New photos from Avery

For Christmas last year, Avery got a Fischer Price kid-tough camera (it’s a digital camera that’s encased in rubber).  Here’s the latest set of photos from it.  I’ve edited a lot now and have a lot fewer here, since I don’t want to post the photos she took of other kids.  Check those out on our family website, if you’re so inclined.

New words to old songs

Avery, in the car Wednesday evening, declared that she was going to sing us her own version of “Hush little family.” Here are some of the couplets I was able to discern. Places using a slash between words indicate different versions sung in different verses:

Hush little family, don’t say a word, Avery’s gonna buy you a mocking-car/street/gas station

And if that car doesn’t work, Avery’s gonna buy you a dog/horse named Grover

And if that dog won’t bark, you’ll still be the coolest little boy in town.

My own at-home Pandora music service

One of my favorite things to do when I’m working on the house is to turn on my “everything but audiobooks” playlist and try to see how many of the songs I can identify by artist as it plays. My Amarok collection includes roughly 460 artists, with 8oo-some albums and 11000 tracks (98% of that music legitimately purchased or downloaded legally, btw). So it’s a personal thrill to be able to name artist after artist. But it wasn’t until Avery said something during our last painting session that I started pondering how I recognize the artists, even when it’s a deep track that’s playing.

We have a CD full of music for Avery in the car. It’s got some kid’s music staples, but also good wholesome or entertaining music that I want her to enjoy. She likes “Puff the Magic Dragon” and “Stroller Town” (JoCo), but she also likes “All things little” (“All the Small Things” by Blink 182) and “The cloud song” (“Get Off of My Cloud” by The Rolling Stones) and “Lollipop” (The Chordetes). We have the Monkees version of “I’m a Believer” on the CD as well, which she refers to as “The Shrek Song” because the Smashmouth cover of that song appears in Shrek, which she saw at her Grandparents’ house and became a favorite at our house for about a month. Oddly, when I’ve played the Smashmouth “I’m a Believer” for her off my iPod, she recoils, suggesting that it isn’t the correct “Shrek song” because it’s different from the Monkees version. All that is delightful in itself. But here’s where it gets weird for me.

We were painting–she was helping with a tiny roller–and Neil Diamond’s “Cracklin’ Rosie” came on. After a minute or so of rocking out, she said:

This is kinda like the Shrek song.

I agreed, as would be expected since Diamond wrote “I’m a believer,” though the Monkees had the big hit with it. It wasn’t until later that I realized that somewhere in the song structure and lyrical style, Avery recognized a connection across these two different songs. I’m still boggled.

It’s hard out here for a pre-k’r

Talking with Avery about the parent’s council meeting we’d just had at her day care center, the Kangaroo Korner:

A: But why did you stay back there?
B: We were having a meeting.
A: Did you sing songs?
B: No, we didn’t. Grown-up meetings are kind of boring, we just talk.
A: Not like my meetings.
B: You sing at your meetings?
A: No, my meetings are to play with my Korner friends.

Avery takes a meeting
Avery takes a meeting

2009-08-16 Tweets

  • Ack. Just found spam Twitter followers. Damn you spammers! #
  • Avery reaches into the back of her pants: “There’s something in my butt.” She pulls out a sticker. Ah, kids. #
  • story of my life: two days on the road making do because I forgot my phone and don’t have phone numbers, only to find my phone now. sigh. #

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Analogies are now in play

In the last three days, Avery has begun using analogies to describe the world around her. We don’t know for sure that she wasn’t doing this before, but we’re fascinated now that we have noticed:

The first came as part of a conversation about the blimp flying around above the PGA playing ground in Minnesota this weekend. (Spelling shifted slightly to reflect Avery’s cute mispronunciations.)

Avery: Why is the buh-limp going in circles?
Jenny: The blimp flies around slowly all day.
Avery, after pondering for a moment: The buh-limp flies slowly in the sky like sea turtles swim slowly in the sea.

The other came just a few minutes ago, as Avery woke me from a nap (which I was enjoying with a pillow over my head). She pulled the pillow off my head and said, “You look just like a sandwich!” I thought to myself, “Wow, another analogy!” Then she added, “You have peanut butter on your face!”

The world’s youngest Blink 182 fan


Some quick thoughts on flying solo

Fun at the Park
Fun at the Park

Jenny went to her parents’ house this weekend, so I was home with the kids (Avery, a 3.5yo girl and Finn, a 11mo boy) for 3 days. I was able to borrow a car for one of those days.


