to look at these shiny necklaces over here – would she like to look at the beautiful scarves over there? And all of it was answered with a firm “NON!” (She does understand us if we speak english to her, but her responses are nearly always french – oui, non, merci) and more whining.

Then, at the end of one of the aisles I spotted a table of used books with some children’s books. In a last ditch effort to calm Ada down, I said “Ada, there are some books over there. Would you like to look at them?”

I want to stress that this was a last-ditch effort and that having refused to look at any kind of toy, any kind of food or drink, or any other kind of shiny thing around, no 2-year-old was going to want to go to a used book table with me.

But Ada immediately stopped, yelled “BOOKS!” and ran full-tilt at the book table where she gleefully pulled children’s books off the bottom of the pile to look at for several minutes. Once she had settled on a favourite I paid for it, and she got right back into her stroller and flipped through the pages for the next ten minutes, while we picked up the final few things we wanted, said goodbye to our friends, and headed back to the car. She fell asleep on the way home, but when we pulled into the driveway, she picked the book right back up, and held onto it for a good portion of the afternoon.

Clearly, it’s in her DNA.

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In case you missed it…

February 15th 2012

Because the posts on Life with Ada have fallen behind, our little girl is walking like a champ!

Her first steps, on Christmas Day:

And a month later, when she’d finally decided yes, she could really let go of our hands for more than a few steps at a time.

Of course, we are as proud of her as if no one has ever walked in history and she thought it all up herself.

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The Long Silence

February 14th 2012

A friend asks me “So… are you ever going to update your blog again?” And I shrug. Maybe. Maybe not. When I feel like it. When I have time.

I have a bunch of posts half-written, and a list of more that I want to write. Lots of Ada updates, though I’ve gotten out of doing those as well.

I have lots of good reasons for this. With work, the commute, and having a family life, I haven’t had a whole lot of time for keeping things updated here. I miss it, sure. And I know people would like to see updates (family in particular, who want up-to-the-minute information about Ada), but I haven’t felt compelled to do it. Not to make myself happy, and certainly not to make anyone else happy.

I’ve been doing a lot of other things. Reading. Knitting. And not as much as I’d like of either of those – like I said, I don’t have a whole lot of free time. And when I do, I want to do something that’s relaxing and fun. Mostly the blog just feels like too much work, too much effort for what I get out of it. It will take me a half an hour or an hour to edit a post – sometimes more, if I’m picky about what I’m posting (And I am naturally picky about Ada’s monthly posts, which is probably why they fell off my radar.) An hour? I could knit during that time. Get something finished. Watch some TV and zone out. One thing about writing – even when it’s going well, it’s almost always work. And I haven’t felt like working in my limited free time.

Then, last week, I was talking to a coworker about writing, and why we write, and the writing we get done outside of work. He’s got some other projects on the go that don’t involve video games, and he’s pretty excited about them. I remember being excited about writing, wanting to put things down on the page, wanting to lose myself in what I was creating. I haven’t felt like that in a long time, though. For the past while every word has been a struggle. Putting together a brief of a few sentences (Even for work. Maybe ESPECIALLY for work) takes longer than it should. I second-guess everything. I do more research. I delete. I re-write. I edit, and edit, and edit.

And at some point (and I know this) the editing becomes too much, and I’m over-thinking and it makes the writing worse, or at the very least no better. But I can’t stop. It’s not that I’m blocked. It’s not that I think I’m bad at what I do. I don’t know what it is. I just can’t let go. There’s a point between the first few minutes of writing – where you’re resisting and your brain is ready to seize at any distraction – and the bit where the words start to flow and you can really get some writing done, and I’ve just been having trouble getting there. Trouble letting go. Trouble having it not feel like I’m working too hard for it.

And maybe that’s it – maybe since writing has become my work, what I do all day, I have trouble just letting go and doing it for fun, or in my leisure time. There’s too much work, too much research, too much creating, too much decision-making to make it feel like a relaxing time for me. To make it go from something I theoretically want to do, to something I am going to do.

But I’m getting to a point where I miss it. I miss writing. I miss the worlds it took me to. I miss the thrill of feeling that I’d just pulled off a well-written scene. I miss the feeling after I’d written something – a sort of relief that is like how you feel after a good workout.

But what to do? I still don’t have a lot of time. I still don’t have a lot of energy. I still have a lot to do with my day, and hobbies I don’t want to give up entirely. But I’m getting to the point where something has to give. I have to write. I have to write more than I am writing because if I don’t, everything I write is going to suffer. I have to get the words flowing again. I have to feel like I like writing again, like it’s worth the effort again.

