Friday, February 27, 2009

Things NOT looking clearer after a "good" night of sleep

Wow, it's 6:30 in the morning and Dr. Advisor STILL hasn't responded to the panicked email I sent him five hours ago. Some of the results I got from my "fixed" data last night around midnight (aka about six hours after the email invitation to my defense were sent out) were Very Bad. Let's do us all a favor and stay away from the Sent Mail items, shall we?

Look for an upcoming post on How I Broke Our Stroller and Nearly Got Charlie Kicked Out of Preschool On the Same Day My Dissertation Came Apart.

Luckily, Charlie's been helping around the house.


This place practically runs itself.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Child of mine

Charlie fell asleep on the way home from our church's Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper clutching a piece of bacon.


Back to work.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Things that are not to be attempted simultaneously

  • Dancing to "Single Ladies" and holding hot coffee
  • Changing a diaper, overseeing a time-out, and conversing with HR at super great job place on the phone
  • Pumping while revising in hard copy. Milk+ink=swirly mess
  • Prepare to defend dissertation and eating less junk food
  • Prepare to defend dissertation and swearing less

One thing at a time. Take it from me.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wa bam!

My Craigslist streak continues!!


One doored TV cabinet courtesy of Charlie's rock-hard noggin and an ill-timed clumsy moment while jumping on a chair. Klassy!

And now back to fixing fixing fixing. Less than two weeks now.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Starting to Panic

I told Ryan last night "I wouldn't change anything now, because we would have different kids if we'd done things differently, and I like the ones we have, and I'm glad we had them while we were young, but this--" gesturing wildly around at my desk and stacks of papers and empty coffee mugs interspersed with toys and pacifiers and loveys and crumbs (SO MANY crumbs) "--is completely insane."

I had to abandon my house and go outside yesterday so I could call the members of my committee and the graduate school and ask if it would work to move my defense to Friday instead of Thursday (do NOT GET ME STARTED) because Wesley was wigging out (clean, dry, and fed, but tired) and Charlie was thundering around upstairs instead of napping (later I learned that he was STANDING ON HIS DRESSER hurling books across his room. He lost the privilege of having a dresser in his room over this because apparently being completely pissed off over the defense date plan change gives me enough strength to drag a 400 lb dresser into the hallway while my nervous and appologetic toddler watches from the safety of his bed (where he should have been in the first place)).

I wrote a check today and upon filling in the date immediately suffered a stroke. Then I remembered that February is only twenty-eight days long and I went into anaphylactic shock right there in the day care lobby.

Edited to add: I am apparently more ready to be an academic than I thought because the grad school just emailed me and said "We got your defense notification form. Please send us [this other form] because your defense form was a week late and we need to move quickly." and it was ONLY THEN that I realized I have TWO weeks to go and not THREE! So, I've got that complete inability to attend to practical details thing DOWN.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Anyone have a paper bag I can breathe into?

With a bottle of wine in it preferably?

I just finished my "Notice of Doctoral Defense" form. It's going to be a busy three weeks.

I'm off to lie awake trying not to dry heave.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On my tenth doctor's visit I get a free bottle of hand soap!

Here we go again.

Except it's not the Clogged Eustation Tube Kid this time. It's his sidekick, the Clogged Eustation Tube Baby.

And now, I must say, POOR LITTLE GUY!!!! He didn't sleep well last night and today he wouldn't take a nap. He just cried and cried and cried. That was in his crib. In his car seat, where his head is elevated he sleeps GREAT. So great, in fact, that he slept through an entire feeding and two diaper changes before I had to get him out at Pediatrician Man's. And then he ate, thank goodness, because my conservative v-neck sweater was starting to look a little inappropriate.

I wasn't going to take him to see Pediatrician Man. He has been stuffy for nearly two weeks, but has seemed happy and hasn't had a fever. Then while we were out for breakfast with friends today I noticed that he sounded like Darth Vader and thought it would be worth a visit. Pediatrician Man looked at his ears and then we had a good laugh about the stumpy eustation tubes Ryan and I gave our boys.

Before Wesley's doctor visit, we had to go to Charlie's allergist for a "follow-up" to the visit we had five months ago before Wesley was born. Conveniently, Charlie developed a rash around his mouth on his way there. This marks the first occasion on which I have appeared at the doctor's office with a kid who was actually exhibiting a symptom of some kind. The allergist asked me what Charlie had for breakfast.

