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Since I seem to have livejournal open again, let me see if I can actually make two posts in a day.

So Katherine is now on the verge of being six. She is also on the verge of reading - she can read simple books to herself at I'd guess about the rate of 5-10 words per minute. She's generally right now able to read extremely slowly books labeled as "2" in the "I Can Read" line, and books labeled as "1" comfortably. (And has been observed to pick up the books on her own)

She's making her own books occasionally by drawing on several pieces of paper, writing stories (using her own invented, phonetic spelling) to go along with them, and asking us to staple the pages together. I should scan in a book she made a few weeks ago and put it up somewhere.

I should know how tall she is right now, but don't. I must remember to measure her when she gets home from my parents' house on Friday. I think she's just under 4' 2" (~ 125 cm.) but am not at all sure.

She's reasonably comfortable with the household computers, and has been able to sit at the family desktop and log into her username for just over a year. Recently, I installed a talk daemon and we've used that once or twice to chat at each other, though never when I wasn't somewhere else in the house. Typing is still a few years off at least.

We got a Wii for Christmas, and I worry a bit at how she tells me that she's scared of games that are too tough for her and refuses to play them, but I think it may be mostly that she doesn't want to play games she's not good at in front of me. For example, this morning I came in and discovered her playing BIT.TRIP.BEAT which is much, much too hard for any six year old. I think my presence flusters her; I'll have to see what I can do to make her more comfortable playing with me.
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Katherine, last night, after I finished reading her Dr. Seuss's The Lorax:
"Boy I wish I was that boy so I could take that last Truffula seed and plant it to grow the last Truffula tree and cut it down and make the last thneed in the whole world. Then we could use it for a pillow."
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So I've thought about several different journal entries I could write lately, but I somehow just don't feel I have the requisite will-to-type to write any of them. So here are some scattered thoughts I'm not journaling about:

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So last night as I was giving Katherine her bath, I started singing the silly "Willoughby wallaby W____, an elephant sat on ____" song. (A Google search for those unfamiliar with this song)

Anyway, Katherine really got into it. I would start a line ("Willoughby wallaby Wommy, an elephant sat on ....") and she'd finish it ("Mommy!"). I got tired of this game long before she did; she kept asking me to do more, and occasionally pointing to things for me to have the elephant sit on. Occasionally she'd ask me to do something that began with "w", and I'd have to explain that that wouldn't work. ("Do the washcloth!")

After the bath, Katherine continued the song in her room by herself. Here's what I remember:

Willoughby wallaby winosaur, an elephant sat on Pinosaur.
(This is what she named the green toy she's using as a pillow here a few weeks ago)

Willoughby wallaby wocks, an elephant sat on my crocs;
Willoughby wallaby wora shoes, an elephant sat on my Dora shoes.


Willoughby wallaby wink, an elephant sat on my drink;
Willoughby wallaby wouse, an elephant sat on my house.


Willoughby wallaby wanties, an elephant sat on my panties;
Willoughby wallaby wattress, an elephant sat on my mattress.


And there was much more I don't remember. We continued this morning in the car on the way to day care, where the elephant sat on "wight"/"the light", "ween"/"the green", "wed"/"the red" (we go through several traffic lights in short succession); on several of the kids at her day care; on Dora, Boots, Backpack and Swiper (Swiper got sat on more than once); on "wee"/"the C", and "wetters"/"the letters".

Also, after she had asked me to do another word that began with "w", and I explained that it wouldn't work, she showed me that I was wrong:

Willoughby wallaby wonsin, an elephant sat on Wisconsin.

De fimo

Jan. 31st, 2007 09:06 am
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It's been a long time since I posted, and I told [livejournal.com profile] jmartin2 that I'd make the next livejournal update of this kind since she's been doing a lot of that lately.

Anyway, if you've been reading her journal, you know that [livejournal.com profile] jmartin2 and I have been trying to get our daughter Katherine potty-trained. The basic way this works is that she gets all excited about wearing underwear, and then refuses to go sit on the potty and do anything while dancing around uncomfortably.
Warning: explicit acts of parenting ahead )
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As I was writing my previous post, I knew I was forgetting stuff that Katherine is doing these days. I'll have to remember to post more often; in the mean time, here's two other things Katherine reminded me of this evening:
  • For a while now, she's been using “dark” as an intransitive verb. As in "Daddy, it's darking!" (at dusk) and "It darked outside" (when we have gone inside before sunset and come outside after it got dark).
    Today, I pulled the plug on an electric jack-o-lantern she was holding since I didn't want her to get burned, and her reaction was "It darked out. Daddy, the pumpkin darked out. It needs new batteries."

