week 47.

maya @ 47 weeks :: september 29, 2006
  • she has been an eating (and pooping) machine lately. she eats all day long ... after all that eating you'd think she would gain some weight, but she still feels the same to me. i'll have to weigh her to find out.
  • she loves to dance to upbeat music. she moves her hands around, bounces, and smiles when she hears a song she likes.
  • sesame street is once again becoming a part of our life. she likes elmo (which i'm totally okay with) and watches the tv when the muppets are on.
  • she's such a daddy's girl: not only does she rush to greet him when he comes home ("hi dada!"), but she insists on being held by rupert all the time, she calls for him from her crib, and just unleashes a barrage of "dadadadadadadadada" quite frequently.
  • she doesn't really talk yet, but she tries to say things. when rupert gives her an option between food or a bottle, she can make sounds like "foo" or "ba" to indicate her choice.
  • she caught a cold and her runny nose is bothering her. but she does like having the snot sucked out with a bulb syringe. i'm concerned, however, that she thinks it's like a bottle because she keeps opening her mouth while i'm sucking out the snot. when she got a hold of the bulb syringe she tried to put it in her mouth. grody!
  • she can "tell" you if she needs a diaper change. after fussing for a bit (or refusing to sit down) i'll pick her up and she points her way to the changing table.



choose wisely

two license plates i saw today:



make the world a better place. choose to be kind.


a police officer visited me one day and ...

offered to use me as an extra on his tv show!

it's taken me forever and a day to post this ... about 10 days ago officer chris cognac (aka the culinary detective, soon to be known as the food network's food detective) dropped by to say hi. needless to say i was thrilled that he came by to chat about traffic and food; it was literally the highlight of my week.

officer cognac is incredibly friendly and generous with news about the realities of making a food show. he holds down a full-time job as a police officer and uses his days off to travel around the country filming his upcoming show, "the food detective." if you watch the food network, i'm sure you've already seen commercials for the show, which premieres october 17 at 10:30pm on the food network. be sure to watch it so the food network will give him more money and freedom to make more shows!

there's a whole bunch of stuff officer cognac told me but i'm not going to share just yet because i don't know how much is supposed to be "public knowledge." but it was neat to hear about AB, what we didn't see on the last episode of "feasting on asphalt," and what it's like to be a judge on "iron chef america" (the episode officer cognac judged on will be aired in october, i think). geeky as this sounds, i was totally giddy to hear the inside scoop on food television, which is totally different than the restaurant and general foodie worlds.

rupert was excited for me that i got to meet officer cognac, and even more excited to hear that we might get invited to be extras in one of the los angeles segments of his show.

p.s. officer cognac told me about egullet.com, which is supposed to be a great resource. so i'm off to investigate!

week 46.

maya @ 46 weeks :: september 22, 2006
  • her language skills are developing. she definitely understands more words and phrases: when i ask her, "motto?" ("more?") during feedings she either gets excited for more or pushes the spoon away. she also knows "oshime" when i ask her if she needs a diaper change, and one of her favorite words is, "bottle." ironically, one of the few words she actually says, and understands, is a cross between "night-night" and "nenne" ("go to sleep"); funny coming from a girl who resists sleep!
  • she is, for the most part, sleeping through the night!
  • climbing is one of her most favorite activities; yesterday i found she had climbed into her carseat that i was using as a barrier, and was about to climb out the other side. another activity she enjoys is pulling down my books from the shelf, flipping through the pages, and taking the paper covers off of them.
  • she is a hit at ian's school. i have to take her often because i volunteer for the pta and she is very popular with staff and teachers. it's getting her ready for school!
  • she can stand on her own for a split-second. she's great at cruising, too, but if she has far to go she's figured out that it's easier and faster to just get down and crawl.
  • i tried giving her tofu but she didn't like it very much. so i mushed it up and mixed it with her jarred baby food, which she ate just fine.
  • she points with her hand in the direction that she wants you to carry her.
  • she goes straight for my mom's purse because she knows there's usually snacks in there.


school lessons. life lessons.

ian started first grade a couple of weeks back. we were all excited about him starting the school year. he was bored out of his mind this summer, and i felt bad that i couldn't devote as much time to him for the last two and a half months because of the attention maya needed. i think it will be good for him to get back into a routine, be surrounded by his peers, and face the many challenges of school on his own. oddly enough i wasn't very emotional about him becoming a first grader. i think i was more verklempt last year on the first day of kindergarten.

