7.12.2017

how it happened again

It happened once before. Sharayah enjoyed my take on it last time, so I thought I'd give it another go. It was similar to last time, only much faster.

Monday, June 19
We were really hoping for another due-date baby. Lucas was born on his due date, so we thought it would be cool. Our kids would just be really well-scheduled, punctual little fellows. Plus doctor-y things make Sharayah nervous, so she wouldn't like the waiting game and discussions of intervention options if the baby didn't come on its own in good time. Well, June 19 was the due date and we saw no signs of labor leading up to the 19th or throughout the day on the 19th. I guess it wasn't meant to be.

However, things did start to happen before June 19 came to a close. Lucas had been having trouble sleeping that night and I had gone in to get him back to sleep several times between 8 and 11pm. We had resigned ourselves to the fact that we were not going to get a due-date baby and nothing would be happening that night. We were tired and just wanted to go to bed and see if the next day would bring any signs of a labor. Right around 11pm, when I got back from one of my trips to calm Lucas and put him back to sleep, Sharayah said, "Well, you'll never believe me, but I think we need to call the birth center."

It wasn't labor yet, but suddenly it seemed like the birth would not be so far away. We were told to get a good night of sleep and call in the morning (unless things started moving along). I made some sandwiches to bring with us the next day and finished packing our birth bag, and we went to sleep. No due-date baby, but it looked like we wouldn't miss by much.

Tuesday, June 20
Real, definite contractions started in around 3am, waking Sharayah up for the night. That put her in labor on about 3 hours of sleep. Technically that's better than with Lucas, but for sure our kids do not want us getting sleep if they can help it. I vaguely remember her getting up (I just thought she was going to the bathroom) but she let me stay asleep for a few hours. In retrospect, I should have known. I think I woke up halfway several times in the next few hours and she was often not in bed. At any rate, I didn't get up until 6 something when Lucas was making noise. I took him to the bathroom and then downstairs to play, while my mom (in town to help take care of Lucas during new-baby-week) got breakfast ready for him. I went back upstairs to check on Sharayah, whose contractions were already intense enough after just under 4 hours that we decided to call in again. Contractions still weren't super regular yet (they were approximately 5 minutes apart, give or take 2, and lasting 45 seconds, give or take 15) but they were strong enough that Sharayah couldn't do much during them.

Now it was time to watch, wait, and monitor. If water broke or contractions got more frequent, regular, or intense, we'd call again. Otherwise, we'd call in a couple hours. Sharayah always seems to downplay this stage. I kind of thought we'd be spending the day waiting around and end up all night in labor with an early morning birth on the 21st. That actually would have matched very closely with Lucas's timeline (her contractions with Lucas woke her up at 4am one day, and he was born at 6:45am the next day). It turns out, things were actually already pretty far along. The intensity started ramping up fast. We got to the stage where Sharayah was pretty debilitated by the contractions and needed me to put strong pressure on her back throughout to help her cope. At 9am we made plans with the midwife to meet at 10am at the birth center. By 9:30, I called and told her I thought we better just go in. We are only about 5 minutes away, but between last minute goodbyes and instructions to Lucas and trying to get our things and a contracting Sharayah into the car, out of the car, and into the birth center, it was just about 10am anyway.

We went into the birthing suite and immediately the water broke. It occurred to me that things seemed pretty far along for the water not to have already broken. I guess it doesn't always happen in the same order. The suites at this birth center have big tubs in case anyone wants to do a water birth or just wants to be in the water to ease the contractions while waiting for active labor. The midwife offered to fill it, so we said sure. Sharayah had been back and forth on whether she wanted to try a water birth. She thought it might be neat, but she's so hot-natured that she wasn't sure she'd be comfortable in a tub. At any rate, Sharayah decided she'd give it a try to see how it felt and whether it made things easier, and she could always get out if she wanted. Meanwhile her contractions were seeming more and more severe. She got in the water and I sat on the side with my feet in so I could continue to comfort her through contractions. It was still only a little after 10, but she was asking how to know when to push. When contractions hit, they seemed to rack her whole body, and she would kind of curl up and to the side in the water. She started her crush-my-fingers-so-I-can-share-in-the-pain routine (which I still maintain is an oddly enjoyable way for the husband to get to participate). Still no broken fingers, but I think she came close again once.

