warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Well cheaper, anyhow. For those missing the reference Laronde is the big amusement park in Montreal, built at the site of Expo 67, the former Worlds Fare (I believe now owned by Six Flags).

Today the kids had their swimming lessons, at the pool of a downtown hotel (the community center where they usually hold lessons is being renovated). Afterwards, we go to the mall/shopping in the same complex*, so they can watch the fountain (very nice, keeps changing patterns and lights). There's an escalator up to the mezzanine level, and they wanted to ride it. Up then down. Twenty or thirty times. Or so. They were a little scared, but went up holding my hand. Finally, Hedgefund decided she could do it without holding my hand.
Outwardly: "I'm so proud of you."
Inwardly: "Wahhhhh. My baby's growing up and doesn't need me anymore."

I think she may have caught on to my feelings, because a little bit later she started crying.
Me: "What's wrong?"
HF: "Even when I'm grown up, I want to still live in the same house."
Outwards: "I love you honey. I promise, we'll live together forever."
Inwardly: "Yeah, gonna replay this conversation when you're 18 and want to move out."

*Part of the "underground city," a term sounds more interesting than it actually is.
Very common downtown Montreal to have a tower complex connected to the Metro, but with underground parking, a food court, a level or two of shopping, then either offices and/or residential (and this case a hotel). Basically a self-contained mini-city, connected via Metro - and underground passageways - to other such. Right in the downtown core, every Metro stop has one or more such complex on top, with the passageways connecting a dozen or more into an underground loop, which in aggregate is "the underground city."
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
I'm at an age when many of my colleagues are either semi-retired, or just taking more time off. Especially in winter, there are plenty of weeks I'd just like to say, "screw this weather, let's head somewhere warm!" (Especially in February.) That's fine when your kids are out of the house, but a little harder when their in school. I mean primary school. (Starting next year. Eek.) I suppose I could have had the sense to send them to boarding school, or military academy. Or just enroll them in the Army. (I may be a little behind the times, but don't they still have 5-year old drummer boys/girls?) Or hey, they're pretty responsible, they could stay on their own for a few weeks. Or maybe…


Mar. 9th, 2019 05:00 pm
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Speaking of Hedgefund (which I rarely do...), she is starting to actually be able to read. Since age 3, she claimed to be able to read, in that she’d actually memorized one or two of her books, but I mean actually sound out short sentences of short words, and actually know what she is reading. Sometimes hard to tell, as she has memorized parts of lots of different books. We get lots of books from the libraries, and we always read at night (which is to say, I read to her). She doesn't like to actually read, because still work for her, but if I push her, she actually can read. *Kvelling.*

Soon, she'll love reading all on her own, and I'll be out of a job, which will make me both proud/happy and sad. That's what's parenting is about: doing yourself out of a job.


Feb. 7th, 2019 07:17 pm
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
This morning, while I was getting ready to head out the door, Hedgefund said, "I want to go to work with you and be a doctor." Yessssss!!!!  *Pumps fist* My work here is done. I did gently point out that she would have to get through medical school first, but that's a detail. (Oh yeah, and before that there's kindergarten, primary school….) A few months back, she had announced that when she was big, she was going to be either a doctor or a hospital, so I'm glad she's refined her career plans. Now I just have to stay around long enough to hand to practice over to her.
warriorsavant: (Space-horsehead nebula)
Was mostly overcast last night, but only a thin cloud layer, and the moon, what with being super, was visible through the clouds. Having been told it was a "super moon," I could see it looked bigger than normal, but probably wouldn't have thought about it if hadn't already been aware. Regardless, since moon visible through cloud bank, I set my alarm to wake up when it was eclipse time. Nom and Hedgefund indicated they wanted to be awakened to see it; Wallstreet not so much (too young to actually say, "*&$#^★♒︎☘︎☔︎ NO!"). (BTW, not sure about that whole "the Native Americans referred to it as the '"Wolf Moon," they had names for all the moons. Different nations might have had different names for different moons, but I suspect this is something made up by the Boy Scouts or other European-American peoples as "native lore." Anyhow, no wolves howling around my house.)

