August 2008

A co-worker of mine has a 3.5 year old girl and a 10 week old boy. She’s coming back to work on Thursday and invited Larry, Walker and me for dinner. I figured we go over and have some pizza (perhaps gourmet pizza knowing her good taste) but we were treated to a FANTASTIC homemade lasagna (with homemade pasta), farm-fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and basil, and the most scrumptious chocolate chip cookies with a dash of kosher salt (it’s true, it really does bring out the taste). Not only was I shocked at the meal but I was astonished to find that Walker loves tomato and was interested in mozzarella. Devon was very good to Walker and shared her toys (as much as a 3.5 year old may be expected to). Walker’s favorite was the sit-and-spin. At 7:15 Walker promptly informed us that it was time to leave. He dug into his bag to get the baggie where we keep his pacifier. It also had some crackers in it earlier in the day — he prefers Multi-Grain Club crackers — so the paci was covered in cracker crumbs. Two of his favorite things at once. And the crackifier was born. He was in heaven.

Did I mention Walker is walking on his own? Oh, silly me. I must have been distracted by the homemade cookies that were packed up for us and are now lovingly placed at my side by my adoring husband. But back to the walking. Yes, Walker is ambling on his very own. This first real steps were yesterday morning after a brisk morning walk/run with Mommy (Walker rode in his Jeep stroller listening to the Barenaked Ladies). Daddy was watching Walker while Mommy got cleaned up and just as I was about to get presentable, Walker started toddling down the hall. We’ve been waiting for this day with cameras at our fingertips and ironically, we couldn’t snap photos because I was, well, unpresentable. We knew folks would want to see this incredible milestone so we went to the playground and let him walk around on a nice cushy surface.

Yesterday was a very big day. Walker also got his first haircut. I resisted this for some time but every morning he’d sit in his highchair and pull his hair out to the sides as if to say, “Mommy, I just can’t think with all this HAIR.” After doing some research, I decided to take Walker to Kids Cuts where he could be groomed by professionals with little-kid experience. And they have chairs in the shape of race cars, so how could we resist? We went in and there was a little boy about 2.5 who was SCREAMING at the top of his lungs, face wet with tears and beet red. His Daddy was sitting in the chair (a regular chair, not a car chair) holding him and he was not calmed. Walker didn’t know what to make of it but he went in and played with the toys they have in the waiting area. When it was his turn, he got in the car chair (covered with hundreds of stickers), had the little smock put around him and sat quietly as the hair dresser used the clippers to get the length off and then shaped his handsome locks with the shears. Walker played with a toy and didn’t look happy but certainly wasn’t upset. He seemed to sit and reserve judgment. The whole process took no more than 7 minutes. Walker had a very handsome haircut. We got his hair in a little handmade envelope with a Batman sticker. There were tears, but they were Mommy’s.

In the “marketing run amok” file, I have to mention that this morning when I was feeding the fish, I noticed one of the benefits of the fish food we use is that the fish get important Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Gosh. I’m glad to know that. I wouldn’t have bought that brand of fish meal otherwise. My 25 cent goldfish deserve the best.

Walker loves the slide and we have to share his joy with his friends and family.

Walker loves the slide and we have to share his joy with his friends and family.

Gigi, here’s a little something to get you through the weekend. I do promise more soon.

My old iPod recently died and I just got a new one that plays video (yeah, I know I’m not as “hip” as you perhaps thought I was).

Anyway, after loading it up with video of Walker so I can get my quick baby fix while on the go, I loaded it up with TED Talks and have been watching them on the train down to San Jose. Yesterday morning I got to see Stephen Hawking floating weightless, learn about how writer AJ Jacobs lived Biblically for a year, and ponder data from Freakonomic’s Steven Levitt regarding the actual effectiveness of car seat usage.

I highly recommend watching these talks. I feel smarter after watching them.

Now I should take a moment to mention that I got some good-natured ribbing by Gigi about the lengthy “manual” I left for Grammy Jane the other night. I believe one of the most accurate quotes was, “You’d think she’d never seen an child before.” Yeah, OK. She raised two fantastic kids who did get bathed and fell asleep every night. But this is WALKER. I just wanted to make sure she knew all the little details he’s come to expect each night. And what you all DON’T know is that I EDITED the manual to keep it to a single page.

