July 2007


It’s been awhile since I posted last and now the pressure is on…Gigi is on the Internet. She bought a computer and a family friend is helping her get her wireless and browser set up so it automatically starts up with her email and the blog. Walker even had his live debut on the Internet by having a video call with Gigi so she could see how much he’s grown in the last three weeks.

Welcome Mommo (Gigi) and thank you Jim Levinson for all your help and patience.

Also, Grandma Shirley has a few big days coming up with her move to South Carolina to be near my sister-in-law and her family. Good luck and our thoughts are with you as you embark on this new and exciting adventure!

A few important Walker items. He’s now 4.5 weeks old. He’s 10lbs 6oz and 22.5 inches long. He’s close to growing out of some of his clothes already and that’s sort of sad. The clothes are so cute! He slept 6 hours last night (WHEEEEEEE!) but I don’t expect this to be a pattern for awhile. I think the shot he got at the doctor (boy, was he a brave young man) made him sleepy. I’m pleased that he’s gaining weight so quickly but that he’s also growing so he’s in pretty good proportion. I have a thing about him getting really big and getting a fat head. Seems his head is in good shape right now. We’re also doing a little less laundry as we had been in the early days because he’s getting control of his digestive system with few poopy blow-outs and projectile spit ups (we did have to change his outfit at 4:30 this morning due to the milk gyser erupting as we were falling asleep).

Larry is down in San Diego for Comic-Con (we miss you honey and don’t torture all 150K people with the Walker’s picture!). My cousin Barb is visiting from Cincinnati for the week to help out. She’s been wonderful and Walker seems to really like her. I’m learning a lot from watching and chatting with her — I don’t have to feed him every time he fusses, he really does like his bouncy seat, and he is as perfect as I think he is. We’ve been very busy doing errands, seeing the city, and we’ve now been out to eat three times with Walker in the last three days. Walker has been a rock star and hasn’t been fussy. I’m really lucky and it’s easy to remain centered and stress-free when he’s being so good. We had a great walk today on one of my favorite trails — the trail we walked on the “Walk that Baby Out” blog — and Walker was nestled in his Baby Bjorn. I FINALLY figured out how to adjust the thing so it was comfortable. I understand all the jokes about the terrible instructions for children’s toys. Everything seems partially described and you have to really reinvent this stuff to figure out how it’s supposed to work.

Walker and I spent the weekend like millions of others — reading the HARRY POTTER book. I got it at 8:30 on Saturday and I was finished with it around noon on Monday. I very much liked it and was quite satisfied with the ending. He cooperated by sleeping on my chest the entire weekend. But I do need to point out that I have continued to get dressed daily even if I didn’t leave the house.

I’ve been chatting with folks at work and I’m very excited about how things are going there. My boss and I have been discussing how to organize the group and I’m jazzed about the direction we’re taking. We’re going to get some more help and we’ll be able to really focus on some exciting projects. It’s going to be a big challenge for me when I get back but I’m looking forward to what awaits me upon my return. It will be hard to leave Walker but the work will be rewarding and will keep me busy.

It’s late and I’m going to snuggle up and watch some DAILY SHOW while I listen to Walker breathe.

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You’d think the small person who gurgles and cries and poops would have driven the point home but it took an incident yesterday to really cement the fact that, yes, I’m now a parent.

Larry went to Safeway yesterday, July 19, to get fixin’s for dinner. (The date is important.)

I get a call from him which is not unusual when he makes a store trek. The topic is generally a discussion of what else we may need from the store or if there’s anything special I might want (like ice cream or other craving type things). “Ask me what I’m holding,” is his greeting. My interest is immediately piqued but I don’t think too much of it. We have a friend who works at the store so perhaps it’s a present from him (stranger things have happened — the great folks who work at the Post Office we frequent and have been asking Larry when he was going to get me pregnant and have been quite excited about the pregnancy gave Walker a present of a full sheet of Star Wars stamps when he was born). “When is Harry Potter supposed to come out?” he asks. “Because I’m holding one of the books in my hand.” I’m stunned and respond, “Um, Saturday, I think.”

