Happy First Birthday Dragon

Dear Baby Dragon,

It’s been a year since you were born. It was a time of change, learning, crying, and general confusion… but enough about me.

The first few months, we were worried that if we mixed you in with other babies we wouldn’t be able to tell you apart. It was a great relief when we found the freckle on your left hand. Now you’re old enough to tell us from the other parents so we’re good.

It’s been a fantastic year with you. I was lucky enough to spend the first nine months of your life with you and I wish it had been longer. You grow and change every day, it’s wonderful and terrifying. Since I’ve gone back to work you’ve learnt how to walk, say, “Hi”, sort stuff, and climb up and down furniture.

If the stories your Grannie and Gramma have told us are true, you are right in the middle of your mom and I in terms of personality. Your mom was a ridiculously clever baby with a calm and happy temperament. I was an average baby with an exuberant and happy temperament. You are just as clever as your mom and just as exuberant as your Papa. You also have the stubborn streak that runs in both families and a temper that burns hot and quickly fades.

You already have a mischievous side. When you know you’re doing something you’re not supposed to, you look at the closest adult and smirk. You both want to do the thing and also get chased. I hope you grow out of that before your teen years.

Your Mum and Grannie are covered in bruise from your sharp little teeth. Teething hurts and you bite a lot. You’ve left your dental impression on, toys, furniture, family, walls, your crib, books, and clothing. I really hope you grow out of biting soon.

You frustrate me at times but more often you warm my heart. You’re warm, happy, talkative, excited, and just wonderful. I’d love to take credit but it’s all you.

You give the greatest hugs, they are filled with affection and I hope you never grow out of that.

It’s been quite the year and I’m so proud of you. I’m enjoying watching you grow and become you. It’s something that I will enjoy for the rest of my life.

I love you little Dragon,

Your Papa

Dear Dragon – Your Uncle

Dear Dragon,

It’s a beautiful sunny 23rd of May and it’s your Uncle Dan’s birthday. You haven’t seen much of him yet because he’s really busy. Sometimes busy is an excuse adults use, but not in this case.

Your Uncle loves you a lot. I know he does because when I was younger, he lived in Ottawa while I lived in Val Gagné. I didn’t see him much then but when he came home, he was there for his annoying little brother. I never felt that he wanted to be somewhere else or that he was bored hanging out with me.

He was my favourite person and he would have done ridiculous stuff to make me happy.

Your Gramma told me about one time when I was very young but still older than you are now. I was sick and had to go to the hospital. She needed to get a ride from someone because she didn’t have a car. At that age I took Toutou (my teddy bear) everywhere and I brought him to the doctors with me, and of course I forgot him at the office.

I got home and took the medicine the doctor told me to and I snuggled in bed, only to realize I left poor Toutou at the hospital. I was devastated and wouldn’t go to sleep. I’m pretty sure I screamed… a lot.

There were no buses in Val Gagné and she couldn’t get a ride. Dan rode his bike all the way to the hospital and back. It was twenty or more kilometres one way.

He was my hero and that’s just one of the many things he’s done since.

So you may not see him as often as you see your other Aunts and Uncles, but he loves you, would do anything for you, and is a lot of fun to be around. Kinda like me, but cooler.

Love you lots baby Dragon,

Your Papa

The Importance of Taking a Break

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Some mornings I wake up thinking about all the things I have to do and I panic. I lay in bed and stare at the ceiling paralyzed. I’m not afraid of work, or working a lot. I’m terrified of forgetting something.

Since September, I’ve increased the amount of things I do and I’m not just talking about taking care of a baby Dragon. I’ve written a few more short stories, added a few more jobs, laid out more books, and roasted more coffee than ever before.

I’m extremely lucky both in the quality of my clients and that I had this wonderful opportunity to watch my child grow up right before my eyes. That said, other than a week at Disney that was a lot of fun but not relaxing, I took a few days to myself after Christmas.

I’m starting to feel like butter spread over too much bread. I know my limits, and with my parental leave quickly running out, I need some time to recharge.

