Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nothing says, "Feel better!" like your daughter finally putting new pictures up...

Cora in her new clothes - she wanted Pete to stand next to her so you could see what a big girl she is.

Is this a pixie or what?

The artist at work.

Where's the party? Right in our living room 24/7. I'm pretty sure there are actually two more skirts on under that pink one.

Oh, the mermaid love....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Is it a coincidence that we had a better bedtime on a school day? Probably not. But tonight after dinner, Cora seemed tired. She actually let Chris put pajamas on her. Then she brushed her teeth. They went upstairs and watched a few videos on YouTube (I heard a lot of drumming) while I chatted with my mom online*. Then...she was asleep by a little after 8pm.

Maybe it's the daddy magic. But I think at least part of it is that when she is at school she'll nap at the usual time, just not at home. We have to get this figured out, though, because it is almost end of the semester crunch time, when we will need our evenings for grading.

*We had to chat online because I can't talk. I can whisper, a little, but WedMD tells me I should not whisper - I should just speak softly. Uh huh. I'm hoping this goes away soon. It is challenging to teach when you can't talk. Especially when it is a book I would really like to talk about! We are in the middle of Atwood's Alias Grace. Every time I read it, it gets better.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why is she not asleep?!


I'm not sure who is going to break into tears first, me or Chris, but frankly I am betting on me, because I have already been here about, oh, three times in the last week.

Her sleep is completely screwed up - not napping until 3pm, even when she gets up in the morning at a normal time. And the 3pm nap? It is awful, because someone who wakes up at 5pm is not going back to sleep at 8pm. Oh no. She is going to hang on to wakefulness with her little ragged claws of fingernails until 10pm or later.

And this effectively kills any chance I might have to wash dishes, watch TV, knit her something for Christmas, grade papers, read for class, or communicate with friends...which are ALL things I need to do for my sanity. Such as it is. Was. Whatever.

And yet, she will still have to get up at 7am.

So that, you know, we can do it all over again.

Except that I have to get up at 5:30. And, oh yeah, it would be nice if I could have my voice back, too.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cool Mom Picks - Safer Toy Guide

I added a button, down there on the right, for the Cool Mom Picks Safer Toy Guide. On the Cool Mom Picks web site they've gathered some wonderful sites together - independent sellers, Etsy artists, sustainable material toymakers, etc. Something for just about every age - in afct, I've already bookmarked a few sites to consider. Check it out - it's cool!

Plus, now I can be in the gift certificate drawing, though really all I want is that kitchen playset so I can stop drawing gas burners on scrap paper every time Cora wants to make me some oatmeal!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My reward for baking brownies today

I set Cora's little 1"x1" brownie in front of her after dinner tonight and she turned and looked at me in wonder and asked, "Is it my birthday today?"

Monday, November 10, 2008

Diamonds in the rough

Saturday night Cora fell asleep before 7pm, which enabled me to get the last 20 papers graded (whew, and ack). She woke around 11pm, and again around midnight when I came up to bed, but all in all a really good night.

Then came Sunday night and the two-hour bedtime battle. Now, I know that there are many mamas out there who would love a bedtime battle that was only two hours, and many who would love even more the way things usually go in our house, but last night really almost broke my patience.

Okay, it did break my patience, and eventually even the duct tape was starting to look a little fragile. We had stories, we had songs, we had wailing, we had weeping, we had more songs, we had flailing about, we had clinging. It was a miserable affair that ended with us just sitting in the chair under a blanket, in the dark, quietly, waiting to see who would fall asleep first. Thank goodness the papers were already done, because I had zero energy afterwards for anything more than boiling water for a hot buttered rum.

But in the midst of all the angst, there were two especially memorable moments for me. At one point Cora insisted that before she could go to sleep she had to fix my hair - or, as she would say, "I have to make you a haircut!" This basically consists of her telling me which way to look while she lifts up my hair and lets it fall in my face. This went on for about three weeks. Then she looked at me, holding my face in her little hands, and said, "Now you look so beautiful!"

