Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Whatcha Readin'? Wednesday: Bear Snores On

This review isn't finished per se, but I'm trying to push through this block of mine and just hit "Publish" whenever I've got something of length. Reader be warned. (I promise I'm working on my brain! It'll have complete thoughts, transferrable to keyboard, again someday...)

I love reading Bear Snores On to Uli. It's one of our "go-to" stories each evening as we prepare for bed. 

Bear Snores On 
written by Karma Wilson
illustrated by Jane Chapman

Perhaps, in part, I enjoy it because it reminds me of a classic from my childhood,  The Mitten. Both books have a similar premise: during a snow storm, a variety of animals seek shelter in the same [unlikely] place. The animal characters in Bear Snores On, rather than huddling (incredulously, yet delightfully as I remember it) in a mitten, come upon Bear hibernating in his cave and make themselves comfortable as they wait out the storm. Predictably, bear wakes up and discovers that he has guests.

It's not even so much the story (which is nice, but nothing new) that makes both Uli and I like this book. Fact of the matter is, it's fun to read aloud.  

Such enjoyable poetry! Go on, try the words above. Aloud.

Don't you love how it feels, those words tripping off your tongue?

We'll be readin' Bear Snores On every Wednesday (and Thursday, Friday, Saturday...) for quite some time, I do believe. I don't know if Wilson has other books. I should look into that.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Memory-Lane: 11-06-1992

My writer's block continues. As I wallow about in self pity, scribble notes on little pieces of paper, compile long lists of what I intend to write about someday, and ask myself why I can't suffer from a more interesting malady, please enjoy (or pretend to enjoy, please!) this list from my pre-Propson days.  

It first saw the light of day nearly 20 years ago. I have very little doubt it was crafted immediately after I'd finished one of L.M. Montgomery's novels.  

My First House
(for myself & a girlfriend or a husband)

A White Cottage  (similar to that one on 5th St, Silverton, OR)
  • 2 stories
  • attic
  • front gate
  • front porch
  • 2-4 bedrooms
  • kitchen
  • living room
  • laundry
  • 2 bathrooms
  • study
  • double locks
  • door chains
  • balcony
  • garden (with flowers!)
  • optional: basement/celler [sic]
  • optional: woodburning stove/fireplace

 Nice Furniture
  • window seat
  • many bookshelves
  • wallpaper or light paint with stencils
  • ceiling lights and fans
  • gas appliances
  • lots of windows
  • rolltop desk
  • piano
  • good stereo
  • dinette set
  • coffe table
  • old trunks
  • nice beds
  • tea set/dishes
  • white wicker
  • gazebo
  • slipcovers
  • many throw pillows
  • nice photo books
  • statues
  • prints
  • clocks
  • candles/lanterns
  • automan [sic]
  • comfy chairs
  • sheets and quilts
  • classic books
  • lace
  • optional: skylights

 Color Scheme
  • whites/creams
  • greens
  • yellows
  • blues
  • peaches
  • gray (a touch)

  • skirts
  • catalogouges [sic]
  • drawing
  • cooking
  • reading
  • writing
  • sewing
  • old fashioned

  • 1-3 cats
  • maybe a dog (medium sized)

Apparently I wanted to live in a  cute little cottage with a kitchen and bedrooms (how innovative of me!) in a dangerous neighborhood (chains and dead bolts/double locks?).

As for the skirts, pastels, throw pillows, and lace: I read this aloud to Justin. He said, "So, when you were a little girl you wanted to grow up to be a little old lady?"

I giggled at his comment, but the more I think about it... Yes. I do hope to grow up to be a little old lady.

But maybe I'll skip the white wicker furniture.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Writer's Block

Ever have so much to say that you can't say anything?

I don't know what else to do in these situations but to quote someone else.

With awareness, each of our daily acts takes on a new meaning, and we discover that we are more than machines, that our activities are not just mindless repetitions. We find that life is a miracle, the universe is a miracle, and we too are a miracle.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
The Sun My Heart (1988)


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Whatcha Readin'? Wednesday

A tiny tot edition of Whatcha Readin'!

I found this fabulous book at a library sale:

Mole and the Baby Bird 
by Marjorie Newman
illustrated by Patrick Benson

It's not only adorable to look at but the book's message is important.

Little Mole discovers and successful cares for an abandoned baby bird. The admirable rescue turns sour when Mole decides that because he has grown to love the bird he will cage it to keep it near him. Eventually Mole realizes that the greatest love he can show to the bird is to set it free. 

He's mine because I love him!