If you don’t force yourself to take some time off from doing all the little things that stress you out, you’re never going to get the chance.

So I’m taking next week, the 15-19 of May, off to relax, watch some TV, and play some video games. Hopeful the weather will be nice and I can take the Dragon to the park. No plans, no big obligations, just me, my wife, and baby Dragon.

After that week, I have to start preparing for my return to work, and I’ll have 3 books to work on, along with more conventions.

Later Days,

Éric

Sick Week

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve been sick since Sunday. It’s a typical spring cold with coughing, sore throat, stuffy nose, aches, pains, and a total inability to think. It has effectively rendered me useless all week beyond eating, sleeping, and Dragon wrangling.

Speaking of Dragon, she’s been sick about the same amount of time. Add that to her teething, we’re at 5 and can feel the 6th, and no one is getting much sleep. Jen also got sick as of Tuesday.

With my severe allergies, spring until early July is a really bad time for me.

Long story short I have a lot of work that I should have done this week that wasn’t done.

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WARNING BLOG HIJACKED BY DRAGON

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Sorry about that. I should get back to cuddling the sick little Dragon.

To a healthier and more productive next week,

Éric

Dear Dragon – Monsters

Hi Dragon,

Watching the news today, I held you tight and warned you about the monsters. They don’t have bolts in their neck, and they don’t get burned by sunlight. They look like us and walk around in daylight, but they exist.

This will be history for you when you read this, but one of those monsters shot at innocent people in a place of worship yesterday. He killed six innocent people and hurt a lot of others. His actions are inexcusable and monstrous.

That’s the difference, my little Dragon, between fictional monsters and real ones. Fictional monsters do terrible things because it’s in their nature, or they were made that way; real monsters make themselves from their actions.

Of course, there are other factors that help create real monsters. Hate, fear, intolerance, and anger help feed them, but in the end, it’s their actions that make them monsters. This means we are all capable of being monsters.

There are ways to help prevent monsters and they are so simple they seem silly. These ways are simply to keep love in your heart and share it with others. Treat people with respect, even when they don’t deserve it, help your neighbour, and be the kind of person who helps others.

Help, not through grand gestures, but through small acts of kindness. The small acts add up to bigger ones. We are all capable of being monsters, but that means we are also capable of being the opposite; Helpers.

It may be optimistic and it may be naïve, but I believe we can all make the world a better place by helping more.

Be a Helper and, as always, have hope!

I love you so much my little Dragon,

Your Papa

Results: JenEric Holiday Contest – Win $25

Hello Everyone,

Last month we ran a contest where you needed to match the picture with either Jen, Eric, or Keladry.

The winner was Roseanne B, who was chosen at random from the 6 people that guessed correctly.

They can use the $25 for anything from:

Answer

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3

  1. Éric
  2. Keladry (Baby Dragon)
  3. Jen

We expected everyone to get it right but we had a success rate of 40%.

Stay tuned, we will have more contests.

Éric

2016 Resolution Report Card

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

So 2016 is almost over. A lot of good things happened to me and my family this year. The best of which being Keladry, AKA Baby Dragon.

Let’s see how well I did with my resolutions for 2016:

1. Write 500 words a day – Pass

I might not have written every day, but between the blog, stories, and novels, I’ve written approximately 120,000 this year. It’s not quite 500 a day, but I wrote most days and that’s a good thing.

2. Complete Everdome before April – Fail

I finished before July and I’m still editing it, but at least I’m not a total slacker.

3. Start and finish a new novel – Half Pass

I’ve started The Copper Tarnish and I’m roughly a third of the way through, which is pretty good. I won’t have the time to finish it this year.

4. Read 30 books – Fail

As I’m writing this, I’m at 23 books for the year and I don’t think I’ll make it. A combination of Pokémon Go taking up my bus rides this summer and not having bus rides since September.

5. Write a Monthly or Bimonthly Serial Story – Pass

Wargrave Island was the most difficult serial story so far, but I’m happy with what I learned during it. I’m also happy that I managed to finish it without much trouble.