Earlier in the day we had watched most of The Nutcracker Ballet - did I mention she is also now a ballerina? - and so, once we had moved on to the sitting quietly in the dark phase, she kept putting the blanket over her head. Finally, I had to ask her what she was doing. "I putting on my mousie mask, but you no worry Mommy, I not real mouse, I just pretending for my ballet dancing."

With each of these moments I felt a pang of regret that the rest of bedtime had been so miserable, for both of us, and a foolish wish to encourage the sweet moments to last longer, and a little chagrin about that last one. But most of all I felt grateful to be reminded that underneath the wailing, whining, crying, flailing, and screaming that surfaces once a week or so, there is still my sweeter-tempered, imaginative baby.

Friday, November 7, 2008

O Fall, are you really already done?

We had a little snow today - hardly even enough to call snow, really - and there is a lot of cold temperatures in our weeklong forecast. While I am not as dogmatically opposed to winter as I once was (well, and as I will be again come February), I do wish fall could linger a little longer.

Here are some photos from one of my favorite days this fall. Chris and Cora and I spent some time kicking around a little soccer ball in the sun, back in early October. We are trying to instill a love, or at least an appreciation, for the beautiful game. I don't know if she will ever earn the coveted nickname "The Foot" (like her Uncle Chris), but she's got pretty good form.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

9:42pm CST Election Night

Oh, America, are you really going to make me so happy?

This semester I taught a book of slave narratives - oral histories taken down in the 1930s from ex-slaves - alongside Toni Morrison's Beloved. Many students mentioned that they hadn't really considered what it meant to have an African-American presidential candidate, just from a socio-cultural-historical perspective. (Forgive them, they are 19 and rather sheltered.) While I don't think it changed anyone's vote (which was never my intention, anyway), I think it changed their understanding of the significance, and gave them a feeling of seeing history being made that they hadn't felt before. I find that pretty exciting in and of itself.

Monday, November 3, 2008

This morning

Cora was turned away from us at the table, talking to herself and looking at her hands. Finally I was able to make out part of what she was saying:

"Mommy Hand, do you have the diaper bag? Oh no Baby Hand I forgot it. Oh no Mommy Hand! Where your diaper bag?! Here it is! OK!"

I think Imaginative Play has arrived in a big, big way. Also, I think maybe I need to stop forgetting to bring the diaper bag places.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Manners, please.

We are working on manners at our house, and by "we" I mean Cora. She's got the big ones - please and thank you - down pat and I was pleased that even in the thrilling throes of trick-or-treating she remembered on her own to say "Thank you!" most of the time.

Her other favorite is "Sorry!" which gets a pretty wide and sometimes random distribution. She will say sorry for anything from kicking you in delicate places to being told she has to wait a minute for her drink. (I confess that when I have to wait for my drink, I tend to think the other person should apologize.)

But the social nicety we are currently working on is "Excuse me." She will usually say it as she runs over your foot with her little shopping cart, or while pushing past you on the couch, or if you are blocking her access to the hot stove, but then there's the burping. So, today we are in the car driving to the grocery store and she is telling me a long story about Ariel* (who else?!) and she burps and keeps right on going.

"Cora," I say, "Was that a burp?"
"Oh no," she replies - and if you know Cora you know that she is twisting her hand back and forth at the wrist and cocking her head to the side. "No," she says, "That was just my pink gas."

Which, as we all know, needs no excuse.

*When does the Ariel phase end? Sometimes she is Ariel, sometimes she talks to her Ariel doll (conversations that go something like this: "Hi Ariel. I know, Ariel, I know! Are you a dolly Ariel? Look at me, Ariel, now listen. You have a fishy tail, Ariel!"). When she is Ariel, Chris is Ariel-Daddy, who is usually angry and has no official song. Once in a while I am Ariel-Mommy, but of course there is no Ariel-Mommy in the movie. Do you see where this is going? Yes, that's right, I am Ursula. The sea witch. The octopus-bottomed cabaret singer with evil eels for friends - evil eels that Cora-Ariel tells me are named Poopie and PeePee. I kind of miss the days when she was just Olivia the pig. Now who's the poor unfortunate soul?