“Well, there are three of them. Should I get one for you?”

I hear a woman in the background. Apparently she’s reading the last chapter to her husband over the phone. Another woman comes up and takes the third and last book. Everyone discusses how insane it is that a Safeway in the heart of the Sunset has a few of the coveted books just sitting out with all the trashy books they have as if it’s the most common thing in the world.

Now, I pre-purchased my discounted copy of the new Harry Potter book on Amazon months and months ago. The book at Safeway was being sold at full price. In a few moments I calculated the price difference in my head, thought about the logistics of returning the book to Amazon, and how much time I had to read it.

“No. That’s OK. I’ll wait until Saturday.”

I couldn’t believe those words crossed my lips. I am clearly a parent. The only thing keeping me from getting the book and reading every hour of every day until I’m finished is the small little human who looks at me with those big blue eyes and smiles (OK, so he’s not smiling at me but rather, passing gas, but who is really keeping track?)

I have a few updates…

Walker has reached another milestone… He’s been to Costco already and not just once but TWICE this week.

Also, Larry read the previous blog post and said that if we’re competing on the Internet, well, he wins with his high Google factor of over 32,000 (“larry young” + “comics”) as opposed to my paltry Google factor of 700. There’s just no competition. Walker is getting started early with 30+ so I expect he’ll surpass his parents soon.

We have a few competitions going on over here in The Cheese House (yes, that is what we call our house here by Ocean Beach — very sophisticated, no? Or, would you prefer Chateau Fromage?).

The first competition is something I recently noticed. I’ve commented on the cats’ behavior since Walker has come home. I’m not sure if I mentioned that Wilson, our big black 16lb, 10 year old kitty likes to beat up on Moxie, our 13lb, 14 year old calico kitty. He hides behind doors and jumps out at her, he bites her butt while she’s sitting on the bed, prowls around the food dishes just to keep her from getting any of the good food first, and does other generally nasty things. Larry and I purchased a product at the pet store called “Good Cat” — a natural potion you put in the cats’ water to keep them from being territorial or being recalcitrant in some way. (While it didn’t seem to change Wilson’s issues, it did solve the problem of Moxie frequently peeing on the bed so we consider it a wise investment.) This bullying has been going on for the three years we’ve had both cats but recently I noticed the leaping from behind the door and Moxie running down the hall in terror has been greatly reduced. Further, I’ve noticed that the two cats share the rocking chair at night — Wilson on the seat and Moxie on the back of the chair (probably because Willy is a bit too big and fat to get all the way up to the top). I believe the two cats have become united. They realize they are now competing for my attention with the new alpha cat — Walker Douglas Young. He’s roughly the same size they are but only half the weight (but quickly gaining on them). They seem to like him well enough — they’re not jealous of him — so I am not concerned they’ll scratch or bite him. I think this is a healthy competition and I certainly won’t step in to change the balance of power. It has one interesting side effect. Wilson, already a very “talkative” kitty, has decided he needs to chat with us quite a bit in the afternoon. He is clearly trying to challenge us to feed him earlier and earlier each day. I guess he figures that the new alpha kitty gets fed every 2-3 hours, why shouldn’t he?

The second competition is between Larry and me. It’s a very recent development and it’s sort of a single-sided competition (given that Larry isn’t really competitive and I am…) At the center of the competition is LinkedIn, a site where people register a profile and collect connections to people they know. Now, I was raised to appreciate the power of old-fashioned networking. Who you know is key to achieving your goals — going to your dream university, getting a job, finding a mate, getting good deals on furniture, etc.  Also, being a Reform Jew from Cincinnati, I was born into a vast existing network that can be quite helpful if you’re in need of a doctor, lawyer, business man or merchant of some kind. Of course, being the head-strong young woman I was, I often didn’t call upon my available resources because I wanted to do it all myself, but nonetheless, I understood the value of The Network. Today The Network is powered by the Internet through LinkedIn (you probably won’t find the Reform Jews from Cincinnati on there but that’s what we rely on Mommo/Gigi to help us tap into).

