Thursday, October 25, 2007

Maylin's homework addiction

She just can't get enough of homework! They've had manuscript homework every day except on Fridays, so by Maylin's request, I have to draw up some homework sheets for her. Identical to previous assignments. I'm really good now at drawing long straight lines and hand signs for letters of the alphabet. Sometimes I have to do this on the weekends, too. Oh yeah -- she also asked me to make her a homework folder, same as her school one, but red. I didn't have any folders on hand, but I did have some old hanging file folders that I cut up and glued together. (Hmm...cutting and pasting is fun!)

Maylin takes her homework so seriously. She and John were on their way out the door yesterday morning when she remembered she hadn't spelled out the word "monkey" on her homework. She started crying! It was a near catastrophe with John rushing her out the door and closing it behind them, Maylin bawling, and my running after them with a pen so that she could finish her work at the bus stop. And wouldn't you know, she actually had time to do it!

I went to a second-hand store last week and found an old elementary school desk -- a blast from my past! It had the scratched-up, wooden hinged lid, and metal base with chair attached at a 'T'. I had always wanted one of these! And what a deal! Only $25! Maylin doesn't use one of these desks at school, but now she can use one at home when she's doing her non-requisite "homework."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Random smattering of uploaded photos

Some new photos of mine on flickr! Stefan and friends, still lifes, and my t-shirt, I mean, onesie design that I loved but that disappeared in the wash.

Real *new mommy* fashions

1. Wear your pants inside out unknowingly
(This really happened to me, and no one told me! I didn't realize until I got back home after an entire day of running errands. This is what results from too little sleep!)
2. Spit-up shoulder accessory
(Nothing like some digested milk -- in curd form -- to draw attention to your attractive shoulder.)
3. "Is that poop?" sweater
(I did in fact go out into the world wearing poop on the front of my sweater. While doing a diaper change, I had dodged a projectile poop. Thought I was successful, but apparently was not when I saw something that was either peanut butter, mustard, or baby poop on my brand-new sweater.)
4. Burp cloth shoulder accessory
(Did I forget to take that thing off?)
5. Wear your pajamas all day
(Your pajamas need to look like regular clothes. Or you can do what I do -- turn your regular clothes into your sleeping clothes.)
6. Wear your maternity clothes
(Because you don't fit into your old clothes. Chest too big, belly too big, etc.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Violin and ballet in Maylin's future

Cool! It seems I didn't have to worry about Maylin not taking an interest in the activities I suggested to her before. She has volunteered to study violin (with me) and ballet (at a dance school with a few classmates, if they'll agree to go along with it). I'm so excited! I'm taking Maylin to a local luthier tomorrow to check out her workshop (perhaps get some demos of the different instruments) and to get Maylin's bow (for a 1/8-size violin) rehaired. Maybe she could sell me a bow, too. I lost mine (long story -- tell you later). I might ask about cellos, too, since I've been thinking of learning for the last year.

Stefan's doing great. Much easier baby than Maylin was, or is it just that I'm more experienced now? He still nurses every two to three hours (sometimes more often) and is now big enough to ride in the baby carrier, the Baby Bjorn, which I rarely used with Maylin. I carried Maylin in a baby sling. The Baby Bjorn is great -- I can do chores around the house with Stefan attached to my torso and don't have to worry about him because he just goes to sleep most of the time. Also, now that it's been raining, I can pick up Maylin at the bus stop without having to worry about holding an umbrella and pushing a stroller at the same time (a nearly impossible feat -- and definitely uncomfortable).

On Friday, Stefan interacted with me! First of all, he looked me directly in the eyes -- whereas before, he would always look past me. This is a big deal. I sang to him and he smiled. I stuck out my tongue and he copied me! Today I talked to him and he cooed back! He is so much fun!

He seems to like my singing more than Maylin did when she was a baby. She never reacted to my music, but Stefan finds it soothing and pleasurable. It stops his crying sometimes and he listens intently. He likes Bach on the piano. I need to try some Mozart, which I played daily during the last weeks of the pregnancy. I remember him liking it in the womb -- at least I thought when he kicked while I practiced it meant he enjoyed it.

