I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I was keeping the same schedule on the weekends as I did during the week, staying up at night and sleeping during the day. Last weekend I tried out changing it up and approximating a normal person's schedule on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and it worked pretty well. Obviously, this allows me more time with Laura, Theo and Simon. Also I can go to church on Sunday with them. Last Sunday was my first time there and I was pretty much amazed at how cool it was. I was sure that I'd never be satisfied with any church we found down here, I was really wrong about that. It's definately quite different than our last congregation, but while that's bad in some ways (the sanctuary doesn't even approach the beauty of the one in Chicago) it's good in others (they are much more on top of things regarding kids).
Waking up in the morning also gives me time to do one of my favorite things: make delicious breakfasts for myself, Simon and Laura. Today it was buttermilk pancakes (from scratch, I don't get down with mixes), Morningstar Farms Veggie Breakfast Sausage Patties (I admit I would have preferred real sausage but we don't keep much meat in the house), a tasty orange, and some really good coffee.
If we haven't already mentioned it, there is a great local grocery called Common Ground downtown. It's basically everything you want in a local grocery, locally grown produce, lots of packaged food that you can't find in the other stores (e.g. kombu), shabbily dressed cashiers that are all either under the age of 30 or older than 65, and a guy with a goatee who works "man" into every sentance he says and asks "where's your partner" when I go there without Simon.

On a wholly different subject... politics haven't shown up on this blog in a long time, mainly because the thing that I was most interested in over the last few months was the Israel-Lebanon conflict, which I pretty much am totally unqualified to write anything about. But I have no problem saying that I think this "detainee bill" (what the news organizations are calling it) is the dumbest thing that the congress has pulled during this Bush term, if not the dumbest thing they've done in my lifetime. And people don't care. It has fallen off of the front page of Google News and hasn't gotten that much traction in the mainstream media... not blaming mainstream media here as much as I'm saying that people just don't care so they're not going to waste time reporting on it. Sad stuff.


If I loved _______, then maybe I'd like ________.

Hello, all. In my quest to shed the pounds that accompanied the creation of my second son, I am taking lots of walks. The goal is to leave as soon as Nate wakes up (around 4 pm) and walk for about an hour. Thus, I am spending a lot of time alone with the mp3 player, and I'd like some ideas for new music. Well, it doesn't need to be new, necessarily. During the past 3 years I have missed out on a lot of new music, I'm sure, due to hours spent listening to Raffi and Sesame Street instead of whatever hot new group most other 20 year olds were rocking.

I am a pretty normal, rocker girl when it comes to taste in music... nothing like my weirdo husband. Here are some albums that made my heart go pitter patter in years past:

Interpol (both albums)
Bjork - Vespertine
Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Common - Be
The Streets - A Grand Don't Come for Free
Arcade Fire - Funeral
Cat Power
and, most recently I've been enjoying Bloc Party - Silent Alarm

I hope those examples give you an idea of what I like... like I said, pretty normal stuff. Can you guys give me some ideas of what to download next? Even if something was hugely popular, don't assume I've heard it. Remember, I've been living in a dark hole of children's music for the past few years, so no suggestion will be too obvious.



We have a vastly updated/improved list of links on the right. Click it up.

Most Fulfilling Conversation in my Career as a Mother Thus Far

Me: I love you lots.

Simon: I want to watch TV.
At Tanner's Orchard. Loving the pony ride. Grandpa named this horsey Trigger. Posted by Picasa
Oh my god. Someone stop me before I eat this baby. Posted by Picasa
One last hurray with the sippy cup. Also, check the shirt. You have never seen such a hip toddler before. Posted by Picasa
Gotta love that shy little smile. Posted by Picasa
In the realm of obnoxiously noisy toys, this turtle is the least irritating I have ever heard. Its little classical songs have a twinkling sound. I quite enjoy it. Plus, it puts Theo to sleep, so I'd be a fool not to love it. Posted by Picasa
Simon and Theo in their favorite hangout, The Dinosaur Cage. The crib was given this name after the Salasaurus slept here during his visit. Posted by Picasa


A Quarter of the Way Toward My Goal of Becoming a Centenarian.

Yesterday I turned 25. I got a porch swing, a beautiful letter from my husband, and a Weight Watchers membership. It was a nice day, but surprisingly void of any serious assessment of my life or reflection on age. Maybe my 26th birthday will involve a leisurely afternoon of self-evaluation, but I'm too tired for much thinking this year.

Update on the Big-Boy Cup:
The Goodbye Sippy Cups Ceremony was an unprecedented success. I am a parenting genius. He drinks from a cup now like he's been doing it his whole life. You know, all three years.



I got a 4 hour stretch of sleep last night. It was the longest I've had in 3 nights. Theo, for God knows what reason, has been waking up about every hour or hour and a half. In the wee hours of the night, my utterly exhausted mind thinks maybe this would be a good time to throw him out the window. Or smother him with a pillow.

It's probably not his fault, though. Since he's been tiny we've been swaddling him before putting him to sleep, and I'm afraid our plan has backfired. Now he doesn't know how to sleep without being wrapped up as tight as... well, you know, something really tight. A mummy comes to mind. Anyway, we don't have any swaddling blankets that fit him anymore. So I often come back into his room to find one free arm flailing, slapping his face and waking him up. Then I think maybe I should throw the blanket out the window.

Not to worry, friends. With the break of day, my thoughts of infanticide and/or blanketicide all melt away. Daytime is all smiles and coos for Theo, and the past few days have ushered in his first giggles. There is nothing, NOTHING in the world cuter than baby laughter. Oh my god.

