Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Bad blogging has continued.  But hey, I made it through the term, students graduated, I even got a tiny, miniscule amount of research done.

Right now I am teaching in a summer program for elementary and junior high kids.  It is evident that this is not an area of strength for me; repeated participation is unlikely, unless I someday want free tuition in this program for kiddo.  Seriously mad props to all you elementary ed people. 

I'm supposed to have a research student starting next week.  I haven't even cleaned my lab from the class I taught last term.  Is it terrible of me to start my research student with literature to review and dishes to wash, at least until said elementary program is over in a week and a half?

In toddler land, kiddo was a little angel for a four-day trip to the grandparents, but has proven her resilience by being a punk since we got home.  Why do they do that?  Next week she starts napping at daycare, because it was time, and also I am going away for two weeks in July for unavoidable international work-related things.  I am having serious mommy guilt about both of these things - kiddo is still nursing, still nurses to sleep 99% of the time, and I am sending her off to sleep with strangers (ok, they are not strangers, but you know) and then abandoning her for 14 days straight after 18 months of never being away overnight at all. 

The napping at daycare thing is partly so that Partner can be less insane as a single parent when I'm gone; kiddo will be able to stay there 6-7 hours instead of 3-4.  I think she will be ok with that if she can get the napping part down.  I kinda wanted to wait until she turned 2 for long daycare days, but she really loves the place, and I know we've been lucky to have the flexibility of shorter days up to this point.  Come fall term I was going to have to do it anyway, since my work life has been such a disaster due to insufficient consecutive hours of time at the office.

For the two week travel in July, I am mostly worried about traumatizing her by taking away the boobs all of a sudden and leaving her with daddy and some expressed milk for so long.  I'm sure they will adapt, I'm sure it will be fine, after a few rough days at the beginning.  I am an overly anxious parent, so I have to assume I am applying that mindset here as well.  I guess we'll see, since I don't really have the option of cancelling.

Summary: Mommy guilt.  Academic guilt.  It's a perfect storm.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Officially spring, which somehow makes a dirty house both more likely and harder to deal with.  But warm weather means kiddo is outside a lot, which looks like this:

- kiddo demands to go outside
- we enforce the "put on your shoes" rule
- kiddo goes outside but eventually decides to nurse
- we come inside to nurse (I am now enforcing some boundaries with nursing, and this one is my own preference)
- kiddo wants shoes off for nursing
- kiddo finishes nursing and wants to go back outside
- repeat

Kiddo also started saying "no" this week, which is still cute, but the cuteness will probably wear off soon.

I finally have an enforced writing deadline based on some revisions, which tells you how much research I've been getting done since having a baby, but the probability of meeting it at this point is approaching zero.  I'm putting a new, significant lab component into a class I'm teaching right now, which will be fun (I hope) and will move me forward with some research of my own, but which eats a lot of my "extra" time, so I write far less than I should.  That plus the post-tenure service increase and life is way too busy (as usual).

I think I am going to start doing some "academic year" resolutions, similar to new year's resolutions, but relevant to my career.  The first few will be about publication rates, but if I start in the fall I'll give myself a head start via summer writing.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

hey stranger

It's break!   A break during which, of course, my child has mostly been sick and not in daycare.  I had dreams, people.  Dreams of getting ahead, doing some research, prepping classes for next week, watching a movie with my husband, cleaning my house.  Those dreams, they are dead.

This winter has been brutal for illness around here; between the 3 of us, we've had a 600% increase in puking diseases (up from the previous value of none), plus normal colds etc.  Having a toddler around is a whole new germy thing.  I am not a fan. 

On the one hand, I am thankful that she decides to get all fevery and pukey when we don't have to work, or when Grandma is visiting to help out; Kiddo has been amazingly good at getting sick whenever we have a work-free day or some backup.  On the other hand, child, I would like one stinking day of my life when I can make someone else watch you and not have to work all day.

Otherwise, Kiddo is sleeping better (praise the gods) with only a few wake-ups a night if she isn't sick or teething, and she's in a really cute stage of babble with some real words plus interesting other means of making her desires known. 

Today I finally got into the lab to refresh myself on a new instrument before I run some labs with students, which was fun.  Another class is going to be moving their software work into a new computer lab with better functionality, which is probably going to be a huge pain in my rear plus we'll have to figure out how to move data around in a new way.  I am not really looking forward to this, but somewhere I will have to carve out some time to mess around in the new space before the relevant class periods.

This is about the time of year when it's hard to imagine making it to May; at least there will be CSA vegetables in my future. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

out with the old

Happy New Year, internets.  This year has not been a blogging year, but maybe next year will be better.  2014, what happened to you?

