Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Things I Learned This Week

Another Passover survived. I got through all of the cooking I had planned, and I approximated the quantities better than normal. (I usually make way too much food, and we eat leftovers all week and I still end up throwing out leftover food. This year, we had enough leftovers to last almost but not quite the entire week, none was thrown out, and we had non-leftovers for a few meals. Woo hoo!) The house was presentable for guests without an unreasonable amount of stashing-junk-in-corners-where-no-one-will-notice. LL was a bit cautious around all the visitors for the first, oh, 30 minutes or so, and then he was like, "Oh, grandparents are FUN! They'll play with me all the time!" LL even stayed awake for both Seders, tried small bites of a few new foods, and clapped along with the songs. A few things that we learned during Passover:

1. LL likes wine. A lot. He has had wine before -- he had some at his bris, and he sucked a few drops off my finger at last year's Seders. This year, at the beginning of the Seder, when everyone drinks the first of four ritual cups of wine, I held up my wine glass to his lips so that he could have a sip as part of the service. He then spent the entire rest of the Seder, and several days afterward, pointing eagerly at wine bottles and plaintively asking, "More? More? More!?!" At first, I thought it was just that he liked the sweet kosher wine, so I switched him to a dry pinot noir for the second sip. Nope, he liked it just as much. I finally had a conversation with him about how some foods and drinks are only eaten on special occasions, so there would be no more wine until next Passover, which actually satisfied him and he hasn't brought it up since. Still... alcoholic toddler.

2. LL loves matzah, too. He eagerly ate it for the first several days before growing sick of it. But honestly, every Jew I know grows sick of it halfway through Passover, so that was expected.

3. I couldn't get LL to try any brisket or gefilte fish or matzah balls, but he did eat a little bit of charoset. And S fed him a little horseradish during the Seder, which I feared would make LL never take food from us ever again, but he actually liked it and asked for a second taste. He also ate beet borscht, which is very yummy but also very very messy. If anybody has advice on getting out beet stains, I'd love to hear it, because so far nothing has worked.

4. LL hates when other people try to sleep in his presence. My father and my uncle were both fairly exhausted from traveling, and kept dozing off on the couch while LL played with my mom and my grandfather. Whenever LL would notice that one of them had fallen asleep, he would walk over and tap them on the leg and insistently hand them toys until they opened their eyes. Then he would clap. Good to know that it's not just me and S who aren't allowed to sleep, ever.

5. We don't know where he picked it up (must be daycare) but LL is suddenly into playing with action figures. My grandfather brought him a little toy dinosaur, and LL immediately "walked" the dinosaur over different surfaces while making little "walking" noises, then paused to make the dinosaur ROAR several times before continuing on his way. It was very very cute. Also, "roar!" is now one of LL's favorite words. Also, "wow!" They sound a lot alike.

6. I work too much around LL. There was one day last week when I had no childcare but needed to pick something up at my office, so I took LL with me. He immediately asked to sit in my office chair, in front of a keyboard, mouse, and large monitor that weren't attached to anything. (Normally they're hooked to a laptop, but the laptop was at home.) I let him touch whatever he wanted, since nothing was hooked up. He spent half an hour (!) typing very purposefully at the keyboard, moving the mouse, scrutinizing the test pattern on the monitor, picking up a pen to jot down notes on a notepad, then returning to his typing. It was all very serious and deliberate, and he was very obviously emulating me. Yikes.

All the out of town visitors have returned home now, so it's back to work. I have no other major distractions between now and graduation, so it's just one continuous uninterrupted climb until my thesis is done. Graduation is in a little over two months, but after talking with AdvisorA and AdvisorB, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is no way I will be able to schedule my defense to occur before graduation. (The delay is because of scheduling issues, not research issues. Getting five professors in the same room for four hours is hard under normal conditions, but when one of the five lives three time zones away and refuses to be at all flexible about her travel schedule... it's a lot harder. Thanks again for all your "help," AdvisorA.) So, I will probably "walk through" my commencement even though I haven't turned in my dissertation, then I will defend later that month, and take part of the summer to finish writing and revising.

As for my plan to finish three thesis chapters by Passover? Derailed a bit. I was almost there, and then I found out from AdvisorB that he'd really prefer to see different chapters than the ones I was working on (specifically, he won't look at anything else until he sees a full draft of the one chapter that I hadn't even started yet) so I had to switch tracks. I have lots of chapters that are part-way done, notably the three that I had been working on and the one that AdvisorB wants, but none that are finished. Ah well, at least it's still progress.


  1. Sounds like a lot of family and a lot of fun -- if exhausting! LL is growing up so much.

    My toddler loves coffee. I gave him a sip figuring he'd hate it, but now he always wants to share mine. I guess I should have seen this coming, the kid was born in Seattle after all.

  2. The sentence where you said that you switched him to a dry pinot noir is one of the best things I've read in a long time.

  3. Have you tried Oxyclean on the beet stain? I have had good luck with that stuff getting the nastiest stains out that I didn't think would ever come out (e.g., baby poop from white shirt).

  4. I have heard the same advice Rebecca gave re Oxyclean. I should probably try using it on some of Harry's stained clothes.

    I'm so glad to hear that you didn't merely survive but seem to have actually had an enjoyable Passover! Good luck moving forward with the dissertation!!!

  5. Sounds like you and LL had a great time at the office. I know you think you work too much around him, but from the sounds of it he knows what he's doing---you're just instilling a good work ethic in him! LoL!


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