6. Test, Produce, and Develop a total of 16 Coffee flavours – Pass

At JenEric Coffee’s website we have 16 different flavours available and I have another 5 potential ones for next year. So yay coffee!

7. Develop a simple concept for a Youtube show – Half Pass

I have the concept but not the enthusiasm to actually make it. I think I may need to rethink how much I want to have a YouTube show.

8. Playtest the various stages of FADDS and prepare it for submission in 2017 – Fail

I played two games a week of FADDS and managed to get the system to a wonderful balance. Then in September I came up with 3 new power types for players and ran out of time before Baby Dragon came around. It’s close but it’ll have to go into next year’s resolutions.

9. Update JenEric-Designs.ca and add a proper webstore – Pass

I updated the look and feel of the website and built a total of 3 webstores before settling on the one we’re using for coffee.

10. Prepare Memories of Faust for submission (Added Mid Year) – Pass


Looks like I managed six out of ten resolutions. 60% is a pass in my book. I make these in order to push myself and to be completely honest I don’t expect that I will finish them all, but I’m extremely proud of what I have accomplished this year.

Stay tuned on Thursday for my 2017 New Years Resolutions.

 

How’d you do this year?
Éric

Things Nobody Tells You About Babies – Sounds

Everyone talks about the screams and eventual giggles from babies. Sometimes they’ll mention cooing noises etc., but no one mentions all the weird and creepy noises that they make on a near constant basis.

These are, of course, only a few of the weird sounds Baby Dragon has made.

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1. Puppy Pant

Like an over excited puppy, she suddenly starts to pant when she knows she’s going to be fed. It’s adorable and kind of makes us wonder if we got a puppy instead of a baby.

It’s sometimes paired with a whine or whimper that is a lot like a new puppy.

2. Growling

She doesn’t just do a small growl but a guttural near feral growl that can be a little intimidating.

She does this when she’s falling asleep or fighting sleep. Maybe she’s taking her nickname too seriously.

3. Happy Printer

While feeding, she makes a high pitched contented whirring noise that is reminiscent of an old printer. The kind that had holes on either side of the paper.

4. Demon Summoning

Late at night as we’re about to fall asleep, her growling turns into a weird chant like noise. I keep expecting to hear the word Chuthulu in there somewhere.

5. Impossible noises

When she feels like it she’ll make noises that should be physically impossible for a human voice. Some of these include:

  • A deflating balloon
  • A tropical bird
  • Kitten meowls
  • Creaking door

Everyday she seems to add a few new sounds… It’s fascinating and a little scary.

 

Later Days,

Éric

Facebook Quiz Thing – My Better Half & Me

Hello Imaginary Friends,

Still no Dragon sightings. I’m starting to think she’s going to wait to be induced.

I’m doing my best to relax and hang out with Jen as much as possible while we wait.

Tuesday no matter what you’ll get a great new story but today you get a sappy facebook quiz thing.

Later Days,

Éric

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My Better Half & Me

1. What are your nicknames?

I call her Pumpkin and she calls me Teddy Bear. (We also use sweetie, baby, and hey you)

2. How long have you been together?

11 years in December

3. How long did you know each other before you started dating?

We met on our first date and started going steady after a few weeks

4. Who asked who out?

I clicked “Woo” on her profile thinking it was the equivalent to “Like” on facebook but instead it sent her a message. She replied with something along the lines of, “You’ll need more than a woo if you want to chat.”

I think I’m the first one to suggest a date.

5. Whose siblings do you see the most?

We see Lindsay the most. Dan is really busy; and Derek and Jessica are far away.

6. Do you have any children together?

Not yet… any moment now.

7. What about pets?

Nope. I’m allergic.

8. Did you go to the same school?

Only for University and even then she was in different faculties.

9. Who is the most sensitive?

We’re both pretty sensitive. I’m not sure.

10. Where do you eat out most as a couple?

Does our in-laws house count?

If not it’s definitely Asian Stars. Such good food.

11. Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?

Florida. Unless you count our yearly trips to Middle Earth.

