Monthly Archives: July 2015

Owlet: 47 Months!

More backlog! This should have been published on 4 July.

We have some excellent sharing happening, and the kids are playing well together more and more. Owlet seems to really enjoy offering people turns with her favourite things, or bites of a treat. On the other side of the coin, she is getting very defensive about perceived aggression, going so far as to shriek at someone to stay away from her if they turn in her direction on the other side of the backyard. I think this is a combination of running on old information (the people she’s hypersensitive about at preschool are the ones who had trouble reining in their excitement and understanding personal space this past winter) and a new understanding that an action arises out of intent and often can be signalled ahead of time. She will also attribute bumps or scrapes to people who hit her, when they weren’t even around at the time of the incident, when an educator tells us that she tripped or fell against a table or something. Again, old information, and that sneaky interweaving of truth and imagined events.

Her play is slowly becoming more self-directed, thank goodness. If I’m there, she wants to play right on top of me, but if HRH is the one there (or if I am Unavailable, as I am when I go upstairs to work), she’s pretty good at going into her room to play with her dollhouse or her ponies on her own. All we hear is an ongoing ripple of low-level conversation between her toys as she narrates whatever’s happening, and it’s great.

She has been doing some lovely taking-care-of-people things, too. I was sick this past month, and horrible stomach cramps were part of it. Owlet tucked me in on the couch(terfield) and asked if I wanted her to gently rub my tummy so I would feel better. I was charmed by how sweet and solicitous she was being, so I said yes. She gently moved her hand in light circles on it, then said, “There, I’m feeling you better.” And when Sparky was ill, she brought him some of her favourite toys and books to keep him company and cheer him up. (These are usually received grumpily, but we remind him to appreciate the gestures for the spirit in which they were made.)

In other ways, she is very much a child of her age. There’s a lot of ignoring us going on if she’s asked to do something she doesn’t want to do, or saying an automatic “Okay” when we insist on confirmation, and then doing what she wants to do anyway. This leads to repeated orders with the parent’s frustration increasing, until the foot comes down and there are Consequences enacted. Then there are tears and the “You hurt my feelings!” accusation, for which we are told to apologize. I wonder how much of the ignoring stems from the automatic “okay” said without really processing what was asked, and how much of it is unconsciously pushing to see how much she can get away with. Sometimes HRH asks her to look at him, make eye contact, and then repeat what he said; that occasionally has a better success rate. I’m going to try to remember to do that more often.

Her language has leveled up as well. One morning I was in another room while the kids were playing in the play kitchen. I overheard this:

Owlet: “Let’s eat the recipe.”
Sparky: “We don’t eat recipes, we eat the food made from recipes.
Owlet: “But… we make recipes, so… we eat recipes.”

My kids, debating the fine points of language at eight in the morning.

Her current favourite films are Mulan and The Legend of the Neverbeast. Those, plus The Song of the Sea, are on frequent rotation. Her very favourite book right now we only got on July 1, and it is Kate Beaton’s utterly fantastic The Princess and the Pony, co-starring her fabulous Fat Pony from her history comics at Hark! A Vagrant.

When Owlet goes to the ice cream parlour, her favourite flavour is “Pink!”

Fine motor control has leveled up; for example, she’s becoming remarkably proficient with a knife at mealtimes. She’s got that fork in a death grip, but she actually managed to cut up her pancakes!

Her art is becoming more focused and precise as well, although she does still like to make huge gestures with a lot of colour, too. Wonder where she gets that from?

Owlet: 46 Months!

Slowly chipping away at the backlog… this post dates back to 4 June.

I’ve realized that I need to start documenting Owlet’s art more. She brings things home from preschool that go up on her door for a while and then get taken down as she brings new art home, and it’s usually ratty or torn by that point, so into the recycling it goes.

It’s spring, so they did a lot of bug and bird art at school this past month. This is a caterpillar made of a bamboo skewer and pompoms! There is a paper leaf on the front end for it to nibble. They made a kind of mobile with twigs and branches they found on one of their walks, criss-crossed and tied together then hung from the ceiling; all the caterpillars were tucked into the assembly for parents to admire. When she brought it home, we put it in the enormous hibiscus plant that lives on top of her dresser.

They did an insect collage with some precut elements, but added their own grass, and additional bugs. The educators say it’s fun to watch how creative the kids can get with the non-precut stuff to make grass or flowers or other bugs. As a parent, it’s fun to look at how much the finished art varies from kid to kid.

And they built birdhouse pictures!

At home, her stories are becoming more elaborate, and weave together things that actually happened with imagined stuff (“and then” is rapidly becoming a phrase that makes me tense up, and is the latest in a series of things I’d like to apologize about to my mother, for having to cope with me doing the exact same thing when I was a child). Her educators have noticed this as well, and they’re having the same challenge we are, sifting through what she says to figure out what is real and what is added in. (For example, while it is impossible that we have a pet badger at home but it ran away and got lost, it is possible that we had a stuffed badger that was misplaced. Or, in this particular case, we don’t have a badger at all, real, stuffed, or lost.)

