Sunday, January 8, 2012

No Seriously, I Moved!

I moved, to here:

Blogger stats tell me that lots of people are still following me here at Grad Ovaries, and lots of people are still checking back looking for new posts (not just through searches, but people who seem to be deliberately looking), and far far fewer people are over at the new place.

So, one more reminder:

I moved.

To here:

It's much cooler over there. You'll like it. Trust me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Address!

Okay, I did it. I moved the blog. (And renamed it. And redesigned it. It looks cool now.) Please please please go check it out.

See you over there!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blog Redo

So... I'm thinking about making some changes to the blog. Not in content, but in name. And maybe location. I picked the name for the blog without giving it very much thought, and I kind of expected it to be just be about fertility treatments and very little else. S and I had been trying to get pregnant for like two years, and I was extremely frustrated and emotional and confused, so I started this blog to chronicle our continuing journey to parenthood... and I got pregnant with LL three months later. And now here we are, more than four years later (!), and I never write about fertility stuff, and I'm no longer in grad school. The name kinda sucks. (In fact, I actively dislike it.)

Also, despite having done this blog for more than four years (!), I know nothing about "blog technologies." I started with blogger because it was free and I had used it to set up a shared blog for my study group when we were studying for our qualifying exams, but I spent exactly no time at all considering any other sights or looking up features or anything. But many of my dear readers know a lot more about this than I do. So, help please?!? Any advice? Even from those of you who read regularly but rarely comment? Thanks!

Here are the decisions that I'm trying to make:

- Should I move the blog off of blogger? It seems like all the cool kids are on wordpress these days. Are there awesome features I'm missing out on by staying with blogger? Are there other compelling reasons for moving? Is wordpress super easy to figure out? Yes, I have a PhD in Computer Science, but I'm actually a total luddite. Go figure.

- If I move to wordpress, should I move all the content, too? I see that there are easy tools for doing so. Is there any downside?

- If I stay on blogger, should I just change the name of the blog, or should I change the URL, too? I'm not all that worried about keeping my page rank or anything like that (that seems to be the main reason that people have angst about moving blogs) but I would like to keep my meager readership. Yes, I hate the name, and the name is right there in the URL, but maybe if I just changed the name, it would be enough to make me feel better. But I think that I probably want to change it completely, URL included. I don't know.

- The big question: what should the new name be? I'm at a total loss for this one. I plan to continue the blog the way it has been for the past few years -- mostly about the kids, and work-life balance, and being a working mother in a science field, surrounded by a bunch of awkward oblivious tech guys. (But, especially after I start the new job, I will probably write very little about work. I want to keep up my slim facade of anonymity.)

- Would it be weird to introduce new nicknames for my family members? S and LL are fairly uninspired names. (I kinda like Kermit.)

So... any advice? Any pitfalls to keep in mind? I want to get it all sorted out before I start the new job, which is in just a few weeks.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Food Chain

A friend of ours recently had his first baby, and we asked him how it was going. I absolutely loved his reaction. He said:

Babies are totally amazing. They're completely helpless and immobile, and they make more noise than should be possible from something that small. Could it be more obvious that we are at the top of the food chain? Our babies are born yelling at the top of their lungs, "Hey, look at me! Totally helpless little morsel of food right here!!!"

Yep, we're lucky that we created tools to defend ourselves, because holy cow our children do everything in their power to try to bring about their own destruction. Ages one through five can basically be described as "I have the physical ability to kill myself in a bazillion different ways, and none of the intelligence to stop myself from doing it by accident." I am constantly amazed by how completely oblivious LL is to the dangers around him. Jump in front of speeding cars? Stuff handfuls of food into his mouth until he chokes? Grab at hot candles? Eat random leaves and flowers found outside? Climb really high onto things when he has no reasonable plan for getting down? Run as fast as he can, with his eyes closed? Yes, these are definitely the actions of someone concerned with his own survival.

