Adam M. Costello

Corlan & Quincy

My first son, Corlan, was born on 2007-Jul-13. My second son, Quincy, was born on 2009-Aug-20. When I observe either of them do or say something noteworthy I may write about it here (if I remember to).

For photos, see my wife's galleries: newest, older, even older, oldest.


A month ago we visited Disneyland (in California, not Disney World in Florida). On the first day there, around dusk, after we'd waited through most of the line for Pirates of the Caribbean, Quincy and I had this exchange [which can be best appreciated by those who have experienced that ride at Disneyland]:

Quincy: We're making progress. We're outside again.
Adam: What did you say?
Quincy: We're outside again.
Adam: [smiles] Do you believe that?
Quincy: [pauses, looks around, eyes widen...] No way!


Corlan sharing his latest discovery: You know, steak is better without ketchup.


Quincy, immediately after serving a ping-pong ball into the net: That doesn't count, I wasn't ready.


Corlan is singing in the shower. Run-DMC's cover of “Walk This Way”. Doing it rather well, with drumming.


Corlan and Quincy share an electric guitar. They haven't learned to really play yet, but yesterday Corlan was picking out simple tunes, as he often does, with the overdrive/distortion turned way up (of course). A little later I heard him playing a song from Guitar Hero (“Cliffs of Dover” by Eric Johnson), and playing it rather well, way better than I'd ever heard him play anything on guitar before. I went to see, and found that he had performed his first hack: He had carried the guitar amp upstairs and plugged it into the line-out of my old electronic keyboard (a simple one I bought in the late 80s, which is now in Corlan's bedroom).


Quincy, holding a coin, to Corlan: Heads, I shake your hand. Tails, I kick you in the nuts.


Quincy: Can we get GEICO?
Adam: Do you know what GEICO is?
Quincy: Ummm... something to help you search on your phone?
Adam: No...
Quincy: Ummm... well... I don't really know what it is, but I know it's good.


This year, unlike last year, the Christmas tree is in the family room, and is visible from a balcony just outside the kids' bedroom doors, which gave Quincy an idea that I overheard him tell Corlan.

Quincy: If we weren't going to Hawaii for Christmas, on Christmas Eve, I'd stay up and sneak out there and watch Santa.
Corlan: But he knows when you're awake.
Quincy: Dude, that's just a legend.


Besides music, over the last several months Corlan has been diligently studying, practicing, and honing three newer skills:

He is very observant of the details, and puts in the time and repetitious effort to improve rapidly. I hope he will apply similar diligence to an academic subject in 4th grade.


When I was in middle school and high school, I occasionally met someone my age who could quickly figure out how to play an arbitrary song on the piano, two-handed, with chords. This never failed to utterly amaze me. Corlan has been able to do this for a while now, and it still amazes me. Two recent examples: “Got to Get You into My Life” (Beatles), and “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” (Carpenters, covering Klaatu). (He knows the Beatles through me and the Carpenters through Helen.)


A week or so ago Quincy asked me: How come, when I'm dreaming, and I ask people if I'm dreaming, they say “no”?


This morning Quincy was trying to decide what he wants to invent when he grows up. He proposed the following candidates:

For the past few weeks, Corlan and Quincy have both been writing their own comic books. Corlan started it after reading a bunch of “Captain Underpants” books.


Corlan and Quincy have recently been conspiring to take over the world. They wrote down their plans. Here's what Quincy wrote:

Take over the world.
Corlan: build the robot.
brothers: set the robot
Quincy: conchrol the robot to conchrol the world!
Corlan: shoote ray gun!

Here's what Corlan wrote:

Corlan: Build robot & design robot's weapons.
Robot Weapons:
- LASER cutter
- machine guns
- LASER machine guns
Quincy: Cut buildings with LASER cutter to help out Corlan.
Both: Use gun to destroy buildings, and to help them out a little.
Corlan: Use one of the robot's feet to crush buildings.
Corlan: Activate a lot of traps.
Quincy: Land traps on strangers.
Corlan: Tell Quincy how to use the remote control to land the traps before he uses it to land the traps.
Both: Cackle and snicker at the surprised strangers.
Both: Keep their plan a secret, and go home.