My solution is this – if writing feels like a workout, then it will be a workout. I will do twenty minutes of writing, three times a week. More if I want to, but at the very least that much. That’s long enough to write a short blog post, or maybe half of a longer one. It’s long enough to do some outlining, character bios, or just get some words on the page. I’m not counting research or reading. Just the bits where I write words. Not everything I write is going to end up on the blog, but I think you can expect to see a bit more posting than you have been.

And I’ve been here for more than twenty minutes, and bedtime is approaching, so I should go. But maybe, just maybe, the Long Silence is over.

Posted by Ceri under Scribbles | 2 Comments »

Seven Months Old!

April 11th 2011

Dear Ada,

IMG_0043

I can’t believe you’re 7 months old already! It seems like only yesterday I was writing up your 6-month post. Clearly, someone has sped up time.

This month started off better than last month, as you began by having naps again. At first it was half an hour or 40 minutes, but even that was a huge relief, and you were much happier. Now you’re napping for up to 2 hours at a time, sometimes twice a day. In between you’re happy and bright and all smiles and generally a little charmer.

We started the month by giving you your first solid food. Because we live in a digital age, these precious moments were caught on camera.

You seemed to take to it well the first time, but you’re not quite ready for it yet. You’ve enjoyed sweet potatoes, rice cereal, and barley. Acorn squash and banana weren’t big hits. You have tried all of these things, but in fact, you don’t eat much at all and most days won’t eat any solids.

I’m trying not too worried. You’ll be ready when you’re ready, and you’re obviously not ready yet. You don’t have a lot of the signs of being ‘ready’ for solid food yet – you don’t closely watch the food your Dad and I eat, or try to grab things off our plates. You haven’t cut a tooth, and you’re not quite sitting up on your own – all apparently signs of a baby who is ready for solid food. I talked to a mom whose daughter didn’t eat solid food until 9 months.

In the meantime, all those cuddles I was worried about losing last month? I still get those. And I love them. You nurse off to sleep almost every night and most nap times. (This is one of those things that parents apparently Should Never EVER do, because according to the experts it means you will Never Learn To Sleep On Your Own, but I just can’t give it up yet.)

Your motor skills have improved by leaps and bounds this month. You’re reaching out and grabbing things and occasionally managing to bring them to your mouth. When you’re in your exersaucer, you like to grab onto things and bang them together, or shove them onto the floor to make a big noise. We have a set of stacking rings, and in the past few days you’ve started pulling the rings off on your own.

You like to grab onto the pages of books (and if we let you, you’ll shove them into your mouth) and any toy that makes a crinkling noise is a big hit. We have several books with the special crinkle paper in them, and you go on what your Dad has named ‘crinkle-paper benders’. You play with the book wildly for several minutes, laugh and coo and shout, then suddenly get upset and cry and are ready for milk and a nap.

You are almost sitting up. You don’t need much support if we rest you against our legs. You’ll sit up on your own for several seconds, but then you topple to the side. You haven’t quite caught the trick of leaning forward to balance out your weight.

You still aren’t able to roll over on your own. You get tummy time twice a day to help you learn, but I have to tell you, that’s pretty much my limit, because all I’m doing is watching you cry, and trying to distract you. You really don’t like to be on your stomach. You are capable of lifting your head up and looking around, (it was when you didn’t do this at the doctor’s office that he seemed concerned) but it seems you just really don’t want to, and much prefer to lie on your back and look around you at all the toys. You can roll onto your side to look at things.

This month I took you to Sears Photo to have 6-month photos done. They’re going out to friends and relatives soon, but I have to say I think the best photos we have are the ones your Dad takes. He always manages to capture your moods so well.

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Seven months old and still living at home.
Sweet Potato

We both love you more every day.

XOXOXO

Mommy

Posted by Ceri under Scribbles | 8 Comments »

Tiny Red Mittens

March 11th 2011

It’s a grey, March day out there today. Spring is in the air, but it’s cloudy and there’s snow and ice everywhere still. In fact, this is one of the worst times of year in Montreal, when the packed snow gets just wet enough to freeze, making sidewalks slick and everyone generally miserable.

Here. Have some tiny red mittens to brighten your day:

Red MittensI saw this pattern at Christmastime and fell in love with it. It’s an advent calendar. You knit 24 tiny mittens and hang them on a cord. They’re each big enough to hold a chocolate, or a small toy.

