Sunday, 17 August 2014


Today I am sad because I miss my beautiful books and my lovely bookshelves. Kariebookish, on twitter, posted a link* to an article on "styling" one's bookshelves, the gist of which was sparing use of books as decoration and significant use of negative space. I hardly know what to make of this. I've been an avid reader of books my whole life and worked in a bookstore for just over five years. I'm from the school of thought that bookcases should be stuffed, absolutely stuffed with (organized) books. And that they're beautiful.

I had a modular set of bookcases which were enough for two walls in most rooms I rented. I had enough books to fill them, paperbacks stacked and hardcovers standing proud between them. In the space in front of the books I had picture frames holding pictures of my friends, usually group shots, from some of the happiest times in my life, and knick-nacks and candles, mostly tea lights, in a range of holders. The shelves themselves were beautiful, a light pine, and for the cross beams I splurged on the wine-racks for the front, turned upside-down so they were scalloped. They were the envy of ikea interiorists everywhere.

And I left them, almost all of them, when it left. Jackie got the shelves along with my pretty much all of my household stuff (including my modal sheets. Man. Modal sheets.) and most of the books were sold to half priced books along with the DVDs for so little. They didn't want the hardcovers, you see, they don't much shift hardcovers. But I was leaving and I didn't have time or money and I couldn't take it with me, except it turns out I could have taken about six times what I did for the same price but by the time I knew that it was all gone.

I kept my autographed hardcover Pratchetts and my mother got my hardcover Harry Potters (the first two were technically hers) and the rest...I'm replacing things as I reread them and buying new ones in ebook form and I love everything about ebooks, about taking 600 titles with me on holiday, about reading on my phone or tablet or e-reader, whatever is most convenient at e moment, about backlighting and buying and reading a the next book in a series seconds after finishing the previous one, even at 3am, and having books magically show up for being pre-ordered. I especially, and this was the clincher for me who moved something like 9 times in four years, culminating in moving across a continent and an ocean, I especially love not having to box them up and carry them somewhere new.

But I miss looking at them. I miss my bookshelves, yes, my lovely bookshelves, but mostly I miss my beautiful books and how, together, they were a portrait of me.  

* I'm on my iPad, there is will be no fancy formatting like hyperlinks.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Still Alive, Honest (17 months)

We are still alive and doing well, though Little Djinn fell off of a play structure whilst C was watching her so when I got home from work* he was all out of sorts and when she woke from her nap she was extra clingy and sad. After she fell she asked Daddy to nurse and he had to explain that he couldn't oblige her. She nursed and fell asleep on my lap, then nursed some more and fell asleep again, then woke up when I tried to shift her to her cot, watched In the Night Garden (a telly programme aimed at soothing toddlers to sleep), played ball for about 30 seconds, and agreed to go to bed so she could nurse some more. Hopefully this will be her caught up on sleep: she's been staying up late since we got back from California and wanting to sleep in late. I'm trying to ease her towards an earlier bedtime by setting the alarm to wake us up earlier, which worked in as much as she now wakes up at 8am whether the alarm goes off or not, but hasn't moved her bedtime up at all and she's not been taking longer naps to compensate. So our little Booboo was getting crabby.

Which brings us to the biggest news since my last update, the California Trip. My mother flew Little Djinn and me out for three weeks, most of June, rather than fly herself out to Scotland again this summer. C flew out for the last week and we all flew back together. The trip out could not have been easier, considering it was 24hrs from leaving the hotel in Glasgow to arriving at Grandma's house. We had a row to ourselves on the first leg, Little Djinn slept and ate at her normal times, there was a little playground at our lay-over, the aircrews could not have been was a great trip. The trip back was less so, even with C's help. We got up at 3am local, she never really got back to sleep, we had two layovers, the first one too short and crazy-busy to let her out of her carrier, the ground crew wouldn't let us board early on any of the flights departing from US soil, she barely ate, and it was a good 22hrs of travel. Horrible, horrible experience. 

But the trip itself was good. Grandma and I got matching iPad minis (I had C's first gen but it is no longer supported for software and crashes all the time, and doesn't have a camera or microphone) so we can skype and hopefully the next time Little Djinn sees grandma she'll recognize her. We spent one weekend in Fremont with Miss Krissy and the cousins, and it was a bit of an adjustment for their boisterous family and my very shy, introverted baby but with Miss Krissy's help we worked it out. Little Djinn especially loved Noah's Pretty Pretty Princess (ugly pirate) Puppet. 

