Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

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…


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First word

imageMaya and her cousins by the Christmas tree

Maya said her first word over the holidays!  Or at least it was the first time we noticed that she was saying a word and not just going on and on in her own peculiar language, which we don’t understand.  I felt a little worried: what if she’d been trying to say words for a few days or even a week, and we hadn’t noticed?  Maybe we were so caught up on her first time crawling (a feat she has not yet accomplished) to pay attention to the fact that she was trying to communicate!

At any rate, the official First Word as it now stands makes for a memorable story.  We traveled back to the East Coast, and the minute we stepped into my parents’ house, Maya looked at the Christmas tree and said “ott”.  It was clearly meant to be a word, with the “t” sound very sharp and distinct.  “Light?” I said.  “Ott!” she said, still looking at the tree. 

My parents enjoyed this, because a) what grandparent doesn’t love to be in on their grandchild’s first anything?; and b) my first word was “ite”, which meant “light.”

I’ve been pondering this over, wondering how “light” became rendered as “ott.”  Bo and I haven’t been emphasizing the “t” sound when we say the word “light” to her.  And why would she use the short “o” vowel sound instead of a long “i”?

imageDoesn’t getting ready for the holidays just knock you out?

I think I’ve finally figured it out.  We have a coffee mug with a Laurel Burch design that Bo often uses, and Maya is captivated by the colorful pattern and shiny gold leaf.  When he carries her around in the mornings, mug in one hand and baby on the other arm, she reaches for the mug.  “Hot!” he says in warning.  She seems to have gathered what this means and now pulls her hand away just short of anything we tell her is “hot.” 

Of course, “ott” sounds much more like “hot” than like “light.”  But maybe the colored lights on the Christmas tree reminded Maya of the sparkly colors on her favorite coffee mug, and so she put the two concepts together and said the word she’s accustomed to hearing when she reaches for the mug.

Now I’m trying to figure out if any of the other sounds she makes are words yet.  I tried her on “da da” today (“where’s da da?”), since she makes that sound all the time.  But no response to that yet.  I did notice, however, that when Bo put up some new twinkly lights and I asked her “where’s the light?”, she pointed– with her index finger!

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Twas the day before New Year’s and all ‘round one could see

Evidence of the holidays, starting with our crispy tree.

A grand fir from the grocery, it was already dry

On the very day that we picked it to buy.


The stockings were hung by the woodstove so warm

They had to be stuffed elsewhere to avoid doing harm

To the chocolates and soaps and lip balms therein

For me and Bo– and most of his kin.


And what about Joda, you may wonder: where was the pup,

During all the commotion while we opened gifts up?


Well, despite all our efforts to ensure her inclusion

She slept the whole time, in her age and confusion.


So tomorrow we’ll take down stockings and tree and that stuff

Those bits of “holiday cheer” on the floor are enough.

We’ll pack ornaments in their tissues and boxes with care,

Knowing next year an extra set of bright eyes will be there.

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Time Change

Today in the US we turn our clocks back to standard time (aka, the time for our zone based on the position of the sun, etc).  For some reason, we spend more than 6 months of the year on “daylight savings time,” which seems odd and pointless to me… but that’s not what this post is about, so I’ll stop.

On the last day of October, Prof. H.M. Wogglebug, T.E., paid a visit to the library.  The Wogglebug is a character from the Wizard of Oz books; this is the look I was aiming for:

A lot of people thought I was supposed to be a leprechaun, but I carried the book with this illustration around with me (The Marvelous Land of Oz) and educated them.  The Wogglebug character began life as a simple bug, but by hiding himself in the crevice of a school room wall, was able to become Thoroughly Educated (hence the T.E. at the end of his name).  Eventually, the schoolroom professor caught sight of him and plucked him up and set him in front of the magnifying projector so as to use him as an illustration for a lesson.  Magically, the magnification never reversed itself (hence the H.M., or Highly Magnified).  L. Frank Baum didn’t have much formal education, and what he did experience (at a military academy) was unpleasant, so he was a bit cynical about academics.  Prof. Wogglebug’s character is always rather pompous.  In the Oz books, however, he’s best known for inventing pills that allow the swallower to instantaneously absorb all the knowledge in a given field (mathematics, elocution, spelling, etc.), which frees up the students at his academy to practice athletics all day long.

Turning to the opposite of pompous, Bo dressed up our dilapidated pumpkin-head guy for the trick-or-treaters.  You’ll notice the attempt at scariness, with the rusty old axe and glowing blue eye insets.  The string attached to his right sleeve was threaded into the house through an open window so that Bo could crouch behind and wave the arm about in a menacing way.

In the end we only had about five trick-or-treaters come to our door.  I attribute this to living near the end of a dead-end street and not having a working porch light (yes, we lit the stairs with solar yard lights, put our jack-o-lantern out next to the door, and left the solid door open so the lights of the house shone out).  Oh well, next year we’ll make sure to light our house better.  The big question is what to do with the unclaimed loot– 5 pounds of candy and 6 pounds of peanuts in the shell!

Now the days keep growing shorter and shorter, and even on sunny days the temperatures don’t get much about 60 degrees.  With the time change, I’ll be coming home from work in the dark every day, and eventually, I’ll be leaving for work before full daylight, too.  Which leads me to my next beef: instead of all these other holidays, why don’t Americans celebrate a National Month of Hibernation at this time of year?

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Holiday greetings

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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