When I met Larry, he didn’t really understand the power of The Network. He also didn’t understand the utility of Tivo but has since come to his senses on both accounts.  When I established my profile and started my collection of connections, he thought I was silly. However, he’s recently caught the bug and is now the proud LinkedIn participant with over 50 connections (and counting). I hadn’t done much with my profile despite the fact I’ve been thinking a lot about what powers Internet communities and the fact that one of my best friends is a product manager over at LinkedIn. It took Larry rapidly expanding his network to get me interested and I’ve added over 30 new connections so I’m over 300 now. I’m not proud of it but I am competing with Larry in cyberspace. Oh well.

In Walker news, he’s over 9 lbs now and we’re making some strides in how we handle the daytime hours. I’m able to make this post in the middle of the day because the little man is happily napping in the Bjorn after a nice lunch. Oops. As I type “happily” he’s waking up in a rather fussy manner.

One more thing, I have to say my brother is amazing. He’s off for three weeks to do a story on how to train to be a class 5 kayaker (so he can add this to his bio of “as a certified dive master and a class 5 kayaker…” — Larry owes me a dollar). And, last night at dinner with my father, he successfully picked up a beautiful woman. Good lord. Remember Thayer, with great power comes great responsibility.

Walker’s wails are more demanding now.

Signing off…

Walker hasn’t started walking, talking, or blogging (yet, give him another few weeks) but as a team, we’ve had a few small wins which I celebrate as “milestones” that keep me feeling like we’re making progress toward normalcy.

  • Dressed 4 days in a ROW! Yes, it seems unlikely but I’ve actually had non-jammies clothes on for the last four days (although there are a few of my friends who might question which clothes are my jammies and which are ones I wear out…) Getting dressed doesn’t mean we’re actually getting OUT of the house — we’re at a 50% success rate for that combo — but we’re working on getting out more regularly.
  • Wearing clothes that don’t button down the front AND when I do wear button-down shirts, I’ve been able to successfully match all the buttons to the proper holes rather than having my shirt buttoned all which way.
  • Nursing and changing diapers in public. OK, not exactly in public. It was in the mommies group and at Day One (a baby store) but still. I was out for 5.5 hours today and we didn’t eat or get changed in the house so that’s an important first.
  • Taking a LONG walk. Walker’s first week we went for a 1 mile walk around Stowe Lake in Golden Gate park but last Friday, we took a 3 mile walk by the ocean. Walker got to experience the glorious San Francisco fog. We haven’t tackled any hills or trails yet but given we just figured out the Baby Bjorn carrier, I don’t think we’re too far away from something more challenging (of course, assuming I continue to get dressed on a daily basis.)
  • Laundry. No, it doesn’t sound exciting but I’ve done my first load of laundry since Walker was born. Either Grandma Shirley or Larry has been doing laundry but I needed to wash my smelly, spit-up on jammies and I sent Larry out for a Dad’s movie night with a friend who is also a new father. Walker was fast asleep after our jaunt out today and I just left him in his car seat and I ate dinner, took a shower and started laundry. Wheeee! (I never thought I’d be so happy to do such a mundane chore.)
  • Moxie on the bed. I know you’ve all been concerned about little Moxie and how she’s adjusting to all this. Well, this morning Moxie slept on the bed with me for the first time. OK, she still bolted into the closet at the first Walker Whimper but still, it’s progress and it’s important.

Every day there will be additional Back-to-Normalcy milestones — our first movie, our first bottle (that is not immediately followed with nursing), Mimi’s first few hours away from the family while Larry feeds/changes/plays with Walker, sleeping most of the night — and there will be the wonderful development milestones, but today, I’m thrilled with what we’ve been able to accomplish so far.

A few other things…

I was at my new mommies support group and some how I found myself volunteering to set up a blog and email alias for the group. Good lord. Is there a “one more thing” 12-step program? Perhaps I can set one up in my spare time.

