Thirty Million Words

I’m pretty sure that, when I’m walking through the grocery store with my five-month-old strapped to my chest, people think I’m a little crazy. Why? Because I carry on a nearly constant conversation with a little person whose only response might be a loud and emphatic: “Waaa boo BOOO!”

We talk about the smells (pungent fish, sweet oranges) and the colors (yellow bananas, green poblanos) and the textures (prickly pineapple, tickly cilantro). We identify the animals from which the meats are derived (chicken breasts: cluck cluck cluck).

I was a foreign languages major in college, and I vividly remember learning a new language (I talked a little about my experience learning French in this blog post). I know that the one thing that helped me the most was that my fabulous host family spoke with me (well, at me, at first) constantly in French. Well before I felt comfortable speaking conversationally in French, I began to understand what they were saying to me. Individual words became more distinguishable. Vocabulary became more familiar. Sentence structure started making sense. It was clicking.

So, from day one, I’ve been talking to my daughter with this in mind. I have always assumed that language would start clicking well before she could verbally communicate. And several months ago, she already started showing me that this is true (for example, when she began giving high fives on command or when she started looking around the room when her daddy would say, “Where’s Mommy?”).   

This book reinforces all my crazy grocery store conversations. 
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Circus Mirandus

IMG_7093When you have a kid, there are certain expenses that you anticipate, like diapers (our sweet girl averaged about twenty diapers per day in her first several weeks) and clothing (she is now five months and transitioning into nine-month clothes. Babies grow fast. You’re lucky if you get two wears out of that adorable outfit on which you spent $35 dollars).

I did not anticipate, however, that I would be spending gajillions of dollars on books for her. Already. But I probably should have. Our amazing friends and family threw us two showers that requested books instead of cards (like this one), and her room is FILLED with books.

IMG_7094Santa even brought a new bookcase for her first Christmas to accommodate the growing number of tomes. Nevertheless, I still find myself buying at least a couple books every week. Books are lovely. I can’t help myself.

Right now, we read a lot of mind-numbing board books (we’re trying to drill letters, numbers, colors, and shapes, after all). But we also get to read her some glorious pictures books. She can turn the pages on the board books and, if she’s in a particularly good mood, she can pay attention through one or two picture books.

Before long, we’ll be able to read her some chapter books. And I’m keeping a mental list of ones I can’t wait to read to her (nothing on this list will surprise you):

And now I can add a new book to that list! Continue reading

The Husband’s Secret

17802724.jpgThe Husband’s Secret
Liane Moriarty
Published July 30, 2013
394 pages (Kindle e-book)

This book begins with a single paragraph intended to foreshadow what’s to come. Here it is:

Poor, poor Pandora. Zeus sends her off to marry Epimetheus, a not especially bright man she’s never even met, along with a mysterious covered jar. Nobody tells Pandora a word about the jar. Nobody tells her not to open the jar. Naturally, she opens the jar. What else has she got to do? How was she to know that all those dreadful ills would go whooshing out to plague mankind forevermore, and that the only thing left in the jar would be hope? Why wasn’t there a warning label? And then everyone’s like, Oh, Pandora. Where’s your willpower? You were told not to open that box, you snoopy girl, you typical woman with your insatiable curiosity; now look what you’ve gone and done. When for one thing it was a jar, not a box, and for another—how many times does she have to say it?—nobody said a word about not opening it.

And foreshadow it does. The played-out literary trope, the annoying writing tics (like the excessive use of italics), the attempted (and unsuccessful) cutesy voice, the helpless (and stupid) woman: there’s much, much more of all of that in the remaining four-hundred pages of this over-hyped, uninspired novel. Continue reading

Our Souls at Night

There are certain things that we all find universally disgusting. These things include:

— The stuff that comes out of blackheads

— A newborn baby’s first “tarry” poo


And, of course:

— Old-people sex

More power to you if you’re still doing it, old people. But I would rather not hear—or think—about it. The liver spots, the old moans, the flappy skin, the jiggly upper-arms. Let’s face it: it’s a mental image that is not particularly sexy.

So, when my aunt suggested that I read a book about two seventy-somethings who embark on a nighttime relationship, I was a bit wary. Thankfully, the illusions to old-people sex are few and vague. Continue reading