Know your strengths

Gwen is very good at:

  • babbling to herself
  • saying ‘words’ (we can’t understand them) and pointing to the cat, a ball, and Daddy
  • excited bouncing
  • stuffing as many peas into her mouth as it will hold
  • asking for some of our food when we eat together
  • refusing to drink her morning cup of milk
  • having only one long sleep every day, right after lunch
  • picking things out of my purse and handing them to me
  • tidying up her toys when we sing “tidy up time”
  • running around the house at full speed
  • sleeping on her stomach with her rear in the air
  • pointing excitedly at the buggy and insisting we go for a ride

March 10, 2010 at 11:17 AM 1 comment

Tracking data usage on Android

I haven’t talked here about my new toy: an HTC Magic smartphone which runs the Google Android operating system (version 1.6 for now).  I’ve had it for almost two months and I love what it can do.  For me, it’s better than an iPhone, and it was so much cheaper to boot!

I have one nagging problem: I want to be able to track my data usage at an application level.  There are many apps which will track usage by day, and I can get a good picture of how much data I am using, but not why I’m using it.  Surely this isn’t a new need.  Can someone please point me towards an app that’ll do this?  If there’s an app for this, it’s not easily found in the Android Market or on the web using numerous granular Google searches.

March 2, 2010 at 7:27 AM 1 comment


Okay, let’s face it. I have no time to blog about anything anymore, Gwen or not. I am abandoning the monthly updates and I may opt for a Gwen progress update every quarter (starting at 15 months, 1 1/4 years). If you want more frequent Gwen news, consider reading my Google Buzz updates or having a look at my Flickr photos (also visible from the previous Buzz link). They update very regularly. I use Twitter for chatting with friends, but not for Gwen updates.

Expect some posts RSN about life.  They may be short.

February 27, 2010 at 1:02 PM 2 comments

Back to busy normality

I haven’t written Gwen’s update for her monumental 12-month birthday. Her 13-month birthday is in a week! I know some of you (all of you? this is a limited readership!) have been waiting patiently and trying not to bug me about it. Thanks.

I am frequently asked how my work is going.  You may recall that I am no longer working in biochemistry; instead I am in a sensory science group, which means that we do smell and taste testing for food products, and a bit of consumer research.  I am involved in the administration of a large study which runs every day for a month at a time.  It’s great work, and I’m only surviving because the project has been underway for more than a year and is exceedingly well organized.    My workmates are an excellent bunch.

I’ve been back at work on a semi-regular basis since October, but now I am back to “normal” 8am-5pm workdays.  My days are busy and I’m enjoying the job.  Gwen loves daycare, so much so that she doesn’t really notice when we leave in the mornings despite our attempts to wave goodbye.

I am handling the full-time switch easily, of course, but during our holiday break I did notice that I didn’t seem to have much free time during the work week.  This was magnified by the colossal production that is the Gwen birthday-christmas season, something I hadn’t thought about in great detail.  I’d better get my head around it earlier this year because it will be a constant presence for the rest of my life!  Celebrating Gwen’s birthday immediately before Christmas does keep our family on its toes.

More to follow soon, with pictures, but if you’re curious you can always check out my Flickr photostream.

January 16, 2010 at 10:25 PM Leave a comment

Gwen: eleventy

(Note to friends reading from Facebook – this is a blog entry, and it contains videos, which you’ll miss out on unless you click “View Original Post” at the bottom of this post.)

Gwen, you’re eleven months old. Time is flying by!  It’s been nearly a year since you were born.

I never did get around to writing your last newsletter, but I can tell from my entry for month nine (in late September) that you have changed significantly in the last two months. You’re cruising around furniture, babbling, and being extremely smart and socially interactive now.  You’re taking huge steps to becoming your own person.

helping with the laundry (on Flickr)

You still go to daycare for three days each week, and you seem to love the time there. You barely notice when we drop you off, getting right into playing with the toys at the daycare centre.

at the back door (on Flickr)

Unfortunately, you picked up a cold on your very first visit to daycare and, two months later, you’re recovering from your third daycare cold.  These tests of your immune system were inevitable.  Unfortunately your first cold also got me sick and I wasn’t able to work properly (smelling odours is part of my research) for more than a month.