Not long after getting in the tub, she kept saying between contractions that she felt like she needed to push. Last time we were in that almost-ready-to-push stage for what seemed like an eternity. I didn't want Sharayah to have to do that again. The midwife told her she was pretty much there and to go ahead when she felt like her body really needed to push. The pushing stage seemed way more intense this time. We had only been there a half hour and already Sharayah was getting extremely drained by the contractions and seemed to be pushing quite a lot. I knew from last time that pushing can sometimes seem like you lose most of the ground gained from a push as soon as it ends. We might be here a while, so I settled in for the long haul and prayed for strength for Sharayah. These pushes were really beating her down fast, and I wasn't sure how she could do it as long as last time. However, where Lucas seemed to take 1 step forward and 4/5 of a step back, Finley just seemed to keep making progress. The midwife told Sharayah it should only be a couple more pushes. I remember hearing that last time and it not quite being true. I prayed this time it would be. After a couple more pushes, there he was. I can never put into words the bizarre and amazing sight of my son's head and face for the first time, when only the head is out. Finley looked exactly like Lucas. It was even weirder because he was underwater. Suddenly we had two of them. We had to reposition Sharayah for the rest of Finley to be born. Then out he came. In one fluid motion the midwife "caught" him, pulled him out of the water, and set him on Sharayah. At 10:46am, less than an hour after we got to the birth center, Finley was born.

After that things are, or course, blurry for a while. During that time I cut the cord, which is disgusting, we got out of the water, and Sharayah got into the bed holding Finley. They asked various questions and checked various things. Finley was purpler than I remember Lucas being, but soon he was pinkish brown, or brownish pink. He still looked like a carbon copy of Lucas. He was apparently a good bit bigger, coming in at 8 pounds, 14 ounces. No wonder Sharayah was so ready to get him out. We ate some food and stared ate him for a while until it was time to go home. They talked to us about some stuff that I don't remember. Then we went home to introduce him to Lucas at around 2pm.

So, approximately 8 hours after the first contraction, less than an hour after Sharayah's water broke, and after not even a half hour of pushing, we had our second little miracle. It was every bit as intense as last time, all crammed into less than 1/4 of the time. So far Lucas has coped amazingly well. He loves his routines, and we upended all of them, but he's been a trooper as the 4 of us figure out what is our new normal (my mom had the nerve to go back home at the end of the week and leave us without a 3-2 advantage anymore). Finley is a great sleeper (in 2-hour increments while someone is holding him). We are utterly exhausted and having a great time having two little guys.

Yeah, we made this.
Finley was born on the 10-year anniversary of the day when Sharayah and I started dating. Two kids in 10 years is pretty good. We can probably top it.

Dear Finley,
Welcome to our interesting family! You will soon find that we are an unusual bunch. I think you'll enjoy it. We all love each other a lot, which includes you. I still can't figure out where the time goes while we're staring at you. You have perfect little feet and I still can't name the color of your eyes. I'm so excited to see who you are. I bet in a lot of ways you're just like your awesome brother Lucas. I bet in a lot of ways you are awesome in some other way totally unlike him. I can't wait to watch you grow up.
Love,
Dad

Maybe Finley is tired, too.

5.27.2017

growing up

Growing up is hard.

Watching my little boy develop and mature and become aware of more and more of life's intricacies is thrilling but also hard. He's only 2. My heart says that's practically still a baby, but my head can objectively see that this is so far from the truth. Mom-ing is emotionally hard for irrational reasons.

When Lucas turned 6 months old, it was quite the emotional milestone for me. He was sitting up and starting to move about and was sprouting his first toothbuds. He was legitimately not an infant anymore and it was difficult for my heart to accept. But time moved on, and the emotions eventually softened.

Somehow, his first birthday wasn't an emotional one for me. I was quite pleased with my newly walking, adorable as two red pandas, dancing chubster. Reaching the one year mark was just another day in the life of Lucas. The same went for his second birthday - no tears shed, no scrunched heart feelings, just normal acceptance of "He keeps getting older like he's supposed to!" I thought maybe I had lost the new mom feelings, the gut-squeezing desire for my child to stay tiny forever, or that somehow my emotional bond was becoming weaker/less emotional/more realistic as time passed.

But then when Lucas was 2 years 3 months 6 days old, he weaned. He nursed for the last time and never looked back. He didn't even have the courtesy to tell me it was the last time so that I could savor it. It was... devastating. I know that sounds dramatic, and my emotions may have been amped up from being 14 weeks pregnant, but it was a ridiculously emotional time for me. The slightest thought of anything related to nursing just set off the tears and feels. On the one hand, it was a relief to know that the mom emotions were definitely still present and strong. Clearly they were just casually lying in wait for the right gut-punching moment. But on the other hand, I felt like I had lost something so vital and so significant in my bond with Lucas, that now I was somehow less of a mom to him, and it was rough. Mom-ing is so emotionally hard for irrational reasons.

Since the Weaning of 2016, I have watched my munchkin just grow by leaps and bounds. Somehow he is surviving on normal people foods. He can deftly use his spoon to scrape off the tiniest pieces of food from his chin into his mouth. Our games of "chase" now require exerting energy and effort to catch him. He can repeat back word for word multiple sentences that we had no idea he was even listening to [which is always frightening]. He can make up elaborate stories and songs and thinks up questions that amaze me. He is a wonder. He is a full-blown kid, with almost zero baby-like tendencies.

