Friday, April 25, 2008

Maybe You're Wondering

This girl of ours, about two weeks shy of turning 18 months old, continues to amaze us. We estimate her vocabulary at well over 200 words, and she's starting to use possessive, i.e., "Mommy's keys," "Daddy's socks," and yes, even "Melia's shoes." We figure sentences aren't too far off, but it's not like we have experience with such things.

Last week she pointed out the moon before it was dark out, which i thought was pretty cool given that all her picture books would have shown the moon at night. Her favorite word at the moment is "again" -- yes, she's started the long stage of wanting to have things repeated. Mostly it's reading a book to her several times in a row, which, given how many times we've read all her books already and how short many of her books are, can be pretty tedious. Speaking of reading, she constantly wants to be read to, handing us books aplenty whenever we're inside. Not that she always sits through the reading of them. She walks and runs and, well, never seems to stop for as long as she's awake. Typical I suppose, but for a first-time parent, so exciting to experience with her. She tends to run off in the direction opposite of where we want her to go. Fortunately, she's not yet that fast.

As for manners, she's getting good about saying please ("peas"), and when she forgets, she follows our prompting pretty well. It seems that she understands the word to mean "I want X," which at one level sounds about right for a toddler, but in another way I guess that really is how it's used. "Thank you" ("dan-q") is a little more erratic right now, but she does use it, particularly when prompted. She also has started saying "Bless you" when someone sneezes, something she obviously learned from her Nanny. Kathy sneezes a bunch, and years ago I started saying "Gesundheit," "Labriot," and "Salute" in addition to "Bless you," and Emelia shows no inclination to adding those other sneeze responses.

Last weekend we bought her a doll at a neighborhood yardsale-- she's been grabbing other children's dolls at the park (and being unwilling to give them back), so we figured we should. Despite the stereotype of a girl having a doll, we didn't push this in the slightest. We got it because it was obvious that Emelia wanted one. Emelia named her doll Ogga -- Kathy and I disagree on how it should be spelled, but since I'm the one with the blog, I'm putting it in writing first. ;) Ogga has some purple marker on the side of her face (though after Kathy's ministrations, it's not as severe as when we bought it), but as one might expect, this isn't a problem to Emelia -- she absolutely adores Ogga.

Emelia is fascinated with water, and constantly asks us for some just so she can play with it. We have a metal sugar bowl with two handles that she asks us to put water in -- sometimes she drinks during the course of playing with it, and sometimes it ends in a mess. But even then, it's only water. She also really enjoys drawing, whether on her magnetic board or with markers on a white board at her little table.

Of course, despite our best efforts, she's not always fun. She often will cry as soon as she doesn't get her way. The crying has an instantaneous "off" switch too, so that she'll stop all at once if something else gets her attention (or if we're foolish enough to give into a demand/request that we had already said no to). In fact, she's much more likely to cry over not getting her way than she is when she falls -- she's a tough little cookie. She continues to test us, intentionally or otherwise -- she's been taking off her clothes, and her diaper, when she's in her crib. She hasn't done it in about a week, so we hope she's past this stage (we haven't entirely relied on her to be done with it-- Kathy bought onesies that we put Emelia in when she goes to bed, and so far she's hasn't taken one of those off (but we're sure that's only temporary)). Still, on the balance there are a lot more laughs and smiles than there are groans and instances of "Here, you take her!"

She certainly has enriched our lives.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Another Depressing Facet of the Iraq War

I don't watch TV much these days, but I wouldn't be surprised if the big story in today's New York Times doesn't generate much attention in any of the television news programs. I didn't see any mention of it on's front page (but there is of a car used in the latest James Bond movie plunging into a lake), or's (though a bully apparently tried to poison a student with peanuts), or (an Indiana woman turned 115), or (same bullying piece as CBS). Only's site acknowledges it. Given that the article can be read as completely undermining the various networks' (and many other news source's) coverage of the Iraq War, I suppose it's no surprise. At the same time, it's appalling that they fail to acknowledge the report, or what it means.

Thus, in case you missed it, this article reports on the fact that the "military experts," those retired officers who have been providing the bulk of the analysis of the Iraq War, from the lead up to present day, were routinely briefed and prepped by the Pentagon in order to get out the message that the Pentagon wanted to express. Moreover, most of them work for defense contractors and thus have an interest in currying favor from the Pentagon. The article provides numerous examples where an officer believed the Pentagon's position didn't hold up, but where he nevertheless elected not to reveal his doubts or concerns when given a public opportunity to do so. I could quote the article extensively, but I recommend that you read the whole damning thing, even though it's rather long.

I wish I could say that I was surprised to learn this, but really I wasn't. It greatly saddens me that the invasion and subsequent disaster in Iraq could have been avoided if these officers had spoken up when they had concerns, that they had no qualms about allowing themselves to serve the Pentagon rather than the American public, and that the news media that plays a role in forming public opinion failed to address the conflicts of interest before giving these retired officers a platform to shape public opinion. What could sadden me even more is if the networks' failure to acknowledge what has happened, or their role in it, leads to future such happenings. For this reason, I encourage everyone to get the word out to those who get their news from the very cause of the problem.