Saturday, May 28, 2005

Caroline is in her crib, taking a nap. Or rather, she is in her crib, talking to herself and to her bears, discussing the latest paleontology news or whatever toddlers find to babble about during their afternoon “rest times“.

Bump. The chatter subsides. She’s thrown her sippy cup to the floor and has decided to sleep. I mentally sigh with satisfaction, and turn to the NYT for five minutes of news before I get started on some work.

Hi Mommie, breathes a small voice from the doorway, and there she is. Babble babble! she says in excitement. I pick her up and run to our room,
    "Will! She’s out of her crib! Why did you take her out?
But you did, when you put on her pajamas.
    Not me. It must have been you, please tell me it was you!"

Caroline is jubilant. Will and I try to pretend that our lives haven’t just changed.

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Friday, May 27, 2005

Dogs as dinosaurs for the under two set

Have you read any Tintin lately? Back in the day when free time wasn’t just an interesting concept to me, and I was on a visit to Switzerland, I would skeddadle down to my favorite French/Italian/German/Romansh bookstore and pick up a Tintin book. In French of course, since it really still is the only language besides English that I can kind of read. I loved Tintin because all the illustrations made it easy to understand – and I only needed to use a dictionary when Captain Haddock started to rant and rave (there are few contexts in which boiled tripe pops readily to mind as a vocabulary word). But today Caroline pulled out Tintin en Amerique and I started to read it to her and quickly got bogged down in Herge’s relentless shoot 'em up version of the U.S. I couldn’t bowdlerize fast enough to convert his ideas of Chicago and the Wild West into something I could enjoy reading to a little kid, and finally we just talked about Tintin’s dog, Milou (Snowy). Look C he’s barking, and look here he’s chasing a cat, and here he is jumping off the cliff after Tintin, but don’t worry, they both grabbed that tree branch so they are okay!

I should have realized that anyone who likes to put on my headphones and listen to the Windows help screen dog bark at her would like to flip through pages of Milou in action. Dogs are the dinosaurs of her almost two year old world, and she’ll talk about them all day. When we go on walks she’ll say woof woof or pejsek very politely to every dog she passes. Fascinated, she may be, but they are still mighty strange to her, and she has rarely gotten close enough to pet a live specimen. Last Sunday a nice dog owner and I tried to arrange a meet and greet for Caroline and his dog. The dog had clearly been through the kid rigamarole before and sat politely panting in the shade, as Caroline darted between me and his tail. When the dog stood to his feet to shake, Caroline quickly swarmed to the top of my head (still don’t know how she did that) using my ears as grips. Five seconds later she was back on the ground trying to talk to the dog again, but by then I thought I’d earned a coffee at our local cafe and the dog had certainly earned his time off for good behavior, so we left dog and owner behind, as C obligingly said bye bye woof bye bye.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The ruin of Rosy Hue 039

Last night was not the most restful of nights. Imagine if you will, Caroline’s skill sets laid out like little race cars on a track, all racing toward the finish line of self sufficiency. Then imagine that one of those cars – the ability to strip yourself of all of your clothes AND your diaper – gets way ahead of the cars that represent „dressing one‘s ownself“ and „being interested in telling your parents when you have to pee“. Well, the inevitable outcome to this race happened at midnight last night and it was all (to mix a metaphor) down hill from there. At 5:30, after having spent a restless night with the child sheet-wrestling champion of Prague, I finally drifted off to sleep, vaguely noting that she seemed to be climbing off the bed in pursuit of other entertainment. So so foolish of me to let that mental note expire, unexamined.

Because one hour later Caroline is standing by my ear saying wakeup wakeup, and I’m waking up, but it isn’t wakeup she is saying, it is makeup. And she has certainly covered herself in it, from lips to toes. Apparently Caroline doesn’t have the same lipstick absorbing skin that I have (when I was in my one and only music video they had to finally assign a makeup lady to my lips alone). Once applied, Rosy Hue sticks around. It takes three wash cloths, complete bath tub emersion and at least half a bottle of baby shampoo before C emerges looking somewhat less maroon.

I'm happy to note that even at an early hour we handled ourselves as responsible parents should, asking the important questions: 1. did she eat it? (no makeup in teeth, no saying fooey and rubbing tongue on towel, and actually very little even close to her mouth helped us rule that out) and 2. should we take a picture for posterity? (again no, for vague reasons that had more to do with it being 6:30 in the morning than anything else).

The rest of the day went well, thank you very much. But if I were voting, I'd say that the score for the night came out to Caroline 2, parents 0. And Rosy Hue*, r.i.p.

* name changed to protect the innocent and because the label was absorbed during the course of this morning’s activities

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Tut tut it looks like rain

If I ever need an accurate forecast for my weather the next day, I call up Ellen in Zurich and ask her to look out the window and describe what she sees. Sunday (a beautifully sunny day here) Ellen told me it was gray and rainy at her end of the line. Sure enough Monday dawned wet. Now isn't that better than CNN? And Swiss weather just feels fancier.

Anyway, we didn’t mind, as it was Monday and Caroline likes the rain. It means we pull out the umbrellas and leave them to dry after an outing. That’s when she steps into my boots and starts glide stomping through the kitchen hallway wielding an umbrella ala Mary Poppins. Dangerous for the belly button or any thing else that might come in her way, so I send her to our room to look in the mirror and admire herself and her umbrella and sing „tut tut, tut tut“ (it looks like rain).

Monday, May 23, 2005

Sleepless nights and headlamp day

We are about to launch a product for a client of ours, so I'm putting in lots of extra time after hours getting my part ready for the launch. Combine that time with Caroline care, dining out with business partners and every now and then washing some clothes, and well, I'm not getting much sleep. Today I woke up at 5:30 to finish something by 8 and realized: I am so not a morning person. It took a 7:30 cup of tea from Will and a hot shower to uncurl my lip from its grimace of disbelief that I was actually awake at such an ungodly hour.

Of course today was the day that our main babysitter headed to her annual pilgrimage to the spa, our second developed a ticklish throat with a week long doctor's excuse and the third was on a trip home to the border of Poland to pick up a new driver's license. In my sleep-baffled state I predicted it would be a major disaster, but luckily both Caroline and Will rose beautifully to the occasion. Will came home for lunch duty and I pulled C's easel into my office and she drew away (while seated on the potty, she likes multi-tasking). When she got bored with drawing she ran around the house wearing my headlamp and yelling "shadow! shadow!"

She tickles us no end with her toddler talk and we get her to say "Cahline" whenever she will. I also love how she says "Are You?" for "Where are you?" and "is that?" for "What is that?"

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

CSS clicks butt

Last night I stayed up until 1:30 hand coding a website for one of our clients. It was the first time in eons that I had done that (combination of needing to finish a project before Monday, our production guy not being available and general cuss‘ed stuborness). We’re doing most of our html using CSS these days, which is new for me and for my antique version of dreamweaver, hence the hand coding. But I love learning something new and after some serious mistakes (and a swift blessing to the saint of htmlers for reminding me to make a copy of all my files) I got into the swing of the thing and by this morning had a rolled out site ready for tomorrow’s show and tell.

It’s even more satisfying because I designed the site myself, and it is a pretty little thing. Our clients asked me for something Mondrianesque, but still somewhat like their old site, and remarkably it worked. When it goes live, I'll post a link.

Here it is: Identity online

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