Last week, Kermit crawled off the edge of a cliff without a moment's hesitation. Okay, not a cliff. A stair. Just one stair. But seriously, no hesitation, and he banged his forehead pretty bad when the ground ended up not being where he wanted it to be. (Also, S and I were both standing right there when it happened, so we're not exactly winning any parenting awards right now.)

Kermit's latest favorite game: he tosses his head waaaay back, to give me a chance to tickle his chin and neck. What kind of an animal has offspring who think that the most intelligent thing they can do is to purposely expose their jugular?

Children make a lot more sense when you think of them as The Top of the Food Chain. But I'm not entirely sure that they're better off for it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Etiquette Question

We have this friend, D, who has been friends with S since they were in high school. D is an odd mix of hyper-sensitive about protocol and yet clueless about a wide array of social norms. His wedding, for example, was the most intricately formal affair that I have ever been to, carefully choreographed (by him, not his wife) to keep Emily Post perfectly happy. He is still humbly apologizing for something that he did to me, by accident, more than eight years ago, something that I laughed about at the time and was never upset about, and for which I keep kindly telling him that he really doesn't need to be concerned anymore. He has spent holidays with S's extended family, and interrogates us carefully about the preferences of various members of the family, so that he can be careful not to offend.

And yet this same guy regularly invites himself over to our house for dinner, whenever his wife is out of town, by explaining to us that he would like me to cook dinner for him because he cannot fend for himself. And he is constantly explaining to us how brilliant his son his, especially compared to most normal children (like LL). He even makes his son put on little "shows" for us, to display how much he knows. It is ... weird.

We recently went to a birthday party for D's son, who turned four. We bought him a small gift (Lego cars!), LL happily handed it to him, and he immediately ripped it open. And then declared loudly that he didn't like it, before tossing it aside and running off. D was absolutely mortified. He kept apologizing for his son's behavior, throughout the evening. Bizarrely, he never actually corrected his son, or encouraged his son to behave differently; he just kept apologizing to us.

But, whatever. The kid is four. I wouldn't be shocked to see any four-year-old behave like that on occasion, I've seen much worse from this one, and I've seen similar behavior from D, so I wasn't exactly surprised, and I didn't particularly care.

Fast-forward to today. We received, right on time, a nice thank-you note from D's son, hand-written by D. Here is the card, verbatim:

"Thank you very much for the Legos. While I rudely said, "I don't like it," my attitude changed dramatically when it was exchanged for nerf guns."

So... I laughed out loud. Because it is so typical of D -- he did the appropriate thing and sent a note, but the note itself expresses what a horrible gift it was, until it was exchanged for something much better. And on the one hand, I guess I'm glad that they were able to get the kid something that he wanted (that is, after all, why I carefully included a gift receipt in the birthday card). On the other hand... is it normal to tell a gift-giver that you exchanged their gift? I would think not. And certainly not in a way that makes it obvious that you hated the original gift. (Surely there are more tactful ways of mentioning it, if you feel the need.)

But now I'm actually torn about what you should say in a thank-you note when you didn't actually want the gift. I mean, that note is obviously not it, but what is the right thing to do?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stupid Quote of the Year

I was at a baby shower recently and I ended up sitting next to the aunt of the mother-to-be. She works in public relations, and she seemed convinced that her role as a public relations person made her an expert in every single policy issue and social issue to ever be publicly discussed. Rarely have I been near someone who spouted such a continuous string of stupid comments. Stupid and insulting and false and annoying. But she was the aunt of the pregnant woman, and everyone other than me seemed to be totally enthralled with her, so I was reluctant to make too much of a scene by telling her she was full of it. And holy cow, this woman just went on and on and on.

Spout off about the horrors of bottle feeding, then roll your eyes and nod your head towards the woman sitting right next to you who was actually bottle-feeding her child during the entire conversation? Yeah, that's nice. Explain that obesity is entirely a result of the fact that fat people are also ignorant? Interesting. Complain that all (yes all) working mothers like to pawn their kids off on other people so that they can spend more time drinking lattes at the gym? I didn't know that people drank lattes at gyms, but that one is especially great to say in front of a pregnant woman who plans on going back to work after her baby is born.

