August 2007

Oh, of course I can handle one more thing…

As I’m giving Walker his bath tonight, Larry asks me, “Did you put the laundry in the machine?”

“Um, no.”

There was a rather insistant hissing coming from the garage so Larry went down to investigate. Walker had been having a bit of a difficult time as he’s anti-nap these days. He takes 5-30 minute naps a few times a day which isn’t nearly enough, so he’s a little cranky at night. Tonight was no exception so I thought I’d divert him with a nice relaxing bath. He likes his baths. As I’m making “Soapy Baby” (one of our favorite games), Larry yells up from downstairs that the water heater has broken and we have water all over our floor. Now, I remind you that we’re publishers. That means we have books in our garage. Yes, books. So adding 40 gallons of hot water to the floor of the garage turns books into pulp. YAY! I have Potentially Cranky Soapy Baby in my hands and Larry is running around downstairs moving boxes. I remind him to turn off the water which he does but water is still pumping out the bottom of the tank. I calmly finish Walker’s bath so he doesn’t realize anything is amiss, and I get him dried off, diapered and clothed.

Walker decides this is not a job for small boys so he lays in his crib and watches his bees go ’round and ’round while Mommy goes downstairs and reads the directions for turning off the gas to the heater. Done! Now, we have to find a plumber. I have one but he’s not calling me back since he came to fix the kitchen sink and I’ve been trying to get him to return because when I turn off the water, it takes about 3 seconds for the water to completely turn off (it must be draining from the hose). I call my stepmother for a plumber recommendation since it’s 8:15 and I’m not about to get some opportunistic guy from the yellow pages who smells panic and wants to turn it into some serious GREEN. Jane is driving to Nevada City so as a responsible driver, she graciously pulls over and looks up the name of her guy in her Palm Pilot. I call the plumber’s cell as Larry continues to sweep water that is draining out of the tank from the garage into the driveway. The plumber is very sweet and senses the edge in my voice (and at this point, Walker is no longer interested in the bees and is using his “outside voice” A LOT). He sweetly confirms that we turned off the water and gas correctly and tells us how we can connect a garden hose to the tank to take control of draining the water rather than having a slow-running 40-gallon leak that could go until 2am. He’ll be here in the morning. In the meantime I’m researching tankless water heaters. Might as well take the opportunity to go green.

Walker finally went to sleep. I guess he’s not interested in water heaters. I’ll keep you updated on the progress. Good thing it’s hot out here so a cold shower isn’t such a sacrifice.

I’m picking up Thayer from the airport tomorrow morning. Apparently the waves were small in Indonesia so he spent a lot of time lolling around with the surfers on the yacht which isn’t as much fun as risking a broken neck in the middle of the sea. I’ll get the details and pass along the most entertaining stories.

I leave you with this advice, if you don’t have the name of a good plumber, make sure you get one before you really need it.


As Walker gets older, I know there are things that I won’t have anticipated that will need to be done. I’m sure there will be general kid things that will pop up but it’s the BOY THINGS that give me a bit of anxiety. I started thinking about it the other day when Larry and I were watching an episode of WEEDS from season 2. (The show is fantastic with the premise that a woman is widowed with two boys and must find a way to support them so she turns to selling marijuana to the surburbanites.) Anyway, the plumbing in the house backs up and the plumber tells Nancy that someone has been flushing their “jerk socks” and if she doesn’t do something about it, he’ll be back next week. The plumber says this as if it’s something he runs into daily. Poor Nancy is incredulous. Clearly this is nothing she ever anticipated having to deal with. I watched the rest of the episode carefully to pick up tips since, clearly, this is not a conversation I ever considered having to have with my small son. Nancy sits young Sean down and tries to talk to him about masturbation but clearly everyone is uncomfortable and after about 30 awkward seconds, she sends him off to school. She punts the conversation to her ne’er do well brother-in-law. Andy conducts a lesson that shocked me in the detail and breadth of options for how to handle the um, sensitivity and result of the deed. Olive oil and bananas were mentioned. (If you’d like to see the scene, it is posted on YouTube but beware, the language is a bit, well, graphic.) Good Lord! Is this a conversation that we’ll need to have one day with Walker? I told Larry to get prepared now. I know he’ll be a bit more sensitive and refined when the time comes. But I gotta say, I just don’t want to know…

In Walker news, he went to his 2 month check up and he’s 13lbs 3oz and 23.5 inches. He’s a big boy at 90% for height and weight but with a 39cm head, he’s in the 30%. The doctor assures us that this won’t impact his intelligence (Mom’s got a small head so you can make your own decision on whether my small head effeciently stores grey matter or not…) Actually, she noticed how attentive he is to the things around him and said he is “clever” and will be “very smart”. HOORAY!