  • She's been wanting to count in different languages.
    This started a week or two ago when we were driving somewhere and I heard her saying “una, dos, tres, quatro, ...” (or close enough to that), and asked her what she was doing. “I'm counting the stars” (It was light out; this was a Dora reference). I told her she was counting in Spanish. She asked me if I could count in Spanish, and we then counted back and forth up to ten. (I'd say a number; she'd repeat it) When we got home, she said "I want to count in French." "Ok; count in French." "I don't know how. Can you count in French, Daddy?" So we did (I can get to ten, at least) and then tried German and Japanese.
    We just did Japanese tonight when I put her to bed, and she's starting to learn bits of it - she responded "shi" to my "san" and "hachi" to my "shichi".
I found my digital camera again recently, and so took a few pictures of her that I'll post either tonight or tomorrow.
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So I was discovering the tag system that livejournal has, and going through and tagging all my old posts (one of the advantages of not posting too often is that this wasn't too hard to do, though I may go back and shuffle entries around, as well as add some more tags).

Having done this, I discovered that I haven't made a Katherine post since June.

So here's an unordered list of things Katherine is doing lately:
  • She corrects people. She told me a little a week or two ago when I asked her "Katie, do you want some water?", "No, daddy, it's not called [wɔtəɹ], it's called [wʊtəɹ]".
    Last night we were downstairs and on TV a local political show came on called "Issues PA 2006". She yelled at the TV "No, commercials, it's not called “issues”, it's called “tissues”". ("commercials" is her name for all TV that isn't something she wants to watch)
  • She's started to occasionally say "Santa Claus should make me one" or "Santa Claus should bring me one" when she discovers something she doesn't have.
    For example: "Are those your new jammies, Mommy?" "No, Katie, this is my bathrobe" "Oh. Where's my bathrobe?" "You don't have one, Katie" "Santa Claus should bring me one."
  • She's getting psyched about Halloween. She's been asking when Halloween will come since late August.
    Jennifer's mother got her a off-the-shelf costume of a dragon, which Katie has been itching to wear. (we had her put in on once to check for size) I suspect she'll be almost ready to explode from the overhype when Christmas rolls around. Having a child sensitive to the general surrounding culture hype machine isn't a good thing.
  • She can hang from a monkeybar suspended in mid-air by herself for at least fifteen seconds.
  • She's learning to ask for things in the polite, formal English that upper- and middle-class parents teach their kids: "May I ...", "please", "thank you", etc.
    The other day she asked me in a soft voice (she was a bit tired) "Daddy, may I have some breakfast please?" It was incredibly cute, if a bit Dickensian.
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Everyone always tells Katherine that she's pretty/cute/gorgeous/etc. She's picked up on this. For example, she will want to run out of the room after I get her dressed in the morning to "go show momma I'm a pretty girl". Or she'll just tell you, flat out, "I'm beautiful" (pronounced "boo-tiful" for extra cuteness). Now, I suppose this is much, much better than having her tell say negative things about herself, but it started bothering me that Katherine was picking up the language of valuing herself through how she looks, so we've been trying to push other positive adjectives on her as well: smart, strong, big, etc.

I think we may have been pushing the other adjectives in too formulaic a manner. This weekend we were at a friends' house and when we left Katherine was given some small flowers from the yard (daisies mostly). Katherine was happy to hold them as we put her into the car. Then, in the car, the conversation went like this:

Katherine: Look, mommy! I got four(*) flowers!

Jennifer: Yes Katherine, aren't they pretty?

Katherine: Yeah.

Katherine (quieter, to herself): Yeah, the flowers pretty. And smart, and (unintelligible), and strong, and boo-tiful.