12. Who has the craziest exes?

No comment. (It’s probably me.)

13. Who has the worst temper?

We both have pretty intense tempers. Thankfully we both burn off our anger quickly.

14. Who does the cooking?

Me. I love to cook and Jen loves to let me.

15. Who is more social?

I think she’s more social. I’m sort of standoffish. I’m always in awe of her in a group, she can make friends anywhere.

16. Who is the most stubborn?

Jen’s a little more stubborn but not by much.

17. Who hogs the bed?

We have a king sized bed so that neither of us try to hog it.

18. Who wakes up earlier?

Pre-pregnancy it was always me. Work on weekdays and reading on weekends.

19. Where was your first date?

We met at the Rideau Centre and went to Chapters where she ignored me for a while. Followed by the Highlander pub and ending at Oh So Good desserts.

I walked her home that night.

20. Do you get flowers often?

No. They die too quickly.

21. How long did it take to get serious?

A few weeks.

22. Who eats more?

Me.

23. Who sings better?

Jen has a beautiful voice.

24. Who does the laundry?

We alternate, depending on when we run out of underwear.

25. Who’s better with the computer?

If we’re talking tech, it’s me. If we’re talking typing and social media, it’s Jen.

26. Who drives when you are together?

Jen. I don’t have my licence.

27. Who picks where you eat?

Normally I give Jen 3 options and she picks one.

28. Who wears the pants?

We both do.

29. Who has the better sense of humor?

Jen laughs at my jokes so neither…

30. Who eats more sweets?

We both love our baked goods and sweets.

Dear Dragon – Names

Dear Dragon,

In case you didn’t know, I fancy myself a writer. One of the hardest parts of developing a character is choosing a name.

I firmly believe that a character’s name should reflect aspects of their story or personality. Let’s take my first novel, A Study in Aether; there are three main characters and their names reflect who they are.

Elizabeth means “My God is an Oath,” or “My God is Abundance” between the classical definition and the historical, it’s a name for a strong-willed character who is more interested in reaching their goals than anything else.

Jackson (Jackie) means “Son of Jack”. Since he’s Jackson Jr., it shows the strong resemblance (character not physical) to his father. The fact that he shortens it to Jackie instead of Jack shows his stubborn non-conforming streak.

Angela is the female version of Angelus. It’s original meaning being “Messenger” or “Messenger of God”. I’ll be completely honest and tell you I just liked the name. There was a character on Bones, who managed to be both artistic and brilliant with technology. I liked the idea of a character trying to balance two aspects of her life. Balancing two parts of herself is a long running theme with my character Angela.

I almost always name a character based off who they are and what they’ll grow into. That works really well for characters, but not so well for Baby Dragons. (If only I had a time machine.)

We’ve had several names for you chosen for a long time. They’ve changed and moved around, but we never really worried about it. Now that you’re on your way, it feels a little more urgent.

There were a few things we wanted in a name: it needed to sound okay in French and English, it needed to be something that didn’t sound weird for a lawyer, doctor, teacher, judge, prime-minister etc (The Right Honourable Yoda Desmarais wasn’t an option), it needed to be something that wasn’t ridiculously common, and it needed to be something people wouldn’t make fun of.

That’s a high order, but we ended up with five names that we liked. One we sort of lost interest in. Another we told to someone and they reacted so poorly that your Mum didn’t want to use the name anymore. (I’m contrary and almost insisted on the name, but decided that was a bad reason.)

That has left us with three names. Two are relatively traditional but the third is different. It’s still easily pronounceable and follows our guidelines above. I made the mistake of mentioning it to someone (I’m contrary and learn slowly) and they don’t think it’s a good idea because it’s not a traditional name. I’m not sure which we’ll pick. I’m procrastinating by saying we’ll wait to meet you, but that’s just an excuse.

A lot of people, articles, etc. have pushed the importance of picking a name and it’s stressful to think about.

Fortunately, no matter what we name you, you’ll grow into it. It will become you and you’ll become it.

Hopefully we pick well, but worst case scenario you can always change it.

Your Loving Papa