Now you know that TED Talks may make me smarter but no less neurotic.

Walker sings “Itsy Bitsy Spider” — age 13 months


Tonight we went on our very first date night. When Larry and I were pregnant, Grammy Jane was so excited. She claimed that Wednesday nights were hers for babysitting. And when Walker came home, I think one of the first calls was Jane, wondering when we were going to start our Wednesday date nights. Before Walker was born, I was thinking this was fantastic, that we’d love to go out and take advantage of our wonderful family babysitter. But it’s been 14 months (to the day) and we haven’t gone out.

Tonight we did. And everything was fine. We came home and there was no crying (Walker or Jane) and apparently Walker fell asleep while reading books. Hardly knew we were gone. I, of course, had visions of a meltdown similar to the one at the end of Indiana Jones (unclear who was melting down but did put odds on Walker). However, despite my anxiety, we did manage to spend too much at a multi-course meal at the Cliff House.

Being that Jane and I are Women Who Like To Be Prepared, I did write a detailed letter to help Jane with Walker’s evening ritual and thought I’d share it with you…

Walker Young’s Manual

Playtime 6:15 – 6:45 / 7:00
Walker enjoys playing in the living room with his blocks (he likes to knock things down that you’ve built) or play with his stacking rings (he has two kinds) or put things in boxes. He may want to sit under the bar chairs by the window. Or, he’ll walk around with you or his walker. I generally see how he’s feeling but start to talk about bath time around 6:45. I may not take him in to get undressed until 7 if he’s active and doesn’t seem terribly cranky or tired.

Prepping for bath
I fill up his bath before I get him undressed. Sometimes he comes in to help.

Getting undressed
Walker doesn’t always like to get undressed if he’s cranky. He’s not a big fan of his changing table. So, sometimes I’ll get him undressed in his room on the floor (he will often help) and then put him on the changing table just to take off his diaper. If his diaper is not poopie, I may undress him all the way on the floor. If you want to keep him happy on the changing table, I’ll give him his paci and/or something to play with like his book or spoon or Bunny Foo Foo.

Have a good time. We just play in the water and there will be a lot of putting the toys in the bath and taking them out. He has started to like to have a drink in his bath so I’ll leave a cup with water in the bathroom (along with a towel and washcloth). I generally let him play for 10 or 15 minutes but get him out at 7:15.

Ready for bed
He uses Triple Paste for his diaper cream (the big white tub) –- he has sensitive skin and has been having a lot of diaper rash. It’s good to try to distract him while he’s on the changing table. You can put on the CD player or give him a toy. He may try to stand up, and that’s OK as long as you support him. If he doesn’t want to sit down again, I’ve put his jammies on him while he’s on the floor. (Jammies will be on the changing table.) After jammies, he puts on his “sleep sack” which zips down from the top to the bottom. We generally read a few books (or he looks through them and then throws them on the floor) while sitting in the rocker. Then I’ll take him over to the window and say “Goodnight Garden” and put down the shade. I then put on the iPod. All you need to do is hit the “play” button. I’ll set it all up. The ocean waves should just repeat.

Going to sleep
Make sure he has his Bunny Foo Foo and a paci nearby. Then turn off the light and give him a sippy cup of milk. When he’s done, give him his paci. Rock with him with his head on your right arm. He may fidget a bit. Once he starts drifting off, put him in his crib. No need to give him a blanket.

Good luck.

First thing Walker does in the morning is crawl over to his walker and take a cruise around the house. He’s so FAST.

And while this is special, it’s an expected milestone. The other night we had a very special treat — a milestone we didn’t anticipate.

Walker, Daddy and I were sitting in Walker’s room on the floor. Daddy decided some rough-housing was in order and started to do a little tickling. I giggled and Daddy asked Walker to pile on. He complied. He jumped on me and gave me tickle buzzies. The three of us had our first-roll-o-the-floor playtime.

