Well, hi there!

It’s been a while. Like the whole summer practically. I hate starting every post with how hard it is to get time to write but that’s where each post starts. And that’s why I’m writing today from the bus. I think I’ll have to get used to finding ten minutes and here and ten minutes there.

So, no cup of tea. No humming dishwasher after cleaning up for the night. No sleeping baby. I did not clear an hour! But I’m writing.

I’m not sure exactly what held me up longer than usual this time. Maybe it’s more exhausting chasing after a toddler. Maybe I kept feeling like there was a big update that I wanted to do Right, but the window of opportunity never opened. Maybe I’m doing everything for everyone else and putting my needs last (I wouldn’t be the first!).

But it’s clear to me that it’s time to turn this around. I recently saw a TED talk by a woman named Mel (maybe I’ll link it later)- the essence of her talk was: just do it. It will never be the right time, you’ll never feel like doing it, and people who actually accomplish amazing things actually have to push through all that discomfort and simply set the alarm earlier.

So, here I am everybody! Writing from the bus. Yay. Maybe this is where I’ll write the book. Writing to work, running home. We do what we can.

It’s been an incredible summer. We were three weeks in Michigan, during which we had an epic 200-Year Storm that put the power out and no water with 13 people in the house for 5 days. It was Little House on the Prairie as we relied on neighbors with generators for drinking water, flushed toilets with river water, and E mastered the word “flashlight.” He had a total blast with his cousins, mastered pretty much everyone’s names (including Mama on my birthday), and loved loved loved the water.

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E is totally stimulated by new places, new houses, new people. He is clearly absorbing everything, creating new synaptic pathways at the rate of 2-3 million per second. You don’t want to waste those on anything pointless considering that learning can never again happen so rapidly and easily- so surrounding him with a big motley crew of people who adore him and take him around for summer activities of all kinds is the perfect education at this stage.

He calls many women “Ana” (his nanny) and many men “Chacha” (his grandpa). He’s beginning to learn about men and women caretakers and is trusting and interactive after a few hours of skeptical looks.

Back in SF, we’ve resumed our daily routine with gusto. I’m back to occasionally falling asleep at 8 without putting the dinner away. But- I’m making good dinners (and lunches and breakfasts- no one really told me the high % of time that meal prep and mental planning requires each day), we’re sleeping well, E is digging his daytime shenanigans with his buddies (always cries when it’s time to come home), and using new words all the time. Popular ones today were doggie, truck, on/off (as in the light switch), and pointing at the iPad and asking for Chacha.

We got to have a weekend getaway with my old and dear friend L in San Jose- only an hour but I hadn’t been down there with E due to simple logistics- L has 3 kids and between the two of us we could never seem to schedule. Plus I was admittedly loathe to drive an hour with the baby. So it was that much sweeter when we made it happen- a whole weekend poolside for E with the big kids plus a dinner out for me with L and C. I felt like I won the lottery for making it happen- it was relaxing (you know, in a running around after your toddler way), I got girl time at a wine bar (just blissful as this so rarely happens anymore), and we got to watch our kids play together for the first time.

We’re almost to the office and I’m pretty stoked on my new writing strategy. Opening up to new ways to achieve my dreams. If you keep trying to live the life you planned you won’t be showing up for the life that’s here. Big hugs and kisses and more SOON! Not even reading it through for typos! Mwah!

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Since before E was born, I imagined that he’d be an outdoorsy type; someone who felt at home in nature, sleeping under the stars, exploring in the woods, scanning for wildlife. Our travel together would be to national parks. I can’t remember if this took hold before or after I was pregnant, but it’s been my dream for him. What tiny person wouldn’t be thrilled to explore the great outdoors?

I also imagined that I’d be camping with a baby sooner than I did. It sounded easy and fun since babies don’t move and sleep wherever you put them. When it came down to it, though, it didn’t feel right to take a tiny baby out into the elements, and a trip never materialized.

I finally got it together to plan something for 4th of July weekend, with my friend J and her daughter S. We went to Samuel P. Taylor State Park, a gorgeous place less than an hour from the city with giant redwoods, a calm, meandering river, and steep hikes that take you up to expansive views of Marin County and Tomales Bay. I’ve been there many times on major day-long hikes as well as my 39th birthday.

Since it was my first time going with E, plus since J isn’t an experienced camper, I took it upon myself to plan carefully. I started a google doc days beforehand. We planned meals over text. On the day of, I packed the car to the gills with camping gear, a cooler of ready-to-eat food, and several bags of stuff.

Upon arrival, E wandered around the campsite, thrilled to explore and instantly covered in dusty dirt. It was nearly impossible to set up a tent or really do anything productive given that he was constantly toddling off and I had to redirect him away from potential poison oak, the river, and/or the few cars that drove by. J showed up and it was equally hard with two babies and two adults although at least we could take turns watching the little ones while the other accomplished something. She got so frustrated with her borrowed tent that she asked the couple across the street to help her, which they did, while I kept the kids occupied with bubbles.

At this point, I was pretty proud of how it was going. The tents were up and we had an amazing spread of food. There was no way we’d get out on a hike given how long it took us to set up camp, but we’d go in the morning. I patted myself on the back for not forgetting anything major. (I even commented to J that I was pleased to have prepared so well.)

Well, the black bean burgers would have been better with mustard, which I forgot. Then I realized we didn’t have a corkscrew for the wine, which we were able to borrow from neighbors. THEN I realized that I hadn’t packed the gas to fuel the camping stove, so breakfast of oatmeal and coffee was an impossibility.

