Look who's been webcasted!
And we can say we knew him when... Hi Professor Wayne!
His interview can be found here.
Now that I've done my good deed for the day, I'm going home.
Ma MA MAMA MA MA!
Otto's trying to climb into his booster seat. It's hard to do -- which is exactly why we've switched to the booster and are considering retiring the high chair. He gets in the high chair and STANDS in it, rocking it back and forth, and repeated attempts to stop him (saying no, removing him from chair, repeat) have not resulted in the desired behavior modification.
Thus, my child, trying to climb onto the chair holding his booster seat and shouting for my help. Ma ma mama ma mam ama mamama!
"Otto, you really need to learn to say 'Help, please!'"
He gives me this look, like, why?
"Or 'Daddy.' That would be good too."
This gets a puzzled expression. Ask for Dad?
For whatever reason, when Otto's stuck trying to climb onto the bed, or frustrated that a toy won't do what he wants, or otherwise annoyed, he shouts for me. It's an all-purpose word, mama. Who needs an extended vocabulary when mom is there to help? And if mom's not there, someone eventually pays attention to a child shouting MMAMAMAMAMAMAMA!
This week he'll start transitioning to Miss Nancy's room at day care. Miss Nancy's room is my favorite room in the whole place. She's got the best toys, plays the coolest music (Baby Beluga!), and does the neatest activities. Like camping, with paper bags serving as backpacks. And soup tasting, with "candy soup" for dessert.
But. BUT. No puppy. Puppy and binky will NOT be allowed, except at nap time.
They've been working on that with him for awhile now and most days we put puppy in his bag when we get to day care, where he waits until naptime.
It's such a difficult concept for Otto, though. WHY can't he have puppy? Puppy is an extension of himself!
We try not to encourage either thing anymore. Yesterday morning, when he got up, I tossed binky back in the bed. He fussed for a minute or so, then got over it, and the rest of the day was happily binky-free. Puppy is harder. He has to be out of sight to be out of mind, so we have to hide him. And new or unfamiliar situations is when Otto really, really wants puppy in his hand.
It's one of those things that will be much harder for us than for Otto. I think we have to wait and see how next week goes. He's usually so busy and distracted at day care that it's not much of an issue. Eventually we'll get to the point where Puppy stays in bed every morning. It just seems kind of soon to push it, and I don't want him to be entirely deprived of Puppy's comfort when he's away from MAMAMAMAMAMAMAMA! (see? as usual it's all about the parent's problem, not the child's.)
Last week was really busy for me at work, and this week promises more of the same. We had a used book sale, I'm trying to pull together a couple of big things for fall/winter and, most importantly, clean up some big projects before the school year starts going full-tilt.
Jon's been busy applying for jobs, starting with his own. Awhile ago I think I mentioned that his company is getting bought out by GM. Information is slowly trickling in about what's going to happen, and this week Jon found out that they're going to interview his division last. Everyone else will be slotted back into old job descriptions that GM used before they spun off the logistics part of their business. But there are no job descriptions for Jon and his department, his company created the positions for a new purpose, so evidently GM's not sure what to do with them.
Predictably, this makes us nervous. His resume is freshly washed and pressed and he's submitted it to GM per instructions. And get this -- they don't have a Human Resources department, they have a Talent Acquisition department. La di dah! He's guaranteed an interview. But there are no guarantees that it'll lead to anything.
Lately I bite my tongue about 200 times a day, thinking of the huge move we made to work for a company that will no longer exist in a few months. I realize we couldn't know, that we made the best decision under the circumstances, things are good here, blah blah blah. All that new agey reasoning you use to feel better about where you are when you can't change anything and life sucks.
Just so it's clear how I feel about this, I think it sucks. I don't see the point in having moved 4 states when he could've just as easily looked for another job where we were. At the very least it would've been cheaper. I guess all I can really say is, Oh well! Live and learn! We must be here for a reason!
Miss Nancy's room had better rock.
Well, the real event last weekend was a wedding. A gorgeous, happy wedding for Jon's Aunt Claire Ann and her main squeeze, Brad.
When we first moved to Wisconsin in '97 we saw Claire Ann and her family pretty often. They lived in a big old house on Sherman Ave. (an older neighborhood in Madison) and we loved hanging out in the backyard whenever we could. We spent a few holidays there, celebrated Alex's graduation from high school, met lots of the neighbors.
