Month: January 2006

Toddler Times

The long-delayed M. update is below the jump, complete with 18 month stats.

M. had her 18 month check-up this morning. I was at class, but heard that for the first time ever, she protested her shots. In the past, she cried for 15-30 seconds, then was back to normal. Apparently there was a mini-meltdown this morning. Her measurements were:

25 lbs, 15 oz (remains in the 75th %)
31 3/4 inches (Up to the 50th % from 25th)
Head circumference went down from 105th to 90th %. So her head is still big, but perhaps the last couple of measurements were off. Those baby heads are the hardest things to measure, anyway.

Although M. turned 18 months last week, she is definitely acting like she’s two. Between the tantrums, the willful disobedience, and the sudden love of being nude, she’s turning into the classic two-year-old. The whole nude thing cracks me up. Until about three weeks ago, she hated it when we changed her diaper or transfered her into or out of the bathtub. Then, one day, she took off when I was trying to change her. There’s been no stopping her since. The best was one day at the in-law’s, as I was trying to change her while leaving her shoes on, she hopped up and started walking around in her shirt, jacket, socks, and pink sneakers. I tried to get her, but she took off, laughing madly the entire time. I seem to recall I escaped from my parents’ grasps and ran through the neighborhood nude a time or two when I was a toddler. I fear I will be paid back sooner rather than later.

M. has mastered the concept of good-bye. That’s always been one of my favorite kid things, the moment they become obsessed with saying “Bye bye.” She’s no different than any other kid. She waves and says “Bye bye” over-and-over if someone is leaving. What cracks me up is when it’s a chilly day and one of us slips on a sweater or sweatshirt and the ever-attentive M. thinks we’re leaving instead of attempting to stay warm. “Bye bye. Bye bye.” Waves. Watches. Repeats. Because people put coats on when they’re leaving so if you add a layer of clothing, you must be going, right? Makes me laugh every time. She’s also become obsessed by cars, and put the two concepts together. When we’re getting her ready to leave, she says “Bye bye in car.” Her first sentence!

She also learned the concept of “WHHHEEEEEE!” somewhere, somehow. She’ll randomly say it, which is funny enough. But her first few times in the mini-van, when we hit the button to open the side doors, she smiled and said “WHHHHEEEEE!” We were completely stationary each time, but I guess she got a thrill out of it nonetheless. Good stuff.

I purchased some flowers for S.’s birthday last week. We had been working on getting M. to smell unlit candles that we keep around the house, so I transferred the concept to smelling roses. I pick her up, lean in, sniff for myself, then put her face near the roses. She pulls back her lips in a Billy Idol-like snarl, scrunches her nose up, and inhales loudly. Since it’s fun to mess with kids, one day when we were playing on the guest bed, I pointed out the flowers on the comforter. She collapsed onto her stomach, made her Smelling Face, and started trying to gather some scent from the imprints on the cotton cover. I hope that thing has been washed sometime this decade.

Hoops. Or “B-ball” as she calls it. See, smart kid. We moved her little hoop into the basement when we made our cold weather migration in the fall. She’s grown just enough to be able to get the ball over the rim a little more easily. She’ll be playing with something else, see the ball lying in a corner or under a table, drop everything, pick it up, and sprint – shrieking the entire time – across the room and complete the move with a nasty, toddler dunk. Unfortunately, she has no humility at all. After each successful dunk, she claps for herself, screams, and then puts her arms straight behind her, palms up, and runs around like an Italian striker than just scored the winning goal in the World Cup. Hey, who am I to step all over my daughter’s enjoyment and development in the name of sportsmanship? We’re working on passing, too. She can toss the ball to me ok, but when I deal her a dime, she tends to laugh and kick it.

I dropped my first basketball-related f-bomb in her presence of the season on Saturday. Fortunately, she has not repeated it yet.

Another tooth cut its tip through her gums this weekend. When it pushes all the way through, we’ll be just three teeth short of a full set for the average kid under two. We’re most hopeful that they come as quickly as this one did – wasn’t in sight Monday, cut through on Saturday – so we can say goodbye to the teething pains for awhile, and more importantly, start working on trashing the binkies. If we can’t get her off of them before Little Sister is born, we’re hosed. When she can’t find a binky, she walks around saying “Binky, Binky,” as if it’s a lost pet.