Support Walker’s Walk For Charity
Walker will be learning a very important lesson in October. He will be learning that it’s important to give back to the community and support worthy causes. He will be walking (or riding) to raise money to support research to find cures for Lukemia and Lymphoma. We have a close friend, Hillary Thompson Milks, who was diagnosed with Leukemia earlier this year and we’d like to show her how much she has inspired us with her optimisim. If you’d like to sponsor us, you can do so online or you can contact me and we’ll arrange something.

Everything I know about parenting I learned from my Tamagotchi.

Get in your Way-Back Machine, travel to 1996 and recall the Tamagotchi digital pet fad where teens had small electronic pods that would simulate a growing entity that needed to be fed and changed on a regular basis. You knew how you were doing by measuring their happiness. These toys were impossible to get and my wonderful husband Larry, being the King of Pop Culture, was able to obtain this insane little machine for me. I loved and cared for my pet. I would be in meetings at BofA and it would chirp incessantly at me. If I didn’t attend to its needs quickly it could get sick and ultimately die. Goodness NO! I would apologize to the people in the meeting and clean its poop or provide it with some sustenance. As it got older, it would get more persistent and needy more often. I think I kept my little Tamagotchi alive for 10 days. The poor thing passed while I was napping and didn’t hear its plaintive wailing for attention. Ah, to be young again and have rejuvenating naps…

I’ve been thinking a lot about technology and how it’s changed so many things in our lives. Yes, it certainly makes life easier. As I do my basic chores, I often think about the PBS series 1900 House in which a family moves into a house and for one month, only does things the way they did in 1900 — handwashing clothes, using what we’d consider primitive household cleaning tools, shopping and taking all day to cook, etc. Technology has helped to even the playing field between genders and to some extent, socio-economic groups, although we still have a long way to go but I digress. This is not a political column.

I first thought about how the use of one particular technology has significantly changed how we prepare for babies when Larry and I went for our pregnancy genetic testing. It’s amazing that couples can get a genetic map of their unborn child in order to test for Down’s Syndrome and other birth defects. Other couples bypass these tests and just get the detailed sonograms of their child. All of these tests have helped to reduce the rate of children born with debilitating diseases or defects but again, I’m really thinging about less weighty and meaningful impacts of technology. I’m thinking about the social impact of being able to know the gender of your child. The genetic tests will tell you in no uncertain terms whether you will be berating a daughter for the clothes she wears or a son for breaking one thing or another. And the sonograms give you a pretty good indication (although I know a few people who banked on the sonogram and oops, the umbilical cord was making an appearance of something else or something else was being shy and weren’t those parents surprised?!). Parents can not only know the gender of their offspring but can see what it will look like with the new 4D sonograms. Good Lord! (These tests also will tell you if you’re carrying twins which is a good thing to know. My stepmother’s mom didn’t know she was carrying twins until the day they were born. SURPRISE!)

More and more parents have opted in to knowing what gender their child will be. Good for them. I think it’s wonderful to have all the information for planning purposes. Larry and I decided we weren’t going to know even though the answer was sitting ignored in a file over at UCSF (while it was tempting to call and get the info, it was just hard enough that I never did it — a lesson for marketing, make it easy to get your product because there’s something to that “barrier to entry” phenomenon). We quickly realized we were in the minority of pregnant couples. Everyone, it seemed, knew what gender their bouncing baby would be. Some even used technology to pick the birthday with planned C-Sections. We also quickly realized that the baby industry had capitalized on this trend and it was fairly difficult for us to find gender-neutral clothing and decor. We’d meet people in the Babies R Us and they would tell us we were “brave” for not knowing the gender. The only thing brave about it was going to the dark corners of the store where they kept the yellow and green layette items.

One co-worker was quite distressed at not having this critical piece of information. Having once been my boss, she sat me down and told me that I was “building inefficiencies into the system” and that I had best be “maximizing the value of this whole Christmas morning” thing. She wanted to see a plan. I informed her that being Jewish, I didn’t get a lot of these “Christmas morning” things so I thought I’d keep this one. (Of course, I didn’t tell her that we do have a tree and open presents on Christmas morning because, well, as far as I could tell, Jesus was not nailed to a pine tree with lights and bobbles and a fat man in a red suit didn’t visit him in his manger so what the heck, I’ll buy into the commercial aspect of the holiday.) But I digress…

Technology has also changed how we interact with our babies. There are so many things to occupy their attention. There are automatically bouncing or rocking chairs with music and moving pieces, there are mobiles that turn with music, there are “activity centers” that attach to the crib and have 20 different settings. (Walker LOVES his Bumble Bee mobile and doesn’t seem interested in the other items — yet.) I notice that he also is fascinated by the computer screen saver on my Mac (black background with slowly moving streams of color). A friend pointed out that things have changed a lot since we were kids. She used to watch red socks go around in the dryer which was a pretty high-tech solution for the day (we are old, you know). What would parents do without these amazing technological assists? How would we bathe, make food, or post to blogs?

