July 2008


I have a long night ahead doing paperwork for our comic company but I had to document a few simply exceptional things that happened.

Today is one of those rare San Francisco sunny-and-calm-and-not-too-hot-summer-days. As Larry is away at Comic-Con in San Diego (and it’s a zoo down there, everyone is covering it from Entertainment Weekly to Fandango) I decided to spend the day in Golden Gate Park. We went to the Children’s Playground (thanks for the tip Zia Hilary) and then got a burrito at Gordos. Walker got a quesadilla but was more interested in his raisins and Cheerios. We sat at the window seat and Walker stood on the chair and waved at everyone walking by. We then wandered into the Arboretum and sat and played in the shade. After some time, a group of seven Chinese people came and shared the shade of our big tree. They sat and discussed dreams and camping in a combination of Mandarin and English. One woman kept looking over at Walker and would clap once in awhile. He’d clap back. It close to naptime so he wasn’t terribly active. He watched the group while sitting quietly in my lap with Flat Frog and his pacifier. And then something exceptional happened. The group started singing to Walker in Mandarin. He was transfixed. After three songs, he smiled and applauded.

With the beautiful music resonating in our ears, we headed back home for a nap. Within two blocks, Walker was asleep in his seat. Rather than risk waking him by moving him to the crib, I parked by the beach. And it was one of those exceptional times when there were very big, loud waves and it was warm enough to keep the windows down. So henapped with the natural wave machine lulling him to sleep. (Walker was out for an hour and forty minutes. I rested my eyes, read Wired, and played Solitaire. It was fabulous.)

We go home and our neighbors are having a birthday party for their three year old son. We don’t know them well but we’ve exchanged small talk. Around 6:00, I heard light tap on the door and there was Mom with a big piece of birthday cake for Walker. In broken English she said she would have invited us but everyone speaks Spanish. I was so touched. (If you’re counting, I consider that an exceptional experience.)

Last night Walker and I had our first dinner date. We met with Karen Shapiro, the woman who took a chance and hired me at Bank of America for my first Internet job. We went to Park Chow at 5:30 and I was a bit concerned about how Walker would fare. But the restaurant was so very baby-friendly. I think every table had a child in a highchair and the waitress was quite attentive to Walker. Even the folks at adjacent tables were great — picking up items Walker threw from his perch. I think we’ll be going back there when I’m jonesing to go for an “adult” dinner. (And that wasn’t exceptional. Just notable.)

Walker is really starting to be independent. He’s very vocal when he doesn’t get what he wants. And he crawls around and plays with his favorite toys. And the thing that melts my heart is he’s doing a lot more of coming over to me, putting his arms around my neck and resting his head on my shoulder. That is the most exceptional thing I could ever imagine.

I can’t end on a sappy note. So I have to share part of a sign I saw on the Adobe employee bathroom stall: “Please use the toilet seat correctly…” Really? I’m not sure of the different ways I could use a toilet seat. Perhaps my imagination is limited.

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When I was a little girl, my Daddy took me to professional baseball games out at Candlestick. We’d try to go to the Giants vs. the Reds and we’d sit in the stands and FREEZE our tails off. He’d sit and explain the game — the nuances of baseball strategy, the history of the players and gaze in awe as the players sped around the bases or whipped the small ball quickly around the field. I, on the other hand, would watch the people in the stands. I often miss “astounding” plays and never remember who was playing, what the score was, or what notable thing happened. I know I’ve been to some “historic” games but alas, even they don’t leave a lasting impression — now the crazy woman with the bare feet, all the Giants gear, and the radio — SHE left an impression. (Despite my clearly different perspective on baseball, Daddy still takes me to games. We no longer freeze in the new stadium and I do try to pay a little more attention but I still find the people — and the garlic fries — more interesting than the game.)