I woke up just before the alarm rang, shut it off, and walked around the house to see what windows it was visible from. Answer: a bit from tiny spare room, but best from dining room, and even from there only at the right angle. When the eclipse was actually starting, woke up Nom, who duly noted a notch was taken out of the left edge of the moon, then went back to sleep. Then woke up Hedgefund, who sleepily acknowledged that she wanted to see it. Basically, still at that age where pretty much everything is fine as long as she's with Papa (*dote, dote, dote*). Then she went back to sleep, so I carried her downstairs, set up a comfy chair by the window, with a blanket and phone and binoculars. She noted the bite taken out of the moon, then went back to sleep in my lap. I stayed up watching. Well, reading "The Economist" on my phone, and watching intermittently. When it was closed to full eclipse, I woke her up again. She again noted the change in the moon and went back to sleep.

I saw the super moon, and the eclipse, but can't say I saw the "blood moon," it was just too overcast. When the moon was almost completely eclipsed, I could just about make out the eclipsed part, but as a faint, dark brown through the cloud cover, nothing reddish about it. When it totally eclipsed, it completely disappeared from my view. I carried Hedgefund back upstairs to bed, then went back down, dressed, and went outside. Nope, still couldn't see a pale red moon, or any moon, (and fortunately still now ravening wolves) so went back inside and went back to sleep.

Glad I did it. Didn't take any pix, because in the past, when have taken pictures of eclipses (sun or moon), they really didn't look like much: just a blob of light with a notch in one corner. Both Nom and Hedgefund claim they were also glad they saw it. Not sure she actually understands about how an eclipse works (Hedgefund, I mean, pretty sure Nom does), so tonight I'll have to rig up something with a lamp and two balls in a dark room.

Grab bag

Jan. 5th, 2019 07:14 pm
warriorsavant: (Meh)
Herein a grab bag of posts that I'd half-written, but didn't get around to posting. Have a number of half-formed ideas and half-written posts that I'm going to finish and post. I hate back-logs.

"Papa knows…" This soon?
Read more... )

Christmas? Bah humbug (belated, but so be it).
Christmas? Bah humbug (belated, but so be it). )

Back to the future (coin names).
Back to the future (coin names). )

Software updates at gunpoint.
Software updates at gunpoint. )
warriorsavant: (Chimerae)
I finally figured out what was missing from all the instructions, which is why they're so hard to assemble. By "flat pack furniture," I mean the stuff you get in a box from Amazon or Ikea, that comes with a hex wrench. "Hex" in this case means hexagonal wrench, a.k.a. Allen wrench, not that said tool has a hex on it, although that could also go a long way to explaining the difficultly in assembling them.

Anyhow, the key line missing from all the instruction manuals is "first remove the two toddlers from your house…" Really, if I did that, all of the assembly would be 3-5 times faster than with their helping me.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
One problem with having very small bambini around is that they want to “help” do things. Not good when I’m trying to do home maintenance, because either:
1. It takes at least 3 times longer. I can probably replace a light switch in 5-10 minutes. The last time Hedgefund helped me it took 40 minutes. Admittedly she was 2 years old. Now it would only take 30 minutes. Or they watch me, but then want to play. Example, going up on a ladder to change a ceiling light. Yes, they let me do it alone, but then want their “turns” climbing up and down the ladder, which means I have to stand there and make sure they come down the ladder on their own steam, rather that gravity-powered and head first.
2. I sometimes don’t want them on unsafe places, even if I’m there, because I don’t want them knowing that they can get up/into such places, because they might do it when I’m not there. Example, I don’t want them to know how to get onto the roof of the house. It will be quite a while before they can manipulate the extension ladder into place and open the trap door, but I’d just as soon they even consider the concept as do-able as late as possible. More to the point, there is a spiral staircase to the roof of the garage. I have absolutely no idea why. When we were doing the renos, they put a gate at the base of the staircase, but I didn’t have a lock for it until just now. Again, don’t want them even considering climbing up to the roof of the garage until they are old enough to not risk coming down gravity-powered/head-first.