(*) "four" is the latest word that means "more than one". She'll hold up two cups and say "look, I got four cups". She used to use "three" (pronounced "fwee") for this. Inflation, I guess.
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Occasionally it will happen that I'm perusing my livejournal friend's list and will see a bunch of people have posted some details of books based on some criteria that varies with the season and what's hot at that moment. You probably know the posts I'm talking about: "guess the book from the fifth sentence", or "what books have you read involving rutabagas", or "guess the book from haikus about the plot", or the latest, "guess the book from what Amazon says are the statistically improbable phrases".

Anyway, I always feel a bit left out here: first off, my brain is not organized in the fashion that lets me pull a book out of a phrase, even assuming I've read the book at all recently. Secondly, lately I'm doing a lot of reading that wouldn't show up on those lists. Specifically, reading to Katherine. Often, reading the same book over and over again until I have it memorized.

So here's a book meme for parents and others acquainted (voluntarily or not) with current childrens' books:
Post an identifying sentence or two from 10 (or so) childrens' books that you've read recently. Challenge your friends! Mock those non-parents you know when they miss an obvious one!
So, in no particular order:

  1. Look now! Here is one thing more. I take my spots. I make them four.
  2. BOOM BOOM BOOM! Mr. Brown is a wonder! BOOM BOOM BOOM! Mr. Brown makes thunder!
  3. "Could this be a mountain?" he wondered, "I think I've always wanted to climb a mountain."
  4. Does a penguin have a mother, too? (I know, a give-away, but you can't find a sentence in that book that isn't)
  5. 5 was a turtle, who bit the dog's tail.
  6. Judy can play peek-a-boo with Paul. Now YOU play peek-a-boo with Paul.
  7. "Hello again." "Hello" "Do you like my hat?" "I do not like it."
  8. AGGLE FLAGGLE KLABBLE!
  9. Poor Kitten! She was wet and sad and tired and hungry.
  10. She sees the seals. They are all sleeping.

(A minor hint on number 3: the "mountain" is a department store escalator)
Update: I've posted the answers in the comments in what I hope is a spoiler-free manner (as links to the amazon page for each book)
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One thing not really evident in my picture post over the weekend is that Katherine will mug for the camera when given a chance. Tonight she was feeling very chipper after I got home, and so I let her. Besides, this is an excuse to play with various CSS styles.

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So since I haven't been posting, I certainly haven't been posting about Katherine. She's now well past 2 (her birthday being Jan. 3rd), and is currently finishing out another growth spurt. At her 2-yr-old checkup, she was at the 50th percentile in weight and height for a child 3 years old. (So she's big, albeit not quite as big as her second cousin, who's six weeks older)

This becomes more apparent when we take her to day care at the local YMCA (which she started in January), where she towers over most of the kids, although one or two are close to her size. (The Y separates children by age cohort, so she's in with the 18-30 month group) Katherine mostly seems to like day care in the sense that she's often not ready to leave when Jennifer goes and picks her up, but when dropping her off she often hangs back and just looks kind of spacey and uncertain at the other kids. There's also apparently been some trouble lately with another one of the kids biting.

On Monday when I was in the office, my boss looked over at my desk and grumbled that I didn't have any recent pictures of Katherine there (I think she's 3 or 4 months old in the most recent one there). So because of that, and to record the bite mark we found on her tricep last night, I got out my camera and took a few pictures. A selection of them is behind the cut.

Update: As should be obvious from some of the pictures, Katherine has made the transition out of her crib.
Some pictures )
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Well, she's now constructing her own two-word phrases. That is to say, she's been saying things that are technically two words together for a while, but those were all canned phrases; e.g. "fall down" at the end of "Ring around the Rosie".

But she's now saying "up shoe" and "up shyock" when she wants her shoes or socks taken off. She'll come to us and say "up shoe, up shoe" to have us take her shoe off and then once we've done that she'll say "up shyock" to get us to remove her socks.

Yesterday I heard her say "up shammies" in the morning while pulling at her pajamas (which she's called "shammies" (for "jammies") in the past).

So that's another language development milestone.
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Katherine's world is full of objects which the adults clearly think are important, and won't let her play with. Some of these objects, however, we are slower at snatching away than others. Such as, for example, our cell phones - since we leave the keypad lock on most of the time, if she's not putting the cell phone in her mouth or losing it somewhere, we'll often not take it away immediately.

