turns from one mood to the next,
Orbiting distant worlds to bring their stories to you.
turns from one mood to the next,
Take some small comfort
in light of parenting peers,
who share your chaos.
Safe space, quiet time.
Stow away toys and stories.
A place to treasure.
Our four-year-old loves to read before bed. Reading has been baked into his bedtime routine since he was a baby. He takes a bath, brushes his teeth, gets his pajamas on, picks some books, and then we snuggle up to read.
I always let him pick the books. I tell him how many we have time for, and he makes the picks. He usually goes through phases of reading three same three to five stories ecru night for a couple weeks, until a new set is chosen.
I usually read to him. He loves hearing each story told in a certain cadence. He asks questions about the words he hears and the pictures he sees.
For a while, I tried to teach him basic reading as we went, sounding out the letters of simple words like “dog” as we read. He was not into it. He would just like to be read to, thank you very much.
He tells fantastic stories to himself as he plays, and he tries to tell us about his imaginary party house we have yet to see.
A couple months ago, I was worried that he would be slow to pick up reading on his own. After talking about it with my wife, I realized that was a premature idea.
For one, he’s still too young to really grasp reading on his own, without being a prodigy. And two, my mom read too me every night before bed until I was much older than he is now. Maybe 10? And even once I started reading too myself, I read a lot of the same books over and over.
The Redwall series, various Calvin and Hobbes collections, Animorphs, probably some Roald Dahl.
I didn’t pick up The Hobbit until I was 12, and I didn’t expand my reading list much beyond what was assigned to me in school until I was in college.
I was a late bloomer as a reader. And the four-year-old might be, too.
I’m cool with that. It may just give me more time to read with him. And the chance to share some of the novels I loved as a kid.
He loves stories. He loves hearing them told, and he loves telling them, even to himself. I’m just here to listen.
Split the morning watch,
keep two wild boys entertained,
to get better sleep.
gathered in autumn’s breeze for
love, life, and bubbles.
Fussy eaters and sleepers.
Calling it a night.
smushing food, to eat or throw?
It cares not. It throws.
So March is here, and I’m feeling pretty meh about it at the moment. If I had to use one word to describe my February with respect to my goals for the month, I would go with… distracted. I just didn’t give much thought to any of my goals during the month, and it’s not for lack of trying. I just had other things on my mind.
Our seven-month-old isn’t sleeping through the night, and we spent a good portion of February trying different bedtime strategies to nudge him in that direction. The closest we’ve gotten is him sleeping in his crib for a couple hours, then one of us bringing him into our bed when he wakes up for his midnight comfort snack. Now, we’ve just accepted that he’s a particularly cuddly kid, unlike the toddler.
My computer has also been BSOD’ing on me with such regularity that I compulsively save my work every sentence or so. Dear Micrsoft, please fix the REFERENCE_BY_POINTER error, or at least give me some more guidance other than “update drivers”. This computer is probably not even two years old and I’m already contemplating a replacement.
Anyway. Neither of those things are crises, but they’ve taken up my head space recently.
Let’s get this over with.
Holy crap, no. I didn’t even get close. I could try to blame the extended time we spent in the mountains this month, but that’s not even accurate. Look at this:
Look at that! That’s nine days in the middle of the month where I didn’t write squat. That’s terrible. And I can’t even tell you what I was doing during that stretch. It wasn’t catching up on shows or reading. The second stretch is mostly when we took an extra long weekend in the mountains. I worked mornings for a few days which meant I didn’t want to be on the computer much extra time.
Ugh. Moving on.
Technically, yes. Two of those three were one-hour shorts on Audible, and the third was a not-as-short study on meditation to increase productivity. That’s ironic, now that I think about it. Still, I’m counting it!
And I’m into meditation as a balancing effect on the stressful mind. I just need to start up a daily practice.
I was on a solid pace of resistance training until our little vacation, but that pretty much always happens. I definitely want to jump back into it, so that’s a positive sign.
I might also want to (gulp) start running again. I have always found running boring, but I know I’m not doing enough at the moment, and if doing a loop through my neighborhood gets me outside and moving for 20 minutes, I might just take it at this point.
August was pretty chill, despite the blazing heat for most of the month. I was on paternity leave for three weeks, having only returned to work on Monday, meaning I was off for almost the entire month. It was great to really disconnect from work and just spend time at home.
The infant is doing well. He’s grown more than two pounds in his first few weeks, and the toddler is adjusting to his new baby brother well… so far.
I’m happy with the progress I made on both writing and reading, and we (meaning I, since my wife has been recovering from childbirth) managed to get a lot done around the house.
Let’s get to it!
So how did I do?
I did! There was little sleep to be had, but it was great being home with the family all day. The toddler is really sweet with his baby brother, saying hi and goodbye to him and even kissing him on the forehead at bedtime.
We do not expect that to last. As soon as the baby is crawling around and grabbing at all the toddler’s toys, it will be a different story. For now, though, it’s lovely.
It has been a long time since I’ve been able to completely disconnect from work for such a long stretch. I have the type of job where even a week-long vacation can be interrupted by an “urgent” meeting that I call into from the basement of a beach rental wearing only a bathing suit.
So being required by law to not respond to any work messages, turning off email and chat notifications on my phone, and not being called with “emergency” questions worked wonders for my mental health. My supervisor also did a great job protecting me from any such nonsense while I was out.
Yes! I beat my goal! I wrote 8,409 words in August, and I had actually been somewhat hoping for even more.
I got off to a good start and was never out of reach of my goal. There were still a few too many gaps between writing days for my liking, but I’m just picky like that. I wrote 18 of 31 days, and I had a good spread of volume, ranging from 44 words to 900+ with a good mix in between. That means that even when I struggled to write much, I was able to rebound pretty quickly.
The one downside to being able to focus on writing so much without work is that I now wish more than ever that I could write full-time. I’m not financially prepared for such an endeavor, but it will definitely linger in the back of my mind. Even if I can retire a few years “early” to focus on writing, that would be awesome.
My draft for this story now sits at just over 40,000 words, and I anticipate another 3-4k to finish the story. I ended up writing a large portion of this draft from scratch, scrapping entire chapters from my previous draft because of changes I decided to make to the plot.
I definitely want to finish this draft quickly, but then I want to reread and revise it a couple times to ensure I have the main plot points and details worked out. That will be the goal for September before I begin the second draft of New Earth, The Herb Witch Tales #2.
That’s the title I’m probably going with, by the way.
Not quite. I read two books in August, both of which I published reviews for: one a historical fiction set in Roman Dacia, and the other being Jurassic Park.
I’m about 80% done with another story on Audible and will definitely finish it in the next few days. I didn’t read much in print copies, but with a week-long beach vacation coming up, I plan to remedy that.