warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
I know development, and really any kind of progress, is never linear, but I'm amazed to see just how irregular it can be sometimes.

Wallstreet's language ability is literally changing day-by-day right now. Leading up to his 3rd birthday, we were actually worried about him. He was still only speaking in 1-2 word "sentences," maybe 3 on a good day. Now, just 2 months later, he is using complete sentences of 8-10 words, and stringing 2-4 sentences together into a comprehensible speech. Wow.
warriorsavant: Family Tree (Family Tree)
The kids were watching me shave. (The "You don't get out much?" concept of finding something trivial to be fascinating doesn't apply to small children, to whom everything really is new and fascinating.) After I finished, Wallstreet (age 3) decided that HE wanted to try shaving. Since I was using an electric razor, I let him "shave." He was delighted.


His next shave will probably be in another 8-12 years, unless he inherits his beard characteristics from him VN side. I asked my FIL, who said he has never shaved a day in his life, and my BIL who said he almost never shaves. Since Wallstreet has very few Asian features physically, I assume he'll get his facial/body hair characteristics from my side, which is to say he'll be able to grow a beard in a week. (Not a full beard, but clearly "I'm growing a beard," not "oh, you were too lazy to shave for a day or two.") 


Speaking of body hair, and speaking of things you really don't want to discuss with your mother (not that we were discussing the latter, but this is going to be a rather rambling, and I hope amusing post), I'm not the first White person Nom has ever been with. Every time she did date someone White, her mother would ask her, "Is it true that White people have hair all over their bodies?" Also, apparently, MIL once came across an article in a French language magazine (newspaper?), and asked Nom, in Vietnamese, to explain the term "le sexe oral." If there weren't proof that her parents had sex at least twice, Nom would doubt they ever had. For that matter, I know my siblings and I are the products of virgin births. 


Back to shaving. Many men like to shave. I don't. It's an annoying thing to have to do each morning. At various times of my life, I have worn a beard. When I was younger, that was more a function of whether my military time was Active or regularly drilling Reserve versus inactive Reserve. I was in the Navy when beards were permitted and did have one, shaving it off when they changed the regulations. Now I'm used to being clean-shaven, plus in modern society, being a graybeard literally as well as metaphorically doesn't confer gravitas, it makes you look scraggly. I frequently don't shave on weekends because I don't like doing it, and don't have to look professional. I use an electric most of the time, but after not having shaved for 3 days, the stubble is rather thick and rough, so I use a manual razor. Not really sure what to call those anymore. I grew up calling them "safety razors." They were so named in contradistinction to straight razors, at a time when electric razors didn't exist. I confess to being confused when I first read Jack London, with people fighting with razors. I knew they didn't have electric razors, but had never seen a straight razor, so had no idea how you could hurt someone with a safety razor. By the time I started shaving, I understood what a straight razor was, and wanted to shave with one. My father wisely pointed out that I'd likely cut my own throat, and got me an electric razor. Actually it was an old one that had belonged to our Grandpa Jimmy. Instead of an on-off switch, there was a little wheel that you flicked to start it turning. It was my brother's first razor, and then mine. I don't know what ever happened to it; both of us "graduated" to rotary-head razors, which do seem to work a little better.


Grandpa Jimmy died before I really have much memory of him, except that he was a good man, and the accidental cause of a minor linguistic confusion in me that lasted until my 20's. He was my maternal grandmother's second husband, and was born and raised in Italy. He came to the US as a young boy, and I believe served in the US Army in WWI. Like many Italians, even when speaking English, he frequently threw in the word capisce. (Heck, most New Yorkers of whatever background use it.) In my family, there were a dozen or so Yiddish words that we used frequently: mensch, kibitz, etc. (Again, most New Yorkers of whatever background use them.) When you're 6? (8? 12?), you don't think about the linguistic derivation of how you speak. I knew capisce wasn't English, we used it in my family, ergo it must be Yiddish. Some time in my 20's I began to find it strange that so many Italians used that particular Yiddish word, and eventually the had the light bulb/facepalm moment and realized the word was Italian.


Straight razors. I have a few times been shaved by a barber with a straight razor. It is partly luxurious, and partly scary. Someone literally has a razor-sharp blade at your throat. Especially considering that the first time was on a street corner in Pakistan. Eddy, my barber, said that when he was a boy growing up in Lebanon, 50? 60? years ago, it was normal for men to stop at the barbershop en route to work to get shaved. They'd wait their turn, get shaved, then stop for coffee (Lebanese coffee, which is what we call Turkish coffee), waiting their turn to get served for that. In short, leisurely lifestyle which did not involve a high work ethic. Many countries that people in First World nations are terrible workaholics; then they can't understand why they themselves are poor.

