Monday, April 19, 2010

Pop Goes the Weasel Gets Philosophical

I just noticed these lyrics to "Pop Goes the Weasel:"

You may try to sew and sew
And never make anything regal
So roll it up and let it go
Pop -- goes the weasel!

I love it. It's another way of saying, "Take it easy on yourself!" which is one of my life philosophies.

Lest ye think I am a total slacker, there are areas in which I'm highly driven: mainly my writing, which is why, after I took a summer writing course, my husband (then-boyfriend) said, "Do you promise never to take another class again?" because I was so obsessive about my researching, writing, and revising. I'd stay up til 1am, completely immersed in it, then get up at 6am to ger ready to drive to Fairfield. I loved every second of that physically and emotionally tiring class.

Teaching, I work hard at, but it's an art in which going for perfection is a BAD idea since it involves the precious little souls of kids. For that, I say, Set extremely high standards, give them tons of attention and feedback, then roll it up and let it go. Same for parenting: Give it your all, then roll it up and let it go. You cannot control another person. You can just give them your best.

Caption: my friends sewing and knitting while I organize my iPhoto on our Woodstock Crafting Weekend, Winter 2007. Did I care that I can't craft? Nope, I rolled it up and let it go and did not compare myself to other (craftier) people. Note: my hair is NOT this long any more.

I absolutely adore music- always have. I used to sing in a 100+ person chorus until voice problems forced me to stop (and to take a year off of teaching, but that's another story). The people in this chorus were so good that I was pretty much the worst person even though I'm decent. Anyway, I'm happy the kid is at an age where I can tell he enjoys music, so I've created a "Q mix" for him on the iPod with all of the good songs from the CDs I downloaded from my sister a couple of years ago- the sister with three kids- so I have loads of great music to play for him- and me-, including several version of "Pop Goes the Weasel."

You can try to sew and sew...

Take it easy on yourself. That's the advice I gave today to a colleague who's returning from her maternity leave and is going to pump at work... set the standard you want for youself, and then take it easy on yourself. Hard-working people often don't enjoy themselves like they should, because while it's great to set high standards, you also have to enjoy life, and sometimes that means doing a little less amazing job than you'd like. Now that I have limited time for my writing, I've had to force myself to set lower standards. It's hard, but I'd never publish a darn thing unless I gave myself permission to just do a good enough job.
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Baby Gear: White Noise Machine

I'm kicking myself for not getting this handy device earlier. I live in a house with very squeaky, cracky wooden floors. After I put baby in his crib and try to walk quietly away, I cannot even tell you how loud the floor is, even under the carpet we put down. I finally shelled out fifty bucks for a simple but effective white noise machine and boy, do I love it. I really think it helps the baby sleep better. (Well, he's now a toddler since he can RUN.) This is one thing that falls into the "must have for new parents" category.

I first encountered this white noise machine on a trip to Virginia with my whole family when baby Q was 3 months old. My sister brought the white noise machine with her from Mississippi so her kids could sleep through the noise out in the kitchen/living room of our rented cottage. I know there are many types of white noise machines, but I like that this one is mechanical rather than electronic. It sucks the air in rather than being a recording of white noise, and you can adjust the tone to be sharper or more dull.

The other good thing about this simple machine is that it has so few buttons that it does not really attract the baby's attention, so I can leave it on the floor of his room without him messing with it too much. And even if he does mess with it, there is not that much he can do to it, except make it a little louder or give it a little higher or lower tone.
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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Teaching as a Mom: Five Thoughts

Teaching, now that I'm a mom, feels a little different.

1. I see them all as babies, more so than I did even after my nephews and niece caused me to see them as children rather than just adolescents. Something about their hair, and their heads, reminds me of my baby, and it's all I can do not to nuzzle them. Here they are, writing essays, and all I can see is what babies they still are in many ways. I've always been kind to my students, but now I am ABSURDLY kind to them. (I've only been back three weeks- maybe my maternal attitude toward them will decrease as time passes?)

2. Yesterday morning I was so tired. I was leaning in a doorway in the school, just being an adult presence in the halls since it was the Friday before a vacation. I was watching dozens and dozens of 11-14s pass by, and I suddenly got teary at the fact that my little boy will one day be as old as these kids, and as tall as me.

3. This is my first year teaching as a mom. I don't think about my baby TOO much during the day, except when I'm pumping, because the pace of teaching is so fast. I've got 20-25 kids in the room, and I am responsible for their development as writers and readers. That does NOT leave a lot of time to think about my life. Being so busy means I go through parts of my day feeling like the "pre-baby" me... the me who does not have a little part of her out in the world. And that's a very different feeling than the feeling I have when I am with my baby, which is the feeling that there is MORE of me. It's weird to feel both of those feelings in the same day. I think that is life as a working parent maybe- the two halves of your day are two extremes. No baby, all baby. (And as a stay-at-home parent, it's all baby, all the time, and that is intense. In some ways, working makes life easier. Not having a daily nap time, though? That's not easy.)
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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Latest Obsession:Babyhawk Mei Tai

Me n the kids at an indoor winter farmer's market
I finally, after several weeks of poring over the Babyhawk site and its hundreds of choices of strap/body panel color and pattern combos, chose my combo. I thought I was going to get espresso straps, because i love my brown ERGO. However, a Twitter friend showed me her grey-strapped Babyhawk and swayed me. I showed the hubs a couple of options for the body panel fabric, and he liked a grey/white/yellow combo, so I took the plunge and ordered.

This mei tai is going to help me have a more comfortable back carry option, because the baby is too heavy now for more than 30 minutes of front carry. I tried on the mei tai at Mini Metros natural parenting store in NYC and they showed me how to get him nice and high up so he can see over my shoulder.

Update 7/1/14: 

The Babyhawk mei tai didn't work out for back carrying the boy. He was too heavy- the straps totally dug into me.  I put the mei tai away... and got it out to try after the second baby was born... I LOVED it from the very first week. I wore her froggy style until 6 weeks or so, when she was big enough to let her legs dangle.  

I could be totally hands free- wearing the baby and still able to fully attend to the 3 year old on the playground.  Nice high back, easy to put on... I liked it so much better than the Moby wrap I had when Q was little!  

For backwearing toddlers, I've learned I prefer the Boba carrier to the ERGO.   Click here to read full entry.