Thursday, August 28, 2008

C's office

I'm currently sitting in C's new office about to get some work done on my dissertation for the first time in weeks. Before I begin though I had to post on how large C's office is! These pictures are from a few days ago (you can see the back of Wild Man watching "Beauty and the Beast" on C's computer), but I think this captures how large his office is. Seriously, it is probably 15 by 25 feet--we could easily fit a couch in here so Wild Man had a place to take naps on days C has to bring him to campus. I didn't think you got an office this size until you were tenured! Considering that I've just learned I'll be sharing my office with 4 other people, I'm seriously jealous. I guess that is the benefit of being a tenure-track professor rather than a lowly part-time lecturer. . .

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Family visits

We've been here less than a month, and we already have one family visit planned for the week of Wild Man's birthday. Yetta and Pita will be here; Yetta for the entire week, and Pita only for four days. I'm honestly feeling a bit of frustration over this for a few reasons.
  • First, I have a major dissertation deadline at the end of October that I have to meet if I'm going to defend in May and graduate in August. I do not have time (nor do I have the inclination) to take the entire week off and show Yetta the sights, which, despite what C has said to me, will be what happens. Yetta will step off the plain with a list of things to do, and she will passively aggressively say "Well, whatever you need to do, but I'd really love to see X, Y, and Z. But if you need to work, I understand."
  • Second, aside from that, I actually enjoy spending time with my MIL. Yes, I am aware that my comments here would indicate otherwise, but I really do enjoy my MIL. We have a fairly good relationship, and when it is just the two of us, I can talk fairly honestly with her. I am actually the one who found the cheap ticket for her, called her up, and asked her to come that week.
  • Third, Pita called a day after Yetta purchased her ticket and asked C to find her a ticket for the weekend of Wild Man's birthday. Now, Pita has internet access and has the ability to search for tickets herself, but she never does. Her presence complicates things a lot. She and her mother have a highly codependent relationship. They have to be together all the time, can't do anything without the other one knowing about it, and are highly competitive. So for the four days their visits over lap, there will be lots of comments along the lines of "Wild Man asked for me; did you hear that, Mother?" "Yes, Pita, but last night he said 'I love you, Yetta.' Did he say that to you?" It's all very annoying and tiresome.
  • Fourth, food is a huge issue when either comes to see us. Both are obese and both have serious food issues. The first thing they will want to do is go grocery shopping, even if I have stocked the house to the brim with food. Yetta will graciously offer to pay for everything, and I will graciously refuse. If I can I'll figure out how to avoid taking either to the grocery store, but somehow one or both of them will end up with me. Pita will pay for her own junk food (and I do mean junk food), so there isn't much I can say to her. Yetta will slip stuff into my cart and then later she'll give C cash to cover the cost of it. That means my grocery bill will double, and I'll end up with stuff in my house like candy bars, chips, brownies, and diet soda (does anyone understand the logic of drinking a diet soda while eating a candy bar? I sure don't.). For their week long visit while I was doing research in June, they did something similar. C told me he spent the entire week policing the food they tried to give Wild Man. They don't understand why we don't just give Wild Man whatever he wants or that we are consciously not using food as a reward or as a comfort. We both want Wild Man to not have an emotional relationship with food. I'll be tense the entire week about food.
  • Fifth, Pita is already asking me what we're planning to do for Wild Man's birthday. In all honesty, after the huge party we had last year, I want it to be low key this year. On top of that, we don't know anyone here. We may ask Blue Eyed Girl, the neighbor Wild Man has played with a few times, and her baby sister Brown Eyed Girl to come over, and we may ask Dr. and Mrs. Nice Guy and their teenage boys. But that would likely be it, and it may just be the five of us. I want it to be low-key, mainly because I don't really have the energy for anything big right now. And, as I said, I'll be a week or so away from a major dissertation deadline, so I don't think I'll be up for huge party. They are going to be disappointed with my plans, and you can be I'll hear about it.
All that said, at least C's family is planning a visit. I have no idea when my family will come. My mom did actually get her passport, but neither my father nor brother have. In fact, my father has pointedly refused to get one, telling my mom (I refuse to talk to him about this because really, I don't need any more stress in my life) that he can't afford to take time off to visit us so why get a passport. This, incidentally, is an outright lie. I know how much money my parents make, and while Yetta is in a much better financial position than they are, my parents are not paupers by any means. My dad is retired and is currently working full-time, and my mom works as well. They can afford to take a week off and the airfare to the nearest major U.S. city (which is about $500 cheaper than flying directly into CU Land and only about 120 miles away). My mom has told me she wants to come visit at Christmas, but convincing my dad is another story. My sister does have a passport, but her kids don't. That isn't such an issue in my mind, however, as my sister may be moving about 6 hours away in the near future. I know if she's that close we'll see each other a lot more.