Eddy is a great barber, with a good work ethic, and also offers you a coffee when you're there. Not Arab/Turkish style, but at least a good espresso, and occasionally something stronger. 

warriorsavant: (Default)
Or, I could have just titled this "various: mostly about family."

A small boast. The other day I had to do an excision on a 7-year old. I usually defer these until teen years when the child is ready and wants it, but the lesion was physically hurting her and mom talked her into doing it. I managed to do the local anesthesia (eg by injection) without her so much as saying "ouch" or otherwise seeming to be uncomfortable even once. Pinch the skin, keep talking to the patient ("talkesthesia" - which is not easy for me), and inject very, very, very slowly.

I don't know how I'd handle one of my kids going in for major surgery or other serious medical issue. For doctor's visits, Nom is the designated parent; I usually go too, but not always. For minor, but more-than-doctor's-office stuff, I'm the designated parent, and Nom sometimes goes also, but not always. Hedgefund, for all her fussiness has been fairly good with blood draws, ultrasounds, and other other more-than-doctor's-office stuff. Some of that credit goes to the staff at Montreal Children's Hospital, some she picks up from my attitude that medical things are normal, and some is she just has different things that do and don't bother her.

When Wallstreet describes / refers to something as "big," he always makes his voice BIG when he says it (eg "that big truck"). I don't mean louder, but he purses his lips, deepens his voice slightly, and makes the word resonate.

We have a Vietnamese landscape painting that belonged to Nom's paternal grandfather. Her father, who is a bit of a pack rat, had it at home and gave it to us when we moved to the new house. He had also tried to unload a bunch of other art on us which we declined. However this piece is a bit of family history. The grandfather had been in the Vietnamese Army, rising up to Colonel. He was initially in the Army under the French and a prisoner during the Japanese occupation, then when the country was divided in 1954, was in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). The painting was a gift from his junior officers when he was promoted to Colonel, out of their personal respect for him. I love history, and family history, and so am interested to know about this piece. Last night, I sat with FIL and asked him about the painting and about his father, which I think pleased him. BIL, other than having some self-identity as VN, doesn't care at all about VN history, culture, family history, etc (which is why we got that painting, not him). Nom cares, but not in an organized way. I am going to do a small write-up about the piece. I've done that for several items I've picked up over the years that are either antique, or have a personal/family story, or are otherwise unusual. I am doing this part for myself, but more so some day I'll be able to tell the kids about their great-great grandfather.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Forward: Wallstreet can actually talk now. Before he could "talk," in the sense of single words, maybe stringing 2-3 together appropriately, but sometime during the past month he began using full sentences. Medical school is just a step away.

Back: We had reason to go to the old condo. Still not sold. Grrr. Anyhow, we ended up giving the kids a bath there. (Sounds strange, but sort of made sense, however too complicated to explain.) I got all nostalgic about giving them baths there, Hedgefund especially adored taking a bath with her Papa with more bubbles than water. Partly nostalgic for the condo itself; I'd lived there for over 10 years, had many good memories (and some horrid ones), and that is where we first lived together and had our children. Partly nostalgic for when the kids were little. Yeah, I know that at 4 and 2-1/2 they are still little, but little-er.
warriorsavant: (Cafe)
This post not all about kids, but admittedly mostly. Was going to post this yesterday, but decided needed at least one serious post, otherwise. I'd be having a bad case of being that guy who posts incessantly only about his kids. Yeah, "warriorsavantdaddy," that's me.

The new house. We really love it. It's very bright, very classy and classic styling, high ceilings with moulding, lots of woodwork, beautiful layout with different sightlines in different directions.

The new office. Also very bright and classy. Really do need to tweak the layout of things in each exam room. In my old place, could basically sit in one spot and pivot to reach everything. Highly efficient way to work. Although these rooms are actually smaller, they are not yet as neatly laid out. It's annoying me, but haven't had time to tweak it yet; too many other things to do. Taxes mostly in to the accountant now.

Sitting in the back of your own car. Interesting feeling. The other day Nom w/ kids and I arrived home at the same time (warned you there'd be kids in this post). Wallstreet decided he wanted to play in Papa's car instead of going into the house. We both climbed into the back (later into the front where he sat in my lap and "drove" and also pulled everything out of the glove compartment). Sitting like that, the car changes from being a vehicle to being a small room. Interesting psychological perspective.

