The Night Night Game

To really appreciate this photo, you have to imagine the fake snoring noises the kids make.


And the Easter Celebration Continues...

We stuffed ourselves silly at my grandma's in Rices Landing this afternoon. Here are a few photos of Laurel playing in the yard in her "Sunday best". We missed you today, Aunt Donna! Feel better soon!


Happy Easter

Today, we dressed Laurel up and took her out to M's parents house for Easter dinner, a day early. When you have a lot of family, you end up celebrating each holiday every day for approximately a week. Easter has turned out to be one of those holidays that is a lot more fun with a one year old than without. Secularly, anyway. I don't think Laurel has changed my stance on the religious aspect of it.

Laurel loves hunting for eggs. By "hunting", I mean, I put cheerios in her plastic eggs, and while she watches, put them under pillows or behind the couch. And then she runs up and "finds" the egg and opens it up and eats the cheerio. All while squealing with delight.

It's very fun.

I was also very happy today because we got to go see our Airstream. I spent a half an hour playing house, peeking in all the little nooks and crannies and cupboards. M found me standing in the shower, playing with the door. I remember liking the idea of a trailer when I was a little girl. I liked the idea of a small, tidy space, where everything has a spot to be stowed away in when you go from one exciting place to the next. I took a look at the curtains and slipcovers that I'll want to replace and started brainstorming about fabrics.

We made an impromptu stop at the toy store on the way home and I bought a package of fake mustaches, with the intention of wearing them in math class on Tuesday. I'm introducing ratios and proportions. Somehow it seems very logical to introduce a new topic while wearing a fake mustache. By the time we got home, Laurel was so tired that she asked to go straight to bed. I was reluctant to put her to sleep without dinner, but she insisted. An hour later, after M had cooked up a baked potato and the smell wafted through the house, she was up again, calling for us from her crib. We brought her downstairs and stuffed her full of leftover curry and a cupcake.

Now I'm trying to review for a certification test I have to take next weekend and bits and pieces of 11th grade are coming back to me. Cosecant. Remember that?

Spring Break, Part II

M has been sick all week. Laurel and I managed to escape (so far), however, Laurel did manage to do a face plant on the basement floor this morning, so we had to work an emergency visit to the dentist into our spring break. The nurse took one look at Laurel, who was already trying to climb on every piece of furniture and dental equipment in the room, and said, "I don't think she's going to sit still for an X-ray."

Umm. No.

I had to sit on the exam table, draped in lead, and then hold Laurel down, also draped in lead. Then we had to coax her to open her mouth enough to slide the film in, and then she had to hold still for the camera. Getting her to open her mouth for the exam was easy...we just tickled her.

She's fine. Soft foods for a few days and watch for signs of infection.

So, with all of that excitement, I should be conked out with M upstairs. But I can't sleep. We went to bed early and then a fire truck inexplicably stopped in front of our house, lights on and everything. Then it drove away. I resisted the urge to turn on the police scanner ap on my phone. Instead, I came downstairs for some chamomile tea and Jimmy Fallon.

Jimmy Fallon reminds me of last winter. Of nights and days turned topsy turvy. Of swaddling Laurel tight and ever-so-gently setting her down in the crib, praying she would not wake up. Now, she's sound asleep in her bed and I'm the one who can't sleep.


Spring break! Woot!

Five day weekend! Much needed break from my students! So happy to sleep in until 6:30! (Or maybe even 7.)

Laurel is talking a lot. Miss Sue at her daycare told me that she said "yellow" and pointed to a duck on a page in a story. She said "Where is the bus?" in the car today and then, "I don't know!" until she did see one, and then she said, "I see a big bus." I am not kidding. Full sentences. I was floored.

Mostly, though, she's playing around with words. Cupcake. Blue. Up. Breakfast. Baby. Mama. Thank you.

Baby is her favorite word. My dad bought her a little purse, and my parents stuffed it full of photos. Some of them are pictures of my brother and sister and I when we were kids, and some are of Laurel when she was a teeny baby. I wonder if she recognizes her infant self. Does she remember what it was like to be a baby? She always spends a long time analyzing the pictures of baby versions of herself and us.

There were things about Laurel that we learned right away, within weeks of her birth. She was strong-willed. Screamed like the dickens when she was not happy. She had strong legs - skinny, chicken legs - but she could always kick enough to make you pay attention. She was vocal from the first minute. I had to repost this video, because as Laurel's personality becomes more evident, I am reshaping my own ideas about nurture vs. nature. Laurel is Laurel and she has been since she came to us. Maybe there are things we do that help her grow into her best self (or not), but I can't make her into any kind of person.

So...enjoy this video of Laurel "talking" last winter, and I'll work to capture some of her new words on video during my spring break.


There is dough, and then there is batter...

There was a lot of bread-baking this weekend. Laurel says "dough!" and pulls a chair over to the counter so she can help, whenever she sees M pull out a starter or the flour. Her favorite part is to shake the flour onto the counter. This weekend, M and Laurel also baked cupcakes. However, it was all "dough" to Laurel...she does not understand the difference between dough and batter. What I like most about watching Laurel in the kitchen is how she gets very businesslike towards the tasks we give her. Toddlers have a way of traveling around rather aimlessly most of the time (I can only imagine what she's thinking..."oh, a bug! a shoe! I'll lick the wall now. where is my blanket? I need juice! I need mommy!"). But when Laurel is cooking with us she walks purposefully when we ask her to go get something. She stirs with vigor. She looks very serious when she's shaking or pouring an ingredient into the bowl.



