Prachi hosted an Iron Chef dinner party and the secret ingredient was...eggplant.

It was a long week. A very long week. I had to work late two nights, Laurel didn't sleep too well, and she bit me. It kind of sucked, actually. There's something about getting up from a sound sleep two or three times a night that eats away at your sanity. (And your ability to do math...not good for a math teacher.) As for the biting, well, infant teeth are really freakin' sharp when they first poke through. Laurel drew blood. We're obviously trying to teach her not to bite, but consider yourself warned; if she looks like she's coming in for a kiss, she may have other intentions.

Funny how eggplant served twelve ways can make you feel better about everything. Or maybe it's the fellowship with other moms. Or cuddling another baby. Or wine. Who cares? Whatever it was, it made me feel good. Good enough to run a 10K tomorrow? I certainly hope so, because I am registered for the Great Race.

The food was absolutely delicious at this dinner party. Eggplant was featured prominently in everything, but oddly, I was not tired of it by the end of the meal. There was the noise and chaos that comes along with throwing together lots of small children, just a little too close to bedtime. Mark worked all afternoon stuffing eggplant with couscous. Enjoy the pictures, but be warned...they may make you hungry!

baby fort

Here's a couple of almost toddlers.
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It's been really hot here this week, but Autumn is definitely in the air and crunchy colorful leaves are underfoot. Saturday morning brought some cooler weather and my curtains are billowing in the breeze. That's one of my favorite things...billowing curtains. Living on such a busy street means we often keep our windows closed up. No billowing. But today is Saturday so the traffic is light.

Yesterday we did one of my other favorite things and hung out with some babies and mamas. At one point Andrew, Laurel and Noam crawled into the "baby fort" i.e. behind one of the living room chairs and it hit me all of a sudden that the baby stage is ending and toddlerhood is just around the corner.

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testing, testing, 123

I'm trying out my new phone to blog. I' m not a fan of the touchscreen keyboard for blogging purposes, but otherwise it's pretty cool to have the internet everywhere I go. Next I need to figure out how to post images because Laurel's new toothy grin is totally awesome.

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More Updates, Less Posts?

Tomorrow M will start his new job. Since he is losing the perk of having a cell phone from work, we had to get him a new one. You are probably saying, "why M and K, that sounds like a perfect time for an upgrade." Well, that's what we told ourselves anyway. Although our hearts were set on iPhones, we ended up with HTC Evo's. This is the most gadget-y, high-tech device I have ever owned. In general I am opposed to spending large sums of money on devices that will be rendered useless if accidentally dropped in the toilet, especially with a ten-month-old around. However, I actually think the Evo will simplify my life. I can check my personal email from anywhere, share calendars with M, keep a shopping list, check my bank account, and probably a dozen other practical tasks I haven't discovered yet. I know a lot of you have been doing these things from your phones for several years, but all my previous phones, as my sister put it, barely made phone calls.

These phones also take pretty amazing pictures and videos, and I can upload them right from the phone. I have less time to write actual blog posts, but you can expect more video and photos now that I don't have to drag out USB cables and a computer to upload them.

School is going pretty well. I'm busy, but not stressed. It's challenging to be working with special education students, teaching a content area that I'm not familiar with, and writing a new curriculum. But I have helpful colleagues, a supportive administration, and plenty of resources.


Not quite morning...

The schoolbuses are chugging through the intersection outside, and I am somehow dressed and ready to go already, waiting on the coffee to brew. Is it morning if it's still dark? I prefer a life that follows the sun a little more closely. Laurel woke up at 4:55 today, making it to within 20 minutes of my alarm. In a few minutes I'll be in the car on my way out of the city, travel mug in hand. (You may recall that I once pledged to never again live a life where travel mugs were necessary part of the morning routine..."I'm finishing my coffee...")

There will be papers to grade and detentions to write. I will probably have at least one moment of panic at the whiteboard where I think I've forgotten how to calculate the mean, and then will realize that it's all fine and everything up there makes sense. My days at school pass quickly, I think because I have a really nice schedule. Teach four classes, lunch, prep, teach, prep, teach, go home. Laurel and I will be reunited and hopefully we'll go for a run this afternoon, since I'm signed up to run a 10K in two weeks.

Coffee's done!


Saturday Brunch

Man, I love these babies and mamas. I know I've said this before, but I don't think I would have survived the first few months of motherhood without these ladies. Not that Mark wasn't helpful, but sometimes you just need to sit around with some other women and chat over tea. Or have somebody else cuddle your fussy newborn while you go to the bathroom. Commiserate over sleepless nights and celebrate joyful milestones. Yes, it is very helpful when a half dozen babies are born right in your neighborhood within a few months of each other.

Babies Now and Then

They actually play with each other now, compared to the first time we arranged them on the couch and they looked like little lumps. Well "play" might be a stretch....they mostly just snatch toys off each other, while competing for attention from us by doing incredibly cute things.