Hedgefund. Speaking of cars, she's become a back seat driver. At 4 years old. If she starts saying "mind the lorry," I'm sending her back. (Hyacinth from "Keeping Up Appearances" a BritCom used to like.) She also has become quite talkative in general, and much happier. That makes me incredibly glad, I was so worried she was depressive. She is also quite inventive about names and how she addresses us. Sometimes it's "hey guys" (from the timbre of voice and facial expression, I think she's imitating one of the daycare teachers), sometimes it's "hey parents," sometimes it's Papa Savant and Mommy Savant (I think from "Peppa Pig," a current popular children's show, the parents being Daddy Pig and Mommy Pig). Lately, she was mad at Wallstreet and started calling him Blue Dragon. Dragon because he was being mean, and blue because that's his color. His room is painted blue. Hers is green. Did you think I was going to write "pink?" Silly Reader, stop thinking in clichés. Green is her favorite color, has been as long as she could barely indicate a choice, so we painted her room green. The master bedroom is red (actually 3 walls are pale gray, and the back wall is deep red). Since we Savants like dragons, she (mostly) stopped using it as a negative, and now Wallstreet is Blue Dragon, she is Green Dragon (of sometimes Hedgefund Big Sister Green Dragon), we are Papa Red Dragon and Mommy Red Dragon. I have a hypothesis that color in dragons is multi-genetic, which effects how the colors breed, so perfectly reasonable for 2 red dragons to produce one green and one blue dragon. I'm putting in for grant to study it.

And oh yeah, "Happy Spring," apparently that being the season when it's only minus-a bit, and not too much snow forecast for tomorrow morning.
warriorsavant: (Time)
(A moderately serious, non-family-related post, for a change.)

For someone who is not at all religious, I usually enjoyed talking to the chaplains when I was in the Army. They tend to be educated, well-spoken, and open-minded. However that is a discussion perhaps for another post. Today is really about nomenclature.

In the US military, chaplains are addressed as "Chaplain," not by rank. (Doctors are usually addressed as "Doctor," until they hit a certain rank, or are in a leadership position.) Have seen a few patients from the Canadian Forces who are chaplains, who are addressed as "Padre." Even the female ones. I found that rather curious, and a bit of an anachronistic. (One of them did say she expected they would at some point start calling them Chaplain like the US does.) I had sometimes addressed chaplains as Padre in the US, but that was understood to be more of a friendly nickname than anything official. Had one commander who collectively referred to me and the chaplain as “the healer and the holy man.” I suspect Can Forces got calling them Padre from UK, and that does seem rather UK/High Church C of E to me.

I consulted my theological experts: michikatinski on DW and a recently retired Rabbi/Army Reserve Chaplain I know. I posed the following questions:
1. Is “Madre” ever used as a title in religious orders that you know of?
2. In olden days, did US military ever officially address chaplains as “Padre?”

Response 1: Rabbi:
1- Madre is not used anywhere I know of, certainly not in any military system.
2- Your second question is a bit more complicated and a difference between regulations, common usage, and cultural issues. So as you remember from MASH, Fr. Mulcahey is often addressed as Padre because Catholics use that term regularly and the same is true for those of Latino/Hispanic background. So yes it is high church, used mostly by Episcopalians and Catholics in our country and Church of England and Catholics in Commonwealth Countries. So regulations say that all Chaplains must be addressed as Chaplains and not by rank , however Rabbis, and Priests may be referred to as Rabbi, Father, or Padre as is the custom of those faiths. Protestants interestingly enough may not be referred to as Rev. according to regulation.

Response 2: DW buddy (who was CAP at one time):
1. Let's see. Ok. So... my question is, why is a Canadian chaplain addressed in any language other than English or French? That the masculine form of a foreign title would be used is doubly odd to me. I've never heard of "Madre" being used as a title in any religious order, and the only situations I could think of it being used would be in religious communities of females or "High-Church" religious communities in which women are ordained. Some Episcopal priests are called "Mother" So-and-so, just as male priests are called "Father" So-and-so.
2. I'm not aware of U.S. armed forces ever addressing chaplains as anything other than "Chaplain" So-and-so. There are quite a lot of chaplains who are evangelicals and would tsk-tsk the idea of being called any version of "father" thanks to Matthew 23:9, especially as a way of setting themselves apart from Catholics (which is a fond pastime of US Protestants by and large).
warriorsavant: (Signpost Ft. Benning)
I suppose the title should be more, "local geography and it's impact on a dermatology practice," or maybe even, "look sucker, it's only 10 minutes away, stop whining."