(Sorry, I guess I've divulged their secret plan.)


Quincy: Why is it called a “funnel”? It's like a tunnel, but it's not fun.


Helen had been looking high and low for her phone. She asked each of us if we had seen it, and Quincy admitted he knew exactly where it was, under her bed between the boxes: “You hid my phone, so I hid yours.”. (Quincy's phone has no service; he uses it mostly to watch PBS Kids. Occasionally Helen hides it to limit his screen time. We should probably change tactics.)


Adam: I forgot what I was going to say.
Quincy: Maybe you should look at your phone.
Adam: No, my phone doesn't know what I was going to say.
Quincy: Maybe someone should research that.


Quincy: All girls are interested in princesses.
Corlan: I hate princesses!
Except Anna.
And Elsa.


Best quotes from a fairly long conversation with Quincy:

I wish I could go back to Spain. It had lots of stuff about Jesus Crust of a Pizza.
(That's a joke name that he and Corlan made up.)
How could a god of the world die?
If he said good things, why did they kill him?


Quincy: I wish I were fictional, so I could do a lot of amazing stuff, like Tarzan.


This morning Corlan decided to calculate powers of two in his head. He got up to 8192.


Corlan: Dad, do you know the bad word “F”?
It's not “fart”, it's the other F word.
Adam: [...freezes...]
Corlan: It's part of your penis.
Adam: [relieved] Oh. Yeah.


Quincy: I'm a good knight. You're a bad knight.
Corlan: No, I don't want to be a bad knight.
Quincy: Well I want to fight a bad knight. Adam can be the bad knight.
Corlan: No, Dad is not a knight. He is a software engineer.


Corlan: I'm Pachelbel.
Quincy: I'm Beethoven.
Corlan: I composed Canon in D.
Quincy: I composed Symphony Number Five.
Corlan: I'm older than you. I was born in 1653. You were born in 1770.
You can call me Johann.
Quincy: You can call me Ludwig.


Elwood Blues: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Universal Amphitheatre...
Quincy: Who is that talking?
Adam: Dan Aykroyd
Quincy: Is he a president?
Adam: No.
[ plays...]
Quincy: I heard trumpets.
Play it again.
Is he in a show?
I want to go to that show. Tomorrow.
Play it again.

He made me play that song (Opening: I Can't Turn You Loose by The Blues Brothers) eleven times in a row.


Tonight Helen was helping Corlan practice piano, and he mentioned that the piece he was playing was in D minor. Although Helen can play piano, she never learned much music theory, and didn't understand why it wasn't F major (which has the same key signature). He couldn't explain it, but he was quite sure it was D minor. He hasn't been taught minor scales/chords, but his piano teacher had shown him a few minor scales on one occasion a while back when he asked about them. I hadn't been listening to Corlan practice, but the subsequent conversation caught my attention, so I asked what chords were used in the piece. Corlan played one, and I said it sounded minor. Corlan said yes, it's D minor, and proceeded to play all three positions of a two-hand (six-finger) D minor.


Corlan: The poop goes into the pipes under the house, and then... to outer space.
Adam: It doesn't go to outer space, it goes into larger pipes under the street.
Corlan: Under the street? And then where does it go?
Adam: Into even larger pipes, and then to a sewage treatment facility, where the water gets cleaned up before it goes to the ocean or a river.
Corlan: But what happens to the poop?
Adam: Bacteria eat it. Do you know what bacteria are? They're living things that are so small you can't see them.
Corlan: And they eat poop?
Adam: Yes, and dead animals, and dead plants.
Corlan: And dead people?
Adam: Yes, people are animals.
Corlan: Will they eat Beethoven?
Adam: They already did.
Corlan: And Brahms? And Tchaikovsky? And Liszt? And Grieg?
Adam: [laughing] Yes, all those guys.


Quincy: Adam, is it Christmas time?
Adam: No.
Quincy: But Ding Ding [Corlan] said it's Christmas time.
Adam: Ding Ding is mistaken.
Quincy: I think it's Christmas time.
Adam: Then you are mistaken.
Quincy: I'm not 'staken, you're 'staken!


