Archive for the ‘Parenting’

State of the Offspring Address – January 2015

January 30, 2015 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Kitty NoraEarly January saw the passing of “Second Christmas”, Kings Day, in which Nora wrote a letter to the three wisemen welcoming them into our home and offering some snacks that were laid out for them. Nora got a toy microphone, some clothes, some other toys, and several pairs of earmuffs, which no one wears (and therefore are nearly impossible to buy), but apparently they were talking about them in school. Ian got the big present: a pedal-less bicycle. Unfortunately he’s not quite big enough to use it even at the lowest setting, and Nora is just too big to use it at the highest setting (more on that below). Nora got up first, of course, and then she got so frustrated that she couldn’t “help” Ian open his presents that she actually started crying at the injustice of it all. When we got Ian up, he really didn’t seem to have any understanding of what was going on, barely paying attention to Nora ripping open his presents.
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State of the Offspring Address – December 2014

December 29, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Santa NoraYet another calendar year is coming to a close. The offspring are doing well. They have been at their grandparents’ house for the past week, enjoying the Christmas festivities. Nora has totally bought into the magic of Christmas and Santa Claus and the Magi Kings. It sounds like they talk about that a lot at school. She has not even a sliver of doubt that the myths might not be 100% true. Occasionally she will ask how Santa Claus can do X or Y, but we feign ignorance or defer to “magic”, and that is more than enough explanation.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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