Sunday, April 29, 2012


Somehow, last week, all the planets aligned in my favor (or at least I think it was in my favor), and Research Department decided a joint appointment was a good idea.  Oh, and that directly going against the express wishes of the dean was likely not a good move.  So my interview that has been scheduled for about 2 weeks is going forward tomorrow.  I've been prepping for the last 2 weeks, as you might imagine, but I spent a good portion of yesterday putting some things together.  Today I'm rereading my job letter, my writing sample, and my job talk.  I more or less know what questions to expect, but I want to put on the best possible "show" I can tomorrow.  Archer has taken over with the boys.  They are installing a ceiling fan right now, and later they will make a trip to Home Depot to buy some things for the garden.  He even has my muffin recipe in hand so he and Wild Man can make muffins while Bear naps later today.  My biggest concern right now: I woke up with a cold this morning.  Here's hoping I can stave the worst of it off with fluids and physical, if not mental rest.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pet Peeve

I know that what I'm about to write makes me an incredibly uncharitable person in many ways, but it is a personal pet peeve.  Therefore, the peeve likely says a great deal about me.  I'm okay with that.  Please don't remind me of my uncharitable nature; I'm already well aware of it.  I'm working on it.  I am, however, self-aware enough to realize this pet peeve is likely not going away anytime soon.  I have never told anyone who does what I'm about to describe how much it annoys me;  I have always successfully managed to hide my annoyance because I do know that, ultimately, the people making the annoying statement are making it out of love.  But honestly, it still irritates me.

Here it is: I do not like it when other people refer to Wild Man and Bear as "my little boys."  Call them your nephews, your buddies, your sweethearts, your grandsons, your great-grandsons, your friends.  Do not call them "my little boys."  They are not "your little boys."  They are mine and Archer's little boys, and we don't even refer to them that way.  Why?  Because, ultimately, they are individuals and we don't own them.  And neither do you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

And just like that . . .

the tide shifts.

I'm sorry for being cryptic.  I will write about everything that has transpired today, once I process it all.  Good, bad?  At this point, I honestly don't know.

Wild Man, Pink, and peer judgement

Wild Man loves pink.  In fact, pink is his favorite color.  He frequently laments the fact that boys' clothes aren't pink.  You see, he doesn't want to wear skirts or dresses.  He is quite happy in his cords and polo shirts, but he wants his polo shirts to be pink.  Or he wants a few of them to be pink.  Archer has several shirts that have pink in them, and Wild Man is having a tough time understanding why his father has pink shirts, but he doesn't.  (As an aside, I have a hard time with this myself.  Why is it okay for a grown man to wear pink, but not okay for a five year old boy?  I'm sure it has something to do with parents not wanting their sons to be too "girly" whereas an adult male has already established his masculinity, but I have no hard evidence to back this up.)  So Wild Man makes do.  He often wears a pink headband to school, especially on days he wants to dress up, and he wears his one pink shirt on any day he deems special.

Recently I've been putting juice in Wild Man's lunch bag for SK rather than water (this is a long story, but suffice to say, he doesn't drink the water and was saying he wasn't feeling well; I decided he was dehydrated, so I started sending juice.  He drinks the juice).  One day he asked me to put his juice in his pink sparkly insulated cup (like this one, only pink and sparkly).  I said sure, thinking "a cup is a cup is a cup," and began putting that cup in his lunch bag every day. 