And speaking of blogs, technology has changed the way we communicate. This blog has made it less critical that I chat 1:1 with folks. If they’re following the blog, they already know much of what is happening. It’s been great for me to help keep everyone informed but it’s also hard when I chat with folks to know if I’m being boring and repetitive. It also frees me up a little. I know if you’re reading the blog you care about us and I care about you by posting all this stuff.

I have more musing on other technologies like breast pumps, TiVO, web cams, and iPods but someone is waking up so I should wrap up this post.

Walker is getting more of his hair up front so he and his daddy will soon no longer share the same hairline. It’s very cute to see the little fuzz coming in.

For those of you interested in the Thayer Walker Adventures, he’s off to Indonesia to do a story on Tow-In Surfing. He’s accompanying a team of world-class surfers including a few “chest-thumping Hawaiians” and a family of child-protegy surfers (the oldest is 13). While Thayer is a certified dive master (Larry, my $1 please…) and he does surf, he isn’t world class. The highest wave tube he’s caught is probably a double overhead (to you and me that’s approximately a 15 foot wave). Tow-In Surfing is where the waves are so big that you need a jet ski to tow the surfer in to catch the wave because it’s moving so fast and it’s so strong. The best surfers may catch 50 or 75 foot waves, or so I hear. Also, they’ll be surfing in the middle of the ocean, not the shore, since the waves break really well over some mid-ocean coral reefs. Suffice it to say, Thayer is wearing a helmet and will only be catching smaller 20 foot waves — according to Thayer, “those that the world class surfers don’t need a jet ski to catch”. Smart man. Living on a luxury yacht for two weeks will take the edge off (and knowing that in a few weeks you’ll be travelling to Africa to hike Kilimanjaro for another story). Good luck, Thayer!

Charlie gives Walker a Binky

Originally uploaded by mimzilla

Last Thursday we met Charlie and Ryan (Stephanie’s twin 2 year old boys) at the Zoo. It was a big day for everyone. Walker got to see a bunch of exotic animals (including a small monkey with a mustache and some funny penguins that would swim at top speed and leap into the air) and meet some really great older boys, Ryan got to run around, and Charlie gave up his pacifier. Yes, Stephanie had told Charlie that Walker needed one and Charlie should give Walker his old pacifier to use. Charlie was not looking forward to meeting Walker but he graciously and generously walked right up to the stroller and gave Walker the pacifier. That was the end of that. I wonder what child will need a pacifier when it’s time for Walker to give up his?

Speaking of animals, today was an incredible day at the beach. I had hoped to take a long walk down at Chrissy Field but I had jammed a bunch of errands in the afternoon and it was 4:15 by the time we got in the car to go for the walk. Instead, we went home and decided to walk along the beach at our house. Good thing we did! The day was spectacular — the sun was shining and the marine layer was way far back on the horizon. The surf was minimal and the rest of the ocean was fairly calm. There were hundreds of sea birds on the beach and in the air over a small patch of ocean. I noticed something not far off shore jump and splash. I kept watching and I saw a spout. I still am not sure what I saw but it was either a pod of dolphins or a pod of small whales feeding off shore. They were sharing the fish with gulls, pelicans and other birds. It was magical.

Beach Walk

Originally uploaded by mimzilla
The first thing you must know is Walker has a new nickname, “The Radish.” I thought of it during one of the 4am feedings. He has this pointy little head that’s accentuated with a tuft of hair. He just made me think of a vegetable and I happen to really like radishes (which are also a veggie with colloquial history in the Young family). So, there you go. Walker = Radish.

This past weekend Walker had his first big trip — a 3 hour ride up the north coast to visit Granddaddy Thayer at Sea Ranch. He was FANTASTIC in the car taking all the curves and cliffs (including Dramamine Drive) with Zen-like calm. He was introduced to a bunch of Granddaddy’s friends and he had a wonderful forest walk and (as you can see) a great beach walk — both with our faithful old friend Jake (Granddaddy’s awesome chocolate lab). We brought up the bassinet for sleeping and had a little McGuyver set up for changing — a comfy set up on top of the washing machine. We will likely be heading up there again in the next week or two to meet some other friends and watch a movie in their living room on their THX-certified set up — WHEEEEEE! (We’ll make sure the movie is rated G or I’ll cover his little eyes and ears for inappropriate parts.)