She’s definitely challenging, but sharing these tidbits reminds me how much fun she really is. We’ve been extraordinarily lucky with her, and if she’s gone from being good 95% of the time to only 75-80%, we’re still doing pretty well, I think. If we could just get her to sleep until 6:30-7:00, things would be about perfect.

That’s the M. update. I had been slacking on pictures, but for those who check our picture page, I added a bunch of new ones to both December and January’s albums last week.

Gestational Update

A lengthy M. update is coming after her 18-month check-up Monday. To tide you over, a quick update on how the Little Sister is developing in S.’s belly. Well, that’s overstating things slightly, as I can’t really speak to her development. I can vouch for the fact that momma’s belly pops out faster on the second pregnancy that the first. About two weeks ago, Wham!, we had a belly. Looking back to our pictures from M.’s time in utero, the belly may have arrived a month or so earlier this time. Hard to really tell, though, as we waited to start taking pictures until it was nice and prominent. Anyway, we’ve got a belly to look at.

I’ll also vouch for the fact that the second pregnancy is much more difficult simply because there’s another kid who’s dominating your time. Where S. could just nap and relax this time two years ago, now we’ve got M. demanding attention and care through the day. I know I’m more tired than I was back then, and I was working during that pregnancy.
For the same reason, it’s harder to track the course of the pregnancy this time. Two years ago, every step along the way was carefully documented and cautiously compared to what the books said should be happening because each step was new and amazing. It’s not any less amazing the second time, but there are nights when, after we’ve put M. to bed, I look at S. and think, “Oh yeah, she’s pregnant.” Now that the belly has appeared, that’s changing, but I bet other parents of more than one understand what I’m trying to relate.
We’re deep into the nesting phase. Two years ago, S. used those instincts to paint and furnish almost the entire house. This time, she’s converted some space in our electrical room into a play area (roughly seven days from first thought to completion) and went from “We’re not getting a Mini-van until October” to purchasing a mini-van inside of 14 days. Tonight, she was focused on some project for work for about three hours. I like that it channels her energies towards a single goal. And she wants to do it all so I can stay out of the way and do things I need to do.
Our name search has hit a snag. We went into the sonogram in early December with five names for each sex. We crossed the boys off, made a couple changes to the girl list, and then put it away. It came out again tonight and we agreed we’re not in love with the five options we’ve left ourselves with. Doesn’t help that I’ve got all kinds of rules we have to operate under. I’d prefer the name to not start with an M or sound anything like M.. I don’t want something that sounds similar to the middle name we’ll be using. Has to be more than one syllable. I think there’s more but since I haven’t thought about it in two months, I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few. So apparently we’re starting over. Worth noting that our “final five” list with M. changed several times and she wasn’t officially named until she was about seven hours old. So there’s time.
Other than that, things seem to be progressing normally and healthily. Along with the belly has come kicking, which despite being through it before is no less awkward for S. or strange for me. This one seems to be more active at night, just as M. was.
That’s a quick State of the Fetus address, 24 weeks in. We’re expecting to schedule an early c-section, since M. was two weeks early, so we’re probably looking at only 14 more weeks, give or take. It’s going to go faster than I realize, and not fast enough for S.. More updates to come, I promise.

All Growns Up

What did my wife get for her 34th birthday?  A Toyota Sienna.  Our minivan, which wasn’t supposed to arrive for 2-3 weeks was miraculously delivered to the dealer today.  We went in this evening, waded through the paperwork and the last few moments of sales-speak, and drove home in our lovely new vehicle.  Any coolness we had managed to cling to is surely gone now.  I’ll take some pics tomorrow.  Mock at your own peril.  You’ll all be joining us in middle age sooner than you think.  (Those of you yet to have kids are cursing yourselves to triplets if you’re not careful.)

Back To Class

Today was my first day of class for the spring semester at Bloomington. It was a lovely, typically Indiana winter day: cold, breezy, nothing but grey in the skies. I spent 45 minutes looking for a parking place (I was trying to avoid getting a campus parking pass by taking the chance of finding a spot on side streets and humping it to campus on foot) before I gave up and went to a parking garage downtown. Turns out you must have a parking permit from the city to park in residential areas near campus in Bloomington. Bummer. At least I allowed myself plenty of time so I still had 30 minutes to get to class (It’s roughly 75 minutes from our front door to campus).