Finally, once I was getting ready for bed, it dawned on me: I hadn’t packed anything for myself. I’m actually not exaggerating. I packed comprehensively for E–many, many layers of clothing and extra clothing to account for possible spills or extra cold or wet weather. Toys and books. Diapers and wipes. Etc. I had focused a lot on the food and all the necessary tools for eating.

For myself, I packed a bathing suit (which I didn’t need). I did not pack extra clothes of any kind. I didn’t pack contacts or bring my glasses. I didn’t pack a toothbrush or face wash or even think about a cosmetic bag. I pretty much had the clothes on my back, and that was it. I simply forgot.

It was nothing tragic and did not ruin the trip. But I have to say–hugely eye-opening. At what other time in my life would I forget to pack anything (at all) for me?? It would be impossible. Such a shocking reminder of how mom’s needs go last and sometimes are utterly and completely overlooked!

Thankfully, it was just a reminder and I was not terribly uncomfortable except for the sleeping. I figured E would just share my sleeping bag and Thermarest but he’s gotten big and can sprawl out in his sleep. I lost a lot of Zs making sure he was always on the Thermarest with some sleeping bag over him while I made do with whatever was left (not much). Good thing it wasn’t cold. The kid needs his own sleeping set-up–a second Thermarest and a second sleeping bag. Or whatever you get for someone who’s 25 pounds. We will hook this up for Round 2!

Otherwise, he slept according to his normal routine, and the moms got to roast marshmallows and make perfect s’mores, accompanied by great conversation and red wine. In the morning, he woke up and said, in his own language, “Wait, we’re still here? We’re outside? In the woods?! We’re in a tent! This is awesome!”

We did some hiking, met some kids, checked out the river and some dogs and birds. Now he’s saying “tee” (tree) and “bow” (pronounced like the kind you take after a performance = ball).

And I’ve updated my packing list to include a section for “Mom.”

xo

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I came up with the most brilliant idea. I still have to work out the logistics, but I’m going to start running home from work. It’s a distance of three miles. If I change at 4:30 and hit the door at 4:35, I should arrive to pick up E around 5:15pm, which is only ten minutes later than if I take the bus. Look at me, slipping in a workout AND outdoor time AND mood boost AND me time, all without changing our schedule!

There are some unresolved details here. I don’t think I can or should try to manage this while I’m still pumping. I’m not trying to run across San Francisco with breast milk sloshing in my fanny pack. I don’t even have a fanny pack (yet). Or whatever type of tight-fitting backpack I’ll need to carry my wallet and keys and phone. That part will be easily figured out, and I’m sure there are any number of running specialty stores excited to help me (and advice is welcome!). But not with milk and all the accoutrements in addition to work clothes/shoes and empty lunch containers and etc.

I think I’m almost ready to stop pumping. Heavily qualified by “I think” and “almost.” I like sending a bottle of my liquid gold each day. But even the nanny is saying he’s often not interested, AND he’s nursing more than ever in the hours we’re together, likely due to a gnarly moral coming in. I feel nervous about his daytime nutrients coming only from the food I’m preparing which he only sometimes wants to eat… And I guess I’m, oddly enough, nostalgic about the pump. Not that I love pumping, just feel like it’s part of the whole experience and now it’s almost over.

Our office just moved to a new location. In the old office, I had a cute little room with two comfy chairs and a fridge, and a window (with a curtain). In the new location, I have a windowless tiny storage room where I have to unplug a microwave to plug in the pump, set the accoutrements on boxes, and block the door which doesn’t lock. Yes, these are all signs! It’s time to wind it down.

They say they’re getting an “occupied” sign for the door. And of course it’s all guys who sit directly outside that door. Yesterday, I was asking this moving coordinator guy where to plug in and our IT guy made a joke about plugging into the adjoining server room, where you can hear buzzing and whirring of the server from behind the door. I said, “Yeah, I think that might be a little too much power,” and everyone laughed and it was at once terribly awkward and hilarious (which also kind of sums up pumping).

Anyway, not-pumping leads to the next dilemma–running home with super-full boobs. I suppose that’s all about the running bra. Won’t E be happy to see me showing up busting out! He literally makes the sign for nursing every time he looks at and/or touches me. Maybe he thinks it means, “Mom.” In a way, it really does.

E is only more and more delightful. Mostly–he can now get as frustrated as joyful, as his emotional spectrum gets more complex. He’s really reaching to communicate–he’ll say “Da? Da? DA? DA?!! DA???!!!!” increasing the volume to comical levels while pointing at something he wants, like more strawberries. One of my mom’s groups has been emailing about tantrums and there’s been nothing yet that I would call a tantrum, but definitely mounting frustration when it’s not what he wants. Usually he’s still distractable.

Oh and did I mention that he said his first word? I almost didn’t believe it when the nanny told me, and then, right before my eyes, E pointed at his little buddy and said, “Ta-ee!” or, “Charlie.” And then he did it about a million more times in case I didn’t believe it–in the evening, on the weekend, always with a big smile like he’s thinking about his friend. I think he’s also saying “Chacha” (or “Tata”) which is his grandpa. I’m hoping he learns “Mommy” and have been self-consciously referring to myself a lot in his presence. :o

And he’s walking up a storm. He pretty much doesn’t want to be carried for transportation and insists on walking. He’s falling less and less but getting more and more circuitous in his route, checking out driveways and curbs and cars and not going in the direction we’re trying to go. It takes forever. I pick him up and he throws himself horizontal, trying to get himself back on the ground. He insists on climbing up the steps or walking up with my help, stopping to ring L’s doorbell and check out a bird toy on the top landing. I think he would go up and down the stairs all night if I let him.