Great Aunt Kathleen (my mother's youngest sibling) flew down from Alaska the second weekend, Uncle Jimbo** came up the third weekend, and Uncle Johnny, who lives near Grandma, came over four times, usually with Aunt Janine - once with her whole family! Little Djinn warmed right up to Uncle Johnny (I swear I could hear Grandma grinding her teeth in frustration) - my theory is that we look a lot alike so he seemed familiar, but then she warmed up to Uncle Jimbo pretty quickly, too, and he looks less like us. It took her two weeks to warm up to Grandma, though every time Grandma left the room, Little Djinn grabbed my hand and dragged me after her. Then she took her food and toys away from me and gave them to grandma, two weeks to the day after we arrived, and that was that.

A lot of my friends were willing to schlep from points Bay Area to my mother's house a good three hours away, and so we had guest every second or third day, which felt like a good balance between overwhelming Little Djinn and getting to spend enough time with Grandma vs. getting to hang out with my friends and see as many people as possible.

Little Djinn kept trying to Skype daddy whilst we were apart, including kidnapping my kindle every morning. She doesn't know about time differences. Or the differences between kindles and iPads. When he finally showed up, late one night, she kinda lost it. I think she'd been okay because she didn't realize that daddy could have been there with us, and it was a while before she trusted that he wouldn't leave if he left the room. She did freak out when I packed the bags to go home and we had to explain that Daddy was going with us, we'd all be together the whole time. I don't think we'll take a holiday apart again.

Little Djinn just barely has the tip of a fifth tooth, or at least I think she does. She doesn't have any words yet, though occasionally she says "Mama" or "Dada" in a way that sounds like a proper noun.  I swear she said "Banana" once but it's not been repeated, and twice she said something that sounded like "bye" while spontaneously waving. She recognizes airplanes and makes engine noises, she makes car noises, and she can sign birdies (as well as "nurse" and "please" which she already had.) I think she has the sign for "food" but she mostly asks to nurse so it's difficult to tell. 

All of her classes are on hiatus for the summer, so we've been going to the park, the botanical gardens, and the pool a lot, as well as playing outside or exploring the islands. Before we left on holiday, Paul, Karen, and Crystal passed through Inverness on their Britain tour and we got to have dinner with them. Just this past week, Dave, Ellen, and their daughter S swung by on their Grand European Vacation (we went to the pool. They went on the water slides. For three hours.). Little Djinn decided that S is the older sibling she's been requesting and my normally shy tot would not leave S alone, bringing her toys and books, and dropping them next to her. S was largely gracious and willing to play but also an almost-9yo who wanted to play with the iPod in peace.

In other news, we are in the process of having Aged Parent's house fixed up with an eye to living there. It is cheaper to fix this place up than to sell it and buy something else and gamble on getting what we want in an area we like. Hopefully this will work out. We're having solar panels installed and sun tubes put in for natural light, and AP's office converted into a pantry. We hope to have the master bedroom extended as the room would barely fit our bed and there's no room for a wardrobe. C would also like to replace the "summer house" (a kind of shed for sitting out on nice days) with a free-standing office. We would also want to put a fence across the driveway to fully enclose the property, making it safe for a child and possibly, in the future, a dog. We've replaced the flooring and the bathroom fixtures, the kitchen appliances are being updated, and that's about as far as we've got. The garden is lovely and needs very little work.

This is largely the shape of things, except to say, if you like speculative fiction and have not read "Ancillary Justice" by Anne Leckie you really should. It is really good and a fresh idea in the largely derivative world of space opera.

* there is an awkward 2hr shift on Thursdays for the late hours and it is least awkward for me to work it (or so everyone else tells me. Ahem.) which means I get the 6hr shift on Sundays to make my contracted hours. The downside is that LD and I can no longer go to mass Sunday morning and tea afterwards and we were starting to be known as part of the community, but the upside is having regular, set hours that don't impact C's standard work week and we get to spend Saturdays together.

** He says we already have an Uncle Jim (now Great Uncle Jim) and I guess he doesn't want to be Uncle Jimmy to which all I can really say is "okay then".

Friday, 7 February 2014

A year and change

A year and change, with an emphasis on change. My tiny baby is so big (and yet, at 8.14 kilos, so small). She finished the year at 25th percentile for weight and 50th percentile height, which explains why she's always fit her age-size for clothes and outgrown things lengthwise before she was in any danger of doing so width-wise. There was one outfit we were given that, unfortunately, she outgrew in length before she was wide enough to keep it from falling off of her shoulders. Oops.

