Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Eating Monster & Children's Books


Q was an eating monster today, from sharing my BDBIT at a Hobees brunch, to sampling dried mango and endless grapes at K&J's housewarming party. He still had room to down a big bowl of chicken, veggies and nooodles for dinner. Either he's gotten taller in the last week, or his balance and reach have improved, because he can stretch his arm and get his sippy cup off the kitchen table now. He almost knocked off my dinner plate as well, so we're going to need to start leaving an empty zone around the table edge.

Q has been particularly fond of physically large books recently, so I went to the secondhand bookstore yesterday in search some big board books. Our families have given us some gorgeous paper books that Q admires greatly, but we need some that won't disintegrate as quickly when chewed upon. We still have credit at BookBuyers from last year's purge, so it feels like free books!

I searched through two big shelves, and it amazed me how many lousy kiddie books there are. Many are cheap marketing tie-ins, with incoherent stories. Others have electronic gizmos attached that play sounds and can't be turned off. Still others had stories where the first 10 pages heap abuse and derision on the main character, but something cosmetic happens on the last page to make everything ok.

I ended up picking up "Happy Town," which describes a barber shop, grocery store, bakery, etc., a picture book of animals, a cheerful story about a backhoe loader named Scoop (a high-quality tie-in from the Bob the Builder franchise), and a story about a Chinese cartoon cat. My dad is a fan of the cartoon, and I figure he might enjoy reading the board book version to Q.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Shoes and Strollers

I took Q with me to the mall to get him a larger size of Robeez. He mostly wears his rubber-soled clompers these days, but it's nice to have the softies for baby gym. I held out the fire truck design and he seemed pretty excited, so it was an easy choice. The Robeez website includes a "chubby red crab" pattern, but I think we're saturated on sealife for a while.

Q trotted along on his little legs, pushing the side of the stroller, while I guided us around kiosks and mall-goers. The noise of the elevator at Macy's alarmed him, so I picked him up before we stepped out. I didn't anticipate to what that would lead. The little dude discovered that he could now grasp the padded handle bar. Since he can't normally reach the bar, it is fascinating by definition.

After various attempts at putting him down to walk resulted in siren-like wailing, I ended up carrying him with his bottom against my torso, my arms around his waist, while he leaned forward, pushing the stroller with both his hands. Whenever I needed to add my hand to the handle bar to turn a corner, he would do his best to pry my fingers off the handle. Cute, but not very comfortable.

Once we got to a less crowded place, I pulled aside and managed to convince him that sitting in the stroller was going to be a much better way to go.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Plush Cuteness and Other Things


SwingDaddy has considered limiting my access to My Paper Crane, where Heidi Kenney regularly posts photographs of her latest plush creations. I wrote about her cute cabbage collection last month, and have made SwingDaddy look over my shoulder at her latest projects - the most adorable grilled cheese, pumpkins, and cotton candy.

Today, she wrote that her blog stats told her that she gets over 13,000 hits per day, and she has no idea who is reading. So I'll be leaving her a comment that explains I've loved anthropomorphic veggies since Mom gave me a plush broccoli by The Vegimals when I was eight.

The fondness has extended to lobsters and other extremely cute sealife.

~~
In other news, I've finally moved forward in the cell phone replacement debate. There's a new corporate mobile mail standard at work, and I've been issued a Treo. Since it's very business-like, I've gone ahead and ordered a few cell phone charms in the form of Jam-Bun and Friends to even things out.

We had a pleasant evening, walking to dinner and enjoying the good weather. I snapped a picture of Q and what we've dubbed his "security broom," which SwingDaddy has posted. The whiffle ball is still intact, one day later.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Parenting Peace


I read MetroDad's post yesterday on Chilled-Out Parenting and have to say "Hooray!" There is enough trauma and hard work involved raising children that we don't need to generate "Mommy Wars." MetroDad writes, "Personally, I think all of these so-called parenting controversies are really just symptomatic of people having too much free time on their hands."

