December 2007


Walker looks good in everything he eats

We tried some peas today. Last night I was up boiling the heck out of some peas and putting them through the Cuisinart so Walker could have yummy, fresh-ish veggies without preservatives.

While Walker seems to like the rice cereal, he’s less enamored with the peas. He made hysterical faces. I offered him rice between spoons of peas and I don’t think I was imagining that he seemed relieved when the more bland white food approached his mouth. As I pondered what he must be experiencing, I thought about how strong the taste and smell of peas must be if you’ve never ever had anything to eat but milk. We’ll be trying some other colorful foods in the next few weeks and I look forward to doing a lot of laundry.

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It’s very tiring getting all those presents

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas. We certainly did.

The festivities began last night with Christmas Eve dinner at Grammy Jane’s house with the traditional Cioppino, sourdough, and homemade chocolate sauce over ice cream (thank you Graunt Margie and Gruncle Howard). Dinner began at 6pm and Walker usually goes to sleep at 7ish so it was going to be the first time we were going to be entertained elsewhere after bedtime. Walker slept soundly up in Grammy’s room and we were so prepared that we brought the baby monitor to hear him if he called out to us (you see, the house is quite large and Walker isn’t used to having us be on a different floor). We laughed and joked and pal’d around (a skill the Walker Clan has developed over many years). Even Uncle Thayer made it at the last minute after flying in from an exciting adventure in Honduras where he went down 2400 feet in a homemade yellow submarine towing a severed pig’s head with the hope of luring a 15ft shark — Don’t ask (you can read about it in a future issue of Outside Magazine). He regaled us with many fascinating stories which thankfully didn’t involve him having to scramble out of some risky situation.

This morning everyone (Granddaddy, Gigi, Grammy Jane, Uncle Thayer, Walker, Daddy, Mommy and kitties Wilson and Moxie) spent Christmas morning at the beach. Now, being Jewish and an only child, I didn’t really do Christmas morning so it’s meaningful to me to start a Christmas morning tradition at our house. You see, we did have Christmas but being an only child, Santa came to the house on Christmas EVE while we were out at dinner. Apparently the adults wanted to make sure they could sleep in. I recall being in San Francisco when I was a little girl — my sister Hilary was about 5 or 6 and my brother Thayer was an infant. Hilary left Santa cookies and Jane told us we weren’t allowed to come wake them up until after the sunrise. This story came to mind this morning when Walker woke up at 6:15 and we watched the sun come up over the trees. I wondered what I would define as sunrise — when the first light appears in the sky or when you can actually SEE the sun in the sky. Hmmmm.

So everyone came over this morning and we began the traditional egg pancake with berry sauce, bagels (remember, we are Jewish), and apples (these were $2 apples which will not likely be part of the tradition — quite good but really, $2? for an apple?) Uncle Thayer showed us photos from his trip and about two hours later, we finally made it downstairs to begin opening presents. Channel 36 played the Yule Log and Christmas carols until noon and it was the perfect backdrop for our stockings and present opening until simultaneously the Emergency Broadcast Network system siren sounded outside and the TV switched over to some Judge Judy type show. Talk about mood killer. But being a flexible family, we overcame that challenge and powered through present opening. About half way through the present presentation, Walker just couldn’t keep his little eyes open and he crashed on Granddaddy’s shoulder. He must have been exhausted as Granddaddy has a boisterous laugh and there were a few hearty guffaws which made Walker look up with a combination of annoyance and confusion but didn’t actually wake him up. Finally, at 1:30 the final gift was opened. Phew.

A highlight of the morning has to have been when my father and brother opened a present from Larry. Thayer received a box that said it was the “Salt of the month club” and my father received a 146 piece “Make your own umbrella” box. Thayer immediately got the joke and looked at us and I simply pointed to my father across the room and said “watch.” For the next few minutes, my father read the box (“everything you need to start umbrellin'”) and tried to look excited about his gift. As he opened the box to extract all the pieces to get started, I took mercy upon him and told him to read the inside flap of the box which in large letters reads “GOTCHA.” Of course, the boxes were a joke from our friends at The Onion. The whole scene was a gift for all of us to share and I’m sure will be the gift that keeps on giving as we’ll get some mileage out of this story. (I didn’t mention that last night Dad told us a story of how he couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t get his new G5 tower computer to read a CD or DVD only to find out that he had the computer upside down.) Oh yes. I have many good stories from this Christmas. They are the gifts that keep on giving.

