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Archive for April, 2008

Keyboard crap

It was a little bitty piece of food that was stuck under the key(s) of my keyboard.  It kept moving around – hence the random sticky key.

It makes me unreasonably happy to find this out.  I really need this computer, and we certainly can’t afford another one.  I celebrated by defragmenting the hard drive.

In other news, I accidentally discovered (on Fujisan.com) that “J-Network Service” is currently doing a free trial of their online Japanese TV service.  $3,600 yen/month for all five Tokyo (or Osaka) commercial channels, plus the option of adding premium channels like Wowow or Eisei Gekijo for an additional 1,000 yen/month.  So far, I’m loving it – the picture is acceptably good, and it’s basically 24/7 streaming TV.  Not that I have loads of time to sit around and watch TV on my computer, but I’m now trying to figure out what I could give up every month in order to get this.

The Boy, who does not take naps, is presently hanging out in his crib.  This makes me very happy – he’s nice and calm, just sucking his thumb and kicking his legs around while I get some time to myself.  The Toddler is inexplicably yelling.  But she’s doing it alone and in the other room, so I don’t care.  Oops – spoke too soon; now she’s under the kitchen table, where she’s moved half of her toys.  Again, inexplicably.

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Nablopomo

I think I’m going to give next month’s Nablopomo a try – the theme is “Voices.”  Could be fun.

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Maybe there’s a parasite living in my keyboard.  The “m” is fine now.

Not much going on, besides the usual mayhem.  Rain.  Sleeping baby (!!).  No dissertation work – I’ve decided that I’m taking time off until I get my home routine/life/persona settled.  Until I do that, I’m just spinning my wheels on work.  I did take the plunge, though, and requested permission from the department grad secretary for next Fall’s diss credits – the ones I’m planning to use the rebate on, since I burned through all six semesters of the cheap diss credits with nothing to show for it.  Now that it’ll be costing more money, I need to either cough up the work or quit once and for all.

I’m also mentally preparing for our trip to the in-laws next month.  They loved seeing MM last time, and M. says he thinks they’ll get a kick out of her and C. this time, but I worry that her love of performance (she doesn’t exist if there’s not an audience to appreciate her) will come off to them as overly precocious or something.  I love watching her do her things (actually, I tend to egg her on – the songs, in particular, are pretty funny), but maybe it won’t be “cute” to them.

I’m also trying to figure out how to be appropriately daughter-in-law-y.  I’m a crap cook – hate doing it, don’t do it especially well when I do – but one of the comments M. got from his mom two visits ago was something to the effect of “She doesn’t cook much, does she?”  I’m all about the cleaning, though – that was how I got through that visit (and M. seemed to think that helped) – so I’m trying to figure out what to clean and prepare a plan of action.  It may sound silly, but cleaning keeps me occupied, productive, and there’s usually something to show for it.  Since M. generally goes home, sits, and grows sullen when we visit (long-standing issues there), and since they’ll want to see the kids (C. is immobile – pretty low maintenance – and MM is increasingly able to do stuff on her own), I’ve got to have something to do.

And last time we visited, the kitchen/family room floor (vinyl) was very dirty and needed some love.  It’s understandable; they’re in their 70s and pretty much doing everything for themselves – M.’s sisters get there when they can, I think, but they’ve both got families of their own.  M.’s mom had a stroke about a decade ago, so she doesn’t get around well, and M.’s dad is no spring chicken himself.  So things get dirty.  Last time we were there I took a Swiffer to the floor, but it wasn’t much of a match.  If I had a scrub brush and, I’m thinking, just vinegar and water, I might be able to make a dent…

Anyway, that’s where my mind is right now.  I tend to fret about our visits there: when I was a kid, my mom had an especially bad relationship with my dad’s mother, and it culminated in one especially traumatic (to an 11 year old, anyway) evening that’s always defined in-law relationships for me, so I tend to arrive there with a hair trigger.  I’m always on the lookout for problems, and it tends to make for a stressful week.  To date, nothing bad has happened there, but you never know.  So I’m just trying to find ways of being useful and unobtrusive – at the end of the day, we’re there so they can see the kids and their own son.  I’m along for the ride, and I’m good with that.  But it doesn’t make it any less stressful.

Weirdly, we actually get more grief from – believe it or not – our dry cleaners than we do from M.’s parents.  The dry cleaner is Korean – a husband and wife – and they fell in love with MM sometime in 2006.  I always brought her in when I dropped off shirts, and we got to talking (first in very broken English, and later in much smoother Japanese when it turned out that the husband speaks it pretty well) and they learned that she’s part Korean.  That seemed to seal the matter, and she’s been their adopted granddaughter ever since – to the point that, if we don’t bring her in when we’re picking up shirts, we get chewed out.  Seriously.  We gave them a Christmas card this year with all of us – including C., who they haven’t met yet – and they framed it and hung it on the wall of the shop, near the cash register.

