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spires from Carfax

Life

Balinese music - Legong dance

Life, Travel, , — January 2017

Yesterday I set Helen up with the iPad, only to have her come to me after five minutes saying "Enough iPad, I want to watch some Legong Dance". And so we watched nearly an hour of Legong Lasem and Barong Taru Pramana. (more…)

becoming British

Life, Moving, — January 2017

I am now a British citizen, after a pleasantly low-key ceremony last Thursday in the County Hall. (more…)

Australian animals are no more dangerous than British cows

Life, Travel — October 2016

Living in Britain, one encounters a regular series of stories about how dangerous Australian animals are. (Otherwise, the UK media treat Australia pretty much the way the Australian media treat New Zealand.) And most people accept this as gospel, to the extent that it's often given as a reason for not visiting Australia. In fact, this is complete nonsense: cows kill as many people in the UK each year as all of Australia's "dangerous" animals put together. (more…)

the transport geography of early childhood

Walking with Helen to the Cowley Rd Tesco yesterday made me think back on how her development and changes in transport modes have affected our experience of Oxford's geography. (more…)

give me the girl

Give me the girl until she is eleven and I will give you the woman...

Neither Camilla nor I are that keen on religious schooling, but I had suggested before, only half in jest, that a good Jesuit-run school would be an attractive option. And now I've seen the closest thing I'm likely to see to this for girls, in an Open Day visit to one of Oxford's private preparatory schools. (more…)

Three

Life, , , — February 2016

Our little girl (she was "a big little girl" for a while, but now insists she is "a big girl") has turned three and moved up to pre-school. The room change was a bit stressful for the first week, but she seems to have settled ok now, I think largely because her best friends have all moved with her. (more…)

little friends

Life, — December 2015
photo

Moomin and Koala Bear are best friends

Helen has made strong attachments to some of her peers, far stronger than anything I remember from my own early life (though I have very few memories from before school). Reminding her that she'll get to see her friends once she gets to nursery, or that we're going on a playdate, is almost always a big motivation for getting dressed and leaving the house. And having a friend refuse to hold hands with her can be enough to make her burst into tears. (more…)

early second language learning

Books + Ideas, Life, , — November 2015

I've tried speaking in German to Helen a few times in the last week and she's really fascinated by it. If I stop she says "say something" and wants me to keep going, and this morning she requested some German quite spontaneously. And Camilla and I have started thinking about the options for her to learn a second language. (more…)

an extra day with Helen

Life, Oxford — November 2015

I had had to take the day off work to look after Helen yesterday, since she was home after after having had the runs at nursery the day before. But we had a really good day. (more…)

growing independence

Life — October 2015

Helen has starting talking about how she's a big girl (sometimes "a big little girl") and getting bigger, and has made what seem like big strides towards greater independence in the past month. (more…)

male carer "tend and befriend"?

Books + Ideas, Life, , — September 2015

There are many areas in which becoming a father has had surprisingly little effect on me, but caring for Helen has clearly changed my social behaviour and probably my neurochemistry (more…)

A tale of two schools

It's early days yet, even for the UK where children start formal schooling between 4 and 5 years old, but we've already started thinking about schooling for Helen, and as part of that we visited two primary schools. The first was our local state school, the one we're actually in the catchment for and (since it's just around the corner) could be relatively confident of getting a place in (due to a baby boom, there's such pressure on schools that even being in the catchment is now no longer a guarantee of a place). The second was the prep school for a prestigious private Oxford girls high school. (more…)

Helen's first demonstration

Life — September 2015

I took Helen on her first demonstration today, a rally in central Oxford in support of refugees. (more…)

NCT class followup

Life, — August 2015

Our NCT (National Childbirth Trust) parents' group wasn't so useful in providing an immediate support circle, largely because Helen arrived early, before the classes had even finished, but it did provide the foundation for a longer-term social network. We have made friends with two additional parents with similar aged children, in the same demographic (they have NCT groups of their own): I met Parker's mother through a cycling advocacy mailing list and Frieda's through her blog. But I've also spent many afternoons or mornings with Helen in East Oxford playgrounds, meeting interesting parents who I never saw again. (Though perhaps if I'd had no existing parents' group I'd have got better at asking strangers for their phone numbers or email addresses.) (more…)

toddler book update (two years old)