"A banana and a whole wheat bagel--"

"I HAVE A TACO!" Charlie interjected. The doctor looked at me over Charlie's chart. "A breakfast taco?" he asked, smiling. Uh, yeah, that too.

Charlie had to have blood drawn to test for allergies to peanuts, dogs, and dust mites (An allergy to any of those things is going to require major lifestyle changes around here. Especially dust mites. Like maybe I'll have to vacuum more than once a quarter. But maybe we'll find out why Charlie's nose has been running since election day). He watched the whole thing, fascinated, only flinching when the needle went in. He was thrilled when the nurse wrapped his arm up in tape. "I get a BAND AID!" he said.

I must say that I'm enjoying the way Charlie only speaks in the present tense.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Things only I find amusing

I am redoing my conclusions chapter so that it is organized around my two hypotheses. In my outline I have two headings: "Ho 1" and "Ho 2".

I think I should use these abreviations during my defense.

"The Kruskal-Wallis tests support 'Ho 1' but reject 'Ho 2'" I could say, which makes the K-W test sound sort of like a highly selective pimp. Poor Ho 2.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This is what we do for fun around here

An Open Letter to Our Pediatrician

Dear Pediatrician Man,

I don't know how to adequately convey my gratitude to you for suggesting we let our little Wesley learn to put himself to sleep at night by letting him cry (and stop feeding him fourteen times between midnight and six for goodness sake). I'd offer you our firstborn son, but as you know, I have become quite attached. Not that you wouldn't be a great father, because I'm sure you would be great. But Charlie would probably miss all the donuts and cookies and couch jumping that, as a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I'm sure you would be unable to provide.

And then I considered sending you a naughty picture of myself box of homemade cookies or offering to bring you coffee every morning for a month. Or maybe you need your car washed! Or your feet!

But I felt like all of those things might be a little inappropriate, considering you are married to what I assume to be, given that you are a doctor and you guys don't have any kids, a very attractive woman. And I also thought that maybe the vigilant way I approach the health of my children, including liberal use of your 24-hour phone nurse, might already be perceived as stalking.

And so I just wanted to let you know, that as I sink down into my bed at night, after a leisurely evening of reality TV, inappropriate eating, and blog reading working on my dissertation and perfecting my juvenile CPR technique, I say a little word of thanks for you and your infinite wisdom on everything from yeasty diaper rashes to sleep training.

Accept this picture of Wesley sleeping as a small token of thanks from our entire family. NOT A WORD about the thumb sucking.


Gratefully Yours,

the Academomia household

Monday, February 9, 2009

More musings on why I should not be allowed out in public

After our lengthy and unsuccessful search for a parking space Saturday on our trip to Big State University, during which Charlie chanted "We go to a library! We go to a library!" the entire time, I pulled the car over. I said to Ryan "I think that's the library over there!" gesturing at a large, windowless building, "I have to go to the bathroom BAD! Park the car and meet me in the lobby in thirty minutes!" then jumped out of the car and ran for the building. (I did not expect it to take me 30 minutes to go to the bathroom, mind you, I wanted to allow Ryan time to park, assemble the stroller, load up the kiddies, and walk to the library to meet me).

I was relieved (heh) to see that the bathrooms were easily located inside the library just past the lobby through a set of locked glass doors. Much dancing and swearing later I determined that the doors all the way to the left were unlocked. I still had a while to wait for Ryan after using the bathroom, so I decided to get a head start on the reason I was there, which was to find a book on the Kruskal-Wallis method of determining statistical significance. All of the computers I found required logins, which I did not have. So I approached a friendly student worker manning a big desk marked "Information" for help.

"Hello, I need to look something up in the online card catalog, but I don't have a student login. Is there any other computer I could use?" I was cool and confident, look at me talking to a stranger! I am not intimidated by you!

The student worker replied "Well, that's probably something they could help you with at the library." She said the last word nice and slow.

"Oh. And where is that? Exactly?" I replied. Less cool, less confident, more shakey-voiced.

She pulled out a map and circled both my current location (NOT the library) and my destination (the LIBRARY, where they keep THE BOOKS and the freaking CARD CATALOG).