My favorite thing he did lately, which my sister B was here to witness: I served dinner which included some butternut squash. I picked up one cube and blew on it twice before handing it to him. Then he blew on it twice and then put it in his mouth! Our eyes popped out!

HOW HOW HOW is it July tomorrow? I am in complete disbelief that the year is half over. But I’m not complaining that we’re heading for a long weekend and vacation not too long after that.

And I’m running and he’s walking. Kisses to the universe! xo

(shaking his bootay at Pride)

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I just want to remember this evening. An ordinary Monday.

I hopped on the wrong bus after work–an express bus that was headed for the ocean, way beyond where I get off to pick up E. When I realized it, I ran to the front to plead with the driver to let me off. He was not cheerful about it but didn’t say no. I stood next to him quietly for about ten blocks until he said, “Ready?” and I jumped out at a stop light, navigating across the median to circle back to E.

It was a cool, foggy evening, with brief moments of sun. The breeze felt good on my bare legs.

I walked into the house and, rather than greeting me or raising up his arms to be picked up, E immediately wanted to show me everything in the room, pointing at one thing after another and saying, “deh? deh? deh???” He wanted to keep playing too, which I always love to see.

He was not thrilled to be put back in the stroller, and V (his nanny) told me that he would probably be going to bed early because he’d only slept 45 minutes all day.

The tears stopped as soon as we walked outside. I kept popping my face around to the front and saying “boop!” until he smiled and laughed at me. Then he started telling me about his day, “digadigadiga.” On the way home, I thought about getting him out of his stroller to walk part of the way home (now that he’s walking!), and then decided that would be a terrible idea considering his pace and propensity to get distracted.

We arrived home, and I put his stroller in its convenient storage spot on the ground floor and then hoisted E, my purse, and my backpack (some days I also have the diaper bag too but not today). When we got to the bottom of the stairs, I let him climb up himself, positioning myself behind him to catch him if needed. He was very irritated with me that I didn’t want to let him go back down once he got to the top.

We walked in and he stood in one place and cried until I got everything set down and got out of my dress to nurse him. He now enthusiastically gives the sign for nursing with both hands.

After nursing, I pulled out a frozen dinner from a meal exchange I did last month (made by a mom friend) and put it in the microwave. E wanted to open, shut, open, shut the microwave and I only let him do it a limited number of times so I could keep dinner moving forward. While it was defrosting, I sat down and played with E and his blue car. I perceived a poopy diaper and changed him. At one point, he let out a scream just to hear himself do it. I tickled his belly with my nose while he giggled. I tried to imagine what his older-boy laugh would be like someday.

Before dinner, I put on Ben Webster to remind us of our old friend, Herb. I got out a beer and served quinoa and the defrosted garbanzo beans with veggies, and the requisite container of berries (probably $17 worth from the farmer’s market–we are helping keep berry farmers in business). E was uninterested in the garbanzo beans and carrots, which were thrown unceremoniously to the floor. He did take a few bites of the soup with quinoa. Mostly, though, he jammed a whole wheat tortilla in his mouth. When it was berry time, he eschewed the blueberries and requested more raspberries. I agree, they were delicious.

I cleaned up (not much of a job thanks to the frozen meal) and got the bath running. He had quinoa in his hair and dirt under his fingernails. I got him in the tub and he clanged a plastic comb on the bath faucet while I washed his hair and dabbed him with the washcloth. We read each of his three bath books, which are getting a little old. (“Splish, splash, little duck! Time to wash, says fish! Bathtime friends are fun!” Who writes this stuff??? Of course, he loves it though.)

He didn’t want to get out of the tub after pulling the plug and replugging it several times, so I finally insisted. He’s very consistent about hating the transition from tub to jammies, like he doesn’t want the day to end. I wrapped him in a towel and picked out his jams and a diaper. While I towel-dried his hair, he wanted to nurse, sitting in a little ball in my lap. I held him there in the towel.

After a while, I had to insist on a diaper before I got peed on. I distracted him with his favorite animal book. Then I got the coconut oil and we took three deep breaths and I did a little massage on his arms, belly, legs, and face. Jams on, and we did songs. He liked them so much that he signed for “more!” So we did one more (Old MacDonald) and then I nursed him to sleep and he went down easily.

Now it’s 8:20pm and I’ve already cleaned up and started a load of laundry and made tea. And written a post. What a luxury–not all evenings are so smooth.