A few days ago, while I was volunteering in Wild Man's SK classroom, one of the little girls in his class walked over to me during snack time.  She tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Wild Man's mom (this is what all the kids in the class call me), why do you let Wild Man bring a pink cup to school?  Don't you think that it is weird for a boy to have a pink cup?"  While she asked me this question, I looked over at Wild Man, who was sitting 2 tables away, happily drinking his juice and eating the strawberries I had packed him.  He hair was, as usual, hanging in his face, and he had green and pink paint on his pants from an art project he'd worked on earlier in the day.  I turned to his classmate, who was dressed head-to-toe in pink and silver sequined Mary Jane sneakers.  I said, "Well, Wild Man really likes pink, so no, I don't think it is weird.  Why do you think it is weird?"  She said, "Boys aren't supposed to like pink."  At this point, Wild Man overheard our conversation and walked over to us.  He said, "I like pink a lot, so I wanted a pink cup.  Pink is my favorite color.  I think anyone can like pink."  The girl looked at me as if to say, "Um, no, that isn't right," but she returned to her table and resumed eating her snack.  Wild Man continued his conversation about Star Wars, and I returned to the list of tasks Wild Man's teacher had asked me to complete. 

I am very proud of how Wild Man responded, and I'm really proud of how confident he is.  He likes pink.  He doesn't care what anyone else says, and he is clearly capable of handling such comments on his own.  I do have to admit that I was more than a bit surprised that a girl not a boy expressed discomfort with Wild Man having a pink cup.  I've been waiting on one of the boys in his class to say something about his pink shirts, his ties (yes, he occasionally wears a tie to school), his pink headband, or his pink cup.  I wasn't prepared for the girls to say something.  Now I'm wondering what that says about my own conceptions of gender.

More on the short of it

As I wrote yesterday, I had several meetings in an attempt to figure out how to proceed.  I met with Dr. Writing and Dr. Rhetoric, and I had a phone conversation with the dean.  Drs. Writing and Rhetoric were, as always, wonderful and supportive.  They helped me work through the decisions I have to make.  They also listened to me vent the process.  They outlined their vision for me, which more or less matches my own vision, and reassured me that they see me as a valuable member of the program, something they have already told me and, more importantly, demonstrated. 

I then spoke with the dean, who (as much as a dean can) expressed frustration with the situation and apologized.  As much as I've been able to determine, the dean isn't the problem.   In fact, the dean has been among my most vocal supporters, primarily from an institutional standpoint more than a personal one, but frankly, that's what I expect from a dean.  I will say that the dean sees me as key to several projects within the faculty, and the dean further sees both joint appointments and partner-placements as key to building a healthy, collegial community in the faculty.  I see those things as valuable too.  I like that I am a trailblazer to some extent; I do not, however, want to be a sacrificial lamb, and I said that to the dean.  We discussed the options available to me, and the dean is not ready to give up on the track we've been headed down since October.  I stated very emphatically that in an ideal world the current track is also my preference; however, I do not think it is likely to work out given the personalities involved, and I am no longer certain I can receive a fair assessment from several key players involved.  I reiterated that I do not want to be a sacrificial lamb.  I also stated I am not willing to renew my contract as it currently stands to "try" this whole process again next year.  Without using the word grievance, I made it as clear as I could that I've been advised that I have grounds for a grievance; to avoid taking that route, I want this matter resolved as soon as possible.  The dean was positive and supportive (have I mentioned I really like this individual?  I appreciate the forthrightness, again as much as a dean can be forthright, and the pragmatism this individual demonstrates).  We ended the conversation with the dean assuring me that I would know something definite by this afternoon.  We're scheduled to meet Monday morning, so I have some time to deal with whatever that decision is and make my own decisions.

As for how I'm feeling, I've moved on from being hurt to being pissed.  I realize that much of what is going on is political and most of it has little to do with me.  I am, unfortunately, simply the person who is seeking a partner placement, something for which I am more than qualified .  I am not asking for a t-t position to be handed to me.  Quite the contrary.  I've willingly and, dare I say, happily submitted all the same materials I submitted for any other job search.  I've been preparing a talk for weeks (Archer has read the damn thing twice, and my research group has read it once).  I expect to be evaluated, but I also expect that I'll be given a fair chance.  I have been working under the assumption that once everyone saw my C.V., job letter, writing sample, letters of recommendation, and teaching philosophy they would see what I bring to the table.  I then assumed hearing my job talk would help them see that I do something that is worthwhile, something that no one else at CU does.  I have not been naive, but I have assumed that people would be fair.  That's where I was wrong. 

