Category Archives: Kids

Language Acquisition

We had a lovely time in Brookings visiting our son and his family. Our grandson is 17 months old. His language development really took off within the last week or so. Our daughter in law said that one day he wasn’t really talking, and the next day he was jabbering away. I notice that sometimes boys’ development is choppy, while girls have a smoother and more gradual developmental trajectory.

Our grandson signs, too, and he signed and made animal noises and tried out many new words as he went through the weekend.   I was tickled  as I wheeled him in a cart through the grocery store and he started making snorting noises as he  pointed toward the ceiling.  He had spied a pig balloon, and he  let me know that was what pigs said.  He also has a fine command of the word “No!”  and told us so quite a bit.

What were you told about your early development? What were your first words? What were your favorite first books?

 

 

On Your Toes

Today in 1581, the first ballet was performed in Paris. It had been commissioned by Catherine De Medici  and was called “Ballet Comique de la Reine”.  I love ballet, and so do our children. Both studied dance for many years.

The only ballets that  I have seen in live performance were by the Winnipeg Ballet, which is a very fine company.  We saw them perform Giselle and The Firebird.  We sometimes saw dancers from the company wandering the halls of our psychology department as they went to appointments to manage their eating disorders with one of our professors, an unfortunate side effect for some dancers.

What is your favorite ballet? Tell about your experiences with dance.

 

 

Infestation

We had some basement drywall and carpet ruined  from a leak from an egress window when our downspouts were plugged  this  summer. The dry wall guy finished up the repairs last week.

We removed the water damaged carpet in the basement bedroom. As we put the furniture back in the bedroom, I thought that I would put on the bare cement a wool area rug that we had stored in the furnace room. It was a nice thick one we got from Pottery Barn 15 years ago, in pinks and greens, our daughter’s favorite colors at the time. We used it in her bedroom.

The furnace room is warm and dry. We keep the door to it closed. As I reached for the carpet, which was rolled up and standing in a corner,  I noticed something that looked like grains of rice protruding from the back of the carpet. As I lifted the rolled carpet, I saw many hundreds of grains of rice on the floor underneath where the carpet had been, about an inch or so thick, in a pile of pink and green sawdust. I am thankful none of it was moving, as it turned out to be carpet moth larvae and the remnants of the carpets they had eaten. Husband took the rug outside and tossed it in the back of his pick up. I hurriedly vacuumed up all the “rice”  and sawdust, and checked everything in the basement for further evidence of the infestation. I am happy to report I found nothing.  You can see some of the larva and the green part of the rug they chewed.

Further research informed me that wool rugs rolled up and kept in the dark are prime targets for carpet moths.  So are parts of wool rugs that are laid out on the floor but underneath tables and other furniture. The moths themselves are quite small,  with maybe 1/4-1/2 inch wing span.  I am thankful that all my sweaters are upstairs in cedar lined drawers. Ish!!

Ever had insect damage? What do you have in your house that you haven’t checked on for a while? 

My Favorite Food

It seems that whenever Husband and I go to the grocery store our cart is full of dairy products. We are big milk drinkers, and we use lots of butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream, yogurt, and skyr. I put half and half in my coffee.  Thank goodness I don’t have lactose intolerance.  I even have read reports recently that whole milk and full fat dairy products may help to prevent heart disease. Our son and daughter-in-law are instructed by the pediatrician to feed their son whole milk. I was told to offer 1% milk when our children were young. Things have changed.

One of my favorite memories of living in Winnipeg was attending the Winnipeg Folk Festival. I loved the music, of course, but also some of the non-musical acts like the poet Peter Paul Van Camp. He is an Ohio native and was a regular on the Canadian folk festival circuit and lived for a while in Winnipeg.  He writes and recites some wonderful and clever poems. I wouldn’t be surprised if most Baboons know of him, but if not, I am happy to introduce you.  It was really something to be at the Winnipeg Festival out under the stars and hear several thousand people shout,  “DAIRY PRODUCTS”, until he began his recitation. The following YouTube clip was filmed at a smaller venue:

What is your favorite food? Write a haiku for hot dogs or a sonnet for soup.

Serial Bliss

Today’s post comes to us from Minnesota Steve.

There aren’t many things better than discovering a great book, a book so good you hate to turn the last pages because you never want it to end. One thing that is better is discovering that the great book you just finished is one in a series written by the same author. The pleasure you are feeling is repeatable.

One afternoon when I was about ten I discovered a book of stories by Arthur Conan Doyle in the Ames Public Library. The first of them, “A Scandal in Bohemia,” introduced me to the complicated figure of Sherlock Holmes and to the thrill of reading mysteries. When I understood there were more Holmes stories, I couldn’t believe my good fortune.

