Yesterday evening, during the first half of the Bears game, Otto climbed on the arm of the couch. I was on the floor playing with Annabel. He looked at me solemnly. "Today is a really hard day," he said.
"It is?" I looked at Jon, who nodded and said "Yep, it's hard when you don't get to watch any of your shows."
"Yeah," Otto said sadly. Then he sighed theatrically and slid off the couch to go do something else. He'd obviously thought about asking to watch one of his shows, then remembered he wasn't allowed.
Is it crazy to be proud of him for taking his punishment so well?
Tonight he told me he traded lunches with Maya. I'm not sure whether to believe him or not, but I'll send a PB&J tomorrow. I'm pretty sure he won't trade his PB&J away.
Annabel had a tough day, I don't think she napped at all, poor kid. I'll consult with Miss M in the morning to see if there's anything we can do.
I know, I know, it's hard to believe that I read anything at all this summer, let alone whole books, but -- I did! I'm not sure what other moms do when they nurse a newborn or let the baby sleep on them for hours at a time, but I read. I read so much that I think Annabel imbibed words as well as breastmilk. Here's a tip: if you want your baby to double her birth weight in 2 months, grab a few page turners and get to reading.
It all started with my youth services librarian, who told me shortly before my leave, "I think you would like the Twilight series." I said "OK. I'll put it on my list for the summer."
So after that first week home with the baby, after the jaundice cleared up and Jon got back to work, I picked up Twilight by Stephanie Meyers.
Do you remember high school? How important little things were? How crazy you could get with all those hormones rocketing around in your system? Life revolved around your friends and school, right? And nothing mattered more than finding the perfect boy (or girl). Well, in Meyers' series, heroine Bella finds her perfect match when she moves to a little Oregon town to live with her dad. Fellow student Edward is gorgeous, kind, and smart. He's also a vegetarian vampire.
Much breathless page-turning ensues as they fall for each other. Edward tries to keep his distance, worrying he's not good for Bella. She refuses to give up on him. It's a paranormal Romeo and Juliet. I blew through all 4 books, and while I was disappointed with the last book, I thought it stayed true to how the characters would behave. They are, after all, teenagers. Watch for the Twilight movie, which is coming out this winter. Hubba hubba, Edward!
After that I was ready for something more grown-up and followed some Amazon trails to the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Now, Mercy isn't a vampire. Far from it. She's a shapeshifter or "walker" -- she can change into a fox -- who lives next door to the local werewolf pack leader. She's also a mechanic who bought a garage (and learned to fix German cars) from a gremlin. One of her regulars is a vampire with a beat-up VW minibus. These mythical creatures live alongside us normal humans, doing their best to stay under the radar, slowly coming out to the rest of the world as advancing technology forces them to reveal their existance.
Shapeshifters are rare, and Mercy is the only one of her kind that she knows of, so she hangs out with werewolves as the next best thing. She's tough and cool and doesn't take s--t from anyone, not even pack leader Adam. In the first book she saves a kid who's been unwillingly turned into a werewolf, which leads to big trouble and forces her to revisit a painful past. The books are thrillers but not one-dimensional. The characters are well developed and Briggs addresses issues related to class and society, race and abuse. Book #3 (Iron Kissed) was pretty dark, and happy endings in this series are not guaranteed. I'm looking forward to #4, Bone Crossed, which comes out in February.
After Mercy I decided to go back to the Sookie Stackhouse series, written by Charlaine Harris, and start at the beginning. I'd read a couple of the books from the middle of the series and decided it would be a nice way to round out my summer of vampire. In a word, Sookie rocks.
Now, Sookie is a professional barmaid. She can read minds, too, an oddity she can't explain and has had to hide her whole life. It makes it hard for her to function in regular society, and everyone in the small Louisiana town where she lives thinks she's crazy. Then one night a vampire walks into her bar. Now that there's synthetic blood for them to drink and they no longer have to kill to eat, vampires have come out to the rest of the world. Sookie's enthralled by vampire Bill because she can't hear his thoughts -- vampire minds are closed to her, which means with Bill she can be herself. That's pretty seductive to Sookie. Her relationship with Bill draws her deeper into the vampire community, where they find her mind-reading skills useful. She develops a little sideline career reading minds and discovers a whole 'nother layer to the world, one peopled with vampires, weres, elves, and other scary creatures.
Sookie is another independent woman, proud of her ability to take care of herself. She's sweet but stubborn, naive in some ways and smart in others. Like Briggs, Harris uses vampires, weres, et al to address issues of race and class in our society. Mostly, though, this series is just plain fun. The audio books are excellent, and if you're heading out on a long road-trip they'd be good listening. Not for the faint of heart - watch out for "adult situations." Sookie keeps the language clean though. You don't swear around a lady, and she demands to be treated like the lady she is. The eighth book in the series was released just this summer and ended with quite a cliffhanger. Can't wait to see what happens next.
And with that, my vampire reading spree petered out.
Now, all this reading would have been much tougher without the Kindle.
We were lucky enough to get a Kindle for Christmas last year (thanks again, Jamie!), and I quickly discovered that not having to turn pages makes the whole reading-and-breastfeeding gig a lot easier. I ended up buying all of the the above books for the Kindle, which is cool because it means I have a shelf-full of books loaded on one handy little device. The downside is I can't pass the books along without passing the Kindle along, too. And that's not going to happen, because I love it too much!