I'll know something by 1:00 today.  And at this point, I have no idea what I want the outcome to be.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The short of it

At some point, I'll likely write a post that details "the long of it," but for now, I'll keep it short.
  • I first want to say that I am angry, frustrated, and hurt.  I can't explain specifically why yet, primarily because I have a series of meetings today that will begin to resolve the issue.  The success of these meetings depends, at least to some degree, in me keeping it together.  Given that I'm already dealing with hormones and that Disney's "Chimpanzee," which Archer and I took the boys to see this weekend, reduced me to tears for 20 minutes, I need to keep a tight reign on my emotions.
  • I also want to say that I am not naive.  I know how academia works.  I never believed any of the "promises" that were made to me.  In fact, the one person whom I've come to trust completely in this matter is the only person who never made me any promises.  I knew from the moment I signed my contract last year that all of this could fall apart.  
  • The drama continues with the conversion of my appointment.
  • I have had few expectations going into this whole process.  In fact, I started this academic year assuming the all-but promised conversion wouldn't take place.
  • I became more confident after multiple meetings with both department heads and the dean, each of whom assured me this would, in fact, happen.  The dean even said as much to Archer in front of Archer's department head--at least twice.  I was also advised, in good faith, that I did not need to go on the job market this year.  I did not follow that advice, but still, that is the advice I was given.
  • Since the talk of the conversion began (in October), other things have taken place which have made the conversion complicated.  None of these things have anything to do with me personally; however, I am now at the center of these complications.
  • One of the departments, which is notoriously competitive, has multiple faculty members who think more of themselves and the department than perhaps they should.  They are also vocally opposed to the idea of any sort of non-competitive hire.  I've been reminded repeatedly that this has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the "process."
  • I got some news yesterday that I was expected, but that was, nonetheless, upsetting.  The conversion will likely move forward, but not in the capacity that had been discussed for the past several months.  I am now left with major decisions, as in career changing decisions.  The decisions I have to make in the next few days (I could push it to weeks, but I'm 28 weeks pregnant.  I need this resolved, for my own sanity and health.) could potentially change the direction of my career for at least the next 5-7 years, if not permanently.
  • I will be meeting with the parties involved in the next few days to get their input, but frankly, I want some answers.  I feel betrayed by one person in particular (again, the reasons are really complicated), and I want some kind of explanation.  After all the assurances over the past several months, I think this person, who has been all but avoiding me, owes me the courtesy of answering a few questions.

Monday, April 23, 2012

To blog or not to blog

Currently I am in the midst of departmental drama, drama that affects the conversion of my position to tenure track.  As the drama has become more pronounced, I've refrained from blogging about it.  I try to remain as anonymous as possible, but I think it is likely easy to figure out who I am in real life.  So I avoid writing about things that could offend anyone or could reveal too much about my real identity.  But I'm finding I really want to write about the drama, yet I continue to hold back.  That is the question I'm struggling with today while I try to revise a paper for publication.  Do I blog, or do I keep quiet?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Parenting Dilemma, update

Following my previous post, Archer and I talked.  He raised a few points that had not occurred to me.  First, Bear has recently begun saying, "Don't hit me" when we've reprimanded him for misbehaving or (and particularly) being too loud.  Second, he has also said, "I don't want to play with K" and "I don't like K."  In fact, Archer told me that he's overheard a number of the children in Bear's class make similar statements in the past few weeks.  That one bothered me a lot.  You see, we can figure out how to explain to Bear that K is different, and that just because K hits doesn't mean that it is alright for Bear to hit.  It will likely take some time for Bear to understand, but I think he will get it after a few weeks.  I do not, however, want Bear to dislike K over behavior that, ultimately, K doesn't have much control over.  I want him to be empathetic and sympathetic.  Ultimately, we decided to speak with the director of the center to get her feedback regarding both the protocol for dealing with a child who has special needs and their plan for explaining the situation to the other children.