So family visits are a huge issue right now. C's family's visit will bring lots of complications with it, but again, at least they are already planning a visit. Oh, and the questions about our next visit to Home State have already begun. . .

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Our new home

Here are some much requested images of our new home, specifically images of the main floor (the town home has 3 floors). Notice the kitchen curtains, which I made one day while Wild Man took a nap. Please ignore the laundry in the middle of the living room; C took these as I was bringing laundry up from the laundry room to fold it and put it away. Wild Man is watching Beauty and the Beast in the background, a film he's been obsessed with for almost 2 months now. I'll try to post images of the bedrooms once we finish painting our bedroom and my office.

Odd things in CU Land

Some things in CU Land are just strange odd to us. This is an image of one such strange thing. Can you tell what it is?

*Both Jennie and Supadiscomama guessed right! This is a bag of milk, although it isn't organic. I still can't justify the $8 for organic milk since Wild Man goes through a gallon and a half in a week. In the province we live in, milk is sold in bags. We purchase 4 liters at a time, which is a bit more than a gallon. The milk is divided into 3 separate bags (so about a liter and a third in one bag) and packaged in a large bag. The grocery stores sell these open pitchers, and apparently most people just put the entire liter bag in the pitcher and snip off the end of the bag, pouring the milk straight from the bag. We, however, are using a more traditional plastic pitcher; we pour the entire liter into the pitcher, which has a lid.

More odd things to come!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Play dates and naptime success

This morning Wild Man and I had our first Canadian play date. One of our new neighbors has a little girl, and they graciously invited us over to play this morning. Wild Man had lots of fun playing in his new friend's play kitchen. In fact, he's had lots of fun playing in play kitchens recently, so much so that C and I are planning to get him one of his own for his birthday. I had a nice time as well chatting with our neighbor and her friend, who has a little boy 9 days younger than Wild Man. We played for two hours, and then we walked home for lunch. Wild Man played so hard that he was falling asleep at the table! So today, for the first time in weeks, he went down for a nap at his normal naptime and without putting up any fuss. I'm off get some work done while he's down.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I have a new hero

Add Christina Applegate to the short list of celebrity women I admire. Applegate, who is only 36 years old, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. In an interview with "Good Morning America," Applegate announced her decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy. I admire this decision for a number of reasons, and here are a few.
  • Applegate works in an industry that values beauty above everything, and she has willingly "sacrificed" a part of that beauty for her health. She has decided to have reconstructive surgery, but with this decision, she is saying that her health and her life are much more important than her boobs.
  • Applegate is going public with this very private decision. To me, this shows that she isn't concerned with her image; rather, she wants to let other women know that this decision, which many individuals and doctors often view as radical, is a viable option. While others on the Situation have argued that celebrities have a responsibility to the public to disclose when they undergo certain medical procedures, namely fertility treatments and plastic surgery, I am not so sure I agree. They are, after all, people too and are entitled to keep their private lives private (although I would argue that the moment you show up at a club opening not wearing panties you have relinquished your right to privacy). I don't believe Applegate is under any obligation to share this information, but I do believe her decision to share it will help many other women facing a similar decision.
  • She is going so much farther than simply putting a face on the disease. Many celebrities have been open about their battles with various illnesses. By talking about her decision to have a doulbe mastectomy, Applegate is attempting to change (or at least I hope she is) the public's view of breasts. Consider this: she is famous for playing Kelly Bundy, the sexy, buxom nymphette who would have flashed anyone her boobs. Now she is letting it be known that she had said boobs removed to prevent her cancer from recurring. She is much, much smarter than her roles would suggest.
For these and many other reasons (remember when she personally bankrolled the musical "Sweet Charity" because critics lambasted her and the producers wanted to pull out; not only ws the musical a success but she was nominated for a Tony), I am adding Christina Applegate to the short list of celebrity women I admire.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Early Morning

This morning Wild Man woke up at 6:30, and he promptly asked C, who went to check on him, "Hold you, Mommy. Hold you, Daddy." In Wild Man-ese, this means "Father, I'd like to get in bed with you and Mother." Since Wild Man has been waking up between 5:30 and 6:30, we've taken to letting him get in bed with us (another bad habit we'll have to break at some point, but as we've all been through a lot these last few weeks, I happen to think a little family snuggling is in order!). Generally Wild Man snuggles between C and me, by which I mean he takes over the majority of the bed while C and I struggle not to fall off. He then goes back to sleep for at least 45 minutes. This morning, however, he was more interested in whispering secrets to me, so I decided to get up with him, allowing C to sleep in--something he allowed me to do Friday morning.

