Archive for the ‘Parenting’

Donkey Sunday

December 03, 2014 By: erik Category: Parenting, Photos, Spain, Travel

Cantabrian CowOne Sunday in early November, at around 2am (so colloquially still “Saturday night”), I mentioned, over the loud thump-thump of the salsa music, to our friend Agustín that my family and I would like to come up to his mountain garden with him some time to see his newborn donkey…perhaps tomorrow? He gave me the reasonable response of, “Dude, you’ve gotta give me more notice,” which I accepted humbly. But then, the following morning, I get a text message from him saying that he is up on the mountain and if we’d like to head out there, we’re welcome. It takes us just shy of an hour (possibly a record!) to muster the troops, and soon we’re in the car.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – November 2014

November 30, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Cute BoyThis month the children have made huge strides towards being mature children rather than babies. Nora has always been very sensitive about sleeping alone. She likes to have someone in the room with her both when she goes to sleep, but also if she wakes up during the night. While Marga was pregnant with Ian, I spent most nights in Nora’s room, so if/when Nora woke up during the night, the pregnant lady was not disturbed. After Ian was born, we switched, and I was with the needier newborn. Ian has been doing a lot better about sleeping through the entire night without needing a bottle, and Nora has been getting braver and better, in general, about sleeping. So early this month, Nora requested that she and Ian sleep alone together in the same room. I was skeptical that such a plan would work, but it did!! [launch the streamers and balloons and confetti] It’s SO much nicer to be a hallway away from a sleeping toddler than in the same room, because he’s got to really want something to wake you up, rather than just his 5 second “Where’s my pacifier? Oh, there attached to my chest!” crises. It’s working out splendidly.
(more…)

Pumpkin Carving Party 2014

November 04, 2014 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Partying, Photos, USA, Videos

Halloween Pumpkin Carving 2014This year the pumpkins we got for carving at home were the smallest they’ve ever been since I began this tradition six years ago. However, on the plus side, the walls of the pumpkin were very thin and easy to carve. It was a bit like playing an electric guitar for the first time after learning on an acoustic.

Like last year, we invited Nora’s friends, Carmen and Claudia. Last year, Nora’s and Claudia’s siblings, Ian and Mara, had to take a break during the party to breastfeed. This year, they were racing around like the little toddlers they are. They know each other from daycare. It was fun to see Ian interacting with a kid his own age. Although Marga is a month or two younger, she’s got several kilos and centimeters on him.
(more…)

Halloween School Pumpkin Carving 2014

November 04, 2014 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Partying, Spain, USA

Pumpkin 2014Having done it for the previous two years, 2012 and 2013, it was assumed that I would be carving a pumpkin at my daughter’s school again this year. Now veterans at this, my daughter’s teacher and I decided it would be much better to do the “performance” in the cafeteria/auditorium, because in past years it’s been tough squeezing all the kids in. My daughter’s 5-year-old “kindergarten” class stayed for the entire process, but during the cleaning and later the lit presentation, the 3-year-old and 4-year-old classes came in to participate.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – October 2014

October 31, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

'Twas a foggy Saturday morning at the Munich AirportWe spent the first two weeks of October in the US visiting with my family. Several uncles and aunts and cousins, that I only see every five years or so, were also there to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday. After the kids spent nearly the entire summer in southern Spain with their grandparents, I was beginning to worry about how little English was spoken. Pretty much all of Ian’s words were in Spanish, and Nora had to be reminded at the dinner table to speak English. Like most of my parental worries, this one was also unfounded. After an American fortnight, Nora is now principally playing with Ian in English, and Ian knows several English words, like “cookie” and “down”, and follows English instructions where before he only followed Spanish ones. He just turned 18-months old.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – September 2014

September 30, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian Sits on BollardThe biggest news this month was the return of the offspring from their long summer vacation and the start of the school year. They came back less than a week before school started on September 11th. To ease the pain of summer vacation ending, the kids have only gone in the mornings so far in September, but in October they will start in the afternoons again, too. Nora was happy to go back to school. She’s a preschool senior now, in what other cultures call kindergarten, even though she’s with the same teacher she’s had for the past two years.
(more…)

The Fourth Mask: Parenting Airline Travel Tip

September 28, 2014 By: erik Category: Funny, Musings, Parenting, Travel

Airline Family SelfieThis weekend my family and I took a one hour flight to the other side of the peninsula. It served as sort of a dry run for next weekend when we will fly ten times further. My 17-month-old son is still allowed to ride on a parent’s lap, and doesn’t yet require his own seat, which is great, especially for our transatlantic hop, where the prices are non-trivial.

For those of you that have never had the pleasure of flying with another human on top of you, the airline provides a little baby belt that has a loop in it to put the adult’s seatbelt through so your offspring isn’t offsprung during extreme turbulence.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – August 2014

August 27, 2014 By: erik Category: Extremadura, News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian and NoraThe offspring have spent the entirety of August on vacation with their Spanish grandparents in Extremadura, an inland region in the south of Spain. For the first half of the month, my wife and I spent a fortnight with them. It was fun to see them in this different environment. At fifteen months old, Ian is progressing very rapidly. He’s very steady on his feet and is getting a lot faster. He’s even sprouting a vocabulary that is almost in the double digits. When Nora was Ian’s age we were worried – hilariously, in retrospect – about her language development. He’s also learned to kiss, which he does by planting a big open mouth on your cheek like he’s about to bite you.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – July 2014

July 31, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian and Nora and AbueloThis has been the month with the least contact with my children since I began this State of the Offspring Address series. Since I injured myself one week into the month, they have been away at their Spanish grandparents’ house ever since, one week in the Basque Country, followed a two day visit with us, and then the rest of the month in Extremadura. Judging from my calls with Nora, she and Ian are having a ball. Ian is, of course, happy with his first and third favorite humans, his sister and his Spanish grandfather (I’m fourth), who is still riding high in the standings from his willingness to bend over and walk with Ian wherever he wanted before he gained his ambulatory independence. As a result, I don’t have much to report.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – June 2014

June 30, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian and Nora at the beachSummer has finally arrived. Nora’s school year has ended and we’ve been enjoying picnics in the park and visits to the beach this month. Ian looks like a baby goat who has two little nubs of horns protruding from his forehead. He’s been sporting forehead bruises pretty much all month long as a result of his many faceplants. He is, however, walking a little better and more confidently every single day. The stability improvement has been massive.
(more…)