Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Link up below!

1. I don't understand hand washing your dishes when you have a dishwasher. It turns out a lot of people I know do this. I don't get it. We had to wash and dry our dishes growing up and it was horrible.

2. Last night, for shits and giggles, my husband and I created the plot for a YA novel, based on every cliche we could come up with (illness, unrequited love, guilt, familial issues, trusty sidekick, etc...). I'm fairly confident we could get it published... under pseudonyms, of course.


3. I can't believe Sandra Bullock is fifty. Good for her. I don't want to like her, but I do.

4. My Alama Mater was under water. Poor Pauley Pavillion.


5. I made my to-do list for the next week and a half until we go back to work. One word: shit.

6. Every time I complete a journal (here's a post explaining my life-long habit) I go back to the beginning and see what life was like (usually a year or so in the past). I'd say 90% of the time the worries I had then had completely resolved themselves. A year ago I was worried about not being able to get pregnant, the pressure of getting my IB students through their senior year, and who knows what else. Now, those things are water under the bridge. I hope and pray that the current worries I face are resolved by the time I finish this volume.

7. Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker or someone needs to create individual servings of of brownies and cakes for those of us who don't want to make a huge batch. A little packet you add water and maybe a tablespoon of oil to, pop in a ramekin, and then back for fifteen minutes. It's genius.

8. This video of the obviously very over-tired little girl is both sweet and hilarious:

9. Whoever invented the Summer Sleep Swaddlers deserves a prize. They obviously sprinkled sleeping powder in those things- Sawyer has been putting himself to sleep ever since we started using them and just slept through the doorbell ringing, the dogs barking, and the door alarm beeping in the laundry room where he's napping (it's dark and cool, okay?). He knows he can eventually bust out of it when I just use a blanket, so he works himself up instead of knocking himself out. The day I have to stop using them will be a sad day indeed.

[baby burrito]

10. I have to reread Catcher in the Rye again (for the fourth time in my life). Will there ever be a point where I can just jump into teaching a novel, or will I always reread?

Three Months In

[this is old; multiply the leg chunk by at least two]

It's a baby/mom post. You've been warned. 

Last week marked Sawyer's three month milestone, and I must say, the difference between a brand spankin' newborn baby and a three month old infant is crazy. It's not easy by any means, but it definitely is easier. Every month or so I'm going to do a post like this, just so that when I go back and work on his baby book (I'm going to start... soon) I have the info easily accessible. Plus I like to talk about my kid.

Daily Schedule
I thought I'd be a lot more rigid when it came to his schedule, but I'm not. I've found that if he takes one nap before lunch (forty-five minutes or so) and one longer one after (an hour and a half to two and and half hours), both in his Pack-n-Play, with a few little cat naps sprinkled throughout he's good. He eats every three hours, but if he's hungry earlier I let him eat. The tried and true pattern is generally sleep, eat, play, repeat. He sleeps for about eight or nine hours at night, with the first chunk happening while we're still up, followed by a six, or more, hour stretch. He's a pretty happy kid, so it works.

Big Changes
We made the rookie mistake of letting him sleep at night in his swing starting the third night he was home (desperation and sleep deprivation, people!) and it was MAGICAL! Unfortunately, he was born with a slight tightening in a neck muscle (totally fixable with some stretching exercises) that was just diagnosed, so we've had to transition him to sleeping in his Pack-n-Play at night (he'll go to his crib in his room when it cools down at night- we have a whole house fan and there's no way I'm letting my baby sleep alone in a room with the window open). The first three nights were rough- I woke up one night at four and let out a long string of expletives that would have made a sailor proud (going from sleeping seven hours straight to three is just plain bad). Fast forward a week and he's in the thing for at least six hours straight. Just in time for work!

Speaking of work, that starts a week from Monday. He had a trial run at the daycare last week and it went so much better than expected. I only cried for like ten minutes! Oh, and he was fine too. I love being with him everyday but do miss being around people. Push and pull... I'm having a hard time with the idea of letting someone I don't know very well (she comes highly recommended, is very experienced, my nephews went to her, my mother-in-law has taught her kids, etc...) handle my kid for seven or eight hours a day (although he'll hopefully nap for like half of that), but I know after a few weeks of seeing that he's fine I will be too. If he enjoys a roof over his head and diapers on his butt he'll learn to love it.

Developmental Junk
- Holds his head up well, despite the neck thing
- Fascinated by hands- constantly in his mouth
- Starting to grab for things
- Baffled by the existence of his feet
- Rolled over twice now, from front to back, but still a little confused about how to move his upper body and lower body at the same time
- Starting to jabber nonstop! The day after daycare he "talked" the entire way home, presumably telling me about his time, of course. He also has become a bit of a complainer, which is so much cuter than smiling
- I try to read to him every day. We (okay me) love Skippy John Jones Goes to Spice, Dragons Love Tacos, and Boy + Bot
- He loves me, of course, but he has really taking a liking to his dad lately, which is pretty damn cute
- Fiftieth percentile in weight, ninetieth in height (he gained two pounds in less than three weeks!)
- He's starting to laugh which is basically the cutest thing ever
- He has gone from hating bath time to tolerating it to loving it. He pretty much thinks being naked is the best thing ever- exhibitionist! 

