Monday, May 29, 2017

May 2017 in Review

New on the Blog
Blog posts have been light on the ground here this past month. Between everyone and the dog (literally) getting sick and my returning to work only for my position to be cut due to budget.... well, you can see how this affected any posting. However, most of my favorite series were updated this month, including the monthly Why Don't You... list, a sci-fi Dog Eared Page, a Gable/Day pairing for the month's Film Flick in Teacher's Pet, and an update on my son, Ellis. Plus, a gift guide for my first mother's day as a mom was written too (though, my handmade card with Ellis' footprints was the best gift of all).

New Finds

Are you a talker or a texter? 

Something I need to remember.

Nevertheless, He Persisted: Tales of masculine perseverance

Amazing bamboo structures

What do you think of the trend for restaurants to ban children? 

Female-only showings of the film Wonder Woman

Getting some game-changing advice on relationships

 Balloon Poetry

The Joy of Having Boys

The Birth of a Mother

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ellis at 4 months

This past month has felt both never ending and like it flew by. I went back to work; Ellis started daycare and everyone, including the dog, got horribly sick over the course of about 3 weeks. We've been on survival mode, but in between all the tissues and uses of the Snot Sucker (an item both disgusting and amazing), there's been huge developments in our little man!
Ellis is 4 months old as of this week! He weighs 15 pounds and 10 oz. and is 25 inches long. 

What a transformation! Our little man is smiling so much now.  He also is laughing this deep, slow laugh that sounds like one laugh at a time, almost exactly like if you read the words out of a book. "Haaa." he'll say. He can still be pretty serious, but now is mostly happy now, ready for the next joke. 

He is still our social observer though. One of his favorite things to do is watch the other children at daycare. He wants to face forward when carried or sitting on our laps, just so he can be in on the action. 

Ellis is so much more aware. At birth babies' eyesight is typically 400/20 and by the start of month 4 it has improved to 40/20. They can see color and can track things across the room. We mostly see this in two ways. First, he pays attention to books with colored illustrations now. Secondly, he is much more aware of the dogs- his puppies we call them. He will follow their movements even from across the room. There is a pretty mutual interest too, as Stella likes to watch over her boy. My parents also have fox terriers, so when they came to visit, imagine his puzzlement over having THREE Stellas in the house. 

He is able to grasp things better, and this results in more playing with toys and things, but the craziest milestone he's met that involves grasping is that he can turn the pages of a book. And he always turns them in the correct direction, indicating that he understanding how books work (or at least how mommy always turns the pages). If it is a book he is familiar with (I Kissed The Baby is pretty much read daily, for example), he seems to know when to turn the pages too.  How crazy is that?!

Music is still a favorite, especially Beatles' songs, or music from his toys. We have a strange musical tiger toy he loves, and a musical alien that only comes out to play when it is Tummy Time. Funny, how much longer Tummy Time lasts when the alien toy is out... His real favorite toy though is a balloon. We can tie one to his foot  and he would choose to play with that thing indefinitely, if we let him! It encourages him to move his little body around, and provides practice with tracking too. 

My sister came to visit, and she too is a new favorite. He finds her incredibly funny. Mommy and Daddy can do the same things and it is not funny, but Auntie is hilarious. Its pretty adorable to watch them play. Playing with Daddy is still  special though, and they have a new game where Ellis is lifted up by his hands and feet for a few seconds. That is a particular favorite, judging by the huge, open-mouthed grin it gets each time.

Ellis has taken to the bottle like a champ! In fact, he knows the sounds and steps of making a bottle so well now that he will stop crying when he sees or hears the kitchen faucet turn on. The amount of formula he is consuming at each feeding is larger too. He hit another growth spurt and is getting so big with little elbow rolls and baby chub that makes you want to eat him up with a spoon.  

I know that there were many factors to his colic resolving, but honestly, I would state the switch to formula as the number one biggest game-changer (the switch, for us, was doctor recommended.) For this baby, it has worked magic. We put him on Similac Gentle Pro which contains cow proteins that are more broken down and easier to digest, and also has probiotics, which also encourages better digestion. So for those of you in the trenches with a colicky child, please, please know that A) there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Also B), if you are considering the switch to formula but are feeling guilty or face some social pressure about it, remember that each baby is different. All situations are unique.

This month has been a bit all over the place where sleep is concerned. His schedule is still quite varied, depending on the length of his naps. But he is staying up longer in between naps- two or so hours, typically! Night time sleep has been rough this month because we all got sick, and laying flat on one's back (as babies are supposed to sleep) was making him cough nonstop. Plus.....Say it isn't so, but... I think we've hit the 4 month sleep regression. Anyone have tips on helping their child learn to put themselves to sleep without sleep aids like the bottle or rocking? 