Big Game

Yesterday was Walker’s first baseball game. It was the Giants vs. the Milwaukee Brewers. Giants lost, 5 to 8. But that’s not what was important. Walker was accompanied by Mommy, Daddy, Uncle Thayer and our friend, Ash. Walker tried to show his spirit with as many orange items as he could find — even his sippy cup! He sat quietly and watched the game. Whenever the crowd clapped, he’d participate. But it wasn’t JUST a clap. He’d extend his arms out as far as they’d go and enthusiastically smack his little palms together as hard as he could. Coincidentally, yesterday was also the first time my brother “put him to work” as girl-bait. Walker tried to woo some English ladies for my brother. It’s not clear if it worked for Thayer, but the ladies were certainly smitten with Walker.

Hangin' with Uncle Thayer Proud Papa

It has been said that baseball games are three innings too long. (I’m not sure if that’s a common saying but someone in front of us said it and it sounds about right.) Walker made it through the first six innings like a trooper and decided that rather than stretch his legs in the seventh inning, he’d take a nap. However, not until he joined in the rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

In development news, Walker has a molar. I only know because he bit me with it when I stuck my finger in his mouth. He’s been teething for many, many weeks and I was curious. I didn’t see any teeth coming in and I just knew it wasn’t possible. And way in the back, on the top right, was a little tooth that had poked through some time ago. The teething continues and Walker is getting annoyed with my fingers in his mouth. Walker is also walking with a cute little walker (funny how you use them when you’re very little AND when you’re very old) and is just starting to understand that he can walk with us. He seems to think he can only stand or walk while holding on to stationary objects. When he grabs on to us he thinks a moment and then sits. However, this weekend we walked about ten feet together. It’s a start. And I’m not anxious to have him on his own since I know he’ll never stop moving.

Goin' to the storeLarry is preparing for the big comic book convention in San Diego. There is much stacking of boxes, coordinating schedules, buying of water, packing, and getting psyched up. SDCC has more than 130,000 visitors over four days (and preview night) and it’s gotten more and more insane in the last thirteen years that we’ve been attending. Walker and I had planned to attend a few days this year. We have our plane tickets and our Pro badges. However, given Walker insists on waking at 5:00am (on the dot — I now try to get to sleep between 9:30 and 10pm), I figure everyone in our room (and those rooms around us) would appreciate it if we stayed in San Francisco. So, I’m going to be a single Mommy for a week. I went grocery shopping and stocked up on my bachlorette food — peanut butter and jelly, Raman, Diet Coke, popcorn and salad — and I’m preparing to watch a few “Firefly” episodes on DVD. We’ll miss Daddy but we’ll feed our loneliness by eating all the things he doesn’t like. Perhaps while Larry is away, we’ll take a hike in the backpack or go to the corner store in our red wagon. It’s Walker’s new favorite way to travel — in a big red wagon with wooden sides. He likes to hold on to the side and keep track of the bags of fresh fruit and yogurt.

And if getting ready for SDCC wasn’t enough, we tried to start the Honda yesterday and it just clicked away. It wouldn’t start. We didn’t leave any lights on but it seemed that the battery was dead. Thank goodness for AAA. A cute little chick mechanic came to the house on Sunday and did some diagnostics on the battery which appeared to have a bad cell. She quickly got a new one and installed it. Walker was very intrigued by the whole process and the big yellow truck. The car is now running well but the CD/Radio doesn’t work. Ah. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

Did I mention Walker sleeps from 7:30pm to 5am? Wheee! Who cares about car trouble?

Like many kids, I had a savings account when I was a tyke. I recall loving when the few dollars I deposited were typed into my little passbook. When I was about ten, Poppo, my grandfather, felt that I should graduate to a checking account. He wanted to ensure I knew how to manage money and balance my checkbook. (Yes, I still balance my checkbooks both manually and with Quicken. Poppo taught me well.)

When I started working, I remember Jane, my stepmother, talking to me about putting my money in a money market account so I could get at least a little interest on my money. When I worked at Bank of America, I learned from my co-workers about mutual funds and dollar cost averaging.

Many years, multiple funds, IRAs and stocks later, I now have a small child who is one and received some very generous gifts for his birthday. Larry and I were faced with the decision of what to do with said windfall. While Walker suggested purchasing many, many bags of frozen peas and fresh fruit (his favorite things in the world today), we thought perhaps we should set the money aside for when he’s a bit older to make more informed purchasing decisions (to get stuff like baseball gloves and patches for his jeans and jackets). But savings accounts don’t have the cachet they used to and savings bonds don’t feel terribly efficient. (Do you recall where your bond certificates are 20 years later?)

