Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A favorite perch

All sorts of places to sit and piles to climb now that we are packing. Of course she chooses the boxes full of fragile stemware to survey the world from.
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It's been quite a week.

I haven't been posting a lot here.  Largely because I've had things on my mind, that I wanted to talk about, but never felt this was the right forum.  I've been frustrated, even depressed at times, by the lack of progress in my life.  Let me start by saying I know how much I have to be thankful for, and I am very, very thankful.  But I think it is human nature to want to move forward in some way.  At least, it's my nature.  And my whole life has been stagnant lately, despite desperate attempts on my part to move it forward.

And then, in the course of a week, it all changes.  After 5 months of house hunting, last weekend we put in an offer on a place.  We were the first potential buyers to see it, it had only come on the market 12 hours earlier, and when we walked in we immediately knew it was home.  It felt so right.  There are things about it that don't fit our "ideal" but we had come to realize how much our ideal would cost, and were worried that we would be house poor if we got something more expensive.  This is the perfect balance of everything we needed.  We made an offer, lower than their asking price, and they took it.  So we move in a month!  Now we are knee deep in packing and trying to clear out things we don't need.  Our agent later told us she had been talking to an agent friend of hers whose clients tried to put an offer in that evening, but it had already been sold.  Good thing we went with our gut....

And then there is the issue of my job/PhD program/the reason my kid is in childcare.  I have been very, very unhappy there.  I have wanted to spend more time with MJ.  I have become convinced that this degree will do me no good now that we've decided to stay in Minnesota forever; academic positions almost always require moving around.  After four years, I am not even close to finishing my PhD.  I felt like it was time to admit it just wasn't going to happen.  The difficulty for me was trying to decide what I want to do with myself instead.  I decided a few months ago that I wouldn't quit until I had a plan.  The problem, though, is that I wasn't getting a plan, I was becoming more unhappy at work, my boss was getting frustrated with my lack of progress, and my heart was no longer in it.  I had moved on, and it was time to just cut ties.  So I decided on Saturday it was time to stop living in fear of what happens next.  I don't know what will happen next.  But not moving forward simply because I was afraid no longer seemed logical.  I decided to stop my PhD, and I told my advisor yesterday.  And for now, I will stay home with MJ.  And what will I do next?  I don't know, but you can bet I'll figure it out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

My tiny Neanderthal

My head is a bit mushy this morning, likely from spending an entire weekend with a raging toddler. DH worked all weekend, so, with the exception of a few outings, it was MJ and I, one on one. I was desperately looking forward to this weekend. No real errands or commitments that needed to happen. Beautiful weather. An escape from the confines of the indoors.

And it was all that, but spending all weekend with a creature that is very mobile but barely vocal can make a person feel soft in the head. When she was first born, I often wondered when she would surpass our dog in intelligence. I think that happened at about 8 or 9 months of age. I now think she has the intelligence of some sort of early human or primate. Not that I really know what the true intelligence of these creatures are. But there are lots of grunts, little sense of personal hygiene (by our modern standards) and a desire to destroy things. This seems to be in line with what I've learned about Neanderthals from Geico commercials.

We're constantly told by strangers, family and friends how "energetic" MJ is. It seems that way to us, too, but she's our only data point. So a few weeks ago, after a particularly shriek-filled, catastrophe-filled few days with MJ, my husband asked our daycare director if MJ was the most energetic child they'd seen. She laughed and said no, clearly indicating she's not even close to the most energetic child she's seen. But she followed it up by saying "She's the most fearless."

As if to illustrate this point, MJ decided to climb the chain ladder at the playground yesterday. It's about a 6 foot tall ladder, and I didn't think she could get past the first couple rungs, so I watched (and positioned myself to catch). She got all the way to the top, but couldn't climb onto the platform. So what did she do? She let go.

I caught her. But how do you instill fear in a child that doesn't seem to have any? My operating principle so far has been to encourage minor injuries, so she can learn her own limitations. It has worked pretty well, and she has fear of many things she should have fear of, and will now make sure she has good footing on stools and stairs. But she is getting to the point of major injuries, not minor injuries. I had hoped that her learning stairs can be scary would translate to her understanding that 6 foot tall ladders can be scary. But that mental jump is too much, apparently.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Toddler Cage Match: Video Evidence

Toddler Cage Match



It starts out innocent enough....







But give a kid a box and a parent a camera and cage match will definitely ensue. It didn't help that we were shouting "Fight! Fight! Fight!" Luckily they don't know what that means yet.
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