I don't ask for it to make sense
The wee one said, quite distinctly, "cat" twice today. Since "Aggie" was his second word, seven months ago or so, he's consistently used "Aggie" to refer to all cats. He's definitely known the word "cat" for quite some time: "Dominic,what sound does a cat make?" has quite reliably elicted an emphatic "meow!" nearly all along. But up until today, his own identification was always, always "Aggie."
I'm kinda sad to see him starting to move past that particular foible. In general I'm loving the leaps in communication he makes every day, but, cliche alert, there are some things about my rapidly-growing-up baby I wish I could freeze in time.
A couple weeks later than we should have handled it, we finally got around to getting the lawn its inagural spring mow. It was getting a bit ridiculous, but we defended our slackerness by pointing out to each other that last year's new sod really needed a chance to grown in. Yeaaaah.
Anyway, a freshly mown lawn and another super warm spring day == hangout times to the max.
Jeff stitched together an anigif for me of several pictures he took. My heart is full of d'aww.
Product reviews on the internet are occasionally so delightful. I've been meaning to snag a slim wallet so that I can stop carrying my ID, credit card, transit card, and building access keycard in my front pocket (the things I always have with me, unlike my purse, and need to dig out the most), and I finally remembered to poke around Amazon tonight.
Now, generally speaking, internet product reviews are kind of garbage because they're nearly all "this thing is AWESOME" or "this thing is TERRIBLE," and usually for any given thing it's got an even mix of both, for maximum unusefulness. That said, every now and then, you find something of a gem.
Pros: This wallet is slim, light, and has a magnetic clip that can easily carry a few cards and about five folded bills. It's a perfect front pocket wallet. It also has a clear plastic ID display window. Perfect for breezing past those pesky bouncers and waiters who refuse to serve you alcohol without ensuring you're the proper age.
Cons: This wallet will lose your money if you carry a ton of bills. So if you're a waiter, or some other profession that results in you having a lot of one dollar bills in your possession (no judgments) this wallet may disappoint you there. Also did I mention it smells like lambskin? Because it totally does.
My previous reigning favorite:
Wait, what? After I read this picture book with my daughter I felt I must have missed something. The monkey in the book is about to have a tantrum because he drops his ice cream, but then he doesn't. That's about it. His ice cream is still all ruined at the end. That does not get resolved. I think Little Monkey is perfectly within his rights to be upset, thank-you very much. I'm not sure if it's a reasonable lesson to try to teach kids, "When something crappy happens, deal with it by not caring about that crappy thing. When you lose something you love, deal with it by not loving that thing anymore. Problem solved."
The two most awesome things about Little Monkey Calms Down are not covered in that review, however:
- Little Monkey's blankie that he cuddles to calm down is blue with cow-spotted bananas. You read that right.
- One of the recommended calm-down techniques, so far as we can tell, is "get super high and zone out on a pinwheel."
Started walking out the door, putting on my headphones as usual. That's odd, I thought, tugging my headphone jack clear of my ipod. Guess it got a little stuck when I unjacked it on Friday night. Or... no, I just apparently never unjacked it at all, meaning, given that I rely on unjacking to stop playback, my ipod was playing continuously all weekend. Even its epic batteries were not up to the task: it had just enough juice to basically laugh at me for trying to turn it on. S'alright, s'okay, I can commute without tunes and charge it at work.
Stand at the bus stop, pull out my ereader. That's odd, I thought, noting as I turned it on that the battery icon was still at 50%, just as I remembered it being... a couple days ago? I really should have plugged it in this weekend, but I guess it's got enough to go on, awesome! My eye scanned down to mid-page where I'd finished reading on my Friday commute, and I got excited. Super tense cavalry charge, a climactic scene I'd been looking forward to getting back to all weekend.
The Corisandian cavalry thundered downhill, opened up into proper double-lines. Now the leading troopers tightened in the saddle, bracing for impact as they hurtled straight at the Charisian formation. The hedge of unwavery bayonet points glittered wickedly in the early-afternoon sunlight, but at least they weren't pikes. In another few seconds—
The universe came apart in a sudden, thunderous roll of rifle fire.
I pressed the "next page" button, my heart pumping.
· · ·
You won, Monday morning. You won.
Another unseasonably beautiful sunny day, another solid outing to the park. The wee one's been walking for over half a year now, so I guess I should stop marvelling at his mobility level-ups, but it's still just straight-up impressive to think about how so quickly he moved from being unable to resist the bonds of gravity to running all around, pumping his legs to go higher in a swing, climbing unassisted up the big-kid play structure, and trundling nearly a quarter of a mile towards home before asking to be picked up.
We walked the alley route on our way back, a way that Dominic first went down at perhaps three weeks, and dozens of times since, but tonight was the first time he'd done it under his own locomotion. He was delighted. We did have to have a conversation about how blackberry brambles are pokey and not the best to grab at, though.
In other, boob, news: I guess we're weaned. BAM. The kiddo had been refusing to nurse in bed the last couple weeks, which wasn't no thang as he'd been sleeping past 7am anyway and was happy to nurse in the glider after I got him up. But after 4 days in a row of pre-7am wakeups, aka 4 days in a row of being brought up to bed... I didn't even try this morning, and I'm calling it good. Nineteen months to the day was a pretty good run.
Sniffle sniffle. Breastfeeding was a mom-thing I happened to naturally rock at—I'm pretty sad to be done with it. Everything else is actual work!
Pretty tuckered out after a busy weekend. Wishing that I remembered why I had told myself that I should sit down and write tonight... I feel sure I had something I wanted to talk about, but can't for the life of me remember what it was. Womp womp.