Our Moms Group has been terrific. (I say "Moms" because the class where we met was for new mothers, but SwingDaddy has been just as involved as I have.) We have breastfed for different lengths of time, some of us still rock our babies to sleep, others do CIO, some are stay-at-home moms, others work in the office full-time, so on and so forth. Everyone's been pretty open minded and always supportive. Can't take that for granted!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Time with Mama

There's a big summit at work, so it's a busy week for both SwingDaddy and me. His team is working late tonight, preparing for a demo, so Q and I had an evening to ourselves.

Q has always been more clingy to SwingDaddy than to me, but lately he's been hanging on to my leg too. I love it! The photo has a funny angle because I'm pointing the camera straight down at him.

Nanny J reports that Q was very adventurous at his baby gym class today. He pushed a little cart around, went to find stuffed animals under his own initiative, and participated in the circle songs. It's taken him a few weeks to warm up, so I'm really glad that he's having fun. I'm going to take some strategically placed vacation days so that I can go to baby gym too!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Putting on My Top Hat

Or sealife hat, in any case. I couldn't resist putting Q in his new shirt and hat this morning. The shirt bears an orange puffer fish, turtle, and sting ray, and the hat is festooned with octopi, sea stars, sea horses, and jellies. If I'd known how much kid stuff featured cute sea creatures, I might have been willing to have a baby earlier. Just kidding!


He's getting better and better at his signs, including pointing one finger at his mouth for "drink." At dinner, he alternated between telling us he wanted water or more banana bread. Real communication!

SwingDaddy has reported Q's "vertical" eating, where he holds his toast perpendicular to how you'd expect. I've seen him do it when SwingDaddy gives him food, but he seems to take regular, "horizontal" bites when I give him toast. I'm not sure what kind of pattern you can make from that.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Tufty


On average, people lose between 50-100 hairs per day, due to the normal hair growth cycle. When a hair is shed, a new hair from the same follicle replaces it. However, when you are pregnant, you don't shed those usual hairs. Most of it stays attached to your head, giving an especially luxuriant look to one's mane.

After Q was born, I wondered when the extra hair was going to start letting go. Sure enough, three months later, a hefty handful attached itself to my hairbrush. The bathroom floor was coated with a layer of hair for weeks. We were sweeping all the time. I lost some more of the preggers weight and was certain it was all hair.

When that drama was past, some new growth came in, also apparently not uncommon. There was one set of brand new ones at my hairline that were particularly stubborn, with so much character that I gave it a name. Tufty. Tufty stood straight up, pointing at the sky, and refused to cooperate with the rest of my hair.

At my last haircut, my stylist noticed that he's grown a lot. Too long to lunge away from my head, but still a maverick.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Lovely Days


Our friends were married in great style yesterday. They looked so happy! We brought Q to Memorial Church, where he carefully observed the proceedings and waved at another friend who was standing in the balcony, waiting to play a prelude on the grand organ. He particularly enjoyed the beautiful music during the ceremony.

SwingDaddy and I had some great dances at the reception, after Q went home to play with Nanny J, and swapped stories with old friends. There were several marriages and babies that were news to me, plus we heard about two separate friends who have decided to be stay-at-home dads!

I did my best to take pictures of the dance performances. Yes, exhibition dance is (happily) an inescapable part of all gatherings in our social circle. My still shots were fine, but the action photos were sadly blurry. I think I've gotten as far as I can on instinct and will have to read the manual to figure out the right settings.

However, there was no lack of photography last night.


The paparazzi are everywhere these days!

We had a lovely day today as well. Q and I had a snuggly morning, reading stories and playing. He was even cooperative enough that I was able to bake a batch of banana bread for him. We headed to the outlet mall, where we found summer-weight pajamas and a really, really cute sun hat for him. It's festooned with sealife, of course.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sleepy


The cute favors from our friends wedding today, complete with treats inside. More later, it's time to sleep.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Crafty


For the last 13 and a half months, I haven't done much in the way of sewing or other crafty projects (gee, I wonder why), so I was thrilled to finish a few little things tonight. While SwingDaddy rocked Q to sleep, so I ran out to Aaron Brothers and found all the necessary materials in the twenty minutes before they closed.

