Thursday, December 15, 2011

Updates on Things You Probably Haven't Been Wondering About

I have a long list of "real" posts lined up, waiting for me to write them. Among other things, I want to talk about ambition and my goals in life. I've promised Fishscientist that I will write a post about project management and becoming a project manager. And I want to write about how to keep pervasive sexism in your chosen line of work from getting you down.

But I can't find the time or the head space to write any of those things right now. It is all I can do to stay sort of caught up at work and semi on top of Christmas preparations at home. The month of December: brought to you by the letter C, the number 25, and the feeling of doing everything half-assed. It doesn't help that Petunia has brought several colds home to me since mid-November- I feel like I am constantly a little bit under the weather. Still, this is a huge improvement over last year, when Petunia and I spent most of December feeling really miserable.

So, I'll give you some updates on things I've written about recently, in no particular order. But don't worry- I'll have a "real" weekend reading post this week. In fact, I think I have three possible themes to choose between.


The ornaments on our tree are far more clustered than you can tell from the picture I posted. Maybe these two photos will give a better flavor for our ornament distribution:

Some have been moved since they were originally hung, but we're discouraging that, for the sake of my sanity.


The giveaway on my post about the Secret Agent Jo books is still open. I'll choose the winner on Saturday. I actually may have another giveaway post soon. I've been sent a copy of The Discovery of Jeanne Baret, by Glynis Ridley to review, and I think I get a second copy to give away. (Incidentally, I've started the book and like it so far- so, if you're stuck for a gift idea for someone who likes biographies of obscure but interesting historical figures, this would be a good gamble. However, I'm only about one chapter in, so I can't promise it doesn't suck in the end. And yes, if you're wondering, that description does fit me pretty well- which is why I agreed to do the review.)

Long time readers know that I don't do this sort of thing often- it is just random luck that I'll have two giveaways so close together. I've never done a giveaway before, and as far as I can recall, there are only two other freebies that I've reviewed on this blog- Baby Signing Time volumes 3 and 4 and 168 Hours, which I didn't so much review as use as a starting point for a series of posts. So never fear- this isn't turning into a blog where I'll write about anything someone will send me for free! I only accept things that I'm interested in, and I'll never sell my opinion. Still, if the occasional giveaway and/or review bothers you, feel free to tell me why in the comments. I don't promise to change my mind about doing them, though.

I also find it interesting to look at the readership stats. That Secret Agent Jo post has more hits than either my recent rant about women and negotiation or the post about being a feminist mother- two of my more popular recent posts. Clearly, Brenda's book tour is sending a lot of new people my way. I wonder if any of them are sticking around? (Any new readers out there who want to say hi?)

However, because Blogger isn't smart enough to filter out hits from crawlers, none of these are as popular as a random post I wrote about Petunia starting day care, which Blogger thinks 50,903 people have read. I am quite confident that there aren't that many people on this planet who are interested in Petunia's first days at day care.


I called the schools we're considering for Pumpkin to arrange tours, and discovered that the two magnet schools will have tours on Monday, January 9. My husband and I decided to take the day off work and do both tours on one day. When I called our neighborhood school, they said that they would probably have tours sometime in January, and I should call back then. At first I was a little bit annoyed with this answer, but then I figured that we don't have to decide whether or not we're going to our neighborhood school by February 15- just whether or not we want to try to get into one of the magnets. So I've calmed down on that front. If you have any additional questions I should ask, there is still time to tell me about them!


Pumpkin's reading skills continue to improve, and she's still enjoying learning to read. I am fascinated by the learning process. Watching my kid learn to read is one of the cooler aspects of parenthood so far. But I have to admit, I sometimes have a hard time sitting still and listening to her slow progress through a book. Our most recent book was Harry and the Lady Next Door, by Gene Zion, and Pumpkin was sooo proud when she finished it. I was just glad it was done- and that is not an indictment of the book, which is actually a good story.


Progress on weaning Petunia continues, albeit slowly. We're down to nursing before bed, mostly. Some nights, she forgets. And sometimes she really, really wants to nurse at some other random time. I decided to ease off on my self-imposed deadline of the end of the year. It didn't seem smart to add forced weaning into our mix this month. We'll be done when we're done, I suppose.