BTW, being the son of a locksmith, I understand that I could - and therefore did - have a locksmith fit a padlock to the same key as my house key. I’m a firm believer in having as few keys as possible. In fact, our house key also opens the front door of my office, but not the reverse. That is, if I don’t have my office keys, I can still get in, but Evil Secretary’s office key doesn’t open the house (variant on doing a master key). Again, being a son-of-a-locksmith (among other “son of’s” I’ve been called), I realized that they were the same key blank, and therefore could be keyed alike.
warriorsavant: (Space-horsehead nebula)
Friday, Nom & the kids were visiting the grandparents. I had gotten home early from work. I had a ton of stuff to do, but I needed some down time and I had the whole house to myself. Obviously time for wild partying… yeah, right. I took a bath, all by myself! Then watched part of a Dr. Who. (I still have 2-3 that haven't watched from last season, need to get to them before the next seasons starts at Christmas.) They came home when I was almost at the end, and the kids wanted to watch with me. In the past, it scared the dickens out of them (and did when we tried to watch more the next day), but they were good with it that time. Only problem was that Hedgefund would ask me at least once/minute what was happening and why. In a Dr. Who episode. Would have trouble explaining that to an adult. Anyhow, still great father-child activity for the nerd set.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Hedgefund sees me put letters (and more often bills) into envelopes to mail. She drew a picture (with all the artistic talent a 4-year old can muster), and wanted to mail it to her mother. I gave her a (used) envelope, stuck a sticker in the upper right corner (where the stamp goes), and she carefully addressed it to MOMMY.

I had some letters to mail, so we all went to the post office. I went first, handed the clerk a note (felt like a bank robber from a 1920's movie), that said, "The little girl wants to mail a letter to Mommy. Please take it, put it aside, and I'll come back for it later." He didn't quite get it at first, then caught on and played along nicely. As we were walking off, I "remembered" that I had another letter to mail, went back, gave the clerk my letter and took Hedgefund's back.

Two days later, I slipped it in with the real mail that was delivered to our house. Hedgefund was most proud to get the mail, then hand her letter, that had been "delivered" to Mommy.
warriorsavant: (Meh)
I love my kids and absolutely adore being a father (I know I usually hide this). When I see them smile or hear them laugh, my day brightens and my heart sings. I sometimes have to remind myself (or Nom & I remind each other) of this when they are fussy, whiny, and/or bags of pestilence... especially when they give the latter to their Papa. They are mostly recovered from last week's bout of some sort of cocksackie or enterovirus. I am full on into, compete with lethargy, sore throat, and rash on my hands. Hoof and mouth disease?
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Many will tell you that education is the key to getting a good job, good life, and avoiding manual drudgery. For much of human history, that meant being able to avoid laboring in the fields. So, for the first relatively cool day in a while, we two university-educated parents took our young kids to pick berries. The irony is not lost on me that what is considered horrid grinding work if you have to do it, can be the epitome of leisure if doing it for a lark.

Quinn Farms is about 35 minute drive from where we are. I've always been amazed that for a city of it's size, from Montreal you can be in farm country in 30-45 minutes. I think because Canada has such a relatively small population for its size, the cities are not as widely surrounded by suburban sprawl as in the US or Europe. Quinn Farms is large, clean, and well-run. We got there early before it was too hot or too crowded. First we went to look at the animals. The kids, urban-raised that they are, were fascinated by the future chops, wings, steaks, and bacon animals. Some you could pet (eg sheep), and some you couldn't (eg pigs), which I imagine depends on how likely they are to bite you if annoyed. In with the chickens was one larger, bald-headed bird, which I think was a turkey. Or possibly a vulture (or turkey vulture?). Naw, turkey.

After that, took a ride on a wagon behind a tractor out to the fields. (WS loves tractors, and they had several old ones he got to climb on.) HF was very into picking strawberries, and quickly filled her basket. WS mostly waited for mom to pick some, then ate them. I noticed they had different fields with different crops, which ripened at different times, cleverly allowing them to have tourist custom at all times during the spring, summer, and fall. As part of it's being a working farm, there was an area you couldn't go into: dusty tracks connecting buildings made of sheet metal or of old shipping containers. Reminded me of my Army days.