Simon is in his third week of preschool. He loves it, and we can see an inprovement in his behavior at home. He is better at entertaining himself, which is really a lifesaver for me. Last week I was the parent-helper in his class, so I got to witness the fun firsthand. My favorite moment was when all the kids started singing the Wonder Pets theme song together. It was clean-up time, and one of the kids said, "What's going to work?"
"Teamwork!" the class all answered. Then they started to sing. It was unbelievably cute. I guess we're not the only ones who love Linny, Tuck, and Ming-Ming.

I have been reading a new parenting book, and it's really good. I'm putting out a strong recommendation to all my friends with offspring. The author's goal is to give parents the skills they need to promote emotional health in their children. So far the focus has been on the way we speak to our kids. I'm learning how to praise more effectively, how to aviod judging his emotions, and how to quell conflict by mirroring his feelings. That last technique is fucking magic. It goes something like this:

Simon: I want to take my lollipop to bed.
Mommy: No, we cannot take candy into bed. You can see it again in the morning.
S: (whine and fake cry)
M: You are sad because you cannot take your sucker to bed.
S: (whine) Yes.
M: You are feeling disappointed that you can't take it with you. You are angry that you can't have it now.
S: (weaker whine) Yes.
M: You wish you could have it now instead of in the morning. You feel sad that you can't have your sucker in bed.
S: Yes. (hands me the lollipop and walks up to bed)

It takes a little time to mirror his emotions, but in the end he makes his own decision about what to do, and we don't have to have a battle. I'm not the bad guy who take his candy away; I'm the loving mommy who understands how he is feeling. It's pretty amazing, and as a result of applying these techniques, my last few days with Simon have been delightful.

Tomorrow is Simon's half-birthday, and I'm going to try a technique that isn't in my new favorite book, or probably any book. We're going to have a little party, then we're going to have a ceremony where we throw away all his sippy cups. We have been wholly unsuccessful in getting him to drink from a "big boy" cup, and I think it's time to draw a line in the sand. I thought a party would soften the blow. Wish us luck.



Working nights now. 11pm-7am, so now on the weekends I'm up all night by myself, at least until I get used to the schedule, an then maybe I'll try messing around with it a bit. I'm trying to step up my pretentious/seminal movie viewing game. Watched Man With a Movie Camera and Last Days. I'm really digging this new Gus Van Sant shit, by the way. Didn't see Gerry, but Elephant and Last Days were both fantastic. I guess he's making up for that stupid ass Psycho remake.

So I done did a new song, all by myself. First time I've done that in a long time. Here's some linkage:

Dow Jones "Get Yr Paper Up"

It's my first attempt at a new genre, IJM, or Intelligent Juke Music. While I'm really happy with how the song sounds, I can't say it's a great example of what I imagine IJM to be. Maybe the next song I do will be a better example.



When we lived in Chicago, getting Simon's hair cut was never a problem. Since we didn't get it cut often, we thought it was worth the splurge to go to Snippets, a Lincoln Park children's salon. They have seats shaped like cars and lions, and the walls are made to look like big trees. Most importantly, there are TV's everywhere, playing Dora the Explorer, The Muppets, or the kids' show de jour. Yeah, no wonder it wasn't a problem.

After moving, Nate's mom tried to take him to get his hair cut in Peoria, at a regular budget hair cuttery. No, sir. That was not happening. There was crying. There was screaming. There was running and kicking. Grandma surrendered, and Simon's mop continued to grow all summer.

Yesterday, after some persistent sweet-talking, I finally convinced him to get it cut. He drove a hard bargain, and before the negotiations were over I owed him a ride on the mall carousel and a lollipop. He looks handsome, huh?

Today was Simon's first day of preschool. He was very excited, and so was I. Here he is, exhibiting the world's cutest tiny turtle backpack.

Look at that face. Ooooo, oooo. We made a cute kid.
A good sign that a kid is ready for preschool, I think, is when you can't get their attention after they step into the classroom. As soon as we arrived, it was like I was no longer there. Bye, mom. I'm busy growing up.




Third Shift, Please Be Kind

Theo slept through the night last night. 9 pm to 7 am. It was absolutely dreamy. I feel amazing this morning, like I could run a marathon. Or at least walk around the block.
I'm not expecting a repeat performance, though. If there's one thing I've learned from parenting, it's that change is the only constant. I'll just take each night as it comes, and be grateful for any small mercy.

Simon has been watching WonderPets all morning. We don't get Nick Jr., but Grandma Debbie bought 3 dvd's of this, our favorite show. Seriously, WonderPets is the best kids show ever. We all love it. Nate's mom, after hearing us rave about the show, did a little searching online with hopes of furthering her quest to buy Simon everything his heart desires. She found a site, which apparently looked legit, and put in her order. They arrived, but looked curious. No cases. Just three blank discs, wrapped in green bubble wrap. Grandma totally (but unknowingly) bought bootleg discs of our favorite show. And we are so grateful.

Nate is "sleeping in" this morning, after staying up as late as he could manage last night. This is his first attempt to acclimate his body to his new schedule. He starts third shift on Monday night at 11 pm. I got me a real working man now, with steel-toed boots and a union card. We're all hoping that the graveyard shift is a very temporary deal for us. Not the best arrangement for a family. The weekends will be the hardest, as Nate will have to maintain the same sleeping schedule 7 days a week. That means I don't really get a respite all week... I have the same childcare schedule 7 days a week. And Nate will miss out on the extra hours with his family that the weekend used to afford. Instead he'll spend the wee hours at home and alone, the solitary wakeful person in the house. I don't expect it to be too bad. Still, it will be nice to be normal people again, eventually.

September is here, and it is glorious. Have a lovely day, friends.