The return to work has been very bittersweet. That's a common enough sentiment for many new mothers returning to work, though my own reasons might be different than others. I actually wrote a long blog post about returning to work, but then never posted it, as we learned the program I teach was being cut due to budget restraints. So the last month has been a temporary return to work only so that I can wrap things up and clean out our classroom. I'm not sure where things will go from here, but with summer I'll at least temporarily return to being a SAHM as we figure things out. Luckily Ellis is a pretty cool dude to hang with. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Film Flick: Teacher's Pet

Teacher's Pet pits education against experience..... and Doris Day against Clark Gable. It's the star power more than the conceit of the story that draws you into this film, partly because it just seems like such an unlikely pairing.  Though both stars were big names, Clark Gable was nearly twenty year's older than Day. Cary Grant and James Stewart both turned down the role, citing the age difference between themselves and Day as the reason. Gable, older than either, took the role instead. To help accommodate their male lead, several changes were made to the film. Instead of a mere reporter, Gable's character Jim became the newspaper editor. Other changes happened too; in fact, myth has it that the movie was deliberately filmed in black & white in an attempt to disguise Gable's age and weight. The tactic doesn't entirely work. Gable is not the debonair man that made ladies swoon in Gone with the Wind.  He is heavier. He is aged. And yet, they turn that to his advantage, giving him a grizzly persona that is nonetheless very rugged and manly, and the script lampshades the topic by pointing out how boring a perfect man is. Perfect he may not be, but Clark Gable is still Clark Gable at any age.  Doris Day herself recalled, "I could actually feel the magnetic force of his personality. He dressed in marvelous tweeds. There was something very affirmative about him, and a directness that suggested great inner strength. He projected utter simplicity. A man who lived on the simple, down-to-earth scale. Very much like James Cagney.”

As compelling as Gable still manages to be,  he is only one half of the equation. At the tie of making Teacher's Pet, Day was in the middle of her career, just as Gable was heading towards the end of his. She was long established as good news for the box office. It shows in her assured performance. However, this film was my first exposure to the star, and the hype about this actress is not overrated!  She manages to be convey a sense of sexiness without ever venturing to kittenish or unintelligent personas. She's funny, but never too over the top. If the sizzle between herself and Gable isn't electric, it is still certainly present and the vulnerable moments we see between the two, when the characters really connect, is entirely due to her. 
Clark Gable's Jim Gannon is a newspaper editor who finds the idea of teaching journalism in a classroom ridiculous; real experience is what is needed. Unfortunately, he is made to eat his words! After sending a scathing letter that rejected the opportunity to come talk to a college class about journalism, he finds out his boss wants him to give that talk. Going to the class reveals that the teacher, Erica Stone (Doris Day), is a total knock-out. Before he can talk to her though, she shares the letter he wrote with her students- and proceeds to lampoon him, calling his kind an outdated type of reporter, not equipped to handle the changes in journalism as a field. Enrolling as a student under a false name, Jim can't seem to decide if he wants to prove the teacher is wrong, or gain her attention for some- ahem- one on one tutoring. Either way, he becomes the star pupil, but another professor enters the scene. A series of misadventures at a club follows; everyone gets jealous of everyone else. Some people's motives are revealed and relationships dynamics change- but things only end up more complicated after that! Can these two survive finding out the truth about each other? Can two opposing points of view find the middle ground? Can the Teacher's Pet score a date with teacher? Watch to find out! 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Dog-Eared Page: The Time Machine

I am afraid I cannot convey the peculiar sensations of time traveling. They are excessively unpleasant. There is a feeling exactly like that one has upon a switchback—of a helpless headlong motion! I felt the same horrible anticipation, too, of an imminent smash. As I put on pace, night followed day like the flapping of a black wing. The dim suggestion of the laboratory seemed presently to fall away from me, and I saw the sun hopping swiftly across the sky, leaping it every minute, and every minute marking a day..... I was still on the hill-side upon which this house now stands, and the shoulder rose above me grey and dim. I saw trees growing and changing like puffs of vapor, now brown, now green; they grew, spread, shivered, and passed away. I saw huge buildings rise up faint and fair, and pass like dreams. The whole surface of the earth seemed changed—melting and flowing under my eyes.

-The Time Machine by H.G. Welles

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Mother's Day Gift Guide

1. Clothes | 2. Books | 3. Glasses | 4. Photo Printer | 5. Phone Case

We are keeping Mother's Day pretty lowkey. With a tiny person, lowkey holidays just seem a given. However, a gift can help a new mama feel appreciated (or a Mom who has put in years of love and care, for that matter!) 

1. Clothes - A new mom may be feeling self-concious about her new, post-baby body. Give her something that makes her feel great. This skirt isn't currently in stock- but is coming back to sale soon! 

2. Books - Motherhood means time is at a premium. Along with a great book, give the gift of time and let her read it while taking a nice, long bath. 

3. Glasses - Okay, this is purely practical. But I need new glasses. 

4. Photo Printer - For all the photos you take of your kids! 

5. Phone Case- to protect the thing taking all the photos of your kids ;) 

Monday, May 1, 2017

In May, Why Don't You...

Purchase a silk kimono robe to lounge in on weekend mornings

Watch Star Wars for May (the Fourth Be With You)

Buy matching hangers for your closet

Organize your important papers

Make a home movie

Visit the Children's Resource Center

Bake chocolate chip cookies for co workers

Sign up for swimming classes- you and baby both! 

Update your social media accounts with new pictures and bios

Watch a Shakespeare play
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