Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Conversation with My Elder-By-Two Minutes Daughter

E after nap this afternoon:

Here is a recent transcript of a conversation with E:

E (walking into my parent's kitchen where I am cleaning up after dinner, a concerned look on her face: Mama, I need to talk to you.

Me (internally): Now I feel that I've over done the whole "you can always tell mommy whenever you want to talk about anything" bit. I was trying to prepare them to be good communicators with us when they're teenagers. Please let her not already want to talk about boys. I have it on good authority her best friend in Sunday School is a boy named Noah...

(out loud): Okay. Do you want to talk here?

E: (sits down) Sit down on the floor, Mama.

Me: (sitting down facing her) What is on your mind, sweetpea? Have you been thinking about something?

E: Yes. Lawnmowers.

Me: You've been thinking about lawnmowers? (Asked, because, well, you know with two and half year olds it can be hard to tell, plus it's a good therapist technique to indicate that you've heard what someone said by repeating it back to them).

E: Yes.

Me: What have you been thinking about lawnmowers?

E: I don't like them.

Me: You don't like lawnmowers?

E: No. (Gets up).

Me: Did you want to tell me about anything else?

E: No, that's all. (leaves room).

Good talk. I want my children to be in touch with their emotions, but I might be getting more than I was bargaining for that way.

Rob wanted me to mention he feels I'm getting the easy end of the bargain, since for every two pages he writes he has to translate 6 or so pages of documents from the 15th century handwritten in Arabic. He would encourage you to show me no grace for not posting. He and the girls kindly consented to come out of the cave they had spent the better part of the post-afternoon nap time constructing and allowed me to photograph them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Dissertation Resolve (Unless I Get Lazy and Change My Mind)

As most of you know, Rob is entering the home stretch of writing his dissertation. Every evening, I encouragingly ask him, "how much did you write today?" and "make other remarks like "if you'd rather write on your dissertation than check 'the news' on or, that would be fine with me." So in order to be less of a hypocrite (because if there is anything I value it's hassling others from a position of authenticity), I have decided that for every two pages Rob completes, I will post something on my blog. In seriousness, I want to be a better recorder of things that are going on here and I think that I would benefit from imitating Robert's incredible discipline at persisting in writing even when I feel like I'm too busy or that I have little to say. Because in real life having nothing to say doesn't really even slow me down from speaking. So in the next few days, I hope to post something in response to all of the e-mails some of you have sent asking me to discuss the octuplets in California, plus updates on the job situation here, E and L updates, and a discussion of why we love the Chris and Heathers and things we've learned from them. Feel free to suggest other things to you want to read about, because I can see this being a long spring if I really stick to this.
In the meantime, here's a fun L and E story. First, some background. As many of you know, I do all of the getting up in the middle of the night with the girls. This is not because Rob is a sexist. Although, if our friends in Atlanta would like to, they can begin, whenever Rob's name is mentioned, laughing and saying "Rob-he's such a sexist!" Here are some pictures I found this week of Rob being his sexist self- I like the one where he fell asleep reading to L from The Two Towers:

As I've mentioned before, I am a naturally gifted sleeper. I'm not trying to be boastful in saying that- I'm just stating a fact. Rob, however, is unable to fall back asleep once he is awakened. Given that he has graciously chosen to work so that I can stay at home with our children, it just seems fair that if anyone has to take one for the team in terms of sleep, it should be the person who does not have to be up at 6 to teach an 8:00 class. And, as I said, in most cases I can fall right back asleep. Now that the girls are two and a half, I'm only up proably twice a week. Last night, for example, I went in to help L at 4:00 am when she decided that she must have accidently gotten E's pillow by mistake and that she could best reslove the situation by sobbing heartbrokenly. (It was, as it turned out, a false alarm. She actually had her own pillow and, once she'd established that, we could all go back to sleep). Here's a picture of her from Christmas:

Other nights, when someone takes her hard, plastic octopus to bed, it is not uncommon for that person to roll on to that very octopus, possibly to avoid rolling onto the stuffed bear, seal, frog, rabbit and flamingo who, I am assuming, are contractually guaranteed a spot in the bed every evening. Naturally, my assistance is required to recover from the extremely unpleasant awakening that results. I don't feel that my words here have done the octopus justice. Here's a picture:
Just imagine how difficult it was for me to choke back my hysterical laughter the day that I witnessed E sweetly singing the lullaby we sing to them "Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep pwecious ock-o-pus," and them gently kissing each of his tentacles before wrapping him in a blanket and putting him down for a nap. Where was I going with this?
Ah, yes. So, I am the primary nighttime parent. On the weekends, though, Rob kindly allows me to sleep in as late as I would like on Saturday mornings. Which is why, in the story I am about to finally get around to telling, Robert was parenting alone. Saturday is pancake day, so he was in the kitchen making pancakes when E began to emit piercing shrieks. He rushed around the counter to see that L had E pinned against the floor and was shoving a nasal aspirator up E's nose, while E writhed around on the floor in protest. L, knowing she was probably in trouble, looked up and said, "Daddy, Eh-we's nose is stuffy. I am using the naso aspoator to clean it out." And then she smiled brightly and trotted off. Sweet sisters. Here's a picture of E, partly in her dress up clothes:

And here's a shot of the two together on the couch, attempting to avoid going to bed. Can you believe they once shared the bassinet of a single pack and play?