She sings a lot. Sometimes it’s actual songs; sometimes she just tells a story in a long song that she makes up. There is a lot of love for Muppet Treasure Island songs in particular happening these days. Her favourite book is currently Fancy Nancy and the Spectacular Spectacles, courtesy of Ceri, because Owlet desperately wanted glasses when I got my new pair. And her favourite movie is Song of the Sea, a film which I firmly believe ought to have won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. (I liked Big Hero Six a lot, and it was very shiny, but Song of the Sea is a better film on many wonderful levels.)

The best new word she has come up with is ‘couchterfield,’ and I love it and want her to use it forever.

Finally, we have reached a point where she says she is big enough to not require the toddler seat on the toilet. Huzzah! Now if only she could understand that she does not need a length of toilet paper a metre long, we’d really be getting somewhere.

Her hair is long and spirals into absolutely killing ringlets. It also tangles easily, and like most kids she doesn’t like having her hair brushed. We try to stay on top of it by misting it in the morning and combing it out wit a bit of conditioner, then braiding it at night. We’ve been experimenting with updos to keep it out of her face, and those are fun, too. Or they are when we can get her past “Braid my hair like Elsa’s!”

TdF 2015: The First Week

The Tour de Fleece spinners have completed one full week of competition spinning! There have been so many inspiring photos in our team’s thread on Ravelry. I’ve had lots of time to spin, as we ended up having to stay in town and none of the anticipated work has landed in my inbox yet. Here’s what I’ve spun so far.

Just before the TdF began, I bought some stretchy cord (it’s glittery!) to test as drive band material. It took a bit of finicky adjusting on the Mazurka, but once I found the sweet spot, I love it. I put it on the Symphony for my third yarn in double drive, and I’m not as fond of it there; it’s noisy, for some reason.

This red heathered yarn (spun longdraw from a roving prep for a true woollen yarn) was my warmup as I tried spinning in double drive on the FrankenMazurka. Since I’ve been uncomfortable with double drive, I decided my first yarns would be spun that way on the wheel I’m less familiar with and therefore have fewer ingrained preferences about. I certainly have a much better understanding of it now! The red yarn is 58 yards of lovely, squooshy, two-ply Aran-weight yarn, from 35 g of fibre. (It’s from Upper Canada Village, actually; their roving is inexpensive, milled on site, and lovely to spin longdraw. I have a bunch of it in my stash.)

This is that lovely superwash Merino from Sweet Georgia Yarns, in the ‘Rustle’ colourway. It ended up being 183 yards of chain-plied DKish weight, which seemed short to me. Upon weighing the yarn I discovered that it was only 55 g, which was a relief; I’d thought it was 100.

This is what I’m currently working on; I’m spinning it on the Symphony. It’s a repeated rainbow sequence (reflected or palindromic, actually), but with pink instead of red. It was unidentified wool from a destash; I’ve since figured out it’s a longwool, possibly Teeswater or a Leicester. I’m spinning it as a single.

Today is a challenge day! These are tied to the challenging days in the actual Tour de France. Today the cyclists are facing a two-mile ride at a 7% incline; we set our own personal challenges as spinners. My idea for today was to give corespinning a serious go, but yesterday’s non-spinning life was such a challenge for me that I’m considering just finishing this longwool I’m currently spinning; I’m not sure I need anything that would stress me today. But in case I decide to try, I’m going to pop out to Michael’s as soon as it opens and pick up a base yarn for my first real attempt at corespinning. Also some superglue, because we are amassing a pile of broken figurines and toys that need to be addressed. (Frankly, the time out and away from the kids would be welcome, too. It was that kind of day yesterday.)

I have a lovely cup of tea, I caught Minerva playing with the new kitten this morning, and I finally found a physical copy of Elinor Frey’s new Berlin Sonatas CD yesterday in a local shop. I’m totally set to spin this morning.

Meet Jiji

We took the kids out for a surprise today. Where were we going? We wouldn’t say. It’s a mystery! Just sit back and enjoy the trip, kids. (As best you can in 31 C weather before humidex and with no AC.)

Meet Jiji.

We went to the shelter for a cat one year or older, since the population of those skyrockets around July 1 here (it’s moving day) and whereas kittens always find homes, rehoming adult cats is much more challenging. We felt we were at a place where we were ready to offer another rescue animal a home and a forever family, and the shelter was running a half-price adoption fee for adult cats, since they were overpopulated. We found three we liked as we walked through the cattery (two calicos! a grey!)… except then we saw this three-month-old guy at the end of the hall. He tried to climb through the glass to get to the children, and, well, game over. A full-price kitten it was. Black cats are always harder to get adopted, so we helped him, right?

He’s spectacular with both kids, with whom he played in the meeting room for over half an hour without fear. The adoption facilitator kept saying, “I have to tell you all this stuff about stress and warnings and how adjusting can be hard on the cat, but… somehow, I really don’t think it’s going to be a problem.” She said she hadn’t seen a cat click with a family that well or that fast in quite a while. So far Gryff and Minerva haven’t had hissy fits about the Strange New Cat Smell on the Family, which is also positive, although the true test will come tonight when they are both denied entry to our bedroom, where they like to sleep.

(PS: Bonus points if you get the name reference!)