1) Selected a frame and matte for the "Angel" photo taken by Todd. We have about a billion snapshots of Q on the fridge, but this is the first one we've framed nicely.

2) Selected a simple frame for our friends who are getting married tomorrow. I found a photo from a past concert, so that it can be pretty on their gift table.

3) Got a new piece of glass cut for the Lance Armstrong picture that SwingDaddy received at the 2004 Ride for the Roses. The frame fell over and cracked months ago, so it's nice to have that repaired.

Plus, I made a custom Double Happiness envelope for our soon-to-be-married friends. It ought to be red, but she loves the color yellow so much! Hopefully, they'll think it's cute and not an insult to cultural tradition.

This is pretty minor stuff, compared to the ten 1925 flapper dresses that E and I designed and sewed from scratch in three weekends, but still satisfactory.

~~
President Bush came to visit our work campus this afternoon, closing down many of the streets and adjacent parking lots, so SwingDaddy and I both worked from home. I wonder if there was anything useful or surprising presented.

~~
Q has been saying "mama" regularly for a few days, and with some prompting, has added "baba" (Chinese for Daddy) to his vocabulary today! He's not quite clear on the concept of who is who, but it makes us smile just to hear the words.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Apple Juice


I picked up a quick sandwich at the cafeteria at work the other day, and noticed that the little apple-shaped bottles of Martinelli apple juice are now plastic. Oh no! I have a special place in my heart for those bottles.

When I first graduated from school, I did a four year stint at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in systems integration. The summer I started dating Swing Daddy, my team was working crazy hours, 80-100 hours a week. The project manager would go to Costco to stock the team snack cabinet, since food would keep us at our desks longer.

Everyone had a favorite snack. The DBA loved Rice Krispy treats; the architects consumed buckets of Red Vines; animal crackers disappeared by the pound. My item on the shopping list was Martinelli's apple juice in little glass apple-shaped bottles.

One afternoon, Ms. Manager arrived with my case of apple juice in regular bottles. "This will not do!" I wailed. "They have to be apple-shaped bottles!"

I can't believe I actually said that to my boss. And even more, I can't believe that she spluttered and apologized and promised that she'd "do better next time."

We were soooo tired and sleep deprived that management was afraid we'd all quit.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

More Spinning


Dad and Mom sent video of me at Q's age, spinning around in the living room. Too funny! I was sort of oscillating, first turning one way and then the other. There is also later footage of me spinning around to "change costumes" like Wonder Woman.

I purposely cropped the photo above wide, so that you can see all the snow. Boy, it's been good to have the last two days of beautiful sunshine. Q and I went for a long walk after work today.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

He Gets That From Us

Little Mr. QT has advanced his dance repetoire from the simple bounce all the way to one footed stomping and get this, spinning! When I came home from work today, Nanny J was laughing at Q's routine. Like a tiny whirling dervish, he'd spin around and around in place, and then he'd fall over. Huge giggle fit. Start again.

I'm so proud! He and I were able to do double pique turns* when he was a five month fetus. And now he's spinning all by himself.

*Mind you, I'm no ballerina, so it's a good day when I can do that even when I'm not pregnant. The day I nailed doubles on both sides while carrying a passenger? I will always remember that. I jumped up and down at the end of the sequence, saying, "I did it!" before patting my belly and correcting myself. "We did it!"

~~

Dibs

Do SwingDaddy and I need to start calling dibs on blogging topics? We are overlapping the same stories, but hopefully it's still interesting enough from our different perspectives, in case you read both our blogs.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Peter Jackson, Take Note for Future Productions


Stuntman Q practices his blue screen acting techniques.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

New Skillz and Tea

Q has enjoyed chewing on his wooden puzzle pieces for weeks, but today he's learned to match them up to their spots in the board and even fit them into place! He's also getting much better at triggering the sound buttons on his animal book. Quack, quack, moo.

We had a lovely time at Lady O's Sherlock Holmes tea this afternoon. Excellent conversation and all around fun. Q didn't show any signs of the fussiness from yesterday (must have been teething) and did his best to reach that shiny TV button again. Quote of the day:

Lady O to Mr. E: I read a website on proper tea preparation, since a real British person would be joining us.