Living 15+ years on the same street, Claire Ann's neighbors turned into her extended family. They raised their kids together, celebrated life events and commiserated during tough times. A few years ago when Claire Ann divorced and moved out of her house she found an apartment nearby and stayed in the neighborhood. And when she found Brad and love, her friends and family threw a big party to celebrate. Ellen offered her backyard for the setting. Other friends offered houses for guests to stay at, cooking expertise, kids to serve hors d'oeuvres and direct traffic (most of the guests arrived on foot through back yards). They shuffled tables and chairs around, hauled cases of champagne and beer, served dinner and brunch for us out-of-towners, offered babysitting help.
That's what made it a wonderful event. Everyone there had a hand in the festivities, even me (I helped top cucumber slices with smoked trout spread). Add to that the fact that we got to see family members we don't see as often these days, and it was more than worth driving through Chicago to be there. We had FUN.
My pics are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/sturm/sets/72157594247871201/. Highlights include:
Jamie's Audrey came. We dragged her out to the Farmer's Market Saturday and I think she had a good time. I hope so, since we did! It was good to spend time with her, and I give her full marks for venturing out to meet all these crazy people without Jamie.
We started home Sunday morning, having to cut our visit shorter than we liked so that we could get back to Chicago before the Chicagoans did. I could've stayed a week. Heck, I could stay a lifetime, I love Madison that much! Especially after weekends like this.
We just got home from the best. wedding. ever.
Meredith beat me to the punch uploading photos, and took this one of Otto and the bride. Isn't a good photo? I don't think I have a single photo of the happy couple on my own camera, so I'm glad Meredith caught this shot.
We had a wonderful, wonderful time. The drive was loooong but more than worth it. More photos and descriptions later...
Happy Marriage, Brad and Claire Anne!
Tonight Otto and I sat down to read Goodnight Moon before bed. It's one of our favorites and we read it most nights. When I reached the end, he waved bye bye.
Then he reached for the book and turned back to the beginning. "Bye Bye, baby," he said. "Bye bye," as he waved at the page. He turned the page and again waved and said bye bye. We went through the book a second time -- this time with Otto reading to me.
I didn't think it was possible to love him more or think him any sweeter, smarter or more wonderful than I already do. And there he goes, proving me wrong.
It's been 12 days since the ear tube surgery. 12 days of a child who really listens and is spouting new words and sounds every hour. The change couldn't be more dramatic. We see his doctor for a follow-up appointment later this week and I can't wait to show him how much better things are.
In other news... my Board officially renewed my contract tonight, which means I'm embarking on year 3 at my library. Seems impossible! There are many days when I feel like I accomplish maybe half what I should. But when I step back I see great staff members and a low turnover rate. I see our circulation increasing consistently and quickly (example: July 2004, 5809 - July 2005, 6582 - July 2006, 7507). Our computers are in use all the time and we have lots of laptop owners taking advantage of the wireless. The programs we offer are well-attended, and we're working to offer more. Our turnover rate is good and getting better every month. There are people asking to work for us and offering to volunteer.
Those are great things. As imperfect, unprepared and overwhelmed as I often still feel in my position, the library's thriving, and it makes me happy to look back at the last 2 years and see that users are pouring through the door. We're doing ok, and I'll get the rest of that to-do list done somehow.
It helps, at the end of the day, to think about all those other parents who read their children books checked out from the local library.
I wish I had a scanner!
If I did, I would scan in one of the photos taken of us 11 years ago today. Jon wore a tux, I wore an off-white dress... It was 100+ some degrees out but gloriously sunny and breezy, one of those hot-yet-beautiful days typical of Kansas in August.
My skirt was made of layers of tulle and chiffon, and it belled out in the breeze. At the reception the cake disappeared at an alarming rate and we didn't have any left to freeze for the first anniversary. Which was fine, really. It tasted too good to resist! We went through the champagne and sparkling cider, too, and I think everyone had a pretty good time.
Then Jon and I drove off to Kansas City, where we got on a train and went to Toronto for our honeymoon.
11 years? Yep. I like to say I was a child bride...
Yesterday evening we had Miss Tanya watch Otto so that we could go out for dinner and a movie. We haven't done that in far too long. As much as I love the little guy, it was wonderful to get to order something I really wanted for dinner, not something Otto and I could share. And we went to see Pirates 2, which we really liked. Some of the reviews we read were so-so, but I thought it was a great story and it left me eager to see #3.
The weather's gorgeous right now and I want to go to the zoo, but I'm not sure I can move Jonathan off the bed. I've started calling the History channel "Jonny crack." He thinks I have a little HGTV problem, but it's nothing compared with his addiction to the History channel.
Some months ago I wedged the baby monitor in between a couple of the slats on Otto's crib, down at the foot of the bed, hidden from him by the mattress. I did that because he's discovered the joy of turning things on and off, on and off, on and off, and he kept playing with it.