Mommo (Walker’s great grandmother “Gigi”) called me today to inform me that she’s getting a laptop so she can read the blog and get pictures of Walker emailed to her on a regular basis. Walker is going to have to be careful of the power he apparently wields — his mere existence is enough to get his 84 year old Gigi to overcome her computer aversion and become fully equipped with computer, printer and internet connection. I must take a moment to publicly acknowledge all my uncle’s future efforts in technical support. This will be quite a switch from her using voicemail in the same way others use email…

Walker is now two weeks old and he’s a very good baby. (As a matter of fact, the pediatrician, who is also named Mimi, called him a “perfect baby.” I knew I liked her.) I spend most of my day sitting and feeding him or changing him although I’ve been able to get out a few days a week to do errands, go to appointments or meet friends. He had his second week doctor appointment and our goal was to get him back up to birth weight. He was born 7lbs 7oz and went down a mere 4oz. In the week between visits, he gained a pound so he’s now a whopping 8lbs 3oz (and gaining more and more by the minute) — did I mention he eats and eats and eats and eats? I think he’s going to be a Sumo Wrestler before his 6 week birthday.

He’s getting a schedule now which is both good and bad. Walker is a good sleeper — at night. He still gets up every few hours but now that he’s more than birth weight, I don’t have to wake him up, he can sleep as long as he can which is getting a bit longer every night. Last night we went 5.5 hours between feedings which makes me super happy.

Walker has decided that if he sleeps during the day, he might miss something. So, he’s wide awake most of the time with a few 15 minute cat naps that generally happen (during and) after feedings. If he stays up, he grazes rather than hunkers down for a meal so I’m pretty much attached to him throughout the day making civilized life a bit of a challenge. There are days when at 6pm I have the realization that I’ve never changed out of my jammies or brushed my teeth.

I have found out that I can combat the “awake” syndrome by holding him while he sleeps. If he falls asleep and I put him down, they sneaky guy knows and almost immediately wakes up. Based on conversations with friends I’ve found that this is pretty standard. This means that I’m either sitting down with him on my lap or I’m walking around with only the use of one arm. I’m planning on leveraging this to build some upper body strength by incorporating him into some exercise routine but I haven’t quite figured out how to really incorporate him into other chores like dishes or cooking. I’ve decided he’s my little accessory and I may begin to dress him to compliment my wardrobe (which isn’t too difficult since, as I mentioned previously, that I’m not getting out of my jammies. Everything goes with over-sized plaid flannel, right?)

Speaking of wardrobe, I have to give a shout out to our friend Marc Bernardin (creator of the soon to be published AiT graphic novel Monster Attack Network and Senior Editor of Entertainment Weekly), who sent us the Peepee Teepees that we use to save us from the unexpected “spray” which we’ve been blessed with already more than we’d like to admit.

I’d like to take a moment and express my awe at all those women who have babies and other small children as well as all those single mothers out there. You guys are amazing. I don’t know how you juggle it all and get enough sleep so you don’t feel like taking a hostage when you’re faced with one more dirty diaper.

Regarding feeding, it’s a very interesting thing. Yes, it’s “free” to breastfeed your infant. Formula is very expensive and breastfeeding is supposed to be so much healthier for your child. However, I was unprepared for all the adjunct products and services required to support breastfeeding. The ecosystem must be billions of dollars and it seems to be getting bigger and bigger. You’ve got your breastpumps (which run cheap for the manual ones to hundreds of dollars for the automatic double pumpers), your nursing bras, your nursing pads (to ensure you don’t have embarrassing spots on your shirt when your child cries — or another child cries — for food), your salves and lotions for keeping everything “comfy”, your nursing pillows (yes, there are many different options out there and I have TWO of them — one which I wear around my waist like a tutu and have nicknamed my TV tray as Walker just lies on top while I watch TV), and let’s not forget the services which include lactation consultants and support groups. Phew. I just scratched the surface. I think I may have to start some sort of business around this whole mommy thing if there’s so much money in one small niche of mommyhood. Hmmm. Perhaps I’ll add this to my list of things to ponder during middle-of-the-night feedings.

