We made it through the giant week o’ birthdays! (One of our nephews, B, Katie, my dad, and B’s dad all had birthdays in the last week. Whew.) Last weekend we toasted to big milestone birthdays for both B and Katie, and I managed to hold it together on her actual birthday. Her first birthday hit me very much unlike Teddy’s, as I reflected on the highs and lows of the last year. Those 365 days were incredibly rich and full, but damn, were some of them hard. But we made it through the first year as a family of four, and that’s a very good thing.
As for the rest of the month…
Three things I’ve loved:
- Why we love our writing teachers so much. I love the story that George Saunders tells in this piece (in part because much of it happens at Syracuse, while I was there); I love the way he tells it, in timeline fashion; I love that it made me reflect on my most favorite writing professor, Bill Glavin. Bill died a few years ago, and although I still miss him like crazy and would absolutely love to spend more time talking about writing with him, I will hear him giving his trademark advice in my head forever.
- The Fug Girls’ recap of Lifetime’s unauthorized 90210 movie. OK, so I love pretty much everything the Fug Girls write (and as an aside, their book The Royal We has been optioned for a movie by Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman!). But this recap was undoubtedly better than the movie itself, which did have a somewhat catchy, kitchy quality to it. And the girl who played Jennie Garth is a ringer. But don’t believe me. Read what the Fug Girls had to say about it.
- Clothes without limits. Katie’s wearing a few of Teddy’s hand-me-downs mostly because they fit, and they’re among the rare pieces that made it through his infancy and toddlerhood in one piece. But I also like that they’re blue, and yellow, and red – colors that can be hard to find in the little girls’ section. I love that the Clothes Without Limits campaign is making it easier for parents to find clothes that send a positive message and that honor what their kids want to wear.
Three things I’ve learned:
- Why kids are still using graphing calculators. Ah, the good old TI-82. That hulking piece of expensive required high school math equipment, which I used mostly to play Tetris. The precursor to the smartphone, 20 years ago. Except, wait – schools are still requiring kids to buy the damn things, even though they could just as easily – and more economically – use their smartphones. Why? I bet you’d be shocked – just shocked, I say – to find out that it has something to do with lobbying by Texas Instruments.
- How the influence of the Washington Post’s sports section has rippled through the media. This story reads like a who’s who of sports journalism over the last 40 years. A great behind-the-scenes piece on how these writers (and editors, and now TV personalities) made the big time.
- There’s more to Sandra Boynton’s books than you think. I’m pretty sure that 50 years from now, I’ll still be able to recite “The Going to Bed Book,” which we started reading to Teddy before he was even born. (“The sun has set not long ago…”) I will also remain perplexed about the animals going up to exercise after taking a bath. But her stories have been the basis for many happy readings in our house, so I was glad to see this piece about them.
Three things for which I’ve been grateful:
- The 2004 postseason. I know, it was 11 years ago, so it’s kind of random to be feeling sentimental about it now. But the boys of summer took a decided backseat in my life this year, for understandable reasons having to do with the craziness of life with a baby and a toddler, and now that it’s October, I’m missing having the Sox in the postseason. We happily watched our 2004 World Series DVD on the first Friday night that they weren’t on in six months, and all the feelings came rushing back. Next order of business: booking our Spring Training trip.
- Awesome news for thyroid cancer treatment. A share of patients with the type of cancer I had (papillary, in the category of “differentiated thyroid cancer”) don’t respond well to radioactive iodine treatment, which is the first post-surgery line of treatment for those with tumors of a certain size or spread. But now a new drug, lenvatinib, is showing dramatic results in treating those RAI-resistant strains. This quote, from the doctor who led the drug’s global study, makes me so hopeful for where thyroid cancer treatment is headed: “These are unprecedented results for thyroid patients with such advanced disease.”
- Kid milestones. Katie learned how to point and to smack her lips like she’s giving kisses, and Teddy had his first school recital. I can’t believe how quickly they’re both learning, right now.
What did you love, learn, and feel grateful for this month?