When I was a resident, one of my teachers said, "my patients are so loyal they'd stay with me no matter what… unless someone else opened up 10 feet closer to them." Sort of how I'm feeling right now. I've moved all of 10 minutes away from my old office, and some of the patients are whining that it is too far, or just started looking around for someone else. This is counter-balanced emotionally by those who find it much easier to get to and are happy, but they were already coming, so it's a net loss of patients. Evil Secretary is filling in as much as possible with new patients, but winter is always the slow season for us.

Montreal area is interesting in that people can be very parochial about their little municipality. In the US, people are far less concerned about driving somewhere, including to see their doctor. Frankly, I loathe communiting, and prefer everything within a short walk, whether or not I actually walk. That's the urbanite in me. Also, I logically consider transportation time to be dead time. I'm neither at work, nor at home, nor getting things done. Montreal goes beyond that. Like many cities, it was agglomerated out of smaller municipalities. Some wanted to join up, some were shotgun marriages by the province. (Too much history to blog about here.) Even saying "Montreal" is not precise, because it could refer to Montreal City proper, or the Island of Montreal (which has an over-government/counsel for certain functions). And yes, Montreal actually is an island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, the largest of a number of grouped islands, which I suppose technically makes it an archipelago, but I digress.

So, anyhow, some of the municipalities actually are separate cities, and some are "arondissments" in Montreal City, and some are former cities which emotionally keep their identities. Maybe it's the Canadian conferation-ist mentality, but people often are resistent to going to "another municipality," even if it's only 10 minutes travel time. I think overall that feeling is less than when I first got here, but it's still there. Years back, the big divide was St. Lawrence Blvd, which officially divided East and West on the island and city. (That is, civic numbers on the longer east-west streets were something like 1234 Avenue ABC East/West, like 5th Avenue divides Manhattan in NYC.) Overall more English west, and French east, with maps in each langauge showing blank space labelled "here be monsters" (or "voici des monstres"). A secondary divide was the Decarie Expressway dividing out the WestIsland from DownTown (for a West Islander, crossing the Decarie really did imply a risk of being eaten by monsters).

When I'd moved to my old office from where I'd worked for/with another Derm, a percent of the patients didn't follow me because it was "so far away." Which is to say, 10 minutes by car, maybe 20 by metro. Now, same thing has happened. I mean I don't claim to be much, but I think I'm worth an extra 10-minute drive. I'm not really annoyed (although Evil Secretary is), more faintly amused by the whole thing. I'm not suffering from lack of patients, and we'll see how fast they can get an appointment with another Derm.
warriorsavant: (Signpost Ft. Benning)
(That's supposed to read: chúc mừng năm mới. Seems to have changed when capitalized.)

Happy Vietnamese New Year to all my Gentle Readers. (Yes, same lunar new year as other Chinese and other Asian countries.) The festival is called Tết, which apparently just means "festival." I'm coming to realize that many terms in VN (and other languages) which sound so exotic to our ears have very prosaic meanings in those languages. For example, the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur is located at a muddy estuary of the river. In Malay, it means "muddy estuary." And we think Western developers give our housing developments lame names.

Friday Nom took the kids to Temple, to get some modicum of their culture, and charm all the elders with how cute they are (he added, modestly).

Saturday night we went out with the immediate family for traditional food. We went to Snowden Deli. I said traditional food, I didn't say whose tradition. They loved the smoked meat. Less enthusiastic about the potato knish and cheese blintzes (the latter, to be honest, were not great). Hey, if N. American Jews can eat Chinese food on Christmas Eve, my VN relatives can have Jewish Deli for Tết. Maybe next year for Rosh Hashanah, we'll go out for VN.
warriorsavant: (Books (Trinity College Library))

One on my projects for over the holidays is to finish putting away the stuff in the last few boxes that have not yet been unpacked ("few" being a relative term). For now, a first approximation of where things go, then over several months going over the place with a fine toothed comb to put everything obsessionally in its place (for some stuff, that place will be trash/recycling).

Today I organized medical and language books. From my old condo, I had 2 lovely bookcases with glass fronts. I'm not sure I really like glass-fronted bookcases, makes it too hard to see and get to the books (like keeping animals in zoos), but they do look impressive. The big one has three sections, was in my den in my old place, and is now at the end wall of my tablinum in our new house. The smaller, but matching, one is single section, which was between two windows in the den in the old place. I was going to put it in the new office (almost finished *crosses fingers*) as a display case, having left it in the living room of our new house until then. I realized there is no good space in the new office, and it looks rather nice in the living room, so there it shall stay.