Well, except for his swaddle.

His swaddle? Yes, his swaddle. That handy little velcro-wrap that you use on infants to keep their arms from flailing around and accidentally waking themselves. The piece of fabric that only goes up to a size Large for babies up to 6 months, maybe 9. The green and forest-animal-covered swaddle that can only barely be attached around his waist, that often comes un-velcroed in the middle of the night causing much sadness, and that we have had to sew up multiple times because his feet have worn through the bottom so that it's more of a skirt instead of a cozy leg burrito.That swaddle. Lucas, at the ripe old age of 32 months, weighing in at 30 pounds and measuring 3 feet tall, has to wear his swaddle every single time he goes to sleep.

That is, until tonight.

Cue the pregnant mama melodrama. When he decided, out of the blue, that he didn't want his swaddle tonight, something inside me crumbled. I don't know why. We have been trying for months upon months to get him to move past his swaddle stage, but every night we have lost the battle and we had honestly just given up and resigned ourselves to a leg-swaddled teenager. [We may have discussed multiple times making larger homemade swaddles to accommodate his growing legs... In all seriousness.] The swaddled legs gave him some kind of comfort and was apparently a very important part of his bedtime routine. It was one of those things that presented no real problem and just a little bit of inconvenience, so why fight it? Pick your battles. We apparently value an easy put down at bedtime over the appearance of a "normal" toddler. This should not be surprising at all.

Anyway. When I heard him say he didn't want his swaddle, my insides lurched. Who is this child and where did you put my baby? As we went through the bedtime routine, I kept expecting the swaddle demands to start but... they never did. And so here I sit, looking into the video monitor with a bird's eye view of my fast asleep, swaddle-less, legs-free son. And I don't know what to do with myself. It is so ridiculous to want to cry, but I have to keep squelching that tightening feeling in my throat. You hear about the milestones that your baby goes through, the first laughs and first steps and first words and first birthdays, but you never hear about the little milestones. The last time you look at your baby before seeing him as a toddler. The last time you have to comb sweet potato out of his hair. The last time you have to show him how to jump with both feet in the air. And the last time you have to make him suck in his big ol' belly to securely velcro him into his swaddle. Mom-ing is so, so incredibly emotionally hard for irrational reasons.

I feel guilty. For telling him to be a big boy. For always making him do things he clearly doesn't want to do. For gently manipulating him into thinking he wants to do something when it's really just me who wants him to do it. For always prompting him to be better, to learn and understand more, to see things from a rational point of view... In essence, to keep growing up. I feel guilty.

But at the same time, I feel pride. Every time Lucas excitedly "gets" something. Every time he joyfully sings the alphabet song. Every time he says, "I am impressed with myself." Every time he comes running up to me with his latest potty training report. Every time he corrects his own grammar. Every time he asks a ridiculously complex question. Every time he randomly thanks us for performing some menial favor - "Thank you, Mommy, for cutting my apple in little pieces for me to eat." Every time he makes just one more toddling step toward Big Kid-ness. I feel so much pride.

Mom-ing is emotionally hard for me, and it's a double whammy because I am not a huge fan of emotion. It is a constant balancing act between valleys of guilt and peaks of pride and joy and utter fulfillment. I would love to say, "I wouldn't have it any other way," but that probably wouldn't be true. I'd love for it to be all joy and giggles and good feelings and no tantrums and somehow keep my son simultaneously a baby and a capable, self-sufficient big kid. But I suppose this way, the real-life way, is better. Because with every step that Lucas makes into the world of Big Kid, I take an equal step of growth into Mom-ness with all of its heart-pounding excitement and gut-wrenching heartache.

We're both growing up and it can be hard sometimes, but I honestly could not have asked for a better little pal to do it with. Cheers, buddy. You are truly one of a kind.

Lucas loves putting clips in my hair - hair clips or chip clips, it doesn't seem to  matter to him.

You will always be my little boy.

4.04.2017

things a boy does

It doesn't really matter the question, the answer is almost always the same, five or six times a day: "'Cause I a boy and boys like <insert random activity> sometimes." I have no idea where Lucas came up with this response but it never fails to entertain [or disturb].

Some example queries:
"Lucas, why are you making a mess?"
"Lucas, why do you like that car?"
"Lucas, why do you have sauce all over your face?"
"Lucas, why are you playing tricks on me?"
"Lucas, why are you wearing an egg for a hat?"
"Lucas, why are you a contrarian?"
"Lucas, why do you want me in the kitchen?"
"Lucas, why don't you want me to kiss you?"
"Lucas, why do you smell funny?"

To be fair, "I a boy, and boys like to smell funny sometimes" does hold a good bit of truth, so I'll give him that one. But seriously, where does a little mind think of these things [and then stick to them with the tenacity of a python]?

