9 July 2007

I prepared black raspberry jam tonight while Olivia played out-of-sight in the next room. Preparing for the next step I cut a lemon and squeezed the juice into a cup for measuring. Just after I had put the lemon skin in the compost and the juice on the counter, Olivia came into the kitchen and remarked I smell a lemon!

It would seem Olivia has a good nose on her and that makes me one proud papa!


16 April 2007

Tonight at the dinner table Olivia decided it would be fun to have her feet on the table. Of course we discourage the practice and she is aware that we feel it is not polite and unacceptable. So while I attempted to argue my point and allow her to realize she ought not to have her feet on the table, the following volley transpired:  Olivia looks at her pants to ensure there are no 'smartys' on them

I don’t put my feet on the table, do I? I ask in a tone rife with rhetoric.

You’re a lot bigger! countered Miss Olivia, implying that my physical size would prevent my accomplishing the same gesture.

She always has an answer for everything, Mommy interjected.

I agreed, She’s a little smarty-pants!

With pause for thought and a look down at her pants to confirm her suspicions, Olivia piped up matter-of-factly, There’s nothing there, just flowers!


5 April 2007

Some short time ago at Grandma and Grandpa’s house Olivia learned a new word. Like something you might expect to hear at least once in every sentence at your local dark and seedy watering hole, she likes to incorporate this new word into nearly every train of thought, whether appropriate or not.

The prelude to this little gem (a QuickTime movie) is that Olivia was playing with Easter gifts and packaging when she decided to give a present to mommy. She liked the box with the tree on it and began to put objects inside, but stopped short when she saw a gift card for Toys Я Us. A transcription follows.

 Olivia prepares a present to give to mommy

I put something in this present, like this card… Oh, cute… It’s cute. I like that… Kook!


24 February 2007

While Amy was dialing the number to call her mom Olivia asked, Who are you phoning?

Grandma Bibbs! came the reply.

Are you phoning Bibbs? (Bibbs is a pet cat which lives outdoors and sleeps in a heated doghouse.)

No, Bibbs doesn’t have a phone out in her house, so I can’t call Bibbs.

Olivia chimed in with, Yeah, and she doesn’t have hands…

Well, she has paws! Amy countered.

No, that’s no good.


19 February 2007

Olivia has taken to parenting her dolls, and of course her role models are us. That is no surprise, but the shock and awe comes at our realization of exactly how she sees us.

Phrases like Now you stay in bed. Don’t get out! spoken sternly to her doll, Jackson, awaken the guilty conscience in me. I understand that I am not a perfect parent and that some of my techniques have rubbed Olivia the wrong way. It is one startling realization after another as we eavesdrop on Olivia’s conversations with her dolls; Such concise feedback on how we are doing at this parenting gig will be impossible to come by in a few months’ time.


24 January 2007

Last night Olivia was helping make brownies with mommy. When the mixing was done she eyed the beaters and said expectantly, Wanna lick it.

Amy had to reply, No, sorry babe, it has eggs in it and you know…

Yeah, I know, it’s not so good for me.


21 January 2007

If you remember Olivia’s interest in the noises from the furnace of last year I can confidently report that we have created a monster! It isn’t limited to the furnace: Now she asks about the water heater, the furnace, the pipes under the sink, where the water goes, where the water comes from, what the engine (of a car) sounds like, and many more.

She is at the stage where she takes your sentences and turns them into other lines of questioning with all the correct pronouns. She speaks to her dolls in the ways she is spoken to and enforces the same rules that confine her actions and behaviours.

Admittedly there aren’t many of those rules thus far and there is still much more we can learn about together to shape her values and behaviours. The main thing is we are all having good laughs along the way. I am forever awed by her linguistic skill which seemed quite rudimentary just yesterday, though really it was a few months ago now.


30 November 2006

 This happens when you let your child wear herself out at bedtime

In our democratic society we’re trying to be democratic parents. So if you’ve ever wondered what happens when a child wishes not to go to bed at the designated time… You can see that she will simply fall asleep when she is ready, and wherever she is at the time.

Olivia’s sentence structure and variety have really blossomed in the past couple of weeks. I think it has only been as long that she has been forming sentences because of the rapid changes, but I know this has been in the works for a while. For your reading enjoyment now, a few excerpts from conversations with Olivia.

When a large Badger drain cleaning truck was parked down the street Olivia watched intently as grandma explained, It sucks up the clogs and cleans out the drain.

And when I was eating sweet and spicy Doritos:

Another exchange happened to be a ploy to go outside into my car:

During the morning before leaving for work the sun was shining behind the clouds.