I used the words "my kids" for the first time last night on the phone and it felt foreign, but good. Yes, I'm a mother of two now! So hard to believe!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

In my mind at 3:46 am

Ah, I'm back to my usual ramblings in the wee hours of the morning. I should be totally exhausted and konked out in bed since I'm a mommy to a 5 week-old, but for some reason, my brain is awake and kicking. So it's time to just let it all out so hopefully I can get to bed again (and perhaps you can be entertained in the meanwhile).

Okay, this is bizarre, but I'm actually enjoying doing housework now (only for the moment). It's the only "project" which I can accomplish to a reasonable degree and is a diversion from baby care. I've always confessed to being the worst housekeeper, but I think I have the cleanest kitchen I've ever had. And ladies, don't you hate it when your man cleans out his coffee maker and leaves coffee grounds in your freshly bleached sink and all over your pristine counters? I used to get mad and complain, but now, I just bite my tongue and rinse the little guys away before they stain. It only takes a few seconds to remove the misery.

I don't really want to spend my free time cleaning. What I fantasize about doing is:
- learn to play the cello (or at least try it out for a month)
- learn to silkscreen t-shirts, baby onesies, and greeting cards
- compose some music (voice and piano)
- sing in a musical
- make a quilt
- sew a plushie/softie (view examples on my flickr page under Caroline's Creations)
- clean out all my junk in the back room
- go to the gym and take classes again
- shop at H&M again
- lose some weight (whoah, nineteen pounds to go -- let's see how long that takes)

Since I'm nursing, I can't try too hard to lose weight. I'm supposed to increase my caloric intake a little and haven't gotten the okay from my doctor to exercise seriously (sit-ups are out of the question for the moment). I think I haven't lost anything for the last two weeks, but at least I'm down twenty-two pounds from just before Stefan's delivery. (Yes, I gained forty-one pounds during this pregnancy, but this is nothing compared to the whopping fifty-five pounds I added on when I was pregnant with Maylin. I was HUGE!)

I've adjusted back quite easily to American living -- it's ever so convenient! -- but I do miss the charms of Paris. Being able to walk everywhere with ease! When we moved back to Berkeley after staying with my parents in the Central Valley this summer, I got back into the routine of getting groceries and running other errands. Maylin would often come along and expressed her distaste for taking the car. She preferred to walk. So did I. We both missed walking down the block to get groceries, or walking to the metro to take the train to another delightful part of the city. But something changed with Maylin on Saturday. I took Maylin to my friend's birthday party which was about a two-minute drive up steep and windy roads through the Berkeley hills. She was disappointed that the ride was so short!

Maylin's still loving school and says she prefers school to being at home. What a change from last year! On weekday mornings, she would wake up and be really upset (sometimes cry) after I told her she had to get ready for school. These days, she wakes up asking, "Do I have school now?" and gets happy and excited. She's out of bed in no time and gets dressed and brushes her teeth with no resistance whatsoever. Mornings are a breeze! Who would have thought?

I feel a little tinge of jealousy when she says she likes school better than being home with Mommy, but I'm also proud that she's growing up and becoming so independent. I have to say home with Mommy isn't terribly exciting when Mommy is so busy taking care of Stefan all the time. Fortunately, I still get to help her with her homework (yes, homework in kindergarten!) and some days get to read to her after school (outside of bedtime reading).

Maylin is a wonderful big sister. She's not just loving towards Stefan (loves to hold him, touch his head, and just look at his face), but has an instinctive ability to soothe him (rocks him in his bouncy seat, or moves his stroller back and forth when he's in it inside the house, or just talks to him when he's in his crib -- assuring him that Mommy is coming soon). Quite the mother hen.

Okay, I should try to get some sleep otherwise I'll be a mess during the day. Have a great day, everyone!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Cousin relationships deciphered

I don't think I know anyone who's been able to explain to me what makes a second cousin or a first cousin twice-removed. And since I've been wondering how to refer to my cousin who does not share the same grandparents, I found a great site that offers a simple explanation. Go to this link and scroll to the bottom of the page (the grid is superfluous and looks intimidating):

Thursday, October 04, 2007

More Stefan photos online

Originally uploaded by Caroline in Paris.
Stefan at 24 days, plus some bonus photos (one with Daddy and a special shot of just Leo, styled by Maylin.)