It's worked well. The only drawback is that every time he rolls over the mattress crinkles, and on the receiving end in our room it sounds like a small monster crunching snail shells. Tonight is my Runway night so Jon put him to bed. For the past half hour he's been in there moving around in his crib, sounding like he's got his own little Riverdance going and giggling instead of going to sleep. Jon just went in to try getting him to sleep again.
This has happened a couple of times the last week, and I find myself wondering if his newly sharp hearing is keeping him awake. What if he hasn't been able to hear crickets all summer, or planes and cars outside, so that he's trying to fall asleep now with a whole new dimension of distraction?
Another odd thing -- he's happy to go for car rides now. When Amanda visited I noticed that Otto got tired of being in the car a lot faster than Liam, who's a veteran traveller and goes everywhere with his mom. I, on the other hand, have spent the last few months avoiding road travel with Otto because even the 15 minute trip to Target ended in a meltdown.
The evening after his surgery we decided to make a trip to the mall for some play time. It had rained all day, and he was extra energetic after his long nap, so we got in the car and headed out. Halfway there I looked in the back to find him sitting with his knees up, heels propped on the seat, puppy in his lap and looking out the window. He seemed to be enjoying himself. The trip home was the same. And this weekend I took him everywhere with me and we had a good time -- no screaming fits, no stiff toddler-itis when it was time to get in the car.
Which leads me to wonder... can ear tubes cure car sickness? I haven't seen anything about that in my research. But I'm even more glad now that we got the procedure over with. Next weekend we're making a flying trip to Wisconsin for a family wedding (hi Aunt Claire Ann and soon-to-be Uncle Brad!), and I can anticipate the drive now without extreme dread.
My dress came today. It's a little shorter than I thought it would be -- not short short, just above the knee, and I cannot tell you the last time I wore a skirt that length. But I like it. I'm keeping it. Otto's set -- he's going to wear his khakis, pink polo and navy blazer a la Nana. Now all I have to do is see if I can get Jon into something new. Hmm...
Otto and I went shopping for clothes (for me) Sunday afternoon. Jon would've been so proud of him... he hustled me out of that store with natural-born expertise. Another shopper observed him making tracks for the door while I raced after him and said "he's been to Man School already."
Yes, yes he has. He'll be teaching there in the fall.
Anyway. I'm going out on a limb here (two limbs?) to say GAUCHOS ARE WRONG.
I tried on a pair. They looked ok. The pair I picked would look cute with low heeled mules and a tailored shirt. But I kept imagining the family photo album 20 years from now with a picture of me wearing something not-quite-pants-or-skirt and having to say "gaucho" while I explained what they were to some young person. I imagined said young person snorting milk through his nose. I put the gauchos back.
Instead I bought something completely unobjectionable. Super-flare pants! Jon viewed me in them and said "it looks like you have a skirt for each leg." BUT HEY! At least they cover me from hip to ankle in one swoop!
I ordered this dress today, too. Call me shopoholic if you want, I don't care.
Just don't call me Gaucho.
Ah, the day of the ears.
I wouldn't say it was a snap, or a piece of cake, but things could've been worse.
It wasn't fun though.
We got to the hospital at 7:45, signed in, and waited to get called to the pre-op area. Then we went back and put Otto in a teeny tiny hospital gown, showed him his crib (they have these wild, oval metal cribs for surgery), and spent almost an hour waiting for all the various persons associated with his procedure to come through. Nurse. Anesthesiologist. Otolaryngologist. Nurse anesthetist. I made sure each of them met Puppy. We got his mask (bubble-gum scented, to make the gas smell better) and an itty bitty teeny weeny blood pressure cuff. Then, finally, the nurse anesthetist came to get Otto. And he cried when she carried him away.
I tried not to think about that while we waited. Thankfully we didn't have to wait long, and within about 30 minutes we headed back to the recovery room where Otto was wailing. Seeing your child come out of anesthetic isn't much fun, but he came around pretty fast and within another 30 minutes we were out of there and on our way to Target for his ear drops.
We got home and ate lunch (he was starving), he and I each took some Tylenol, and then we got in our beds for naptime. We both slept more than 3 hours and felt much better for it. Jon stayed home with us today to keep an eye on things, which was great. I wouldn't have slept so hard without him here.
We go see the doc again this month, then periodically after that to keep an eye on the tubes. Otto had another infection brewing when the doc saw him today so it needed to get done. I guess his hearing improved immediately, too, since they suction out the fluid as part of the procedure (the tubes keep it from coming back). He talked to his Nana briefly on the phone tonight and I do think he heard her better. He also really listened to his bedtime story. I'll be interested to see what they think tomorrow at day care.
So now we have tubes!