  • Friday (car): zoo, picnic lunch; ice cream shop, park (1)
  • Saturday: downtown via el, family fun at Millennium park, lunch at Arby’s; park (2), saw some neighbor kids, dinner at softball tournament
  • Sunday: park (1), met up with neighbors, picnic lunch, pool; Jenny arrived home, dinner out


  • Avery was a delight at nearly all the outings, the “waterfall” at Millennium park was particularly entertaining. Her splashing/running gait through the water embodies childhood glee.
  • Finn continues to be awesome. He scowled at the pool most of the time, but then I’d catch him surreptitiously paddling at the water.
  • Both kids continue to enjoy the El. Finn likes sticking his fingers in the air-conditioning vent by the window (though keeping his mouth off it was a challenge).
  • All three days included an everyone nap of around 90 minutes. Thank God.
  • General delight in fathering.
  • Hanging out with the neighbor kids across the street and their dad was fun.
Fun in the Millennium Park waterfall
Fun in the Millennium Park waterfall


  • Finn got diarrhea on Thursday morning and it continued through Sunday morning. So lots of diaper changing and sheet changing and fussy baby. And 5am wakeups daily.
  • Only a couple tantrums from Avery, but one barn-burner when it was time to leave Arby’s. I apologized to the other patrons.
  • Each kid “Boomed” their head once during the weekend. Avery slipped while running around the Millennium park water area (despite my several warnings to “walk, WALK, WALK!“) and Finn crawled over a footstool and off the other side onto the floor. I stopped him the first three times.
  • Finding time to take care of personal hygiene. (Notice my unshaved appearance.)

Avery continues to be hilarious most of the time, and Finn has gotten really good at doing what you told him not to, then smiling slyly at you . Fun bonding time, but I’m glad my better half has returned.

Avery the wordsmith

Avery Newton John
Avery Newton John

Two tidbits of childhood joy from Avery the last couple days worth mentioning. First, Avery told Jenny:

Listen to my words. They say come into my room.

The second needs a little background. Sometimes when Avery does something goofy, I say “Silly girl.” She’s taken to declaring that activities (like putting a sticker on her head) are silly, and then demanding that I say my line. Here’s one recent exchange.

Avery: Say Silly Girl.
Me: It doesn’t work if you tell me to say it, Avery. I need to say it when I feel like saying it.
Avery: … Do it.

2009-07-12 Tweets

  • Waits: “Road to Peace” from Orphans… is excellent. You Must Enjoy it. #
  • Well, ENJOY isn’t the right word. You will have your heart stomped on. #
  • Current desk setup: Laptop in front of Desktop monitor. Desktop keyboard in front of laptop. I keep hitting CTRL+C on the wrong keyboard. #
  • Cute Avery Saying today: “It can’t rain today ‘cuz Mr. Golden Sun is out!” #
  • Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon: wherein one happens upon some obscure piece of information– often an unfamiliar word or name– and soon afterw … #

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Friday flotsam

Pea sprouts

  • Avery and I are finally seeing some lusty sprouts in our garden.
  • One of the designers of StarCraft 2 commented in this month’s PC Gamer that they kept the vibrant colors in the Zerg models (Zerg are aliens akin to WH40k’s Tyranids or Ridley Scott/H.R. Geiger Aliens) because it would be difficult to tell them apart if they went “realistic” and made everything brown.
  • I had oodles of fun working on the PHP online registration form for the MPCA yesterday.  I need to cook up a coding project for this summer.
  • The dual reading of Austen and Graham-Smith oozes along nicely.  I’m glad I borrowed the annotated Pride and Prejudice from the library.  It’s like reading three versions at once: the classic, the literary/scholarly, and the undead.
  • I ordered a Gig of RAM for Jenny’s laptop.  It’s getting a bit slow.  Also, I spliced a new 3.5mm jack onto the shorting-out one on my Shure E2C earbuds.  Seems to work well, so I’m nursing those along for a bit longer.

On language and other thoughts while parenting

  • Avery says “my” instead of “I” or “I’m.”  This puzzling linguistic development became clear once I figured out its boundaries.  Here’s how I figure it emerged:
    1) We would say something about a posessive: “Have you found your shoes?”
    2) She would say “Avery found your shoes.”
    3) We would correct her, “You mean to say “I found my shoes.”
    4) She learned that and now says “Avery found my shoes.”
    5) But sometimes we use the same 2nd person word as a contraction for you are, to whit: “You’re going to the pool today.”
    6) She makes the same first person substitution and says things like “My go to the pool today.”
  • We’re still waiting on Finn’s first word.  He does not make the same “eep eep” sound that Avery made when she was eating, though.
  • Avery has already given Finn his first nickname.  At home and at her daycare center (which we call “the corner”) she has been calling him “Dolphin.”  If he’s as interested in swimming as she is, it will be fitting.  I can already see it on the back of swim team jackets: FINN “DOLPHIN” RILEY, or DOLFINN.

Avery enjoys a lemon

My brother in law shot this little video on his camera phone about a year ago. It’s Avery’s first encounter with a lemon.