A couple weeks ago I had this exchange with Quincy:

Quincy: I need my sword.
Adam: Okay. Try not to poke anyone with it.
Quincy: But it's a sword!

Shortly after the regular school year started, Corlan apparently forgot about Alyssa (see below) and informed us he was going to marry Jia when he grows up. He's been consistent about that until today, when he explained that Jia said she didn't want to marry him, so he'll marry his new friend Angelina instead.

Corlan: When Quincy and I grow up, the baby will have an uncle.
Adam: Which baby?
Corlan: The baby that will come out of Angelina's tummy when Angelina grows up.
Adam: Who will be the uncle?
Corlan: Quincy!


Earlier this week Corlan cut his own hair, with his own scissors (the small round-tipped kind). Does every kid do this? Of course his hair looks ridiculous. Maybe the packages for little scissors should come warning labels. “WARNING: Advise children not to cut hair (their own or anyone's).”

Tonight Corlan was talking about his future. He wants to be a gardener. And he wants Alyssa (a summer-school classmate for the last two weeks) to marry him.


A week or two ago I witnessed this exchange between Quincy and his talking Buzz Lightyear action figure:

Buzz: I am Buzz Lightyear, space ranger!
Quincy: You are a toy.

Yesterday Quincy and I had this conversation in the bathroom:

Adam: Pull down your pants.
Quincy: I'm Buzz!
Adam: Okay. Buzz, pull down your pants.
Quincy: [pulls down pants]
Does Buzz have a penis?


Corlan and Quincy are right now “playing” Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass “A Taste of Honey” on trumpet and french-horn Christmas ornaments. They've recently seen it on YouTube.

Lately one of Corlan's favorite pastimes is to substitute the word “poop” in arbitrary contexts; for example, “Happy birthday to poop”. Quincy often likes to copy Corlan, and this is no exception. Earlier tonight they were cracking each other up by saying “peanut butter poop” back and forth to each other.

Yesterday we watched a performance of The Nutcracker, and the kids loved it, especially Quincy. He's been asking to see it again.


Corlan and Quincy effectively share a king-size mattress (composed of two twin mattresses). But lately, rather than sleep side-by-side, they fall asleep end-to-end. Apparently they both like to lie alongside the wall, and only one edge is against a wall.

Quincy has another quirk: He likes to sleep under a pillow. He pulls it over himself, covering his head and body.


Recently Corlan made a joke (that actually made me laugh):

Corlan: What's that fire truck doing?
Adam: It's just sitting there.
Corlan: Sitting there? But it has no butt...


I think the second word that Quincy used appropriately (starting quite a while ago) was “mine”. Now he knows too many words for me to keep track of anymore, almost all one-syllable words. In fact, for multi-syllable words and phrases, he has a habit of referring to them by the last syllable. For example, “bug” for ladybug, “man” for This Old Man, “pad” for iPad, “Dee” for Fiddle-Dee-Dee (the name of a CD). But lately he's also started saying some two-syllable words, like “button” and “ji1dan4” (chicken-egg). A few days ago when I got home from work, he said “Hi Baba”.

He can count up to 3 in Chinese (yi, er, san), then proceeds in random order; for example, wu (5), ba (8), ...

He can operate the CD player in his room: power on, open the tray, insert a disk, close the tray, play, adjust the volume.

But the most suprising accomplishment came this morning, when he was playing Concentration (a.k.a. Memory, Pairs) on the iPad. In the past he'd just turn over the cards randomly, but this morning he clearly understood the game. He would be turning over cards rapidly, then pause, and turn over the matching card. I saw him form three pairs this way.

Corlan also surprised us today. If someone plays any white key in the middle two octaves or so on the piano, he can name it just by hearing it, without looking. Neither I nor Helen can do that.


Corlan looked at me cross-eyed and said, “There are two Adams.”.


Quincy's first word was “no”. For a couple months or so he's been saying “no”, sometimes shaking his head at the same time, but at random times, without understanding the meaning. His first word that he uses appropriately is “deng1” (Mandarin for “light”). He loves lights, and loves pointing at them and saying “deng1!”.

