Sunday, January 29

Game Time

Going through Mommy's backpack--he loves to play with earbuds.
It's hard to believe the first month of the new year is nearly in the rearview mirror. Liam is growing like a weed and becoming more and more the curious, exploring toddler everyday. Just as he was a happy baby, he is a giggly, happy toddler who is (mostly) even-tempered. Right now everything is a game to him. Bathtime becomes "Trying to Catch and Eat Bubbles," tooth brushing becomes "Catch Me If You Can," and any time he manages to breach the baby gate and gain access to the kitchen becomes a game of "How Fast Can I Empty the Cabinets Onto the Floor Before Mommy Catches Me?" As you might guess, he keeps us on our toes and routinely tests our reaction time. Still, I can honestly say I (mostly) love every minute of it. While it is bittersweet to see babyhood fade and give way to toddlerhood, I look forward to watching him become a little boy.
Hmmm...what else do we have in here?
Last week brought a new development--I played "with" him rather than alongside him for the first time. (Up until recently, he's still very much been a "parallel" player, meaning he does his own thing and plays alongside others rather than engaging playmates directly.) We rolled a little ball back and forth between us for about five minutes or so. The ball was just the right size for his little hand to get a good grip on it, and he enjoyed it when he discovered that if he rolled the ball in my direction I would roll it back to him. It was really fun to be able to play a game with him, so I hope this is the start of a new trend. 

In short, Liam is doing wonderfully. I wake up everyday wondering what Liam will do to surprise, entertain, exasperate, inspire, or...make me swear he will be an only child. It's pretty great.

Liam hardly ever looks up when he's outside.
He's way too curious about what's on the ground!
Opening and closing doors is
 a favorite pastime.
Daddy hasn't put the shelves in his bookcase yet,
which is just fine with Liam.
Mmmm. Spaghetti.

Friday, January 27

The Value of a Safety Pin

The Getty Center and I do not get along sometimes. Although I work at the Getty Villa, my duties often require me to be at the Center, and often things just go wrong during those visits. Yesterday was one such visit.  I arrived at the South Gate of the museum in the afternoon for a meeting on publishing curricula for teachers and was waved through the gate up to the coveted "Top of the Hill" parking. Villa staff are supposed to be allowed up to TOH parking when they come to the Center for meetings. This perk allows us to shave anywhere from 20-30 minutes off of the time it takes us to get up to the museum because we avoid waiting in line for the tram with visitors at the bottom of the hill. However, because TOH parking is so coveted, Villa staff are not always lucky enough to be waved up--it's pretty much a crap shoot. Even so, this time I felt victorious because the security officer kindly waved me through the gate. Yesss! 

Uh, well, not quite. I ended up driving around the parking garage for 20 minutes, keeping an eye out for anyone who was leaving, because all three levels of the parking garage were full. I would have gotten a parking space sooner, but some jerk cut around me and claimed an open space I was waiting on. After about ten more minutes of prowling the parking garage I came upon someone who was leaving, and was at last able to park my car. My plan was to head up and quiet my rumbling stomach with some lunch before my meeting. (The veggie burritos at the Getty Center Cafe are AWESOME.) And all was well. Yes? No. After an hour in the car, I needed a pit stop, so I stopped by the restroom. In order to look nice and professional for my meeting, I had worn my nice dress slacks, which have a zipper that goes up the side. Since this was just how my day was going at that point, that delicate zipper on my nice and professional dress slacks completely failed.  I now had a big gap in the side of my pants that threatened to reveal my brightly colored underwear to all the world once I left the privacy of the restroom stall. Crap. I immediately dug into the front of my backpack, looking for my keys.

A couple of years ago a woman at church gave me a safety pin and told me to put it on my key chain, saying, "You should always carry a safety pin." I did as she suggested, and it's been there for the past three years. As I took that safety pin off of my key chain there in the restroom stall, I was convinced that lovely, thoughtful woman was heaven-sent because God knew I had a disastrous wardrobe malfunction coming my way on January 26, 2012 and I was going to need that pin! It totally saved the day. I used it to pin the long black shell I had worn over my blouse that day closed, thus concealing the gaping opening in my pants and saving my dignity. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending--the rest of the afternoon was uneventful and the failed zipper went undetected.

Word to the wise: Always carry a safety pin. ALWAYS.

Thursday, January 5

New Challenges

Teaching a school group in the galleries.
Way back when, before my life was consumed by motherhood and the desire to use this space to keep friends and family updated on how Liam is changing and growing, I used to write about my work more often. Take, for instance, this post on my teaching philosophy, this post on how to look at art in a museum, and this post on things visitors do that annoy me as a museum educator. There was also this little gem of a post, relating the story of how one very young museum visitor was stumped by Heracles' pubic hair. As I scrolled back through my archived posts, I realized just how often I used to write about my job. A goal I have for this year is to start throwing in more work-related posts like I used to, if only to temper all of the mommy-related posts with a few stories about what it is I do when I'm not being Liam's mom.

As it turns out, the new year marked some significant changes for me at work. Up to this point the central focus of my job at the museum has been to teach--every thing from school groups and public programs in the galleries to gallery courses for visitors who would like to explore specific topics on the ancient world in-depth. However, beginning this month I began a new job coordinating teacher programs for our division. While I will still be teaching students and teachers, this new position is primarily a programming position; a major responsibility of the job is to generate programming and resources for teachers. This includes things like organizing educational workshops for teachers, generating curricula they can use in the classroom to teach their students about the ancient world, and getting involved with long-term projects dedicated to creating online and other technology-based resources for teachers. The museum is strengthening its school and teacher programs, so there will be plenty of work for me to tackle. What I find most exciting about my new role as project coordinator for teacher programs is the creative aspect. I will be creating programs and resources rather than just implementing them, which offers a new kind of intellectual engagement and challenges that my teaching position did not.

It has only been a few days, so most of this first week was spent getting organized and familiarizing myself with the current line-up of projects. Having taken this week to get my proverbial ducks in a row, I have no doubt I'll be fully immersed in my new role in no time. This new position also requires that I change to a Monday-Friday schedule--something I have not had for almost five years. During my time at the Villa, I've worked a Wednesday-Sunday schedule because teachers need to be at the museum on weekends to teach weekend programming. So, I've not  had a traditional working week in quite some time. Although there are things I will miss about being off on weekdays (e.g. fewer crowds at the store) I look forward to the change, since my regular days off will now be more in sync with Eric's and we will have more time off together. (Up to now, we've had staggered work schedules and as a result have only one day off together every other week.) Moving to a more normalized work schedule is great, but I will also be spending much more time at work. Not only will there be plenty of days that I will need to stick around after hours to oversee programs, I will still be coming to work on the weekend a couple of times a month to serve as the supervisor on duty for our department.

I'm sure it will be a little rocky and stressful over the next few months as I get used to my new job, but I am armed with a good sense of humor and the knowledge that this is an excellent opportunity to gain some new professional experiences and broaden my qualifications in a program area that is always in high demand on the museum education job market.