The conversation was, I'm happy to report, fruitful and informative.  The director confirmed that K is autism, although he is fairly high functioning.  Bear's teacher had already reported to incident to the director, so she was prepared for Archer and I to stop by.  She told us that the biggest challenge has been getting K diagnosed.  He displayed symptoms of autism at a fairly young age, around 9 months or so, but his parents (K is Asian) are fairly recent immigrants to Canada and do not come from a culture that is very accepting of such disabilities.  Now that he has been diagnosed, the parents have become much more willing to initiate meetings, to meet with specialists, and to develop action plans.  She explained the protocol for dealing with K's anger, which is much the same for dealing with any child who hits another child; the teachers remove K from the action and redirect him.  They have also employed a full-time aid who is generally always with K; unfortunately, this particular morning she had a doctor's appointment and didn't get there until after K had hit Bear.  When I described what happened, the director said she actually thinks K was responding to Bear's cries; like many autistic children, K doesn't like loud noises, so he hit Bear in an attempt to say, "That noise hurts my ears.  Please stop."  I buy that, and I even accept that.  As for explaining the situation to the other children, the teachers have begun reading more books about differences and how it is okay that everyone is different.  Unfortunately, there are very few books on the market about children with autism and their interactions with children who aren't autistic.  I know--I looked.  Overall, I feel relieved with the conversation, and I'm glad to know the center is being proactive in the approach to K.

As for us, we've continued reminding Bear that hitting is not okay, and we've even explained to Wild Man to be a bit more gentle when they wrestle.  We've also started talking about why sometimes there are different rules for different children.  We'll keep at it, and I hope that Bear will start playing with K, at least sometimes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Parenting Dilemma

For the past few months we've been dealing with Bear's anger.  He is almost three, and the kid has a temper.  As he has gotten more verbal he has gotten much better at controlling his temper and expressing himself.  He does have a tendency, however, to  hit Wild Man or me.  As an aside, Bear rarely hits Archer, and the only explanation I have for this is that at 6'2", Archer is much bigger than Bear.  Bear hits under fairly normal circumstance--when he and Wild Man are squabbling over a toy, when I'm disciplining him, or when he is unable to express himself.  As I've said, he has improved a lot in the past 4 months or so, primarily because we've been firm.  At times, I've been firmer than I'd like to be, but honestly, Bear responds to firmness in a way that Wild Man did not.  We were at a point when I thought we had almost moved past this stage. 

Recently though Bear has regressed a bit.  A few times a week he will walk up to me or to Wild Man and just hit us for no real reason.  Archer and I were both at a loss for this behavior.  We continued our normal discipline tactics, but it didn't really seem to work.  This morning I witnessed something that explains the behavior.

At daycare this morning, Bear was unusually fussy.  He has never handled drop offs particularly well, although he is generally fine less than two minutes after we leave his classroom.  This morning he was out of sorts because Archer's schedule necessitated that we took him to his classroom by 8:30, which means that we were out of the house a bit earlier than usual and that I was the only parent dropping off.  Any change can throw Bear off, whereas Wild Man adapts much easier.  Because he was upset, I spent more time with Bear.  As I was finally able to get him settled into an activity with one of his teachers another child came up to him and smacked him in the face.  It wasn't a hard smack, but it shocked Bear.  He went from whining to full on sobbing.  The teacher nearest Bear picked him up to comfort him, and the other teacher ran across the room to redirect the hitter.  Unfortunately, she wasn't fast enough, and he hit Bear again.  The teachers both apologized to me, and I didn't say much.  As the situation was under control, I left.  I knew my staying would only prolong how long it took Bear to calm down, and frankly, I wasn't sure I could be in the room with the hitter.