And you know what, I don't even care that Wild Man woke me up so early. I don't even care that I was up until well after 11:00 helping C put together a desk that had no written directions, only a very complicated diagram. We had to take it apart twice before we finally got it together! I don't care at all. And would anyone like to know why? Because last night, for the first time in our new home, Wild Man did not struggle to go to sleep at all. In fact, he willingly followed our traditional bedtime routine, and he fell asleep by 8:00 precisely. On top of that, he slept straight through the night! I swear I can do anything when I've had 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I'll happily wake up with him every morning at 6:30 if he goes to sleep without fuss and sleeps through the night!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Getting to know CU Land and other random thoughts

Yesterday, C, Wild Man, and I did some exploring in CU Land. We found a wonderful farmer's market that is open all year round. I am especially excited about the market as groceries are somewhat more expensive here than they were in Southwest College Town. There was a particularly lovely meat counter (yes, I realize it is odd for me to talk about a meat counter as lovely) with organic meats that are cheaper than the two grocery stores we've visited. Organic milk and yogurt has been cut from the budget though, as it is double the cost here. This means we'll be able to continue buying organic produce and some organic meat. The market also has a nice bagel shop, so we may make having breakfast and shopping at the market our new Saturday morning ritual.

There is a nice riverside park within walking distance of the market, which has lots of nice flower beds, a splash pad, and a playground. We took Wild Man over in the hopes that he'd burn off some energy, but he's been unusually shy in public recently. Today, we decided to continue our explorations, so we visited a local historic site, which includes an actual 19th-century village. Both C and I felt sure Wild Man would have lots of fun wandering around the buildings, seeing the animals, and running through the pastures. He, however, hung very close to us. He actually preferred to be held than to walk. He began to loosen up after the 30 minute wagon ride around the entire site, but he is still being much more cautious around new people than he's ever been. Of course, when we stopped at the small cafe in the village for lunch, he immediately drew the attention of a very pretty 4-year-old girl named Alexis, who promptly asked us if she could talk to the "cute boy." Once she checked with her mother, we invited her over to our table. She tried to get Wild Man to talk, but he steadfastly refused, preferring to bat his eyelashes at her from underneath the brim of his baseball cap. When she returned to her table to eat her lunch, Wild Man began hollering at her "Lessis, come play!" We tried to get him to use his inside voice, but to no avail. He continued to holler at her, embarrassing her and making her parents laugh. He, of course, didn't want to leave after that. Apparently it takes a full belly and an attractive older woman to bring my son out of his shell.

C and I are both feeling more comfortable in our new home. Each day we've discovered something new about CU Land that we really like, so a lot of my anxieties are slowly evaporating. Wild Man is also getting more comfortable, and his napping is improving. Both C and I realized that he seems to have stayed on Central Time; he's waking up around 7:15 or so, which is an hour later than usual (although he's actually waking up at 5:00 and going back to sleep with a little coaxing). He isn't falling asleep until 8:30 or so either. So I'm no longer certain he was (or is) regressing in terms of his sleep. I think he may not have adapted to the new time zone. For the past two days, we've moved nap time back about 45 minutes, and both days he's been asleep within 15 minutes, giving C and I some much needed time to ourselves.

Next week I finally get access to my office, which I'm sharing with someone, and to CU's library. I have a list of about 20 books I need to check out so I can move on to my next dissertation chapter. Somewhere in the middle of everything C needs to find time to write lectures, I need to start rereading the novels I'm teaching, and I also need to finish my Phelps chapter. Getting back to work will feel good, though. I think it will make me feel like we're really getting settled.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Battle of the Wills

As we speak I am involved in a battle of wills with my son. For the past hour and forty minutes he has been refusing to take a nap and I have been trying every method I know to get him to take a nap. Sleep has, once again, become an issue in our house, and frankly, it is making me, once again, feel like a failure as a mother.