I walked through the Sample Gates to symbolically begin my official days as a graduate student (the pic above is of the Sample Gates). A couple nice Mormon lads greeted me 50 feet into campus. I took a lap through the Union and saw a couple IU hoopsters hanging out. I’m pretty sure one of them was <a href=””>DJ White</a>, although I later heard that he had injured his foot for the second time this year and is out indefinitely, although I didn’t notice any crutches or braces or anything. Reminded me of my days as an undergrad when you spent the first several days of the fall semester looking for the freshman basketball players. I grabbed a copy of the student paper and was greeted by a headline announcing the assistant dean for IU’s College of Arts and Sciences was leaving to become the dean of KU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I thought to myself, “That’s a pretty good trade: me for a dean!” Found my class, settled in for a few hours of academic fun.

As I expected, this semester will be dramatically different from the courses I’ve taken so far. I’m taking a Media &#038; Society course and a media ethics course. Neither class has any required textbooks or any exams. Both are high on the professor finding readings and either putting them on reserve at the journalism library, sending them out via e-mail, or distributing in class. I have to write three papers for the Media &#038; Society class, and then one small paper and one major paper for the ethics course. In fact, the ethics class does not meet for three weeks in March and April so that we can concentrate on our research. This isn’t going to be one of those papers I used to “research” for three nights then write the night before it was due. Our grade is made up completely of submitting a literature review in February, an initial draft in late March, and then presenting it in April and submitting a final draft by finals week. The professor said he wants these to be papers that we could submit to journals for publication, so it’s going to be pretty intense.

In the Media &#038; Society course, we’ll be looking at the media as a social institution and how it relates to government, economics, technology, etc. Our weekly topics include: New Media Malaise, The New Politics of Media Criticism, Civic Participation, Interest Groups, and so on. There are roughly 30 students in the class, as it is now a required course, and most are in their second semester of graduate school. There are a couple doctoral students in the class as well. Our professor has been at IU for something like 25 years, and seems like the stereotypical professor: laid back, slightly aloof yet warm and friendly, enthusiastic, full of information. If you saw him walking down the street, you’d think, “Professor.”

My ethics course has only 9-10 students in it. We have an opening month of ethics theory, then we’ll tackle some current issues that we each brought to class today (mine related to how the media operates in times of war when the government places more restrictions on the “free” press). Then we get turned loose on our paper. Both courses appear to have a lot of discussion, but this class should have especially intense discussion because of the smaller number of students and the nature of the subject matter. This professor is also super friendly, and a slightly more buttoned down version of the typical late-40s graduate course professor. I find it interesting the level of encouragement and attention I’m already getting compared to what I received as an undergrad. You obviously are getting the best professors in grad school, no graduate assistants teaching tuned-out 18 years olds, and they take an active interest in your progress. Where I felt stupid going to professors as an undergrad for guidance or clarification, they almost force you to talk to them outside of class if you have the slightest level of confusion in grad school.

Those are thumbnail sketches of my two classes. I’ll obviously be sharing more as the semester continues. It looks like it’s going to take a lot of work to do well, and tons of work if I want to maintain my 4.0. I don’t think I’ll be knocking out a book a week outside of class like I did last spring. But challenge is good. That was one reason for going to grad school: to get taken out of my comfort zone. To be forced to think in ways I’ve not thought before. To be challenged by others not because they’re trying to cut me down, but because we’re all trying to make each other better. It was a little intimidating to hear the kids who have already been through a semester talk. I don’t think I’m totally in that grad school mental mode, where you think deeply about every single issue and discuss them for hours on end. I’ll have to learn how to talk better, how to frame arguments better, how to accept criticism better. When I started my desktop publishing class last fall, I couldn’t see how I would get to the end of the semester completing all the assignments and getting good grades. But that turned out pretty well so I’m excited about this journey and ready to accept some small failures along the way in order to improve myself.


Alarm Clock Roulette

We have just one nightstand, and it’s on S’s side of the bed.  Thus, our alarm clock is on that side, too.  With my horrible eye sight, even if I squint, I can’t see what time it is the moment I remove my contacts/glasses.  That makes for an interesting game this time of year, when the sun doesn’t rise until around 8:00 AM, at the moment M. starts letting us know she’s ready to get out of bed.  Dark is pretty much dark, so when my feet first hit the floor, I have no idea whether it’s 5:00 or 7:30.  I put my glasses on, try to get my sense of balance so I don’t fall into the wall, then as I head towards the door, I peer anxiously at the alarm clock to see if I should be disappointed (Anything before 6:30) or pleasantly surprised (Anything that starts with a 7).  It’s almost as much fun as putting all your chips on a number and waiting to see what comes up.

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