Katherine's playing with the cell phones has evolved over the past several months. At first, she would mostly just sit there and squeeze buttons until the display lit up, and just stare at the lit display. Then she moved on to holding the cell phone up to her ear and saying "hi?" over and over, and then putting the cell phone to your ear so that you can do this too. She plays this game with the big telephones and with things that aren't telephones but are vaguely the right shape - some of her blocks, for example. She'll also hold the strap on her changing table to her ear and say "hi?" all the while looking at us for reactions.

Lately, though, she's moved on to a slightly more involved game with the cell phones. She'll hold it to her ear and say "what? what? what?", pause, maybe say "what?" some more (especially if she's got an audience), then say "bye", take the phone away from her ear, and squeeze the phone as though she were pressing the button to hang up.
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So Katherine is now walking. She started walking a few weeks ago while all of us were at Carleton for Jennifer's 10-year reunion. It sometimes seems as though she doesn't really know how to stop reliably except by running into something, though I've also seen her come to a full stop in the middle of the floor.

She passed 18 months this past Sunday.

Her vocabulary is now growing by leaps and bounds. The word count is well over 50, so I'm not going to do a table like I did before. Not surprisingly, most of her words are nouns.

There is one interesting thing about her speech: when a word ends in a final /z/ sound, Katherine has been using "ee" instead. So while "shoe" is "du", "shoes" becomes "du-ee" (A bit like "Dewey"). Likewise, "bah-bul-ee" (bubbles) and "no-ee" (nose). Also, "geeee" for "keys" and "djeeee" for "cheese".

She also has decided that "Grandma" should be pronounced "baba". We have no idea where this came from (neither of Katherine's grandmothers has any Slavic ancestry nor have they ever used this word). As far as we can tell, it's just the result of Katherine deforming "Grandma" into something she can say, like when she uses "wawa" for "water". (Although she may have possibly overheard us say "wawa" occasionally in the past to refer to the convenience store chain, at the time when she first said that word the person teaching her the word - my sister - was definitely saying nothing but "water")
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I should think of a synonym for update that begins with /k/.

In any case, Katherine continues to make progress both in the walking department and in the language department. She's been standing up in the middle of the floor for a little over a week now, and yesterday managed three steps before collapsing to the floor again.

On the language front, there are several new words (Sorry, no IPA this time - I got that out of my system with the last post). "mel", short for "milk", seems to be the word for any drink. (you can tell from this that we're both American English speakers who do not pronounce "milk" so as to rhyme with "silk") The word for "shoe", formerly "du", has become "dooey". I'm not quite sure how this happened, as neither of us ever says "shoesies" or a similar cutening of "shoe" to her. But "dooey" it is. She's also been using "nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh" to mean "bathtime", which is perfectly reasonable but would take a bit too long to explain here.

Yesterday, I tried to teach her "banana": ("num", from "yum", is what she uses to ask for food, offer food, or express that she likes the food she's been given)

I hold out an unpeeled banana
Me: Ba-na-na.
K: num?
Me: Yes, a banana is food. Ba-na-na.
K: num?
I peel the banana and have a little piece
Me: Ba-na-na.
K: (excitedly) nummy!
Me: Yes, bananas are nummy.
I break off a small piece and give it to her
Me: Ba-na-na.
Katherine looks at the piece in her hand, then closes her fist, squishing it
K: num?
Katherine holds her covered-in-banana hand out to me
K: num?
I clean off her hand and give her another piece
Me: Ba-na-na
Katherine looks at the piece and holds it out to my mouth
K: num?
I eat the banana piece and give up
K: num.

Once again, I see Katherine refuses to be taught anything, though she seems perfectly happy to learn things on her own. I don't know why Katherine didn't try to eat the banana herself.
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Okay, I realize that I didn't do the quick Katherine post that I said I was going to do, so here it is now while I work out some thoughts for another post I want to make.

I keep thinking that any day now I'm going to be able to post about Katherine taking her first independent steps, but that just isn't happening. She just doesn't have the balance (and that probably means ankle strength) to stand independently. She can cruise the furniture pretty well, and will take some steps with us if we hold her arms up - it's a bit like walking a marionette - but doesn't like doing that, and wants to drop to her knees and crawl.

