Sunday, September 28, 2014

Avey's Seventh

Avey will be 7 years old this week. We knew this day would come eventually, but that doesn't make it any easier. She is growing and learning, and doesn't show any signs of slowing down. I remain defiantly in denial about this whole mess. I'll bake her cake and all, but that's because I love her, not because I in any way support or acknowledge the passage of time.
She wanted to celebrate by having a huge, legendary Kung Fu battle with a worthy foe, but settled on going to White Sands National Monument. She invited a couple of school friends whose parents are also our good friends. The kids had about as much fun as anyone could squeeze into a Saturday. We parents had fun for a few minutes, and then got tired, hot, and cranky.
Avey's "Feet Statue"
They had a great time getting buried in the sand, making sculptures, and they even found a small, white lizard that we captured for a few minutes:
Hakan has had a big week also. He showed us how to roll over from his back to his front earlier in the week, and repeats it each day. He's been playing with toys more and more - mostly shaking them around and then trying to swallow them in vain.

Carver is in a new phase of avoiding bedtime at all costs. Normally, he seems to understand when we tell him it's time to sleep, and he goes for it. Lately, he puts up a big fight - refusing to lie down for anything. We can see how spoiled we've been since he was born. He likes to go out on the patio in the evenings and climb onto his little tricycle and then dismount, and repeat the process over and over. I think that new fun activity is most of the reason he does not want to get to bed.

I'd gladly switch places with him for a night or two.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


We stopped at a restaurant yesterday so that the kids could have a little meal before coming with us to a party. The young woman who brought us their food remarked on how adorable Carver is, and asked me what his name is. Thinking she would be even more impressed that he can carry on an entire conversation, I thought I would redirect the question to him. He put down his beverage, gazed up at her and said, "I am two years old!" She was very impressed and asked him what is name is, to which he replied, using his fingers this time, "I'm two years old!" Avey jumped in at this point and said, "Carver, that's how old you are. What's your name?" Carver looked at her and enunciated a little more this time, "I am two years old!" The worker was getting a kick out of this show, but I thought I'd try one last time to communicate the question to him and said, "Yes, and who are you?" He looked up at me this time, with a slightly confused expression, and said, "I'm not six years old, I'm just two years old!"

Eventually I explained to the kind worker that his name is "Carver." I felt tempted to throw in something about how he knows far more than the average two-year-old, but she needed to get back to work.

It's been funny to watch as he works to understand the concept of age. We explained a few weeks ago that Hakan would eventually grow to be as big as Carver, and that Carver would grow to be as big as Avey. He was quite interested in this idea, and repeated it many times to be sure he got it. A little later, he wanted to know what I would grow into. I explained that I will grow into a grandpa in a long time. He seems to have gotten them a bit confused though, because sometimes he will say, "Daddy, Hakan will grow big like me, and I will grow big like you, and you will grow big like Hakan!" Well, two out of three is pretty good.

It's been a good week otherwise. Kira and Carver have recovered from their colds, Avey never got it, and I started to have a slightly sore throat a couple of days ago, but it never really got any worse than that, and I can't feel hardly anything now.

I've had a lot of technology trouble lately. My phone finally bit the dust a couple of weeks ago, so I ordered a new one. That turned out to be a nightmare of its own trying to get it here in any reasonable amount of time, but it came and all was well - or so I thought. To summarize, I had to arrange an exchange, and now am using a very basic loaner phone. So basic, in fact, that I charged it only once about 4 days ago, and it's still got more than half the battery life. In a strange coincidence, my laptop batter also needed replacing about the same time, and my office computer on campus is having some serious issues logging me on.

Luckily, what has made up for all of the technology woes is that I officially launched my dissertation survey for the pilot data this week. It is finally beginning to feel real, and with any luck I'll have all the data collected before the semester's out.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Virtual Reality

Kira and Carver spent half of the week battling a cold. Fortunately, the rest of us have been spared so far, apart from being awoken several times during the night. They are both on the mend, and hopefully we can avoid any further sleep disturbance.

A couple of weeks ago, when my sister was here with us, Carver was going through his usual ritual of questioning everyone who would listen. That particular morning, he was most interested in ages. He knows that he is two years old, and that Avey is six and a half. He does not quite understand the concept of age, though. He asks, "What's your name?" which sometimes means he wants to know our ages. He went around the table and asked everyone their name [age]. When my sister answered him about her age, he smiled widely and said, "Good choice!"
Enjoying a Doughnut
I was driving Avey to school on Monday, as I always do, and I was attempting to have a chat with her. I asked about how she slept, how school is going, and so on. After a few attempts to strike up conversation, it became clear to me that Avey was not really listening. I glanced over at her in the passenger seat, and saw that she had the look of worry on her face. I gently probed into what was her concern. She let out a sigh, apparently deciding to disclose the source of her troubles. I expected to hear about some trouble at school, or some incident during the morning that was bothering her. She told me, with all sincerity, that "Well, the [furious] five [from Kung Fu Panda] and I are just a little worried. There's an elephant who's coming to train with us, and we're not sure he's very good at Kung Fu."

Refraining myself from chuckling at her fictional predicament, I offered as much support as I could muster, suggesting that maybe the elephant will turn out to be better at Kung Fu than she expects, or that she, being one of the best at her martial art, may turn out to be a big help to this mysterious elephant.

She talked herself through it calmly too, and seemed to cheer up by the time we got to school. It was a strange situation. She seemed aware that she was fantasizing, but usually she keeps them to herself. When we were all home later that night, I told Kira about it and we all, including Avey, had a good chuckle about it.
Hakan During a Nap
It's probably been long enough that I should follow up with how the elephant's training went.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Insult to Injury

Carver enjoys praying, probably mostly because it means he gets to have everyone's attention for a few minutes. As such, he has adopted some funny habits. For one, his prayers have gotten longer - he used to say two-sentence prayers, and now he will ramble on and on, cycling through what he has already said. Another recent development is that he will hop around, sort of to accent certain words in his sentence. The third is his subject matter; he certainly picked up from us being thankful when Carver has good naps. Carver started to toss this phrase into his prayers too - going down the list of family members, being thankful that they had good naps. Naturally, the cruel joke that he does not understand is that far too often, Kira and I do not get naps at all. He is kind to constantly remind us: "Thankful [sic] Daddy had a good nap!" as I struggle to keep from slumping over on the floor.

It was a good week, though. The biggest news is that I received word that I was awarded a grant to fund my dissertation! That will be very helpful to recruit participants, and I now have 5 places from which I can sample. Hopefully I'll have all of my data by Christmas!
Avey had some testing this week at school. We're sure she passed with flying colors, but still, we would like to see the results. She has still been blowing through her books like nobody's business. She will often shout out as she's reading, warning the characters about something, or simply laughing at one of the jokes. Then she wants to get Kira or me into the story, so she'll begin reading out loud. She told Kira the other day that because she can read chapter books now, she probably reads faster than Kira. I suppose it's hard to be humble when you're so close to perfection.

She had a good moment of honesty a few days ago. A friend of hers since kindergarten was having trouble understanding how to complete a counting assignment, and asked Avey to fill in the numbers for her. Avey, suspecting how that might seem dishonest, politely refused, and later told the teacher that her friend was having some trouble with the assignment. They are still friends, and the teacher handled the situation very well by not embarrassing Avey's friend, and we were very impressed that Avey did not give in to peer pressure, even at this young age. I can't [won't] believe she'll be seven in a few weeks!