We’ve had M.’s shirts there for two weeks now…and haven’t had the guts to pick them up yet, because it hasn’t worked out where we could take MM with us.  We’re both a little afraid of going in without her these days…

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I think every personal blog out there has at least one entry with that title.  But I digress.

We’ve had a couple of very big changes here, all stemming from the fact that C. discovered his thumb this last week.  For the record, we’re not pacifier people.  I don’t intend to criticize anyone by saying that; it’s just that my mother has always hated them and raised me to also dislike them from the time my sister was born (when I was 12).  As it turns out, M. also doesn’t like them, so we never used them with either of the kids (well, except when we flew MM out to CA for the first time, when she was 4 months old – for the ear pressure.  We may do the same again this time).

So there hasn’t been much in the way of something for C. to suck besides, well, me since he was born.  I think that contributed to his current butterballness; BUT, that seems to have changed.  He reliably discovered his thumb sometime last week – either Wednesday or Thursday (and, by “reliably” I mean that he consciously found it and got it in his mouth – it didn’t just end up there by accident).  And ever since them he’s been a nighttime self-soother par excellence.  Last night I put him down (still a bit awake) at around 7:30, he woke up around 3:00, sucked his little thumb quietly, put himself back to sleep, and didn’t wake up until 5:11 to eat.

Best. Night. Ever.

And today, for the first time, he rolled over from front to back.

He’s getting so big so fast.  With MM, it all seemed to take forever (although even that is changing); with C., it’s all just been gaining speed, and sometimes it’s hard to keep up.

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Because, apparently, this is as cerebral as I get these days.

  • M. developed a case of shingles.  Shingles develops when your autoimmune system is out of whack, which can happen when you’re stressed.  M. is very stressed – it was only a matter of time.  Happily (?), it’s only on his leg (so far, knock on wood), so it’s not as painful as it could be, and he hasn’t had much opportunity to spread the joy to, oh, say, the baby.  MM’s had her immunization, but C. won’t be old enough until he’s one.  We’ll see if anything transpires, but he’ll likely miss it this time around.
  • The “m” key on my keyboard is sticking – this is not good.  Right now, this is the only computer I have that works properly.  I’m notoriously hard on keyboards, but I can’t think what might have happened…unless a certain toddler was involved.
  • Potty training has gone…absolutely nowhere.  She’s getting pretty old to be in diapers – she’ll be 3 at the end of May, but no serious interest in potty training yet.  To be fair (to her, that is), I haven’t been pushing it much yet.  Between being painfully pregnant, then recovering from the C-section, then working on breastfeeding, etc., I haven’t really been in a potty training place, either.  And now we have the trip to M.’s parents’ place next month…so I’m thinking of starting in earnest once we get back, if she doesn’t show any real interest before then (if she does, I’ll go with it.  But, so far, all the observations that her cousins go potty, Mommy goes potty, Daddy goes potty, but C. doesn’t because he’s a baby, have failed to impress her).
  • Speaking of C., he had his 4 month checkup today and he’s a little butterball.  A short, fat butterball – came in at the 75th percentile on weight and head size (!!), and 25th percentile on height.  He comes by it naturally enough, but it’s kind of funny anyway.  He’s well recovered from his little Baby Bjorn adventure, and lately he’s been working on lifting his head, babbling, and even reaching out for stuff (perchance to get it into his frothy mouth).  No interest in rolling over, though.  And we’ve regressed on the sleeping front – he spent all of last night in the papasan.  The doctor, happily, did not seem to be bothered by his ad hoc sleeping arrangements – his main concern was that he was still sleeping on his back.
  • I’ve called a general hiatus on all things dissertation until I get my bearings household-wise.  I feel like I’ve been burning the candle on both ends – with the home/children on one end and the dissertation on the other – and it hasn’t been working out at all.  So I’m trying to just get adjusted to the new reality before I try to see how the dissertation fits in to all of it.  I didn’t realize how much I was really stressing about the dissertation, though, until I walked away from it – it’s nice to have the break.
  • There are a couple of unbloggable things that have in/directly contributed to M.’s stress/shingles.  I wish I could write about them, if for no other reason than it would feel good to get some of it off my chest, but suffice it to say that sometimes people suck.  I hope we don’t have to pay for the suckitude of others.

And, on that ambiguous note, I’ll wrap this up.  C. had more shots today and he’s a little out of sorts – not like the last time, but he’s nursing four places on two legs and I think it just plain hurts.