Mr. E (in his best Queen's English): Because the Chinese know nothing about tea?

Happy Easter


Plush Peeps! I just had to bring one home and send a note to ljc, since she too is a Peeps fan.

And Happy Birthday to Mom!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Studio on the Move


Ballet class was a little different this morning. The ballet school has moved its studios a few blocks down the street to a new, larger facility. It's a great space! The heat wasn't working yet, and they still need to figure out some logistics (like having the right doors unlocked), but all three dance spaces are well portioned with high ceilings. The other students kept marveling at the "aircraft hanger" size of the largest room, but I've spent so much time in Roble Dance Studio that it didn't really compare.

One concern: Having worked on the business end of the arts, I'm hoping that they are going to be able to bring in enough money to pay the rent. I guess it's one more incentive to keep going to class and stay in shape. ;)

The photo is from our 2004 concert "Stepping Out," featuring the lovely ballerina V.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Name This Animal


I think it's a dog. My mom and Nanny J think it's a mouse. In any case, it's a very cool pull toy from Q's grandparents when they came out to visit from Ohio. The wheels have a thin ring of rubbery material that lets the creature roll silently with no rattling. Of course, Q promptly inspected the toy and found a surface that would make a loud, satisfying sound when smacked against the floor.

We looked at the packaging, and it just says that it's Zolo Zippy Scoot. What do you think it is? Or are we being species-ist to insist that it needs a category?

A few months ago, I was delayed in the Newark airport when my plane developed a flat tire on its inbound landing. While American Airlines flew a replacement jet from LaGuardia, I had time to visit the remarkably good toy shop in the airport. Like most babies, Q liked to chew on the tags of his stuffed animals more than anything, so here was a toy entirely made of tags.


I thought it was a mouse, but the labeling disagreed - officially, it's a lamb. I figure that if its species is that indistinct, we can pretty much call it anything. I'm partial to hedgehogs, so he's now "Taggy the Hedgehog."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Air Time


We had a good time rehearsing our dance troupe tonight and spent a little time working on the acrobatics. This photo is from a Big Air II practice session a few years ago. It's hard to tell exactly what's going on, but SwingDaddy (on the right) is dive rolling at the same time the other dancer is about to dive roll over him. I think the best action is in the background though.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Latest in IP Telephony


Vendors have been touting in-line power to their IP Phones for years. Even better - we have drool-powered telephony!

Sorry, geek work joke.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hey, Come Back Here



Yesterday, I read Mary's excellent site at It's Not All Mary Poppins and burst out laughing. She's a home daycare provider with some very funny (and educational) stories.

"Mid-morning, I lay two and a half year old Zach down to change his diaper. First diaper change of the day at Mary's house. Good grief! This diaper looks like it's been changed by a blind man. A one-armed blind man. On a roller coaster. At sea.

Once I would have been confused, but I'm savvy now. I know what this is. This diaper has been changed on an upright child."


Boy, do I understand that one! For a while there, I was chasing Q after baths waving a fresh diaper, and he had great fun, giggling and squealing while I laughed and marveled at how fast he was getting. It was somewhat less fun (for me) the second time, and definitely not fun the third.

SwingDaddy and I started carrying him back to his room after his bath, and he's mostly cooperative there on his regular changing table. If he's concentrating, he can use his toys to bat the plush animals hanging from the mobile. Let's hope that keeps him occupied for a while longer!

I took the photo in the bathroom mirror right after we bundled him into a bath towel. He likes the flash.

Monday, April 10, 2006

It's a Hard Knock Life


There were a couple of days this month where we thought Q had picked up a particularly useful skill. He'd take his little washcloth and rub the floor, wander a few steps, bend down and mop a bit more. Wipe-wipe! I wonder where he learned that? Perhaps from all the adults in his life following him around, cleaning up?

SwingDaddy and I couldn't help but sing "It's a Hard Knock Life," the tune that the orphans belt while they do their scrubbing chores in "Annie."