She was also interested in the noise when I turned the furnace on this morning.


22 August 2006

Creating sentences out of thin air and babbling on about events that happened weeks ago are two of Olivia’s latest talents. She shows a keen interest in what people say and she repeats everything for the practice.

 Olivia boasts with golden beets fresh from our garden

Here she shows off the golden beets from our little plot of garden this year. They turned out to be very tasty baked off and carmelized with shallots, lemon thyme and a bit of olive oil and honey. Next is pickled beets which Olivia has yet to be introduced to. In a few weeks a batch will be ready to try.


5 August 2006

 At Sasse's birthday party many balloons were blown up and played with by all

At the house of Sasse (our friend’s last name) Olivia very much enjoyed staying up until the wee hours and playing with balloons which were drawn to look like various animals. Part of the fun of the evening was watching some of the balloons float high on the heat waves of the open fire that was keeping us warm. Of course, none of those balloons survived for long and Olivia became very concerned about the alarming rate at which we ended up destroying balloons in this fashion.

There have been numerous occasions where she has recalled this evening with vivid clarity for her age. She will start to tell us about Sasse’s house and how the balloons popped! She is now at the stage where her long-term memory is developing at a rapid pace. We have to be careful what we promise to her, for she will remember it all and develop her character traits around how we follow through on our words.


4 June 2006

Olivia has started to form complex sentences along with her many phrases. She understands concepts like possession and confirms her knowledge routinely. She will pick up a shoe and exclaim Mommy’s shoe or Daddy’s shoe as appropriate. The same goes for coats, beverages and other food items, etcetera. It seems she has a penchant for disseminating her knowledge of who possesses what.

We teach her as many words as we can think to and sometimes new words will come along with a new sign as we learn more of the vocabulary of ASL ourselves.

While she ate cake and oatmeal snacks earlier today, I decided I might partake in a handful of Brazil nuts. Upon seeing what I was up to Olivia spoke: Nuts! But it didn’t end at that, for inevitably she offered Daddy’s nuts! Oblivious, she joined in as her mom and I had a good laugh then.


16 April 2006

Whether she would devour it quite so readily today or not is a question remaining unanswered, but yesterday Olivia ate broccoli flowers until there were nothing but woody stalks left.

 Olivia ate broccoli flowers at Easter dinner like they were the best food going

Though we still have a difficult time deciphering many of Olivia’s words she now uses phrases such as want some, Where did it go? (a favourite of hers), and get it.

Playing out-of-doors is something Olivia asks to do nearly every day now. She is always curious about new things and knows that outside there are more than inside. She realizes that she can ask for more things using her words and it pleases her when she is understood and gets what she wants—no surprises there, I reckon.


4 March 2006

I never understood why people track their young children’s ages in months, rather than years. It seemed silly, and it must be simpler to just say She’s one, or He is three.

Olivia has opened my eyes to many things, not the least of which is the fact that children develop very quickly from month-to-month when they are very young. It all makes sense now because most children six months old are mobile but not walking. Many who are twenty months old are walking, running, crawling, climbing, on their way out of diapers, relinquishing their soothers, talking up storms and figuring out exactly which buttons to push to get their way each time. In between there are new milestones each month which parents can be proud of and remember for a lifetime.

This morning Olivia awoke content in her crib and yammered to herself for a little while before demanding that we wake up and cater to her. The dogs needed to go outside also, and while mommy was tending to that she also thoughtfully decided to bring up a bottle of milk for Olivia.

Milk and Olivia in arms, she began to nestle into bed for a planned slow start to the day—it is Saturday, after all. Olivia drank her milk and we thought she would wish to spend some time relaxing with us in bed. As mommy settled in, Olivia cried No… no! and proceeded to sign and say that she was hungry—she even said Please! The bottle left her grip and she used both hands and persistence to force a quicker start to the morning so she could go downstairs and eat. One month ago she would not have communicated her desires quite so eloquently.


31 January 2006

Olivia’s sign language skills are growing which helps us tell the difference between mom and milk when she speaks. She is getting molars and eyeteeth and making short work of many foods that she refused before. Bananas, strawberries and kiwi fruit are some of her favourite foods but she tackles peppers and chunks of meat on occasion.

A class on movement provides a lot of fun each week for Olivia as she learns more about tunnels, stairs, rings, ladders, ramps and beams. She is not yet tall enough to accomplish all the activities on her own but she derives much enjoyment from each class. Of course the socialization with other children her age never hurts.