After that, went back to the main area, had BBQ lunch, then hit the shop (toys, souvenirs, fresh eggs, etc). It was a great day for the kids, and for us. Nom is thinking of going back with her parents. I think her dad might enjoy the new experience, but her mom is more likely of the "we went to university to avoid this kind of work" philosophy. I'm thinking we could create a VN version. Instead of BBQ for lunch, could have pho; instead of sheep, could have water buffalo; and instead of berries, could pick rice.
warriorsavant: (HHG-Throne of fruit)
HF wanted to make "colored" donuts for a while. I finally looked up a recipe for "easy to make donuts." Liars. Nom asked me how they made the holes, and I said we'd need to buy a donut cutter. I thought I was kidding, but when I got to the appropriate place in the recipe, it said to use one. Say what? I thought you rolled the dough into a ring by hand, but maybe that's bagels. That dough is really, really sticky, even if you oil your hands and the board. Managed some globs of food-colored dough, which I then fried. HF and WS put the food coloring into the dough. However, once you fry them, the outside is brown, much to HF's disappointment. Also, the kids sorta expected that donuts are a quick, whip some ingredients together and shazzam! donuts. Uh, no. Especially if Papa has never done this before. They really don't have the concept of "I've never done this before, so I'm figuring it out as I go along, (so stop asking me when it will be done)." I have no problem figuring things out as a go along, even if it ends up a mess, I can usually get to the end result, it just takes time. Anyhow, eventually turned out something donut-like, which the kids promptly didn't want to eat. Seems to be an endemic problem with them, they want a certain thing to eat… until they have it in front of them. Admittedly the brown-fried-dough-globs-with-colored-centers weren't all that appetizing-looking, but didn't taste bad. Well, not too bad. *Sigh*
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
I was working in my study and Wallstreet came to sit in my lap. So much easier to use a laptop, not to mention make notes on paper, with a child using you as a sofa. He picked up a pen, scribbled on some scrap paper, and announced proudly, "I working." I grinned back at him, "yes, son, you and me working together."

Happy Easter and Joyeuse Passover to whichever of my Gentle Readers so celebrate.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
I'm slowly getting back into doing something vaguely resembling exercise. (Wow! How's that for a highly non-definite statement?) The bambini, especially the girl-child (Hedgefund, in case you have not been keeping track), loves being rolled around the basement in the little umbrella stroller. I don't remember where we got it, but I don't think it's ever been outside. Sometimes she just likes being pushed, sometimes it gets her to sleep. Rather like driving her around in the car, but more ecological and better exercise for Papa. Regardless, she enjoys it (sometimes the two bambini take turns), and I get in some exercise, at least 20-30 minutes of walking, along with what she considers quality time. Note to over-programmed, over-achievers everywhere: "quality time" is defined by whatever the child thinks it is. Sometimes, if I get up early (or rarely even if I don't), I get on the treadmill. I've gone from slow walk, to brisk walk, to some intervals of very slow running. It's exercise, plus I'm getting caught up on Season 10 of "Doctor Who."
warriorsavant: (Composite)
Getting back to a few more serious posts that were sketched out, but not cleaned up.

Was talking a few months ago with a colleague. He is newly on staff at McGill. Already had a PhD when he got to us, finished our residency program few years ago, was faculty elsewhere for a bit, and now is back on staff with us. He is interested in research, very hard-working, and also very astute politically/socially, so he'll go far. We had dinner to talk about his taking over some of my administrative teaching duties, and also talking about projects we could work on in common.

Years ago, when I was even more neurotically obsessional than I am now, I had not only a "to do" list, but several of them: (A) to do top priority, (B) to do soon-ish, (C) to do sometime this year, and (D) to do sometime this lifetime. I still keep to do list(s), because you can't be this busy and get stuff done without tracking things, but I'm not that bad. I suppose the 'to do this lifetime" list still exists, but only in the back of my mind. There are things that have already dropped off of it, for example, I'm not really going to go back and take music lessons again (last time was grade school). Still had several things that I was going to do, some starting when this current time crunch (the one that started before Hedgefund was born, and will end when house and office properly set up).

Now, I'm not so sure. One thing that already had faded into the background was intense French lessons (and possible even other languages). I can get by, but nowhere near as good as I'd like. Had always been planning on improving it "when I had time." However, since I am, and have been, good enough, I always had higher priority things to do. At this point, and not going to take weeks-months off for French immersion somewhere, or even devote xxx hours/week to it. (Although reading childrens books to HF & WS might be helping a bit.) I had definitely been thinking that would like to get more involved in teaching and/or research. In fact, am already as involved in teaching as I'm going to get. Research? Right now, it feels like just opening another can of worms, and I've spent so much time the past few years (decades?) herding enough worms. Do I really want to bother? Not sure. Some part of me still does, but after listening to my colleague bubbling with plans, energy, and enthusiasm, I'm thinking going to work, then coming home and biting toes seems about all I want to do. Admittedly, soon enough they'll be too old for toe-biting, but there will be other things. We'll see. There are lots of political games and paperwork involved in research also, and I've had enough of the latter, and was never very good at the former. Right now I'm tired, and thinking that the roads not yet taken will just have to be traveled by other people, not me.


