Second book in the Abhorsen series, with a better main character than the first book and a companion who’s much more fun.
Second book in the Abhorsen series, with a better main character than the first book and a companion who’s much more fun.
Jack turned two during the pandemic – trucks and cars and the zoo and CAKE! No people.
I found this slow to start, but it eventually grabbed me, and when I finished it, I jumped straight into the second book.
Jack’s birthday month!
Jack in pandemic August
Jack in pandemic July means lots of sweaty long hair.
This is the end of the Linesman trilogy, which I thoroughly enjoyed in a very low-stakes kind of way. And I want more. This author (who is actually two sisters writing together under a pen name – I can’t even imagine) has written two other books, which I plan to read, but I want more Ean please.
Yay multiverse! I don’t think I can say much more about this book without giving away key points. I will say it went in a different direction than I was expecting, and I liked it, but I don’t want to spend any more time in this book’s world.
Jack in June – 21 months
Jack’s sleep has never been terribly consistent, but we found our routine and things had been going well most of the time (for the last few months, at least). Jack learned to fall asleep in the crib, not entirely on his own, but quickly, so it was working for us, and he usually slept through the night. On any given night, I would (or John would – we did it the same way) put Jack in the crib and then sit or lie down next to him and slide one hand between the crib slats. Jack might ask me to rub his back until he fell asleep, or he might grab my hand and hold it, roll over on top of it, or lay his head down on it. Not too long after that (most nights), he’d be asleep and I would pull the magician-tablecloth trick and get my hand back without waking him up.
It worked for a long time, and actually, it’s still working, but for the last few weeks, Jack has been waking up in the middle of the night and very clearly telling us that he’s upset because he woke up and we weren’t there. We were there when he went to sleep – what happened? That’s EXACTLY the reason all those sleep books give for why babies need to learn to go to sleep completely on their own. They wake up freaked out because things are different and they don’t understand. I read those books forever ago, but it’s only now that it’s actually a problem for us.
So now we need to fix it. It’s finally really truly time to teach Jack how to put himself to sleep without Mommy and Daddy in the room. It’s going to take a SUPER long time, though, because we have found out that we’re just not cry-it-out people. Can’t take it. Not gonna do it.
So instead, we’re going to take baby steps. First, no more hand. We’ll still put him in the crib and lie or sit down next to it, we’ll still talk or sing to him as needed, but no more falling asleep on top of or under the hand. Once we have that down, we’ll start moving farther away from the crib, toward the door, until we can put him in the crib, say good night, and leave. It’s going to take FOREVER, but I’m hopeful that it’ll work. There will be crying, but we won’t have left him alone to deal with it.
That’s the plan. And we have begun! Barely. On night one, I put him in the crib, sat down next to him like usual, and when he asked for my hand, I said “No hand.” Cue the crying. He cried and sobbed “Yes, hand! Yes, Mama hand!” for 32 minutes and then he passed out. Success? Sort of?
The next day at nap time, I did the same thing, but there was only an hour of crying, no nap. Which is pretty much what I expected for naps. The second night was John’s turn, and Jack was exhausted from not napping, so he fell asleep in John’s lap during story time. Doesn’t count. Day 2’s nap is where I think I turned our baby steps plan into even smaller steps (not on purpose!).
He was crying, asking for my hand, not napping, threatening to climb out of the crib, and then I got him to lie down and giggle a little by pretending to offer him my pinky, outside the crib, and then YOINK! He couldn’t have it. We did that for the last 10 minutes of the nap attempt. No nap, not surprising. Then we got to Night 3, my turn, and Jack didn’t ask for my hand! He asked for my pinky. I let him have it, his hand outside the crib, my pinky clutched in his fist, and he was asleep within minutes.
That’s totally cheating, I know. But at the same time, it’s kind of a step in the right direction, so I’m letting it ride for a few days before I take it away.
Second in the Linesman trilogy. After two meh books, I deserved a sure thing. Still good, even though I feel like not a lot happened, plot-wise. I like the characters, so I’m okay with that.
Jack identifies which song he wants to hear by describing the album cover (because that’s what shows on the screen for Amazon Music and Pandora). So “car” or “black car” is Pompeii by Bastille. “Blue car” is Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man. (The image is a black car on fire, but the reflection looks kind of blue.) Today, he requested “popple” (which is how he says people – it’s so freakin’ cute). Well, a lot of album covers have people on them. I started with the playlist that has both of the car songs on it. We scrolled through the whole playlist, trying each song, and he said no within five seconds of the start each time. We scrolled through the recent songs – none of those. I tried Huey Lewis and the News, since the album cover of Fore shows the band leaning against a wall. Not any of those. Then he looked at me very seriously and said “white people” (which came out as “woot popple” and I’m giggling remembering it). John was there, too, and we both told him he was exactly right – Huey Lewis and the News are as white people as you get. But that’s not what he meant. The song he wanted was “white people”. He grabbed my phone and pointed. Of course, it was at a song we’d already tried and he had already rejected, but he wasn’t wrong about his description.
Those are white people wearing very white shirts. Right on, Jack.
(It was Shut Up and Dance by Walk The Moon.)
This morning, at before-the-sun-comes-up early, I went into the bathroom and found a bug in my bathtub. I froze. It froze. It might be scary that it, you know, SAW me and froze, but at least it gave me time to think. Normally, I would grab a shoe and crush the hell out of it, but it was 6am and John had been up with Jack from 4ish to 5:30ish. Both were finally asleep again – if I smashed the bug to make myself feel better, I might wake them both up.