The biggest change is that last year's helpless infant who could only just hold her head up is walking and babbling up a storm. She'd been able to walk for a while, before Christmas certainly, but was only rarely willing to take a few steps between objects, preferring to shuffle around on her knees. The oddest part was that knee-shuffling was a lot slower than crawling, though it did afford a greater ability to carry things around.  Then one day mid January, she just walked across the room, changing direction and speed, picking things up to carry with her and putting them down again. She'd entirely skipped the careening madly into things stage and become a proper walker. She still loses her balance a fair bit and then usually has to knee-shuffle over to something she can use to regain her feet, but she's managed to stand up on her own a few times, too.

Little Djinn also has two teeth! The second one showed up on New Year's Day and is ever so slightly behind the other one. Thank goodness it finally came because the 6 weeks of teething to get two teeth was not fun for anyone. Starting on Christmas she would occasionally have an allergic reaction to her own stools and nappy changing became just that little bit less fun. She's still spending the whole night sleeping with me, I've not been able to get her to come for a nurse then return to her cot again, but I miss her when she's not with me so while I'd sleep better without her, I like having her next to me. Even C, who is a fairly light sleeper, found he did alright with her between us on our holiday, sleeping through (with earplugs) her waking up to nurse, and taking comfort in reaching over to touch her tiny hands. And even if one could wish for a longer lie-in, it's hard to be grumpy when she wakes up so happy and ready to play.


And now it's been another month. The only real change from the First half is a third tooth, the teething for which was, thankfully, much milder. She is coming on and picking up new skills seemingly daily bit it's hard to pinpoint the changes. She is more consistent about signing to nurse, and not just tugging my clothes, and she'll take me by the hand and show me how to do things (like pat the fuzzy tummy in her touch-and-feel book). She can now lift the mouthpiece on her sippy cup and not just close it. She can climb the sides of her high chair like a ladder. I ask her in the morning if she wants up in her chair for breakfast or if she'd rather run around on the floor and she'll decide she's ready to sit and reaches for the chair. She goes to the pram and pats it to say she wants to go for a walk, and a lot of time when she's running around she'll come back when I call her and stay in the area specified. She can stack her nesting cups the short way and the tall way, though she hasn't quite grasped sorting by size.

She dances. When she hears music she likes she does little squats and sometimes stretches her arms up or swings them like she's doing the twist. She gives kisses (pressing her open mouth to mine) and if she sees my bare tummy she pecks at it, which I realised was her attempt at "blowing raspberries". She knows where her ears are and sometimes will point to my or C's nose but that's it for body parts. 

The other night I was getting her ready for bed and, having just got her nappy off she stood up and gave me a big cuddle, then stepped off the edge of the dresser and wiggled for down, then took off for the stairs. Daddy came up just in time to see our entirely free-range, estatic baby close the baby gate and start down. She knows that baby gates are supposed to be closed (sometimes with herself on the wrong side) and tries to close the latch on the cupboards if she sees that open. 

Her hair is getting long in back, 3 or 4 inches, but is barely half an inch along her forehead and Daddy keeps threatening to take her for a haircut. Speaking of Daddy taking her places, I've been back at work for about 6 weeks, 8hrs/week (usually two half days) and Daddy is on solo parenting duty those days which has been really good for all three of us. Little Djinn didn't even cry on Sunday (a six hour day) - not when I left in the morning and not when I left after they came to have lunch with me.

We took her down to Edinburgh last week for an overnight and to register her birth with the US consulate. I've heard horror stories but our case was straightforward and, other than our passports, marriage certificate and Little Djinn's birth certificate they didn't even look at anything I brought to show that she's a US citizen. I think it helps that I'd never left the US until I met C in 2009 and while he'd visited, he's never lived there.


And another month. Still only three teeth, still gaining skills but no big breakthroughs. I ask her if she's ready to change her nappy and she gets her bucket (if we're home) or her changing mat (if we're out) and carries it to the changing table. She knows where the changing tables are in a lot of places and will go to them, only waiting for me to open doors. 

She's a bit better about eating. She loves bananas, mangos and raisins/sultanas. C has been buying small bags of very expensive imported Cheetos and she always wants to share those (I bite the ends off of a few for her then put the bag away. Sometimes this stops the demands for more and sometimes she has screaming fits while trying to reach the bag.). She likes Doriano crackers, which are a lot like unsalted Saltines, and occasionally will eat a bite or two of cheese. Today she ate porridge made entirely with cows milk (I've been mixing with my own for months). She's grown again but still fits a range of clothes from 9-12 (tops/dresses) to 12-18 (trousers, footy pjs) months. She's lanky.

I work two 4hr shifts a week and I'm pretty sure those are her favourite days, whn she gets to play with Daddy. C got an office in town ad actually leaves for work which always results in death-hugs (as in squeezed-to) and usually tears. Saturday I left for work and had to ask for a fairly indifferent cuddle whilst she did everything but push me out the door. But she's always happy to see me when I'm done, and only I will do if she wakes in the night. Daddy is for play, Mama is for comfort.

Today is the last day of Easter Break, when all of the toddler groups pause, and she'll be back in swim lessons and dance class next week. We've also been trying to make Bookbug (story and rhyme session) at the library and have some books to return, if she'll let the one with the hamster, goldfish, and bunny all on th same page go back. She can identify the mousy in the "That's Not My..." books and has similar "find the object on each page" things she can spot. 

Easter was brilliant. Grandma made a fabric Easter basket for K which I "hid" in her room and she found when she woke up. We gave her a set of Happyland construction figures with a dump truck and a bulldozer which she's absolutely crazy about. She tried to take the dump truck to bed with her (I said no, but let hr have a construction worker). After church, I hid a dozen plastic eggs in the back garden, then after she found them and lost interest in playing with them, I hid them again. She was even more excited the second time nd when we told her she'd found them all she started hiding them again herself. It was unbelievably cute. 

No words yet, but she understands lots of things and remembers a surprising amount of things she's only asked about once. At this point I'm expecting her first word to be a sentence, similar to how she wouldn't take steps until she got up and walked off.

Every night, after she's gone to bed, C and I marvel at how amazing she is and how lucky we are to know her.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Let Us Start as We Mean to Go On (NYR)

Today is the day we collectively resolve to be better: to be fitter and stronger, more organised and thriftier, to spend time doing things that will please us years for years instead of the things that will please us from moments. These and so many other resolutions surround us and, while I think it's good to feel renewed vim and vigor, optimism all too often covers delusion and flows to disillusion and disappointment. Thus I remind myself that life is about striving, about trying and failing and trying again, and not just deciding things will be different and expecting them to change magically. Seanan McGuire suggested a resolution to wake up each morning (always a good place to start) and think "I will be kind today", to everyone friends and strangers alike and especially ourselves.

For myself, I have started the year as I mean to go on, with laundry being washed, folded and put away* and the upstairs picked up and hoovered**. Normally I'd want to begin the year with a clean house but I think the act of cleaning is, for me, a more suitable "start the way you mean to go one" than sitting around enjoying the fruits of one's labours: at that, I am adept. So my goal is, not to have a clean house, a goal which can be achieved fleetingly if at all, but rather to clean my house, to put in effort at least weekly that entropy be kept at bay, chaos not overwhelm.

With my crafts I resolve to adopt a "project in, project out" policy. If I complete a project I may acquire yarn for a new one, though obviously picking something from my stash would be best. This does leave room for me to knit a bunch of little toys and reward myself for each with a sweater-quantity of yarn but I think I know myself well enough that that won't happen***. This also goes for sewing/fabric and cross-stitching****.  I am going to winnow my queue to projects for which I already have yarn - if another project is meant to be I will be able to find the pattern again - though queuing multiple project ideas for the same yarn is allowed if I've not yet settled on one. I will try not to buy patterns until I am ready to knit them.

Most importantly, I seek to spend more of my time "actively present" with Little Djinn, to offer my attention unstintingly when she needs it. There are things I need to accomplish but keeping up with social media isn't one of them. She'll need me like this so briefly.

For these things, towards these ideals, I strive.

*in progress
**the two are connected, laundry and hoovering; I did the downstairs on Monday
***more than once. Or twice, you know, whatever.
****progress was made but neither project completed

Friday, 27 December 2013

Craftiness Roundup: Sewing

My mother gave me a sewing machine for my birthday/Christmas present and in 6 months I made three things. While, obviously, I'd like to Make All the Things, I'm largely at peace with this output. Little Dinn is not hugely fond of letting me out of her reach and I'm sticking to my decision not to sew while holding her. If this makes me staid and boring, so be it.

My first "familiarise one's self with the machine" project was some summery gingham bunting. Simple double-sided triangles, sewn to a ribbon of bias tape. I don't seem to have a picture of the project but here's one of my audience.