Today he took apart one of those tower-of-donuts toys, and put all the donuts back on (in random order).

Later, he grabbed the iPad and turned it on and unlocked it. A few minutes later I turned it off to see if it was a fluke, and no, he turned it back on and unlocked it again. No one ever showed him how, he just observed.

Corlan especially likes doing the following vocal percussion rhythm:

    1+2+3+4+ (repeat)
    N TN  T
where the N is a typical low-pitched back-of-the-throat drum-beat sound, and the T is that inhaling cymbal sound I talked about in the previous entry. He probably got this rhythm from a YouTube video.


Recently I noticed that Corlan has been doing a form of vocal percussion I hadn't seen before. It's like a “T” sound, but inhaling rather than exhaling. He usually uses it on beats 2 and 4.


[Oops, I guess the arrival of the second kid made me so busy that I forgot about this log for a year.]

A couple times in the past I've tried to explain to Corlan the asymmetric nature of our relationship: I'm the Daddy, you're the child, it's my job to spank you when you do the wrong thing, but you can't hit me. Yesterday he said, “I want to be the Daddy, and you be the child.”


As Helen & Corlan & I were walking toward Marina Park, we passed a pub with an open window, and Corlan stopped to stare and listen with rapt attention to a guy playing rock music on an electric guitar (warming up for a show). Then he started accompanying on air-guitar. Cracked me up, and a few bystanders.


Lately Corlan has more often been using real words to say what he wants/expects. For example, he says “take off the shoes” after we get home.

But sometimes he just repeats things he's heard in the past. For example, just now he pointed at me and said “you bo” then pointed at himself and said “I cussy”. I asked “What?” and he repeated “you bo, I cussy”. I asked Helen what he was talking about, and she recognized it as “you bow, I curtsy”, a line from The Sound of Music, which we watch often. He then continued, saying “skip hop, skip hop”.


Lately Corlan has been using the nonsense word “abla” (stress on the second syllable) to indicate that he wants something.


About a week or two ago, I don't remember exactly when, but quite a while after we returned from seeing my parents (we returned on Apr-12), I was talking to Corlan about that trip, and mentioned that we met Grandma & Grandpa's three dogs, Daisy, Chessie, and... and I couldn't remember the name of the newest one. And then Corlan supplied it: Bekki!


Today Corlan pointed to his classmate Alissa and said “Alissa”. I asked who another was, and he correctly said “Sayaan”. On the way home, he sang B-I-N-G-O, at one point substituting claps for B and I, and another time singing “C-O-R-L-A-N ... Corlan is his name-o” (he learned that from Helen). After we got home I pointed to a silhouette of a doll in a book, and he not only said “doll”, but also signed “doll” by putting a finger to his nose, even though we haven't watched Baby Signing Time in ages.


Corlan didn't cry when I dropped him off at day-care, for the first time in a couple weeks.

Later, in the car, as we got home, NPR was airing an excerpt of a speech by the president, and an amusing little “conversation” ensued:

Adam: That's the president talking. President Obama.
Corlan: Mama!
Adam: Not Mama, President Obama.
Corlan: Baba!
Adam: It sounds like Mama and Baba, but it's Obama. President Barack Obama. That's his name.
Corlan: My name is Corlan!


I was home for Presidents Day while Helen was at work, and observed Corlan do the following:


Corlan can now count all the way from 1 to 10 in Chinese. 3 was the last of those that he learned. He can also count from 1 to 5 in English (with approximate pronunciation).


Corlan can say most of the letters when shown them; he still has yet to learn H, W, X, & Z, and is a little shakey on K & P. He can say the Chinese words for the numbers 1 to 10, except 3 & 7, when shown the arabic numerals.

He just said “blue ball” (except he pronounces “blue” as “boo”). That was the first time he said a phrase.


Things Corlan especially likes:

Things he knows:

[AMC]  Prepared by Adam M. Costello
 Last modified: 2023-Mar-19-Sun 00:08:26 GMT
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