Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Major milestone alert: we've got a walker

Tonight, after months of cruising the furniture and dropping down to crawl any distance longer than her arm span, Ava tossed caution to the wind and walked for us. I say "for us" because J.'s Great Aunt who lives with us saw her do it two months ago (!) right after her first birthday, but she hasn't tried it since. I like to think she's been sneaking off in the middle of the night to practice, like Baby in Dirty Dancing, but without the Catskills backdrop.

video

We've been encouraging her for weeks, but she didn't seem ready to take the plunge. Another mom figured Ava, like her son, won't do something until she's pretty sure she has it down pat. She's spot on! It was clear she could do it, she just didn't seem to want to be caught sucking at it. Man, she definitely takes after her dad. He of the "I'll rollerblade with you when I'm better." Um, how are you going to get better?

My approach? "Sure, I'll snowboard. How hard could it be?" I said, before gently carving down the mountain then faceplanting and getting the wind knocked out of me on the hard packed snow. But I got back up, because that's life sister!

In contrast, Ava took her own sweet time, but when she did it, she did it well. As in a few steps, a few steps more, then a full on trek through the middle of the kitchen with no support in sight. This girly is my rockstar. And I no longer have to console myself by saying, "I'm sure she'll do it by kindergarten." What's next on this kid raisin' checklist? Talking? Jumping? Long division? Skeet shooting? Whatever. I'm not worried. I'm sure she'll do it by kindergarten.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I can't rock out: I have work tomorrow!

Remember when you could go out to a club until 1 or 2 a.m. or later (!), go home and power nap for a few hours and still get to work on time and relatively lucid? Last week J. and I realized those days are long past for us. We are officially getting old. Okay, older. Okay, more mature.

One day last week, J. proposed something new: leaving Ava with my folks for the evening and really making a grown folks night of it by going to dinner then to see his buddy's band. OMG! I thought. We're going on an actual date! It was just like the old days with all the same questions: What should I wear? What would we eat? Would it be as fun as I hoped? Questions, questions!

After work I rushed to my folks' to visit with Ava for a bit, then zipped home to get showered and all dressed up (or down rather) to go rock out. Not only were we going to dinner, we were going someplace new! J. has a thing about not trying new places when he's hungry. Something about wanting something tried and true and blah, blah, blah. So we end up having conversations like this.

N: What do you feel like eating?
J: Anything. What do you want?
N: No, you decide. You're finicky-er.
J: No I'm not.
N: Fine. How about this Greek place I heard about?
J: (Wrinkles nose with distaste.)
N: Okay, how about either of those Vietnamese places I like on Jackson?
J: (Shrugs shoulders with indifference.)
N: Do you want to pick by area of the city or by cuisine?
J: I just want something good.
N: Like what?
J: I don't care. Wherever you want.

This is usually the point where my head explodes. This time however, he actually proposed a new Italian spot in Georgetown he'd read about in the local alternative newspaper. It was very good: excellent salad, tasty pizza and calzone, and the server was wonderfully attentive. J. said the wine was decent too. We caught up on our respective current events and activities and reminisced about the many dates and dinners over the past 15 years, from the great ones to the places that made our Hall of Shame list. It was wonderful to focus on each other instead of trying to simultaneously eat and get food morsels into the moving maw of a busy toddler.

Two soon-to-be-sleepy 30-something parents

We looked at each other about 9:45 p.m. and realized, um, we were both getting sleepy. With a high probability that the band wouldn't be taking the stage until at least 11:30pm, we knew we just wouldn't make it.

Plus, J. was feeling a bit sad that he hadn't seen Ava all day since we got up and out early. "I know I'm getting old when putting my baby to bed is more appealing than going out to see a band." Ditto buddy. :-) I long ago renounced any delusions of excessive youth or street cred to which I might have even remotely laid claim when I realized neither one generally pays very well or provides decent benefits.

So instead of rockin' out, we called it a night, picked up the kidlet and went home and went to bed. About 11:45 p.m., we got a text from J.'s cousin who went to the show: after sets by one group, then the house band, our buddy's band was about to take the stage! Our response? Zzzzzzz.

We'll definitely try to get out like that again, but we'll just need to do it on a weekend or take a power nap beforehand. I just have to accept that, despite celebrity role models, I personally can't work outside the home full time and be a great wife, mom, community volunteer and rocker babe, all at the same time. The rockin,' unless it involves a sleepy child, will have to wait for now.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Europe has long wait for its Obama

Catching up on reading and ran across article on MSNBC that found that despite worldwide and European support for Obama, the EU has a long wait for its own Obama: http://tiny.cc/EAmL0.
This reflects my experiences there last year discussing immigration and minority integration issues and hearing a lot of platitudes about the egalitarian nature of European society which were countered by the obvious lack of upward mobility in society, politics and business for people of color, whether native born or immigrant.

Barack Obama in Berlin in 2008

I hope that our awesome new First Family provides the inspiration for European candidates of color to run for office and for other voters there to open up to the possibility of candidates of color and support them in their efforts.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Good news: he won. Bad news: he won.

The nearly overwhelming excitement over the presidency of Barack Obama is somewhat tempered by the realization that the job that lies ahead for him and Joe Biden is being made even tougher even as we speak by the Bush administration. Bush and his minions are busy wreaking as much havoc as possible in their waning days in office. The New York Times has more.

So Little Time, So Much Damage
While Americans eagerly vote for the next president, here’s a sobering reminder: As of Tuesday, George W. Bush still has 77 days left in the White House — and he’s not wasting a minute.

President Bush’s aides have been scrambling to change rules and regulations on the environment, civil liberties and abortion rights, among others — few for the good. Most presidents put on a last-minute policy stamp, but in Mr. Bush’s case it is more like a wrecking ball. We fear it could take months, or years, for the next president to identify and then undo all of the damage. Read more here.

People worldwide react to Obama win

A great quote about Barack Obama's selection as president from the New York Times article For Many Abroad, an Ideal Renewed.

Francis Nyamnjoh, a Cameroonian novelist and social scientist, said that for America to choose as its citizen in chief such a skillful straddler of global identities could not help but transform the nation’s image, making it once again the screen upon which the hopes and ambitions of the world are projected. Read the full article.

First Family
President-elect Barack Obama, his wife, Michelle
and two daughters, Malia, 7. and Sasha, 10 wave to the crowd in Chicago.
BROOKS KRAFT / CORBIS FOR TIME

Barackin' the vote with the next generation

Sent from my Nokia phone

Vote hope in '08

Yeah baby!

Sent from my Nokia phone

Monday, November 03, 2008

Obama holding babies - or just really near them

We can't be in Chicago with the Obamas for Election Day, but we'll be thinking of them, along with all the other families on the "Yes we can hold babies" site which has lots of pictures of Barack Obama with supportive kids. Here's Ava's contribution. If you haven't yet, go vote!