Monday night Chris took the baby upstairs for stories, guitar songs, and other fun things and I wrapped up all the miscellaneous paperwork for classes. Then I settled into the couch to read through the assignment we would be discussing in class this morning. We’re onto Frankenstein now, the last book of the semester, and for today the students were supposed to read volume one (the first 68 pages).
I’ve read Frankenstein about five times now, but this was actually the time I most enjoyed it. For the first time I really saw how likeable Victor is supposed to be. Before he’s always seemed kind of a whiny self-important meglomaniac. Well, he is still whiny and I still have trouble with him thinking he suffers more than Justine, who though innocent of a young boy’s murder will be executed anyway because Victor won’t reveal the real murderer. But otherwise I felt much more like sinking into the story.
68 pages seemed a rather modest assignment for freshmen at a private liberal arts college. And with my renewed appreciation for the novel I was looking forward to our discussions. Alas. In the first class I overheard a couple students filling in others on the basic plot or reviewing the analysis from Sparknotes. In the second class I asked at the beginning of class how many students had done the reading. Five. Sigh.
Sometimes it is a relief to come home to the baby, who has no trouble fulfilling basic expectations! She eats! She cries! She poops! She laughs at the cats as they skitter away from her! This was also one of those afternoons where everything seemed to work out. I was able to make and eat my lunch while she played in her exersaucer, then she took a nap. She woke up a little crabby, but a clean diaper solved that problem. More playing in the saucer while I made dinner. She ate her dinner while my dinner continued cooking. Sure, the green beans made her gag and cough up some mixed vegetables, but that’s okay!
Now she sits in her snap-on chair at the table watching me type, chewing on her mutton (the little crinkly stuffed sheep that is her post-meal table toy), and pretty happy. In three minutes the rice and cornbread will be done. The red beans and andouille are simmering on the stovetop, and look, there’s more than enough red wine for me and even some leftover for Chris when he gets home.
Today, baby trumps work.