I know that I’m going to blink and he won’t be a baby anymore!

xo

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Jeez, Louise, it’s been over a month. While writing this blog may be one of my favorite way to spend my free time, my free time is at an all-time low. But here I am for 30 minutes so let’s take advantage:

  • E’s birthday was wonderful. It was a sunny day (in a month of cold, foggy, windy days), many dear friends and family showed up or facetimed in, and I tried to give a little speech pre-candles but got choked up and could not get the words out. Still, that’s probably enough for people to get the point. I’m so grateful for this amazing crew of people who have supported me in a million generous ways since E was a sparkle in my eye.
  • The party itself was a metaphor for this, with a parade of friends carrying all the stuff from my car up a big hill in multiple trips and helping me set everything up in a not at all over-the-top but very sweet and dare I say Pinterest-worthy display of food and E celebration.
  • People congratulated me. I didn’t realize how much the 1st birthday is about the mom. According to my midwife, in Japan, they bring gifts for the mom, not the baby.
  • E is one. He is pure joy.
  • Lately, he is doing these things:
    • Tonight at swimming class, he so loved the “sit jumps” that he signed for “more.” I do not have a photo of him in goggles but it is awesome so stay tuned for that.
    • He is almost-walking. Tonight he walked from my couch to the kitchen door, which is about 10 steps. He is still a drunken sailor, but each day he gets a little less wobbly. He definitely stands unassisted now.
    • He is also almost-talking. He’s go-to phrases are “gabagabagabaga” and “digadigadigadiga.” With a lot of Cantonese thrown in. He pants when he sees a dog. And he’s really verging on saying “Hi!” (without the H, so “I!”) and “baby,” which comes out “bapee” (but, so far, not when there’s an actual baby within sight).
    • Lately, when I pick him up, he pats my shoulder for a while, like “You’re doing a good job, Mom.”
    • We’re still nursing and co-sleeping same as ever. I expected something to change by now, but nothing did, so I’m sort of without a plan and no one in exactly my boat (except a blogger friend in Boulder ;) )–so, I suppose my plan is just to keep going as long as we’re both enjoying the current set-up.
    • It looks like there’s going to be no self-weaning nor much of a decline in demand anytime soon. I’ll probably go another year. I was at the dentist the other day and she and the dental hygienist were going on and on about a patient of theirs still breastfeeding her 5-year-old and how weird/wrong/crazy that was, and I felt like–OK. I won’t be breastfeeding a 5-year-old. But isn’t this a very personal decision? And one that isn’t likely doing harm to anyone? Why do people jump in with how weird it is, really nice people who mean well? What button is this pushing for people? The WHO recommends going until age 2. I recently read that humans naturally wean anywhere from 2-7. Why would we deprive these little ones of their liquid gold?? Not to mention depriving the moms of their go-to soothing strategy when their child is sick or hurt or upset. I don’t get the backlash, I really don’t. Hoping we can all do what we can to #normalizebreastfeeding.
    • Co-sleeping is the best. I know I’m outside the norm here too, From my perspective, there are only benefits, like cuddling, nursing without fully waking up, and starting the day together with smiles instead of crying. He’s a great sleeper, basically from 7pm-7am, minus a few wakeups to nurse which I am sure are totally biologically normal, expected, and beneficial. I don’t know where the nighttime nursing is headed but I’m making an effort not to read anything written about it because this will just make a person crazy.
    • I’m doing a massive decluttering project based on what I’ve heard about the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up–I don’t even have time to read it but just with the high-level principles it’s going really well. I gave away 5 trash bags of clothes and probably as many boxes of books. I’m clearing space. It feels awesome and is much easier to work on while my parents are here. But I’m challenging myself to take my productivity to the next level–not rest on my laurels with the basics. Let’s keep things moving forward–keep organizing, keep prepping, keep writing, keep dreaming.
    • My eyes are hanging heavily now… we were awake at 5:30am today due to me sneezing with an itchy head.
    • I went to an SMC meeting today. There were mostly moms of babies up to 2-year-olds, plus two twin moms, plus a handful of thinkers and tryers–the net result was that everyone was holding a baby. It’s crazy–no one can even help each other because no one has a free hand! Yet, these women are superwomen–we all get it all done. And a twin mom shows up with two babies and a homemade pumpkin chocolate chip bread. High five!!
    • OK, heavy eyelids and dry contacts are winning. Thanks for hanging in there with me, readers! I intend to be back with another post soon, mark my words. xo

1

I’m increasingly nostalgic as E’s birthday approaches. Today, May 4, was my due date. I watched it come and go and then spent another two weeks living in the surreal state of waiting and getting huger.

At this time of year, the sun travels more directly overhead. It rises in the morning, centered above the neighboring rooftop and shining straight onto my bed, where I lay like a whale last year. It sets in the evening, slanting through the kitchen window to the living room, where I sat on the couch and ordered omelets from my dad. Every day we waited, every day no sign. It was a happy time, yet, like so many things, not what I expected.

Now the sun rises, centered above the neighboring rooftop, and there’s a little person laying next to me going, “Gaba gaba gaba.” The sun sets, and he’s standing below me, raising his hands to be picked up, an expression on his face that says, “PICK ME UP” as emphatically as possible without words.

Tonight he correctly did two signs in context: he requested to nurse when he was feeling a bit distressed (I actually had him on my lap while I was peeing in an effort to avoid a big protest–he missed his afternoon nap today) and then during dinner he requested more blueberries. And when I suggest he find his blue car, he finds his blue car. When he wants to communicate in the affirmative, he says, “Yah.” When it’s negative, as demonstrated tonight when I offered tofu, bok choy, quinoa, and strawberries, he shakes his head vigorously. More blueberries.

One whole trip around the sun.

I decided to go see Dr. Tran. I know this seems out of the blue, but it’s not. I’ve been shy about telling you. There’s something about having a baby that made me immediately thing about #2, pretty much on a daily basis. Will this be the first and last time I experience all of these milestones? Will everyone think I’m completely off-my-rocker bananas for considering this much less going ahead with it? What if I never gave those frozen embryos, full siblings to E, a shot?

