Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Little Light-Hearted Mom-blogging

So... let's talk about something a little less heavy today, huh? Like what adorable kids I have.

Actually, I wasn't planning to post today at all, but while I was brushing Petunia's teeth this morning, I realized that I had to capture how funny that is here, so that I can remind her of it when she is 20. Most babies and toddlers fight getting their teeth brushed, right? Pumpkin definitely did when she was Petunia's age. But not Petunia. If I say "time to brush your teeth!", she opens her mouth wide, ready to have her teeth brushed. And she keeps it open while I brush her top teeth. Then she closes her mouth and tries to take the toothbrush away from me, but if I say "no, say "ahhh" so that I can brush your bottom teeth", she opens up again and lets me finish. Then I give her the toothbrush and let her brush her own teeth a bit. After a few seconds, I say "can I have the toothbrush?" and hold out my hand, and she hands me the toothbrush. It is a little freaky, really, and unbelievably cute.

Petunia seems to be in no real hurry to walk. She can walk- we've seen her take as many as seven steps unassisted, but for the most part, she prefers to use her walker, or walk while holding onto our fingers. If those options aren't available, she crawls. Her day care teacher told Hubby a really cute story about this. She is in a room of "older babies"- most can walk, but none is more than about 18 months old. They go outside into a little fenced play yard in the afternoon. One of the teachers leads the walking babies out, and then the other starts ferrying out the non-walkers. Well, Petunia loves to go outside. Really loves it- she sobs like her little world is ending whenever we bring her inside after some outside time on the weekends. So you can imagine how upset she gets when she sees the other babies heading outside without her. One day, she was sitting on the floor, crying and holding up her arms imploring the teacher to take her outside, too, when another of the little babies toddled back to her, held out her arms, and helped Petunia walk outside. That must have been almost too cute to bear. We just hope that Petunia decides to walk on her own soon. The crawling around outside is ruining her pants!

Just about the only thing Petunia isn't doing so great at is sleeping. She had been doing so well- she was only waking up once in the night, nursing, and going back down easily (as long as I brought her in to bed with us). But then she got a series of colds in December, and her sleep is now all messed up. She's waking up as early as 9:30 and fighting our attempts to get her back down. Since Pumpkin's bedtime routine doesn't end until about 9:00, and she often calls me back in a few times to turn her pillow over, or tell me that she's had a bad dream (which she hasn't, since she hasn't been to sleep yet), or do any of the myriad sleep-avoiding things preschoolers do, I'm not getting much time with Hubby in the evenings. And with Petunia waking up so much in the night, I'm exhausted despite the fact that she is pretty much forcing me to go to bed early. So, now that she is mostly over the congestion from the last cold,  I need to start working on getting her back to more bearable sleep habits. Before she hits the 18 month sleep regression and it all goes to hell again.


Speaking of Pumpkin.... She's learning so many Chinese words now that I'm struggling to keep up with her. The teacher started working on character recognition, using some matching flash cards. Pumpkin loves this game, and is surprisingly good at it. She really wants me to buy our own set of the cards so that we can play it at home. I'll probably break down and buy them- I could make some, but my inability to actually draw Chinese characters would slow me down and turn a simple little project into a major undertaking. On the other hand, I have a fair amount of free time these days.... so we'll see.

Pumpkin is oh so close to figuring out reading, too. Last night in the bath, I got out her foam letters for the first time, and I made her words to read. With a little prompting, she got the idea, and recognized lots of three letter words: box, fox, mat, hat, etc. Then I pushed my luck and tried "day", and that put a stop to the gain. She could tell me the relevant rule ("when two vowels go out walking, the first one does the talking"- thank you LeapFrog Talking Words Factory) but she refused to "read" the word, so we packed up the letters and finished the bath. She doesn't like not knowing something. I suspect we'll spend a lot of effort working on that over the years.

The thing she likes the most right now, though, is playing games. We've had the standard Memory Game since around her third birthday, and she has always enjoyed that. Recently, though, she got two games she loves to play- Candyland and Zingo, and we play at least one of those pretty much every day. She's surprisingly OK with losing, as long as we'll keep playing. The games are surprisingly fun when the person you are playing is so completely into them, so we don't really mind humoring her.


And what about me? I'm doing OK, other than that whole crappy sleep thing. The job search is going slow, but that doesn't really surprise me. I had a phone interview and an informal lunch interview (for two different jobs) in December, and both went well. Both jobs seem like strong contenders to come through- but of course, nothing is certain until I have a job offer, and no one is feeling any pressure to hurry things along these days. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I've been working on slides for my "job talk" recently. Those are mostly done, so I'm ready for a formal interview whenever one comes my way.

I'm doing all the usual networking and job site searching, but so far, I haven't turned up any other full time positions to work on. A couple of people have told me that they think I could pick up some consulting work, so I think my next steps will be to get my personal website (the one that uses my actual name) spruced up, and to set up Google Apps for that domain so that I can have a more professional email address than my current one.

I'm continuing to play around with ideas related to this blog. I've published the blog for the Kindle, although I'll be genuinely surprised if anyone really wants to read it that way. I'll be putting Google ads on here, too, just to see how that goes. I don't really expect to make much money from the ads, but I'd like to experiment with them so that if I do get that travel website I keep talking about set up, I'll have already made my rookie mistakes here. I hope you guys don't mind being my guinea pigs- but it is really useful to have a space where I can try things out and learn about them. I'm also still playing around with my Zazzle store, and slowly adding things there. I really don't expect much from that, but it is fun, so that's OK. I'm enjoying thinking about what sort of product best suits each photo. For instance, I have a photo of a tea plantation in Malaysia. So I made a tea mug:


Which amuses me more than it should.


  1. No comments yet on this super sweet post??! Let me be the first then!

    Hope Petunia's (who sounds adorable BTW) sleep issues resolve themselves soon - "it's the smart ones that don't sleep" - right? ;) So cool that Pumpkin is loving games, and starting to learn words and Chinese characters! Thanks for the rec of LeapFrog Talking Words Factory - sounds like a fun learning tool for the kiddos.

    Best of luck on those 2 job leads!

  2. I love hearing these stories! SOOOO cute about the other toddler helping Petunia go outside. And I'm so amazed by Pumpkin's progress with Chinese!

    Good luck with the job search.


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