Emboldened by my success, I bought a Little Dress Kit for a double-sided smock for Little Djinn. It turns out I'm no good at curves but I did successfully figure out buttonholes and babies look cute in anything, even if the seems are wobbly.
My third project was another set of seasonal bunting, autumnal prints, greens and oranges and golds with a bit of pumpkin, again attached to bias tape. I spaced these a bit further apart than, on consideration, I would have preferred but it's good enough. I had enough triangles to make a smaller strand of bunting to hang in the porch, greeting people at the door.

Autumn bunting hanging in the stairwell.

I bought a pattern, fabric, and notions to make a romper for Little Djinn but never so much as took the fabric out of the bag. I also bought two prints to turn into wall-hangings. My mother cut them out, pinned them together and started quilting one. That's exactly how they remain. I hung them anyway, for Thanksgiving.  Just today Lilltle Djinn got a care package from Grandma which included pre-cut triangles and bias tape for some winter bunting. I'm feeling optimistic about its chances.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Robot Turtles

We backed our first (and only) kickstarter project this year: Robot Turtles. It's a boardgame aimed at teaching (younger) children the basics of programming, namely the step-by-step and literal execution of code. The goal is to move a little turtle from a corner of the board to the centre of the board to collect a jewel. There's a jewel for each turtle so ever turtle wins. Yay!* Each player gets a stack of instruction cards used to tell their turtle what to do: go forward (a blue card, moves the turtle towards it's blue flower), turn left (a yellow card, the turtle has a yellow flower to its left), and turn right (a purple card, turns towards the purple flower).  In its basic form, an empty board and colour-coordinated movement cards, I'd say the game is similar to Candyland.

As the child's skills develop so does the game's challenges: ice walls on the board and a laser card to melt them, boxes that can be pushed, and immutable stone walls to navigate around. You start off playing movement cards one at a time, then three at a time, and finally laying out the entire series of actions (code) and seeing if you got it right. If not, if you played a wrong card, you can play the "bug" card and play a new (series of) card(s).

That's all well and good, but what if your child is too young (or non-existent)? What if you want to play with other adults? We came up with some variants that I think will help: 

There is no one turtle mover. Either everyone moves their own turtle, the turtle of the person next to them, or any turtle in front of them. Making silly sounds as you move the turtles is still vital. 

Each player is given a selection of objects with which to decorate the quadrant of the board closest to them. These can be dealt out or drawn blindly from the lid of the box. Alternatively, take turns devising a challenging maze.

Deal out the robots and jewels at random. Robots have to collect their matching jewel. Jewels serve as walls to other robots. Remember when planning your obstacles that your turtle may have to get past them. If you're playing with less than four turtles, dealing out all four will keep their relative placement random.

Another thing we didn't try is random placement of the jewels. Label the grid like a chess board and randomly select a grid space (if the space is occupied, select again). 

We also tried writing out our code in advance and then executing them concurrently. (one move at a time) which sometimes meant revising one's code as another turtle moved (or itself became) an obstacle. 

There's another type of card, a function card, where a series of moves can be shorthanded and repeated. I was thinking it could be used in the adult version to allow a super-turn but to keep someone from making their entire code a function and completing the game on their first turn, a function must be used twice and contain at least three executable cards, eg no creating a two-card "laser (melt an ice wall), move forward" function or a function where you fire a laser into empty space or turning right and then left again, where nothing has been achieved. Turning left as part of the function and then having to turn right again on the next turn, however would be allowed.

That's what we came up with last night, what variations have you come up with, for children or adults? And if you missed the kickstarter but still want a game, I'm told they put some extra copies for sale on Amazon(US).

* everyone cheering when a turtle wins is in the rules. Yay!

Friday, 6 December 2013

9, 10 A Big Fat Hen

Nine was not a good month for us. We've had rough patches before, a fortnight at 4 months, a fortnight at 7 months, but this rough patch lasted pretty much the entire month. There was another cold, a cough this time, which she passed to Chris and then myself, and she decided that being asked to lay on her back whilst having her nappy changed was the worst thing in the world* (which got even more festive when my normally backed up booboo got diarrhoea) except for being put in her high chair which was also the worst** but the absolute worst was that she wouldn't sleep at night unless she was in bed with me. As she wanted to go to sleep at 7, this was also the worst for me. This was also the month with two nights where she threw up on me three or four times. At least the second time she threw up on her Daddy first. Some experiences are best shared and if it had been all me all the time I would have been bitter.