- I feel this intense, unnecessary, need to decide if I'm going to have another baby. We're in fact not deciding now, but I think about it constantly, especially as I'm boxing up clothes he's outgrown.
- I'm very thankful that my body was completely ruined by this little guy but am frustrated with the fact that I'm going to have to start working a tiny bit harder to lose these last pounds. The summer makes me want to not exercise and eat ice cream- not a good combo.
- I really, really want a few drinks (I do! I've been sober for almost a year!) but that means I'd waste precious breastmilk and am too stingy to do so. I'm tentatively planning on doing this until he's a year, which means nine more months! Augh! That also makes it so that I'm basically not allowed to sleep in until then- double augh!
- I've tried to get out a lot lately and it's been good for us both- he likes to see new places and things. We've also had his grandma watch him so we could go out alone, and my husband has been watching him sometimes so I can escape to fun places... like Target. 
- I'm so looking forward to the holidays this year- Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Time off! Cooler weather! Dressing up my kid in a ridiculous costume of my choice! Buying him a little red wagon (yes, I already know what I'm getting him for Christmas)! Taking him to see lights! 
- I really, really love this kid. It's corny and the pre-baby me would have said it's bullshit, but it really is a different sort of love than you have for everyone else (yes, including my fur-children). I totally get how moms have lifted cars off their kids before (although I don't get why cars were on their kids in the first place...). It's insane how happy his fat little smiling face makes me. 

Extra Credit Reading List

One of the best things about being an English teacher (besides grading all the papers and hearing all the complaints about reading assignments) is being able to influence their reading. Here's the extra credit outside reading list I'll be giving my incoming class of IB juniors, in case anyone wants to submit suggestions for next semester:

[hello, there spell check!]

Top Ten Tuesday- Repeat Offenders

[flashback... shelves from the apartment (now we have more)]

The Broke and the Bookish ask us to list the top ten authors we own the books by this week. A few were obvious, but I had to sit down in front of my shelves and do a little bit of counting. Some, likes Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde, are in huge anthologies, so I thought that that was a slightly grey area. Here's what I came up with, based purely on physical copies:

1. JK Rowling: 8 (Potter series plus the disappointing The Casual Vacancy)

2. Thomas Hardy: 7 (took a seminar on him in college)

3. Nick Hornby: 7 (love him!)

4.  Michael Chabon: 6 (half are my husband's, but I intend to read them all)

5. Ian McEwan: 5

6. Margaret Atwood: 5 (reading The Year of the Flood right now) 

7. Jonathan Safran Foer: 4

8. Richard Russo: 3

9. Gary Shtenygart: 3

10. Zadie Smith: 3

There are many others that I own three of, I just cut it down to the ones that made me seemed the most literate and cultrally aware. 

Outside Reading- Help Wanted!


One of my favorite, and least favorite, things is making my students complete their outside reading requirements. Each semester they have to read a certain amount of pages (800 for my juniors this upcoming year) and complete some sort of accountability piece. I love playing Literary God: "yes, you may read Michael Chabon and Nick Hornby" and "no you may absolutely not read Stephanie Myers and no way is The Hunger Games going to work!" I also enjoy hearing them admit at the end of the year that they've found new authors to love and are finally getting the hang of determining what makes a book literary. I hate the grading part. With a passion.

In the past I've had my students complete a dialectical journal- one quote, with analysis, for every ten pages they've read. My rationale has been that it was the only way I could easily check to see if they've read- spacing out the quotes makes it harder to go online and just pull work off the internet. Unfortunately, this is incredibly tedious, both for the students to complete and for me to grade. This year I'm trying something new that will hopefully making grading easier for me- I'm going to provide the students with a list of thirty questions (when we go back in August) that they should be able to answer for each of the books they've read that semester. At the end of the term I'm going to take a few days and ask each student approximately five questions on the books they've read, in front of the class. Their grade on outside reading will be based on how well they've BSed answered and convinced me that they've read. I'm also giving them a "hot list"- a list of thirty books (I'll share those later after I've written my syllabus and can just copy and paste) that they will receive five extra credit points for choosing to read.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help me come up with challenging questions to give to my students that apply to either fictional and nonfictional texts (although mostly fiction). Nothing easy! No "If you could be one of the characters which one would you be and why?" nonsense. I'm talking more like "Choose an important symbol from the text and talk about how it contributed to a character's development" or "What were some unique aspects of the author's writing style? How did that impact your reading of the text?" 

Please and thank you. Extra credit for those questions that are used. Get down with your inner teacher.