The rest of the afternoon was quiet and Walker, Larry, Gigi and I went to an early dinner at McCormick and Kuleto’s. We were lucky to get a table and Walker was a VERY good boy during a long dinner. He spent much of the time giggling away at Daddy and Gigi.

It’s now late and Mommy is tired. Walker hasn’t spontaneously started sleeping through the night despite the fact he is now A HALF, is eating semi-solid food, or has had his first Christmas. So, I’m going to hit the sack. Merry Christmas to all of you. We wish you a happy holiday and hope you had a wonderful time with your friends and family. Thank you for taking a few moments to share our Christmas blog.

Walker is 0.5 (prounounced, “a HALF”) and that means he’s allowed to start solid foods. Everyone says you begin with “rice.” Given that we weren’t there yet, I never asked what “rice” really meant. I mean, there’s such a wide variety from the basic short grain white to the fancy-schmancy kind you get at Trader Joe’s. But this rice is more like a powdery meal that is mixed with milk, water or formula. It’s not exactly what I would call “rice” but hey, I’m no nutritionist (you’ll recall I used to eat spoons of chocolate icing as an after-school snack). On Sunday morning, when Walker was 26 weeks old, he got to eat his first solid food. And by solid, I mean, not 100% liquid but certainly something you could slurp up through a straw. Of course I’ve been eating for more than 38 years so by comparison to Walker, it’s solid.

This is a big deal. Not really for Walker but more for his parents. There was a family meeting to prepare for the big event. We had to discuss what time we were going to start feeding him; we had to read the directions for making the meal and we even put him in his high chair the day before so he would get used to it (we didn’t want him to get caught up in sitting in the chair and then not be interested in the food). The morning came and at 7:30 am on Sunday, December 23, Walker had his “rice.” Or perhaps, his rice had him (you can see from the photos that we did our best to get as much as we could into his mouth but we did get a bit messy). The one thing we didn’t think about in all of our very thorough planning was how much food would get all over him. We have all these wonderful bibs and we forgot to put one on him. That’s what laundry is for.

Monday and Tuesday was another day of eating and we increased the rice to milk ratio. We also remembered the bib. Again, Walker very much enjoyed the food. The aftermath was a bit more pronounced because the cereal was more viscous and able to stick to every crack and crevice of the little boy. Today Walker ate in a legless onsie so after his meal he had to take a morning bath. Each day he seems to take to eating a bit more. Periodically he sees the spoon coming and he opens his mouth (not wide but enough to sneak it in there) and he grabbed it a few times as well. Tomorrow we start green foods. Photos should be really fun then…

Walker’s 6 month stats: head is 43.5 cm (50th percentile), length is 26.5 in (50th percentile), weight is 18lbs 10oz (75th percentile).

Walker inspects the treeAfter the week we had, we felt we deserved to take a little trip down to Half Moon Bay and get our tree. It’s one of our favorite things to do each year and this time we got to share it with someone who likes to touch EVERYTHING. Walker was very helpful in picking out the perfect tree for his first Christmas. There were many he inspected but this long, thin tree passed the test. We do have a small Charlie Brown tree with a single red ornament which won’t grow into a big tree while we wax poetic about the meaning of Christmas but we love it just the same. Walker helped quite a lot with decorating as well. He went through his Gigi’s ornaments and picked a few he liked, added a few of Mommy’s and Daddy’s and he even got two of his very own — a nice blue gingerbread man his Mommy made and a big red clay hand print he made just a month ago. With the star atop the tree, he thinks it’s the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen.

Christmas pagent

Today was the Holiday pageant at Sofyia’s. Walker slept through the first half and watched the bigger kids for the second half. He did get to go out and see Santa who brought a gift all for him! He was very excited but he is restraining himself and decided to put the package under the tree. He did do some dancing and expressed his anticipation for next year’s pageant when he will be big enough to hold hands and dance in a circle during the dreidel song.