Thank god that's stopped (though she sometimes fights me over nappy changes or going in her chair, but only once every day or two, not Every. Single. Time.). It was only just this last week that I got her sleeping on her own without nightly hysteria: we hug over the rails of her cot until her legs give way and she lays down, then I rub her back, cover her with a blanket and rub her back. The first two nights this involved a wash-rinse-repeat action with some protracted cuddle sessions but now it's mostly just once and a minute or two at most. You can't even believe how much better this is for everyone. Part of me wants to beat myself up for not working this out earlier but the ruling majority is just happy it's working now. And, in fairness, I did try this earlier and she just stood there and cried.

But it wasn't just being in a funk; Little Djinn has a tooth! Just one on the bottom that broke through on Thanksgiving. In the Bad Month she regressed slightly on the food and figured out that boobies still exist even when they're hidden under my shirt. She can now indicate a specific desire to nurse by trying to tug my clothes off, which was cute for two days but now I'm trying to teach her to ask more politely. Between the eating less and being able to request boobs on demand we've been nursing more and she's currently waking up twice in the night to nurse. 

Since my last post we started (and this week ended) another playgroup, a free one sponsored by the Scottish government, from the same woman who taught baby massage and the weaning class. It was the same group of mums so LD was still at least 3 months older than the other babies, she's on the verge of walking unassisted and they're just sitting on their own. But they're all about the same size. We had a little Christmas party for the last session and some of the mums requested that the babies dress up. I was thinking party dresses but didn't get my act together to buy one so instead I put her in the Santa Suit Karen gave her. Turns out that was exactly the right thing as the other babies who dressed up were all in "fancy dress" (costume) as well. Another baby showed up as Mrs Claus but not in time for the impromptu group picture.***

Little Djinn is continuing to do really well in swim class, though we wound up in the Friday session (we're back on Monday now) and it never quite worked for us. We were always running late, and never quite warmed up to the instructor though she did figure out how to stich the foam bricks to the wall and later put them back in the bucket. She's very interested, in general, in taking things out of containers and putting things into containers. The other day she sat in Daddy's office and started dropping his unused coffee pods in the rubbish bin, one at a time. She's also put the cat food back in the box (minus a few pieces she ate) and even tried putting individual grains of rice into a cup. She has a 2" square Tupperware that I keep her Cheerios in and she can put the lid back on it and even pop it closed. 

She's standing on her own, though briefly, and can do things while standing like bounce up and down. She loves bouncing and will bounce for ages if she has something to hang on to. She likes to push walk chairs around and will hang onto the back of my trousers to push me around, too. She walks if we hold her hands and does her own steering. I only give her one hand so she has to do her own balance. At the pool on Monday she got hold of a tiny kickboard and walked around in the shallow end hanging on to it. It wasn't floaty enough to take any wait so it was purely a confidence/counter-balance thing. She's just adorable. 

She definitely understands us (though as the baby book points out, she's also developed enough to decide to ignore us), and will seek out favourite toys such as Monty the Monkey and His Motorcar when prompted.  She figured out how to play "chase" and spends a fair amount of time trying to coax Daddy to push the little car after her. We bought rubber mats for the lounge with the money my godparents sent for her Christening and can I just say how nice they are on adult knees? I mean, I bought them for her so she doesnt bonk her head when she falls over, and they're less slippery than the floor, but man oh man, the difference in playing on the floor with her on the mats vs without them is astonishing. 

Little Djinn has also started babbling with a vengeance. Mostly when she's happy it's "dah dah dah dah dah", when she's upset it's "muh muh muh muh muh" and when we're being told off it's "bah bah bah bah" though she's getting more sounds including "dis" and even starting with cadence.

For Halloween Little Djinn and I went as The Incredibles. For Thanksgiving we had 4 (American) friends up, three from London and one all the way from SF, though he was in the country for business. Chris keeps saying he wants our Thanksgiving to be world renouned, which appears to be working, and to convert all the Brits to Thanksgiving which seems to be going backwards since we went from three Brits last year to 1.5 this. Two of our guests are coming back for Christmas and, other than putting up a tree (on top of a table) and hanging lights we're pretty unprepared. Good thing our baby has no expectations, right?

*and as a consequence spent most of the month in disposable nappies.

** though once she was in she was in she was usually fine if only briefly

*** the elf kept toppling over, falling backwards out of the ball pit.