There is a lot to like about book series. You can start subsequent books in the series knowing you like that author’s style. You often go into subsequent books already knowing some of the characters and the setting. Series offer writers the chance to develop themes in depth and do a better job of telling stories. When I begin a book by a new author I don’t know if I will eventually feel the time I spent with the book will be rewarded. When you are chewing your way through a good series, that isn’t an issue.

I’ve just begun exploring a new series. Following exhortations from my daughter, I just read the first novel in Louise Penny’s beloved Three Pines series. Penny’s crime novels feature charming Canadian locales and the comforting presence of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Louise Penny has a warm and whimsical view of life and people. While her novels are driven by the need to explain a murder, the people who fill her books are human and mostly likable. Penny’s vision is deeply rooted in community. My daughter enjoys Penny’s humor. I was surprised to find so many “Easter eggs” in the form of unexpected observations about life and people. The series currently includes 15 books. Penny adds about a book a year. When my daughter met Louise Penny last year at a Detroit book signing event, she was not surprised to find Penny is modest, witty and gracious . . . just the sort of person who would write such appealing novels.

I’ll have more to say about good book series in the Comments section.

What book series have you enjoyed? What did you like about them?

Binder Heaven

Binders are my thing. Give me a good binder with tabs any day.  I have a binder for my other book club, for poetry that I’ve printed off the internet, for directions, for recipes and for Solstice planning.  Vacations and special events like the solar eclipse also get binders.  I made a binder for YA’s college search and another one for college financial aid.  Luckily at work, I need a binder for each program and I also have a binder for assorted things I need to keep track of.

YA’s injury has generated massive amounts of paper: emergency room paper, orthopedic paper, worker’s comp paper and insurance paper. Every time we leave the house for an appointment, I get handed the folder.  I joked on Tuesday that I was going to put it all in a binder; YA snorted.

So I was surprised yesterday morning when she said “can you put all these papers in a binder?” I didn’t know how serious she was and although I agreed, I didn’t have the project on my immediate radar.  She asked again at 5 p.m. and then 8:30.  At that point I grabbed an unused binder (yes, I have a stash) and some tabs (yes, I have a stash) and we worked on it together.  She sorted out all the papers, I labeled the tabs and 3-hole punched everything.  As she wheeled herself back to her room with the completed binder, I felt a warm glow.  Two binder gals together!

How do you like to organize your papers?  Do you think our society will EVER be paperless?

Violin Debacle

The discussion of bands and band instruments the other day reminded me of something that I haven’t thought about in quite a while.

When Child was in the third grade, she came home with a permission slip and information on joining orchestra at school. I was a little skeptical.  When she was five, she wanted to take piano lessons but after 2 months, her piano teacher fired her.  She didn’t want to practice and then at the last lesson apparently she was rude to him (I was in the kitchen when this happened, so didn’t witness it).  She hadn’t made any other overtures toward an instrument, or even music in general, so I was surprised when she informed me she wanted to play the violin.

I always wanted to let her try things, so I read through the papers and signed her up. Luckily the school had a violin she could use for free and the next day she carried it proudly home.  Then for the next week she proceeded to torture the poor thing horrendously.  I can’t even begin to describe it but whatever you’re imagining right now, amp it up.  The dog and cat hightailed it as far away as they could get from her.  I wanted to jump off a cliff, but since that’s not very encouraging to a kid, I pasted a smile on my face and ate a lot of chocolate.  At one point I thought, is it really that hard to make a decent noise on a violin, so while she was at gymnastics, I tried it.  I certainly wasn’t going to win any awards, but I could at least pull the bow across the strings to make a sound somewhat reminiscent of music. So there it was; Child had no violin ability.  Still I let her scratch on because I figured I’d let the music teacher do whatever dirty work was needed.

By the end of the second week, she was practicing much less. While this made all the ears in the household happier, I knew it meant she was losing interest.  The third week she didn’t practice at all, despite my reminders.  There was a practice book in which she was supposed to record how much time she spent playing; I told her that if she wasn’t going to practice she had to be honest and put down “0” or it wouldn’t be fair to Mr. Brown, the music teacher.  So she marked all the days with a “0” and off she went to school.  When she came home that afternoon and she still had the violin, I was a little surprised but not nearly as surprised as when I looked at her practice book and where there had been “0”s that morning, there were now numbers on every day.  10 minutes, 20 minutes, one even said 30 minutes.  She had erased the “0”s when she got to school and written in her false data.

While I appreciated her ingenuity, I couldn’t let this go, so I made an appointment with Mr. Brown, took her with me and had her tell him what she had done and then apologize. He was AMAZING.  He was very kind and understanding.  He asked her if she really wanted to continue and when she said “yes” (I just about fell on the floor), he suggested they give it another week.  Of course she didn’t even pick up the violin the next week so we went in again and met with Mr. Brown to give him the violin back.  She never looked back.

Is there something that you just don’t a talent for?