This wasn’t just any bug. It’s called a house centipede, I think. You’re welcome to google it. I did that once, and I’m never doing it again. This one’s body was as long as my thumb, and then it had legs. LOTS of legs, long and skinny, and it raises its body up on those legs, which is WAY scarier than slithering round with its belly on the floor.
I figured I could trap it under my water glass and get John’s help to deal with it once he got up, or at least wait until everyone else woke up so I could beat the crap out of it with a shoe. So I poured my water onto it. That got it moving (shudder), and it skittered in my direction. I did NOT squeal or yelp or make any other noises (except there might possibly have been some uncontrollable muttered swearing), and I DID manage to turn my glass upside down over it and trap it inside. It stopped moving, and I grabbed what I needed and left.
I worked for a while, not thinking about the bug, and then I went back upstairs a little after seven to get in the shower. THE SHOWER IS SEPARATE FROM THE TUB. It’s important to point that out. I was NOT going to climb into that bathtub.
I used my caps too soon.
THE BUG WAS NO LONGER UNDER THE GLASS. Luckily, it was still in the tub, near the glass, and it was kind of curled in a c-shape and not moving. Maybe it hurt itself getting out from under the glass. Maybe (likely) the edges of the glass weren’t flush against the tub, since it isn’t a perfectly flat surface.
It was time to get John. I would do the killing, but I thought I might need backup if I still wanted to do it quietly so I wouldn’t wake Jack up. The timing worked out pretty well. John was awake, and Jack woke up while I was telling John about the bug, so I brought Jack in to hang out with John and grabbed a shoe.
Meanwhile, in the
Batcave bathtub, the &$*^#%@ bug had moved again. But now, fully awake and without worries about waking others, and, most importantly, armed with a big-ass shoe, I was ready to take this thing down.
So I smashed it. One hit, no skittering, left a flattened bug with two little legs waving. An excessive amount of toilet paper was needed to gather up the remains, and then bye-bye bug.
Gave up: 9/19/20
I gave up on this one, but not through any fault of its own. I just wasn’t in the mood. It’s set in early 20th century Mexico, and maybe it’s fantasy and maybe it’s magical realism (which I generally do NOT like), but there are gods and bargains and LOTS of discussions of towns and their histories, and yeah. Not in the mood. It has really good reviews, so I feel bad about giving up, but not that bad.
I was really looking forward to this one – it was nominated for a Hugo this year, I loved the short story she was nominated for last year, and I liked the short story she was nominated for this year. The book didn’t start well for me. It was interesting, and the premise is interesting, but the writing felt…amateurish. It got better (I think), but the book within a book thing took too long to pay off. I did eventually get hooked, but I found myself thinking about giving up on it a couple of times. If I had read it between the ages of 10 and 18, maybe, I probably would have loved it.
We got SUPER lazy Saturday evening, and after a fun wander around the grounds of the lighthouse at Beavertail State Park, we went through the drive-thru at McDonald’s and got Jack his FIRST Happy Meal! We let him unpack the box himself, which resulted in a cascade of fries all over his high chair tray. He dipped his fries and his McNuggets all by himself and totally ignored the apple slices (which is a little surprising – lately he’s been all about the apple slices).
When dinner was over, we let him open his first Happy Meal toy! It was a weird potato-looking thing that we eventually figured out was an egg that opened to reveal a dinosaur. Jack was thrilled about the egg and totally freaked out about the dinosaur. (It’s a 2-inch tall T-rex with jaws that open and shut.) We put it safely away back in its egg, and he eyed the whole thing warily until bedtime.
He warmed up to the dinosaur when we tried again this morning, emphasizing that it’s a baby dinosaur, and look, it’s saying hello with a baby rawr. I found it later, stuffed between the couch cushions. We may have to put it away for a while.
Spaceships and FTL travel and psychic powers, oh my! It’s the first book of a trilogy that feels like it was written 30 years ago but only came out about five years ago. That’s not a dig – I really enjoyed it. While I was reading it, I felt like I did when I read books in middle and high school. It’s partly the subject matter and partly the style and the lack of awareness of current events. The characters are diverse and interesting without any point being made about it. Except that they exist without making any points about it, which is a point in itself.
We had a major breakthrough at the beach yesterday. Like, BIG.
Are you ready?
Jack – wait, I don’t feel like you’ve prepared yourself enough. I’ll give you another few seconds.
Jack played in the water. For reals. He was hesitant to go in at first, but he was willing to take one slow step at a time in, his back up against my legs and his hands in mine, all the way up to mid-shin. Then he scrambled to get up in my arms, but from there, he pointed imperiously out to sea. “Mama, DAT!” So I did. We waded out together, John close behind, until I was waist deep and waves were splashing us both. He kicked his legs and splashed with his hands, laughed when waves got him in the face (He LAUGHED! He still wails when we get water in his face in the bathtub!), and giggled when we spun him around in circles with his hands trailing in the water. When he got too heavy for both of us (we were taking turns holding him), we went back to where he could stand, and he marched and splashed and played, and it was like he was a whole different kid. And he protested getting out of the water! I promised him we would come back after the holiday weekend, and he agreed to come out.
What a nice surprise.
Jack keeps adding cute things to his repertoire, and I must share them:
Gave up: 8/30/20
It feels familiar at the beginning, and I wasn’t in the mood for another same-old story, but I’d heard good things about it and the premise is fascinating, so I kept going. Then there were hints of something really dark and awful going on that the heroine is going to find out, and okay, I’m interested, but she doesn’t follow up! Or she’s more interested in the same-old! Are you kidding me? And then I found out that it’s the first in a series, so I’m not even going to find everything out by the end of the book, and you know, I’m making up my mind to quit reading as I’m typing this.
Yup, I just read a few more pages and then skimmed a few more and NOTHING IS HAPPENING. Next!