Books + Ideas, Life, , — March 2015

Following on from the previous post on baby/toddler books, some of Helen's favourite books - the ones that have been read dozens of times - at two years and two months (more…)

Donna, Donna, Donna, Donna

Life, , , — January 2015

The lullaby I use most regularly with Helen is the song "Donna, Donna, Donna, Donna", one of the few songs I remember from my own childhood. (more…)

language at two

Life, — January 2015

Her vocabulary grows apace, but Helen has made little progress with syntax or morphology, with most utterances consisting of just two or three words lacking any inflection. (more…)

toddler jigsaw puzzles

Life, , — October 2014

At first I was skeptical that Helen would cope with jigsaw puzzles, especially as she had a lot of trouble even with the little two-piece puzzles we tried her on first. But she's really taken to the two 24-piece puzzles she has (more…)

colours! shapes! phrases!

Books + Ideas, Life, , — September 2014
photo

the pink magnet pair is "mummy",
the orange one "daddy",
and the blue one "helen"
(I don't know why)

It's just over two weeks since my last post on language development, but in that time Helen has:

  • produced her first two word phrases: "more cherry" and "daddy book". (more…)

the language explosion

Books + Ideas, Life, — August 2014

There's supposed to be a spurt in language acquisition around 18 months, and Helen is doing that pretty much right on schedule. (more…)

baby + toddler books

Books + Ideas, Life, , — August 2014

This is by no means comprehensive, but I thought I'd write a bit about some of the books we and Helen have enjoyed most over the last year or so. Some of these have been given to us or recommended to us by friends and family, some of them I found reading online reviews and lists. (more…)

not all birds are ducks

Life, , — May 2014

As well as "mama" and "da" and "bye bye", Helen has spoken approximations to "duck", "up", "ball", "cat", "dog", "bird", "banana" and (at nursery) "nappy". (more…)

cycling costs

Life, Technology, , — April 2014

I've been cycling for four years now in Oxford, so I thought I'd look at the costs involved. (more…)

the joy of walking

Life, — April 2014

Helen's been walking between Camilla and me for some time, and using walkers, and for the last week she's happily walked to other people. But now she's getting up all by herself and heading off without anyone in sight! We have a toddler! (more…)

a proto-toddler

Life, — October 2013

Helen went to Australia a baby and has come back a kind of proto-toddler. (more…)

handedly handling the baby

Life — August 2013

Camilla and I are both right-handed, but we hold the baby in different orientations. She holds Helen with her head to the left, I with her head to the right. (more…)

a new bicycle?

Life, Technology, — June 2013

I've been very happy with my old three-speed over the last three years and it's still a fine bike for getting around Oxford, but I'm thinking about buying a new bike. (more…)

cycling with a baby/child

Life, Oxford, , , — April 2013

It's early days yet, but I'm starting to look at the options for moving Helen around by bicycle. The basic choices seem to be a front-mounted child seat, a rear-mounted child seat, a trailer, or some kind of front-load cargo bicycle or tricycle (bakfiets-style or modern variants on that). (more…)

photos of Helen

Life, , — February 2013

This post is just for comments on the photos of Helen which I'm putting online elsewhere (I hate all the WordPress gallery options, because I want to edit text in a real editor). (more…)

one month

Life, — February 2013

Camilla made Pavlova to celebrate Australia Day, Madeleine visiting and Rosalind's birthday, and that went down a treat. And Helen slept peacefully through the whole event. (more…)

Week 2

Life — January 2013

Home at last! (more…)

Helen Ip Yee

Life, — January 2013

I don't expect most of the planet to have any interest in this, but it's here for family and friends and the idly curious.

Day 0

"Sooner would I stand
Three times to face their battles, shield in hand,
Than bear one child." - Euripides, Medea (trans. Gilbert Murray)
(more…)

what's in my bag?

Life, Technology — December 2012

I've always carried a small backpack with me pretty much everywhere I go. This is perhaps a hold-over from school and uni, continued because I always want to have a couple of books on me. These days, however, there's a lot of other stuff in there as well. (more…)

an allotment!

Life, Oxford — December 2012

Our new house backs onto a large area of allotments, and in a fit of madness Camilla signed up for half a plot - about 60 sqm - last weekend. (more…)

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