Parenthood

[so ashamed]

I'm a pretty stubborn person. If I say I'm going to do or finish something, I do, and vice versa. There hasn't been a lot of pre-kid ideas that I've reneged on, but there have been a few. For the sake of humility, I thought I'd share.

Boogie Wipes: I remember I read about "Boogie Wipes" (basically saline wipes for noses) on a blog before getting pregnant and thought they were such a gimmick- truth be told they're worth the $4 to make wiping a baby's snotty nose slightly easier during a cold.

Baby in the Bed: I swore Sawyer would never sleep in our bed, and while it has rarely happened, he has spent a few all-nighters on my chest. Sometimes you have to sleep, and after a few nights with only three or four broken hours of shut-eye, it happens (and sometimes on accident, too).
Schedules: I thought I'd be incredibly rigid about sleep/eat/play schedules, and it turns out I'm not. He eats when he's hungry and sleeps when he's tired and plays when he's not doing either of those things. Luckily those things happen in the same time-frame every day, but I'm not the type of mom that drops everything at 12:47 to put the baby down for a nap. We are incredibly structured at night, but that's just for our sanity.

Puffs: Oh, thank you Gerber, for these miracle little crunchy bites of goodness that allow me to make dinner, eat at restaurants, and clean the kitchen. I frowned on these snacks and their lack of nutritional merit before, but considering the serving size and mouth-to-floor ratio, I now have no qualms. Plus, they facilitate hand-eye coordination.

Judgement: I really thought the idea of others judging my parenting wouldn't bother me, that I'd be confident enough to tell them to screw off. And while I don't necessarily lack confidence in my skills (except the fact that he's still sleeping in our room... that's a tough pill to swallow), the fact that I know family members, and maybe some strangers, have opinions about how we do things really bug me. 

Caffeine Intake: I vowed to limit my caffeine intake to just a Diet Coke a day while breastfeeding. Nope. A morning coffee habit has been established big time. 

Dog Walks: This kills me more than anything, but my dog walking routine has suffered big time. Before Sawyer the dogs were walked once a day from 30-60 minutes. Now, not so much. I can't wait for warmer weather so that I can start swimming them a few times a week (sorry to the pool guy in advance...).

Things I've Maintained (So Far...)

Hobbies/Interests: My husband and I are still able to do the things we love. Maybe not to the same degree, but we haven't let ourselves become completely wrapped up in our baby.

Family Dinner: We still sit down to eat at night, in the dining room, away from the TV. Sawyer usually eats his dinner beforehand, but he's still in there hanging out with us. I still cook five nights a week, just like I did before he was born. 

Cleanliness: My car is still clean, we still don't allow food over the carpet, and toys get picked up after they are used (these are all things people swore we'd change our minds about).

Avoiding the Doctor: Sawyer had gone to the pediatrician for well-baby checkups and then once when I detected his torticollis. He's been sick a few times and we've debated, but he's gotten over his ailments without the doctor or antibiotics, something I feel strongly about (if he really needs them, they I'm 110% cool with it; I am not of the "he tugged at his ears let's get some amoxicillin" camp, though). 

Public Crying: Pre-kid I hated it when people let their kids scream and scream in public, especially in restaurants. I can't remember the last time he had a meltdown in public, but the few times he has we've taken him away from others. I know sometimes you have to hang in there, like when you have a cart of groceries and no help with you, but a crying baby at dinner is not okay.

Purchases: We try to not buy him tons of extra stuff. He has clothes, books, and toys from the holidays, but we don't buy him things every time we're out (not even close). 
 

Top Ten Tuesday- Book Club



The Broke and Bookish asks us for ten books we'd read with out book club (mine is comprised of English teachers from work, mostly female. We've tried to expand, but for some reason we've had trouble recruiting, even from inside our department. I don't get it, but anyway...). Some I've read, some not:

1. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham- I haven't read it, but own it, and think the controversy would make for good conversation. Sorry, guys in the group. Next pick can involve sports.

2. The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got There by Amanda Ripley- I don't generally read education books, but I thought this one was fascinating when I read it last year. Plus, I can pretend to be all professional and crap.

3. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie- I remember dying to discuss this with someone after I read it. The writing is so rich.

4. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann- As one of my favorite books, I'd like to share the wealth.

5. The Circle by Dave Eggars- This book about a fictional Google-like company seems like it could totally be real eventually. How would that make you feel? Discuss. 

6. Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle- Another controversial one. Let's politely fight, guys, while we enjoy our salads and Diet Coke.

7. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel- I'm reading this right now- doesn't everyone want to talk about what they're currently reading?

8. Diary of a Bad Year by JM Coetzee- I really disliked this book. Is it just me?

9. The World According to Garp by John Irving- Let's do some deep character analysis.

10. A recent classic that most of us have missed (maybe American Pastoral?)- We're English teachers, people. This is pathetic.   

A Labor of Love... or a Love of Labor


When I was a junior in high school I vividly remember my English teacher writing "This is either a labor of love... or a love of labor" on the interactive notebook I submitted for Crime and Punishment. That has stuck with me since then, as I frequently undertake projects that require an abundance of work, sometimes willingly and sometimes accidentally. The book recommendation bulletin board I created for my classroom fits Ms. Baker's assessment precisely- this thing took about five times longer than I anticipated. And yet I persevered, determined to finish the bastard.

My inspiration was one of those serial killer sort of webs they show on detective movies. I've always wanted to make one, and since I neither want to kill anyone or solve crimes, I decided to go another, safer, route. 

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Step 1: Create a list of books that you think your students should read at some point. Accept that you have limited space and par things down a bit. Try to think of books that they will really like.
 
Step 2: Develop a complicated spreadsheet with categories (coming-of-age, contemporary literature, sci-fi, plays, international/travel, graphic novels, classics, non-fiction, humor, romance, etc...) and lots of check marks. Fail to consider that when you actually start creating the board you won't use this, since you are the one organizing them to begin with.
 
Step 3: Type out titles (along with author and pages) and category headers. Have the school clerk laminate them, since teachers are not educated or skilled enough to be allowed to use the laminating machine [insert winky smiley face here].
 
 
 
Step 4: Go to Michael's to buy fourteen packs of yarn. Inwardly (or maybe a little outwardly) cringe at all the craft supplies. Ponder the fact that the store always smells odd. Remember to save receipt for next year's taxes.


 
Step 5: Assign yarn colors to categories. Make TA cut yarn.
 
Step 6: Arrange categories around perimeter of bulletin board.
 
 
 
Step 7: Realize that it will take 3.2 years to finish the board if you attached strings to every single applicable category. Sadly decide that each book will be connected to a maximum of three categories each.
 
Step 8: Web away. 
 
 
 
Step 9: Threaten students with timed writes every week if they touch the board.
 
 
 
Step 10: Suppress fear that the fire marshal will come soon for an inspection and this will have to be removed.  

Step 11: Realize that you don't care that it might be confusing. It's a piece of art, dammit.
 
Step 12: Post blog with subpar pictures and caveman syntax.

Hot Commodity




The Little House in the Prairie series and I go way back- all the way to 1989ish. My parents bought me a used set from Yesterday's Bookstore and over the course of a few years I read the entire series. I'd occasionally catch a few episodes of the series, too, when I managed to read the TV Guide right. Fast-forward to last Tuesday week- I saw a friend post a Slate article about Laura Ingalls Wilder's autobiography, a more adult version written before her children's series, and almost died of happiness.

Until I realized the article was pointing out the publisher's mistake (or WAS it?) of only running a 15,000 first printing. The first batch was gone instantly and the orders for the next version skyrocketed. I ordered my copy on Amazon and am not expected to get it until mid-to-late March.

The most concerning thing about all of this? How did I not know? This is not new news, to the rest of the world, apparently. 

Book blogger fail.

Little House fan fail.

Life fail.

Built in Bookcases

Like any homeowners, my husband and I have big, future, plans for our home. Our biggest upgrade will have to all happen at once, if we're being smart, and would include new flooring, paint, bannister, and built-in bookcases. We're of the "pay in cash" mentality, so this isn't exactly happening next week. Maybe next year? Who knows. But for now I'll just keep pinning realistic bookcases that would work for our space (envision them all in white).

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