I asked Jason today who Lucas got his odd duck-ness from and he just silently raised his eyebrows at me. Fair enough.

In other news, the marshmallow and I are plodding along. Week 29 is in that weird time period where it feels like D-Day is right around the corner yet also impossibly far away. If I want it to seem far away, I just tell myself I have the entire third trimester to go. Because, let's be honest, that last trimester when you basically live in the bathroom for half the day [Jason refuses to let me rig a just-for-convenience bed pan to myself, bah men] and spend the rest of the day trying only semi-successfully to comfortably sit, lie down, bend over, eat, roll over entertain a toddler, etc., it's an eternity unto itself. [I am honestly not complaining, just stating facts that need to be stated.] However, if I want it to seem like we're so close, I go through the following thought process:
-It's already April.
-In May, Jason is done with work.
-We then only have a month and a half to get ourselves prepped, physically and mentally, for munchkin number two.
-What.

On the prep front, there is also that weird limbo feeling, fluctuating between "We've got this" and "We are so not ready for this." There is the entire mental side of it, but there is also the more practical side [which we like to focus on because it is something we actually have control over]. We have to set up the marshmallow's new room. Sort through all of Lucas's old newborn stuff [how many breast milk stains on a onesie is acceptable on a hand-me-down?]. Wash.all.the.things. Figure out what things we'd wished we'd had on our first go-around and go on a shopping spree [JAMMIES WITH MITTENS].

Speaking of shopping, if you ever feel like you have this wad of unwanted cash or Amazon currency in your pocket and you're thinking to yourself, "I have absolutely no idea what to do with this richness. Maybe I should buy a melting face pig steamer or an Asian man wall decal or a set of finger hands finger puppets?" Don't do it. Instead, feel free to send it our way. We promise not to buy a headband with an attached mullet. We will only purchase things for the marshmallow. Promise. Or, feel free to browse our thrown together Amazon registry and grab up some of those diaper covers you've always wanted to buy but have never found an opportunity to do so! [Do not, however, under any circumstances, buy us a copy of this.] Logically, I feel like we've done this whole baby thing once so we technically shouldn't need anything this time around but babies always make logic kinda go out the window... We are preparing for the apocalypse here, people.

Since I have not blogged in such a long time, I suppose I should also supply some pregnancy-so-far details that I can reference in the future.

  • First trimester: So sleepy. And hungry. All the time hungry. Tofu and broccoli aversion [so much sadness]. 
  • Second trimester: Imagine a sloth. Imagine a Korean sloth. Imagine a Korean sloth with a fishbowl in its stomach. You are now accurately picturing me. Well done. 
  • Third trimester: We have arrived. Most days I feel pretty good and normal. 
    • By the scale, I've gained 12 pounds. By the mirror, I've gained 35. By my mind, I've gained 85.
    • My non-pregnant self sheds hair like a Great Pyrenees. My pregnant self sheds nothing. No more hair art in the shower. Sadness.
    • I can now eat two teaspoons of food per meal and feel like I can still breathe. Three is just asking for trouble. This does not mesh well with my desire to eat all the things all the time.
    • The marshmallow shakes my belly like a bowl full of jelly these days. He somehow knows when I'm trying to film it though and inconveniently stops whenever I pull out my camera. I think he's got a spy hole in my belly button.
    • I unashamedly use Jason to leverage me out of bed.
So. That's life right now. We are simultaneously winding down Jason's super tiring semester and gearing up for this summer's adventure of Vermette Family of Four. Here we come.

He's ready for anything.

2.15.2017

life according to Lucas

Cats make meowing sounds.
Chickens make eggs.
Owls make who-whooing sounds.
Crabs make underwater sounds.
Bees make humming sounds.
Dragons make puffing sounds.
Animals make pawing sounds.
Feet make footprints.
Bellies make belly buttons.
Mouths make tongues.
Noses make boogers.
Butts make poopies.
Tools make everything better.
Trucks make honking sounds.
Foods make tummies feel all right.
Trees make stumps.
Sun makes sunbeams.
Winter makes snowflakes.
Water makes puddles and drips.
Babies make crying sounds.
Mamas make food.
Dadas make everything all right.
Jesus makes "evah-thing"!

"I be Dada!"

1.20.2017

ramblings of a sleepy lady

Some days I feel like Awesome Mom of a Toddler. My kitchen is pretty clean-ish. I've played trains and chase and cars and tent and goose. I've remembered to drink water regularly. I've come up with a dinner plan. I've read fifteen books aloud on three separate occasions all before 1 PM. I might have even vacuumed several rooms of my perpetually dusty house. These are the days that I feel like a superhero. I feel like a rockstar. Another baby on the way? No problem. I've got this.

