On Gifts

birthday presents

Baguette loves gifts, and she gets a lot of them. Mr. Sandwich and I are constantly buying her books, and she had grandparents on both sides who are always on the lookout for toys and games that will capture her interest.

What we’ve learned, though, is that giving Baguette something, and having her get it–well, those are two different things, and they happen in very different time frames.

For her birthday, in April, one pair of grandparents gave her a Monsters University Scare Factory and a Rescue City Center set. She started playing with it last week. This is August.

This week, four new Wibbly Pig books arrived in the mail. I suspect it will take us several weeks to get all of them into rotation, and Baguette loves Wibbly Pig.

We’ve seen this before, and we expect it. Baguette needs time to warm up to toys and books. She needs to decide how she wants to play with them. We’ve tried showing her, and it just doesn’t seem to work–but eventually she’ll figure it out and incorporate it into her play.

And while she’ll lose interest in a particular toy, the odds are pretty good that she’ll come back to it, months or a year later. You never know when that set of stacking rings is going to re-emerge.

I also understand, though, that as a gift-giver, people want a reaction. They want to see that they did actually pick the right gift, that they’ve brought happiness to the recipient. It’s hard to give something and feel like it didn’t even register. (We do have her say “Thank you,” but some enthusiasm is usually nice.)

Every once in a while, though, that magic moment happens. When Baguette was two and a half, we had a playdate. The other little girl had a Rockin’ Elmo that Baguette just loved. So I told my dad about it, and he bought it for her as a Christmas gift. And when she unwrapped it, and it started to sing and move, she was in raptures–delighted shrieks, beaming smiles, the works.

We got to see it again last weekend, at Mr. Sandwich’s 25-year high school reunion. It was at a restaurant, so we got a table and ate dinner there. That gave Baguette time to settle into the space and enjoy herself. Then we went out on the patio and mingled with the rest of the alumni.

One of his classmates, having heard about Baguette’s love of “Frozen,” brought her a set of character finger puppets. Baguette lit up and gave dazzling smiles. She even stopped eating her Pirates’ Booty for a moment (and let me tell you, it is hard to get her to respond to anything when she is eating).

And those finger puppets? On a nightly basis, in tiny, high-pitched voices, they act out this exchange from “In Summer”:

Kristoff: I’m gonna tell him.
Anna: Don’t you dare!

Friday Five: August 15, 2014

Five things from the past week:

1) I am so relieved that someone came up with a better method of handling the situation in Ferguson. Who would have imagined that treating people like people could work? But is there still a no-fly zone over the region?

2) We went to Mr. Sandwich’s class reunion this weekend, and one of his friends brought Baguette a set of Frozen finger puppets. She loved them immediately, and showed it, and now I need to write a post about Baguette and gifts.

3) Last night Baguette had a night terror. Or a nightmare. Or she instantaneously developed a fear of the dark. We’re not really sure what happened, but all of a sudden she started crying and would not calm down unless the light was on.

4) I am so tired.

5) I have a lot of trouble figuring out what to eat. I do not know what’s going on there.

five

Friday Five: August 8, 2014

Five things from the past week:

1) It’s still true that I’m particularly grateful for day care when I’m sick. All I had was a cold, but would I have been able to take a three-hour nap if Baguette were at home with me? No, I would not.

2) And speaking of day care, you know who does not get paid what their work is worth to me? Pretty much everyone who helps us care for Baguette. In every case, these are people we do not pay directly; we pay the school or the agency. (The only people we pay directly are the speech, music, and occupational therapists, and even then, insurance covers some to much of the cost.)

3) Should I be more worried about the spread of ebola, or is my awareness actually right on target?

4) Enough with the reboots, Hollywood. Seriously, enough.

5) Mr. Sandwich and I had an exchange that would have made the most hilarious tweet. But it was bedtime and I didn’t want to get up and tweet it. So I forgot it. And then I remembered it the next day, and then I forgot it again. This is how it goes when you don’t sleep properly for four and a half years.

5

SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM

I’ve gotten nearly 200 spam comments in two days. I get them from time to time, but this flood is new.