Walker is getting to be such a mature boy. He’s taking bottles like a champ, getting much better at burping (I don’t have to coax it out of him quite so much), and he’s finding that grasping on to things is fun. I’m not feeling as much as a bad mom when I jam the Nuk in his mouth when he’s fussy so that’s good. I’m bathing on a regular basis and am able to get out and do errands without stress. Oh yea, and Larry and I are getting used to having our clothes covered in CHEESE.

Yesterday I spent the ENTIRE DAY in my pre-pregancy jeans! OK, so they weren’t super comfy but hey, neither are my maternity clothes. One set is too tight and the other is too loose. It is creating some incentive to do some exercise (I’m waiting for Walker to wake up from a nap so we can go take a walk while Daddy writes some proposals for our Hollywood producers — WE’RE SO PROUD.)

I’d like to take a moment to congratulate my high school friend Debbie and her husband Jeff (and mother Dee and brother Jeff — different people, of course) on the birth of their daughter Sydney. She was born yesterday at 8 lbs 1 oz and she had a relatively easy delivery. Welcome to mommy-hood Debbie!

If you can add one more thing to your day, check out this very funny blog — The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs.

Walker and I are going in to the office for lunch with some friends on Thursday which will be tons of fun. I’m planning outings a few times a week so Daddy can get some work done and Walker and I can do things I can’t do when I’m working like visit some museums and gardens. I’m also cooking — even planning out the meals for the week and yes, I even made a SHOPPING LIST! I know, can you believe it?

Waking up. Must go on walk.

It always seems to happen that one thing breaks and then everything else follows.

The day before Walker was born, our garage door decided to stop working. This after having it fixed back in January. And I only started parking the car in there back in late May after two years of keeping the car outside. Our garage was REALLY FULL of all sorts of stuff that collected as we had the work done on our house (2 years ago), stuff we moved and never unpacked (8 years ago), as well as stuff that the previous owners used to “organize” the garage. As part of prep for Walker, Larry and I got rid of a lot of big bulky items and small annoying things — enough to put our car in the garage. But of course, just as I was getting used to not having to hose the dense layer of grimy fog off the car in the morning, the door broke and the car was once again banished to the driveway.

We also had a nice little ding in the car windshield which needed to be filled in before it got bigger.

And the cat had something strange with his eye — one pupil would dialate more than the other — but didn’t seem to bother him in any noticeable way (he didn’t seem any crazier or crankier than normal).

Our cable seems to “blink” frequently making it seem like everyone has some sort of digital epileptic seizure.

And then Sunday night, as I’m doing the dishes, the water pressure instantly went from a healthy gush to a tiny trickle. I turned the water off and on again only to have the same lack of water pressure. Being Polyanna, I kept washing, hoping the situation would fix itself. I washed and washed until Cousin Barb said, “Do you hear that?” And as I heard the gush, I felt a wave of water under my feet. Apparently the hose that connects the pull out kitchen faucet developed a bit of a hole causing water to backup into the kitchen cabinet under the sink.

Now, I’m not crazy and I’m not going to try to fix the garage door nor am I going to fix the cat (he seems to have fixed himself anyway) but I DID decide I would try to fix the faucet yesterday between dropping Cousin Barb off at the airport and picking up Larry at the airport. I bought the hose and set up Walker in his bouncy chair by the sink. I took the old hose out and struggled with jamming the new hose in the faucet housing. Walker decided he needed to be fed, I had a phone meeting with my boss, and I needed to get on the road to pick up Larry so I left the kitchen in chaos. Larry got home, and while proud of me for understanding the concept, promptly told me to call the plumber.

So, today was an expensive day with a new garage door opening mechanism, the plumber visit and taking the kitty to the vet (to check his eye as well as for his annual vaccinations).

I hope the house doesn’t have any more things to surprise me with.

Walker update: Walker is NOT broken and is thriving. He had a great time with Cousin Barb walking on Chrissy Field, hiking along the Coast Trail, making friends with 6 and 4 year olds, and shopping on Fillmore Street. He’s been out to dinner four times and has had his diaper changed and had a few meals in public. He likes to stretch and he’s very interested in looking at things. He particularly likes his bee mobile and the slats of his crib. He’s sleeping well and has had three video conferences with his Gigi. Yesterday was his first big boy bath in his little bath tub. He LOVED being in the warm water and having Mommy and Daddy play with him.

This week we’re watching the Discovery Channel. Happy Shark Week!