I thanked her and returned to the lobby to wait for Ryan. When our meeting time came and went I started to get nervous. I didn't have my phone. What if Ryan was waiting at the REAL library for me? I began to get all panicky like I do when things don't go exactly according to plan and I don't have my phone. I didn't even know Ryan's number since I have him on speed dial. "Don't freak out don't freak out don't freak out don't freak out" I thought as I scrutinized every pedestrian I saw, praying for one of them to be pusing a stroller. But no, just a bunch of hippies and walk-of-shamers. Finally, after an eternity, I noticed a pay phone! What luck! I scrounged together all of the silver change I could find and dialed my mom's cell. Wrong number, CRAP! I thought as the change fell into the machine. I stuck more dimes in and dialed the right number. She gave me Ryan's number. But I was OUT OF CHANGE! Oh NO!

You may have noticed that I have a certain lack of resiliance when it comes to plans going awry in unfamiliar situations.

At that moment it was Incredibly Important for me to talk to Ryan, to tell him where I was, so that I would not spend the rest of my life sitting there in the lobby of the not-library with all the undergrads who were smarter and better dressed than me. I knew everything would be OK if I could just hear his voice. The voice of calm.

So I went back to the information desk. My friend was still there.

I asked if there was a phone I could use. I weakly explained that I didn't have mine and I was supposed to meet my husband and that I'm not always this much of a mess. She gave me her cell phone. It had a touch screen and I had to hand it back to her to get me to the screen that lets you dial a number.


Ryan didn't answer. I left a really stupid sounding message about how I was in the wrong building.

I returned to the lobby and sat down. I was just settling back into my inner "Don't freak out" monologue when I saw a bright red stroller in the distance. "HURRAY! I am SAVED!" I thought. I jumped out of my chair and RAN the whole 25 yard length of the lobby and burst through the door into the sunshine. Birds were singing! The Halleujah chorus was playing!

Ryan said casually "Oh, hey! I'm sorry it took me so long. I had to park really far away."

And the four of us walked together to the Real Library where I found my book and fed Wesley and Charlie and Ryan played with the elevators.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Incoherent rambling. You're welcome.

Just taking a break from "fixing" my Matlab code. I say "fixing" in quotes because I've really just been slinging stuff at it trying to get it to work for the last hour and because I've been getting sleepier and sleepier I have no idea what I've done to it, but now one of the curves is upside down. I'm really wishing I'd made a backup before I started "working" on it.

I realized how much I messed it up about five minutes ago when I got my thousandth "Matrix dimensions must agree" error and when I tried to find the offending line I didn't recognize the script at all. Well done, Becca! Freaking awesome.

I think preventing this sort of the thing from happening is the reason the whole department used to take off Friday afternoons and play football on the lawn outside our building. After a leisurely lunch. Wow I'm hungry. Also, extremely sore. I have a new friend who likes to go for long "walks" which are more like slow runs a la Kath and Kim and we went yesterday. Wind + 75 pound stroller + racewalking = more of a workout than I am capable of anticipated. But she's so much freaking fun it's worth it.

This weekend I have to go to the Big Fancy Library at the Big University with the Library of Congress system and everything. Charlie is going to be so disappointed that there are no Curious George books and no storytime. But wait until he sees the really fabulous books on hypothesis testing I'm going to get! Woo hoo!

So now I think I'll go back to fixing whatever the heck I did wrong. So I can finish this IN MARCH and be DONE FOREVER. Yes I realize it's naive of me to think that there is an END to the dissertation process that can be quantified in traditional terms (like "March 5" and not "When you are dead"). Especially since according to Dr. Advisor "it is absolutely essential to your career to publish your dissertation." Clearly he doesn't understand that it is absolutely essential to my mental health that I put everything dissertation related into our big City of South trashcan and set it on fire the second I have my diploma. And now that I say that I feel guilty because I've put so much work into it blah blah Stockholm Syndrome blah blah. But I'm really looking forward to at least boxing it all up for a month or so.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

I wouldn't say that I was ever the type of person to completely rule out strapping my kid to a chair for discipline infractions. But it's not something you ever actually picture yourself doing or include in your mental discipline plan that you come up with in the middle of the night while you are pregnant and too terrified to sleep after watching SuperNanny. And yet, there you go:

Our time out spot is the floor where that chair is, facing the wall. We were having a perfectly nice time playing on the floor when for no reason at all, Charlie leaned over and swatted Wesley on the face (!!!). "CHARLIE!" I shrieked before remembering that I'm supposed to "respond, not react." "We do NOT HIT." I carried him to the "Naughty Spot" and sat him down facing the wall. "You are here because you hit Wesley. You may NOT HIT ANYONE. Two minutes!" I walked away.

