January 2008

Walker has discovered that his bath is filled with water and water is fun to drink. His new trick, developed in the last two days, is to try to drink some water from his bath by reclining on his little ramp, turning his head to one side and opening his mouth. Now it’s one of the funniest things to watch because he’s not entirely clear on the concept. He keeps his little eyes open and seems to be surprised when he gets water in them. When he turns to look at me, there’s some confusion on his face but then he flashes me a big huge smile. So whatever he’s feeling with the water in his eye, it must be fun.

The little man is going through so many changes. We’re working on breaking his habit of eating in the middle of the night. He’s starting to eat more solids — he even had 3 Cheerios on Saturday! He’s much more active and is trying to scoot around on his tummy. Sofiya said yesterday she went in to check on him after a nap and he was sitting up. He got there all by himself. She was so shocked she had Lisa come in to confirm that yes, in fact, he was sitting up.

Yesterday I had an altercation. A fellow lactating mother copped some ‘tude with me over the use of the “Quiet Room.” Apparently I had infringed on HER SCHEDULED time and she felt she was ENTITLED to the room. Well, I’ve never seen her before in my life. She’s not from my building and the room in her building is overbooked. Now, there are a number of women in our building who use the room and we’ve somehow managed to work around each other’s schedules. We haven’t felt the need to OWN a chunk of time. But not HER. She had to bring drama and strife into my world. I was aghast. (Not to mention, if the Quiet Room is busy, there’s a perfectly good private bathroom that works just as well — as long as you don’t need to participate in a conference call.)

OK. It’s not that I don’t see her side. She somehow found that the room is able to be scheduled and she thinks that’s the way it works. There are no “usage instructions” posted so why wouldn’t the process be the same for the rooms in both buildings? Well, the process isn’t the same because the process in the other building is WHACK and makes people with nasty attitudes come to MY building and bring us all down.

What happened to being part of the CULT? What happened to misery loves company? We’re all cranky that we have to stop what we’re doing and head to the barn for our milking. So shouldn’t there be some camaraderie? I say YES. I say let’s work it out. I say — I know the folks in facilities and I’m going to have the scheduling ability for the room eliminated so she’s just going to have to join our happy band of cooperating mothers. Take THAT!


Walker loves his carrots.

For the past few days, he’s been very interested in being a part of the carrot eating process. Yesterday it was all about his bowl. Today it was all about his spoon. We had to maneuver the full spoon around his spoon if we were going to get anything actually into his mouth. So this video goes out to all y’all on the East Coast and in Italy. We attempted to catch a glimpse of the little teeth but it was not to be, just got a shot from the spoon’s perspective.

Fun with carrotsYesterday was a good day. It was one of those odd San Francisco days — cool but not cold and some people wearing short sleeves with others all bundled up. Walker, Daddy and I took a walk along the path at the beach in our off-road stroller while we waited for Granddaddy to make his way to see us. (Going was slow due to the downed trees, flooding and other nonsense between The Sea Ranch and Petaluma. He had to take all sorts of back roads and ended up being a guide to a bunch of city folk who likely would have simply parked and drank wine at a cafe until the roads opened.) Walker was wearing his weekend shoes — cute little Robeez moccasins with dragons on them. He doesn’t wear them during the week because despite the manufacturer’s claims that they are “stay-on” shoes, Walker manages to pull them off more frequently than Sofiya and Lisa would like. So, during the week he wears lace-up boots or his footed pjs. Anyway, each weekend I try to see if his feet have grown enough where the darn things will stay on (and you might asky why and I’d reply, “the shoes are just so amazingly CUTE that it’s worth all this nonsense.”) Yesterday was no exception so on his shoes went and out we went for a walk. We figured we were pretty safe given he’s in his stroller and his feet are not easily accessed.

HoudiniLarry and I are walking and chatting and I casually peer down at Walker, and he has his shoe in is mouth. One little bare foot is peeking out from under his blanket. About 40 feet behind us on the path is a lonely sock. We retrieve the sock and securely replace the shoe on the foot. About 20 minutes later we turn around and head for home. We’re taking our time and we mention feet and again, I casually look down to see two little bare feet peeking out from under the blanket. One shoe/sock pair is caught above the wheel on the stroller. I look down the path just as a man about 30 feet behind us is removing a small leather shoe from his beautiful golden retriever’s mouth. The sock is about 10 feet in front of them.

