Friday, March 25, 2011


I recently connected with an old friend from Cambridge. Now my friend, S, is a judge in the UK, which is very impressive to me! Explaining to him in email why I was not a world renowned scholar by now (and thus not even nearly as successful as him), I tried to convey how much my life had been transformed by Raf; how in becoming a mama my priorities and perspective had shifted, and how - even though my work is still important to me - its place in my life has shifted.

Anyway, this morning S had sent me a message, and in it he introduced me to a beautiful concept of 'Jaan'. I've copied S's email below, as it is such a tender concept and I won't explain it well. It really made me well up when I read his note :)

"I've have been doing an intellectual dissection of these photographs that you put up of yourself and Raf and I am now ready to publish my findings in the latest journal of the 'Royal Society of Brummie Intellectuals'. There is a word in the urdu/hindi vocabularly called 'Jaan'. Literally it means 'life'. It is a powerful word and is also used commonly as a term of affection by romantic couples. However, it is very commonly used by a parent towards a child because it most powerfully captures the feeling they have towards that little being. There is simply no equivalent word in the English language that is as powerful. Calling a child 'Jaan', is saying to that person you are 'life'. And that is Raf, he is your 'Jaan', he is life."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

favourite things

We're a bit of a sick house.. well, me and Raf, but a nice weekend was had in spite of the sniffling and coughing. We did quite a bit of house-hounting, and Raf had a LOT of fun at all the open houses we went to. He especially liked going up and down all the stairs... up and down, up and down, up and down. Indeed this is one of his new favourite things:

1) stair climbing.

Another thing that Raf loved to do, especially at one of the houses we saw today, is to run around on decks. He runs up and down, up and down, enjoying the fresh air. It's been such a long winter. On Friday afternoon, Rich and I ventured out for a walk with the pups. Rich joined us after work and it meant, with two people, that Raf could get out of his push chair and run around a little bit... which is another favourite thing:

2) running around outside like a little lunatic.

Raf continues to love - actually, adore - Peppa Pig. We try and alleviate our guilt that he watches Peppa whilst eating breakfast by sitting with him trying to be interactive (this is a post grandparents' habit, btw!). Today he learned to say 'George', in a very sweet little accent (is he sounding English?), and then 'bounced' as the characters bounced on a bouncy castle. He can't quite jump but he bends his knees up and down as if to mimic the bouncing. It's quite cute! Whenever I say 'Raf, are you going to do some bouncing?' he does his little legs bends... and thus another absolute fav thing:

3) is bouncing, bouncing, bouncing!

Other favourtie things continue to be:

4) dancing
5) milks and cuddles
6) hide and seek
7) choo-choos
8) Thomas the Tank Engine and Peppa Pig books
9) running around the kitchen island
10) Daiya cheese

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dogs & Cupboards

I work half-days on Monday and Thursday's and this allows me some Daddy-Son time for which I'm grateful/lucky for - beyond trying to cram everything into the weekend. I have lots of plans for the warmer summer months when I won't have to think twice before heading out - unlike presently where we have to negoiate three snow banks, a treacherous drive-way to get Rafi's chariot from the garage - if the door isn't frozen shut. We still try to head out around 10am with the doggie boys on their double lead - and do two brisk miles before heading home to thaw out - sometimes Raf sleeps and then the boys get a little longer to leave their yellow messages in the snow...

Before I go further - it was Kiltie's sixth birthday last week. He is a great dog - a terrier of the highest order. Sharp as a tact, loyal and fearless, except when a little Yorkie in the neighborhood ambushes him a few times a year - and he loses all his senses for a few moments, until Sammy sidekick steps in and breaks them up! We can't believe it's six years since he winged his way from Nebraska - and despite his passion for aimless barking and Al's frequent threats to list him on Craigs List - he is our first doggie son! We hope he bucks the trend for small dog life expectancy and lives forever, and Sammy too!

So back to Mondays & Thursdays - and after our walk, we play either downstairs and then upstairs - and as the day goes on the house begins to look like a few bombs have gone off and my poor attempts to keep up disappears completely. Add the boys into the mix, and their dirty and destructive habits - I'm left shaking my head, rubbing my chin and ready to push it all into cupboards, any cupboards. Though Rafi has taken to placing himself into any cupboard he can get into - giggling inside before pushing the door open and then repeating for 20 times before moving onto the next one until I fish him out after it becomes a safety issue! It doesn't matter if he is sitting on food, the urge to get inside is too great! So this is how my Mondays and Thursdays have gone recently, just dogs and cupboards...


Well, we've been terrible bloggers lately, but it's really just because we've been so busy. I cannot convey just how much busier I am now that I'm department chair, and indeed I seem to be forever 10 steps behind. This week is spring break and I'm just trying to catch up on very basic things.

Added to that the little poppet is sick. He's actually been really sick, though mostly just at night (of course!). He burned up with a fever Sunday night and was essentially up the entire night. We have to work out a way to manage nights like this as I do 99% of the night-parenting as it is, and when a night hits like that I don't seem to have the reserves to pull it off graciously.

Oh, so far from gracious! Last night was better but still up a lot... Tonight, well, I am hoping for more than an hour of sleep at a time.

Despite being ill, Rad continues to be a little delight. He of course definitely has what might be called tantrums, but so far they've been very minor (famous last words...). You can see them coming, primarily because there are reasons behind the behavior, so we've been working hard to prevent frustration, which seems to be helping, though it's inevitably not always possible. We're trying not to sweat the small stuff, but, such as tonight, we hit a snag as Raf is just refusing (and I mean REFUSING) to brush his teeth. I have no idea what to do. He purses his lips tightly and turns his head away, no matter what I try. He used to like it, but then we lost his finger brush. Any ideas? I think we'll try and buy another finger brush as he's not liking his big boy brush at all.

One thing that almost always brings some tears, however, is me trying to pry dog food - yes, dog food - out of his mouth. Raf is clearly no longer vegan...

IN other news, and another reason for the intense busyness, is that we're house-hunting. All being well, the town we currently live in will be buying our house this coming June. There are a few hoops to jump through but it looks like things are moving forward. Consequently we're on the lookout for a house. The primary goal is to move to an area with a decent school district. The second is to cut my commute, which, at the moment, is really, really long. The third thing we're wanting is to move to an area with some sense of community... I have visions of us walking on sidewalks to the park or to the store, of Raf having friends in the neighborhood to play with, and so forth. Right now, though, we have to make some decisions about specific location (we're pretty sure we know which town we'll actually move to) - i.e. more country or more in town, and whether we're going to sacrifice house for location, or vice versa. The exact area we want to move to is pretty pricey. We're in talks with a contractor who is trying to workout a housing package in a lovely spot for something we can afford. Mind you, we'll be the poor house in the neighborhood!!

We're seeing a couple of houses this weekend.. so we'll see how it goes.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A quick hello

Very busy work week this week, but a couple of sweet sleeping pictures of the little one.

And also to say that we had a bit of a scare when raf fell off the sofa and hurt his arm. A trip to urgent care and his first x-ray showed no fracture, but he's been a bit down in the dumps because he's little restricted in what he can do. Thankfully his shoulder seems to be on the mend.