Let me first say that I’m 1000% sure that I want to try. And I hope that where there’s a will there’s a way. But there are a few hurdles to overcome here, namely the financials. And getting pregnant again. Which, let me remind you, dear readers, was not so easy the first time around.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves–I decided to go talk to Dr. Tran because when E was born I “gave myself a year” before thinking seriously about it. But what I most needed to find out was–with frozen embryos, is there any rush?

I met up with Dr. T. last Thursday in the shiny, sparkling brand-new Marc Benioff-funded facilities of UCSF that just opened in Mission Bay. I hadn’t seen Dr. T. in almost two years. It was like old times. As always, he looked handsome in scrubs.

I remember distinctly his last comment to me at my last appointment at 9 or 10 weeks pregnant: “You have embryos, you’ll be back.” It’s been ringing in my head ever since.

Upon greeting me in his office, he said, “Well, I didn’t think you’d be back THIS soon!” And I explained, bashfully, that this was purely informational, I wasn’t in any hurry. Just needed the information from him rather than trusting the internet or anecdotes from friends.

Essentially, he said that there’s no rush on the frozen embies. My relative chances will be the same next year, or the following year, or the year after that. Which felt like a relief… I realized that the decision was starting to weigh on me, as I paid a hefty annual storage fee for the embies plus five vials of sperm. And now I feel like I can give myself another year or more and just enjoy and really not worry about it either way.

I got choked up when I thanked him… He’s the closest thing to a babydaddy that I have–in so many words, I said thanks so much for knocking me up and helping bring this beautiful boy. It’s been a thrill and a joy! (Now take me out for dinner already!)

Beyond the FET (frozen embryo transfer) of my two remaining, PGS-tested embies (one good, one not-so-good quality), an IUI or IVF attempt would have low success rates at my fast-accelerating decline in fertility. So, I think I’m letting that go.

Dr. T asked why I would want another baby. Which is an intriguing question, and was the first time around as well. He asked if it’s just been so wonderful in all respects that I can’t wait to do it again? I think it’s not exactly that; even if it kind of is that. It’s sort of about going through it again and it’s about a sibling for E and becoming more of a clan than a pair. But, in a way, it’s not really those things… Like the first time, it’s just an intangible desire. I think everyone who chooses to become a parent knows what I’m talking about.

He kept encouraging me to enjoy my “sure thing” which is a totally Reproductive Endocrinologist way of saying that I already have a baby–a 100% guaranteed baby on the right side of all the odds. I’m still pinching myself that he arrived one year ago plus 15 days.

I just re-watched the birth video the other night with, as always, complete awe. My vagina blows up into the size and shape of a standard balloon as E’s head makes it’s way down the canal, and then they start yelling, “K, reach down and get your baby!” and someone is yelling, “Baby! Baby! Baby! Baby!” and there is chaos and the camera view flips around and then he’s there on my chest and I’m exclaiming, “Oh my god oh my god oh my god [hyperventilating]…”

In two weeks, we’ll celebrate his birthday in the park with the community who supports us every day and I will only moderately stress about the number of cupcakes and the placement of the balloons–my boy is turning ONE! It’s too awesome in the breathtaking sense. He is the one I love the most on the planet.

Even though I love you guys A LOT.

xoxo

11 point 5 months

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The banana bread is in the oven, the baby is sleeping, and I just sat down to write to you. (And then the baby woke up, I nursed him, put him back down, and sat back down to write to you.)

It’s Friday night. As if the lack of exercise weren’t enough, working from home means negative zero physical activity… I have pledged to run in the morning, with the stroller, in the rain if necessary. E’s first birthday approaches and has been kind of a mental New Year’s on the horizon in terms of getting back in shape. There’s just not enough time, no matter how you slice it.

I wailed to my co-worker the other day about the lack of time to write, “and then I walk out after putting the baby to bed and I have to do the dishes!!” She said, “The dishes can wait.” But, the thing is, I feel like they can’t wait. Not for very long. A 24-hour cycle of no one doing dishes is quite a pile and I can’t bear to let it snowball like that. I actually don’t mind doing dishes. It’s that part of your brain that just wants to shut down and watch completely mindless and random videos on facebook. It’s hard to stay productive when I reach that point.

But I must say that everything, EVERYTHING is easier now that we are WELL. Yes, we are well. People say, “How are you?” and I say, “I am well, thank you.” We are well, you guys! It feels so great. I’m only the teensiest bit paranoid whenever I see a little trickle out of E’s nose or hear more than a light little cough. But we should be good for a little bit (knock on wood). That was a long road.

E will be one year old in less than a month! It is totally unbelievable, isn’t it? I mean–yes and no. Like all times, it goes simultaneously fast and slow. In some regards, he’s huge. Otherwise, he’s still a really little person. I looked at him tonight thinking he didn’t grow that much in a year. But, then again, he more than doubled… And he has only days left of babyhood!

His babbling is taking on truly Chinese proportions. I’m convinced he’s speaking a language I just don’t understand yet. A few words may be coming into focus–he can answer in the affirmative, as in, “Should we have breakfast?” “YEAH.” And if he doesn’t want a specific bite of food I offer him, he can answer in the negative by vigorously shaking his head. He also does it after I say something with “don’t,” like “Don’t bite me!” (shakes head vigorously)

He also is getting way more confident with (assisted) walking–there’s a cooler and a kitchen rack on wheels that he alternately uses as his baby walker, always with his lips pursed and a true sense of mission. The exact expression of a guy working for a moving company. “Excuse me, outta the way, we got a cooler coming through… Yep, right here. OK. Great. Now we’re going to have to get it back into the kitchen.” Etc.