Walker finds this game very amusing. And he does have such cute feet.

Dad tries a new method of exercising his dogGranddaddy finally made it down to San Francisco and we had a nice day of Baby TV. Uncle Thayer finished his shift making calls for Obama and joined us at the Park Chalet for a Linner. (I’ve always thought the 3:30 meal should have a name like Brunch — I suppose it would be correct to call is Supper but I have always equated Supper with Dinner so I’m making up a new word because I can.) I may have mentioned that my father has a new dog, (American) Bart, (the “American” is silent but is part of the pedigree as to distinguish him from (Italian) Bart who is my sister Hilary’s doggie). (American) Bart is, well, a bit untrained, and my father is doing an amazing job of teaching him. He’s reading up on all the books and is taken with the Dog Whisperer’s approach to training. One issue for (American) Bart is that he is QUITE active and requires many, many energetic walks per day. So, when Cesar has a canine with a similar issue, he straps on his roller blades and is able to give the doggie more of a work out. Now my father is in his mid-sixties and is in very good shape. He takes many walks with said doggie, walks 18 holes regularly, periodically runs and even makes it to the gym in fits and starts. But I wouldn’t think of him as the most athletic (or logical) guy in the world.

A few days ago my phone rings. “Do you or Larry have any roller blades I can borrow?” Having had a few calls of this nature, I know I must inquire as to the problem we’re trying to solve rather than respond to the direct question. “Um, what do you need them for?” My father exuberantly explains his plan to which I reply, “Have you ever BEEN on roller blades? You know they have no brakes (and I don’t believe (American) Bart has any either).” We go down the logic path with a conversation about how it would be similar to walking the dog while ice skating (which my Maine-born father does have experience doing) and given his lack of experience, the lack of brakes, and (American) Bart’s unpredictable nature (e.g. running after moving trucks until he’s sucked under the tire and spit out like a little rubber doggie toy — stunned but not hurt), we decide something with larger wheels and brakes might be more appropriate. So, yesterday my father borrows my brother’s bike and takes a test drive. As we waited, Larry and Thayer discussed girls, Walker dozed, and I made sure I knew where Dad’s health insurance card was and planned what I’d do with (American) Bart when we had to take Dad to the hospital. A few minutes later Dad and dog return, muddy, somewhat exercised, and in one piece.

This is what I think of your plants I’ve found that pretty much everything my baby does is unexpected. Yeah, I’m sure this doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone… but really, how often do you gaze at your little bundle of joy and think, “Gosh, I have no idea what you’re going to do next and likely, whatever it is, I will certainly be aghast and dismayed.”

This week we had a few unexpected incidents. For example, this morning, we were sitting down to eat and I had prepared Walker’s cereal and two spoons of veggies — today it was carrots. Walker hasn’t been eating much real food because he’s had a cold and has been sleeping through breakfast. I was determined to have him eat something but he had a different plan. As many times as I offered the cereal and opened my mouth and made airplane noises, Walker just looked at me tight-lipped. It wasn’t until I offered him the bright orange carrots that his mouth fell open and he took a great big bite. Shocked, I spooned another helping of carrots into Walker’s gaping mouth. I got some more carrots from the jar and he ate that, too. I offered a spoon of cereal and his mouth clamped shut. He ate the rest of the jar of carrots. Now who’d-a thunk it? He didn’t like apples, pears, or bananas but after a few days of nothing, he decided he liked carrots. OK. I would not have predicted that.

