Sunday, April 20, 2014

From fear to love

For the first five months of his life, Sterling was somewhat terrified of Magdalena. She was loud and unpredictable and her idea of playing with a newborn was getting right in his face with a rough game of pat-a-cake. Looking through photos of the two of them from that time period, a certain trend emerges.

"not so sure about this i am nervous"

"uh oh, the nice calm sister was holding me and then SHE showed up i am nervous"

"which one is holding me i can't tell from this angle i am nervous"

"the calm one is here but so is the other one i am nervous"

Magdalena made him nervous. As you can see. Miriam was the preferred sister for quiet sitting. Magdalena was feared.

UNTIL. At about five months old, a switch flipped. It's the switch that flips in every baby, and all of sudden they love games of surprises and tickles and happy noises: peek-a-boo, creep mouse, this little piggy, and, yes, in-your-face pat-a-cake. In other words, that loud, unpredictable 5-year-old with uncontainable energy and enthusiasm just became the perfect playmate.

These days, Sterling only has to look at Magdalena and he bursts out into wiggly smiles and anticipatory giggles. He knows he can never be quite sure what kind of game she'll come up with to play with him. And that's just how he likes it.

"[at ease]"

Friday, April 18, 2014

April 18th, outsourced

I love the idea of these faux-old-fashioned maps, customized to a particular road trip or journey or community!

Wheel of Fortune FAIL. [HT Blair]

The CNN pregnancy test, for when you want to know that they don't know. [HT Andrew]

Babies cry at night as part of an elaborate plot to keep Mom tired so she doesn't want to procreate again anytime soon. Sounds about right. [HT Andrew]

Warning: you won't be able to unsee these examples from a Nicolas Cage-themed art exhibition that was held last weekend in San Francisco.

I posted a link to the prototype for this zip-up bed linens product a few months ago. It has a Kickstarter now! The price point is a little higher than I can personally manage (and also, we have freak Middle Eastern-sized mattresses), but I LOVE the idea!

Babies in Ridiculous Poses. The fact that many of these are composites was news to me! I am relieved to know that professional photographers, at least, are not shoving babies into jars of candy. [HT Missy]

I know this is technically a commercial, but it is charming: An & Ria's First Flight. You cannot convince me she doesn't say "Hot diggity!" at 2:22. [HT Josie]

Missing Child Found Safe Inside Claw Machine is Safe, Probably Bummed to be Rescued.

The private lives of public toilets. I read this article and then immediately wanted to anonymously send a copy to my department's cleaning lady re: The Bathroom Incident. [HT Andrew]

I think these are the same few photographs that make the rounds every year, but I, for one, was happy/FREAKED OUT to see them again: Vintage Easter Bunny Photos. [HT Jessie]

A map of all the places where nobody lives! Yes, it uses census data, but it does not rely on counties so it really is showing you were nobody lives. [HT Jen]

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The US, from the outside

Magdalena's Year 1 concert was yesterday. The theme was "Around the World," with dances and short presentations about seven different countries: India, China, South Africa, UAE, UK, USA, and Spain. It was so fascinating to see the school's/students'/teachers' interpretation of US culture - it's a British curriculum school with very few American students and only two or three American teachers.

The recitations by the children included such tidbits as:

- The US is the home of such restaurants as McDonald's, TGI Fridays, and Chili's. [They also named a few main items of American cuisine - you can see them on the far left drawing - but I didn't catch what they were.]

- George Washington was the first president of the United States.

- And this little boy recited the entire Pledge of Allegiance!

In addition, the costumes (as you can see) were bell-bottomed jumpsuits. The music for the dance was "Moves Like Jagger."

I loved getting an outsider's view of my own culture. And I suddenly feel shamed into wanting to teach my kids the Pledge of Allegiance! It was all I could do not to start reciting it along with the little boy.

(Magdalena's part was about Spain. She did a great job. Yes, that is a sandwich instead of a flamenco fan.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The laundry room as a nursery

Since Miriam was born, our family has lived in ten houses/apartments and we've never once had a proper nursery. The baby (whoever it has been at the time) has always slept in whatever room worked best. Sometimes it was in the wooden IKEA crib/toddler bed that Jeremy's parents gave us. Sometimes it was in the cheapest-possible portacrib we bought in 2007 before we went to Jordan. Sometimes it was in our room; sometimes it was in another room. In our particular living situations, it just hasn't make sense to dedicate an entire room + furniture + decor to the smallest member of the household.

These days, Sterling sleeps in the portacrib we bought in 2007, which has been dragged around the US (coast to coast and in between), Jordan, Syria, and the UAE. And the "nursery" is the laundry room.

It's the perfect location. Nobody uses the laundry room at night, so it's an available space that was otherwise underutilized for 12+ hours of the day. It's the next door over from our own room, which makes my nighttime trips there convenient. It has a door that shuts. It does not have any windows that could allow light and outside noise to disturb baby during the night or in the early morning. And it is just his size.

During the day, I move the portacrib to a corner of our bedroom for naps, and the laundry room becomes the laundry room again.

So it's not a fancy nursery. But it works for us.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Another haircut

I had to laugh with glee/sympathy when I saw this photo of the Duchess of Cambridge with baby Prince George.

THIS IS MY LIFE. More than any of my other babies (all two of them), Sterling loves hair. He grabs my hair or his sisters' hair any chance he gets. He has been known to lunge at Magdalena's hair just to grab a fistful (Miriam learned her lesson already and doesn't let her hair get near him). Then he pulls.

This was a big problem because once again, until last week, my hair was super, super long. I haven't had it cut since August of 2012, at which time I had it trimmed down to just past my shoulders. Now, 20 months later, it was this long:

I continue to believe that there is serious rationale behind the MomChop because I could not function with such long hair while taking care of a grab-happy baby. I always had to put it up. Always. Even while sleeping, because I'm still getting up with Sterling a few times a night.

So I got a haircut from a Lebanese dude in Deira and he did a great job. I told him to do what he wanted, but that I needed to keep some length for my husband's sake. He said, "oh, is he Emirati?" I guess that's a common request around here. What the stylist wanted ended up being, in his words, "funky layers." I like it! Especially when they dried it and styled it all nice for me, which I will probably never do again!

Don't worry, it still looks good even when I just air-dry it and have done with it. I'm happy. Sterling's probably sad. But he still has Magdalena's hair to grab.


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