So here is the dilemma.  The hitter has some sort of developmental delay.  I'm inclined to think he is autistic, but I have no confirmation of this.  I know an aid comes in to work with him every day; I know he gets speech therapy; and I know there are pictures and charts posted around the room reminding him of the rules and the schedule.  I also know he takes his clothes off regularly and that, at 3, he doesn't yet speak, nor is he potty trained.  I've seen some behaviors that suggest autism, but I haven't asked.  It also isn't the center's practice to disclose which children have disabilities or what those disabilities are.  I do think, however, that Bear may be learning to hit in certain circumstances from this child.  Considering how hard we've worked to get Bear to stop hitting, I really don't want to start all over. But I'm not sure what to say or even how to broach this with Bear's teachers, both of whom were Wild Man's teachers and both of whom I really like.  I realize there is only so much they can do, given the rules of the center--time out isn't an option, and it likely wouldn't work for this child.  But I think there must be a way to let the other children know not to mimic the hitter's behavior.  Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


So I'm contemplating ordering some curtains for my kitchen.  Actually a friend from Southwest College Town is starting up a sewing business, and she has offered to make some curtains for me for what I think is a really reasonable price.  Now I'm just trying to decide on fabric.  I like this one, this one,  and this one.  For some reason I want birds for the kitchen, and Archer assures me that isn't odd.  Is that because he's a good husband or because of what he does for a living?  Ultimately, our kitchen will have white cabinets and will be painted a butter yellow with blue accents (at least, that is the kitchen of my dreams), so I think these fabrics will work.

Dreaming of fabrics is a new thing for me.  I wonder if I'm actually nesting.  I've never done that before--yes, I've cleaned and organized prior to the birth of each of my children, but more because, well, it needed to be done, not because I had some overwhelming, uncontrollable desire to do it.  I really just want to redecorate the house though, not nest.  We've been here for 9 months, and it still doesn't feel like ours.    I'm thinking new curtains for the kitchen and a coat (or four) will help.

Job drama

So it occurred to me that I haven't written about job drama in a while.  I will say, however, that it is still ongoing.  I don't really have the energy or the inclination to blog about it now.  I will write a long blog when it is finally over.  With any luck, that should be in the next two weeks or so.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The third pregnancy

My ribs hurt.  A lot.  That is all.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

More names

So we have another name conundrum.  Both our boys are named after someone, and we want to continue that tradition with #3.  If this baby had been a girl, she likely would have shared my middle name.  Now that we're fairly certain #3 is a boy, we're still contemplating middle names.  Honestly, there aren't any male relatives or friends we feel particularly compelled to name the baby after.  We briefly considered Archer's father, but both his brother and our nephew are named for Archer's dad (can I say how completely ridiculous I think it is to have a "Third" in a family that isn't the Kennedys or the Quincy Adams? Just saying.).  Therefore, neither of us really sees much need to honor Archer's dad again.  Wild Man is named after my grandfather, and for reasons I don't even know that I can explain, I don't want to use my father's name.  A few weeks ago Archer suggested the male equivalent of my middle name, but that is a name I don't really like.  So we tried another tactic.  I looked up my middle name and tried to find a male name that means the same thing.  There is a minor problem, however.  My middle name is a fairly normal name, but it isn't spelled normally.  My middle name doesn't exist in naming dictionaries.  Thus, I just looked up the normally spelled version and tried to find male names that mean the same thing.  Um, yes, we don't like any of those names.  Well, we sort of like one.  So what is my point in this rambling post?  This baby is going to be hard to name.

Monday, April 02, 2012


We're currently in the midst of the name game at our house.  We've narrowed it down to two names we both love, and we have two others we both really like.  As with Bear and Wild Man, we won't name the baby until he has been born.  We recently discovered that one of the names we both love--and the one that Archer especially loves--is becoming increasingly popular.  That turned us both off a bit.  It is still far from a name you hear every day, but there is a distinct possibility there will be more than one "X" running around the playground by the time #3 starts kindergarten.  Suddenly, one of our top choices is feeling a bit worn.  And, honestly, that makes me sad.  Why do we care that other people like this name?  So here is a question for my readers: would you pick a name that was either growing in popularity or already popular?  Does that matter to you?