Some days I feel like I-Cannot-Handle-Another-Child Mom of a Tornado Beast. I can't see my kitchen counters and Lucas has dropped his lunch on the floor for the third time. I've sat down in the bathroom twice but have been interrupted twice to go diffuse this-is-the-end-of-the-world-and-I-might-be-dying wailing coming from the other room. I have to resist the urge to make a giant plate of nachos for lunch. My living room floor is a minefield of seven different toy areas and even suggesting some minor tidying elicits more of the above-mentioned wailing. All I want to do is curl up on the couch and go to sleep. But the tornado child instantly notices my fetal position, takes a break from emptying out his toy chest, and climbs on top of me saying, "Wake up, mama. No more sleep. Wake! Up!" Another baby on the way? Who came up with this plan? I'm done.

Today was one of those latter days. I'm so grateful to have a husband who comes home from his long day at work and immediately takes over childcare. He takes care of all the things. He walks into our battlefield of a bedroom, where Lucas has been wreaking havoc for the past 90 minutes, and doesn't even blink an eye. He stops to give me a hug and Lucas grabs his work pants and takes off down the hall. And... Breathe. Everything is better with Jason around. And THAT'S why I agreed to this second kid plan. It all makes sense now.

Growing a tiny human and raising a toddler who doesn't nap anymore is a challenge. I'm only 17 weeks along, but I want a babymoon, like, yesterday. Where's my time machine, unlimited resources, and well-rested child when I need it?! I spend a little time every day dreaming up fantastic, relaxing, vacation getaways to cope. But then I realize that even if I went on my vacation, I would still want to bring my little munchkins along and, let's be honest, rest and relaxation would naturally suffer a tad. So then I get a little more realistic in my dreams: I just want to nap once daily. Is that so much to ask? "Wake! Up! Mama! Open eyes!"

I love my life, just in a much more sleepy way than before. And I wouldn't mind some nachos.

Pregnant me does not do nice, put-together pictures. This is as good as it gets, folks. At least Lucas is a cutie!

PS. We got to feel the Marshmallow kick the other day. The feeling never gets old. It's like there's a kungfu goldfish in there. Magical indeed!

1.08.2017

time travel

Have you ever wanted to time travel? Of course you have. Here's your chance! So apparently I wrote the following post back in October. And because I do so hate to write words and have them lost to the winds (read: deleted), I am just going to throw them out here now.

So.
Close your eyes.
Think back to your October (if you want more specificity, October 18th...ish).
Read the following post. (You will have to open your eyes to do this.)

Enjoy time travel! It will probably be nowhere near as satisfying as you've always imagined it.

*************

Lucas and I like to roughhouse. We wrestle and squeal; I tickle him and blow raspberries on his belly; he climbs on top of me, tackles me in a hug, and inevitably [accidentally] kicks me in the stomach, digs his elbows into my chest, and headbutts me in the throat. Great times are had all around.

Life has reached an excellent level of normal. We are a family of three that thrives on routine. Our days are filled in ways I would have never imagined two years ago but I can't imagine them any other way. Our new normal is near perfect. (Oh, naps, why have you fled Lucas?) Life is good.

But the day comes in a toddler's life when he has to be told that his normal is about to change. That day came today.

We were playing our daily game of "hide," a game where the two [sometimes three] of us crawl under a blanket and hide from Puma [if we're downstairs] or the "blue bird with a blue beak with no wings and two feet to walk slowly who eats flies and brown food" [if we're upstairs]. As always, Lucas became more and more frenzied and would come dashing under the blanket, limbs a-flailing, drool a-dripping, eyes alight with the excitement of the imaginary bird having possibly seen him. And, as always, he clambered up me, knees finding purchase in my gut and feet kicking repeatedly as he attempted to get as high up on me as possible. Usually, I'm relatively okay with this rough treatment as it's a fun game and I love the cuddles and snuggles that generally result once he gets all settled in under the blanket tent. But today, today I decided it was time to gently change his normal.

I told him he should try to be more gentle. I told him I liked hiding with him but maybe he could try being a little calmer. I told him I would like to not be kicked in the stomach anymore. And I told him: "There's a baby in my belly."

That's right. A baby. In my belly. Again. [Okay, fine, technically not my belly, but the concept of a uterus is completely lost on Lucas. Trust me.]

We are stoked.

When Lucas heard what I said, it was the most amazing thing. He just froze. He instantly calmed. He stared at my stomach. He said, "Wooow." The expression on his face was incredible. Since he had no reason not to, he seemed to take my statement at face value, 100% literally. There's a baby in mama's belly. He had this adorably curious and awed smile and kept leaning his face in towards my stomach and then back out. "Baby..."

He is going to be an amazing big brother. I know it. And this new little marshmallow is going to be so, so, SO loved.


1.04.2017

busy things

Warning: most of this post is about what has been keeping me from blogging for the past 5 months, which is work. Skip to the end if you want to just read about the fun stuff.

