After leaving this blog unattended for the better part of 2015, I have decided to officially retire it and start a new  blog called Just Kidding.  I hope to see you there!



Happy Spring!

Happy Spring!

Maya keeps getting better and better at walking, running, climbing, and other kinds of motion.  She can almost go up a flight of stairs without holding someone else’s hand!

As she practices her motor skills, you can see the language gears turning in her head.  She still only speaks about a dozen words and we rely on signs (plus some non-linguistic stuff) for much of our communication. And, she seems to have developed an “all-purpose” word.  I remember my brothers going through a period of the all-purpose word– with one of them, the word was “wadduhhhhh.” It can be used as an exclamation, an affirmation, a commentary, a word for muttering in one’s sleep, and many other reasons.  Maya’s word seems to be “uppado.”  It’s her version of two of her favorite words: “up” and “down,” and it refers to a favorite activity, “up-and-down,” i.e., climbing up and down a set of stairs, a stepped set of couch cushions, a foot stool, etc.

We always interpreted “uppado” as command or request, until yesterday, when I realized she was using it in a way that didn’t fit.

“Yes, Maya, that’s an Easter card from grandma and grandpa.”

“Hey, Maya, did you have fun with Daddy at the park today?”
“Well, yes, I know you went up and down the steps at the park, but did you watch the busses, too?”

I know things will get better when we can understand everything she’s telling us, but she is so fun– and so funny– right now that I don’t want to forget her little quirks.  So, I thought I’d better write this one down.


Words and Meanings

Orange peelNow that Maya has mastered the art of moving about, her next challenge is communication.  She only speaks about half a dozen words so far, but no one is worried in any official capacity because she also has learned at least 50 signs (signs, as in American Sign Language), at least twenty or so of which she uses daily.

Hold your hands in front of your face, palms facing you.  Now wiggle your fingers.  You’ve just made the sign for “wait.”  I was surprised at how quickly she took to this sign, since it’s more conceptual than most of the other signs we’ve learned, which are mostly nouns, like “daddy,” “food,” and “bath.” But she picked it up right away, repeating after us when we told her to “wait” for a snack or to have a book read.  Within a week, she was commanding Bo to “wait” at the grocery store when he asked her to hand over an orange so it could go through the check-out process.

More carrot, anyone?

More carrot, anyone?

But lately I’ve noticed a slight shift in the way that she uses “wait.”  For her, it’s no longer about… well, waiting.  Instead, she seems to be placing the emphasis on the getting.  If you think about it, “wait” can have two connotations:  one is about not getting (or not doing, etc.) right now, and the other is about getting (or having, etc.)– later.  When she asks for something and one of us tells her to “wait,” we’re not giving it to her, but neither are we saying “no.” So suddenly, Maya was using the sign for “wait” a lot– because to her, it was a way of asking for something, not asking for its delay.

I’ve noticed a similar phenomenon with the sign for “all gone” (for this one, put the heel of your hand in front of your mouth and blow across your horizontal palm.  Or, if you want to be like Maya, just put palm up against your lips and go “pppft! ppftt!”).  Because it’s rare for something (usually food) to be truly “all gone,” as in “gone forever,” Maya seems to have gathered that like “wait,” “all gone” might mean that she’s going to get whatever it is, just a bit later.  This is especially true in the case of night nursing (sorry if this is too much information– skip the rest of this paragraph if it is!).  I night-weaned her a few months ago, and now she nurses at bedtime and then not again until 6am or later.  In the few instances in which she asked to nurse in the middle of the night, I told her that the milk was “all gone.”  Now, she sometimes wakes up and makes the sign for “all gone” by way of asking to nurse.

I know I am a word nerd, having taken multiple linguistics and dead language courses in college that did not apply to any major, minor, or “area of concentration.” I just liked learning about language.  So, I spend a lot of time pondering words like “cleave,” which refers to the idea of two things being simultaneously together and separate (as in “cloven”– you can only have hoofs that are cloven if there are two of them and they are together).  Of course, I was introduced to this word while studying the metaphysical poets and have never heard or read of anyone actually using it in modern times.  But how about a word like “viscous”?  I wasn’t even sure what that word meant at first.  Does it mean something is oozy and flowing?  Or does it mean that it’s gummy and not flowing (the definition, which I eventually learned in a basic geology class, is “resistance to flow”)?  In my Homeric Greek classes, I was fascinated with the idea that a certain class of nouns had a “dual case” that was neither singular nor really plural, but applied to items that always come in pairs, like shoes or oxen.

There’s an idea that kids learn language so quickly because they have an innate sense of grammar, but now I wonder if anyone has studied kids’ language acquisition as a window into our collective psychology.  If not, I guess we’ll just have to wait.

In Motion

Her finger is not actually *in* her nose

Her finger is not actually *in* her nose

Now that Maya is mobile, my job as photographer/chronicler is more difficult.  Perhaps this series of photos will illustrate what I mean better than words can.



IMG_8738Or this:

20141227_09321520141227_09323420141227_093212I feel like there’s something about that last photo that shows a resemblance to me.  Maybe it’s just a mannerism, or a shape to her facial expression, but as the parent of a child who looks nothing like me, I guess I’m always sort of looking.



And Suddenly, Winter

Last Sunday, the temperatures were in the 70s (F).  On Monday morning when I left for work, it was 52, but I brought hat, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket, because this is what was coming.

One is the Springmouse who turns on the showers.
One is the Summer who paints in the flowers.
The Fallmouse is next with walnuts and wheat.
And Winter is last… with little cold feet.

Aren’t we lucky the seasons are four?
Think of a year with one less… or one more!  —Leo Lionni

Class Insecta


Our house was invaded, er, visited by a couple of insects on Halloween!  Maya was a bee and I was a wogglebug.  We went to visit a few neighbors to show off our costumes; Maya was old enough to understand that there was something to be excited about, but wasn’t very clear what it was.  Luckily, she also doesn’t know about candy yet.  Next year I suppose that will all be different…

List of Excuses


McClure Pass, Colorado

I feel sheepish even visiting my blog site after such a long period of neglect.  Do I remember how to post a new entry?  How many updates to the WordPress program have I missed?  Will anyone ever read my blog again?

Ah, parenthood.  It makes it so easy to shuffle out of a familiar space you used to visit every day and just forget to come back for weeks or even months.  In August, I started running again, after a hiatus of nearly two years.  But I had to make a conscious decision about how I was going to add this activity to my schedule, how many times a week, and so on.  Now I’m trying to do the same with this blog.

If I still have any readers left, I would like to apologize for the long period of silence.  And make a few excuses:

1. The Dog Ate my Homework

Okay, actually, the baby ripped the keys off my laptop and wreaked havoc with my tablet computer.  Those touchscreen devices are pretty cool– until a 1-year-old discovers how cool they are.

2. I Thought it Was Due Next Week

Or, more precisely, I thought this week was last week.  Who can keep track of time with a demanding, excruciating, delightful, frustrating, hilarious little munchkin using it all up?

3. I Didn’t Think You’d Notice if I Skipped an Assignment or Two (or Three or Four)…

Now that it’s mostly baby photos that people want, and not my words of wisdom (or foolishness), that’s what I’ve been serving up.  In a tiny effort to protect my daughter’s privacy, I try to share the photos and videos on an invite-only basis.  Message me or comment if you’d like to join my “Mayalerts” email list.

Thanks for reading!