She is also still as clingy and mommy-centered as ever. I'm beginning to think that the approach I used to get through these phases with Pumpkin- namely, give her all the mommy she wants and just wait it out- might not be the right approach with Petunia. But I don't really have any other bright ideas that seem consistent with our parenting philosophy, so I continue to spend half of each night snuggling with Petunia in her bed. We definitely should have bought her a nicer mattress.

Her language skills continue to improve, though. She is now very clear when she tells her Daddy to go away if he tries to come to her when she wakes up in the middle of the night. "No, Daddy! 'Way!"


I think that'll do it for tonight. But if I've forgotten to update you on something that you've been curious about, ask in the comments.


  1. Ok, random coincidence time. DS is also reading "Harry and the Lady Next Door" right now. (Wow. What are the odds? We searched for other Harry titles at the lib only because he loved "Harry the Dirty Dog" so much.) He doesn't like the part where they send Harry out of the house and call him a bad dog because "He's not naughty, he just made a bad choice."

    Good luck with Project find a school and with Project C-25. ;) Be sure to ask what time each school starts and ends - we eliminated one school district from our consideration based on the fact that every Monday their schools have an 11am start - WTF, right? So shitty for working families, and sets a bad example IMHO - but apparently people either like it or have learned to live with it. It actually made an otherwise tough decision easier. Who knew the start time was going to be a dealbreaker?

    DD is uber clingy now, too. I wonder if she actually is more clingy than her brother was, or if our overall 2-kid lifestyle is making this more of a problem for us now than it was 2 years ago.

  2. My little girl was outrageously mommy-centric. Didn't want my husband to do anything if she could possibly have me instead. What finally tipped the balance was him starting to make up stories for her on their walks to and from school. All of a sudden there was this spot where Daddy was amazing, and then she was much more willing to accept either of us. But she'll still demand me more often than not. And she was older than Pumpkin is now when that happened. All this to say, you may be stuck with her wanting you all the time until something totally random and unpredictable happens.

    I'm very interested in Pumpkin learning to read. E still doesn't read (seems to be trying to teach herself to write first...which is very strange to watch), but she doesn't have any patience for things she isn't good at. She'll just ask me to do it instead. Occasionally there will be persistence (like the other day when she spent 10 minutes zipping her coat up) but unless she knows she can do something she'll just give up. I think I need to start getting really creative...

  3. Anonymous7:49 AM

    I had completely forgotten about the Harry books... I don't think I've seen one for like 25 years! But I used to enjoy him. DS never really got into the Sam and the Dinosaur books though, which I think of as similar. He just kind of skipped that stage entirely. He did/does love Frog and Toad though (and Mouse Tails and Chicken Soup with Rice).

    @Wendy-- we had a problem with perfectionism too: It is a work in progress.

  4. new! Hi!. Just got here from FeMomhist. Too overwhelmed with work to post real comments, sorry. Oh, but your tree picture made me laugh, last night I was looking at my tree and wondering how we managed (two adults mind you) to group a bunch of ornaments together and then leave this blank spot right in the middle.

  5. @hush- all public schools in San Diego have a "minimal" day one day per week, courtesy of budget cuts. They all start somewhere near 9 a.m. and get out somewhere near 4 p.m., except the minimal day, when they get out around 1. I have no idea of after care covers that day or not- we'll have lots to figure out! Luckily, we both have fairly flexible jobs, so worst case is that one of us takes a late lunch, picks her up, and delivers her to some sort of after care place. There is one down the street from our day care.

    @Today Wendy- we've had tinges of perfectionism here on things like coloring, but for some reason, it hasn't bothered her on the reading front. I can't really say why. My best guess is that she built up to it slowly, so each step was easy enough. We started with the Leap Frog DVDs, which taught her the letter sounds and the basic rules of phonics without her really working at it. Then she kind of dropped it for awhile. Then she started wanting to have us spell words for her with magnets and foam letters, which she would sound out. Then she dropped it again. Then she started sounding things out and trying to read- which is when we started getting her easier books to read.

    @Nicoleandmaggie- I'm looking forward to the Frog and Toad stage!

    @rented life- welcome! No worries about commenting or not. I love comments, but really, I just think its cool that anyone wants to read what I write, so lurkers make me happy, too.

  6. Your second ornament photo reminds me of diatomic molecules. So maybe you just have a science tree :)


Sorry for the CAPTCHA, folks. The spammers were stealing too much of my time.