What the hell is short'nin' bread, anyway?

So Eliot has this baby apparatus thing-a-ma-jig with dangling thingys that play music (yes, that's about as specific a description as I can make), and I caught Eli singing along with one of the tunes one day--"Mama's little baby loves short'nin' short'nin', Mama's little baby loves short'nin bread..." He claimed he wasn't making it up, that those were really the lyrics of an actual song, and as usual, I thought he was full of crap at first. He's always creating fictitious factoids and then laughing his ass off at me when I believe them.
So this morning, out of curiosity and procrastination, I got on "the Google" and looked it up, and I'll be damned if it isn't a real song. You can hear it and read the lyrics here. It's a somewhat disturbing little song, as I've come to find out most children's songs are.
When Eliot was just a few weeks old I was rocking him one day and trying to sing him a lullabye, but I quickly realized that I didn't actually know the words to any lullabies, so I just started singing "Fulsom Prison Blues" to him. (Eli and I had watched Walk the Line again a few weeks before he was born.) It was the only song I could think of at that moment that I knew all the lyrics to. Anyway, now I sing it to him all the time, but I'm fairly sure it puts him to sleep not because he finds it soothing, but rather because he has come to realize that sleep is the only means of escaping Mommy's tonedeaf, nasal voice. Oh well. Whatever works. We were in Walmart (otherwise known as hell) the other day and "Fulsom Prison Blues" was playing on their Musak. I was like, "Hey buddy, they're playing our song!"
Anyway, to make a long story longer, after I read the lyrics to the weird short'nin bread song I didn't feel so bad about my own choice of lullabye. Shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die might be sinister, but whatever the guy does with the gal making short'nin bread probably isn't any better.


Activity Analysis.

Today was the deadline to submit our "faculty activity analysis" forms at my university. The form asks faculty members to report approximately how many hours a week they spend working. I normally just mark 40 and turn the stupid thing in, but it always strikes me as incredibly pointless. How can I really be expected to give an accurate count of the hours I spend at my job? And which hours should count? Was I "working" today during my scheduled office hours when I was sitting here thinking about what I want for supper? Or was I "working" when I was running possible wording for new assignment prompts through my mind from 2-3 a.m. because I couldn't sleep? Am I "working" when I brainstorm new ideas for peer review while I'm washing the dishes? Or am I working when I'm showing a film in class? I planned my semester thinking that I could compartmentalize my life--work stays at the office and real life happens at home--but it's turned out to be impossible, and not even desirable after all. I never cease to be Mom/Wife/Sister/Daughter when I come to campus; neither does the teacher in me turn off when I pass through the door of my home...

A sneaky little scavenger.

As I was leaving the house this morning for work (after having dropped Eliot off at daycare and scurried home for a quick PB&J lunch), I disrupted a groundhog who was feasting on one of the seedpods from our passion vine. S/he scrambled for cover, and the only glimpse I got was his or her big furry butt as it splashed through a puddle in the driveway before finding a hiding place under the neighbor's car.
Funny little critter. I hope it went back and finished its lunch after I was gone.


I'm taking Eliot back to the pediatrician tomorrow for another consult on the ear infection. He's still tugging at his right ear, although his sunny disposition is mostly back. Over the weekend and all Monday (while I was home) he only wanted to be held and cried every time I tried to put him down anywhere or tried interest him in any toy or activity. Just wanted momma to hold him. He'd snuggle my shoulder and chew on his fingers and be content. Needless to say, this got frustrating rather quickly. I've loads of work to do that can't be done with a monkey on my shoulder, especially a monkey who weighs 16 pounds.

When I was just about at my wit's end I thought, "Wait a minute here. Let's take a different perspective on this. It won't be long before the little critter won't want to be held at all." It seems like yesterday I was rocking him to sleep, and now he adamantly refuses to lay back and rock--wants to sit up all the time. So I got to thinking that maybe I should look at this extra neediness the last couple of days as an opportunity to snuggle him close while I can--while he wants me to. After all, he won't always be my little man, and I won't always be able to distract him from all the hurts this easily. Guess I'll just keep holding him...

And then, he started smiling and laughing again. Go figure.


Here goes nothing.

What do you do when you have a cranky 5-month-old with an ear infection, dirty dishes piling up in the kitchen sink, an overflowing laundry pile, 60+ freshman composition essays to comment on and return, classes to plan, course materials to read, and a cat who poops on the porch? If you're me, you sit down and start your very own blog. It's about time.