Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

On Work, Babies, and Friends June 28, 2010

Filed under: Family Life,Outdoor Pursuits,Travel — leighj @ 2:40 pm

It really does take a village.

This last week Patrick has been in Indiana for work, and I was in California for play, and Seamus was his usual fun self. Yet, because we weren’t all together, things felt a little bigger and more meaningful than they usually do. And I have to say, at the risk of being all sentimental, that this week would have been hard to get through without our friends.

First, there was the delightful hosting of my friends Amanda and Noah and their little girls. Seamus loved being around those girls, and he learned a new word from them, “Hi!” They showed him how to run through a sprinkler, ride on some ride-on toys, and play on the slide. There were so many highlights to this trip, I know I’m going to forget them, but among them were Amanda’s sweet potato fries, riding on the Extracycle with Seamus in the kid seat, watching him enjoy the swing for the first time, playing Settlers of Catan, Noah’s smoothies, swimming, listening to the girls talk about and to Seamus, and long talks with Amanda after the little ones were asleep. On Monday, we went into the city to visit Linnea. Luckily Patrick’s mom was also visiting SF, and wanted to spend the day with Seamus. We dropped him off at her hotel and went on our merry way. At the risk of being smug–the Monday NY Times puzzle was no match for Amanda and me. We met Linnea, ate a great lunch at the Atlas Cafe in the Mission, went to the CA Academy of Sciences, and then had a fantastic dinner at Greens, in the Ft. Mason building. Veggie food, mmm.

When Seamus and I got back, we settled into a nice routine of him waking up about 7:30, napping for an hour at 9:00 and then playing until I took him to daycare. Meanwhile, my friend Christine entertained me two nights in a row, even inviting us to her house for dinner, knowing that she might be inviting in the plague. Yes, Seamus, upon receiving his last dose of amoxicillin, promptly broke out in hives. He’s much, much better now and we’re trying to keep him healthy.

On Friday, we went to the zoo with our friends Chris and Naomi, and Shannon and Alicia–who is two weeks older than Seamus. He pushed his own stroller a little bit. This plays into my theory that kids that can walk well do not need to be pushed around in a stroller. I am not kidding–there are 7 and 8 year olds being pushed around in strollers at the zoo, sipping on sugar drinks while mom (not always but most of the time) sweats. It is time to walk!

Chris also graciously volunteered to watch Seamus on the night that Patrick’s flight got cancelled. Thanks, Chris and Junko! They have some barley tea that babies in Japan drink, so Seamus tried it out and seemed to like it. I’m trying to expose him to more food so that he has a variety before he even knows the difference. It was a relief to have Seamus in good hands.

Finally, when Patrick returned, our friends, J and G and X invited us over for veggie paella. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I ate four servings (Seamus had about as much!) but it was so delicious! I made a peach cobbler, and I had three servings of that. The peaches are good right now.

I guess not finally. We’ve been swimming a lot, because Jeremy left Christine his pool key for the apt building, and we’ve taken full advantage. Seamus still likes swimming, but I think he has also gotten into the fun of playing on the pool steps. At daycare they hooked up a hose and he went to town. Oh, and I can’t forget, Christine came over and whipped us into shape–or at least our front yard. We now have basil, tomatoes, and cukes in the front bed. And we raked up the pine needles. I know it’s a little late, but maybe we’ll get something. Seamus enjoyed the novelty of being in the front yard and he loved the fine mist from the hose as I watered the dirt.

Seamus Helps Garden

Moral of the stories: It helped tremendously getting through this week to have to support of our friends. But we also have to get out there. The gardening involved talking to several of our neighbors which knits us into our community more.

I’m back at work today. Writing and giving a speech this afternoon, so the end. Thanks for sticking with us this long.

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One Response to “On Work, Babies, and Friends”

  1. Amanda Hughes Says:

    Absolute pleasure having you visit. Noah says that our mundane life sounds much cooler through your eyes. We can’t wait to head out your way next summer when you have another little man in the house. If he is anything like his big bro’, life will be smooth sailing in the Cronin/Johnson casa. I miss you already and I am a lucky friend.
    Take care mama,
    Amanda


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