Another thing you can do in the shuttle craft

Did I mention it was a tough week? I had to go down to San Jose all week for work and each day included some sort of mandatory night activity. Larry was perfect Daddy and took care of Walker. It was nice that the first day he told me, “It’s really tough being Mommy.” Anyway, I was at a conference in the convention center and there were over 1500 attendees from Adobe’s sales and marketing staff. There are a number of women who recently had children and all of us were in the same spot — at least once during the day, we had to take care of “making baby’s lunch”. Well, a large convention center is just not conducive to this activity so we all got creative. Some folks went to hotel rooms, others went to the loo, and well, I found a new feature for the baby shuttle craft. Moms do need to be creative and I discovered that the new car is quite accommodating of electronic equipment (powered through the lighter), has adequate room for maneuvering said equipment and even has a nice drying rack between “meals.” The layout was almost better than home since I could hook up my iPod to the stereo and get surround sound for “making lunch” music. I was so busy one day that I had to take a conference call on top of everything else. Some day I’ll look back on this absurdity fondly but for now I simply know that we do what we must to balance it all.

It took all weekend to catch up on rest and of course, Walker didn’t cooperate on the sleep front. I think I’m going to downgrade him from “he’s the most perfect baby in the world who is just going through an anti-sleeping phase” to “he’s the most perfect baby in the world (with the minor exception of waking up every few hours).” It’s not a problem per se but I will be interested to see if things change at all when he starts solid foods THIS WEEKEND.

More to come… I suspect there will be some fun photos in my future. Better juice up that battery.

“All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. My two front teeth. My two front teeth.”

Walker went to visit Santa today. He was so good and happy and Santa was very impressed. Yes, that is his REAL beard. We were so excited about the visit we got two 5×7 photos and a kitschy Santa frame with blinking lights.¬† It’s the commercial time of year. We got Walker to smile for his picture by fake sneezing (“Ahhhh, ahhhh, choooo!”) and jumping up and down. I felt like an idiot but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

In the spirit of the holidays we decided to do some Christmas shopping yesterday. We made some presents for the family and Walker was very patient. Everyone at the store was suffiently impressed. About half way through the experience, Walker started a nap and given he’s prone to short naps (no more than 30-45 minutes when he’s with me but for some crazy reason, he sleeps for 2-3 hours in the afternoon with Sofiya) I didn’t strap him in. I didn’t want him to feel constrained. He slept. I finished the presents. He slept. I did some more shopping. He slept. He slept. He slept. I decided to take him back to the car and when I tried to put his harness on, he stirred. He was sleeping so well it seemed best to just let him finish his nap in the car. I played solitaire and then dozed off myself. About 30 minutes later, Walker awoke. I was SO PROUD. He slept 2.5 hours with ME. Today he took two naps over an hour. Now I just need him to sleep some long chunks at night¬† but that will happen soon.

Happy sixth night of Hanukkah.

Today I picked up Walker from Sofiya’s day care and I got some gelt. For those of you who are not MOT (members of the tribe), gelt is the chocolate money folks give to each other during Chanukah. I don’t know the significance (I’m sure you can find something on Wikipedia) but it’s fun and I think it’s awesome to see both dreidels AND Christmas decorations at Walker’s day care.

A ton has happened since my last post. We had our first Thanksgiving which was lots of fun and everyone ate very well. We met American Bart, my father’s new 4 year old yellow lab. He’s very cute and energetic. After he left (and broke a few bowls as he got excited for his Thanksgiving meal), we saw many wonderful paw prints and nose smears on the windows and patio which may have been recently washed away with the torrential downpour.

We’ve started feeding humming birds from our deck. Dad has a feeder up at Sea Ranch and Larry and I spend long periods of time watching the speedy little birds diving and weaving around the little red ball of sugar water. It’s fun to watch the birds chase each other out of the way as they demand “alone time” with the feeder. Now the urban birdies will get their fill. The cats haven’t caught on but I suspect they will like the feeder too.