But my very favorite opinion of hers is one that I remember verbatim. Mostly because dead children so rarely comes up in conversation at baby showers:

"The worst thing in the world is losing a child. Losing a child is really awful. But there is something that is just as bad as a child dying: a child who disowns his parents. This happens all the time to the parents who put too much pressure on their kids. Harvard and Yale are full of kids who hate their parents. Those parents suffer just as much as parents of children who died."

There you have it. If your kid goes to Harvard, it's exactly the same as if your child died. You heard it here first.

Friday, October 28, 2011


I have not been posting enough lately. Mostly because I have a bunch of looooong posts that I want to write, but not enough time to write them. But the longer I wait, the longer the (potential) post becomes, because it has to cover everything. Vicious cycle. So, in an effort to actually record everything that I want to record, I am going to try to convince myself to do more frequent, shorter posts. Starting with this little anecdote about LL, which I want to remember forever and ever so that I can make fun of him about it someday, and also because it is cute.

When LL was learning colors, he had an awful time pronouncing the word "yellow." I don't know why -- he could do all of the sounds and combinations in other words, but this one word was really hard for him. At first, I thought that he just didn't know the color yellow, but no, it was all about the word. The fun part was watching him COPE with not being able to say it.

At first, he would try to say it, and stumble and stumble over the sounds until finally giving up. Very frustrating for him.

Then he would just cry whenever I pointed to something yellow. This phase was very depressing, but thankfully didn't last long.

Next, he learned an important life skill that will someday serve him well in college: if you don't know the answer to a question, just answer the question that you wish had been asked!

Me: What color is the car?
LL: Blue!
Me: What color is the truck?
LL: Red!
Me: What color is the bus?
LL: School bus!
Me: Um, yes, it is a school bus. What color is it?
LL: School bus fast!
Me: Okay. What color is it?
LL: Say "vrooooom!" Has 4 wheels! Look -- door open here!
Me: What color is the bike?
LL: Purple!

That phase cracked me up, and lasted a long time. Eventually, he realized that he couldn't avoid the color yellow forever, so he made up a new word for it. Out of thin air. He just picked a sound that he could pronounce, and that was his word for yellow. He called it "arr." At first, we thought that he was abbreviating "amarillo," but he informed us that we were wrong.

The "arr" phase lasted quite some time. Long enough that I stopped noticing it, automatically translating "arr" to "yellow" in my head.

And then one day, he said yellow. And then immediately giggled and buried his head on my shoulder. (Adorable!) After that, I would actually hear him looking at books by himself and repeating the word yellow over and over again.

The part that kind of shocks me is that he was actually aware that he wasn't pronouncing it right, enough to be embarrassed about it. Which was weird for a two-year-old. Especially since there are a ton of words that he mispronounces, but this word was the only one that bothered him. (For example, he mispronounces the word milk. It sounds more like "meat." He's been saying it that way for almost a year now. Every so often, S calls it "meat" when talking to LL, and LL gets really mad at him and says, "No, Daddy! No call it that!" He thinks that S is mocking him by pronouncing it in the LL way. But it doesn't stop LL from saying it, and he doesn't seem embarrassed to say the word.)

LL has been saying "yellow" for a few months now, but he still pauses every so slightly before saying it, like he has to concentrate more than with other words. On the one hand, it's very cute. On the other hand, I cringe a little when I see him acting like he's scared to make a mistake. We are generally very careful not to correct things like pronunciation and grammar for him at this age, preferring to just speak properly in front of him and let him naturally absorb language. Not sure why he suddenly decided that it would be bad to make a mistake. In the mean time, every time I hear him say the word "yellow," I feel like a little bit of his babyhood is gone forever.