29 December 2005

Today I observed Miss Olivia climbing up on a chair at the kitchen table by herself. I often call her a little monkey because she is quite adept at such manoeuvres. On occasion we might see her standing atop the coffee table in the living room looking gleeful. There is no limit to Olivia’s curiosity but her single-mindedness will often portray her as tenacious and possibly ornary! She will repeat new actions—such as opening and closing the lid of a shampoo bottle—many times to ensure she has the new skill mastered.

Olivia signs often now to communicate the words more, please, food and hungry. We’re working on many more signs and she is speaking many more words than we have learned signs for. Understanding the signs is sometime easier than understanding Olivia’s spoken words so it’s great when she uses both at the same time.

 olivia and bananas are often seen together as they are one of her favourite foods

Oh, and did I mention that Miss Olivia loves bananas?


15 November 2005

It has progressed to sauce, now: Olivia enjoys most foods we offer her and lately that has been foods that are either in sauce, or have sauce to dip into. Dried and sweetened cranberries are a favourite of hers as well.

So the fish goes into the tartar sauce, the alphagetti noodles swim in their own sauce, fresh-roasted garlic bread dips into the lasagne sauce and dried cranberries… Well, on the floor in the kitchen is a favourite dish of Olivia’s which contains water for our three dogs. Dried cranberries apparently go well with the dogs’ water because when we questioned her about it, Olivia merely turned toward us, grinned and giggled, and dipped her cranberry into the water again for another taste!

On another note Olivia likes to dance to music as well. I often play music in the background while working away at my computer and when she arrives to see what is taking place Olivia begins to dance. On some occasions she assumes there will be music and will start dancing in anticipation. It is always about having the most fun wherever possible with Miss Olivia.


5 October 2005

Olivia has been walking for many weeks now and has started jabbering away nonsensically and incessantly. She occasionally uses sign language to express her desires—mostly when we prod her to do so—and she utters a few words clearly and can tell you whether or not she has finished eating.

 olivia loves to crack open bottles of products in the tub to drink their contents

She also still loves to play in the tub splashing around, eating bubbles, drinking the water and cracking the lids of shampoo bottles open with her teeth so she can sample the nectar inside!

With her six teeth she accomplishes many unordinary things, and tonight a somewhat ordinary peanut was among her list of desires. After fifteen minutes or so she decided that gumming it into submission wasn’t going to cut it, so she used her front teeth to chop it up for swallowing.

Olivia now views rides in our vehicles through the windshield as well as the side windows. And while she seems to enjoy this very much it appears that it’s not a big deal to be facing forward now versus rearward just a week ago.


17 July 2005

So much has happened in the past week with Miss Olivia and her development. More teeth have been on the way for a couple of weeks now and they’re no longer bothering her at night which means we all sleep better.

 and for olivia's next trick - fit inside the cupboard for fun

More recently her learning has brought her to a whole new level of understanding about the world. Her antics have moved me to laughter on many occasions. She climbs stairs very well and has for months now. Just a couple of days ago she learned how to climb down them as well… backwards. Her legs aren’t quite long enough to go down on her bum as toddlers usually do, so she goes down in a reverse-fashion climb that is tedious but useful.

She now brushes her own hair if you give her a hairbrush which is amusing and cute at the same time. She no longer simply makes messes by taking things out of packages and boxes, but she also tries to place things back into them. She will reach out to cute and cuddly plush toys and live animals alike. She simply loves friendly animals who engage her. And she loves to climb up onto things, into things and over things with great skill. Had she a long tail and longer toes she would match the most skillful of forest primates. It is amazing to watch her grow and develop as she approaches her first birthday.


11 June 2005

 olivia has figured a way to have the best of both worlds

Olivia loves her soother, and now especially as she is teething again. For the longest time she couldn’t have a drink while she had her soother in her mouth. We had the pleasure of laughing at her antics when she tried time and again to place the bottle where it should be only to discover that the soother prevented access to refreshment. But now she has deciphered the code and though it takes a lot more effort and time, Olivia is quite proud that she has mastered the soother and bottle combo… Would you like fries with that?


8 June 2005

 the only thing better than playing in the mud is tasting it, repeatedly

Olivia and I ventured out into the garden today for the first time together. I had to water the plants and Olivia found it fun to play around in the dirt. Little did I realize at the onset of our adventure that Olivia’s love for playing in the mud could be exceeded only by her appetite for the stuff—even after she tried it! There is no accounting for taste when it comes to what Olivia will try to eat. A shower to get cleaned up was in order immediately afterwards.


24 April 2005

 olivia climbs the stairs on her own for the first time

Stepping things up a notch, Olivia decided today to tackle the stairs. She tried a few times to understand how to get down on her own with little success. Approaching it from a different angle today she discovered that she could in fact climb all the way to the top whenever she wanted to.