Larry and Walker had their first comic book signing last week. We went to the Comic Book Box in Rhonert Park on Saturday and the owner, Kathy Bottarini, was fantastic. She has a wonderful store which may be the pinkest comic store in the entire country. It has a lot of great books and her customers are very friendly. Walker loved seeing his Daddy work — talking comics with fans and reviewing portfolios. We were honored that one person came to see us just a day after his little girl was born! Everyone was very family-friendly there so Walker had some friends to look at and we all shared silly baby stories. Yes, more cult talk. Tony was particularly funny when describing how he was shocked when his son was born — he came out all balled up like a little alien and then, BANG, arms and legs quickly stretch out. “OH MY GOD!” he exclaims. His wife wonders if it’s not the boy they expected. No, it’s a boy with very springy arms and legs. Tony was more prepared when is daughter was born so there were no worrysome exclamations.

Work has been crazy. Today we launched a new design for our site and in standard fashion, our community had A LOT to say about it. As usual, there were people who love it and people who will need some time to adjust to something new. I’ve been looking at the plans for the next year and EVEN I think Adobe is trying to overachieve. I’ve only been back about six weeks and I’m pretty far behind. Every day I get a little more behind. I can’t imagine how buried I will be when I’ve been back a few months! Last night I was a bit sleep deprived, feeling like hell and the stress of work got to me. I got home and sat on the couch practically rigid with tension. Larry was wonderful and brought me tea, Ibuprophin, food, and my son. I played with Walker for about five minutes and everything snapped right into perspective. The tension abated. All was good. I think I may have to figure out how to market that magic (although I don’t think I’d like to wrangle with the FDA for approval).

Oh, I thought Walker had gotten a tooth! He was taking a bath last week and I saw a little white speck on his lower gum. I finally got him to let me peer inside his maw (which is a challenge given his feet are usually jammed in his mouth during bathtime) and I pushed aside is tongue (which he likes to stick out assuming his feet or his hands aren’t in his mouth). There was a small white speck. I rubbed it and it stayed there. I couldn’t feel anything but Walker had been SO CRANKY for the few days before I thought it was “tooth ahoy” despite the fact there were no other indications that one was imminent. The next day during bathtime we looked and whatever it was no longer could be seen. Oh well. Must have been a recalcitrant milk curd and not a tooth. He’ll just have to be Mr Gummers for awhile longer. I’m not anxious for him to grow up, I just feel sorry for his sore little mouth. That’s got to be so darn confusing for the guy.

Mommy got a new computer at work. I thought adding another thing to do was ideal at this relaxing time of year. I have all sorts of extra cycles to get my email, bookmarks, documents, applications and other customizations established on my new Macbook Pro. Sure, why not? It’s not like I have to do holiday cards, figure out what to get a 13 year old girl and 11 year old boy for Christmas, shop for family and friends, and be generally cheerful. I’m annoyed with myself but am presently blogging on said new computer so I think I should stop complaining (because it is minty fresh and I love being able to run both PC and Mac programs — NO MORE HAVING TO CARRY 2 COMPUTERS). It is funny to see me at work right now. I have three computers and five monitors on my desk. I’m also usually wearing headphones for either my iPod or my phone. I’m a Borg.

Before bed I wanted to blog and read a story my sister wrote. By all accounts it’s fantastic and I’m a terrible sibling for not getting to it yet. She’s a very talented storyteller and has been writing in Italian first and translating the stories into English for those of us who aren’t smart enough to retain vocabulary in more than one language (and some might say I can’t even do it in one…) I should mention that she’s living in Milan so it makes sense she’s writing in Italian. It’s not like she’s in Fresno and is just doing it for kicks.

I will sleep well tonight as today I took another step toward being an adult. Larry and I met with a lawyer to draft up all those necessary documents-you-need-for-when-things-you-don’t-want-to-think-about-happen-to-one-or-both-of you. When did I grow up and need this stuff? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I came home from school and had a spoonful of Betty Crocker chocolate icing as a snack? (Note to Walker when he reads this in a few years: NO YOU CANNOT HAVE ICING AS A SNACK. Just because Mommy did it as a child doesn’t mean it’s right so please stop asking. Sit down and enjoy that organic natural peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread.)