Friday, March 12, 2010

5 weeks of Parenting

What I've learned in the five weeks of Thomas John's life:

1. Putting on socks is impossible to do while holding a baby. It's challenging even when he's in a sling. And with a baby who loves to be held (yes, even during naps), this can be a challenge. For warm feet, I must put socks on immediately after showering.

2. Babies are cute even when they're crying! However, cuteness decreases after an hour and a half of continuous crying.

4. I wish I could bottle up his sweet little squeaks and grunts and save them for a rainy day in about 14 years.

5. I hate to admit it, but everything I heard about parenthood is true. It does change your life. You do love them to pieces. You are sleep deprived. You shouldn't expect to get anything else done while at home with a baby all day.

6. He's started to smile and coo and it melts my heart.

7. I can hardly wait for 5:00 because I know Brent will be home soon. I celebrate each passing hour after noon because I'll soon have my companion back. Also, nothing is more fun than seeing Brent be the best daddy I ever could have imagined.

8. Thomas spends most of the day hanging out in one of these: He loves it and so do I. I wouldn't want to go through the infant stage without it. In fact, as I write this, I'm standing up and bouncing while Thomas looks calmly looks around and fades in and out of sleep.

9. Cloth diapering is not as bad as people make it out to seem. The price is certainly right, and you can't deny the environmental benefits. Plus, they're kind of cute.

10. Family is amazing. We've had so much help and support from both of our families. Both my mom and Brent's come one day a week to spend time with Thomas and help me get some work done. We're so lucky that our parents love Thomas (and us) so much and live close enough to help us out.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Passion. Clarity. Wants me to succeed.

A few years back I (Carol writing here) sat down with my academic dean for a cup of coffee. We are friends and thus we often chat about life. About our kids. About students. And about publishing and theories and what great recipes we've tried lately. The conversation that day turned to teaching, of course. We teachers can't help ourselves but to muse about how to be better, brighter and grade more essays in shorter periods of time. Something my friend/dean/colleague Tom said that day stuck with me. I actually wrote it on a sticky note and secured it right next to my office computer on a steel file-folder-organizer-thingy. It has remained there for a good 4+ years now. In three memorable phrases he smartly summarized what distinguishes the creme de la creme teachers from all the rest.

The best of the best professors ...

1. are passionate.
2. are clear.
3. want their students to succeed.

It dawned on me yesterday as the sticky note caught my gaze once again: Maybe these are the same "secrets" of the happy couple masters? Of the creme de la creme relationship partners? Of the people who seem to really find deep gladness and awesome giddiness in one another, year after year. Of those darn happy couples most of us yearn to become.

1. Passion. (Gosh darn it, let's be happy! Let's do things to keep us connected. Strong. Repaired. In "like" with one another, even when the economy plummets, the children are melting, and the laundry is piling up).

2. Clarity. (Of vision. Of purpose. We do whatever it takes to remember, time and again, that "we" come first. And that "we" stay happy. And that "we" keep our priorities straight. Before jobs and kids and cars and mortgages. WE matter, yes we do!).

3. Holding up the other. (Does your partner - the other part of your team - really know, deep in her/his heart, you want her/him to succeed? That he is smart? That she is valued? That you are open to his smart influence? That she will be listened to?)

Thanks, Dean Connery, for your wisdom. You never cease to impress and amaze (dude). Let's grab a cup of coffee soon, eh?