There are 6 shelves. The top two are respectively, books, and medical equipment, that was my late great-uncle's from medical school (plus a few antique medical books). He had graduated medical school exactly half a century before me. The next two are respectively books and medical equipment, that was mine from medical school. (My Derm books from Residency are in the bigger bookshelf in the tablinum. The last two shelves are ultimately reserved for Hedgefund's and Wallstreet's medical school books and equipment. (Does this count as optimistic, determined, or pushy?) Will be more than half a century after me, but can't time everything correctly; that's okay, as long as they go, and I live to see it. If they have kids who go to medical school, they can jolly well find some other bookcase to exhibit things. For the meanwhile, until such time, and in case of disaster and heartbreak (they don't go to medical school😱), those 2 shelves are for language books. The fifth shelf has the real languages. Which are those, you ask? English and French, you silly non-Canadians. If I ever get Vietnamese for Ignorant Round-Eyed Barbarians Made Simple, it will go on that shelf also. The bottom shelf is all other language books that have drifted my way over the years (books on learning those languages, dictionaries in those languages, and English-XXX dictionaries). Those are arranged west-to-east on the shelf to roughly match the geographical regions of origin of those languages. (I did mention obsessional didn't I? Not to mention whimsical.) I think I have: Spanish, Italian, German, Yiddish, Macedonian, Russian, Arabic, Pashto, Dari, Japanese. Plus Latin and Esperanto. I'd love to have the time to sit down and study a half-dozen languages or so. I could probably use that many in my office. Sadly, that's on the "C-priority" of  the To Do List. (= "Get around to sometime this lifetime if I live long enough and all the B-, A-, and OMG-priority items get taken care of first."). I suspect that will never happen, unless the kids graduate medical school and take over the practice at, oh, age 12, or thereabouts. Still, hanging on to them just in case, and besides, they look cool and fit my self-image. (Worldy gentleman scholar. It ain't pretentious if you actually done it.)

warriorsavant: (Renovations)

1. Silly people. I frequently tell the young'uns that they are silly children. Tonight, I spilled a glass of water, and muttered something like, "silly Papa." Hedgefund responded that "we're all silly in this house." Uh, yeah kid. Astute of you to notice.

2. That makes sense. I noticed that my office phone bill was 20$ higher than usual (for base charges). I called them, and they said it was because I was no longer on contract, I was month-to-month. Say what? I've been with them for 20? 25? years, and as far as I knew, there was no lapse of contract (not even sure I was aware there was a contract, as opposed to standard charges). They found a note that I, being an old and valued customer (not quite how they phrased it) was eligible for a promotional (which they hadn't bothered to tell me about up until that very point). If I put in a 3rd phone line, my base chargers would be 35% cheaper/month, plus have more free long distance than I actually use. I wouldn't have to actually use that third line, or even connect it. Uh, okay, that makes complete sense (not), but I'm all for saving money.

3. Illness in the household. WS has been very cranky lately. Part is the "terrible twos," if such a thing actually exists. But really, really cranky past few days. Clearly sick yesterday. Took to Peds today, who found he had strep throat. Ah, the joys of kids in day care.d

4. Slowing down a bit. Things are always a bit slower mid-winter and mid-summer. More mid-winter, as the snow birds are away. Now is when it hits the slow down. (Not actually "slow," mind you, just not-constantly-frantic at work.) Snow birds are starting to leave town, and people are gearing up for the overly-busy, overly-stressed, depressing time known as "the holidays." There will be a sudden rush of people calling me just before said holidays, when they realize they've been neglecting whatever in the rush of preparations, and now-it's-urgent-and-what-do-you-mean-you're-too-busy-to-see-me. My last week is usually fille with follow-ups that I wanted to check on before I'm closed for 2 weeks, and if you were silly enough to prioritize parties and shopping over your medical problems, then said problems weren't really very urgent. (Or, as we say in the Army, "p*** poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.")

5. Speech. HF is displaying same. He's had a few scattered words for a while, but now is starting to fairly consistently string 2-5 words together. Sometimes intelligibly.

6. Renos2. Final bit of reno finished at the house. Well, never really finished, there's always something, but have installed the cabinets and connected the sink in the extension. The office renos are moving swiftly, expecting to move mid-January, reopen for business Feb 1.

7. Renos (addendum). Had to have the HVAC (Heat Ventilation Air Conditioning) system rebalanced in the house. It's been installed and running, but some rooms were way too hot, and some too cold. It's really a matter of adjusting various control valves on the system to route the heat where it is more needed. The tricky part is that opening the flow to one part of the house decreases it everywhere else, so it is literally a balancing act. Couldn't really be done until the heat went on to really know where the flow had to be re-directed. Likely will have to do it again in summer when A/C comes on, but at least I now know how to do it.