Walker, Larry and I spent Saturday at Fort Point – an old garrison under the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s one of our favorite places to go because it’s so pretty and old and unknown despite its location under one of the most well-known landmarks in the world. It was even more special on Saturday when all the local Civil War re-enactors filled the Fort and conducted routines of the time like marching and playing the band. It was soooooo windy and cold in the Fort but just outside it was calm and warmer. I would have hated to be stationed there. But Walker thought it was fascinating to see folks marching around and he loved when the band came and they beat on the big drums and played the bugle and the piccolos. Larry enjoyed speaking with the sharpshooter and the doctor about the tools of the time. There was this sweet little boy who was getting into the re-enacting at an early age and he took special interest in our Walker –- making sure his coat was zipped up (made sure to ask Daddy if it was OK for him to zip up his jacket) and talking to him as Walker inspected the troops.

This was only one of many high points for the weekend. Walker has been very, very mobile. He crawls over to his walker and takes a few spins around the house, banging the walker into walls and then backing up and straightening out so he can proceed as planned. It’s really rather impressive. And he’s wicked fast with that thing. He also likes to cruise around the house holding our hands. We’re certainly getting our exercise and it’s clear he is going to be walking all on his own soon. There were moments when he had one hand on the walker and was facing us, looking like he had every intention of leaving the walker behind to toddle over to us. Then, at the very last second, he dropped to his knees and crawled over. Clearly, he’s looking for the right incentive to assert his independence. But this morning something was different. He did a few spins around the house with Daddy and maneuvered his way into the bathroom. The two of them watched me as I was preparing for work. Then I hear Larry behind me saying, “Look! Look! Look!” and just as I turn around, Walker lets go of Daddy’s hand and took two and a half steps toward me before falling to his knees. Yup, it’s begun. Walking on his own (and dealing with the bumps and bruises and cuts and scrapes that come along with the learning process). Our Baby is now a Toddler.

Next Sunday will be a big step for Mommy. I have put Walker to sleep almost every night since he was born (it may be even be every night but I can’t remember a few nights back in December when I had to leave the house early in the morning, pump in the SJ Convention Center parking lot and return home late at night –- Larry may have lulled him to sleep –- it was such a blur). But next Sunday, Grammy Jane is going to babysit (read: kick us out of the house) and give Walker a bath and put him to sleep. She says Mommy and Daddy need to have an adult dinner. And, she’s right. So, as much as I want to have a date with my Larry, it’s going to be hard not putting the little Morsel to bed. Just as Walker takes his steps toward independence, so is Mommy.

The teething seems to be getting better. Walker is not as uncomfortable or clingy as he’s been in the last few weeks and his sleep is better as well. Last night he slept straight through from 7:30 to 6:00 without waking up. You have no idea how exciting that is! (Perhaps the good night sleep contributed to the desire to walk on his own?) Both Mommy and Daddy were so proud of our little Gold Medal Sleeper (it IS the Olympics , of course) and we awoke refreshed and ready to face the day. What a difference it makes. (I was talking to Gigi this morning to catch her up on Walker news and she said she had no doubt Walker would start walking but she did doubt he’d ever sleep through the night. There were times at 2:30am when I had those same thoughts…) Larry and I have been trying extra hard to make Walker laugh. Not only because it’s the best sound in the whole wide world, but because it gives us a chance to see all his new teeth. It’s so hard to believe that at one time I was sad because I was never going to see my little baby’s gummy grin and now Mr. Gummers is DOUBLING his teeth with four new molars and two new bottom teeth. And I’m convinced that his top canines are considering making an appearance. The little Jack-o-Lantern / Rodent smile is going to soon be that of a little boy with a mouth full of teeth and the ability to eat anything he wants. Goodness.

Speaking of eating, PopPop is flabbergasted at the amount Walker eats. He stayed for dinner last weekend and witnesses the dinner of 2 Mommy fistfulls of Cheerios, 5 mini-meatballs, a few cubes of cheese, frozen peas, 10 grapes (cut in half), some blueberries, and a sippey-cup of milk. (For lunch we substitute the cheese and meatballs for half a quesidilla and for breakfast we lose the peas and have an egg.) Sofiya asked us not to feed him so much for breakfast because he likes to eat Kashi with the rest of the kids when he arrives but generally he’s too stuffed. So, this morning we tried to keep breakfast to a minimum but it wasn’t easy. There was a lot of “Eh! Eh!” and pointing to the counter for more of whatever Mommy was preparing (which was a salad for lunch but Walker got some more watermelon which won’t be as filling).

