Child development inconveniently does not follow a neat yearly schedule, so it’s difficult to distill a single year into one or two clear themes for storytelling (or blogging) purposes. But two things do nonetheless stand out from my daughter’s fourth year: (1) fierce drive to learn and do things on her own without help and (2) remarkable fluency at expressing herself verbally.

By far the most common replies I got from my daughter over the past year were “Joo joo!” (“I got it!”), “Minä tiedän!” (“I know!”), and “Minä en tarvitse apua!” (“I don’t need help!”). She wants to try and do everything on her own and in her own way, and she’s fiercely proud of her skills. It’s very cute. She’s also devastated to tears when she fails to perform something to her own standards. I imagine this is typical for children her age, but it’s also possible she’s inherited her mother’s relentlessly self-critical temperament: always competing with herself and effectively being her own worst enemy. I will not be blamed for this.

My daughter’s already impressive (at least to us) language skills also continued to improve by what felt like leaps and bounds. She talks very clearly. She has a large vocabulary (as she seems to instantly remember each new word she hears, even when you think she’s not listening). She can string together long and coherent narratives, both factual and fictional. You can have relatively long conversations with her. And she can also talk back quite a bit. This last feature, too, is totally her mother’s temperament.

In sum, the past year was again more fun and much more interesting than the year before. Forget babies and toddlers, little humans are the best, tantrums and all.

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01.04.2015 / 02.04.2016 / 02.04.2017 / 01.04.2018

Instead of the usual summary of milestones, let’s have my daughter outline her action plan for age 4. In Finnish. (You may need to turn up the volume, since I recorded the video with my smartphone, and the built-in microphone was pointing at me.)

Until next year.

* * *

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Practicing for the big leagues.

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The benefit of small size on long flights.

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Stop. Taking. Pictures. Let’s go already.

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If only I could read…

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WTF?

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The need for speed.

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Teaching the grownups how to use a hunting horn. (Seriously, we couldn’t make it sound, but Julia could, so she explained to us how to position our lips on the mouthpiece and how to blow.)

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Small girl. Big thoughts.

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This is as far as I go. Let’s revisit next summer.

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First Worldcon. Not terribly impressed.

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Sometimes one is just too hungry for cutlery.

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I love eating… I mean helping mom bake.

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This isn’t the girl you’re looking for.

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Helping.

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Why so serious?

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Hama bead madness.

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I specifically asked for this cake…

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…but it was too sweet to eat. Who would’ve guessed?

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Personhood

Posted: 2017/04/03 in Julia
Tags: , , ,

Year 3 was to year 2 mostly what year 2 was to year 1. More fun and much more interesting. What it was not, though, was easier. Our daughter gave us plenty of attitude and pushback in the bargain (and, naturally, continues to do so). But however annoying or infuriating this developmental phase can sometimes be, it’s also utterly awesome:

Your child is becoming a real person, an independent mind.

She has opinions and reasons. She has ideas. She has a sense of humor. She tells stories. In full grammatical sentences. She remembers everything. She comes up with really weird shit. She creates. It’s like all the basic building blocks of an adult person are there, only a little unrefined, and perplexingly in the body of this little creature. It’s a completely different kind of light behind those big eyes compared to a year ago, and it’s wonderful.

(There’s one building block she still lacks, though: hate. I find that all sorts of precious. Plus a little pretentious of me for saying so. But whatever, sue me, I’m a parent. Also, I’m sure she’s going to hate my guts for doing these yearly exposés by the time she hits puberty.)

01.04.2015 / 02.04.2016 / 02.04.2017

Let’s do what we did last year, so here are a few selected milestones from Julia’s third year (dd.mm.yy):

  • 02.04.16: Julia rides a bike for the first time. She can’t quite reach the pedals, but at least she figures out steering pretty quickly.
  • 13.04.16: First email addressed to Julia. Progress Report 1 from Worldcon 75. We’re totally going.
  • 28.06.16: Julia figures out how to load and shoot a pump-action water gun.
  • 06.07.16: First popsicle (“mehujää”).
  • 14.07.16: First trip to an amusement park. Linnanmäki, naturally. The experience was a bit overwhelming.
  • 24.09.16: Julia spontaneously high-fives me for the first time. “Yläfemma!”
  • 12.10.16: Julia and I have our first ever video call. She’s in Lancaster, I’m in Klaukkala.
  • 16.11.16: First drawing on a computer.
  • 21.11.16: Julia pretty much decides to go off diapers during daytime. It’s mostly a clean break, as it were.
  • 12.12.16: First time in the sauna. Loves it. Loves the icy apple juice we drink afterwards even more, though.
  • 06.02.17: Tongue caught in frozen metal for the first time. And, naturally, for the second time as well.
  • 25.02.17: “Salama-kinkku on mausteellista.” Meaning: “Salami on mausteista.” (“Salami is spicy.”)
  • 19.03.17: Julia rides a bike completely on her own for the first time. Pedaling included.
  • 01.04.17: First ever April Fools’ prank, courtesy of me. Kids are so easy.