It’s surreal to be so close to this changing little person because you end up blinking and noticing a big leap. Today I felt like his movements were suddenly more fluid, his hair longer and curlier.

Did I tell you that his cousin E taught him how to hug??? Yes–and he’ll give me a hug on command, complete with the pat pat pat on my back.

He’s a sweet one. A great student of life, a cuddler, and a big sense of humor. Lots of smiles and jokes, mainly involving repetition of something (anything).

Tomorrow we’re heading to a joint birthday party of all the babies in my mom’s group. I can’t believe my good fortune to have landed in the company of these talented women. I’ve mentioned them before–a community started by two pregnant moms which grew and grew until it became several dozen women, all with babies born in the span of three months.

Now they’re all turning one, so we’re having one big playground party, complete with food, toys, games, t-shirts that say “We are ONE!”, a photo book of all the babies, a frozen meal exchange, a photographer, and probably more. I just looked at the google doc and there are 21 women planning to come, with their babies and husbands, and I know all of them–most of them I know pretty well. Maybe one or two I only recognize their names from emails. But it’s legit–a true, organic, functioning, active community.

E is one of the youngest (and biggest) of the group. I finally started planning his own party. After one location change and an evite which has resulted in an insane number of Yes RSVPs, I am super excited and trying to find my middle ground between laziness and Martha Stewart. I’d like to mark the occasion with a few sweet details and let most of it be about sharing time with our favorite people. No themes! No Pinterest scenes. But yes: a banner, balloons, cupcakes, snacks. And I’d like to say a few words! (I feel like it makes sense to make a bigger deal before he knows what’s going on!)

Banana bread is out and I need to get my tired-from-lack-of-activity bod to bed.

This guy says, “Happy weekend!”

11 months

Well, I seriously jumped the gun on the last post. That evening, E had a bit of a runny nose, and my intuition caught it but my verbalized assessment was, “I sure hope that’s because we just came in from the wind!” It was actually the beginning of a New Cold.

Before the Old Cold was even over! I don’t know why it’s taking me so long to believe that we could be sick this long, but I resist it and resent it. I’m used to getting a cold like this: one night I start feeling a sore throat coming on. For the next 24 hours, I feel stuffy, achey, tired, ply myself with Emergen-C and fluids and neti pot. Maybe a cough develops. By the next day, I’m on the upswing. And then I’m back to normal. Remember those sweet little blips of yesteryear?

I don’t know if it’s having a baby or the new superviruses or both, but the last two winters have been brutal. While pregnant, I developed a similar long-term, travel-related, bronchial cold that only let go after several weeks and two rounds of antibiotics. This time, while E has jumped from croup to cold virus to pink eye to double ear infection to New Cold, I’ve pretty much hovered with my Old Cold, with that barking, conversation-stopping cough and nasally stuffed head. It’s all probably normal for a baby’s first year but MAN. It makes regular old baby parenting seem easy.

So, despite aiming for a New Era of Wellness last Monday morning, I picked up a goopy kid at the end of the day, hesitantly sent him with the nanny a day after that (still believing maybe, maybe it’s the evolution of the Old Cold??), and by 11am Tuesday morning had confirmed with the doctor over email that it’s probably a New Cold and confirmed with the other baby’s mom that I shouldn’t have him around the other baby. So, I left work and stayed home with E on Tuesday afternoon AND Wednesday when I took him to a two-week follow-up for the ear infection (it was a bad one—still healing two weeks later and yes, it’s a New Cold, but no drugs needed. The pediatrician mentioned that he hasn’t breathed through his own nose in a month.). We had a back-up nanny come Thursday, and our regular nanny (who is one-on-one with E on Fridays) came on Friday. His nose ran and ran and ran and still ran today.

I finally discovered the Nosefrida, an ingenious yet simple device that lets you gently suck the snot out of a baby’s nose. While my first impulse was to gag (weird since I’m usually not grossed out by this kind of thing but it felt like I was going to suck it into my mouth, which wouldn’t actually happen thanks to a filter and a long tube), it was eventually super satisfying to see quantities of snot come out, knowing that it likely represented many rounds of Kleenex dabbing and overly dramatic baby reactions. For the first couple of days, E kind of giggled like it tickled and let me do it. Now, he acts like the thing is an instrument of torture and he swings his head around, pulling threads of snot across his face and then spreading it around with his defiant little fists.

I know snot is our friend and trying to help us get well but we’ve gone through like 12 boxes of Kleenex in a month and I can’t believe I have to go get another 4-pack. (I need a Kleenex as I type this.) Come on, spring! Free us of the Snot!!!

AWe had what felt like a super-busy day although not too much actually happened other than moment to moment survival. After waking up, E crawled down to the end of the bed where there’s a gap between the crib and the siderail, and masterfully turned his body around to go off the (barely raised) bed feet first. As I watched from bed, he initially checked on his two favorite things in the room: the dimmer switch and the humidifier, and then he crawled to the closed bedroom door and banged on it. Let’s go, Mom!

