Random Friday thoughts

img_2010It’s too hard to write an essay for Friday. So this will be a random assortment of thoughts and updates on life right now (non-political — there’s a thread from earlier in the week on that). Anyway, it was my turn to deal with the toddler last night. I got myself into bed before 10 p.m. I woke up at 5 a.m. when he woke up. I was actually grateful for 5 a.m. He’d been getting up in the 5s for a long time, and then the time change happened. He proceeded to get up in the 4s for the next several days. Finally, he seems to have gotten himself back to the previous ridiculous hour. And I got 7 straight hours of sleep. I’ve been having some trippy dreams lately. Last night I was part of a heist of what I swear were rare fish, and I was escaping through Manhattan. I blame the Nyquil. My cold seems to be getting better, though.

One reason I could get in bed by 10? I’ve realized that much of the stuff I’d do from 10-11 pm I can do from 5-6 a.m. I’m just reading magazines, scrolling around online, checking the news. Better to get to bed and do that while having my coffee and listening to Dora/Daniel Tiger/Blue’s Clues/Thomas in the morning.

A downside to going to bed by 10 p.m.: the 9-year-old was still up, and I totally forgot that he had lost a tooth. Fortunately, the tooth fairy came anyway! Magical.

We had 3 parent-teacher conferences in 2 days. My big boys both need to be reading more (which I knew…another reason to limit the screen time) but in general, all was good. All three teachers said how pleasant our kids were to have in class. I am grateful that episodes such as the 20-minute scream fest over purchasing the wrong size of pajamas only happen at home.

Another nice note: my 9-year-old’s teacher said he had a great writing voice. I got to read an essay he wrote about Thanksgiving and it started with a scene of him hearing a knock on the door and anticipating his cousins’ arrival. Definitely more engaging than something declarative.

The toddler is experimenting with complete sentences: “No, mommy, sit here.” He knows some numbers in sequence (the other day I asked what came after 11 and he said “12!” But he does not always get that or other numbers right, so I won’t be posting videos of my genius baby). He sings a hilarious version of Ba-Ba Black Sheep.

We got a notice that Julianne Moore will be visiting our local elementary school to talk about her Freckleface Strawberry books. I’m excited to pick up a few signed copies, but more because of the illustrator. LeUyen Pham, as alert readers will recall, makes an appearance in What the Most Successful People Do At Work. Her drawings are completely charming.

I got a Nordstrom Trunk and talked myself into keeping some black wedge boots. Out of my comfort zone, but quite comfy.

I made potato “toasts” for lunch — sliced potato rounds, baked in the oven at 400 degrees until crisp-ish. I topped with avocado and chicken salad. They were pretty good.

I have adopted a new habit with email. I learned, while researching an article a few months ago, that the default tone of email is negative. Since people can’t hear your voice or see your face, even neutral words can sound angry or unhappy. So now I write the email I was going to write, and then edit before I send to make it about 25% peppier — as if happy, bubbly Laura wrote it. Think “I hope you’re doing well…” as a greeting and “have a great day!” toward the end. On one hand, it seems inefficient, but it only takes a few seconds, and you can literally lose days sorting through the fallout if someone misreads an email and gets upset. No point being penny wise and pound foolish.

Pound Foolish is a good book on the sketchiness of parts of the personal finance industry.

The sun is setting at 4:47 these days. I don’t like it at all, but it’s a good kick in the pants to go outside during the day. When I’m not traveling, I’ve gotten in a pretty good daily habit of going for a short run in mid-afternoon. It’s not a great habit — we’re talking 2-3 miles here — but it’s better than nothing.

Photo: This is how the toddler falls asleep most nights. Howling in front of the door. At least the howling is relatively short.

12 thoughts on “Random Friday thoughts

  1. random (and nonpolitical!) question, because I’m curious:

    Is the toddler the worst sleeper of the 4? (It feels like his sleepless phase is lasting forever — that has got to be HARD!). Curious if your others were similar. I remember you said your oldest (and maybe your husband?) didn’t need much sleep so maybe there’s something biologic there.

    1. @SHU- yep, definitely the worst of the four. I know the first didn’t need much sleep but we also had nothing to compare it to. Also, there was only one kid around, so life could somewhat revolve around his needs. Not the case when there are 3 others. It will change before too long. Now, the 9-year-old can stay up late reading (or sometimes watching TV on weekends) and get up in the AM when he wants and entertain himself then. I think that there was a major change by age 3, and on sleep issues before that with all of them. It is incredibly frustrating to have semi-survival mode last this long, but no one said parenthood was easy. And I know that I could have been dealt much tougher cards than this.

      1. Ooh, that is rough to have your fourth be the hardest sleeper. I was lucky to have my first be my worst, and like you said, I had nothing to compare it to!

        Luckily, my subsequent kids were all slightly better than the first kid.

        I hope your toddler hits a better sleep stage soon!

      2. so interesting. I’ve heard many people say that kids tend to get easier as you have more because more perspective. but your #4 sounds objectively VERY difficult in the sleep department! perspective doesn’t make a difference if you’re up at 4-5 every AM.

        hopefully 3 will be magical for him too!! or at least when he ditches the nap.

  2. Perhaps your boys might enjoy reading an encyclopedia set? While the set for the current year is enormously expensive, we bought a 2013 set this fall for about $300. Our 3 kids (11, 8 & 5) love pulling a volume off the shelf, and reading about whatever topic whets their interest (currently, bees, the brain, monkeys, the scientific classification system, and whale sharks). Maybe “go make your knowledge encyclopedic!” sounds more inviting and exciting “just go read something, for goodness’ sake!”

    1. @Brooke – that is a good idea. We have a couple individual encyclopedia type books – Smithsonian, Nat Geo, etc. They do seem to like reference type books. And biographies. We’ve been working through the “Who was…?” series.

  3. Love random posts like this one. My son should read more too. I find it hard to find books that interest him, but we’re working on it.

    1. @Maureen – we did really well with Captain Underpants for the 7-year-old, and books like that (Wimpy Kid, etc.). Graphic novels are awesome for getting little boys reading (especially little boys who are just learning).

  4. I got the Captain Underpants for my 6 year old and he didn’t bite. He mostly likes short “easy reader” books, like Elephant and Piggie, and I want him to expand to more complex stories.

    1. We did the easy reader “chapter” book series- Fly Guy.
      Mercy Watson was one of the first series my son could read on his own. Sometimes it helped if I read a book to him first and then he read it out loud. Once he better got the hang of reading he moved into superhero stories (we have several of those books that have 20 Avenger stories or Spiderman) and from there to Magic Treehouse. I had been reading Magic Treehouse to him for 1-2 years before he could read it himself but he loves that series now (ate age 7). He also loves the accompanying Fact trackers. He also still likes picture books as well.
      Reading is so individual. Just some things that worked for my son.

      1. @beth – it is so individual. My 9-year-old never asked for captain underpants and has never read the 7-year-old’s copies. But the younger one loved them. Magic Treehouse was a much bigger hit for the 9-year-old.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *