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Becoming a Canadian

Pictures of Jane on ice, her first time on Christmas Day, 2012, and then about six weeks later (having skated maybe 10 times).

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Christmas Day 2012, Jane’s first time skating

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On her own 6 weeks later

Playing ice hockey with a friend

Playing ice hockey with a friend

Catching Up Post V

12/8/10: “One more time” really means “don’t ever stop.”

Playing with knives while happily saying “I don’t play with knives.”

 12/29/10: Somehow, a small stuffed tiger wound up in the washcloth basket. Jane took all the cloths but one and set them out to make a mattress, laid the tiger on the mattress and put the last cloth on top like a blanket so the tiger could take a nap.

Fortunately, It Was Just a Phase

But the girl did have style.

Grand New Things

When Jane was 6 months old, we sat her down for her first meal. She’d been getting ready for weeks, watching us eat, practicing chewing on nothing, playing with a spoon. Her first meal was rice flakes in breast milk and she was pleased as punch.

The first night after we removed the bars from her crib, converting it into a toddler bed, she was beside herself with excitement. She couldn’t believe what she was looking at.

She’d throw all her stuffed animals on the ground, a situation that was a disaster for all involved on many a previous night. But this time, instead of rattling the bars and screaming until somebody came and put her toys back in, she’d get out and get them herself. Again. And again.

We’d hear the door open, pad pad pad, little feet at the top of the stairs, slowly creeping down, looking between the bannisters at mommy and daddy trying to enjoy their short window of freedom. Gasp! Dawning horror. We had no way to control her! She could get out of bed any time she wanted and there was nothing we could do about it!

I went upstairs and sat with her in a chair at the head of the bed, behind her dresser, where she couldn’t see me but she knew I was there and ideally took comfort from that and would settle down.

She quickly developed a game—she’d lie down and stick her head out the side to look up at me from around the dresser, giggle, then pull back. Stand up to look down at me from over the top of the dresser and giggle. Repeat, repeat, repeat as only a toddler can.

She couldn’t settle down, couldn’t sleep, like a kid on Christmas eve. But no—she got her present, then got excited and couldn’t sleep. Like a kid on Christmas morning living backwards. Like if the guy in Memento were played by Benjamin Button.

I sometimes think with sadness to the day when we run out of grand new things. That moment of stunned happiness as her world gets bigger in some simple way, not just new or even unexpected, but completely unimagined.

Walking, facing forward in the car, riding a pony, sleeping without bars. At some point, it’s all doomed to become normal. The “mind blowing new thing” as a concept will be over.

Old

Jane’s old crib had an attached dresser on the side, its top serving as a shelf over her bed. When she got big enough to reach the top, we began leaving a cup of milk there when we put her down so if she got thirsty during the night she could take care of herself and we wouldn’t’ have to get up.

To keep her from drinking the milk the next morning, I’d announce that this was the “old milk” and that I needed to get her “new milk,” with emphasis on the old and the new. I’d repeat it several more times as I heated up the morning’s milk. “The new milk is almost ready!”

She got the message quickly: old = bad, new = good.

We’ve created a monster.

Since she has no real sense of time, or spoilage, things can become old very quickly and if something (anything really, if it’s the same) is newer, the older is old and unacceptable.

Milk can be old, socks can be old, if I put something back in the refrigerator because she’s had only a bite or two and try to give it to her later, uh huh, it’s old.

She will periodically decide her diaper is old and demand a new one even though it’s clean and dry.

Just a Picture I Like

Catching Up Post IV

7/4/10 “What Does a Baby Know?” is a recurring theme of this blog. A baby’s communication skills are so limited it’s hard to tell, so sometimes we think “a lot.” Other times, not so much.

When at nine months Jane first started to walk with assistance, I thought, “now I’ll see where she wants to go, where she’ll go when it’s up to her,” and it turns out she wants to walk from one end of the room to the other and back again. There is no “where to”.  Walking was an end in itself. No destination needed.

–Like an animal, there is no why, there just is or is not.

When Jane started babbling, there was a remarkable sensation when you listened casually, inattentively, that she was speaking English. But if you tuned in and listened for real, it was just babble. She babbled in English.

The nanny said, “she knows what she’s saying.” The daycare workers said, “Oh yeah, she’s talking, she just can’t form the words properly.” But when she finally started to use real words, the rich and fluent babble-speak became “dog, ball; ball, dog.”

So a heavily accented “well, most assuredly, if you accept the Platonic view that the pink pony I want from Santa is merely my individual conception of an ideal pony that already exists in the ether” is now “ball, dog” simply because balls and dogs are more interesting than ponies today?

I have my doubts.

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