So we began our messy day, from the snotty face wipes to the little almond butter sandwiches that instantly get pulled apart and smeared on hands/face/tray/floor/etc. to big diaper changes to emptied tupperware drawers and bookshelves. New drawers and shelves are being discovered all the time, with such enticing items as a hair dryer and old boxes of pantiliners–I let him play with everything that isn’t actually plugged in, doesn’t come apart into small pieces, and isn’t toxic. Whenever I lose track for a moment of where he is, I hear a splish splash from the bathroom and he has his hands in the toilet.

We had planned on doing a hike to test out the baby backpack in preparation for our upcoming trip to Yosemite (!) but he needed a nap around 11–I didn’t want to miss the window and wasn’t yet ready to get out of the house for a car nap. So I started trying to get him to sleep and he was very resistant, weaving around his crib like a drunken sailor and crying plaintively. After 45 minutes of nursing and waiting, I pulled him into the bed and he went to sleep instantly, staying asleep for 2 hours. While he slept, I lay beside him and did extensive meal planning and grocery shopping on my phone, thank you technology.

Finally, we got out to the playground, ran into one of my neighbor friend’s husband and their son AJ who is 4.5 months older than E (I met them on E’s 3-day-old pediatrician appointment) and AJ was RUNNING, like a gazelle, all over the park. I mean, I just saw him maybe 5 weeks ago and he had just started walking and today he was as graceful as you or me. I almost didn’t recognize him. This is going to go fast!

After a stop at the grocery store, we got ourselves together (after E dumped the water from the humidifier base all over himself requiring a complete outfit change) to drop off some food and baby stuff for dear old friends D and B and new baby O (welcome, O!!) and then met up with my sister for burritos and beer. E fell asleep on the way home at just past 7 and after I got him settled in his crib, I also fell asleep until now, midnight. I kind of slept through the 10pm or so wakeup where I pulled E into the bed with me. Now I’m typing in the dark as E snorfs in his sleep, poor man, the humidifier hums beside him, and the day-old supermoon blasts white light from the sky.

I suspect that partnered moms and/or single moms with more than one kid do not fall asleep at their baby’s bedtime and then wake up disoriented at midnight in all their clothes, with teeth unbrushed and contacts still in, trying to remember what it was they meant to do with their evening. It feels like a really specific byproduct of this specific life circumstance, and I’m not complaining. It feels good (although I wish I could say I needed it from all the exercise (ha ha!)–I think we’re still in a state of rebuilding our immune systems and O may they rebuild! I won’t make any more predictions, just willing the wellness.).

I leave you with a photo taken of us last weekend at a cute little Bunny Hop event in GG Park last weekend looking pretty healthy! I may or may not have worn that top to bed the night before…

Happy Easter and Passover, and may you live healthy. xo

easter

We are finally getting better. That was 3+ weeks of coughing in a socially unacceptable way. I’m just so happy to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There were moments when I thought–well, I’ll just have to get used to this cough, because I will have it FOREVER. But thankfully no–the cough is decreasing in intensity, for both E and me.

After an eventful weekend that included a lot of walking and outdoor time, I am super exhausted but approaching Monday morning as the Post-Illness-Era–the dawn of a new day. I worked from home four days last week and, while I am more productive when not having to commute, it will be nice to get out into the world and have to wear something besides yoga pants again and (at least partially) tame my wild, and much of the time unwashed, hair.

I have a pot of lentil soup in the fridge and two lasagnas in the oven. I will not get around to folding the clean laundry that’s been on the guest bed for a week now. You win some, you lose some. We are not perfectionists around here.

E is blasting through his development and it’s kind of mind-boggling at the moment–so many firsts all the time. He’s started giving me hugs (and he only sometimes bites my shoulder at the same time). He has learned how to go down off the couch or a stair by turning himself around and going feet first. Tonight at dinner, he invented a game of peek-a-boo with my sister, where he simply looked away and then excitedly looked back. Then he used his bib to cover one eye. Then he used his fist. While I’m not yet perceiving that he understands what I’m saying, I think he probably does a lot of the time. I ask him a lot of questions and he usually answers. I swear he’s saying, “yeah.”

I watched a two-year-old have a full-throttle meltdown at the playground today and sent a silent prayer that E’s mellow personality puts me out of the risk group for these. But, I know, anything is possible… and he’ll have some version of that at some point, or at many points. For now, though, we happily go through the day, mostly in tune and not feeling frustrated with each other.

I’ve been giving thought to single motherhood and how many ways there are to do this. I met a single mom today with a 19-month-old daughter who (I think) was with the baby’s dad originally. While our experiences are likely different in many ways, I relate most to being single moms and the “by choice” part seems kind incidental, not to mention kind of obnoxious terminology–oh, I’m a single mom “by choice,” sorry you’re not.

I’ve had to clarify for some people that I’m not single by choice. They ask innocently, “But, if you met someone, would you consider being in a relationship?” Which is sweet. But, yes–I have yet to meet a human that I think is better off outside of a (healthy) partnership. I think it’s in our nature. As long as that partnership isn’t around at the moment, I chose to go ahead and have a baby.

This weekend, we went to a cute family Easter event–egg hunt, music, photos, food. My friend pointed out all the intact families and my first thought was–if I had a husband, I’d probably pressure him to go to stuff like this (since we should be doing things “as a family”), and he probably had something else planned (work, buddies, exercise), and if he didn’t come I’d be mad and if he did he’d be mad. Yep–I have that whole dynamic come up even though there’s no actual guy to trigger it. (Which may give you some insight as to why I’m not in a relationship now!) But, truly, I feel blissfully free of the negotiation and compromise and resentments that were part of relationships of my past. I love that everything E-related is my decision, my responsibility, my call.

I was kind of fascinated by this artlcle written by a woman who chose to have a baby without a partner while still younger (31), as her preference. She boldly asserts that one parent can be better than two, the theory being that the parents’ relationship doesn’t interfere with the parent/child relationship. I get where she’s coming from (especially in the case of unhealthy relationships), although I wouldn’t go as far as to say this way is better–just different. Not necessarily worse. I remain open-minded about my little family evolves.

As for dating again, I felt this Onion article nailed it: Single Mom Ready to Get Back Out There During 30 Minutes Per Week She’s Not Working or Watching Her Daughter. I’m miles from getting back out there. I’m enjoying just staying in here with this guy.

10 months

Who is almost 1! I made the mistake of googling first birthday party ideas! I am not gifted with crafty stuff! Please advise.

xo

Oh là là, this time it was over a month. Hello, friends. I’ve been more or less buried in working mom-ville. But tonight as I finished up baking some baby biscuits, it dawned on me–why am I not blogging while pumping?

So, here I am blogging while pumping. It’s been kind of an epic last couple of weeks. I flew with baby E to Chicago almost 2 weeks ago. I had some allergies happening due to the blooming and blossoming of California, despite a historic drought. This may have morphed into a bit of a cold and E got a runny nose as well. Within two days, E had croup again–the night before the event for which I traveled to Chicago… So, I missed it. My awesome colleagues filled in, and I spent 5 hours driving around Chicago to get him to urgent care and then a particularly slow Walgreens to get his dose of steroids.

We had a pretty mellow weekend–at that point, I think our colds plateaued. But we were also going in and out of cold weather and heat and only sometimes remembering to fill the humidifier, and I was feeling my skin go dry as well as the inside of my nose. On Tuesday, I got up at 5:30am to drive to a school in Michigan 3+ hours away for around 5 hours of meetings–then 3+ hours back. I was starting to really be sick at that point. The next day, E and I flew back to California, both of us with noses dripping like faucets. We sat next to THE nicest-ever lady who is a mom and loved E to pieces, even letting him put his snotty hands all over her iPad. Thank goodness Mimi and Chacha picked us up at the airport and helped us unpack and repack for Sonoma, where I had the next in back-to-back work events. We took E to the pediatrician on Thurs, and she said that we likely got the 2-3 week virus that’s going around. Sigh. We were only one week in. Plus, we both had pink eye.

We drove the short distance to Sonoma later that day and by evening I was a mess–sore throat, stuffy head, cough, red crusty eyes. I was afraid of scaring the participants. After a night of limited sleep, E did OK and I powered through the work day. It went very well. No one noticed my notice actually running as I gave a presentation. (Except my colleague who snuck over with a Kleenex.) I made it to 4pm and we drove home and I went to bed and slept much of the weekend.

But by Monday, I wasn’t better. I’ve just completed two work from home days that were actually quite productive but a visit of my own to the doctor resulted in a diagnosis of a bacterial infection. And maybe an infected lymph node as it’s like a lemon in the side of my neck (but let’s hope not). I considered for two seconds not taking antibiotics (I hate taking them) but the doc said I’d likely be sick for 3 more weeks. My parents left last night (sob) and I need to be able to take care of this handful of a guy! On my way from Walgreens to pick up E today, the nanny texted that he’d taken a turn for the worse. (She actually said, “Evan está más enfermo.” Our communication in Spanish does not allow for a lot of nuance. I started to try to clarify but realized it was probably futile and just quickened my pace. When I got there, he was indeed cranky, lethargic, and drippy-nosed. On the walk home, he actually put his head down on my chest while riding in the Ergo, which he would never do outside of nap time. Poor guy.

All of this to say–I’m getting a real dose of not only motherhood but working motherhood and working single motherhood. And, more specifically, caring for a sick baby while sick. A colleague emailed me today, “Get used to it–you’ll be sick for the next two years.” Thanks, colleague!

This is all par for the course. Thankfully, it’s nothing serious so far and the pink eye is gone and maybe a smidge of my antibiotics will get through my breastmilk to actually help baby E rather than simply to kill all his good bacteria. I should take a probiotic and eat sauerkraut and drink kombucha for good measure. Work is accommodating and I will likely just take a full-on sick day and keep E here with me tomorrow. Getting well has never been so critically important.

Meanwhile, E is almost 10 months old, sampling new foods with his pinkie in the air, conversing constantly with what could almost sound like words (but not really), and starting to move from one piece of furniture to the next. He now wears shoes (although I forgot to send him with shoes today). His curls are getting big and luscious. He still does dancey-dancey especially for my mom. He really tries to be a trooper when he’s not feeling well and even laid still with his eye open so I could get the drops in. These things will make your heart explode.

It’s so nice to be back in our space. I wish I could say that traveling made me feel empowered to travel but not with this result of sickness. I want to stay close to home and all our stuff and our routine and our nanny and beautiful, colorful, stupidly-expensive San Francisco.

Thank you for sending us vibes of good health and please also send strength to my friend who is going through IVF injections right now and needs a boost. I got out a 15-min video that I made of my nightly injections and was reminded of all I went through to get here. It ends up feeling beside the point but the journey is a beautiful thing, and every one of them is like your own snowflake: totally unique.

May you be healthy!

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5/19/14

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