We had a crazy, colicky baby who still doesn't sleep but is far more pleasant as an 11-month-old and keeps getting cuter, so I hold out hope that things will continue to become more manageable as well.  Infants are a roller-coaster, and this one was no exception; all of my attention this year was here, and everything else just kinda happened around me. 

I got tenure, and barely noticed at the time in my sleep-deprived insanity.  Now I definitely notice the extra service work.

I taught in an immersion term for the first time and SUCKED at it.  Sucked hard.  I get to do it again in the future, without a four-month-old, so that should be a much better experience. 

I was a co-PI on my first NSF grant, which was a nice win.

I finished a final piece of writing with a research group that I am excited to be free from; especially after this year, I have no time for shitty collaborators and egotistical assholes, and I'm glad that I can be that much more blunt about it now that I have tenure.

2015, I have no significant expectations, which is probably good.  I am not as sad as some might be to be wishing the kiddo's babyhood goodbye.  I hope that this kid figures out sleeping before she turns 2. 

I hope that I figure out work-life balance before I get too far into my Associate Professorhood.  I hope that I figure out what I want out of my sabbatical before I need to apply.  I hope that I manage a successful shift to a new research area using a new instrument, and get some decent publications put together over the next two years. 

I hope that we all have an excellent 2015.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I have now spent almost three weeks trying to get about six hours of work accomplished, and I have continued to fail.  Partly because life is crazy.  Partly because I have this weird guilt thing about giving the kid to Partner to deal with, since he takes her in the AM so I can sleep.

Related, we have registered for the only (new) daycare available.  They are not open yet, but plan to be soon, but have not provided any additional information.  They do not offer half days, and if we do it full time it will cost us roughly 20% of my (and our only) salary.  If we don't do this daycare, I have to find someone else to watch the kiddo piecemeal, and I have no leads except for finding new students who would hopefully not flake out on us (this is a real concern, as all but one of the students I trusted have graduated).  I have to do something, because even with both of us home with her we get zero things done.  I have no idea what to do about all of this.

I can't believe it's almost September.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

bullets for early August

- Why does a scientific society for a field that almost universally requires its practitioners to spend significant time doing research away from home during the summer require so much of the organization of its fall meeting to occur during July and August?

- It seems like babies who sleep like crap should really get a pass on additional sleep disruption during mobility developments.  Kiddo is starting to roll, and we are sleeping even less.

- I think I will have to pass on the camping trip I normally run for my fall course, and I am both sad about that, kinda relieved, and a little worried about the wrath of the students who were planning to attend.

- We still have no idea how we will deal with the babycare situation this fall, but I am looking forward to having something to do besides entertain a little cranky person. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

hello the internet

Hey, it's the middle of summer, and life is not less insane.  Surprise! 

The term ended and we spent some serious "no babysitters, no pumping" time in our house, so that I could go to bed earlier.  Then we went to visit my parents on the west coast, which was not as terrible as I expected (flying with baby was ok until another baby sent ours into empathetic crying jags) yet more frustrating (why I continue to be surprised that no one remembers that babies need quiet to sleep, or at least ours does, is a mystery to me), but at least kiddo got to meet her cousin and aunts and uncles.  Then we came home and realized that all that time without a bottle was probably a bad idea, as we now have to get her taking them all over again.

We are trying an occasional "babysharing" arrangement with a few other families this summer, in the hopes that we can continue something similar into the fall since Small Town essentially has zero child care for kids under 3 (not exaggerating, I believe there are a handful of home cares that take 2 babies each and perhaps 8 slots in an actual daycare, so obviously all of these have huge waiting lists).  We now have a 6-month-old who is refusing bottles again, has yet to improve her sleeping, eats every 90 minutes, and really hates being put down for a nap via any method other than nursing, so this is going to be a challenge.  We are working on all of that, and we will see how we are doing by the end of August.

I remain largely a sleep-zombie.

Given all the above, I have pretty much abandoned all hope of doing anything productive this summer.  We have FINALLY received an NSF MRI award this cycle for a grant where I am a PI, so yay for that and hooray in particular for not having to re-write, plus I will have a lot of work to do with the new instrument soon but not quite yet, so I will try to make use of my less insane research time right now to take a break.  I have one research student who will be starting next week on a few things that I hopefully won't need to oversee very often once we go through the initial methods, and then I need to prep for fall, and if all that works out I will call surviving the summer a win once I get to officially change my job title to Associate Professor.

Partner is super busy on house stuff, so I hope to be able to do more of the childcare so he can get more done, as I know he is frustrated by the limited time he has to work.  We need to babyproof over the next few weeks so we can host babyshare (and so that we don't have to do it during the fall term), we are putting in a bathroom/laundry room combo on the first floor where previously there was only a laundry space, and there are always little things that need doing in an old house like this.  We just need to be a little more realistic about how much we can accomplish, even with several months of open time.