i have a lot of time-sink hobbies.  reading, knitting, music, scrabble, fish-keeping, napping, gardening, photography, facebook, blogging (ok, let’s just go with ‘the internet’), spider-watching…  all are very effective at using up non-working hours and eating into sleep time.  travel planning (and dreaming) is another good one; more on that shortly.  but never before have i had a time-sink in my life of this caliber:

yep, that’s my kid.  she’s been out in the world now for about four months and i’m just introducing her here now, which is a pretty good indication of her time requirements.  there have been longish pauses here in the past, but nothing quite like this.  what can i say — nothing prepares you for parenthood.  you think you’re ready-ish (as ready as anyone ever is; here’s one of  my favorite pre-parental checklists); you think you have a vague idea of what to expect and you know you’re not going to get a lot of sleep.  but oh man, ‘not getting a lot of sleep’ on paper (or electrons) is nothing like really, actually, NOT. GETTING. ENOUGH. SLEEP. EVER.  i guess we are sort of used to it now, but it does take some steam out of blogging motivation — especially when you are living a groundhog-day-like new parental existence.

but i don’t intend to become a mommyblogger; there are enough talented, witty women (and some such dads) doing that already, and i enjoy their work and will leave the niche to them.  i imagine ‘little fish’ (or LF, as we will continue to call her for blogging purposes) will make occasional appeareances here, and posts may be more infrequent for a while, but the (new) inkspot’s mainstays — travel, nature, spiders, science — will stick around.  in fact, i have high hopes that our upcoming trip in october-november will tick all of these boxes; we are going to the US for two weeks and then on to south america for a squid conference and to visit some fine people.  just imagine the travel mishap potential with a six-month-old!  each day could hold countless stories.  and i make a solemn vow that none of them will be about poop.

look, we’re even training her for camping already:

… and no, we’re not actually going camping on this trip; we’re not completely insane.  we’re getting her used to sleeping in here so that she has portable, familiar surroundings doubling as mosquito netting, a brilliant idea we got from some scandinavian friends.

so there you go; we’re parents, juggling one more huge thing on top of all the other things (work, cats, house, hobbies).  why not take the whole show on the road — after all, she’s going to have to learn to travel if we’re all going to get along.  :)

we are actually new parents in another respect, too — our fresh-water aquarium, which has been ticking along quietly for six years as of this month, also has some new arrivals.  in the past we’ve had platies, danios, and even a baby glass cat (see here and here), although i just learned that they’re probably actually ghost cats (Kryptopterus minor).  in recent months i’ve been worried about the water quality as something has suddenly and completely wiped out our once-luxuriant sword plants (but no other plants and we’ve had no fish casualties), but i haven’t had the time to do much about it other make some concerned noises and do a few water changes.  now it turns out that someone, at least, finds the in-tank conditions most agreeable: our bristlenose catfish (Ancistrus sp.).  we have a big female (affectionately named ‘mrs sucky thing’ by a good friend of ours; less affectionately named ‘that horrible ugly fish’ by my mother) and a small golden male with beautiful snout-bristles, who has evidently matured into enough of a stud now to catch her eye.  behold, a few days ago we found these:

they’re about 3/4″ inch long and i’ve counted about 18 of them so far.  so, congrats to everyone, i guess — the pebbles and i aren’t the only ones with a growing family!  although from what i can tell, the bristlenoses have far-less-time-demanding offpsring, even though they outnumber their parents nearly ten to one.

maybe i’ll crawl into the fishtank and have a nap.