Of course all this means that she needs to be supervised just a little bit more, but we knew that was coming very quickly. She has been crawling for only a month now and just a couple of short weeks after she mastered that she began pulling herself up into a standing position using whatever objects she could find to do so. Now she not only stands, but shuffles around the perimeters of the furniture while she stands, and of course if there’s anything interesting atop the coffee table she will take it off to play with in a more comfortable setting.


22 March 2005

 olivia loves to feed herself but it is a messy process

Olivia is at the age where she really wants to do things for herself. Feeding is no different than any other DIY task but the mess is a bit larger when she does it. The photo here shows her eating breakfast and it is also a hyperlink to a QuickTime movie — which you can also get to using AccessKey “)” — of her feeding herself dinner last night. The movie is larger than 6 megabytes so it may take some time to download, depending upon your Internet connection.


14 March 2005

 olivia on her hands and knees but not yet crawling

She’s so close to crawling it almost hurts us not to try to help her figure it out. We encourage Olivia all the time but we’ve learned that it is better to leave it at that and let her grow in her own time frame. Her latest trick is to flail her arms like a chick learning to fly, and we’re all quite happy with that.


13 February 2005

Rolling over from her back to her stomach took some time to master for Miss Olivia, but now she does it with ease. The problem comes when she no longer wants to be on her tummy as she has not yet successfully rolled over to her back of her own accord. She is getting quite used to being on her stomach as a result and now we find her sleeping in many more positions on her sides and on her tummy as she wriggles around throughout the night.


1 February 2005

 there's soon to be teeth in that mouth of Olivia

Olivia has enjoyed drinking from cups and glasses and grown-ups’ bottles for several weeks now. Just a few days ago she was trying to extract some water from a bottle belonging to mummy and as she placed its rim into her mouth we heard a very distinctive tink, tink sound. With a bit of fussiness over the past few days Olivia has been slowly cutting her two bottom front teeth. They do not yet protrude to the point where they are easily noticed, but they’re just under the surface of her gums where they can be felt with slight pressure. She explores her mouth routinely with her tongue in attempts to determine exactly what is happening. It will not be long before she has two small and brilliantly white teeth to greet visitors with.


9 January 2005

For the first time on her own tonight Olivia rolled over from her back onto her stomach. As her desires for locomotion grow stronger she slowly is learning to co-ordinate her movements into complex manoeuvres. After she made it onto her tummy she didn’t know exactly how she got there and had little idea what to do next.

We leave her to her own devices as much as we can so she may learn through experimentation and necessity. She managed to rotate her body approximately ninety degrees during the forty-five minutes she was on the ground but that was all she could muster.


2 January 2005

 Olivia opens her first Christmas present

Olivia’s first Christmas has come and gone and brought many good friends and family members together to exchange gifts and best wishes. For her part Olivia didn’t get into the whole idea of opening gifts very much. She enjoyed mouthing some of the wrapped presents given her and she did help tear open a few of them, but she was just as interested in the gift wrap as in any of the gifts. Now that the gift wrap has been recycled she is contented in playing with the gifts. There are loads of photos from her first Christmas season but since the Internet isn’t large enough to house them all, I thought I might just post a few of our favourites.


 Olivia smiles brightly while being supported by mom's hands on Christmas day  the first Christmas decoration to be placed on the tree is Olivia's  Eeyore gets slobbered on by an enthusiastic Olivia at Christmas

20 November 2004

Ever more knowledgeable, Olivia is grasping objects, people and dogs. She is exploring textures and shapes with her mouth by sticking things in there when she can. Laughter for Olivia is now decisive and segmented: It has developed into a two-syllable affair with huge smiles surrounding things or events that amuse her, including tickling. As she grows Olivia becomes more tolerant of our three Airedales when they want to move in for a kiss. In Lexie’s case it often is a sniff and snatch of her soother, so long as it isn’t attached to Olivia’s clothing. The four of them get along without complications and I imagine that they will all have more fun together as Olivia becomes mobile herself.


31 October 2004

 olivia dressed as a pumpkin for Hallowe'en

Today was Olivia’s first Hallowe’en. She enjoyed going out on the town to show off her costume to the neighours. She also enjoyed the feeling of corduroy as she stuck bits of her costume into her mouth to learn more about them. In the past couple days she has learned to explore the world not only with her hands, but also by putting things into her mouth. She has been eating rice cereal for four days now and she really enjoys it. She sleeps better as a result but still does not always sleep through until morning.


