Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Brothers in Lederhosen

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Because why not?

My mom passed along various pairs of Lederhosen (German Bavarian traditional dress) from when our family lived in Berlin and my mom liked to play dress-up with my little brother. I dig the tradition, so I broke them out and went on a photo shoot in our version of the Grünewald with Alrik (5.5) and Karsten (2).

Alrik in the same outfit at age 2 at a German cultural party.

Tucking away that flag.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Little Sunshine, the imaginary friendly isopod

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I love my children's imaginary friends. I recently reread my post on Silly Guy to Mikko, now 9.5 years old, and we were both tickled at the details we'd forgotten as Silly Guy faded from our lives. To that end, I record: Little Sunshine.

Little Sunshine originally was, I believe, an isopod, or roly poly, that Alrik spotted one day as we walked along the beach a couple years back. Alrik already had established a habit of naming tiny critters we passed, often ants, and telling me their given monikers were things like Rainbow and Cutie. He's never seen the movie with a related title, so I'm assuming Little Sunshine is just something else his brain came up with.

We watched the real-life Little Sunshine crawl along the sidewalk and then disappear down a sewer grate. Isopods, I've learned, are crustaceans and need damp environments to breathe through their gills. In case you were interested. Your call.

But Little Sunshine's disappearance was not his departure from our lives. Oh, no. Alrik, then about age 3, kept talking to him as we continued our walk, and I was obliged to keep up Little Sunshine's end of the conversation.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Robots, Space Invaders, & self-driving cars at the Living Computers museum

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We made it to Living Computers: Museum + Labs,
in Seattle not far from where we live.
We scored a library pass, but you could check it out
on a Free First Thursday evening.

Here's a video glimpse of our adventures
with robots and vintage gaming systems and more:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Me & my boys

Happy spring!


Monday, April 3, 2017

Simple bedtime story template

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Does your mind go blank when your child says, "Tell me a story!" before bedtime? I'm a professional writer of fiction, and I can't tell a children's story on cue to save my life. I've decided spontaneous storytelling is its own skill, and I needed to find a workaround. In case you're in the same boat, I will share it with you.

Just to burst your bubble right away, it's a terrible story. I'm just saying, it works. My five-year-old loves the structure of it and wants to participate in it every night by telling the first part himself. I like that it's adaptable to both creative and literal-minded children, because you invite their feedback, and they can embellish the details as much as they want, or not. It also gives you as the parent an opportunity to feel "homeschool parent-y" by slipping in a little pop quiz about whatever topics you want. (You'll see.)

Once upon a time, there was a …

Now you ask your children what there was. Is it an animal? Is it a person? What's this character's name? What do they look like? Let's say it's this:

… purple giant chicken, and it was friends with …

Another round of character development!

… a friendly and unusually small spinosaurus. They really wanted to …

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Video of a surprise unassisted home water birth

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Here's the video accompaniment to Karsten's birth story. You can head over to that link to read the details if you haven't already.

Short version: We planned a homebirth for our third baby, with a midwife in attendance. After two-plus weeks of prodromal labor, more active contractions kicked in for 21 hours, which meant our midwife went home to sleep. I woke up to my waters breaking, and half an hour later, out our baby whooshed into the birth pool, before the midwife could make it back! It was a lovely, hard, beautiful, excruciating birth, and I was aided by my Hypnobabies childbirth hypnosis practice of deep relaxation and calm.

I've made two versions of the video, one for my fellow childbirth fans and one for, say, my dad. In other words, one is semi-graphic, and one is censored to be family-friendly. There's breastfeeding in both, of course, but I managed to keep my top on this time during the birthing so I could make these videos without as many qualms. (This was a hard ask for me! I tend to unthinkingly strip during labor!)

If you're preparing a child for an upcoming sibling birth, you can choose which video might be more useful. In both, the birth is peaceful, and I edited out the swear words (!), but there is grunting and obvious … um … labor. The family-friendly one has much less vocalizing and no scary bits, so I thought it might be a good resource for sharing with kids.

Full, semi-graphic version:

(I'm wearing a top, and I've censored my bits up till the baby's
literally coming out, because that's what I felt comfortable with.)

Family-friendly version:

(I've shortened the actual birth and cropped in.)