He spilled a little milk on the floor and I thought, "Hey, maybe he'll clean it up himself!"

Unfortunately, he put the other hand into the milk, not the one with the washcloth, so we had little milk handprints all over the kitchen until I got my own towel.

This was the only photo I was able to get of our little worker, and now he's decided that cleaning the floor isn't interesting anymore. No need to call Social Services to report child labor.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Stress Removal


SwingDaddy was kind enough to watch Q this afternoon while I went for a massage. Ahhh, all the knots and tension spots are gone.
I first sought this masseuse, let's call her Ms. Soothing, just about two months after Q was born. My arms and back were aching from the stress and strain of holding him, and I thought my body was going to ruin. A dear dancer friend J recommended her, and I made an appointment right away.

After some introductory talk about being a new mom and chatting about other dancers on whom she worked, Ms. Soothing started her magic and asked almost immediately, "Are you nursing?"

The "piano wires" in my neck had given me away. "You have Nursing Neck!"

As a novice mom, it takes ridiculous amounts of energy to figure out how to hold and feed your baby. Even though they get so much bigger later, you eventually develop good (or at least better) technique, and your whole body doesn't ache like those early days.

That first set of sessions got me back on my feet, and I still go every few months. My lower body generally gets good marks due to dance workouts - I'm relatively stretched and relaxed. Unfortunately, my upper body is usually a mess of tensions and requires a lot of work.

In the autumn when Q started getting heavy, Ms. Soothing told me to treat him like a sports activity. "You stretch before dance, right?" After that, early mornings had Q observing patiently from his crib while I did my prescribed stretches before picking him up. Not surprisingly, I started feeling much better.

No one ever tells you how much upper body strength you need when you're a mother. I would have started a weights routine had I known.

Today I came home with instructions to do upward facing neck stretches when I get home from work, to counterbalance all the looking downwards (at computer materials, at the kiddo, etc). I treated my sister, Lady O, to a treatment too, so I can't wait to see if she liked it.

