Monday, June 28, 2010

My little nerdling.

What I am about to say, I say with absolutely no derogatory intent or malice towards my own kid. It actually makes me kind of happy. Proud, even. Now that J is in school, TH and I have come to the realization that J might be...well...a nerd. Not in the Revenge of the Nerds, Pointdexter, pocket-protector and mouth-breathing sense. More in the "I'm smart and inquisitive and there is absolutely nothing I love more than reading and watching nature shows and going to school and if I'm not going to school, talking about going to school" kind of way.

Like me.

Remember I told you that J is a full-fledged reader now? Well, he has taken it to whole new levels. He goes to bed with books. Long books. And when I say "goes to bed" I don't mean we read a bedtime story and then he goes to sleep, I mean he begs and pleads to keep books in his bed for reading after lights out "if I wake up and I want to read something." He hides books under his pillow and down between the mattress and the wall, and I've caught him crouched by his window at night trying to take advantage of the sun being up until almost 9pm. The best part is that now he's taken to reading Jr. a "baby story" (one of his old board books) at bedtime, which is very cute and brotherly--once they're both in pj's they sit on the floor or in the rocking chair and J reads to him, mimicking all the inflections and voices TH and I used to use when we read J the same stories. I need to get it on video one of these days. We haven't really started chapter books yet but this weekend we're going to the library to see what we can find.

At school, the teacher told us that he is her "reading helper." He kept insisting on taking his own books to school even though they have plenty to read there, to the point where the teacher asked him one day to read the book to the whole class -- which he did. And apparently he does this every day. He sits in front of the class, with the other kids in a circle around him, and reads them a story. This amazes me on so many levels. I'm pretty outgoing now, but when I was a kid I was VERY shy and the thought of getting up and reading a book in front of the class would have been mortifying.

J loves school so much that on my days home with him, his favorite game to play is "School." I have to be the teacher, and he basically leads me through a typical school day: "Now it's time for Outdoor Play! Now we line up (lining up with, well, himself) to come back inside for Art Time. Now we eat a snack and then we have Dramatic Play." (I love the preschool with all their titles for every activity). We even make a lunch in the morning and put his lunchbox in the fridge. AND HE EATS IT. Whenever I have to pay attention to Jr. I tell J that I'm going into "the infant classroom" and while we're playing School J accepts that without argument. I'm telling you, this kid loves school. I asked him the other day what he wants to be when he grows up and he told me that he didn't know, "I just want to go to school all the time." He actually does a little dance when he looks at his calendar and sees that it's a school day. (Side note: J now has a big calendar on his bedroom door, the kind that teachers use on their bulletin boards. I bought it at the dollar store in the teacher supply section, along with little stick-ons for activities, the weather, etc. It's turned out to be so helpful when we're getting things ready the night before, he loves to look at the calendar and see if the next day is school or daycare or home or church, and when he has soccer practice, and what kind of clothes he should pick out. We even put special events on it like "Pizza for dinner" or "Go to the mall to buy shoes." As it turns out, J has another nerd quality like me - a love of organization and lists.)

I know J is not really a "nerd." He also loves to play outside and run and jump and kick things. I get the feeling that once he discovers things like chemistry sets and spelling bees and math competition, though, his true nerd tendencies are going to shine. Oh well, I'm a huge nerd and it's worked for me so far...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Photo Wednesday - All in a Summer's Day

I love this picture. I make no claims to be a photographer and I wish that I could "dress up" the photo a little more, but it's the moment that I love. This was taken yesterday evening around 6pm, while I was getting dinner ready. This really captures J at this age -- bone-tired from telling me "I'm not ever sleepy anymore Mommy" at naptime. Still wearing his swimsuit from running out and jumping in the wading pool every hour or so all day. Nice summer tan. Asleep with his Trio building block thingy that he got for Christmas and completely ignored until this past week when I've been making him spend an hour every day alone in his room for Quiet Time, and he's suddenly "discovered" all these toys that he forgot he had. This creation is a "robot building." And the kicker--he fell asleep like that watching the Michael Jackson "Beat It" video over and over again. It's little details like these I know I'll forget over the years when I see these photos but I hope I can hold on to memories of J in the summer he was 4...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Random Monday

  • After working ridiculously hard for a couple of weeks, I'm now in the middle of what I guess you'd call my Summer Vacation, and it has been soooooo needed. TH took this week off with me so we're having a little Staycation here in Vegas -- not sure what we're going to do but we're thinking maybe a night with the kids at a Strip long as it has a pool we'll be happy. That's one of the major downsides of living in LV, after awhile it's not exciting to "go to Vegas" anymore, we hardly ever even drive down the Strip and it's been a good 5 years since we actually stayed in a hotel down there. We just realized the other day that J has never seen the Strip at night (unless we're driving past it on the highway) or stuff like the fountains at Bellagio, so this should be a good time.

  • Speaking of pools...I really wish we had one. I mean, besides the little 4ft diameter kiddie pool J "swims" in every day. I know that if we had a pool I'd always be nervous about safety with the kids, but these Vegas summers are killer - we've already hit 110 degrees and it's not even July. This weekend I did come up with the genius idea of putting J's pool at the bottom of his plastic slide/climber so he could splash down while I held the hose over the slide to make a "waterfall." It was alot of fun...for him LOL.

  • I didn't get on board with the whole "500 in 2010" thing because I knew it was entirely unrealistic for me this year. However I have been back on Weight Watchers and trying to get back into running. It's been a sloooooow progression with slooooooow weight loss. I get the feeling that breastfeeding is a major obstacle - it seems like no matter what I'm doing, my body wants/needs to hang onto a little padding while I'm BFing. Which is fine, I get the feeling we're winding down on that anyway.