I enjoyed following a theme for awhile, and I love discovering new series. How about you? Have you been sucked into the vampire subgenre too? Or is there another theme or series you're following?
Annabel takes a bath!
In other news: Otto pulled Annabel's curtains down today. As in, we heard a crash and raced upstairs to find the boy, curtains, and curtain rod on the floor. He even pulled the curtain rod brackets straight out of the wall. We don't know why, or how - we thought he was napping. At least the baby was downstairs with us at the time, and he wasn't hurt. He's in heap big trouble, though. No TV!
Also in the news: Jon did something really romantic today. He took out our ugly, cheap plastic shower doors, and we're going to replace them with a clean fresh shower curtain (this one?). I've been wanting to do that since we moved in. Watch out for project creep! The next thing you know I'll be painting, buying piles of new towels, and installing cork flooring. Hmm...
evenings: bottle-washing, running a load of diapers, packing bags for each kid, making Otto's lunch, cleaning up from dinner, baths and stories and bedtime, time with the hubby, maybe (if I can get my hands on the remote) watching a show
mornings: snuggling, eating breakfast, showering while the baby has tummy-time on her play mat and Otto watches PBS, letting Jake in and out and scratching his ears, final prep to get out the door
The number of bags I load in the car each morning? Five. One for Annabel, one for Otto, my purse, the pump, and my LLBean bag with my lunch, a book, work files, water bottle. Dropping the kids off takes about 20 minutes - seeing them into their classrooms, putting gear away, etc.
Work's good, I think, busy, as it should be.
The weather's gorgeous, sunny and warm, cool at night -- that helps. Even Otto knows I'm better on sunny days.
Annabel's been content when I get home, happy to see me but not overtired or stressed, so I think day care is going well for her. Otto's just excellent -- he is, AT LAST, 100% potty trained. This week he finally decided it was OK to do all his business on the potty (he held out on the pooping for awhile), so this weekend we'll shop for a special toy of some sort to celebrate.
Jon's good, he even made bread from scratch the other night -- our little protest against the $3.89 price tag on our Brownberry. His bread is better, anyway.
I've had a headache for the past 3 days, so I'm tense and a little stressed, but overall things are good. It'll just take me awhile to trust that it's really OK to leave both my munchkins behind every morning.
I finally joined Facebook last week.
Social networking and "library 2.0" has been discussed ad nauseum in my field for the past few years, and the best way to learn about something is by participating, so I kept meaning to do it. But, you know, privacy concerns, I already had a blog and a Flickr account and yada yada yada. Who needs a Facebook account, anyway?
Then Jen had her baby (hi Jen! Is Henry sleeping in some sort of bed yet?) and I decided I needed to be her Friend so I could see more pictures.
Several days later my Friend list is peopled with family and friends, folks from my library life, buddies from SLIS, and -- most surprising of all -- long-lost classmates from high school.
Here I am, almost 20 years later, believing I'm all grown up and, well, different. But in reality...
Thankfully I no longer curl my bangs, peg my jeans, buy cassette tapes, or cruise Fe listening to Metallica. The violin is on temporary hiatus due to the combination of small children and a full-time job, and I will never wear those jeans again, either. Oh well.
High school was so awkward. Ugh. You couldn't pay me to repeat it. But, you know, it's OK. It's good to know I'm still who I've always been, just more so, if that makes any sense.
So here's to the South High class of '90 -- see you in a couple of years!
It's 10 a.m.
I'm buckling Otto into his car seat for a trip to the library (and story time!).
Otto reaches up to hug me and says "I love you mama!"
I laugh and say "I love you too!" as I hug him back.
He says, "we are so happy today! You are so happy!"
"Yep, I am," I say, backing out of the car to shut his door.
"Hm," Otto says, hand on his chin. "We must be missing something."
In preparation for day care, Jon and Annabel have been test driving bottles.
Bottle #1: Medela
Annabel takes a long time to eat
lots of spitting up post-feeding
doesn't come in a larger size for later on
This is the one we've been using pretty successfully so far.
Bottle #2: The Adiri Natural Nurser
the, uh, "natural shape" appeals to breastfed babies
simple to put together, well-designed
makes me laugh
can't put it in a bottle warmer
Annabel couldn't get it to work -- the milk just ran down her chin
Obviously, a no-go. Looks like it should work great, but doesn't for Annabel.
Bottle #3: Sassy/MAM
vented to help with the spit-up problem
9oz version is available for later on
bottle has 5 pieces altogether (the vent on the bottom is 2 pieces)
a little over the top with the pink/purple thing
Well, never mind the cons. Annabel has voted! She took this bottle once for Jon and that was it -- she started refusing the Medelas. He had to wash the test bottle for each of her feedings yesterday (I bought more today).
All of the above bottles are BPA-free. There are a lot of questions right now about the plastics used in baby bottles, formula can liners, etc., and whether the chemicals involved affect babies' and children's development, so I shopped with the safe list from The Z Report in hand.
Friday will be Bel's first time at day care (just a few hours). We'll be fine, but I have this odd, performance-anxiety kind of feeling about it, like it's a concert or something. I'll be glad to get that first day over with.