I am NOT your monkeyOn Wednesday night, we had some unexpected activity. Wednesday is “Daddy Day” because I drive down to San Jose with a co-worker for work so Larry is responsible for driving Walker to and from Sofiya’s. This Wednesday I was scheduled to have a team dinner so Larry was going to entertain, feed, bathe, and bed our little man who had been a bit cranky due to a rather nasty sounding cough. He hadn’t been sleeping or eating much at Sofiya’s so we knew he wasn’t feeling so fantastic. Despite his cold, Walker and Daddy had a wonderful evening and the boy blissfully went down to sleep. I arrived home around 9:30 and chatted with Larry about my day and got ready for bed. I’d been feeling great because Walker’s sleeping patterns had been improving — he’d sleep through his 10:30 time and stay sleeping until 1 or 2am — so I thought I’d be able to catch a few z’s before he wanted some dinner. But just to keep us on our toes, Walker awakened with a yell and I walked into his room. I didn’t even have to turn on the light to know he was glowing red with fever (although I did turn on the light to confirm…) His little face and ears were red hot and when I unzipped his jammies, I could feel the heat radiating off his chest. Now, I do have a thermometer and, of course, it’s the rectal kind because we do always want an accurate reading. I had not used said thermometer yet and I was reluctant to do so. I mean, gosh, when one is not feeling well, who wants something jammed up one’s heinie? I was hoping to avoid using it in the prescribed manner, so I put it under his armpit. It registered 99. And that was me not being terribly careful, so that reading was basically from ambient heat. It was inevitable: I was going to have to figure out the thermometer. It took me 10 minutes to get the courage up to take the instrument out of the packaging and even then I just stared at it for another minute or two. Larry and I finally prepared the area, ourselves and Walker and unexpectedly, Walker didn’t seem to mind. We watched as the digital readout climbed 98…99…100…101…102 and it slowed down…103. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? “Get dressed,” I declared. I called the after-hours nurse who told me that since he didn’t seem to pee after he went to sleep three hours earlier, we should probably give him some Motrin and head down to the ER.

About an hour later, we met a very nice nurse who took Walker’s temperature (which had fallen to 100.8). He also taped a monitor on to his big toe and took his heart rate (150) and oxygen level (98%). What a very smart big toe! The monitor had a long cable Walker really liked to chew on. That’s when we saw Walker’s SECOND TOOTH! So apparently we had a baby with a bad cold and a new tooth. We waited in the ER for another 2 hours and, given that we were still a few hours away from seeing a doctor as it was already 2am, we decided it would be better for Walker to flee the petri dish of the waiting room and get a good night’s sleep in his own bed. Good thing, too. As after a call to the doctor in the morning, it turned out Walker was just fine and we were being “new parents.” Apparently, fevers account for 50% of all calls to the doctor and 20% of all ER visits. I never expected I’d be a paranoid parent but, there you go.

Whadda doing up there? I am still sleeping in Walker’s room (no comments from the peanut gallery…) and the other night he woke up at 2am. I’m working on trying to get him to go back to sleep without my help, so, rather than get up, I lied down on my mattress and watched a little hand poke out between the slats of the crib. Then the little hand moved slowly back and forth between the slats for a few minutes. It disappeared. Back comes the hand but it has something in it — a pacifier. The paci bangs on the slat. Bang. Bang. And then he dragged back and forth across the slats. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Then the silicone side slid against the wood. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Apparently Walker was trying to break out of baby jail. I put the covers over my head to muffle my giggles as I imagined him chanting “Attica! Attica! Attica!” I’ll be moving back into our room soon but I’ll always wonder what unexpected little events happen in the middle of the night.

Buddah Well, it’s official. The word of 2008 will be “Toothiness” because as of 1/11/08, Mr. Gummers has a tooth. It’s just a hint of a thing but we can feel it and we can catch a glimpse of it if Walker holds a super wide smile for a few seconds. He’s not looking like a jack-o-lantern yet but soon enough that little pearly white will rise above the gumline and Walker will leave his gummy smile behind (at least for many, many years to come).

While many of you have seen this picture, I have to post it prominently for Gigi. We’ve decided that images like this one will be called “Gigi food” because when she sees them she calls us up and squeals about how she can just “eat him up!”

It’s been awhile since I posted and I had big plans for posting my list of 2008 Resolutions. I thought a lot about them and perhaps they’re like my quarterly/annual goals — they sound like a good idea for prioritizing my activities but I can never seem to nail them down. I did come up with two important ones: 1) Focus on and enjoy my family 2) Be a good role model for Walker. Perhaps it’s not about the quantity of the resolutions but on the quality.

I have some notable updates. Walker is babbling like a champ and his newest favorite sound is “dada dada dada dada dada dada dada.” It’s so cool to hear him utter it to Larry even though we know he doesn’t quite know what he’s saying. After being so obsessive about Walker’s rolling (or lack of it), we started practicing rolling every few days. Within a day or two, when I put him on his belly, he’d whip around to his back. He would always roll to the left starting with his little head and letting his body follow. This week we practiced rolling from his back to his belly and rolling to both the left and the right. He’s got the tummy to back in both directions now and he seems to be having a lot of fun. This weekend we’ll be practicing some more!

