Friday, February 29, 2008

Sometime in the last couple of weeks, my baby has turned into a little girl. She talks in complete sentences. She sings songs. She imagines things. She acts out scenarios with her stuffed animals and dolls. She prompts us when she wants something: "Want some breakfast, baby?" she says, sotto voce. When we repeat her question, she responds with an enthusiastic "Okay! How about...oatmeal!"

The other morning I was making some scrambled eggs for breakfast. When I put them in on her high chair tray, she ate a couple of bites, and then said, "Wanna cookie, baby?" I didn't bite. "No cookies for breakfast, Charlotte," I answered. She paused. Then, enunciating every word and speaking loudly, as one does to a foreign speaker, "A cookie. OATMEAL. RAISIN. COOKIE."

I laughed, but I didn't give in.

She is a toddler now, and she knows her mind. She has a strong will, and she lets you know about it.

"NO DIAPER!" she'll shriek on the changing table. "Be naked! Be naked, and run around!"

I encourage her to go potty in the toilet. "No potty inna toilet," she says. "Potty onna grounds."

When it's time to eat, I tell her to go over by her highchair. "No eat inna chair," she insists. "Eat onna steps."

But just as frequently as she is trying and tiresome, she is the sweetest little girl I've ever met. When I go to get her out of her crib in the mornings, she usually greets me with a big smile and a "Mama's here!" The other night, while she was running around upstairs before bedtime, I lay down on the floor of her bedroom. She stopped in her tracks, and made a beeline for me. " mama," she said softly. She lay her head down on mine, cheek against my cheek. She stroked my hair with one hand and hugged me with the other, all the while murmuring "mama, mama."

Monday, February 25, 2008

And in this corner...

We have a t-shirt wearing bulldog. Yep, that's acceptance from University of Georgia today!

Uh, this is getting more complicated than I anticipated. I have eight more schools to go (got a perfunctory waitlist from OU today) and the ring is getting crowded. Not that I'm complaining!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Maintain Radio Silence

I'll assume from the lack of acknowledgement, let alone response, to my last post that y'all patently Do Not Want the Tigs to pack up your niece/granddaughter/no-relation-but-still-love-her Charlotte and move her to the godforsaken country of Western Massachusetts. I know, I know. I already google-mapped it and I know it's far away. Just rest assured that all the results are not yet in, no decisions have been made, etc. So stay tuned.

Also, how do you think the UMass Minutemen would fare against the Salukis or the Jayhawks? I mean, he looks pretty fierce and all in that photo. He's got his sleeves rolled up to expose his biceps, no doubt strengthen'd by years fpent fhoveling manure on ye olde horfe farm. But you know that behind that logo he's wearing knee-breeches and tights. Not too encouraging.

In other news, today is Charlotte's 20-month birthday. We spent some time watching movies of Charlotte from a year ago. Holy cow, she's grown up! I mean, I know she had, She went from this chubby little squealer to a real-live walking and talking toddler.

She loved watching the movies, too. She laughed along with her baby self, and pointed out people she know when they came onscreen. Maybe we'll start a new tradition of watching old Charlotte films more regularly.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I spoke (posted?) too soon...just received an email acceptance to University of Massachusetts-Amherst!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Charlotte just told me she wants to "color a-picture a-Johnny Cash a-doggie bones." I'm sure that's just the thing a deceased music legend wants!

No new news on the grad school front. I keep waiting until I have exciting news to post, but that's apparently not happening, so I'll return to my usual format of humorous Charlotte quotes.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Charlotte has a message for you:

No, not "I love you." The message is "grrrrrr." Look at that face! It's the best I could get her to smile this morning.
Happy Valentine's Day from all of us.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Salukis vs. Jayhawks: A Deathmatch

Yesterday I got an acceptance from the University of Kansas. I think I'm going to make decisions based on imagined wrestling matches between university mascots. So, who do you think would win: a weird, permed-eared dog, or a jaunty, mythical shoe-shod bird?

Monday, February 11, 2008

One down...

Twelve to go. I got my first grad school response today--an acceptance to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. In addition, I've been nominated for a doctoral fellowship (which I'll find out about March 7). It's a good start!

Will it make me check my mailbox or inbox with any less frequency? Probably not.

Friday, February 08, 2008

I'm usually gone to school when the mail truck arrives. I don't have office hours on Fridays, so I'm sitting here, checking my email while Charlotte colors pictures on the floor behind me, when it pulls around the bend. "The mail is here!" I squeal to Charlotte, who says "yep," unimpressed, and returns to her coloring. I am waiting impatiently for the mailman to unload everything and leave before I throw on my shoes and coat and run out to check.

Last month, I finished the final of my thirteen Ph.D. applications. And while it is still a bit early to be expecting responses, I am a woman obsessed. Every phone call, every email, every thin envelope or fat 9x12 could be a potential yes or no. Every time I approach the mail box, mail key in hand, my heart starts racing. This really isn't healthy.


Well, I'm back. Nothing. Junk mail never seems so junky as when you're waiting for something really important.
She's a Lady

Charlotte can't get through a meal these days without barking out commands: "Clean a-hands! Clean a-hands!" I dutifully wipe her hands off so she can continue to pick up mac-n-cheese pieces with them, or yogurt, or eggs, while she clutches her utensil in her other hand.

This morning she woke up with a runny nose, so it's "Clean a-hands! Wipe a-nose! Maaamaaaa!"

I'm thinking of setting a formal table complete with finger bowl for Her Majesty.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Last weekend, Jeff, Charlotte, and I headed to Chicago. Technically we spent a majority of our time in Palos Heights, at Trinity Christian College, from which Jeff and I graduated. I was invited back to participate in the Dan Diephouse Graduate Studies Conference, as a panelist and presenter. I had a great time doing so, in part because I realized that I've become a real self-educated expert on the process of applying to graduate school. It was also amazing to be back on Trinity's campus with my daughter. Only eleven (!) years ago, her father and I were sneaking off to the baseball dugouts to neck or holding hands surreptitiously in chapel. Now we were taking turns chasing our rambunctious toddler around the cafeteria or chapel or new cafe (of which I am extremely jealous).

I have two favorite memories from the weekend. The first was after the breakfast panel discussion on Saturday. Students, alumni and faculty were mingling after the panel adjourned, talking casually and catching up. I walked back into the meeting room at one point and found my former undergraduate advisor, who is now the department chair, and a new English faculty member crouching on the floor, coloring pictures with Charlotte.

The second was at Shedd Aquarium later that same day. My parents and brother plus Mindi joined Jeff, Charlotte and I for a trek downtown. I had decided weeks ago that gray, slushy February would be the perfect time to check out one of Chicago's indoor attractions; the rest of the city and tri-state area apparently felt the same way, as the museum was packed. But we forgot the crowds as we witnessed Charlotte's awe and excitement over the fishies, turtles, penguins, and octopi. I got choked up when she was sitting on my lap, watching the dolphin show. I kept pointing out the dolphins as they jumped out of the water or flipped their tails. "Do you see him?" I'd ask. In response, Charlotte would nod, too entranced to respond. Later that night, she recounted to all of us in the van what she'd seen. "A-dolphins...ina POND! What doing? Dolphins JUMPING! A-dancing! Ina water!"