I’ve closed comments on older posts, but they’ve moved to pages. And I’ve long since arranged my settings so that new commenters have to have their remarks approved–but sorting through the spam for actual comments to approve is a nuisance, and takes time I don’t really have.

So while I don’t particularly want to add captcha to my site, I’m wondering if that might not be the way to go.

What say you, actual commenters? Would that keep you from commenting? Because I want you to. I just don’t want to have to find your comments among the onslaught of nonsense.


And in the meantime, here’s a more . . . er . . . loving look at SPAM.

Music to My Ears

Baguette has a phenomenal memory, and she remembers songs and TV episodes and books with no trouble at all. One day she’ll suddenly recite part of a Sesame Street episode that she hasn’t seen in months, and act it out with character dolls.

Just recently–and I mean just in the last two weeks, she’s gone beyond reciting, and has started singing. For the most part, she’s been singing the songs from one of her apps. But last night, as we were playing in the front yard, I heard her sing “Let it go, let it go.”

We’re late to the Frozen party. All of her classmates were completely immersed in it for months, and she showed no interest. We bought the DVD, and she paid not the slightest attention (Mr. Sandwich and I both enjoyed it, although we’d rate Tangled higher in a number of ways).

But last night, she started singing. And when I joined in, she snapped her head around with a smile. So after her bath, I pulled up the video on my laptop, and she stopped asking for her iPad and sprinted across the room to watch it with me. Twice.

I know the rest of the world either still loves this song, or is sick to death of it. And I get that. But you know how your kid does really irritating things, like ask “Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?” Ours doesn’t.

She can sing, though. And I don’t want her to stop.

I’m Not Fine With It

I am so tired. I’m tired of being told that I’m talking about the wrong thing. I’m tired of being told that I’m talking about it in the wrong way. I’m tired of having the subject changed.

Remember how #YesAllWomen got #NotAllMen-ed? Because we couldn’t talk about what happens to us, and our perceptions of society and the world, without people insisting that their point of view was the one we really should be talking about. Well, that happens a lot, and it’s not limited to one topic.

Earlier this week, I participated in an online discussion about female genital mutilation. Ten people participated. Three of us were women. One woman made a single comment; another made three or four. The discussion went on for more than 12 hours, and I was the only woman participating throughout. On its surface, it was for the most part a civil discussion.

Only it wasn’t always about FGM. As seems to happen again and again in discussions about FGM, the topic of male circumcision was brought up, and once it was introduced, it refused to leave. When I had the temerity to suggest that maybe a new thread could be started for that, I was accused of acting like the discussion police. Because we wouldn’t want to miss the chance to stop talking about women.

Yesterday, I came across an article about a new crowdfunding initiative for Miss Possible, a series of dolls “modeled after real women who’ve had path-breaking success in science, technology, space and information technology.”

Nice idea, right? Sure, unless you consider, as one commenter did, “Why no emphasis on the lack of boys and men in HR environments, then? Where’s the effort to recruit boys to HR and other female dominated fields?” He then went on to say that this project will accomplish nothing, because society deems women to be successful when they marry (or partner, presumably), not when they are recognized in their careers of choice.

You know how you get more men in HR? Pay HR more. Raise the salaries, and the men will come. That’s easy. But the idea that there might be value in getting more girls involved in STEM and related subjects? No. We will talk about men, and that is how it is.

But I don’t want that to be how it is. I don’t want to keep people from talking about men and their issues. I just want not to be cut off when I talk about women’s issues. I just want not to be told that I should be accepting of that interruption.

I don’t even want to include a link to #YesAllWomen, as I was planning to. I just went and did a search, and the hashtag is in use. But now it’s being used in ugly misogynist jokes, and I’m not going to help them get more traffic.

Think about that for a minute. We can’t even have a hashtag. We’re not supposed to realize that if we’re being silenced, the discussion is inherently uncivil. We’re not supposed to talk in the first place. And we’re supposed to be fine with that.

I’m not. I’m not.

I’m not.

Some Stuff About Some Things

There’s a lot going on, and while I really want to write, it’s hard to come up with a unified concept. So here are a handful of thoughts and recent developments that are not at all unified.

