Thursday, July 17, 2008


Apparently, I have a hard time dealing with the fact that the boys are ready to give some things up, to move on, grow up. What’s worse, I think I’m mostly freaked out because in my mind, I just know the transition will be rocky. It will cause extra work. We’ll all lose sleep. I’ve got a translation to work on tonight. Let’s all just stick to our usual routine.


A few weeks ago, Secondo, he of little spontaneous speech, plucked his binky out of his mouth one morning, handed it to me and said, “Adiós, chupeta.” I was floored. He loves his binky. It’s a fluke, I thought. He’s totally messing with me. He can’t be ready to give it up. Let’s just see what happens. Then he proceeded to do the same thing every morning for about a week. You would think I would have jumped at the chance to get rid of it, to follow his lead and say good-bye to the binky for once and for all, but I didn’t. So the binky is still with us.

Another morning, Primo looked at me and said simply, “Quiero hacer caca.” I whipped off his diaper and with no fanfare, he used the potty like he’d been doing it forever. When I tried to make a big deal out of the whole thing like all the parenting books say you’re supposed to do, he looked at me like I was crazy. Again, that would have been the time to go for it and start potty training in earnest. Instead, I was so intimidated by the thought of really potty training that again I thought, let’s just see what happens. He hasn’t done it again since.

The boys are back from their trip to see their grandparents. There was only one pack ‘n play there, so the two of them rotated between that and a double bed. At bedtime tonight, Secondo whined and tried to climb into his crib, and once I put him in there, was asleep within five minutes. When I put Primo in his crib, he tried to climb out and said, “La cama grande.”

The boys love La cama grande de Sofía, a book I bought them to help them transition to the big bed. Primo has asked for la cama grande before, but again, I’ve been unwilling to deal with it and have put him in his crib instead, over his objections. Tonight, finally, I decided to go for it.

And it went well. I stayed with him—and about twenty books—on the bed. I refused to read to him, explaining he’d had enough stories and it was time to go to sleep, but I did let him “read” his books, figuring he would fall asleep when he was tired enough. He leafed through Harold y el lápiz color morado, reading to me as he did. “Pasteles,” he said. “Globo. Policía.” He looked at me after each page, not continuing until he got confirmation from me.” After a while, I kissed him goodnight, went downstairs and proceeded to forget about him for two hours.

When I finally went back and checked on him, he was indeed asleep in the middle of la cama grande. And he’d pulled every single book off the bookshelves in the room. Some were on the bed with him, most of them were on the floor. But he was asleep, and he hadn’t made a peep all evening.

I count that as a success, and I really think he may finally be done with the crib now. It did prompt me to have a quick discussion with P about reading in bed. I started reading myself to sleep when I was old enough to read. And it was always a covert operation--I read with very little lighting, under the covers, because it was against the rules. Whenever I was busted, I got a lecture about how I was going to ruin my eyesight that way. (My eyesight is bad, indeed, but you’ll never convince me it was because I read under the covers.) But there was no stopping me, so I figure there’s no stopping Primo—why fight it?

Here’s hoping the rest of this transition will be as easy as it was tonight.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Required Reading

This article in the New York Times about Erik Camayd-Freixas is required reading--for interpreters, for anyone interested in our justice system or in immigration, for everyone.

Like Mr. Camayd-Freixas, I am a federal court interpreter. The article hit so close to home that I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I read it last Wednesday, and I still haven't quite been able to sort out how I feel.

I’m reluctant to blog about it, but it’s a fascinating article. There’s a follow-up editorial here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Budget? What Budget?

I was feeling a little (and only a little) sorry for myself today, stuck inside in front of the computer when I could have been outside (or inside, really) doing something else.

So I placed an order for some books for the boys on Amazon. I'd been trying to fight the urge for a long time and finally caved in, budget be damned.

My order:

Abuelita fue al mercado
Cha-cha-cha en la selva

We own a couple of other books from Barefoot Books, and they're huge hits. So I have high hopes for these.

Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet In Spanish And English

I love Alma Flor Ada. Period.

Las pulgas no vuelan

I forget how I heard of it, but it sounded interesting.

¡Hola! que me lleva la ola

Because the boys love children's poetry in Spanish. So do I--and I swear it's boosted my vocabulary. We have a couple of wonderful books of poetry, and I also have high hopes for this one as well.

Total damage done (love the 4-for-3 promotion on Amazon): About $30. Makes me feel a little better about staying inside.

I'd Suspected This for a Long Time

Now I know for sure that I’m too lowbrow for the New Yorker, because I just cannot see how this is sophisticated political satire. I'm not even feeling deeply offended or indignant, just confused. Because...why?

I’ll be in the corner reading the Family Circus or something.

YouTube Break

And now, the "One Semester of Spanish Love Song."

Because I'm curious to see how hard it is to embed video in my blog. And because this cracks me up every time I watch it.

Back to work for me.

Au revoir.

Home Alone

P and the boys are visiting his parents for the weekend. For the first time in three years or so, I am home alone.

I had many, many plans for the weekend. I would watch Netflix movies. I would rent a machine and clean our furniture, which has seen our boys grow from newborns to toddlers and is much the worse for wear. I would spend time in the kitchen, make and even freeze my favorite muffins and granola bars so that I'd have plenty around for us to grab for breakfast in the mornings. I would organize the office, clean out the boxes that are stacked along one wall. Our nanny would work one day and help me scrub the place from top to bottom, and it would be clean for the first time ever. I would sleep in the mornings until I could sleep no more. I would blog to my heart's content. I would sneak in a matinee, at one of the multiplexes at an outlet mall, even, not just our local theater.

Instead, I got work that was too good to turn down. Damn you, work that is too good to turn down! The crappy offers, I can pass up in a heartbeat, but you, never. Even if it means giving up my weekend. So the place is still a mess, and the Sunday Post I bought this morning is on the couch, neatly folded and unread.

It's still good. I am still alone. It's still quiet. I have set aside some time to do a few things, I took a long bath last night, and I am enjoying the unfamiliar feeling of not having anyone else around.

Did I mention it's quiet? I'm liking that, quite a bit.