Late last week, I had occasion to go out to the store late at night. Very important sprinkles-for-cookies buying business. It's been months since I went to the store by myself in the evening; once the wee one was 6 months old or so we moved to a regular family outing on Saturdays. And I'm pretty sure I'd not been in the store that late at night since before he was born, despite it once being quite routine that we'd swing by to get some groceries at 9-10PM, and eat dinner around midnight.
I was shocked at how creeped out I felt in there. The quietness that once felt normal now felt like being in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Oh, how the times have changed, for me to feel that the madhouse that is Fred Meyer on a Saturday afternoon is normality.
I did get to help a recently immigrated and quite bewildered Thai woman pick out the fixings for making cupcakes for her child, though. There are delightful things about being in the baking aisle near closing time.
I was a holdout against ereaders for a long time: I like physical books for so many reasons, and I'm too cheapskate to buy a luxury replacement for something that works as-is. I continued packing ridiculous numbers of paperbacks on vacations long past when doing so was at all sensible for our day and age. My book consumption outside of vacations, however, dropped steadily once I graduated university. I'd still read a few dozen books a year as before, but generally in two or three focused batches while on holiday.
Sometime in there, my brother gave me an ereader for Christmas, because I was obviously not going to lay out for one myself, and, I think, my inexplicable Luddite-ness about the whole thing aggrieved him. I was grateful for the thought, but didn't really use it... until my first vacation that year. The advantages for traveling were, after all, manifest, once the hurdle of having one at all had been cleared. I didn't really use it much otherwise. On my bedstand continued to be paperbacks, and I still wasn't reading that much on a day to day basis.
Two and a half years ago, I finally joined the sci-fi book club that my brother and several of our university friends had started a year or two earlier. It was definitely more convenient to get ahold of the monthly selection on the device, and having a solid excuse to read more frequently was pretty nice. I tried reading on the bus to and from work a few times, but the siren song of my laptop was too much to overcome.
Then I had a kid. I had prepared, stocking up my ereader with dozens of books. I knew what was going to happen, and I was right. There was no way in hell I would have been able to juggle reading a physical books while dealing with a tiny baby, but a single-hand-able ereader? Oh yes. Hours were spent rocking / nursing / walking while reading. It was awesome. I think I read nearly a dozen books in the first month of my maternity leave alone.
By the time I returned to work 5 months later, the habit had been totally re-ingrained. And hauling my laptop to/from work along with bottles and pumping gear was a pain, so swapping to small-device reading on the bus was a no-brainer. I got used to carrying my ereader in my purse, and when I got laid off 7 months later, it was natural to continue to read on various commutes and self-imposed breaks from job hunting during my 3 months of unemployment. My new commute is much shorter than my old one; I'm not particularly secretly glad when traffic on I5 is poop and I get more reading time in, and coworkers are probably unsurprised at this point to see me reading in the elevator on the way in, or walking down the hallway to my office.
It's undeniable that the convenience of an ereader dramatically turned around the trend of my reading. While maternity leave consumption accounts for a lot of my 2014 set, I'm currently on pace for a reasonable 2015 showing, and I'm blowing my previous decade's rate out of the water. It's just so easy.
Through it all, I've insisted that in many ways, I preferred paper books, to the point that any book that I've read electronically in the last couple years and enjoyed has been purchased or slated for purchase physically. Aesthetically, I like holding them, smelling them, and looking at them being all colorful and... physically-present on my shelves. My internal map of a book is stored spatially: I can quickly flip back to reference a scene I know occured .75" into a novel, but for the life of me I wouldn't be able to come up with search terms that'd get me there. Given my taste for genre books with complicated character names and interactions, the loss of easy flipping to confirm who said what, or how someone was related to someone else, has been pretty frustrating. And don't get me started on maps / other non-textual components.
My stance was put to the test this last month when, after a couple years of little-to-no physical book reading, I suddenly acquired two paperbooks at once. For laziness' sake, I almost considered getting digitized versions to actually read, but that seemed A) silly and B) a lost opportunity to see if I was full of shit. The results:
The ereader is so beyond-comprehension-ly more convenient it kind of blows my mind. Like, yeah, I knew it was more convenient. Duh. But the contrast in how long it took me to read those books, that I couldn't just tote around with me, versus the others I read in the same time period, was pretty stark. And I definitely didn't come out of it wishing I would read more physical books... quite the opposite. The first night that I tried to read the oversize one, in bed, with Micah pinning down my arm, was pretty convincingly tortuous. No wonder I'd stopped reading except when out of town and with no other commitments!
I've even found myself faintly wondering on occasion, the last few weeks, if I should give up on my cherished physical collection. Not in any major way, but still: to even have the thought at all is kind of shocking. I've always thought happy thoughts about how my child would start pulling my novels off the shelf some day, but now find myself seriously worrying that, by the time he's reading, actual books will not even Be A Thing. It freaks me out, because for so long I was prepared to be a hippie holdout about it, but now the phone call is COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE.
Hysteria about my existential crisis aside, physical books still win hands down for me for things like cross-referencing. The moment I started reading those two books, I started instinctively flipping back to check things, just as I always used to; it was both a delight and a revelation as to how much better I tracked on key story elements and relationships overall. I'd somewhat given up on having quite as good a handle as to what is going on in a complex book the last couple years, and it was so very nice to feel storylines getting more cemented in my head as I went. When I started reading a complicated political novel with Russian-style declined names on my ereader last week, I won't lie: I straight-out almost wanted to cry.
My kingdom for someone to solve that spatial storage problem. I worry that it's an issue solely of being an in-between generation, and thus won't be worth investing in. Wahhhhhh.
On the other hand... MOAR BOOKS IS MOAR BETTER.