I’ve been trying to be reasonable about the amount of knitting I have planned for myself this year. I want to start lots of projects, but I also want to be realistic about what I can and cannot finish. Planning 24 mittens is a lot. But I thought ‘they are small. If I do only 2 a month, I’ll have the advent calendar done around Christmastime.’ Which is pretty much perfect.

Then I was busy in January, and my wrists were bad through the first part of the year. So I’ve only just cast on the first of these in the past week, but look where I am. Four mittens in three days.

These things are like popcorn. They knit up fast, and they are so cute you just want to make another one! And then another! And another!

The pattern is called Smitten. It’s easy to see why.

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A Yarn Photo, With No Context

March 4th 2011

A picture of a little project I’m working on…

Some Plain Knitting

Hint: It’s not a scarf.

Posted by Ceri under Scribbles | 1 Comment »

Six Months Old!

February 18th 2011

Six Months Old

Dear Ada,

You are six months old! I can’t believe it’s gone so fast – we’re halfway through my year of maternity leave and I’m starting to think I don’t want to go back to work.

We had your 6-month doctor’s appointment yesterday. You weigh 5.15kg (About 12lbs 2oz) and are 62cm (about 24.5 inches) long. That puts you in the target length for a 6-month old, but underweight for that age. However, your adjusted weight (if we subtract the 5 weeks you were early) is right on target.

This month has had its ups and downs. I won’t lie to you – the past two weeks have been really difficult. You seem to have decided that you don’t want to nap any more during the day, or if you nap it’s only for ten or twenty minutes at a time. It’s been frustrating and by the end of the day both you and I are exhausted, and we need a break. I’ve been having some trouble with my wrists (and have even been to the doctor about it) so carrying you around all the time like you want is painful. I hate letting you cry, and yet sometimes it hurts too much to pick you up and I’m tired and frustrated and just wish you’d sleep.

Apart from that, things are good. You are a wiggly baby and just on the edge of rolling over on your own – you just can’t quite figure out how to get your arms out of the way. The doctor has ordered more tummy time, which is almost a shame because you hate tummy time. Sometimes you will do nothing but cry to be picked up for five solid minutes. If you are particularly tired, you may just put your head down on the play mat and sigh pathetically and not move. There was one exception – once when I put you down with your arms under you, you flipped yourself right over before I realized what was happening. You lay on the mat with the most startled expression on your face. I think you were trying to figure out if you should cry or not!

You do love stretching your legs, and sitting in your exersaucer and you’ll contentedly play with your toys there and keep yourself amused while I look on. You like to sit up in your bouncer chair, and in your high chair and watch what’s going on around you. I have taken to doing a ‘cooking show’ if you’re awake while I’m making my lunch. You watch me while I make a sandwich and explain all the things I’m doing. (I am mashing up the tuna with a fork. Now I am adding mayonnaise. Now I’m putting the mayonnaise back in the fridge…) You don’t understand, of course, but you seem to enjoy being my studio audience.

You are mostly good around new people, and smile at everyone. At the doctor’s office for your last appointment, you looked around at everyone with big, fascinated eyes. Every time you made eye contact with someone new, you smiled and laughed and hid your face in my shoulder. Occasionally, you’ll be startled by new people in the house (usually this happens just after you’ve woken up from your nap) and start to cry. You did this just this week when Arin and Liam had just arrived for a visit. Liam was telling me how he had just had a vaccination at the doctor’s, and I said you had vaccinations coming up next week. You screwed up your face and let out a wail.

“Oh no, Ada,” Liam was quick to reassure you. “It doesn’t even hurt!”

(I hope you will remember these wise words when we go to the nurse’s office.)

You can reach for things and hold them now, and chew on your fingers. Usually it’s your first two fingers, but from time to time you get your thumb in your mouth and chew on it for a while. You still won’t take a pacifier or a bottle, but we’ve gotten used to that now and I’m told that soon I can start you on a sippy cup.

You’re getting more and more interested in the food your dad and I eat at the table and this week we’re going to try to feed you your first solid food. Oddly, though the doctors and nurses we’ve spoken to are adamant that babies don’t need solid food before they’re 6 months old, the nurse at our clinic seemed astonished that you were still a breastmilk-only baby. There’s just no pleasing people when you’re a parent.

Mortimer Moose is still your favourite toy, though your My First Doll is a close second, and you will happily chew on it while sitting in your high chair. You love things with crinkle paper in them, touching them and making noise. We have a few cloth books that you like to reach out and touch and chew on.

Your Daddy caught a really cute video of you this month. You are cooing:

You’ve started ‘reading’ books to us. We will sit with you on our lap and open a book, and you will start cooing. Every time we turn a page, you make another noise, as if you’re ‘reading’ what’s written there. It is unbelieveably cute.

We didn’t have any visitors from out of town this month, but your Auntie Arin stops by fairly often for a cuddle.

Ada and Arin

And we made a weekend trip to Rowan Tree Farm to visit Taras and Janice, and then drove to Ottawa for the afternoon so you could meet your brand new cousin, Oliver. He was 7 weeks old, and as big as your nearly-6-month-old self:

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You also got to visit with Uncle Shaun and Aunt Denise, who marvelled that you could hold your head up and look around and move, while your Dad and I held Oliver and reminded ourselves that we had to support his head, and wondered at how much he slept. You and Oliver didn’t really notice each other all that much, but I hope you will grow up to be good friends.

I can’t wait to feed you your first bites of solid food, and I have the cereal and spoons all ready to go. But I can’t help looking at you sometimes and feeling a little lost – you’ve grown so much since you were born! You’re still small, but you’re not my tiny little baby any more and the time seems to be going by so fast, I can’t believe it. Solid food seems like such a huge turning point, the beginning of the end of all our nighttime cuddles and feedings throughout the day. While part of me will be glad to have my body back to myself, another part of me wants you to stay just as you are forever, my precious little baby.

I can’t believe how much I love you. You wouldn’t believe it either.

XOXOXO

Mommy

Posted by Ceri under Scribbles | 6 Comments »

Four Months Old!

January 19th 2011

(I know these posts are running late. This has been 90% written since Mid-December and I’m only getting it up now. Five month post to follow.)

You started this month with a big accomplishment. You slept for 8 hours straight for the first time! You woke up bright and perky and I took you downstairs to brag to your Nanny C, who was staying with us. She thought we’d had a bad night because we were up so early, but it was just the opposite.

You’ve been cooing for so long now, and so much, that it’s hard to remember when you couldn’t ‘talk’ to us. The best time for this is right after you’ve woken up in the morning, or from a nap. You will happily sit in your bouncer chair, or on a lap, and gurgle and laugh at everything we say or do.

The only times you’ve been really unhappy in the past month have been when you had reflux. You would spit up just a little and scream and scream about it. Sometimes you would cry for most of an evening, because the gas was bothering you so much and nothing we did seemed to help. It was heartbreaking to watch.

I made an appointment with the doctor and she prescribed Zantac for you, which you have to take 3 times a day. You don’t like it one bit, but you don’t spit it back at me either, and the medicine definitely helps. You haven’t had a bad evening since, and that makes us all a lot happier.

You’ve had a lot of big development leaps this month. You’ve started trying to sit up on your own if we put you in the bounce chair, or on the breastfeeding pillow. You can’t manage it yet – with help you can balance for a few seconds but that’s it. But you are really trying.

You also love to “stand” if we’re holding you. You can support your weight on your legs, though of course you can’t balance yet! If you’re a bit cranky, all we have to do is stand you up, and you’ll calm down. Your favourite time to stand up is when we’re talking on Skype with your grandparents. You want to be on your feet and looking at the screen.

That’s another leap you’ve made – you will look at the screen now, and recognize the faces on the other side. One night while we were talking with your Nanny C. you seemed to be focussing on the screen more than usual. I asked her to stick her tongue out at you, which is always guaranteed to make you laugh. She made faces at you and you laughed and laughed. She was delighted. Before this we weren’t sure if you were seeing anything more than just the change of patterns, but now we know you’re recognizing that there’s someone there.

My birthday was this month (December 4th!) and many people pointed out that I have the best birthday present there is – You! They’re right. We started the day out as we usually do – you woke up early in the morning, I fed you, and then we went back to bed for a cuddle. That night though, I put you in the crib in your room and you’ve slept there ever since. It feels a little odd not having you in the cradle at the foot of the bed any more, but you seem happy in your own room, and are sleeping up to 9 hours (!!!) at a stretch there.

Your nap times are getting longer and more regular but there’s still not a distinct schedule. You generally have a short morning nap of about forty minutes, and then a longer afternoon one of anywhere from 2-4 hours, but depending on how you sleep the night before, where you’ve fallen asleep, and what kind of mood you’re in during the day, it really varies.

