Academic Leigh Speaking

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

Quick Takes that are mostly not Whiny July 12, 2014

1. Gilbert is already planning for his birthday. He wants “3 inside of 1” oil for his present. I’m not sure what he wants it for, but he does have a lot of items to fix. He also wants a lefty baseball mitt (luckily, Seamus found one at the thrift store the other day, and I bought it for Gilbert), and some train set stuff that is his (I split the Craigslist bunch I bought for Seamus’s birthday, so I’m in good shape there. I’m leaving the 3 in 1 oil for Patrick to purchase.

2. I worked on syllabi for the fall. I’m teaching American Dream again, so I’m using a few new books, and a few books I’ve taught from before. One of the new ones is John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead, and I’m pretty excited because I got another of his books (Sag Harbor) out of the library, and it’s pretty well written. I keep wanting to highlight things out of it. I found his books because I realized that when planning syllabi, I always have plenty of options for women writers, but I’m trying to branch out my contemporary literature by men. JHD was a Pulitizer Prize finalist, and that’s the list I went to for suggestions. It helps that one of my colleagues recommended Whitehead’s work after I had decided on it. I think I’m going for a theme more along the lines of “In Search of America” as the American Dream. Other books are Travels with Charley, The Bean Trees, Pocho, The Dew Breaker, and I’m FINALLY going to teach McTeague. I’ve been thinking about that for years.

3. I did a long meditation last night to explore whether there were mental blocks I had unknowingly and inadvertently thrown up to having the baby. I discovered a few and tried to let them go, but I’m not well-trained in meditation, so I don’t know if I was doing it effectively. I did feel a new teamwork emerging between me and the baby, though, and we spent a rather restless night, as I encouraged him to wiggle about as needed to position himself well.

4. Last night I took the boys the park after dinner (they ate nothing but fruit–watermelon, cantaloupe, peach, and Rainier cherries). Riding their scooters, they terrorized the basketball court for a while, asked for a few pushes in the swing, and were finally ready to ride home for much-needed baths and bed. They had quite a day of physical activity, but they never seem to need a break from it (except at nap time). Seamus nearly hit a tree with his scooter, but he bailed out and ran off of it. That excited him, so he did it over and over and over. Then Gilbert wanted to try too. It was massively entertaining for them, so I sat on the swing while they did that and enjoyed the weird gravitational pulls of moving through the air with a big belly.

5. I’m starting to run out of quick things to talk about. I might go to my office and try to frame my diploma today. Should I put a baby swing in my office? I can’t decide if it would be useful or ridiculous. I have a pretty big office, but it is the space that I work in, so I’m going to go with no.

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One Response to “Quick Takes that are mostly not Whiny”

  1. Maureen Bell Says:

    I remember the feeling of suspension waiting for Patrick to be born…he was 3 weeks late & might still be there if the doctor hadn’t decided it was time for a C. I worked past my due date but had to stay home after a man wouldn’t get on the elevator with me and I realized people were staring. I must have been a sight at 5’3″ with a 10lb12oz, baby bump. Glad your parents are there. Sounds like you’re unstoppable! Go Leigh!!!


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