The fall semester was very busy for me. Unfortunately, I wrote 0 blogs during that time. I was teaching two classes that I had never taught before, so I had to do all of my course prep from scratch for those in addition to updating my material for my other two classes.

The first class was Discrete Math. I am obligated by my absurd sense of humor to inform you that this is not doing math in secret. It refers to the study of discrete mathematical objects (as opposed to continuous ones - think things that are separated from each other, like integers, instead of things that run together in a continuum, like real numbers). The real purpose of the class is to introduce mathematical logic and proof technique, but that's extremely dry (actually, very interesting! but only to me...) so I taught it using topics in discrete math as a vehicle. It's a very common first course in proof and logic. This was one of my favorite courses in undergrad, and one of the ones that convinced me to become a math major (I was a math minor before I took it). In the class, I taught how to prove things using pure logic starting with basic assumptions. We started with basic properties of integers (odd/even, prime/composite, divisibility) and moved on from there. We covered a wide variety of topics after that, from recursion to function theory to probability and counting to graph theory. It was a lot of fun for me.

The other class was called Foundations of Geometry. You might think the word foundations implies it is like high school geometry, but maybe easier (the foundations are the beginning, so they should be easy, right?). Really, it is a course on building all of geometry from a small set of axioms. We built Euclidean geometry (which is what you learn in high school) as well as much of hyperbolic geometry (which is a very strange place indeed). We also discussed other possible geometries. The strangest thing you might have learned in my class would be that the universe is probably not really Euclidean, but some kind of mix between Euclidean and hyperbolic geometries. This means that some of what you learned in high school geometry is actually a lie. Most surprisingly:
  • Given a line and a point not on the line, there is more than one line through the point parallel to the original line (try drawing that to see that it's not what you expect).
  • The angles of a triangle actually add up to less than 180 degrees (the larger the area of the triangle, the smaller the sum of the angles)
  • There are no non-congruent similar triangles.
  • There is no such thing as a rectangle.
Weird, right? Luckily, when things are on a small scale (like the size of a solar system), things still look close enough to Euclidean that we can't tell the difference. So, engineers of the world, you can continue to use Euclidean geometry. While you're at it, stick with Newtonian physics. But if you work for NASA, maybe learn some hyperbolic geometry and relativistic physics.

I enjoyed teaching both of these classes. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the axiomatic approach to geometry. Basically, we started with the bare minimum assumptions, and then proved that the rest of what we know of geometry (and some stuff we didn't know) follows from those axioms using only pure logic. It was surprisingly interesting, and surprisingly difficult to teach. The main challenge was making it accessible. I spent countless hours on it, which is one reason I wrote exactly 0 blogs.

This spring marks the first semester in which I will not be teaching any classes that I've never taught before. All of my class prep will just be adapting what I did last time to make it better. This would have made it a very open semester for me, but we are starting a couple online classes that I will be teaching. You might think that it'd be hard to give an online class in math. Yep, it will be. We can't exactly just tell students to read the textbook and discuss it in an online forum. Instead, I'll be creating virtual lectures on my computer to closely approximate what you'd get in a classroom. I will make a video where I write on the screen like a whiteboard in the classroom, and narrate with roughly the same lecture I'd give in person. It will take quite a bit of time to create all the videos, but I'm hopeful that it'll go really well. Obviously in some ways it'll be harder for students - they can't interrupt me to ask questions - but it'll also be easier in that they can pause and rewind and re-watch anything they need to until they understand. And, of course, I will be available to answer questions online. This spring I'll be teaching both of the courses described above, but online. Let me know if you want to take one. Only partly joking.

So, enough about teaching. During all of this time, Lucas has gone from stumpy little guy saying 7 total words to basically-full-grown guy who says things everyday that I had no idea he knew. He's gotten really funny, too ("Mommy say wrong word," "Nap zero minutes!"), and to us he seems so smart. I have no frame of reference, but I'm constantly amazed by how much he understands and the complex thought patterns he displays.

One of my favorite things: whenever I'm playing anything with Lucas and he really starts to have fun, he gets all excited and giggly and shouts "Game!" One great game of note: he has me chase him around (or vice versa) and we each pretend to be something ("Dada 'tend piwate cat. Lukie 'tend monkey"). The game is called, simply, Chase. It is his favorite game in the whole world. In ideal situations, it is broken up by "Crash!"-es, which are: HUGS, after which I am assigned a new character to 'tend to be and we chase all over again.

To top it all off, Sharayah is cooking up another little marshmallow for me to play with, coming June 2017.

Yep, I have the best life in the world.

9.26.2016

the Lucas collection

The first thing that must be mentioned here is TODAY I SMELLED FALL COMING. This is news worthy of many exclamation points. On our walk this morning, Lucas and I basked in the warm sun, cool air, and the sound of crunchy leaves on the sidewalk. I am quite excited about the upcoming months. I won't have to come back from our walk each morning feeling like I just went swimming in a sticky pool of grossness. I will, however, have to listen to an hour of Lucas making his "brrrr!" sound every time a cool wind blows by.