  • Speaking of boobs :) - Can anyone recommend a good store/website/catalogue where someone who is, um, well-endowed can get a GOOD running bra? This is another obstacle that I've never been able to figure out - when I'm not pregnant/nursing I'm well into a DD cup, and right now we're in E/F territory. Usually I put on 2 bras and hope for the best but I was hoping someone had a better idea...I'm willing to spend $$$ if I can find a truly supportive jog bra.

  • I've been reading other posts about doing a TV detox - and I realized that I'm probably the only person on earth who has never seen Lost, 24, Desperate Housewives, The Bachelor, Survivor, How I Met Your Mother, Mad Men, or any number of "hit" TV shows. Where the hell have I been? I couldn't tell you. So You Think You Can Dance, however -- THAT I'm all over. There's no way I could not watch SYTYCD.

  • Jr. is crawling, pulling up, and occasionally standing by himself (!!!). It's kind of disconcerting to watch because he's still on the small side, still wearing 3/6 month onesies. I actually like him being mobile...except for the middle of the night where he's doing the whole "I have new skills so I must try them out at 1am and then get stuck" routine. Ah, babies.

  • I was also inspired by other bloggers to rent The Empire Strikes Back for J to watch this weekend (we have the original trilogy of course...on VHS. And we no longer have a VCR.). WOW did he love that movie!! Next on the list of movies from my childhood that I feverishly hope I can watch with my kids: Goonies.

  • Speaking of teaching your kid to like the things you used to like...J is waaaaay into Michael Jackson right now. We listen to the Thriller album in the car pretty much every day. He knows all of the songs and requests his favorites. TH also has him hooked on the "Michael Jackson: Number Ones" DVD (all of the good MJ videos, it's actually pretty fun to watch). This is funny to me because although I was a fan of MJ like everyone else, TH is what you'd call a Superfan. I've only seen him cry a handful of times in the almost 20 years I've known of those times being when MJ died last year. TH is kind of shy but if you get him drunk at a party and play "Thriller" or "Beat It" he will do the entire choreography, from beginning to end. I kid you not. How it warms my heart to see father and son bonding while watching the "Rock With You" video...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Handle with care, both ends are hot.

You ever heard the phrase "burning the candle at both ends?" If ever there was a good description of my last two weeks, that would be it. I worked 11 of the past 14 days. I know, that sounds like a normal schedule, but believe me that's packing in alot of working time. We're talking on average 12 hour days, a few of them even longer.

I think I've mentioned on this blog my interesting work schedule. Our clinic is run as a one-doctor practice with two doctors job-sharing so that we both still work full-time hours. Huh? Basically we each work a full 6 day week (50-60 hours) and then have a week off, alternating with each other. Now, I normally do not complain about this setup. It's not common, and as far as spending time with my kids and cutting down on childcare costs, it's ridiculously good. I don't know that I could ever find another job situation like this, especially in veterinary medicine.


There are a couple of major drawbacks to this type of schedule. If one of us doctors ever wants/needs time off that doesn't fall on our scheduled off week, we have to rearrange the whole schedule months in advance and we usually each end up working several consecutive weeks, which is what happened this past month. Again, you're probably thinking you and everyone else on earth, sweetie, and you'd be right. But boy, is it tiring being the only doctor for long stretches of time. Having a one-doctor practice means that anything that comes in the door has to be seen by me. Routine care. Emergencies. Surgeries. Walk-ins. During an "on" week I normally get to work around 7:45am (after dropping kids at daycare) and if it's a busy day, I rarely leave before 6:30pm. If it's a really busy day like we've had lately, I'm working that entire day with no lunch, just two short breaks to pump and I scarf down a salad or something in between appointments and procedures. Last week, I came home 3 days out of 6 after the kids were in bed, one night not making it in until almost 10pm because of an emergency surgery -- is there a reason that I have never cut an emergency surgery at 10am? How do these animals only get themselves into trouble after their owners get home from work, I'll never know...

Anyway, enough belly-aching. I do actually love my job, but I'm glad to have some time off this week because I could feel myself burning out by the end of a 14-day stretch. Nothing's perfect, I guess.


In other news, J is a full-fledged reader now. Really reading, not just regurgitating books that he's memorized, and reading big words at that. Just like me when I was a kid, now that he knows how to read, he's noticing words everywhere and he always has to have something to read in front of him. At breakfast he "needs" a cereal box to read the back of. He takes books into the car, even if we're only going a short distance. If he doesn't have a book, he reads all of the street signs, surprising me with how many words he can recognize or figure out -- "That says Windmill Street!" or "That store sign says 'Ask about our specials.'" He knows our first names and so now he goes to the mailbox with me and sorts the mail into piles for me, TH, and himself (junk mail). He reads the CNN crawl on the bottom of the screen even though he has no idea what he's reading -- "Why does that say, 'Obama visits Gulf for second time'?" (Seriously, he read that, I was floored.) Last week he took one of his more complicated books to school, one intended for 6 yrs and up, and he was reading so well that his teacher asked him to read the whole book to the class, which amazingly he did.

What's interesting is that he doesn't write anything. He can make a few rudimentary letters and numbers, and likes to draw big backwards J's on everything, but if I try to get him to practice writing his whole name (which he's been able to spell and recognize for almost a year) he gets frustrated immediately and won't pick the pencil up. He's even told me that "all the other kids at preschool are good drawers and write better than me" but he still doesn't want to do it. I'm not sure how to encourage him to write, maybe I should ask his teacher?