Dec. 29th, 2017 08:47 pm
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Time to stop the tete (pronounced "teetee": tetine, suçes, dummy, binky, pacifier). Well past time. Were not quite as worried about getting them to stop as some people; after all, have never seen a 35-year old walking down the street sucking on one, but both the Peds, and the Dentist, really wanted it stopped before they misaligned their teeth.

Hedgefund from an early age wanted "tete and cloth," that is, a small (4" x 4") face cloth. Only very soft ones. Sometimes 2 or 3 cloths at a time. Sometimes an armful. (Admittedly she has small arms, but even so can fit a dozen at a time.) Around age two, had finally gotten her to stop using the tete, but then Wallstreet came along, and he had one, and she regressed a little, and got addicted to the tete again. He wasn't big on the face cloth thing (sometimes wanted one, and didn't care if it was soft or not), but at times wanted 2- or 3-, or even 4 tetes. Didn't try to suck on them, would stick them on the ends of his fingers. Of course if one had them, the other one wanted also. Lately Wallstreet has just naturally stopped wanting a tete - not even to stick on his fingers - but Hedgefund still wanted hers. Desperately. They didn't use them at daycare, but she wanted it the second she was picked up. We decided over the holidays that it was time to stop.

Not happy inflicting that on her, but it was not good for her teeth, and way past time. She went into withdrawal, crying the first day and until she fell asleep. The next day she was okay, until she noticed one forgotten under the stove. (I knew there was at least one lurking around somewhere. These are the sort of things, like spare pens, that somehow one either has 12 or none.) She pitched a fit, but didn't give it to her. Finally got her distracted, and then got it and threw it out when she wasn't looking. By the third day, she really didn't notice. (I did find and toss out yet another one that was hiding under the last boxes that I'd unpacked, but she didn't notice that.) 

I did the security blanket thing until primary school age. I'm convinced that my parents got me to leave it home when I went to summer camp ("you don't want to be teased" - I wasn't, but still loathed my few times at summer camp), then threw it out while I was away, hoping I wouldn't notice. I told them that in later years, when I was an adult, but they denied it. Oh well, my doing that to Hedgefund will no doubt add 6 months onto her future course of psychotherapy that she'll need to get over all the other horrible things we have/will have done to her. I once told a psychoanalyst friend (who was talking about his kids), that they would doubtless need therapy one day. He chuckled and said that everyone needed psychoanalysis, and that if his kids grew up to be able to afford it, then he'd done a good job as a parent. Check back with me in 20-30 years.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)

Two games the kids love to play are "Upside Down," in which Papa flips them end-over-end; and "cache-cache," which is French for "Hide & Seek."

For the former, when they were younger, I'd lie on my back with them sitting on my knees, pick them up, flip them around in mid-air, and land them past my head. They loved it; Nom would freak. Hedgefund is almost up to doing a somersault on her own, but for now, they get into head-down position (early Yoga training?) and I flip them over.

For the latter, Hedgefund takes the lead because she's older and, BTW, she can talk. She definite ideas on which came we play when, whose turn it is, and the rules on how to hide.
"Papa, you hid over there." Points to a tree, corner of the room, closet, etc.
"Over here?" I deliberately point somewhere else.
"No, there." Points again to where I'm supposed to hide.
"No, over there," in the patient voice reserved for half-witted parents who don't understand simple things like where they are supposed to hide.
I would say she's a little unclear on the concept of "hiding" and "seeking," but that seems to be how she feels about my level of understanding. *Sigh* Parents. You've got to explain the obvious to them.

warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
I usually read Hedgefund to sleep. The other night, she put her toutous on a pillow, put a blanket over them, and "read" them a story. Last night she "read" a story to Wallstreet. "Read" is in quote marks. She's three-and-a-half, she can't read. That didn't stop her at all. The two of them sat next to each other, her holding a book, and she reciting bits of stories I'd read her, and made up some things, and sang some songs. As far as both of them were concerned, she was reading to him, and they both loved it.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Hedgefund had a medical appointment today (routine stuff, nothing scary). Nom & Ba Ngiao were taking her, and I was staying home to get stuff done. As I was helping her get dressed to go out, she announced to me that she was going to the hospital. To work. Just like Papa works at the hospital. Further that Papa is a doctor, and she is going to be a doctor when she's big, just like Papa. *Beams* (I think Nom recorded it, then transcribed and notarized a copy of the recording.) I am, as we say in Vietnamese, kvelling.


warriorsavant: (Default)

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