Speaking of our morning walks, in the past two months Lucas and I have traveled 84 miles together. That is 84 miles of pushing his little red tricycle in sun and rain and dump truck dust, 84 miles of identifying the color of each car we pass and explaining the "WHY?" to the car's color [answers often include, "Pink might be the only color that car comes in," "Maybe the owner just likes green things," and "Perhaps the car feels fancy."], 84 miles of feeding Cheerios to birds, 84 miles of songs and games of I Spy and inane conversations about why car doors open and sometimes downright inaccurate factoids ["Tree stumps eat at night."]. Good times.

I have been trying to point out to Lucas the wonder of the soon-to-be-upon-us fall weather and how it affects nature. I show him trees that we pass every single day and try to show him how the leaves are changing colors. I point out the red and yellow and orange and brown leaves that are starting to pop up here and there and he will humor me and nod along with subdued excitement. And then he will shout out, "GREEN! Tree! GREEN." Yes, Lucas, but the RED... Sigh. The kid just doesn't get it.

Lucas's vocabulary continues to grow in leaps and bounds. He is still a man of one-word sentences, but they are pretty effective in making us understand what is going on in his head about 48% of the time. He is also finally picking up some verbs which has allowed him to begin narrating his life in real time. Sit. Turn. Stop. Wiggle. Stomp. Go. Tackle. Hug. The word and action go hand in hand. And he demands that you acknowledge each time he does each action. "Wow, you're sitting again? Who would have thought?!"

Jason and I often call Lucas "stinkoman," usually for pretty obvious reasons. He doesn't seem to mind and often takes up the cry himself with "tinkamahn!" But, alas, as we've learned over the past few weeks, stinkoman is apparently a two-way street. Now, if I call him Stinkoman, he will enthusiastically call me Stinkomama for five minutes. The unfair part? If Jason calls him Stinkoman, Lucas will still call me Stinkomama. WHAT ABOUT STINKODADO? Yet another lesson in Life's Not Fair.

In less stinky news... I love Lucas. I love him more than just about anything. We like to play a game of, "I love you more than...!" Lucas and I sit on the floor and he shouts out objects and I confirm that I do indeed love him more than the object. An incomplete list of things that I love Lucas more than is as follows:

  • Cups
  • Trucks
  • Food
  • Books
  • Puma
  • Magnets
  • Tables
  • Cars
  • Pens
  • Water
  • Basketball
  • Crayons
  • Orange dozer
  • Chairs
  • Balls
  • Floor
  • Windows
  • Shadows
  • Helicopters
  • Dirt
Dado is the one exception. Lucas seems to understand. 


And to wrap up this little collection of Lucas tidbits, here's my closer: The other day Lucas was feeding me Cheerios. Don't ask me why. It was just very important to him at the moment. Anyway, he was feeding me Cheerios one at a time and I was dutifully munching away, not paying much attention by the 20th Cheerio except to routinely say, "Another? Thank you." Well. He pulled another Cheerio out of his little bag, started to put it in my mouth, paused to sneeze on it, and then fed it to me. My life is glamorous, you guys. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Jason will blog again one day soon. Promise.

8.29.2016

sometimes

Sometimes I use Facebook and the never-ending "look what I just ate!" pictures to get inspiration for meals. Don't judge my social media stalking, judge my inability to meal plan.

Sometimes I say a little prayer that Lucas won't be called to a strong interest in the bug world. Please, Lord, you know I can't handle that.

Sometimes I try to think of how to make the world go back to horse and buggy but also have someone discover teleportation. Best of both worlds.

Sometimes I wish Lucas would ask why the sky is blue instead of why the car is blue or why the sign is blue or why the cup is blue. I DON'T KNOW THOSE ANSWERS. I do, however, know why the sky is blue.

Sometimes I daydream about the day Jason and I become rich, famous authors. Lucas is always requesting that I draw cats for him. So clearly our books will have to be cat-focused.

this will be our cover art, toddler scribbles and all.
Sometimes I feel Asian.

Sometimes I try to clean up the five different piles of toys strewn about the living room, but I have to do it sneakily and quietly or Lucas will hear me and decide that those five piles are the only toys he's ever wanted to play with in the whole entire world. The kid is a short-attention-span tornado. Once, Lucas came running into the room looking for me and I hid under a blanket on the couch hoping, hoping, hoping that the music ball I had in my hands wouldn't start singing and give me away. I was both ashamed and pleased when he left the room in minor confusion and I was able to hurriedly pick up the last few things before he became sad little I Lost My Mama boy.
sometimes tornado boy turns into contemplative, how-does-this-bell-work boy.
Sometimes a day is rough and I ask Lucas to tell me everything's okay, and he will give me three little reassuring pats on the back. It always does the trick.