23 October 2004

Today Olivia visited with a bunch of our friends and she met Meghan Roberts who is exactly eleven months older than she is. Both Meghan and Olivia were quite curious about each other with intent glances coming from both directions.

Olivia is beginning to grasp at things. She opens and closes her hands around some of her toys and her soother, which she will pull from her own mouth without thought of consequence. Last night was a special night for her and her parents both: It was the first night that she slept straight through until eight o’clock in the morning! We will be curious to see if this will become a trend in the next few days.


19 October 2004

Trying to win a staring contest with my twelve week old daughter is a losing battle. She beats me every time. Just when I think I have the will power, the stamina and the smarts to stay focused on her I flinch; I’ll turn to witness something on the television, or see what the dogs are up to now, or ensure that my comfortable position on the sofa is the best it can be. Olivia will focus so intently on a person or thing that it seems she could do it forever.

She has this stifled laugh when she is happy. Neither a giggle nor a truly repetitive hoot, it is a happily croaking squeal she makes while inhaling. I imagine that it is the best she can muster at her early stages of life. Either way, it’s awfully cute!

Olivia eats very well and has amassed more than twelve pounds. She sleeps a couple hours longer now than in her first few weeks though she eats neither formula nor cereal yet. Her vocalizations and facial expressions bring a joy to life that can easily be lost in a fast-paced world. Love such as this should be felt by everyone on the planet.


3 September 2004

Olivia today began developing her sense of touch and likely her hearing also. She was spotted by mommy scratching the material of the couch repeatedly with her fingers and listening to the sounds she was making while doing so. Well aware of people, she responds to conversational engagement as well as physical contact. Olivia is forming her sense of self and it is thrilling to watch.


29 August 2004

This morning Miss Olivia showed a well-defined “pouty lip” before indicating her want for food. As a natural outcome of her sad face during crying she has shown this feature before. But this morning she stuck out her bottom lip deliberately to foreshadow her upcoming cries of displeasure. At one month plus a day of age she is already ironing out some of her parent manipulation skills.


17 August 2004

Olivia focussed on the television for the first time today. She came to work to visit with me and to meet some of my colleagues. She was very content with being passed around to a dozen people throughout the day. Later at home while mommy was watching the Olympics, Olivia also took a small interest in the box with forever-changing images. With all these changes happening so soon it’s no wonder everybody says “They grow up so fast!”


15 August 2004

 olivia dressed as an angel

During this photo shoot Olivia was hungry and a little bit confused as to what the plan was. She took many breaks between shots and once relaxed in mommy’s lap, then proceeded to pee all over her leg!

Olivia is already very close to 9.5 pounds after only eighteen days in the world. She is sleeping very well—to the point where we really cannot wake her with any gentleness at all. Yesterday she met some of my friends in Dunnville but her day was not all that busy… She slept most of the time we were visiting and all of the time in the car.


9 August 2004

 dad feeds olivia for the first time

One thing we know for certain about Miss Olivia is that she is not fussy when it comes to feeding. Certain things such as hot pepperettes in mom’s milk do not sit well with her, but we’re just learning together.

A few days ago Amy tried to feed Olivia with a bottle. She handled it just fine once she got used to it coming out a lot quicker than normal. Tonight it was my turn. Her eyes were wide and fixated on mine the whole time I was feeding her. She is learning to focus and control her eyes much better now. She seems to fixate on things around the room and it looks as though she enjoys her new sense of sight.

She still does not enjoy baths but she doesn’t mind showers at all! She and mom shower together now because it’s just easier. It remains to be seen what she will think of the pool.


1 August 2004

 olivia doesn't like baths yet

At just four days old, Olivia is doing just fine. Her mom is a little more tired from the events of the past few days, but all of us are learning together what works and what does not work so well. As you can see from the photo, baths don’t work so well with Miss Olivia at this time. Otherwise she is very content so far and she gets along well with the noise and bustle of our household full of dogs. She loves rides in the car and she especially loves to be held and cuddled—something that both Grandma Frasers are very happy about!

We have yet to find out Miss Olivia’s likes and dislikes when it comes to foods but that should happen over the course of the next few weeks. She is now feeding quite well and aside from the hiccups she is having no further troubles with that end of things.

As a proud new papa and a hobbyist photographer I cannot imagine getting on without a good digital camera in this day and age. I had the good fortune of borrowing one for a few weeks and in the course of the last four days I have snapped more than five hundred photos! If I had any advice to expecting parents, it is surely to take it all in baby steps, but be sure to capture each one with a digital camera of high quality. That way you can get photos and enlargements printed from the camera which will last a lifetime—something that cannot be said for printing them from your home computer.


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