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Here’s a question…

What is up with all the “China Doll” stuff?? My parents, who persist in thinking that “Oriental” is the correct term for “(East) Asian,” have never used this term, but I keep hearing it. Once was from a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile, who kept saying that MM looked like “a little China doll” – which, of course, isn’t really how I’d describe my frequently flatulent, invariably independent, rough-and-tumble toddler. But she was – or, at least, seemed to be – talking about how MM looked, and it made me wonder why someone would make a racialized comment on her looks.

I’m not stupid – I know she didn’t ‘mean’ anything by it, but it made me wonder why anyone would think to comment on the cuteness of a child – common enough – by referring to her race. I don’t walk up to pale children and comment on their whiteness (although there is a scene at the beginning of Desmond Nakano’s film White Man’s Burden in which a black woman – a member of the privileged class in the context of the film – makes a comment about cute white babies that’s absolutely classic).

And then last night, while I was trying to get C. to go to sleep, dammit, I was watching “Jon & Kate” on TLC do a Q & A with emailed questions, and one of the questions was about whether Kate was upset (not the right word, but I forget what the actual word was) that her kids looked so Asian. And her response was that she was glad, actually, that they looked like Jon (who is cute as a button and so are the kids, and why not like that they look Asian?), because she now has her own little China dolls. And I’m thinking, you know, WTF???

In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I spent a long time thinking and saying that “half” kids were the best-looking – mainly because where I went to school (Hong Kong), there were a lot and almost all of the biracial kids I knew were stunningly good looking. They did modeling – that kind of good-looking. And I was pasty and fat and white and frizzy-haired, and comparatively speaking they were incredibly attractive. But I didn’t marry M. for his ability to provide me with attractive biracial children, and when I think of their races it tends to be in the context of how they’re going to learn to be biracial.

For the record, M. and I were talking about their biracialness the other night, and we discovered that I think they look more Caucasian, and he thinks they look more Asian. Which, assuming it translates along racial lines to their grandparents (mine think they look more white), bodes well for being accepted on both sides. After all, M.’s mom did announce that MM got her big eyes from her side of the family*, so I guess there’s not much worry that they’ll find them too white. MM’s temper, though, she attributed not to her Korean side but to my (nonexistent) Irish side. Um…yeah. 😉

*This is actually entirely possible. M. has fairly large eyes and that double-lid thing that people get cosmetic surgery to create.

**Sorry about all the editing – I wasn’t describing the J&K thing to my satisfaction…

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So…

I broke the baby. Or, rather, the baby broke my fall.

I managed to get through all of MM’s infancy without actually drawing blood, but not so with C. We were all heading out for a walk yesterday afternoon (after I’d promised and promised MM that we’d definitely, positively go for a walk after her nap), when I slipped, twisted sideways, and fell flat on the ground – with C. facing forward in the Baby Bjorn.

The good news is that, by some miracle for which I’m very grateful, C. only sustained some minor cuts to one patch of skin on his forehead (and there’s not even much of a lump to speak of) and a pretty well-lacerated, but otherwise unharmed, pinkie finger.

But all I remember is the sound of his head hitting the driveway. If I had to recall the whole thing for a court of law, I would insist that I heard his head crack right open – but the material evidence suggests otherwise. He never lost consciousness, his eyes were fine, and after he finished screaming about the pain, he simply continued to scream about what he’d been screaming about all day – gas.

He was fine. I’m recovering. MM was scarred by…the hole in my pants (which, she insisted, was going to make Daddy angry. With her. Because, you know, Daddy beats and berates her on a regular basis*). I don’t know what bugged her so much about the pants – I’m guessing it was just the wrongness of the ragged hole – but she had to drag M. over to have a look when he got home from school, and then apologized for it. His response, as I told her it would be when she expressed worry over his reaction, was just to say “It’s okay; are you alright?”

But she still woke up this morning going on about the damned hole. Not the abrasions on her brother’s forehead (about which he’s also pretty nonchalant – and he’s a much more pleasant person today for having finally passed gas and pooped), but the state of my pants. Because (queue welling toddler tears), “We have to go get new pants.”

Damned straight. Those pants were one of only two pairs I can wear right now. I think it’s time to stop eating for two and get back into the pre-pregnancy clothes once and for all.

*No, he does not. Daddy doesn’t even believe in raising his voice. Daddy’s one questionable disciplinary tactic is to tell MM she’s “being a bad girl,” and this is questionable to me only because I’m a big believer in going after the specific behavior (“you’re not being a good listener”) rather than the character. But I’m the primary disciplinarian, anyway; Daddy is generally the go-to guy for fun and games.

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