So I started thinking, perhaps Walker needs “My First Investment Account”. So, we opened a custodial Schwab account and we’ll be investing his bounty in an S&P Index Fund until he’s old enough to start day trading. And according to our financial adviser, now is a perfect time. The Dow has taken a plunge and it’s time to Buy! Buy! Buy! Good timing Walker. Let’s assume this is just the beginning of a very wise (and lucky) pattern of investing. (And if Schwab or some other financial institution is pulling ideas from the community and decides to start a program called, My First Investment Account, I’d be more than happy to talk to them about licensing the rights to the idea. I mean, Baby’s gotta have some assets!)

Another thing I’d like to share…

I recently had an opportunity to take a day off (it was a weekday and I took a day off work and Walker went to Sofiya’s). When I used to have a day off, I’d PLAY. That would mean sleeping in (or staying in bed until the double digits), going to a movie, restaurant dining, taking a walk, hanging out in the garden or window shopping. But, like so many things, after Walker was born, the entire concept of a “Day Off” changed. Today, when I have a day off it’s an opportunity to get those “one more things” that I haven’t been able to address completed. So during my last, “day off”, I did a quick Costco run for paper products and diapers, did a favor for my brother (who was auditioning for a Discovery Channel TV show), opened an investment account (see above) and got a hair cut. I did catch a quick rest between 4:30 and 5:30 when I had to pick up our Little Face (Gigi’s pet name for Walker). There were no movies, no sleeping in, no window shopping. But that’s the way life is and I love it.

I’m so happy with my life right now despite the absence of seeing first-run movies in the theater (I can’t believe I’ve only seen TWO in the last 8 months — OMG). Today, Larry and I were talking about our favorite song on the Barenaked Ladies’ CD “Snack Time.” There’s a song called “Things” and the lyrics are as follows:

There are things that make me mad
You are not one of them
There are things that make me sad
You are not one of them
There are things that make me dad
You seem to be all of them.

That’s the entire song. I read the lyrics to Larry and I burst into tears. It’s such a simple and sweet thought. It’s how I feel about Walker. I guess this answers my sister’s question about whether I am full of love for my little boy.

And if you want another super sweet thought (I can’t leave you with the image of me bawling on my child’s floor, crumpled in my husband’s arms while my child sings along to the Barenaked Ladies)… Walker has started to really make his desires known. He has started to yell and even CRY if we take something away from him while he’s playing with it (oh, like the tube of hydrocortisone we keep on his changing table or the soon to disintegrate TiVo remote). He also laughs and smiles until he’ll burst when we do things he likes (like chase after him when he’s crawling around the house). So this afternoon, Walker was taking a nap and I chose to catch up on some zzzz’s as well. He awoke before me and Larry went into Walker’s room to get him. Walker decided to crawl down the hall and into the living room. But I heard the commotion and decided to surprise Walker by getting on the floor in the bedroom, on the other side of the house and peeking around the corner. Larry pointed me out and Walker got a big smile on his face. We crawled toward each other with Walker’s giggling getting faster and louder the closer we get. We met in the middle of the house and he rested his little head on my shoulder and hugged and hugged like he never thought he’d see me again. (Reminded me of the cliche movie scenes where two people run down the beach into each other’s arms — only much, much sweeter.)

I love my life. I love my family.

(And if you have available money, invest now!)

I'm SOOO Big Buddah 2.0 Buddah

We’ve done a few posts without photos so this will be a post without many words. This weekend we wanted to update the Buddah picture so we will be able to chronicle Walker’s development in an iconic sort of way. I’m sure you can pick out which photos were taken recently (hint, there is only one photo of him at five months and two at 12).