Oct. 9th, 2017 10:57 am
warriorsavant: (Books (Trinity College Library))
I know "books" is a subject near and dear to the hearts of all my Gentle Readers. By modern standards, I have a fair number. (Okay, by modern standards, possibly anything over 6 is a fair number, but I do have a fair number.) My tablinum is a lovely, gentlemanly room, but a bit small. My ideal would be the library at the Morgan museum, but I lack the requisite billions for a house big enough to contain that. The current space is certainly smaller and with less storage room (especially shelf space/bookshelf space) than I had in the old condo.

As an aside, "stuff" expands to fill the available closet space, much as digital information expands to fill available computer memory. Years ago, I had a friend who renovated a condo in DC. She only built 1 closet, to thereby limit how much "stuff" she'd accumulate. I'm pretty good at getting rid of non-essential stuff…. Well, I thought I was until this move. We'll see how strict I can actually be with myself, not to mention the rest of the family.

I've finally emptied enough boxes that I can see most of the floor in my tablinum. I realize I have more books than I need. (Okay, on some level, there is no such thing, but am ignoring that for now.) I've already given one box of books to the local library, and have three more in the back of my car to go. The ones they don't use (which is most of them), they sell at their big annual book sale to raise money. I realize a couple of the ones I'm giving them I bought from their book sale in prior years. *Chuckle* Very little of what I'm giving away is actually causing me any pangs of regret. I don't really need Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum numbers 1 thru 20. There are three sets/types of books/articles that I'm setting aside for display. Not sure if going to go in my living room at home, or in my professional office when I redo that. The first is books and medical instruments that were my late great uncle's. He was an ophthalmologist, my one forbearer who was a doctor, very educated and cosmopolitan, a bit in the older European sense (he came to the US as a very young child, but always maintained a little bit of that air about him). He graduated medical school 50 years before I did. The second set is books (and maybe instruments) that were mine from medical school. The two sets would make a nice contrast. The third set are language books. Dissimilar from the others, except I think a few of the older ones were my great uncle's. I have think more about keeping these. I like having them. I love languages and admire people who are truly bi-, tri-, or multi-lingual. Said great uncle and aunt were like that. To me it's part of being educated and cosmopolitan. I can get by in French, but not really what I consider fluent. I used to speak Spanish (learned it for a South American deployment with the Navy), but have forgotten it. I'd love to have the time to just study languages; I could easily use 5-6 major ones in my office every week; I just don't have the time. With all that having been said, the question is how many of those language books are worth keeping. Like everyone today, if I want to translate a word, I look it up on line. The older ones might be worth keeping as antiques, and the language lesson books might also be worth keeping in case I go back to learning languages. On the other hand, probably will never find the time (something about having 2 kids to put through medical school), and I'm trying to get rid of stuff I don't really need, unless it has some sentimental value for me. Stay tuned to find out where the balance ends up.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Seeing language deveope in the bambini fascinates me slightly as a doting parent, but mostly as a scientist. (Yeah, okay, 90% doting parent. Shut up.)

Wallstreet manages 3 word sentences. With one word in each language. At less than 2 years old has a limited vocabulary, but is very clear and insistent in what he means to say, when he can use words. Encore nuac now: encore = French for more, nuac = VN for water, now = English for now. "I want more water now."

At 3-1/2, Hedgefund amazes me with how much language she knows, and how she can think to work around what she doesn't know.
   Some clearly imitating what she's heard:
   HF: "I very hungry."
   Nom: "What do you want to eat?"
   HF: "What's ya got?"

   Some are entirely logical use of language from her perspective, even if not quite how the words are used in English. She wanted a blanket, but she didn't want the warm (heavier) blanket, so she asked for the "cold blanket." Makes sense logically, as cold is the opposite of warm.

   Some working around her vocabulary, waiting for dumb parents to catch on.
   HF: "What car doing?" (while we're driving)
   Us: "What car honey?"…. when she couldn't explain, we asked her to point. She pointed out the front window, at what we thought was a car with a trailer in front of us.
   Us: "It's a trailer, so that car can carry more stuff."
   HF: "No, what car doing?
   Us: "Sorry, we don't understand." She made a back and forth motion with her arms. Then it clicked, she wanted to understand about the wipers being on on our car (which we then explained). She's bright, she wants to understand things, and she will sensibly keep asking until we explain.