The cartoon above is how I feel after a massage, all nicely boneless. SwingDaddy was given a copy of The Complete Far Side a few years ago. It's terrific, but be careful. The books are so heavy that you might need a massage to work out the kinks from carrying them around. :)

~~~~~

Update: I originally posted the famous Boneless Chicken Ranch panel from the Far Side when SwingDaddy suggested it as a graphic, because it was too funny not to post for a day, but I've taken it down since it's under copyright. I wanted to replace it with some soothing floral-type picture today and discovered that the only "nature" photos that we've taken with the new camera are from the Stanford cactus garden. Attractive, but cacti weren't the best illustration for the "Stress Removal" title. I had to run outside and take a few flower shots.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Kind of a Kiss


I really need to stop trying to take self-portraits with our new Canon SLR. It's a great camera for quality pix, but pretty heavy to hold at arm's length pointing back at oneself and a squirmy toddler. This one sort of came out.

Q and I were playing today and had one of Those Moments described in sappy parenting magazines. I was sitting on the floor of the playroom, reading Moo Baa La La La out loud while he played with his toys and periodically wandered over to look at pictures and quack with the duck. At the conclusion of the story, he came straight over to me and leaned in close, rubbing his nose on mine. My heart skipped a beat; it was such a loving surprise.

Maybe his nose was just itchy, but I'm going to count it as a kind-of kiss.

SwingDaddy, Q, and I took an afternoon jaunt to the mall. Q explored their PlayPlace, sitting on a giant foam ladybug and examining the funhouse mirror. At first, he was firmly attached to SwingDaddy's leg, but eventually, he ranged farther away on his own. Later, the little dude and I walked hand in hand for half the length of the mall as he gravely observed the contents of each shop window.

He wasn't so excited about the stroller after enjoying the freedom of the PlayPlace, so I carried him while SwingDaddy stood in line for ice cream. Q was content to snuggle in my arms, and all was right in the world.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Office Space


My meeting schedule changed and I got to come home a day early from my business trip! It was great (really!) to wake to Q's morning cry and go pick him up to snuggle.

After the rainiest month since 1904 in the Bay Area, it was quite ironic to spend a week in notoriously damp Seattle and have it be sunny every single day. I sat in a colleague's office, looking out the window at the sunlight glinting off the water of Elliot Bay. Folks on the other side of the building have a view of the Space Needle.

This quite foreign to the rest of the company (mostly located near San Jose), which is housed out of small, uniform cubicles without windows. I have no complaints, however. Here is a tour of interesting office spaces where I've worked.

As a high school intern, my first workspace was a metal Army desk on a manufacturing shop floor. All the other engineers, including the managers, sat in the same conditions, so it felt very friendly to my young self. The machinery chunked away nearby with comforting tempos, and I was awed by the early ink-jet technology being developed.

After college and going into consulting, the Firm sent me to a project where they stuffed two of us newbies into a printer closet. The large dot-matrix z-fold paper printer had been relegated to this closet because it so shriekingly noisy that the other office workers couldn't focus. Somehow, they managed to fit a table into the space, and there we worked, with the door closed so that the racket wouldn't disturb others. I was somewhat less than awed by this.



(What does Octy have to do with this story? Nothing really, but there was so much text here that I needed to break it up with some gratuitous cuteness.)

Later, I was assigned to another company where they had converted a loading dock into a workspace by closing the rail door and putting in some desks. I learned to code well in gloves that winter.

Not long after that, the Firm sent me along with a massive team of consultants to a tech company in dire need of a systems overhaul. They handed over their conference center and turned it into a bullpen of consultant desks. Whenever it rained, the power would go out. You had to look behind you before you leaned back in your chair, since we were so tightly packed that the only person who felt ok in the space was an ex-submariner. Since all the meeting rooms now housed consultants, we resorted holding staff meetings in someone's car in the parking lot.

The next tech company moved my team from place to place, until they found an abandoned server room and squeezed in enough tables to seat four. There was a combination button-press locking mechanism on the door that had been disabled, but it must still have had electricity running through it, because the door handle was remarkably hot to the touch. As consultants with no employee number, we weren't able to open a facilities ticket to get it fixed, so we just hoped that none of us would get electrocuted. Eventually, an employee sponsor agreed to file a complaint for us, but they never managed to repair it.

So, I'm pretty happy with my cubicle. My own 6 x 6 feet of space. The electricity works, the heat and air conditioning run, I'm not afraid of imminent electrocution, and I don't have to share it with any loud machinery.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ooooh, Buttons


Q loves buttons. We got him a little toy phone in the hopes that he'd become less interested in playing with the house phone. He taps away at an old computer keyboard that we leave for him in the office.

We were at my sister's house a while back, and he was pretty excited to explore the living room. He immediately headed toward the television, where the power button was exactly at his eye level. Sooooo tempting. After an hour of lunging towards that nice, bright button, my dad eventually let him push it. And again. And one more time.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

My Other Name is Lucy