The photos below are taken at our new favorite afternoon hot spot — South Sunset Playground. Walker is one of the younger kids but he finds many older girls to flirt with. He climbed up the tower stairs and went down the slide all by himself. We found out there are significant advances in seesaw technology — whoda thunk it? (And for inquiring minds, the new seesaw is a plank on springs so you can bounce with people of varying weights and, probably the real motivator for change — there’s no risk of spine compression when your cheeky friend thinks it’s funny to get off the other side while you’re suspended up top. But wasn’t the potential trip to the hospital part of creating the excitement of the experience?) Walker’s outfit is also notable. Grammie and Granddad Young got this San Francisco memento more than 10 years ago and Aunt Lisa was so sweet to save it for us all these years. How’d she know we’d have a charming little man who’d be a 49ers fan?

I LOVE the park Like my outfit?

And of course we can’t have a blog post without some discussion of some new Walker development. A favorite toy has been Walker’s stacking rings. He’s had them since he was born and he loved to chew on them. Then he loved to bang them together. Then he loved to throw them and scoot after them (and we have video to prove it). Then he loved to keep them in his little hands and crawl down the wood floors so he sounds like a double-peg-leg Pirate or a two-legged horse. But now. This weekend. He loves to put them on the post. He tried it on Friday and wasn’t terribly successful, perhaps making contact a quarter of the time. However, with some practice, he now gets the rings on the post almost every time he tries. I wish I could master a skill that quickly. (And for those of you doing the math, it’s been about three days.) Hopefully now we’ll be able to keep better track of all the pieces (assuming they are on the post) although I may be too optimistic. The green one has gone missing. Hmmmm.

It’s 6:30 on Independence Day and we’ve spent the last two hours in the living room with the TV on. No, I’m not stunting the brain development of our wonderful little man with movies or even childhood programming (although I’m jonesing to see something that has more than a 60 minute running time in a single sitting but that warrants a whole different post). I’m simply finding more ways to justify the $110 monthly subscription to Comcast cable.

Larry has always been a big fan of the “Retro Active” digital music channel (playing 80’s music on Channel 916 — for those in the SF Bay Area) and will listen to it while he’s working. He started this because he’s just not into listening to music through iTunes, streaming through Pandora, or swapping out CDs every 45 minutes. I recently moved our iPod and speakers into Walker’s room because I wanted to be able to play ocean waves all night long in an attempt to lull him into a full night’s sleep. And no, it hasn’t been working but I still have hopes it will miraculously cure him of his frequent nightly waking. So, there’s no longer any music in the living room. And when we’re playing with a ball or a car or the stacking rings for an hour or two, the silence is a bit disconcerting. Also, Walker is such a big fan of music. He loves to listen to different songs and you can see his eyes light up and today he even tried dancing a bit with a bob or two of his head. (Generally there’s lots of clapping and now there’s a bit of rapid deep knee bends while holding on to something.) It finally occurred to me that perhaps, in the zillions of channels there might be something appropriate for Walker. And on channel 922, we found music programming called Kids Only. It’s for older kids but it’s interesting to listen to for both Walker and Parents with some remixes of Devo, Speed Racer and other songs because really, nothing new is being made. It’s all “re-imagining” the old stuff.

So, while I’m not watching as much TV anymore, I can feel better each month when paying the obscenely large cable bill.

Walker saw some live music today with a big band playing patriotic music in the Band Shell in Golden Gate Park. We hung around listening to them after being chased out of the DeYoung Museum (I guess they don’t like children in backpacks — front packs and strollers are OK but not backpacks).

In just a few short minutes I expect to hear fireworks. I finally got Walker to sleep (yes, like most things these days, I start something at one time and it takes a few hours to complete) and we’ll see how Walker’s sleeping fares. He does take after his Daddy and doesn’t sleep terribly deeply. A loud sneeze will wake that guy so I expect a number of explosions will certainly have an impact.

And if you’re curious, on Walker’s iPod:

  • Snack Time CD by the Barenaked Ladies (visit the site to get a free download of the most brilliant song, 7 8 9 — say it out loud and understand why we don’t have the number nine anymore)
  • Philadelphia Chickens
  • Louis the Lion (from Baby Loves Jazz)
  • Vivaldi’s the Four Seasons
  • Yo Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin’s Hush
  • Some Irish jigs
  • Polka Hits by Frank Yankovic