Our world can be so very "I want what I want and I don't care if it's not really mine," especially when it comes to using or displacing those we consider Others (including--and perhaps especially--other species). Sometimes we act from a place of love, sometimes from a feeling of entitlement.

I don't pretend to have it all figured out (I struggle with several of my own "I want what I want"s) but Mole and the Baby Bird would be an appropriate way to begin to explore and discuss the subject with Uli. It successfully communicates the importance of thinking about the whole welfare of others, taking into consideration their spirit and their natures.

I love you, so I respect your nature

Maybe, you say, my impression of the story is too grand for one little 25 page picture book. (I am coming off of a recent Avatar viewing...). But no. No it's not. This is a great book. Perfectly interesting and attractive for the toddler being read to, thought provoking for the adult as she reads it aloud.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Parenting by Heart

"We know in our hears what our babies need; we feel what they want. Blessed by, and mindful of, advances in medicine, and wary of philosophies developed in the interest of convenience, we are determined to heed our strong instincts. We are even willing to suffer ourselves, if it means the best for our babies. We are mother lions, mother bears, and father tigers, too. We parent by heart."

~Elizabeth Pantly

This week went by in a blur. I've been working on posts (all still in drafts), re-reading an Ishiguro novel in preparation for my first visit to next month's (Oh-my-God-I'm-out-with-other-adult-women-being-all-intellectual!) book club, brainstorming about cooking and housekeeping (because, clearly, spending another three hours sweeping and vacuuming and steam mopping the downstairs only for there to still be animal fur everywhere [how is that even possible?!] is not the way I want to spend each Wednesday, home with my daughter), and trying to remember that I'm a wife as well as a mother and a housekeeper/dog-wrangler.


Last week I read Pantly's The No-Cry Sleep Solution looking for a way to make our sleeping arrangements happier for all. Basically, I'm searching for a way to appease my husband (who'd like me to stop getting up in the middle of the night or at least be in our room by morning) but still attend to my daughter's nighttime parenting needs (versus letting her scream alone in the dark when she wakes).

I've been part time bedsharing with Uli since she was born. I usually nurse her to sleep in her room, I leave her sleeping and spend time with Justin for a few hours before we go to bed, fall asleep in my/our bed, then I wake up to Uli's cries and go into her room and spend the rest of the night (usually from around midnight on) in her bed. She sleeps on a full size mattress set on the floor (we skipped the entire crib deal in an attempt to provide her with a Montessori-like bedroom environment) so it's easy for me to crawl right in next to her. It's genuinely pleasant, being able to have a place for Mommy and Baby to snuggle up, nurse, and get some sleep (all at the same time!).

Pantly has suggestions to help end the request for night nursing, and I've been starting to try them. And it's not that they're difficult, but I've been struggling to remember that I'm supposed to be working on them. Thing is, it's so easy to nurse her in my sleep that I forget I'm supposed to be trying to night-wean. I'm well rested by morning and she's had a belly full of good milk and overall it's a happy situation. Except for poor Justin, all alone. So I'm trying. But it's easier said than done: sticking to a specific bedtime routine, staying awake while she's nursing, un-latching her before she's deeply asleep so she stops associating sucking with sleep, and then making sure she eats more calories during the day to make up for the fewer she'll be getting overnight.

Basically, it's more work and less sleep for me, this trying to wean her from her nighttime nursing, and less sleep makes me cranky. It's just kind of funny, getting less sleep now, with Uli at 15 months, than I'd been getting when she was younger.  I haven't been sleep deprived since she was a tiny little new thing, even though she has regularly woken 1 to 5 times each night in the past year to nurse. 

But, since I do want to work toward waking in the morning in my own bed, I figure that Pantly's suggestions are the route I want to go. I'm uncomfortable making Uli cry it out at this age (she is too young to be made to understand why her trusted parents wouldn't come to her when she's calling, alone and in the dark). Pantly's ideas (with worksheets to help mark your progress) are simple, seem to be effective (if the buzz in the blogosphere means anything) and, perhaps most of all, they are compassionate. You're working slowly and with your child to gently redirect and retrain their expectations about sleep rather than forcing them to scream until they don't have the ability to reach out to you any more.

So I'll be working off of less sleep for the next few weeks. Hopefully by the end, Uli will be sleeping through the night (or at least for 8 hours straight of the 10-12 she should be in bed) and I'll be spending more quality snooze time with the hubby. 

I've heard several times that I'm going about this the hard way, but so far it feels right. And what can I do but follow my heart?

Bedsharing with Uli, winter of 2008

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