In the late nineties, strangers would look at me intently and then ask the Question. It might be a restaurant hostess or sales lady at the Gap, but they'd always start the same way. "Do you watch Ally McBeal?"

Since my answer was no, I'd be treated to a pop culture update next.

"You look like Ling," and they'd inevitably follow that with, "Don't be offended - she's kinda crazy on the show, and rude and stuff. But I think she's really, really cool."

Fast forward a few years to 2000 and the release of the Charlie's Angels movie. Things got streamlined and the Question changed. "Does anyone tell you that you look just like Lucy Liu?"

After being surprised a few times, my response became, "Why, thank you!"

Who wouldn't want to look like a glamorous movie star? My mom's hairdresser and other friends got in the game and told her that she looked like Lucy Liu too. (This makes sense, since I look just like mom.)

I'm thinking about Lucy again because I got the Question several times last weekend and once today (lady at the salon, a guy at work, the dairy-restocker at the supermarket, etc.). Oddly, I'm approached the most often when I'm wearing no makeup and haven't really combed my hair. What does that say about Lucy? Or perhaps it's poor makeup application on my part.

~~

In other news, this is the one month anniversary of my blog. My goal was to write every day for a month and see how it went. Well, it's been a lot of fun. SwingDaddy and I enjoy reading each other's posts, and even sit geekily in the office together sometimes, blogging. The family that blogs together . . .

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Juice & Sea Friends


Q has a new skill – making grape juice. He looked thoughtfully at his breakfast a few days ago, picked up half a grape and carefully squeezed. The juice dribbled down his wrist, and he grinned delightedly. Look, Mommy!

I meant to take a picture of him with the grapes, but I forgot and ate them all. So instead, I'm posting a photo of the wonderful sealife finger puppet set that our friend K got for Q (and me). I love that it's so complete that there is both a squid and an octopus! Technically, he is a hexapus, as often happens in the plush world where extra legs add to design complexity.

Another sealife tidbit: We usually let Q choose between "Goodnight Moon" and "Kiss Good Night" for his bedtime story. Lately, he's been refusing those and instead pulling out "In The Ocean," a book my mom got him with pictures of sea creatures and textures to feel. He loves it, especially the shiny fish!

We've adapted the story line just slightly when we read it to him. The central character is a dolphin "who has lost his family", and we think that we've got too many "missing Mommy" tales in circulation right now. So, the hero dolphin is now looking for his car keys, and the rhymes still work out.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Animal Kingdom


I was folding Q's new sleepers and looking at the cheerful animal designs. "Hey, this one has a penguin with a polar bear! They're from different poles, that's not right."

SwingDaddy looked at me and set our priorities straight. "If you're worried about accuracy, first worry that the penguin is wearing a scarf and the bear is wearing a hat."

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Hey now, Hey now, My Baby's Back


My baby's back and he's ready to make trouble,
Hey-now, hey-now, my baby's back!

Q was wailing in his crib this morning when I went to get him, so I worried that we were in for another fretful day. I took him straight to the kitchen and offered him milk. Mmmmm, milk! That was a winning decision. He happily downed a cupful, took a refill, and finally pushed the cup away. He proceeded to complain until I waved some frozen waffles at him. We companionably watched the waffle in the toaster, and then he munched the whole thing.

We played and snuggled, and then he started exploring. "Hey cutie, the heater isn't for playing. Let's put that magazine down. Come back here . . ." and he was off and running. When the young'uns are getting into trouble, they're feeling fine again. Yay, my baby's back!

We went out for brunch with friends and had a lovely time. I must have eaten something that disagreed with me though, because when I got home, most of the meal came back up. I was really worried that I'd caught Q's flu, but I've been feeling ok since then. I've never been so glad to merely have food-poisoning.

This weekend, I've been cooking up a storm, to leave the boys well provisioned while I'm on the road. 3 little tubs of Italian sauteed chicken, 1 of sauteed chicken in broth for Q, 2 of stir fried broccoli and peppers, 4 tubs of roasted potatoes, 1 of soft noodles cut into short pieces, and I've got three small loaves of banana bread in the oven. It'll be easy to make healthy food choices this week. I feel very pleased with the containers all lined up, just so.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Latest New York Trend

SwingDaddy and I saw a video clip on CNN.com about an upper-class family in New York City that has hired a Mandarin speaking nanny to take care of their little blonde girl. A quick web search led to a series of articles, interestingly all with the same interviewed family, talking about how much interest has grown in learning Chinese.

[The father] wants to prepare his only child for the 21st century. "China will be the next world superpower," he says. . . . it can't hurt if your child can hold her own linguistically with the mightiest world leaders of the future.

For this reason the "Chinese nanny" is now chic in New York's wealthier circles.

So it turns out that we are trendy. Of course, we hadn't set out with the intent to deliberately provide Q a marketing advantage in the global economy. We have a Chinese nanny . . . because we're Chinese.

I've really enjoyed working with Nanny J and have been surprised at how much I'm enjoying speaking Mandarin at home. She does many things the way my mom would do them, and it's comforting. We take our shoes off in the house, certain foods are always refrigerated, our standards of "clean" are similar, and so forth.

Swing Daddy and I are glad that Q gets to hear and learn both languages naturally, and I'm pleased to report that my mom thinks my own Mandarin has improved too.