Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring (-ish)

Even if it's taking forever to warm up, at least there are spring flowers.

The last ones courtesy of Cardigan.

Monday, March 30, 2015


Coffee shopping with a baby: instagram plus. 

When Baby Leopard wants to nurse, he pants and clasps his hands together. He can roll and roll across the floor now--it's his way of getting around. He can roll over to his toy box and get his toys. He also tries to do sit-ups, straining to lift his head off the ground and lifting his legs up at the same time. 

A couple of weeks ago, we went to visit his grandparents for spring break: he giggled and giggled the whole weekend. 

His norm is taking three half an hour naps a day. Sigh. Jealous of people whose babies have two hour naptimes...

His personality is coming out: very pleasant, smiley and giggly; very intensely curious; very spirited--I didn't give birth to a wallflower, that's for sure.

He's doing pretty well with food--he shoves it all into his mouth and then swallows a bit and spits the rest out. I think strawberries are his favorite so far. (Oh, except: I wasn't really thinking and let him have a bite of the sweets, above; those were definitely his favorites.) 

He is going through a "put me down; I want to kick around" phase. This is inconvenient where there aren't clean floors. But I figure the germs will be good for him??

Saturday, March 28, 2015


I went to confession this afternoon and the priest suggested that for my penance I do something nice for someone. I have determined that I don't really care for these really vague penances.

Doesn't he know that I have a baby? (Yes, I told him I've got one.) I am too busy to "do something nice for someone": my day is chock full of doing nice things for one particular little person.

My day went something like this: Oh, you feel like waking up now? Sure, I'll wake up with you and hang out. Oh, you need your diaper changed? Sure, I'll get that for you. Oh, you're hungry? Again? Every two hours, without break, even in the middle of the night. Sure, anytime. Oh, you bloodied your sock by chewing on it while teething? Let me soak that for you. (On other days it's his outfit he's pooped through or spit up all over or whatever.) You'd like some real food? Done: let's inoculate you against peanut allergies and see if we can't get rid of the dairy allergy. You get the picture.

I'd rather be assigned a few prayers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Having a baby is a lot like having a puppy: he gnaws on the corner of our coffee table (there are tooth marks) and today he ate my teaching notes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


"L'Arche is a Christian community, but many people who come to live with us are not particularly open to the Christian faith. While some are people with faith and a love of liturgy, others are not attracted by regular religious practice. When it comes to prayer and communion with God, each person is called to find his or her own way. All, at whatever stage they are on their journey, are encouraged to open themselves to others by living a life of fraternity, sharing, welcome, generosity and forgiveness. Diversity is a treasure. The important thing is that we should create a kind of life in which all persons, at their own pace, can grow in the love of God and interior peace."

--Jean Vanier, The Heart of L'Arche

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Random Assortment

~ I always love Economist obituaries, but I especially love this one, about the inventor of Nutella:
At the centre of his business strategy were two women. The first was “la Valeria”, his name for the typical housewife, mother,nonna or aunt who had to decide what to buy every day, who might want a little treat for herself or something, besides kisses, to spoil a favourite child. Unless he could keep her custom, he was finished. His introduction of milkier white chocolate was done with la Valeria in mind, for what could please a mother more than giving milk to her bambino?The second woman was Maria, the Virgin Mary. He could achieve nothing without her. Each morning he prayed to her and placed his business in her hands. Every year he went on pilgrimage to Lourdes, and arranged for his workers to go. (One company legend was that the shape of Ferrero Rochers was inspired by the grotto there.) A statue of the Virgin, with white robe and golden rosary, stood at the entrance of every Ferrero office and factory round the world. Under her influence, he and his foundation channelled much of his wealth back to Piedmont.

~ A fashion show celebrating motherhood. I love it. (Also, all the black dresses are sublime.)

~ Facades. (Literal facades.)

~ From the author of that book, After Birth, which I mentioned in this space before:

The only people I know who did just fine in the postpartum period are those who score the triumvirate: well cared for in birth, surrounded by supportive peers, helpful elders to stay with them for a time.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Baby's Room

The baby's room is more fixed up than it has been thus far. But it's not just the baby's room: it's also our guest room and our storage room, so it will never be terribly cohesive. But finally we hung some things on the walls, including his baptismal gown.

And this is the first time I've gotten to show you these adorable bookends, a gift from Diana.

I can't show you the Pennsylvania Dutch fractur that Stearns made Baby Leopard for his birthday, because it has his name on it. But it's really, really beautiful.

Sadly, I guess you're supposed to hand zero things above the crib, so that part of the room isn't too exciting:

Is that why so many nurseries have paintings on the walls?

And, totally unrelated, Francisco just picked up one of my favorites:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


"Butchers cut meat; doctors operate; plumbers ... cut pipe."

(I think his metaphor sort of fizzled.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I really like this Gauguin--"Still Life with Three Puppies" that we saw at the MOMA last weekend. (So much wonderful stuff--I was drooling over Klimts, Picassos, and a great Chagall, and we only saw one floor...the moderated ambitions we cultivate now that we have the baby.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What Makes Man Different from Animals.22

"So why do the animals only know how to provide for their first and most crude needs, while we infinitely vary our enjoyments and increase them constantly?
What makes us superior in this to animals is that we use our soul to find the material goods toward which their instinct alone leads them. With man, the angel teaches the brute the art of satisfying himself. Man is capable of rising above the goods of the body and even of scorning life, an idea animals do not even conceive ...
If men ever succeed in being content with material goods, it is to be believed that they would little by little lose the art of producing them, and that they would end by enjoying them without discernment and without progress, like the animals."

--Tocqueville, "How the Excessive Love of Well-Being Can Harm Well-Being" in Democracy in America

Monday, March 2, 2015


"Now since it is the supreme law of Nature that each thing endeavors to persist in its present being, as far as in it lies, taking account of no other thing but itself, it follows that each individual has the sovereign right to do this , that is (as I have said), to exist and to act as it is naturally determined. And here I do not acknowledge any distinction between men and other individuals of Nature, not between men endowed with reason and others to whom true reason is unknown, nor between fools, madmen, and the sane."

--Spinoza, Theological-Political Treatise, Ch. 16

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Quick Notes

I think about writing blog posts often, but sadly actually writing things down is much rarer.

A couple of thoughts: Why is laundry the worst chore ever? Also, why do I always end up doing laundry during precipitation? (Today: freezing rain.)

Baby Leopard is just shy of six months and got his first food to play with today. This kid is spirited and started eating right away. He demolished some zucchini and a bit of meatball.

What I realized when I was telling my mother about it: I forgot a bib. Rookie mistake.

Also, Francisco and I went out for brunch today after church. Baby Leopard slept through most of it and we had a very sane adult conversation about our work and not about the baby. It was really refreshing.

Also, Baby Leopard has taken to rolling multiple times across the floor. It's not crawling, but the kid can move around. My mother is insisting we install the baby gate immediately.

Also, Baby Leopard has started biting. Pray for me. (This may be sacrilegious, but I'm not sure if you need Lent when you're a mother/parent: this past six months has involved more sacrificing than I ever dreamed of.)