  • Baguette had a low-grade fever for much of the weekend. It turns out that when she is sick, she avoids negative constructions–she would not say “I don’t want Mommy to go,” but would say “I want Mommy to stay.” (She was better yesterday afternoon and hence is at day care today.)
  • I’ve been making simple syrup regularly this summer, and life is just so much easier when it’s around. Want to make that regular tea sweet? Want to make lemonade? Simple syrup to the rescue!
  • We finally caught up on Sherlock. Why are there only three episodes per season? Why is the next season not airing until 2016? Whywhywhy?
  • I need to write more, but my job doesn’t involve writing, but my bosses do give me the flexibility and support that I really do need right now. Yet still I need to write more. It’s a conundrum.
  • We really should get new passports, what with ours having expired and all. Not that we have travel plans, just that we should have them. But why are passports so expensive? Again with the whywhywhy?
  • Time to start working out. But how to find the time?

That’s it. For now.

Summer in Santa Barbara

I wish we could spend the whole summer in Santa Barbara, but I really can’t complain about having a week there. While Kauai is our top vacation spot, it’s a little out of our reach right now. Three plane tickets are expensive, and Mr. Sandwich and I agree that Baguette is not yet ready for the flight experience.

Fortunately, Santa Barbara is only about an hour and 15 minutes away by car (if traffic isn’t bad, which it often is). So for the last four summers, we’ve gone to Santa Barbara for our vacation. We prefer to rent a condo or other place to stay, and have had mixed success with that based on budget and timing (year 1–Motel 6; year 2–studio which I mistakenly thought had a kitchen; year 3–Homewood Suites in Oxnard, which was further away but a terrific place to stay; year 4–cottage behind the owner’s house, and dingdingding I think we have a winner).

As on prior visits, we went to the Santa Barbara Zoo (three times), destroyed sandcastles and splashed at Leadbetter Beach (twice), visited the ducks and the elaborate playscape at Alice Keck Park and the adjacent Alameda Plaza, and drove out to Ballard to see Sicilian donkeys at Seein’ Spots Farm.

Elephants

DCIM113SPORT

Ducks

Playground1

Playground2

Donkey

Because we had a kitchen, we ate breakfast in the cottage most days. While I like to go out to breakfast, I don’t like to have to go out to breakfast. We did get pancakes once at Garret’s Old Fashion, which is becoming a must-do on our Santa Barbara trips, but most mornings I was really happy with my toast and sunflower seed butter accompanied by yogurt and berries.

We did tend to eat lunch and dinner out, although even then we brought home leftovers that covered a few more meals. The standout new-to-us place was Eureka! In addition to excellent burgers, they had an array of beers and whiskeys.

By the way, in the past we’ve looked for bookstores in Santa Barbara. Apparently my previous Google searches failed miserably, because it turns out that there’s been an amazing one in our go-to neighborhood the whole time. It’s an independent store, and it’s got a children’s section that is large enough to be a separate children’s bookstore. So if you’re ever in Santa Barbara, stop by Chaucer’s Bookstore. You won’t be sorry.

Chaucer's Bookstore in Santa Barbara

And of course, we also paid a visit to McConnell’s.

McConnels

In the end, Baguette didn’t want to leave Santa Barbara–and, truth be told, neither did we.

Welcome to Summer!

Never mind that in California, we barely got a winter. What’s on my to-do list for this summer?

Sand Pail List

Go to the beach
A must-do. We all like the beach, and I think Baguette would like to live there. Well, really, so would her parents.

Go to the pool
On it. Mr. Sandwich is taking Baguette during the week, and we made our first family visit today. Baguette wanted me to jump off the diving board–something I haven’t done in at least 35 years–and then couldn’t watch when I did. But we’re hoping that Baguette will regain last year’s love of swimming, which faded over the winter in spite of our best efforts to find a pool for her. So this will definitely be a part of our summer.

Learn to make a really good hamburger
Right now, I can make a really good hockey puck.

It’s a short list, but I think it’s a good one. What’s on yours?