The purpose of this post is to provide our family and friends with an update, but first I have a technical gripe to get off my chest. In advance, thanks for listening.
Sometimes the lessons I was taught as a youngster conflict with the situations life throws at me as an adult. This is, in all actuality, one of the lessons I learned from my parents. Life is one giant school, and you have to be willing to learn new tricks all the time.
Take, for instance, a formatting rule I was taught while writing papers for school. Between words you place a single space, but sentences get two spaces between them. As I grew older, I learned about all of the different styles of formatting that govern such things and found that the rules change dramatically between styles.
These days most of my writing is published here on WordPress, where HTML is the technical language behind the formatting. Remember, HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and it governs how things appear on web sites. In true HTML formatting, spaces do not aggregate. In other words, if I were to write out a word in a web page and put five spaces after it before the next word, the HTML rendering engine process those five spaces as one space. The only way to force more spaces to be drawn is to write out a special character code for the additional spaces. The character code is called a “non-breaking space” and is written like this: &NBSP;
The “non-breaking space” does two things. First, it demands to be rendered in the text. Two NBSP characters next to each other actually render as two spaces, not just one. As the name suggests though, the “non-breaking space” also maintains line integrity with the following non-breaking character (normal spaces are breaking characters, groups of letters are not). You could say that a non-breaking character is any character that sticks to the character after it no matter what (like the letters of a word).
While browsing through some of my posts you may notice a very small detail that bothers me. Sometimes, if the conditions are just right (the end of a sentence in the middle of a paragraph happens to fall at the end of the line and the new sentence begins on a new line) you will see a space that slightly indents new lines in the middle of a paragraph. The reason? When I put a double space between sentences in the WordPress word processor, the only way it knows how to maintain the multiple spaces in HTML is to make one of them a non-breaking space. So the first space is normal, allowing a break, but the next space is a special character that sticks to the next line causing the strange indent.
This is not acceptable to my picky eyes, and after months of agonizing over what to do about the situation, I have come up with a simple solution. It is better to abandon the double space rule than to continue producing strangely formatted text on WordPress. So despite my good upbringing, I am now placing single spaces between sentence.
Let me tell you, in all of the above paragraphs, I have placed double spaces after every single sentence with only a couple of exceptions. Double spacing is a tough habit to break.
OK, I got that out of the way, now to talk about our family.
Sophie has been having a rough time lately. She’s been teething, and after at least two months of pain and suffering she has nothing to show for it. She had been demanding a lot of late night comfort feedings that were beginning to really eat away at our sleep time, so we recently decided to put an end to it. The transition has been rough for all of us, but there has been progress and we expect her to be sleeping through the night soon.
Unfortunately, she has been extra clingy today since we “abandoned” her yesterday. Abandoned is the word she would choose to describe our actions, but in reality we got a trusted babysitter and went out on a date. We went to a formal ball (family and close friends interested in seeing our outfits can e-mail me a request) with a good steak and chicken dinner, a wise speaker and a dance afterward. We had fun, the kids were fine for the sitter, and we came home before ten.
Sophie was traumatized. She tends to be a little dramatic about things anyhow (every time she bumps her head or falls down she would have us believe she is paralyzed from the neck down), but she has carried the drama through to today and it is getting old.
Her speech has developed into some very interesting babbling though. She now distinguishes almost perfectly between “mom” (or “mama”) and “dad” (or “dadadada”), and she uses other definite sounds to ask for things or alert us to her needs, though this behavior is a little inconsistent still. She tends to put an “a” before things that aren’t mom or dad. Example: “a-gi-gi” (the “g” is gargled) = a general word meaning “hungry,” “sleepy” or “stinky,” all of which follow the vowel sounds of her phrase very closely.
For a while her favorite sound was “ba” and she started substituting more familiar sounds with “ba” just for fun. For example, I became “da-ba” and mom became “ma-ba.” Play time sounded like this: “ba, ba ba ba, ba-ba.”
If we say “boom boom,” she starts whacking things. If we say “cookie” she looks around expectantly for cookies. If we say “come here” she crawls to us very quickly, unless she is busy playing.
She gets around very well, and it looks like she’ll be walking before the end of the year. She is very stable on her feet, and can balance in place with no support for almost a second. With one hand grabbing something for support, she can stand and walk around just fine.
Finally, Sophie has been playing a lot more intensely. She will now take two toys and make them interact, give them individual sounds, and make them scream when they are in distress or attacking. This morning, I watched her playing with a guitar toy, a green duck and a koosh ball. The koosh ball and the guitar talked for a while until the green duck came sliding in from the side for an attack, screaming a shrill war cry.
Sophie is really the most interesting person in the whole house right now, the rest of us aren’t doing much of anything at all. Micah has been out of school for the last week and will be off this week as well. I have the day off tomorrow, so we’ll all get to spend one more day together before I go back to work.
I can’t think of anything else to write about, and my wife needs a break from the clingy baby. Don’t forget to write your thoughts and comments, and if you’re related or a friend, write us an e-mail!