Your friend Theo, whom you’ve known since he was born exactly one month after you, goes to the same daycare AND you see him at swimming every Thursday morning. You seem to recognize Theo and even “play” together after swimming.

splish splash (on Flickr)

You started cruising (walking while holding on to furniture) in early October and you’ve never looked back. It’s been about six weeks, but you haven’t started standing or walking without support yet. Your dad and I still think you will be doing this by your first birthday, in a month’s time…

Speaking of first birthdays, we went to our first first birthday party a few weeks ago for your friend Silvia.  This will be the first of many to come soon (yours included, which is next!) as your contemporaries celebrate their birthdays in the next four months or so.  You had a great time at the party, and your dad and I got a better idea of what goes on at one of these parties.

pass the parcel (on Flickr)

We’ve gotten into the habit of taking weekend walks with you to explore the local playgrounds.  The Auckland City website has a great list of local playground equipment, but neglects to specify whether the swings are “baby swings” (fully enclosed) so we’ve done some reconnaissance during recent walks.  Our local playground, Rocket Park, has the best swings by far, but the ones at nearby Owairaka Park are pretty nice too.

As I write this, I am preparing for the near future when you will be at daycare on every weekday and I’ll be back at work full-time – starting in a few weeks.  I know these are good steps for both of us – you like daycare a lot, and I like speaking with adults and not worrying about you every moment – but a small part of me will be sad to see our weekdays together end.  I hope our time together will seem even more special when we have less of it to spend.

named room (on Flickr)

November 22, 2009 at 9:39 PM 1 comment

Gwen: Nine months

(Note to friends reading from Facebook – this is a blog entry, and it contains videos, which you’ll miss out on unless you click “View Original Post” at the bottom of this post.)

Gwen’s nine months old at last!  You’ve been out almost as long as you were in.

This month marks a new beginning in your relationship with us: you are now at a local daycare for three full days every week.  I’m starting back to work next week for two days per week.  You seem to love the new toys and the other children at daycare, and we’re eagerly awaiting the report on how your first day (today!) went.

happy with Daddy (on Flickr)

happy with Daddy (on Flickr)

You are as sharp as a tack, a phrase which we’ll amend for this millennium when we don’t use tacks very frequently: you are as sharp as a chef’s knife!  You do so many clever things like tracking us through the house by our voices alone, remembering where we’ve put different objects (toys under other toys, for example), and crawling into our laps for a cuddle.

You have always been a pleasant child, but you’re particularly happy these days.  You don’t even cry when I change your diaper upon awakening, something that always used to create complaints.  You’re getting accustomed to the small wait between being placed in the highchair and beginning to eat your food.

cat food (on Flickr)

cat food (on Flickr)

At this stage, you still fling food bowls around and can’t manage holding the spoon *and* getting the food into your mouth.  I see the older kids at daycare eat with spoons and I know this is in your future.  We’ll work together (through the huge messes) to give you more practice with spoons and bowls…maybe in a plastic-lined room, though.

Everything in the house has become a support or platform for you to stand up.  You’re doing a lot of this, but you haven’t started “cruising” (holding on to furniture while walking) yet – this could take another month or two.  It’s won’t be long from there until you’re walking on your own…

I’ve noticed that you’re becoming shy in new situations.  At coffee groups, you stay seated on the floor for several minutes until you’ve fully assessed the situation, and only then will you get mobile.  Last Friday you came into work with your dad to meet me at a social gathering, and you were definitely not happy with facing 15 adults in a small room!  You enjoyed yourself once the room emptied out, though.

sunshine girl (on Flickr)

sunshine girl (on Flickr)

You’re really babbling away now, making lots of sounds.  Most of them are variations on “da da”, though.  There’s still no progress toward “ma ma”.  You seem to understand some of what we say, though, so we’re making a real effort to speak to you like a person and not like a baby.  I’m trying NOT to use that cutesy third-person speech anymore (“Mummy will be right back” is replaced with “I’ll be right back”) – I wouldn’t talk that way to an adult, so I’m not talking to you that way either.

You’re a small human – and part of the time you’re someone else’s responsibility, which feels strange but is, of course, inevitable.  In just a few years you’ll be going to school!  I have two weekdays per week to enjoy with you for the next few months, though.

full smile (on Flickr)

full smile (on Flickr)

September 28, 2009 at 11:42 AM 2 comments


Gwen’s achievements of the day: transitioning from crawling to sitting, and crawling while holding a toy in one hand.

September 8, 2009 at 5:29 PM Leave a comment

Older Posts