Sometimes the two of them are having what we regard as conversations in nonsense words. WS will also talk to us like that, which HF used to when she couldn't speak as well. Well, nonsense to us. They seem to understand each other, which goes back to my question to myself when HF was talking to us like that, which is whether it is only nonsense to us, but clearly defined language to them.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
1. I'm both parentally and intellectually fascinated to follow the children's language development. Wallstreet at an age when it is just 1-2 words at a time, with no concept that these come from different languages. I'm interested seeing which words come from which language, and that they are not necessarily the same as for Hedgefund when she was that age. For example* she used mở, he says open. For milk she said lait, whereas he says sữa. I suppose it's a question of what word they heard at the moment when their brains were receptive to first connecting a given sound (word) with a given concept.

2. Wallstreet also adore trucks, trains, and other machines, all of which he calls tractor. We were sitting and looking at pictures of tractors (thank you, online images). After a while, I got bored with pictures of tractors and switched to construction machinery, which he also loves (it's all "tractor" to him), then to steam locomotives. After bit of that, he wandered off to find Mommy, I kept looking at them. Hey, trains, cool at any age.

*I don't vouch that I'm spelling the VN correctly (there are at least 5 accent marks), and if we were together in person (in which case you would be Gentle Interlocutor instead of Gentle Reader), I certainly wouldn't vouch for my pronouciation. VN is a tonal language, so I'm not even close. (In French I have a fighting chance on both the spelling and pronounciation, but even so, you shouldn't take those to the bank. When I go to the bank, I deal in English)
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Wallstreet is starting to learn words at prodigious rate. Sometimes I even know what he is saying. Today, he clearly said a very important word: "Read."  (Papa does the happy dance. Well "dance" as much as possible with a toddler sitting in my lap demanding to be read to.) Wallstreet is curious, strong, adventurous, and loves books. Excellent!
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
My curiosity as a scientist and my dotingness(?) as a papa often coincide, no where more than language development. Hedgefund has an independent streak (frustrating at times, but overall a thing to be encouraged). As an example of language development around that, she's gone from saying, "I do it self," to "I do it myself," to "I do it all by myself." Where and how does this progression come from? I don't think Nom & I ever actually uttered any of those phrases as such, and if so, not in that sequence. Probably she heard the most developed part of the phrasing, but could only comprehend and use the simpler forms at first. As her brain, and use of language develop, she could hear, comprehend, and use the more advanced forms.

I am reminded of learning French, or for that matter, an English speaker learning any other language that genders nouns. The teacher invariably says something like, "learn the definite article as part of the noun, pen is le stylo, not stylo." This, although well-meaning, and even logical, is met with blank looks and lack of success, because to an anglophone, it is entirely meaningless, and there is only just so much brute memorization possible.
warriorsavant: (Sword & Microscope 1)
Hedgefund: Just got an email from Nom. Hedgefund drew her first letter this morning. She drew a very good letter ‘z’ by herself and came to me and said,"Mommy, here is the letter z;" it looked exactly like the letter z. I am so proud of her :) (Yup, me too. This morning she told me she didn't want me to go to work. According to Evil Secretary, she was probably getting even with me by displaying this achievement after I went to work (well, actually teaching) after she forbad it.)

Wallstreet loves books too, but isn't up to writing yet. He's managing 1-2 word sentences, mix of languages. His favourite word is tracteur, which seems to apply to any large road machine (tractor, truck, construction equipment, maybe trains). We have a book with all kinds of really and imaginary vehicles, and he can look at it for hours, exclaiming, "tracteur, tracteur." He's started to differentiate cars, which he calls sair(sp?), which is (moreorless) VN for car. Motorcycles can sometimes be tracteur, sometimes sair, and sometimes just looks blankly at them.
warriorsavant: (Signpost Ft. Benning)
I have so much stuff to do, I don't even know what I have to do. I had a "to do" list, a "holding" file on my email server, another holding file in a desk drawer, and several miscellaneous bits of paper. Finally had to sit down at Lili & Oli with a large cappucchino and generate a consolidated list. It took 2 hours. It's a bit obsessional (okay, very obessional), and somewhat of a network time waster, but I really had no idea where to start on what needed doing. Last night, I sat down to get working on it, and realized I was so tired I was just shuffling things back-and-forth without doing any of them. Today will get a fresh start (after I post this J)

When got home from the trip, the Good Folk had been hard at work, and everything was clean and put away. We'd left out bread & milk, not to mention scotch and dark chocolate for them. Okay, we'd left out money for our highly efficient cleaning lady, who had promised to do an extra good cleaning while we were away. The place looked great for, oh, let's see, divide one condo by 2 toddlers, carry the one baggage... say 3-4 minutes.