See you next year.

* * *

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Dad’s sweater from 40 years ago. How cheap are my parents?

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Sitting is for babies.

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I’m innocent! Do you hear me? I’m innocent! It was my parents! THEY’RE STILL MY PARENTS!

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If it moves, I’m so in.

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Lancaster fashion 2016.

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Reissutyttö.

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No, I don’t want to split it. Why?

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It’s cool. There’s a perfectly logical explanation to this. Please do not call Child Protective Services.

Not pictured: Screaming humans.

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Yeah… That last thing I baked with mom came out a little wrong. Dad’s still missing.

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I got this.

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The right way to eat a Fazer Domino.

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Netflix. Responsible parenting across devices.

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Nothing clever here. But check out the colors and contrast.

Toddlerhood

Posted: 2016/04/04 in Julia
Tags: , , , ,

Year two has been easier and more interesting. Babies may be cute, but toddlers do stuff. Fun, weird, clever, adorable, annoying stuff. I call it an upgrade. And when your child finally starts talking with you, even if it’s just to tell you to go away so she can poop in peace, or to ask you for that one last extra piece of chocolate, well, it’s something else.

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01.04.2015 / 02.04.2016

Here are some of the most important and formative firsts from Julia’s second year (dd.mm.yy):

  • 01.04.15: First taste of chocolate. She loves it.
  • 13.04.15: First taste of pizza. Mexicana with oregano. Meh.
  • 19.04.15: Julia learns how to swipe on a Samsung Galaxy S4.
  • 01.05.15: First taste of ice cream. Loves it.
  • 06.07.15: Julia watches her first full piece of TV. Episode Snowed In from season 2 of Shaun the Sheep. She enjoys it and actually seems to get some of the comedy.
  • 09.07.15: Julia realizes she can intentionally grab an object and throw it away from her. Loves it. Dad, not so much.
  • 24.07.15: Julia starts to actually build with her Lego Duplos (as opposed to playing with individual pieces or, worse, dismantling awesome builds painstakingly constructed by mom or dad).
  • 19.09.15: Possibly the first time Julia answers in the affirmative (“oo” for “joo”, “yes”). A refreshing change to the constant no’s.
  • 21.10.15: Julia throws up over me for the very first time. Precious.
  • 09.01.16: First sled ride.
  • 23.01.16: First trip abroad and first time on an airplane. She flies like a pro.
  • 29.03.16: Julia has pretty much figured out how to open the safety gate at the top of the stairs. Great.

Julia’s current interests:

  • Singing (“Ihahaa”, “Laiva”, and “Bä, bä, vita lamm” are her bravuras)
  • Climbing / Jumping / Running
  • Breathlessly narrating important events from her day (adorable, if not always entirely coherent or comprehensible)
  • Any shade of red, including pinks and violets (maybe it’s a phase)
  • Mämmi

Next up: Uhmaikä.

* * *

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Gimme a sec. I got this.

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Chillin’ with dad.

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Attitude.

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

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Trust me. This is how I roll.

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Should somebody like go after her?

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Kråka!

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Pure joy or an ice cream headache? Who cares, it’s ice cream!

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I took all their weapons. Now what?

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“Daddy’s little helper”? Are you kidding me? Who made you boss?

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Still not sure about lighting muffins on fire. Also, that thing looks structurally unsound.

1 Year

Posted: 2015/04/01 in Julia
Tags: , , , ,

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What is this? Why is my muffin on fire?

New. Exciting. Tiring. Different. Helpless. Lucky. Happy. Developing. Small. Strong. Interesting. Giving. Awesome. Hard. Annoying. Delightful. Sweet. Loving. Time-consuming. Smelly. Messy. Funny. Stressful. Heartbreaking. Heartwarming. Beautiful… We got some words now.

I cannot say whether I’m sad or happy that the year is over, I’m guessing a bit of both, but it’s certainly been a year like no other.

Happy birthday, my girl!

PS. Please grow up to be a decent person.

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Science fact: Sometimes when two humans mate, an elf pops out.

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That’s right, bitches, walking at 9 months.

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But… But… But what about me??

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Rock on, mom, rock on.

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Stop. Taking. Photos. Dad.

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Happy is happy.

01.04.2014 03:55

Posted: 2014/04/05 in Julia
Tags: , , ,

Our daughter, a healthy baby girl… I got no words.

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“CONGRATULATIONS! You gave birth to a girl!”

PS. My dear wife’s pain tolerance and sheer willpower? Fucking hardcore.

… an excuse to post replies on other people’s blogs.