i feel like i've been preparing for this day for what seems like years. my brief experience in the first grade classroom prepared me to drill ian with the skills he needs to be "successful." he's considered bright, and although he's not a genius by any means, he's pretty darn close to being gifted. i'm sure first grade will be a breeze for him, and on a superficial level that's what i wanted for him.

and then what should i come across, but the cover story in a recent newsweek: the new first grade: too much too soon? i am totally guilty of being one of those parents who pushes and pushes to make sure their child can read, has impeccable penmanship, and can do math ... all before starting first grade. i don't know about you, but i remember (albeit hazily) kindergarten and first grade being fun. we weren't tested all the time, we didn't forgo hands-on fun activities in favor of phonics. and, yet, i am subjecting my child to pressures he shouldn't have to experience already. i'm torn because ian is capable of learning many things some of his peers are not ready to learn; his brain can process, understand and apply much of what i teach him. he's ready. when he asks me a question, i dispense information - as much as i know - and i let him pick and choose what he wants to remember.

but why do i do this? does he need to know all this stuff before he's taught it in school? i fear the day he becomes a wise-ass (he's already on his way) and alienates himself from his classmates. in kindergarten his friends thought it was great he knew so much; they were actually proud of him. but how long does that last before it turns into resentment and exasperation? how long before his classmates' eyes roll every time he opens his mouth?

more importantly, will knowing all this stuff make his life better? all of sudden i'm confused. i used to think with 100% conviction that the more we crammed into his brain, the more we were enriching his life. that's why i've always surrounded him with books, encouraged him to read, and demonstrated the importance of reading by doing a lot of it myself. after all, knowledge is power. right? i was reminded of this at the school library just today when i saw a poster: the more you read, the more you know. the more you know, the smarter you grow. the smarter you grow, the stronger your voice, when speaking your mind or making a choice! my ultimate goal has always been to give him the tools so he can make the right decisions for himself. that's empowerment, in my book. that is wisdom.

and, yet, at the same time, i felt huge self-satisfaction when others acknowledged ian's brightness. it was more than just being proud of my son. upon reflection i think i really, honestly thought it was a personal reflection on me. and that was horrifying to me. it made me realize how vain i am. it's not about me at all, and yet i was making it about me. i was using ian as a tool to make myself look and feel better. do i even know how ian really feels about his own achievement?

all these years, was i really pushing him to learn his numbers and alphabet, drilling him with math questions and phonics rules, and smothering him with trivia for his benefit or my benefit? i am beginning to seriously doubt my motives in educating my son. what is it exactly that i want for him? not me. him.

as i read a book review on sunday, a couple of paragraphs caught my attention and held it all day and night. the reviewer is describing the relationship between two characters, a mother and son, and i couldn't help but see the overlap with my relationship with ian:
Meredith builds her son up and rips him down with equal gusto, telling him at one point: "You're not an artist, Michael…. How are you going to compete with people who have genuine talent?" She herself is an artist of the highest order — one who, along with her estranged writer-adventurer husband, set a standard that Michael could never live up to. His response to this is one of the central questions of the novel: Is a life worth living if it's not destined for greatness? For him, the answer is no.
i do want greatness for ian. but what is greatness and how do we measure it? can it be achieved by school alone? does ian even want greatness? all these questions raced through my mind as i watched him playing soccer in the backyard. what does being smart in first grade have to do with achieving greatness in your lifetime? do most people achieve greatness? or is greatness to the average joe being able to hold down a job, provide for your family, and share love and laughs with people who are important to you? what would be wrong with that?

and, so, for the last two nights, instead of the usual worries about school (packing lunch, getting him to school on time) my mind has been completely bombarded with fear, doubt, and concern over the rest of ian's life. my control freak tendencies are, for lack of a better phrase, getting out of control. this also frustrates me. i know ian's life is not my life. rationally it makes sense. but realistically? not so much.

i've rambled on for so long that i'm not sure where i'm going with this. all i know is that ian's schooling weighs heavily on my mind. more than i ever imagined.


week 45.