Sometimes I really enjoy vacuuming, and I wonder why I only do it every six months.

Sometimes I read a book/series that really, truly engages me, one that I feel compelled to give five stars [though I never do for fear I will set an inaccurate perfection precedent], and one that makes me feel sad but completely satisfied when it ends. Despite the number of books I read, this type of reading experience is a rarity as I have weird/unrealistic expectations of my literature. However, with that said: Two thumbs up to The Knight of Eldaran series by Anna Thayer.

Sometimes you try to brush your toddler's teeth and the toothpaste just falls off the toothbrush onto his tongue and he just eats it.

Sometimes I try to convince Lucas that the picture below does not have a cat on it. It just doesn't. There is nothing that even remotely resembles a cat on this album cover. Lucas adamantly disagrees again and again. I give up.

a few hours of christmas music every day makes the summer heat more bearable.

Sometimes I look Asian.

Sometimes the approaching second birthday of my baby makes me feel like I'm losing my baby. When this happens, there are two options: 1) Recall the above toothpaste incident or 2) snuggle in for a nursing session. Somehow when he's nursing, this nearly 3-foot bundle of energy turns into the squishy, heart-squeezing baby of days long past. So, basically, this kid is going to get breast milk forever. Clearly that's the solution.

Sometimes it's hard to end a list of sometimes.

8.17.2016

DADO

run!
Well, Summer Break is officially over as Jason headed back to work today. Before leaving this morning, Jason explained to Lucas how he had to go to work again and how he would be back this afternoon and that it would be Mama and Lucas days all over again. He then explained to me how he had to go to work again and how he would be back this afternoon and that it would be Lucas and Mama days all over again. Lucas and I both understood to the best of our abilities and Jason left.

The rest of the morning was spent with Lucas asking for Dado at every chance he could justify it.
-Playing with his cars: Runs over to the front window. "Dada? A car? A car. Dada." Yes, Lucas, Dada went to work in his car. He'll be back sometime after your nap.
-Eating breakfast: Points at Jason's empty chair. "Dada? Dadaaa." Yes, Lucas, that's Dada's chair. He is eating breakfast at work. He'll be back sometime after your nap.
-Playing with his cars: "Dado? A car? Blue? Blue! Dado." Yes, Lucas, Dada's car is blue. He went to work in his car. He'll be back sometime after your nap.
-Reading books before nap time: Pats the reading chair. "Dada? Dada! Book book. Dado." Yes, Lucas, that's where you read books with Dada. You get to read books with me today since Dada's at work. He'll be back sometime after your nap.

grass, mama! GRASS.
As you can see, life with a toddler is full of repetition.

Having said all of this, however, I have no doubt that Lucas will adapt to the working year schedule quicker than I will. The question will be whether he develops another anti-Dado phase due to Jason being gone a lot after being home for so long. He's a funny kid.

Some other random odds and ends:
-We have a neighbor named Bill. Bill seems to really love his lawn. Bill mows his lawn much more regularly than we do. Whenever we hear a lawn mower, we like to joke that it is probably Bill. Lucas apparently picked up on these comments. The other day, we heard a lawn mower and we casually wondered aloud, "I wonder who is mowing their lawn?" Lucas immediately exclaimed, "Bill!" We can now add "Bill" to his ever-growing list of words that are of no help in normal conversation.
-We have been able to watch a good bit of Olympics lately, despite the lousy NBC coverage/scheduling of events. More than a few times, I have been struck with downright silly thoughts. "Whoa, how did that gymnast just hop up onto that block so easily?" or "Man, when they're running so fast, how do they manage to stay in their own lane?" I realize that the gymnast hopped up onto that giant block so that he could then do a ridiculous feat of strength and skill on the rings, and I realize that the runner just ran a half mile in well under 2 minutes, but somehow the little things keep sticking out to me as impressive. Other mentionables: How a diver doesn't fall off the springboard when he's standing on his tiptoes. How rider/horse remembers the appropriate squiggly course of jumps. How any athlete performs while wearing jewelry. How coaches/teammates don't cringe when they hug/smack/huddle with sweaty athletes.
-At the aquarium we saw an adorable beaver. A lady next to me told her companion, "Oh look! That's either an otter or a chipmunk!" Um, ok. Moving on.
-On our Tulsa trip, we found the proposal tree. The proposal bench was gone, but you cannot remove the proposal tree. Lucas was more interested in the river.

river > icky parents

Lucas is now waking up from his nap. He is making squirrel sounds. Or maybe chipmunk sounds. I must go retrieve him. He will no doubt be requesting the presence of Dado. Unfortunately, Dado is still at work. I will have to distract him with my awesomeness. Until next time!

beautiful child.