Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A week later, not so smug.

Awhile ago I read about how when babies make big developmental steps, they will often regress in their sleep patterns. Not my baby, I thought. She learned to crawl without the dreaded sleep regression. She started pulling herself up without sleep regression!

How many times does a person need to teach the Greek tragedies before she recognizes hubris when she's up to her neck in it?

I am thinking about taking some hairpins to my ears.

Hello sleep regression. Hello "I took my nap already - in the car, remember! A whole 15 minutes!" Hello "I fell asleep like an angel an hour ago and now I want to make sure my lungs still work." Hello "I want more food so I can pour it on the floor cause I'm too damn tired to eat but I'm HUNGRY I TELL YOU HUNGRY."

And that was just today.

But, she is a very smart baby and makes up for this by saying "Mama" every once in a while on purpose. By letting my students play with her while I read their papers. By smiling at all my colleagues and crawling after them, giggling the whole way. By using the sign for "more". By mastering the sippy cup. And, thankfully, by putting herself back to sleep not too long after waking up.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Spring, Beautiful Spring!

Today it feels like it really is spring after all. Not only because it is sunny and warmish and birds are singing and other people's bulbs are coming up, but also because today Cora and I had our first picnic of the year!
Chris is at an all-day workshop. So, this morning after he left I got Cora dressed - an ordeal in itself - who knew wearing clothes could be so painful? But she is very cute in her swing dress that is more of a long shirt now as we change sizes again - but I don't want to give this sweet dress up yet! And pants that are also too short (but we haven't replaced any white pants in the new size yet). And her new pair of BabyLegs - so cute!

And off we went to Whole Foods for a fresh supply of delicious baby food. On the way there we drove past a park that I'd never really noticed before. By then it was about 10:30, and I knew we would be at the store for a while because that store has the same effect on me that warbly recorder music has on king cobras - I start swaying in a hypnotic trance as soon as I enter, thinking, Yes, I do really need a tub of goat cheese whipped with lavender and honey! (A treat I narrowly prevented from jumping into my cart.)

So at the store I also bought us a picnic lunch, and on the way home we stopped at that park and ate lunch and watched kids on the equipment. When we were done eating, I tried Cora out in a little baby swing, but she wasn't really into it. So we watched other kids swing. I held her while sliding her down the slide several times, which was a big hit. And we found a funky little piano-like toy mounted on a post that she enjoyed playing. Then, home we came, and up to napland.

If only I'd had my camera with me...but I will try to catch her in the dress and BabyLegs later today. In the meantime, here is a photographic answer to the question "How do you know your baby has seen enough Sweeney Todd?"

"At last my arm is complete, again!!!"

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Why I put off grading papers

"Poetry is also a form of art to express yourself and revile the truth."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A week in early spring

It's been one of those weeks. The weather here in the upper Midwest is a ready-made metaphor: it is mid-April, just after Easter, we should be having tulips and bunnies and crocuses and sunny days in the upper 50s.

Instead, we've had snow. Cold. Dreary gray skies with the occasional peek of sunlight which should in no way be taken to be a sign of warm air. Still, it is still spring. The leaf buds on the lilac are getting fuller. The box elder on campus are starting to show tiny green leaves. Robins gather in bare branched trees and sing. I am reminded that for much of the natural world, spring is not all that great. Resources are still slim while demands are higher as everyone tries to procreate at the same time. Many animals die in the spring, many barely get the chance to live. We want it to be only about new life and rebirth, to put the darkness of winter behind us, but spring can have a darkness of its own.

This week began with learning that removing half of Grandma's left lung did not entirely remove cancer from her body, and she will most likely be undergoing chemotherapy. We don't know much more yet; we hope that the news is not really as bad as it sounds.

This morning we learned that a friend of a friend – someone we know tangentially, true, but we know his wife, we know their friends – the husband died last night. He'd been sick for a while, and worse in the last few weeks, but still. He and his wife have darling twins, a boy and a girl, just about the same age as Cora.

And, in between these more winter-like events, Kurt Vonnegut died, too. Someone I knew not at all, except through his books. Well, his older books. I've fallen out of touch with Vonnegut in the last eighteen years or so, but he was one of the first authors (who didn't write for children) that I worked my way through. In high school I read everything by him that our local library branch had. So I've always had a fondness for him.

In the NYT obituary for Kurt Vonnegut, I found this quote:

To Mr. Vonnegut, the only possible redemption for the madness and apparent meaninglessness of existence was human kindness. The title character in his 1965 novel, “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater,” summed up his philosophy:

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’ ”

I remember reading this novel, though I didn't remember that quote. But it seems like an appropriate one to be reminded of this week, when so many things are feeling so fragile. This seems like a very spring-like thought to have. A bright-sunshine-cutting-through-cold-air thought. And today we do have sunshine, and the mercury is creeping up to forty degrees.

Cora is napping, but will wake soon, and when I go upstairs and she sees me round the corner of the hallway, she will sit up and clap her hands. When I bring her downstairs and we sit on the rug with her toys she will crawl over to Mr Froggy or to CourderoyBear or to FireDog and, as she does these days, pick up the animal, hold it to her shoulder, and pat its back while saying what sounds like “tickle tickle tickle.”

It is spring, whether it feels like it or not. And in honor of spring, all the people I love, time being short, and the one rule, I have not given my students homework this weekend.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

And the winner is....

Well, actually there was neither a winner nor a loser, as there were no votes to tally. Cora notes that, as she suspected, there really is no real-world application for this "counting" she keeps hearing so much about.She had a lovely if wiggly Easter - this is the only photo from the digital camera that really came out and didn't incorporate rolling action (for that, see below). Still, you can see she's pretty cute in her yellow flowers dress.

(Though there was a younger baby at church wearing the SAME DRESS! The nerve!)

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Help Cora Choose Her Easter Outfit

Here are two possibilities that Cora seems to think would be the most exciting and comfortable outfits to wear for Easter. She's decided to let America choose! (I knew we would regret letting her watch American Idol, I just didn't think it would happen so fast...)

Keep in mind, America, that the weatherpeople are forecasting temperatures so cold that it is doubtful Daddy will be playing his trombone at the early morning outdoor service for fear of having to wear a trombone frozen to his lips for the rest of the day.
Option A: Lovely red fleece sleeper with nice doggy on it and slip-resistant footies.
Option B: Stylish diaper featuring a Sesame Street character, plus that ever popular symbol of spring, a baseball cap at a jaunty angle.