Since you’re recognizing toys and cooing and talking to yourself a lot more, I can put you down and you can ‘play’ by yourself for a bit. You love to talk to the mobile in your crib (which is a Fisher Price sound and lights thing that plays animal noises and projects images). However, you much prefer being carried around, or sitting with me or your Dad, having us sing songs to you or read you books.

This month your Nanny C and Aunt Bonnie came to visit you. They stayed for a week and I think for that whole time I only held you when I was feeding you. While they were here we took a Big Outing and drove to Kingston for lunch to meet your Aunt Marie, who drove in from Toronto just to see you. You were very good in the car, but when we had to slow down for construction just a half-hour outside of Kingston, you woke up and realized you were HUNGRY. We had to stop along the way and feed you. It’s usually this way – you’ll sleep in the car as long as it’s moving, but heaven help us if we slow down!

For my birthday, I took you for another visit to Ariadne, my favourite yarn shop, for an afternoon of knitting and shopping. I thought you would nap in your car seat while we were there, but you wanted to be up and looking at all the interesting things around you. (Yarn, more yarn, other people, other children). I only got 3 rows knit while you were on my lap, but the trip was otherwise a success.

I’m finding that I’m a different sort of Mom than I expected. I though I wouldn’t check on you every 5 minutes, but I am, and I have been known to hang over your crib, just to make sure you’re breathing. I also didn’t think I’d be the type of Mom who insisted her baby was the Cutest Baby in the World but let me tell you, I have been out in the malls and to the Doctor’s office, and although there are a lot of cute babies out there, you are the cutest, by far.

I love you so much,
Mommy

Posted by Ceri under Scribbles | 4 Comments »

Regarding the WGA Nominations

January 7th 2011

Since I’ve had more than one person ask about this.

The Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) has put out its nominations for its award for Video Game Writing.

Some of you have noticed that while Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands was nominated, it’s listed as being written by Benjamin McCaw, not by me. This is correct.

It’s the Wii version of the game that’s nominated for the award, not the Xbox360/PS3/PC version (As you’ll see if you click through to the nominations page). Although the games share a title, the stories are completely different.

I’m also not a member of the WGA, so my script wasn’t eligible for nomination.

Thanks to the people who have taken the time to call or e-mail, thinking I wasn’t being properly credited, and to the people who wanted to congratulate me. I really appreciate it. However, the WGA page is correct and all the congrats should go to Ben McCaw, and the other nominated writers.

Posted by Ceri under Scribbles | 2 Comments »

Two years in the making

December 16th 2010

It’s finally finished.

The unblanket I blogged about here and here and here is finally done. It’s taken nearly two years (if my Ravelry page is to be believed, I cast this on in early April 2009).

It started life as a baby blanket, and then I decided it was too complex to finish in time, so it became a Christmas gift for my Grandmother, and then the blanket edging took too long, and so it wasn’t finished in time for Christmas. I gifted it ‘on the needles’ and now it’s ready to be gifted for real, all finished, this Christmas.

Lace knitting is interesting in that it kind of looks like crap while you’re knitting it. When you’re finished, you take the lace you’ve worked on, wet it and stretch it and let it dry, and it opens up to reveal a beautiful pattern. Which is how this…

Becomes this…

Wrapping up Baby blanket

I won’t lie to you – this has been a frustrating project. It was probably too difficult for me to take on as a beginning lace project, but once I’d done several repeats I got where the pattern was going and instead of noticing mistakes when I had an extra stitch on the next row, I started picking them up right away. At the end I was even able to knit it with only occasional glances at the pattern. I learned a lot from doing this pattern and if I had the time and energy, I might even be convinced to knit it again.

Well… maybe. Even the beauty of the finished product hasn’t taken the sting out of the edging, which was a ridiculous pain in the bum to knit and involved tears and screaming. (Although to be fair, part of that might have been that it was 3 days until Christmas and I knew it wasn’t going to be done in time.)

However, it’s done now and gorgeous and I’m so proud of it that I’m taking up some of Ada’s valuable nap time to write a blog post about it.

Also I went around the house laying it on various surfaces and taking pictures of it in all its glory. A detail shot of the lace:

Wrapping up baby detail

Now I’m off to lovingly wrap this in tissue paper and gift wrap.

Posted by Ceri under Scribbles | 3 Comments »

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