And it’s Monday so I have to share a Monday at Adobe story. Last week there was a 9:00 meeting where many folks arrived about 10-15 minutes late. (This is not unusual for many meetings, especially those beginning on Monday mornings.) There was someone new to Adobe in the meeting and once all the participants sauntered in, she says in a somewhat exasperated tone, “Good, everyone is here. Now let’s get started!” which prompted one attendee to reply, “Becky, you’re at Adobe now. Here we start Monday morning meetings with, ‘How was your weekend?’” This anecdote, while seemingly absurd, perfectly captures the Adobe culture. As I type away on the train to San Jose, I think about the insanity that awaits me but know at least it will be conducted in a cordial and polite manner.

Nothin better than hugs on the beach.

Nothin' better than hugs on the beach.

Today we spent almost an hour on Skype with Gigi so Walker could show off all his new tricks:

  1. Creating a big O with his mouth and making “OOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH” noises
  2. Trying to put on his shoes
  3. Walking
  4. Speed crawling
  5. Stacking BOTH sets of his rings
  6. Singing “Itsey Bitsey Spider” complete with hand gestures
  7. Blowing kisses
  8. Combing his hair
  9. Playing piano
  10. Taking a break on his back
  11. Destroying castles made of blocks with hands and feet
  12. Playing ball
  13. Jumping and dancing
  14. Putting things in his round box

Gigi was beside herself. I would just move the computer around to follow Walker. It was particularly interesting when he went walking up and down the hall.

I then put us to work. Our front plants are a bit unruly. It’s been some time since we paid any attention to the lavender, the big shrub, or the evergreen tree, the latter not having been trimmed since we moved in ten years ago. PG&E sent us a bit of a gruff letter since they have to get around the shrub and the tree to read the meter and I guess the meter reader doesn’t like fighting his way through the brush. Larry did a great job on the shrub and I proceeded to trim the tree. But it wasn’t just any trimming. I wanted to turn it back to the way it was when we moved in — well manicured with pretty round “puffs” of greenery. So I trimmed, and trimmed, and trimmed and it now looks like a nicely coiffed poodle. The tree looks OK but I think Walker might be a bit concerned that I might come at him with some scissors now that his hair is a tad long.

As we were outside, we met Diane. She was visiting her elderly father a few houses down the street. She grew up 47th Ave along with 69 other children. Yes, there were 70 children ON OUR BLOCK. And, if you’ve been in any of the houses in the sunset, you’d know that even two kids in one of these houses is a lot. One house had eight children. Even if there was a small extension, I can’t imagine anyone had any privacy – ever.

Walker has 6 teeth coming in – four molars and two in the front. He’s taking the discomfort like a trooper. I know it will take weeks for the choppers to fully come in but it’s official that he’s in the process of DOUBLING his teeth.

Walker tries out his new favorite activity in his front yard

Walker tries out his new favorite activity in his front yard

All that walking is thirsty work. Walker stands with Daddy and takes a milk break.

All that walking is thirsty work. Walker stands with Daddy and takes a milk break.

Walker has forsaken his walker toy. He seems to have decided that it’s OK to walk with us, and in fact, seems to prefer it. We’ve been cruising up and down the hall and around the kitchen and living room. I think I’ve walked a mile just inside the house. This morning we went outside and walked in front of the house and then we decided it was time to take him to the beach to try walking on the sand. You can see he had a wonderful time in sand and fog. He did manage to bring half the beach back home with him in his shoes, the folds in his pants, his sweater, and all over his sippy cup.

Daddy catches us having a moment.

Daddy catches us having a moment.

Full of sand, Walker hams it up for the camera on the walk home.

Full of sand, Walker hams it up for the camera on the walk home.

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