Wild Man has been out of school for exactly one week, and every single day in our new home I've fought with him either to take a nap or to go to sleep at night. Yesterday afternoon I was in tears. Monday night he refused to go to sleep until he was so exhausted that he finally fell asleep at 9:30 sitting up in the corner of his crib. Today I started our normal naptime routine at 12:40; the routine was interrupted because he told me he had to poop so I rushed him to the potty (we're giving potty training a shot on top of everything else). After he successfully pooped on his potty, I laid him down on his mat and began to rub his back. It quickly became apparent that he was not going to sleep, and since C was at CU, I was left to deal with it myself. I left him alone in his room for 5 minutes, only to return to find that he had emptied an entire box of wipes. Wild Man generally naps on the floor on a quilt as this has been what has worked for us in the past, but after that, I put him in his crib and let him cry. I then checked on him every 10 minutes. When C got home, about 20 minutes ago, he tried, unsuccessfully, to get Wild Man to calm down and go to sleep. He is still standing up in his crib crying for me, but frankly, I'm spent. I do not know what else to do. I told C that we've been keeping him at home fulltime for a week, and I'm already exhausted. I just want him to take a decent nap so he isn't impossible to deal with in the afternoon. And, frankly, I need a break in the middle of the day to get some work done and to recharge my own batteries. I know he is just testing his boundaries, but I'm at my wit's end. I feel like a failure.

*Wild Man fell asleep shortly after I wrote this, and at C's insistence, I took some time for myself. Granted, I ended up wandering around Home Depot looking at light fixtures and paint, but I still needed some time away. We had a nice dinner, and Wild Man fell asleep with out incident by 8:20. C and I talked about the nap time frustrations, and he thinks part of the problem is that I've been trying to put him down too early. He typically doesn't go to sleep until 1:00 when he is at school, so tomorrow we're backing nap time up 20 minutes and C is putting him to sleep.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I'm tired

That sums it up. The last week has been a blur of unpacking, running errands, and filling out paper work. I said it before: moving to another country is a pain. We've filled out so many forms at various places that it is ridiculous. On top of everything that I'm trying to remember (new address, new phone number, new email, new directions) I now have to remember the Canadian equivalent of a Social Security number. Oh, and the room in the house that is now my office is tan with a weird pink stripe down one wall. Have I mentioned that I can't wait to paint it?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I have a kitchen!

This morning C and I plopped Wild Man in front of the TV, let him watch Beauty and the Beast all the way through, and organized the kitchen. I have absolutely no guilt about letting my kid watch an hour and a half of uninterrupted TV either since I can now cook dinner without searching through cabinets that my brother-in-law (he flew up before Wild Man and I got here to give C a hand with the unpacking) haphazardly organized.

Tomorrow we have to figure out a desk for C as we sold his before we left Southwest College Town. Once we do that, he can finally unpack all his books, which puts us one step closer to order. We're taking it easy, at least for us. C got a lot done before we arrived, so we really only have organizing to do. I figure we'll be all set in about 2 weeks, give or take.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Wild Man and I leave Southwest College Town today. We're heading to the nearest big city where we will stay with a friend overnight. We fly to CU Land tomorrow. I have to admit that I'm ready for this to be over. This experience has been exhausting--mentally and physically. It feels like I've been tearing off a huge bandaid as slow as possible, and frankly, I'm ready to be done.

I want to say something to all the friends I didn't have time to write a tribute to, particularly Sarah and Amy Reads. I wish we had been able to spend more time together recently, but as John Lennon sung, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." I hope you both know how much I love you and how much I will miss you. This move is, as I've said many times, bittersweet. I'm so excited about what we will find in CU Land, but I'm very sad to be leaving Southwest College Town.

I also want to add a note to my virtual friends, particularly Jennie and Lillian. You've both been so supportive that I find it hard to believe I've only met Jennie once and I've never met Lillian. You're both very dear to me, and I hope to continue our virtual friendships for a long, long time.

And as both Amy Reads and P-duck said to me yesterday, this isn't good-bye.

Monday, August 04, 2008

To L

Dear L:

As with all the other tributes I've written in the past few weeks, I find myself struggling to write yours. As you know, I'm rarely at a loss for words, so I'm just going to write from the heart.

In many ways, your friendship was so unexpected. On the surface, we have little in common except the fact that we were both pregnant at the same time. In fact, we met because of our pregnancies, and our friendship initially focused on our children. You were my "mommy friend." Wild Man and R were so much alike as infants that I knew I could turn to you after I had endured 5 sleepless nights. You wouldn't just sympathize--you could empathize, as you'd likely been up almost as long (or even longer with R). Being able to talk to you about how exhausted I was, Wild Man's struggles with sleeping, my desire to stop breast feeding even as I loved to do it, and so many other things has been wonderful. Frankly, I'm not sure I could have survived my first year as a parent without you to talk to--at least not with my sanity in tact.

As our boys grew, so did our friendship. I look forward to our daily emails, weekly breakfasts, and pool sessions. As your wonderful husband said to me a few days ago, leaving is hard because our friendship came so easily, so naturally, so effortlessly. I'm also sad to leave because I feel like we won't get an opportunity to know how close we could have become. But I know that isn't true, either. I know we will continue to talk daily, to cheer each other's parenting successes, and to help each other through the frustrations.