And when the dads get involved? Well, it gets a little crazier...

It's fascinating to watch your own child develop, but it's even more amazing to watch a whole gang of babies grow up. Their personalities are so distinctive, and I can tell who is crying from another room, just by the sound of their voices. A couple of the kids are already walking and they'll all be there before we know it. Gone are the days when we could just line them up on the couch or floor while they dozed. When we all get together now it can only be described as chaos. Even if everything is going pretty well, one baby is falling on something, another two are play tug-of-war over a toy and the rest are either whining or babbling. It's impossible not to smile.

Constant Motion
If there was a theme to life these days it would be constant motion. The babies, us chasing the babies, us trying to get stuff done when the babies are sleeping, etc.

Laurel "Walks"


Laurel's "Stats"

We took Laurel for a well-baby check up today and she is doing great...29 1/2 inches long and 18.4 pounds. That's 90th percentile for height and 30th for weight, which makes her one long and lean baby. She was fairly well-behaved (can ten month olds "behave"?) at the doctor's office, but pulled her usual antics when getting into the car seat today. We made her appointment for her one year check up and I just couldn't believe that we are coming up on that milestone.

A year ago I had no clue what was coming my way. (For the record, I still have no idea.) I think the most interesting thing about parenting is that the game changes so often. Once you think you have a system figured out your kid goes and changes somehow and needs things to be done a different way. We get by through trial and error. Today I discovered that a drowsy Laurel can be turned into a sleeping Laurel by playing some Ol' Dirty Bastard. Now, who would have ever guessed that? I think I'm going to make a CD compilation of all the crazy songs that lull my crazy little baby to sleep.

Laurel's sleeping a lot better these days, on account of the less restful napping that she gets at daycare. I might be concerned about this except for the first time she's consistently sleeping for 11 or 12 hours at night and waking up only once or twice. This is a remarkable improvement from the "9 month teething related sleep regression" which was basically a continuation of the "4 month sleep regression" which was actually a lot better than the "2 month colicky-don't-sleep-at-all phase". I think it will take me a couple of months to really recover from the level of sleep deprivation I have been suffering. And once I do, I think I will write a book about all the things no one warns you will happen when you invite a small human being into your home.

Not that it's all bad. A lot of it's hilarious...like watching her trying to grasp slippery bits of kiwi from her high chair tray, or eavesdropping on guitar lessons with daddy. Some of it is heart-warming...I love, love, love that we have story time every night in our house, snuggled up together with Laurel carefully turning the pages of board books that are already wearing down in places. Every day is action-packed...Laurel is constantly attempting to dive off some high surface, or finding rocks that look like cheerios that somehow escaped the vacuum cleaner. Jumping is her favorite activity and yelling while jumping is even better than just plain old jumping. Life is good in a whole new way that I could have never imagined.


Daycare and Weaning and Weekends

It's nice to have a three day weekend following the first week of school. There have been so many changes lately, and it was nice to just hang out with my family for a few days. However, it raised a new question for me...do you keep the work week schedule on the weekends? It's more a problem for breastfeeding than for sleep. Before I started working Laurel was fed on demand. She was kind of a snacker and would nurse for short periods of time every hour or two. Obviously this worked because we were together all the time. Now, she eats larger amounts, a great deal more solid food, and nursing has been reduced to perhaps 4 times in a 24 hour period. But this weekend, I found myself falling back into old habits and nursing her a little more. We also slept in (woot!).

So my question is...do you try to keep your weekday and workday schedules the same? Or do kids learn to adjust back and forth between them?


First Fridays

Today was the first Friday that was really a Friday...you know, the kind of day that you long for all week, and it has a celebratory nature when it finally arrives. First Friday means a concert at the Frick Mansion, where we picnicked with a gaggle of babies and their accompanying parents. Kai is walking. Niam is crawling. Teddy is looking cuter than ever. And Laurel took delight in the whole scene and kept trying to steal somebody's sandwich. We barely noticed the music, but that was hardly the point. The telling comment of the night was "we'll never get them all in one photo again."

My first week of high school reminded me a lot of well, my first week of high school. Why anyone thinks it's a good idea to wake teenagers at the crack of dawn and gather them in large numbers in windowless buildings is a mystery to me. And why we require them to get up and move in great mobs through the building every 40 minutes is an even greater mystery. But I digress.

So far, this job is the best job I've ever had, which says loads more about previously held jobs than this one. They were so compliant. They follow directions. They abide by social norms. I witnessed no fights, was not threatened, and none of my property was destroyed.

Of course, they can also be a tad sassy, a bit chatty, and question absolutely everything you do. But that's the charm of teenagers, after all. We're still feeling each other out. What I love about school is the time apart. You get them for 40 minutes and then have a whole day to sort out what you learned about each other, or maybe a whole weekend.

I have a feeling that I will really look forward to Fridays from now on, even as much as a I enjoy the rest of the week.