maya @ 45 weeks :: september 15, 2006
  • she climbed up stairs by herself. we don't have stairs in our house so we didn't know she was capable of doing this. we were at her grandparents' house and, of course, she made a bee-line for the stairs and started expertly climbing up them. and not just on her knees; she was actually lifting her leg high enough so that she was pushing up to the next step with her foot.
  • rupert has become quite good at getting her to sleep at night without a fuss. she takes a bottle and goes to bed. earlier in the week she would wake up around midnight but rupert and i have been so worn out that we didn't have the energy to get up. the first night this happened she cried for a long time before falling asleep, but ever since, she's been able to get her self back to sleep more quickly, or not wake up at all.
  • i don't know why i didn't realize this before, but the sound of the vacuum helps her take her nap. she's always resisted sleep, even if she's tired, but i just turn the vacuum on, get some cleaning done, and she's asleep by the time i finish.
  • we tried giving her cheerios again. the first couple of times she had no trouble, but last night she spit it all up. i noticed that the cheerios are only bitten in half, so she's not chewing them enough to keep them down, i guess.
  • rupert has "conditioned" her to nod her head "yes" when he asks her, "do you want a bottle?"
  • she hands you her sippy cup when she's thirsty. she doesn't quite have the head/cup tilt thing down to get the water into the spout.


week 44.

maya @ 44 weeks :: september 8, 2006
  • she can climb up the back cushion of the couch by herself. we have an old, low entertainment center up against the back of the couch with the fish tank on top of it. maya was determined to get to the fish tank. she climbed up the back of the couch and was basically standing up on the back so she could try to get into the fish tank.
  • no doubt about it, she loves the pool! we went to our friends' house and she was practically throwing herself into the water.
  • for some reason she likes to rub rupert's and ian's socks on her face. eew!
  • she got her bangs trimmed for the first time.
  • at meals she insists on eating with everyone else; if she sees us eating she has to be fed too.
  • for a few nights last week she was sleeping through the night, but now she's back to waking up at 3am for a feeding.
  • she can vibrate her voice "indian style" (sorry, that's not very politically correct) by saying "ahhh" and hitting her mouth with her palm.
  • rupert noticed that after he gets home from work and he's changing into his lounging-around clothes, maya will grab and hand him his pj pants.
  • shakes her head side-to-side when she doesn't want something/someone.


did you see?

guess who left a comment on my blog? officer chris cognac, a police officer in the town where i live. so what, you ask? well, officer chris was on my favorite episode of "feasting on asphalt," introducing alton to various foods in my town. he's also in the process (or has finished, i'm not sure) taping segments for his own food network show to be aired this fall. he's not a novice when it comes to food. he's been writing restaurant reviews for a local paper for quite some time, and if you watched that episode of "feasting on asphalt" you could just tell that he loves food.

anyway, officer chris somehow found his way to my blog, and even read the post i wrote on the concerns i have about the intersection in front of my house. he was kind enough to suggest that i call him so he could look into it for me. how nice is that? it was one of the highlights of my day to read his comment.

i'll update once i find out more about officer chris's show ...


week 43.

[ack! i forgot to take a single picture of maya this week, so i have nothing to show!]
maya @ 43 weeks :: september 1, 2006
  • has a really goofy smile lately. it looks like a toothy grin/grimace so we're never sure if she's happy or upset.
  • really getting great at mimicing us, especially when it comes to play time. we found an old japanese toy cellphone that belonged to ian, and after i put it to my ear and said, "moshi moshi" (japanese for "hello" on the telephone) she picked it up and put it up to the side of her head. she also hagu-hagus (gives hugs) to stuffed animals, zoom-zooms toy cars, throws balls, and turns pages in books.
  • unlike last week when she liked to pull her hand away, she will now actually hand you items as if to say, "here, you play with it."
  • seems kinda obvious, but she knows her way around the house. if she hears ian she will expertly crawl out of her room and head directly to his room down the hall.
  • says something akin to "papa"/"dada".
  • she is getting much better at crouching/squatting down from a standing position. her knees bend and she slowly lowers herself down.
  • as i've posted before, she likes to rip up paper items like newspapers. she also likes to tear apart any paper napkins she can get her hands on. the other day, i was trying to get her to relinquish part of a napkin when she proceeded to rub the front of her body with it ... just like how i wipe all of the spit-up off her shirt everyday.

my friends rock!

totally surprised and thrilled to receive a gift from my friends A+R out of the blue. they got me two-years of flickr pro so i can load more pictures to my account. they are so flippin' generous! they said it was so they could see more pictures of the kids, but it's a rare and selfless friend who gives so freely and willingly like they do. thank you, guys!