Tuesday, January 04, 2011


two things are making me feel guilty se jours (in my head i think this means "this day," but i'm not 100% on that.)

the first is that over the break i was having a confab with my niece and i told her that panda bears are marsupials and then i got all "teachable moment" about it and asked her what other animals are marsupials that are also called bears and that aren't (ie. koalas) so my sister emailed me yesterday and told me that miss ramona went to her teacher and told her that panda bears are marsupials and her teacher said that they're actually bears and my sis and uncle rico looked it up and they are bears. so i totally got my poor niece pwned by her teacher. i feel awful! mostly because she trusted me and then relayed that info to her teacher. i've lost all credibility with her.

the other thing making me feel bad is that for the past two nights we've been trying to implement a ferber sleep system for the little boobla. the idea is that you basically let the baby cry it out and don't pick the baby up so that they learn how to self-soothe. this is all very well and good, but the little boobla is fully capable for crying for a full hour and it's pretty tough to sit by and not comfort your baby when they're crying themselves hoarse and their face and body are transmitting pure anguish. i mean, according to the ferber method (or the synopses that we've read online), you CAN go into the room and pat them and talk to them, but you can't cuddle them to sleep. so we did it on sunday night and he bawled his eyes out until finally i went in and stroked his head and talked to him until he fell asleep. then last night it was another hour of him freaking out until the dotytron came into the bedroom where i was anxiously sitting up trying to distract myself from the baby and told me that actually, you're not supposed to try ferberizing BEFORE SIX MONTHS. because the baby CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH. so we both felt like giant a-holes and sprinted into the room and picked up the boobla who promptly sucked on the boob for a bit and then conked out.

ugh. i think the main problem right now is that one small thing manifests itself and we kind of freak out. so he rejects the bottle one night and then we spiral off into him never wanting to bottle feed again and try a billion different things. update: he takes the old, non-space-age bottles fine now! or, he's a little fussy about going down to bed one night and then we up and decide that we have to sleep-train him right then and there because that ONE night is a slippery slope and before you know it we're never sleeping again. i think we just have to relax a bit and be a bit more macro about everything. i mean, obviously babies and people are creatures of habit, so you don't want to indulge slippery slope activity, but one night, or even a couple, isn't enough to establish a fixed pattern so we got to let up on things. plus, babies are changing all the time. plus, he's actually really good about going to bed in the crib and giving us an extended "night time" stretch of sleep, so we just have to remember that and treat this like the small blip it probably is.

i'm also feeling a little guilty about dressing my kid like this to go on a walk yesterday:

hehehe. the kid looks like a cross between a cirque du soleil participant, carrot top, and i don't know what. i bundled him up in like 4 different layers. the socks go on over the pants because that's the only way they stay on, and he's wearing this lion hat UNDER his hood. lol.

P didn't end up staying for dinner last night so we had that spicy grain soup with fred's olive chipotle bread and butter:

the spicy grain soup is a recipe for post-holiday-excess virtuousness. it's got bulgur, farro, and barley in an ancho-chile spiked tomato broth with chopped carrot, zucchini, and sliced shitake mushrooms. the recipe is from food and wine is available here. one of the most full-flavoured and tasty vegan soups i've ever had.

okay, book reviews.

in the last few months, i read all of suzanne collins' "the hunger games" trilogy. this series is already the next HUGE young adult phenomena, and is touted as the next "twilight." that description does the series and the author an incredible disservice, as it's a trillion times better written, has a more progressive female protagonist, and is altogether a more sophisticated piece of writing. it's hugely addictive and has sold like, 2 million copies. my sister hepped me to it. they're also making a film adaptation. i'm not sure why it hasn't generated as much buzz in canada, but maybe it has and i'm just not up on it.

the story takes place in a future version of the U.S. in what used to be known as america, after an epic uprising there are now 12 districts controlled by district 1. to publicly illustrate its control over the other districts, district 1 demands that each district put forth 1 girl and 1 boy to compete in the hunger games, which is a publicized fight to the death with one victor. the book is kind of like a young adult running man. the main protagonist is a girl, katniss everdeen, who steps forward to take her sister's place in the hunger games and over the course of the 3 novels, unwittingly sets off a chain of events that leads to a rebellion against district 1.

of course, there's also romance and it's a good one, with peeta versus gale, easily eclipsing the whole jacob versus edward malarkey. i can't recommend this series enough.

my book club read dionne brand's "what we all long for," which one the city of toronto's best book award in 2006. it's a love letter to toronto and it's multicultural diasporic make up. it tells the story of 4 friends, different ethnicities, in their early 20s making a life in this strange, swirling, identity-bleeding metropolis. the central character is a vietnamese girl trying to make it as an artist, in love with her best friend carla, and whose family accidentally left her young brother behind in vietnam when they were leaving the country. the book is intensely poetic, with beautifully descriptive passages that create a sinuous and intoxicating portrait of toronto's grimy exoticism. it was a very contentious novel for book club though. it resulted in one woman QUITTING the club over some heated discussion that happened before i arrived (late). crazy, huh? i think that some of the women were put off by the depictions of raving and drug use and general early-20s bohemia. it didn't ring true to them. my book club is made up of women who are primarily very straight and narrow, so they found it a little too indulgent. personally, i think i've read too much diasporic post-colonial literature to really appreciate the book. it's fine, but nothing i would willingly pick up again - almost too literary and rote for that genre, but still beautifully executed.

finally, i finished "the immortal life of henrietta lacks" last month. this is a non-fiction story of the "immortal" cells of henrietta lacks, a poor black woman from the south, whose cells were taken without her permission and ended up proliferating and used in countless research studies. apparently there are trillions of her cells that have replicated through the years and cell companies routine sell her strand to researchers and hospitals around the world for use in clinical trials, cancer studies, etc. meanwhile, her family and children had no idea about their mother's legacy and grew up beyond poor. it's a pretty fascinating account of medical ethics, race, and economics, through the aperture of this one woman's cellular legacy. i did find that it dragged a bit in the middle, but the author does a really fantastic job of bringing to life her extensive research.

so that's what i've been reading so far. it doesn't sound like much, but i think it's pretty good considering how little time i have for everything. i'd probably get a lot more reading done if i had an e-reader. but despite my numerous hints, no one got me one for xmas. i had been leaning towards the kobo, just because it's so cheap, but i'm not liking the lack of search functionality. i'd get the kindle but i'm worried about the proprietary format bizness...i want to be able to buy books from anywhere and read whatever the heck i want on my reader.


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