The sleeping has gotten much better. I’m starting to write down all the times he wakes up and how much he eats. I’ve started to wean him off his 2-3 am feeding and that seems to be not an issue at all. The challenge now will be to see if he decides to sleep through that time. I know he can do it. Last night, for the first time in three months, he slept for a 5 hour stretch. He went to sleep at 7:45 and didn’t wake up until 12:5oam. Perhaps he was so relieved for his little tooth that he thought he’d take a longer sleep! He still woke up three more times before arising at 6 but it’s the potential for repeating the longer sleep behavior that is so promising!

Another small revelation may improve his sleeping patterns. I realized that he stopped sleeping in long stretches when we moved into his room. I chalked it up to all the changes — a new bed, going to day care, me going to work. When we set up his room, I thought a small turtle light would make a great soft light to keep him safe from the monsters that go bump in the night. The other day it occurred to me that the light was actually fairly bright and the transition to his room may not have been the problem. When he was in the bassinet next to me in my room, it was nice and dark. Perhaps he liked it that way and it was me who needed the light! Not sure why I didn’t think of this sooner but we’re now sleeping in a much darker environment. Duh!

Eating is going well. He’s a big fan of cereal and not so much of the other food. At the behest of Daddy and Granddaddy, I abandoned the peas and migrated to sweeter fare. He’s still not enjoying the non-cereal portion of his meal but he’s getting used to the more intense tastes and his grimaces aren’t as pronounced when he eats a spoon of fruit.

We used to have a tortoise named Redfoot. He had one big tooth on his bottom jaw, just like Walker. He would eat his favorite fruit, mango (which for years I considered turtle food and not fit for my consumption) and get it all over his face, just like Walker. Footie was the BEST. He used to follow us up and down the hallway. He used to love to sit on our feet. He loved his bath, just like Walker. (Walker loves to kick and kick and splash me until I’m soaked. He’s getting really big for his little tub but he has so much fun in there I think we’ll just stay in it until his limbs hang over the edges.) The funny part about Footie’s bath was when he would poop and he’d be splashing around. Yes, sometimes Walker reminds me of when Redfoot would take his bath…

Walker, Daddy and I went to the SF Zoo on the Sunday prior to Christmas, just before Gigi arrived. We saw the Reindeer and stayed to watch a puppet performance of the Nutcracker. It was a brisk day so we bundled Walker up in a few things he hadn’t worn before — a pea coat jumper and a hat that is a hand me down. And by that, I mean the little blue and white hat is 44 years old — it was Daddy’s when he was a baby and it was shared by many in the Young clan — Aunt Lisa wore it and then her kids’ heads were kept cozy. Lisa did a great job keeping it pristine and thoughtfully sent it to us for Walker to wear. We love how the hat compliments his striking blue eyes and accentuates his “I know something you don’t know” look.

Walker is growing so fast and I now understand the phrase, “they grow up so fast.” I’ve had glimpses of my future when Larry and I feed him. Right now, he really doesn’t like food other than rice cereal and he has found a way to express his discontent. Walker tenses up his entire body, makes tiny fists at his sides, holds his breath and turns red, and then growls as he moves his head from the left to the right. It’s an extremely disconcerting moment and I fast forward to the “terrible twos” when he does some variant of that PLUS yells “no, no, no, no….” Any child of Larry and me will certainly have a strong opinion about things and will not be shy about expressing his wants, needs, desires. I suppose it’s only fair and I should be thankful I see the potential situation now so I have some time to prepare.

Walker is spending a lot of time vocalizing (he is almost always chattering and has done some interesting complex sound aggregations such as blowing raspberries that transition to screeching or “da da da da da” sounds). He loves sitting up and playing with his rattles or his ball. He loves lying on the ground and playing with his toys. But he’s not doing a lot of rolling. When we went for his 6 month doctor visit, Dr. Mimi asked if Walker was rolling over, if he knew his name, if he responded to sounds. Now, I’m not one of those paranoid mothers but I started to fret over those questions. What does it mean that Walker isn’t rolling around all the time? Does he know his name? Does he respond to sounds? “Walker!” I say. “Walker!” He keeps playing with his toy or looking around at the wall hangings. It doesn’t matter that he tracks me whenever I’m in the room. That he gets upset when I leave a room. That he rolls over once in awhile when he’s reaching for something. That he perks up when he hears Daddy or Mommy coming. No. None of that matters. I just sit and obsess about how Walker compares to other babies. It’s ridiculous but it’s one of those times when I realize I’m only human.