Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

Right now, Absurdist Tot is watching his Cookie Monster DVD, totally charmed. Since he woke up with a fever, which made him very toasty when he snuggled in bed next to me but of course is not a good thing, it's a pleasure to see his face break open into a beaming smile even with his watery eyes. This is after he's already gotten one dose of Elmo. My son loves Sesame Street, just like his mother. One of the first songs I sang to him was C is for Cookie, probably not the most brilliant thing to sing a child who you're hoping will eat healthily. Oh well. Consistency and hobgoblins.

Absurdist Lover is sick too and actually taking some really productive steps toward health. And amid the sickness, I feel very optimistic about the new year on many fronts. First, I am committing to doing those things that will make me feel better: namely, exercise. Instead of talking about going to the yoga studio near my house, I'm actually going to go. Exercise makes such a huge difference to my brain and body health that I practically owe it to my family to do it. Yoga especially just makes me feel. . .high. How much of an idiot does one have to be to avoid doing something that feels so good? Just because of a little sweat. The whole pressure to be a good mom also does its number on me. Like many toddlers, Tot is a particular eater, which for him means that he still eats a lot of baby food jars. (At least he eats a bunch of vegetables that way.) He also still falls asleep nursing and goes to bed really late. I feel so behind and bad motherish because I've allowed these things to go on. Most of the time, even AL is itching for me to try to move Tot forward on these fronts, especially the sleeping. But lately AL said not to worry about it, that Tot is fine and will grow out of it. And that's opened up a tiny little ray of grace that maybe these issues do not signal my bad mothering, but just are what they are.

(It's taken at least an hour to compose this post so far. Now Tot is asleep on the couch, which is a marker of just how sick he is.)

So I'm going to exercise. I'm going to try to not beat myself up. I'm going to do other things -- like take my vitamins -- that contribute to a happy, healthy head. I'm going to go to therapy. I also need to find Tot a better pediatrician, because I feel like we're getting drive-through doctoring. He looks at Tot for three seconds, then writes him a prescription. When he's got a cold, okay. I know, the doctor has probably seen the exact same symptoms a dozen times the same week. But when I'm talking about a bump on his penis? No. I need a doctor who will say more than "Don't worry, Mrs. Earnest." I'm also thinking about enrolling Tot and myself in a toddler art class. We need to do fun things when we're together.

I'll be teaching in a week, and I haven't put together my syllabi yet. But I've got some great ideas and revisions to these classes that should jazz up the classes for me and present more involved learning experiences for the students. There are also some little things I'm going to do that to me signal that I've gotten more comfortable at Specialized U. And I'm working on an elective that I'll likely be able to teach in the fall. I'm also one of several people who've been approached about developing a new class that's really right up my alley. So that's exciting.

On the scholarship front, there are good hopeful things too. I'm going to an awesome specialized conference in the spring that will help me further develop my elective and is on a subject I'm completely devoted to. And then there's an awesome workshop in the summer that is in an adjacent field to mine -- I should hear back from them one of these days.

In the past three or so months, I have sent out all my creative work, wrote and sent out a short article, started two groups designed to support my continued writing, and held a successful and very meaningful event. I also worked on our department website, making some changes that I hope improve its overall look and usefulness. That's not bad. I've also managed to get myself excited and hopeful again about teaching.

On personal fronts, I've managed to get on top of our finances, send out Christmas cards to most of my friends, and, with yesterday's strange warm weather after weeks of snow, planted those bulbs in the little patch of grass around our patio. (Yes, even totally missing bulb planting last year, I totally missed prime planting time again this year. But with the wacky warm weather, I figured it might be another chance. I'm not terribly hopeful for the bulbs actually, because the earth doesn't seem particularly fertile and they'll have to make it up through a net of grass, but at least they are in the earth now instead of in a bag or the refrigerator. Maybe next year I'll get them in on time. Maybe next year, we'll be in a house. I've seen some very hopeful looking rent-to-own possibilities here.)

I don't know. I guess taking those vitamins that are especially good for my brain chemistry has really helped. I feel hopeful, even in a house of sickos. Here's to good starts to the year!

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