WS is walking for real now. Since around 1 year, he was "walking" which is to say, taking 2-3 halting steps from my arms to Nom's. Now, just past 13 months, he is truly walking, 10-20 steps at a time. Even within the past week, he's gotten better; he still holds his legs wider apart than an adult, but narrower than earlier this week.

WS also likes blonds. If he sees a blond woman, he starts smiling and giving her coy looks. HF had done the same to men at this age, but more catholic in her tastes as to hair color. I'm told it is common for 1-year olds. I wonder if someone destined to be gay does the same for same-sex adults at this age. Anyone have any experience?

Apparently my face is too loud. HF so informed me the other night. I have no idea what she meant by that, but she certainly knew. Unshaven? Too close to her? Possibly, as she followed up that announcement by saying "go away face." (Hey kid, you're standing in my lap, not the reverse. Feel free to leave.) She usually does make sense (in three languages!), allowing for the limited vocabulary of a 2-1/2 year old, but that one lost me.

WS is also beginning to talk. Only a few words (mix of all three languages as best I can tell), but definitely more than just baby cooing. I keep telling him he's supposed to be the strong silent type, but I think it's only going to be one out of two; I'm going to have 2 chatterboxes (uh, well, three) around the house soon.

A colleague called from New Brunswick. She'd been one of our residents, we'd worked on a project together, which much later got published. She had a cutaneous lymphoma patient she was having trouble treating, and called me for advise. I think that officially makes me an expert. *ego rush*
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
One of the few apps I use on a "smart" phone is the GPS. (It's also the only thing I have location services activated for. Probably the Mounties / FBI / KGB / Interpool / ISIS can track my whereabouts anyhow via my phone, but I gives me a comforting if false sense of security to keep it turned off.

Being in Quebec, but having my GPS in English, can be amusing. That's besides the fact that said GPS gives distances in rational Metric units, whereas my car's odometer is in archaic English units. Fortunately I'm used to converting in my head. Anyhow, the GPS on the BB would give directions in an English-speaking (synthesized) voice, but give street and place names in a French-speaking (different synthesized) voice. Since I didn't grow up bilingual, it takes a moment for me to switch languages, so it's like running down one track and making a brief jump back and forth to a parallel track: English-English-English-French-English-English-French-English. I often just don't catch it first go around. I don't feel entirely bad about this, because often people who are seemingly totally bilingual don't change the pronunciation of proper nouns; they use their native language's pronunciation. Example:
           "Next week I'm going to Daytwah for a business trip."

           "Daytwah. You know, that place in your country where they make the cars."
           "You mean Detroit (Dee-troy-t)."
            "Yes, that's what I said, Daytwah."

Apple Maps, when set in English, just gives English-pronunciation to all proper nouns. Yeah, It's my native language, and all, but some names I learned in French, and others, well, it just sets my teeth on edge hearing the name mangled.
          Example of the latter: directing me to turn onto Saint Jackus (Saint Jacques pronounced almost like "Sane'Jock"), but at least I realized what it meant, teeth on edge or no.
           Example of the former: directing me to turn onto Charlie Voiks street. This is right around the corner from me, and only when I got right up to it did I realize it was Charlevoix ("Sharl-uh-vwah").
warriorsavant: (Sword & Microscope 1)
Okay, it's been less than a week since I noted Hedgefund thought that "you" was her name, not a pronoun. http://warriorsavant.livejournal.com/590926.html

Now she seems to have caught on. Still prefers to refer to herself by name, but does (sometimes) use pronouns correctly.

Actually HF has a mix of adult and toddler pronoun usage. She just told me "you do this for you..." It was not an exhortation to self-affirmation, she wanted me to do something for her, with the first "you" being the correct/adult usage of pronouns, and the second being the toddler usage of thinking that was another version of her name.
warriorsavant: (Sword & Microscope 1)
Pronouns are relative to the person speaking. I (warriorsavant) am writing this for you (Gentle Reader) to read. From your perspective, warriorsavant is "you" and Gentle Reader is the "I."

Hedgefund doesn't yet understand that. A toddler, much like Tarzan from the movies, only uses proper nouns, referring to herself by name. (Not so in the original books, where the protagonist spoke Elizabethan English. Tarzan, I mean, not Hedgefund.) From my saying things like "Papa help you," she's concluded that "You" is another one of her names, and sometimes refers to herself as "You." Logical from her perspective, sometimes confusing from mine if I don't remember that when she says "You," she means "Me"/"Hedgefund," as in "You do this," getting upset if I (warriorsavant) try to do it for her.


warriorsavant: (Default)

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