I warned him...

I told him that Laurel was going to spill that kefir if he left her alone, and sure enough when she got almost to the bottom of the cup, and got impatient, she tipped it over, like she does every time and it spilled everywhere. All over her pajamas and the chair. "Uh-oh," she said. "I told you so," I said. And M just laughed, because it was funny...a toddler covered in kefir, looking somewhere between disgusted and delighted.

And then he made me watch this joke, while he scooped Laurel up and took her upstairs to change her, and I laughed and laughed.

And that's a Saturday morning around here.


Another Monday

Another Monday, after a Sunday that puts a smile on my face just thinking about it. Crepes with jelly and aeropress coffee and nobody rushing out the door before sunrise. I love the weekends, but not because we do anything special. I mostly just hang out with M and Laurel and catch up on the laundry. I love the weekends because that's what I wish the rest of my life was more like. Slow pace. Lots of hugs. Family.

This Monday started off warm and ended with a cool wet rain. My neighbor gave me a ride home from the neighborhood board meeting, two hours of a whole lotta talking. I go because I care about cleaning up litter and chasing away criminals, and it's good to know your neighbors. Also, my neighborhood contains particularly interesting and entertaining folk, and they are all really good cooks. We have enough urban excitement to keep the meetings grounded in meaningful action. I never have to worry about petty discussions on the color of your door or if you drag your garbage can out before 7pm. We have real problems to deal with in Park Place. Never mind that those real problems sometimes make me want to flee to the suburbs.

I made crockpot chili, so the house smelled warm and spicy the second we walked in this afternoon. Laurel ate a scary-big portion of chili and insisted on using a large soup spoon to do so. She says thank you in a way that puts a smile on my face every time. And she shares her food. If I give her a couple of crackers she always offers me one. I gave her a bath and we read some stories until M came home. He texted from the bus stop so we were waiting at the window and one of my favorite things of the whole day is watching them greet each other through the glass. Squeals of delight from the toddler and the biggest smile you've ever seen on the daddy.

Mondays used to seem kind of dreary. A reason to stay in. But we stay in all the time now, except for special occasions so Mondays are just another opportunity for me to smile about all the various little happy things that occur throughout the course of my day.


Why One Year Olds Rock

Today Laurel was standing on a chair next to the sink. (We wash the dishes together after school.) She leaned over and wrapped her arms around me for a hug. When she let go she looked at me and said "Thank you, mama!"


Found it!

My debit card, that is. I had a recollection of taking it from Laurel and putting it somewhere safe, but for the life of me could not remember. The gas tank is getting veeeerrry empty but I hate canceling my cards when I know they are (probably) somewhere. Unfortunately I did not find the missing piece of M's lunchbox that I lost a few months back.

There are 41 days of school left. The kids are counting, not me. They wrote themselves a big note on the front marker board. It means very little to me. I have to somehow write and conduct 26 IEP meetings over the next two months, in addition to all the regular teaching duties. Plus half of the kids on my caseload suddenly have urgent problems to be addressed, which means even more meetings. More subs in the classroom. Less time to dig in deep and ask students to think Why and Why Not about inequalities and interest rates and geometry. More worksheets, out of pure necessity and because (and this really outrages me) when subs show up to cover my class some of them say they don't "do math". In any case, I know that a few blinks-of-an-eye and it will be June. Summer vacation.

It's been a very sad few weeks at my job. I can't really say much about it due to confidentiality, but I have pretty much had enough of the world dishing out terrible circumstances to kids. Not fair.

I complain a lot about my life, because it's not very satisfying right now. I don't like the pace or the quantity or the endless list of tasks that send alarm bells to my cell phone all day and night. I remember when M and I first got outdoorsy and we did a lot of day hiking out in Arizona. Arizona has endless acres of national forest and BLM land to explore, some of which is not terribly well mapped. Sometimes we would set out on a circuit hike and it would turn out to be more difficult or longer than we anticipated. Sometimes the trail was nothing more than faint cattle prints across a dusty desert floor. Once we got deep into a patch of cat's claw. Anyway, there were many times when I felt like we got in over our head. I didn't want to keep walking, but frankly, when you are out in some desolate patch of desert, you have no choice but to keep going. And if you can let go of how angry you are that you planned poorly or didn't bring enough food or are running of out water, then you might just be able to look around you and realize how beautiful the desert is. Blue sky. Streaks of color across distant canyon walls. A lone flower on a saguaro.

So, life is good. I'm swamped at work, I lose everything, my daughter has a constant runny nose and a nagging cough that I pray will clear up on its own because I'm out of sick days. But I really just need to keep marching for the next two months and then stop and reassess, and get a better trail map and decide on my next move. And in the meantime we have a roof over our head and food to eat and I found my missing debit card.

However, even better things have happened this week then finding the missing debit card. I was supposed to watch Kai last night so Jeremy and Sarah could go to the hockey game. But Jeremy got sick. So he stayed home with Kai and Sarah invited me to the game! Best babysitting swap ever! The Pens won, there were several very exciting goals, and it was the last home game of the regular season. Plus the games always sell out, so there was a lot of exciting energy. And I love watching hockey in person.

We're hoping to head out to the airstream this weekend, and at least marvel at her shiny awesome-ness, if we don't actually have a camp-out.