Ten seconds later I heard giggling. The offender was on his belly, commando crawling under the dining room table. I picked him up and carried him, still giggling back to time out. After many more attempts at escape (on the order of fifteen, but I don't know exactly) he finally resigned himself to sitting there for two minutes. He sat moaning and yelling "What are you doing, Mommy?" (I wanted to answer "I'm eating cookies where you can't see me!" but resisted) on the floor.

When his sentence was up I knelt and said to him "Charlie, you are in time out because you hit Wes--" but before I could finish he swatted me across the face! And laughed! A crazed psychopath kind of laugh that I distinctly remember from my own childhood as meaning "I'm going to see just how far I can take this before I get sent to bed without dinner."

I got up, went to the kitchen, got his chair, returned to the dining room, and strapped him in to the booster seat. In my best scary-calm voice I said to him "You DO NOT hit Mama. You SIT HERE for FIVE MINUTES."

Five (ish) minutes later (I wasn't really paying attention because HEY he couldn't go anywhere!) I went back and sat on the floor next to the chair. "I'm sorry" he said. He was not so giggly this time. "Charlie," I began, "you may not hit. You don't hit Wesley. You don't hit Papa. You don't hit me. You don't hit Rossby. No one. Ever. Do you understand?" "Yes" he said, contritely. "Now you need to appologize." "I'm sorry" he said again, quietly, then reached for a hug.

Apparently, while I had his attention we also should have covered toy throwing, which is a growing problem here and, apparently, at the church nursery, where it was occuring to such a degree that we had to talk about it when I picked him up, but that is another post.

Later during dinner, Charlie looked at me very seriously and said quietly "I don't hit Wesley. I don't hit you. I don't hit Papa. I don't hit Rossby. I don't hit Grandma. I don't hit Grandpa."

After he tucked Charlie into bed, Ryan came downstairs and said "Charlie said he hit you and that he's sorry."

Message conveyed.

Is just happy that Charlie touched him.

Monday, February 2, 2009

On the (not) sleep(ing) train! Woo woooo!

This morning when it was nearly eight o'clock (we usually leave the house at 7:30) and I was sitting on the living room floor in an old tshirt that I had slept in and no pants changing and dressing Wesley and Ryan was bumping around upstairs searching for a pair of shoes for Charlie to wear I was desperately wishing getting back in bed and pulling the covers over my head was an option. But, the only thing standing me between a life of free time, disposable income, and (gasp) hobbies is my defense, so I must press on.

Friday night went spectacularly well with the sleep training. He woke up at 11:30 and fell asleep easily with a pacifier and some tummy patting. Same thing at 3:30, 4:30, and 6:00. I got to sleep from 9:30 to 7:30. It was unbelievable! Our experience with Charlie told us that eventually he would grow bored with the pacifier and stop waking us up to get it for him. Thus far, Wesley's response has been more like "DAMMIT I said I was HUNGRY! YOU CAN'T FOOL ME!!" Last night was a big fat failure including half an hour of crying, which resulted in sleep (yay! After reading Moxie's discussion of cry-it-out I was sure Wesley was a "gains tension by crying" kid and that we were doomed to cosleeping until he was old enough to get the jokes on The Tonight Show, so I was ecstatic to learn that he IS capable of calming himself down), but he got all tangled up in his swaddling blanket in the process (boo!) and I had to wake him up to free him for safety reasons. Twenty-ish minutes later he was back out but by six he was in bed with me, probably because he was cold without his blanket (bang bang bang head on desk).

And now I will entertain you with some fancy pageant walkin' pictures of our weekend (which was very nice despite the sleep issues and obstructed sinus cavities) while I dive back into the sordid world of non-parametric statistics (as it turns out, the name of the test I need is "Kruskal-Wallis", not "Crisco-Wallace" like I had written in my notes from the mini-defense. I guess I was hungry.)

Wesley Swing
His cuteness out for a little morning swinging (which is absolutely terrifying, let me tell you.

Ryan with all the kids
My sister and I briefly made Ryan carry all the kids. He secretly liked it. Charlie cried for most of this walk. We thought he was tired, but as it turns out, he had part of a banana stem stuck in his nose. Oops.

Cheering Section
This one's for Godmother, who will probably name her firstborn son "Roethlisberger". I also like the way Charlie is looking humbly away from the camera like a cherub in a Renaissance painting.

Front Row
Playing "drive-in".