I did attend a “support group” as this whole breastfeeding situation isn’t one of those “oh, it will come so naturally to you” things. Growing up with National Geographic, I’d seen the pictures with new mothers going about their daily business of farming, cooking, washing clothes — all with a child breastfeeding like it was no big deal. How the heck do they do it? I have to be in the “zone.” I have to repeat a few instructions as if they’re mantras to ensure we’re working as a team to get a good “latch.” It’s a good thing Walker is so darn cute, that I am a patient woman, and I’m competitive enough to work through all these challenges to prove to myself I CAN make this easy. And after a feeding it warms my heart to see Walker’s satisfied little smile, hear his happy little gurgles, and then hear (and feel) his big, huge, FART. It’s all his baby way of saying, “Thank you mommy for the wonderful meal. I should think I will partake of this again in an hour or two.” You see, he’s very polite about the whole affair.

But, after all my hard work and sometimes even “significant discomfort” (to put it mildly), Walker has the audacity of SPITTING UP. Yes, he unthankfully regurgitates what I’ve worked so hard to produce and deliver. Cheeky little monkey. He just spits up all over his clothes and just smiles and smiles as I desperately look for a burpie cloth and think about the third or fourth outfit of the day that must go into the wash. And I’m becoming a connossiour of all the different types of spit. I won’t go into them here as it’s almost as gross a reading about the different types of poop that babies have. Suffice it to say that we’ve experienced them all and nicknamed Walker “Cheesey Pete.”


West Coast Represent

Originally uploaded by mimzilla

Walker had his 2 week birthday on Sunday and Mommy couldn’t pass up the occasion without a photo or two.

As you can see here, Walker has the ability to flash his “West Coast” hand signal to all the folks so they know where he harkens from. Good on you Walker!

Daddy is working on teaching him the Vulcan greeting while Mommy is working on getting him coordinated enough to be able to use the keyboard shortcuts for our favorite applications. At least he’ll be a well-rounded individual.

You can see more photos including his first bath, meeting his first friend Malcolm, and how he helps Mommy pay the bills.

The other evening we had a conversation about what inventions most impacted our lives. Shirley’s grandmother had said she was most impressed by store-bought mayonnaise. Her mother said the radio. After some serious consideration, Shirley said the cell phone. I added the Internet to the list and Larry said the personal computer. I’m not sure if I’m sticking with the Internet or amending mine to be the microprocessor — I can’t decide.

Regardless of my ultimate decision, I put my thouhts toward baby-related inventions. I pondered the topic in the middle of the night during one of the many feedings and here are some of the inventions I’m most thankful for right now (in no particular order):

  1. Epidural and other drugs: this is obvious but I’m not a big fan of pain
  2. Washing machine: While I haven’t had to do any laundry recently (thank you Shirley), I’m thrilled with the fact that we don’t have to go out and hand wash all the peed, puked and milked on jammies, blankets, and mommy clothes
  3. Disposable diapers, a diaper service, or g-diapers: whatever you use, I love the fact that I can quickly get him changed and comfy before he really starts to scream and I don’t have to deal much with the aftermath…
  4. Tivo/OnDemand/NetFlix: Everything is on Walker’s schedule but a girl still has to keep up on BIG LOVE, RESCUE ME, STUDIO 60 and the rest of the fun summer shows. And it’s great to have movies delivered that I can watch while I’m nursing.
  5. Blogs/Flickr: Goes without saying, how would we keep in touch on the rivieting recent events?
  6. TV on DVD: This is mainly a shout out to SPORTS NIGHT and watching all the episodes again and again without commercials.
  7. Solitare on the Treo: I’ve been playing a lot of solitare on my phone. I started it while in labor and I’ve been playing one handed while nursing. Seems to pass the time pretty well.
  8. Flashlights: Late at night it’s perfrect for checking to make sure Walker is still breathing or keeping down all the milk Mommy worked so hard to produce.
  9. Cell phones: I’ve been very good at keeping up with friends, family, and co-workers since I’ve got a lot of “sitting around” time.
  10. Breast Pump: I’m not using it now but I know I’ll appreciate when the time comes.

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