Which is understandable, because she's pretty darn fast at the crawling. She's also very good at the climbing, and has no problems crawling the entire staircase in one burst. (She also can back down the staircase safely, though these days it's more of a feet-first controlled belly slide rather than the backwards crawling she started with) She has no problems pulling herself up onto the sofa or the coffee tables in the TV room, despite the fact that both of those involve climbing upon something that's as tall as her belly-button. And when for some reason she's too tired to be successful with that, she's learned the word "up".

Which brings me to what I really wanted to talk about - language acquisition. Katherine knows about 10 or so words now, and this is an attempt to document them so that we'll know later.

Words are listed in approximate order of acquisition. When I use IPA, I'm looking at the "standard scheme" from this page
Let's not muck up friends pages with the table now )
She also will go through her repertoire from time to time for no apparent reason, along with several multisyllable sounds that may or may not have meaning. She'll babble [mɑmɑmɑmɑmɑm] sometimes, and we've been trying to interpret that as "mama", but she doesn't use it consistently enough for us to be sure. (We're already certain that saying that she was saying "daddy" several weeks ago was premature) Another favorite bit to repeat over and over is [ɒbiː']; no ideas there either.

update: fixed some transcription errors.
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So I'd already posted that Katherine had started to say "ow" both in response to us saying "ow" and as an abbreviation for "meow". (meaning cat, of which we have three)

She's also started to say "hi" (though it sounds more like "ha" + "eee" - she makes that last phoneme as a dipthong of the vowel sound in "hot" and "eee", not as an "i" sound) in response to us saying "hi" to her, though she still won't perform in front of strangers.

Anyway, I just went downstairs and picked her up for a hug (I work from home, from the upstairs office), and she pointed at my chest and said "dah-eee" (as two syllables). She's been making noises a bit similar to that mostly in reference to me for a while now, so we're ready to call it: she's saying "daddy".
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Because [livejournal.com profile] tayefeth asked for it, here's a link to some relatively recent Katherine pictures; all but picture 8 were taken last Tuesday. (Picture 8 was taken last Monday, shortly after Katherine had discovered the wonders of the tissue box)



By the way, I'm looking for new photo-gallery software, since using a truly obsolete, abandoned project is wearing a bit thin. Does anyone have any experience with bins?
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Katherine actually turned 1 on January 3rd, so several weeks ago now, but if I wait until she hits another milestone age, I'll never actually post.

But it's long, so let's not mess up friends pages )
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Well, it's been well over a month and a half since the last Katherine update; in terms of major developmentatl milestones, not much has been going on, though she continues to improve at various ways of getting around.

Over Thanksgiving, we took a road trip up to see relatives in Wisconsin - I enjoyed it, but Jennifer had a lot of trouble dealing with Katherine in my aunt and uncle's house. Although my aunt and uncle are themselves grandparents, and Katherine's second cousin (who is 7 weeks older than Katherine) is in fact over there all the time, the house is not really babyproofed. Among other things, it's entirely too easy to get to the wood burning stove that heats the house. While on the trip, Katherine completed the transition from army crawl to "regular" baby crawl, which really does look different from what adults or older children do when crawling on all fours (see [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer's description of cross-crawling).

Nowadays, Katherine is happily crawling all over, and is still too slow to catch the cats unless the cats are closed in the same room as she is - then she's able to corner them, which tends to end badly. A few weeks ago, she came within half an inch of being scratched on the eye. We're trying to teach her about the idea of petting the cats and not beating on them, but she really doesn't get it.

This past Sunday she did her first furniture cruising - holding onto the footstool and walking from one end to the other (and back again as Jennifer and I sat there tossing the tv remote back and forth). The TV remote and our cell phones are two objects Katherine will reliably head for if she sees them - she can even tell the difference between the "real" remote and the universal remote without batteries that we designated as hers for her to play with. Clearly, adult interest in something makes a serious difference in how exciting it is.

I see that adult-use effect with the computers - on my desk there are two computers, side-by-side. There's the home machine, which is actually shut down and turned off most of the time, and there's the laptop I use for work. (I'm working from home 4 days out of 5). When on my lap, Katherine strains to get at the laptop and touch its keyboard, and won't accept playing on the other keyboard as a substitute, even when I turn on the home machine and get her set up in notepad with a huge font. She'll use the other keyboard a little if she first sees me use it, but I can't, for example, be typing on the laptop and have her content to pound on the other keyboard. (As an aside, those big ancient heavy IBM keyboards can take a surprising amount of abuse)
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