Sunday, February 28, 2010


Our daughter Eva, who is about 21 months old now, is one tough cookie. The other night, while standing on a stool in the kitchen watching me cook dinner, she fell off the stool backward, landed on her bottom, fell back to hit her head, then rolled the rest of the way over. Her reaction was to stand up, look around, and say "Whoa!" like a little Keanu Reeves... Then climb right back up. This is frequently her reaction to this type of spill, which I'd estimate she takes several times per week.

Other people notice this as well; the other night we were at a gathering where another kid whacked her on the head with a plastic stick-like object a couple of times- and she didn't cry. A few minutes later she fell on some stairs and hit her head, only to get up and go right back to playing. One of the other parents at this event commented that she's like that Timex watch campaign- "takes a licking and keeps on ticking."

I think Eva's attitude makes her conveniently low-maintenance. My friend Madeline says it makes her the awesomest little girl ever. Assuming she makes it through childhood without some kind of major head trauma, maybe she could grow up to be a great boxer or distance-triathlete or something.

But that's only half of the story. This morning I had nursery duty at church, and it so happened that Eva was the only child present. The other worker went on to the service, and Eva and I were left alone to play during church. With full run of the nursery, Eva commandeered all the "babies" in the toy box. She was quite the little mommy, changing one baby's clothes, throwing another in the crib for a nap, all the while talking to them in her little toddler gibberish. She had me pour a bowl of Cheerios, then placed one baby facedown in the bowl for some breakfast. After attending to the other "infants," Eva returned to help this baby eat, cramming cereal pieces into the baby's little plastic lips and giving her drinks from her sippy cup of milk.

As I watched this, I started thinking about how great it is to be a girl. Though research suggests Eva's science teachers might subtly discriminate against her, and that she may someday make less than her male peers, there is something I've always appreciated about the way we allow girls to be both tough and sweet. She can play sports and wear a dress all in the same day, and nobody will bat an eye. Our son Daniel is more emotionally expressive than Eva, and cries a lot when he's hurt even a little bit. He will spend his childhood being encouraged to "toughen up" or discouraged by well-meaning men from playing with dolls or anything remotely pink at all. We just don't allow boys the freedom we allow girls in their gender roles. It makes me a little sad for Daniel, but hopeful that we can stay open-minded as parents and allow both our kids the freedom to be who they want to be, at least with us.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I like to think of myself as being fairly organized and a reasonably neat housekeeper. So that is why this little green block under Eva's crib has me in such a state of cognitive dissonance. See, this block has been on the floor, just barely under the edge of Eva's crib, for several weeks (a month or two?). I see it every time I sit on the floor in her room to change her diaper, read her a book, or wrap her in her blanket for a nap or bedtime. I think to myself, "Man, that block is still there. I should really pick that up." But I don't.

I have helped Eva pick up her room countless times since this block first appeared. I have put away stacks of books, done a weekly sheet-changing to the bed, even moved the rug to vacuum. I have reorganized our kitchen, steam-cleaned our carpets, but somehow it never seems convenient to me to pick up this block. I tell myself that I'll have to bend WAY over and reach under there and then open BOTH the drawer containing the blocks AND the lid to the box, and then it just seems like an inconvenient time for this whole block-picking-up thing.

Part of me wonders if I am subconsciously engaging in some sort of housekeeping chicken, waiting for Kyle or one of the kids to pick up the block first. They have messed up and cleaned up Eva's room dozens of times, also missing this block every night. How can this be? I mean really; they've even had that set of blocks out, and this one's not very far under the crib. They could have easily picked it up.

The thing is, it seems like there is always one thing like this in my life; one nagging thing that would be so easy to just take care of and be done with, but that I put off, over and over, carrying it to the next day's "To-Do" list like a remainder in some elementary-school math problem. I spend most of my summer putting off cleaning the garage. When I was working full-time, it was writing letters of recommendation for students. Last year, I left a pair of Kyle's pants hanging on our closet doorknob, waiting for a new button, for almost the entire regular school calendar (and even then it was Kyle's mom who fixed them in the end). It's like something in me needs to have something left undone. And I wonder, do other people do this kind of thing? Or do normal people put off actually unpleasant tasks instead of just trivial ones like I seem to?

Eventually, though, I always break down and do whatever it is that I've been avoiding. I never know what it is that gets me over the hump. Too much caffeine one morning? A particularly slow day in the Sterup house? Neither of these seemed to be the case this evening, but I finally did it. I reached under there, grabbed the block, and put it in its place. In my approach I also identified a couple of other things, way far back under the crib, and figured I'd better just go ahead and get those out while I was feeling all motivated about it.

The whole thing makes me wonder what morning will bring. I can sleep well tonight, basking in the relief of a task completed. Now that I've picked up the block it seems like I have a lot less to do tomorrow. Who knows what I'll accomplish?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Have a Good Idea

So our son Daniel has a number of catch phrases he's picked up recently, one of which is "I have a good idea...". The thing is, about 99% of the time, you can be sure that the very next thing out of his mouth will be something that is decidedly NOT a good idea. For instance:
-"We should skip taking baths tonight."
-"We could have m&m's for lunch."
-"I could skip my nap and watch a video instead."

Recently, I have been thinking about all the funny things our kids say and do, and all the family and friends we have living so far away, and thinking that I might like to start a blog. Somehow I feel more comfortable writing on a blog than I do commenting on Facebook, as here people only have to read my ramblings if they choose to click on the link, put me on their RSS feed, or whatever.

The thing is, that like many well-intentioned folks out there, I often start things with an enthusiastic bang, only to let them fizzle out after a period of weeks or months. To look around on the internet, it seems that blogging is one of those things that, like dieting or flossing your teeth, seems too easy to let slip. Knowing myself, I fear that I will fall into this trap, and will kick myself for wasting a whole nap-time setting this thing up in the first place. But I also know that there are many days when it would be so nice to just write my thoughts down, and goodness knows that in my time as a therapist I certainly recommended writing to my clients enough...

So I've decided to start, and to keep my fingers crossed that this blog won't be a good idea in the sense that Daniel has good ideas.