January 2009


On Thursday nights, Larry attends a writing group so Walker and I have some quality time together. However, this Thursday, we were both tired and a bit cranky. I planned to get home, turn on Sprout, eat a snack and sit together on the couch and sulk. But Walker had other ideas. While I folded laundry, he played with his toys and became very interested in his socks. He kept taking them off and trying to put them back on himself. As I folded all his clean socks, he took them and put them in a pile. When it was time for bath, I told Walker I needed to put his clothes away. He wouldn’t let me take his socks so I told him, “OK. Why don’t you bring your socks into your room?” He tried to pick up the ten pairs of socks. There were too many. So I watched him look around and zero in on this bus toy that has an open top. He picked up the bus, put it next to his sock pile, and lovingly place all the socks into vehicle. He picked it up and carried it into his room. Job done. I was amazed at his problem solving skills and whatever crankiness that I once felt, instantly melted away.

Walker had a great bath and he crawled into bed. We read his favorite book, BIG AND LITTLE, and he read the words he knows at the right time — “Oooops” and “Uh-oh”. Then we got to the page that says “Oh my!” I read the page and I heard a little voice clearly say “Oh my!”. Again. Astonished.

He’s really growing up. He’s talking. He’s problem solving. He has a sense of humor.

And now it’s time for some gratuitous Walker photos from an excursion to the Beach in his new Pea Coat — a gift from Grammie Shirley.

Walker is now Pacifier-free. No more photos of him with a big ol’ plug in the center of his face. Three weeks ago, the poor little guy got a nasty virus called Hand, Foot, and Mouth. It’s apparently very common (because it’s very contagious) but it’s not one of those things the books warn you about. Yes, I heard all about the colds, the ear aches, the diaper rashes, the teething but no one told me about the extremely common virus that gives your kid blisters on his hands, feet and in his mouth. So, for those of you who don’t know about it, consider yourself informed.

On Friday afternoon, Sofiya called and said Walker had a high fever and I should pick him up. When I arrived, he was logy and glowing red hot. A dose of Motrin and 45 minutes later, Walker was running around and laughing. He ate bread and went to bed as normal. He awoke once screaming and holding his tummy. We thought he was constipated so we gave him a laxative and put him back to bed. Saturday he woke up happy and played all day. In the afternoon, he had a mild fever and was drooling a lot. He wouldn’t really suck on the pacifier but he’d keep it in his mouth. We thought perhaps the canines that were coming in were causing more discomfort than usual. I noticed he had some red spots on his tongue but thought it was due to something he ate. Then came bedtime. He wasn’t unhappy but he wouldn’t go to bed. He played. And played. And played. He was up until 11pm. He wouldn’t take his pacifier (he threw it across the room) and finally fell asleep eating a cracker. I pried the food from his little hand, breathed a sigh of relief and played a few games of Solitaire. I finally went to sleep and at 12am, Walker awoke screaming. As he screamed, I noticed he had some white spots on his tongue. I calmly consulted my Dr. Sears BABY BOOK (which I consider the best user’s manual for small humans) and saw that he probably had this Hand, Foot, and Mouth virus. It’s extremely painful but not serious and there’s no treatment other than Motrin. So we figured a trip to the ER was unnecessary. Poor little Walker screamed himself into unconsciousness each time he awoke which happened to be every hour.

The next morning, when we went to the clinic, the doctor confirmed our diagnosis. But despite the night we had and what should be a horribly painful virus, Walker was chipper and energetic. He ate normally and drank a lot out of a straw-less sippy cup. You’d never have known he was sick. But he wouldn’t take his pacifier. I thought we’d seize this opportunity to permanently break his dependence on them. The real test was when he returned to Day Care on Tuesday. If he wanted one, we told Sofiya he could have it. But despite the fact there are a bunch of other kids with them, he didn’t ask for one. It’s been two weeks since his last pacifier and he doesn’t seem to miss them. It does take him a lot longer to get to sleep now and I’ve been tempted to pull them out but I look at him and if he has the will to resist, so do I.

Throughout this entire ordeal, I was astonished at his strength through what was certainly painful and scary and his strength to ignore something that gave him such comfort and pleasure. They say kids’ personalities are evident when they’re babies and if he continues down the current trajectory, I am certain Walker will do just fine.

I’ve been remiss in posting some photos so here are a few from Christmas. Doesn’t Walker look like a gansta with his new cap?

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Walker is very interested in drawing. Larry put up a whiteboard in our bedroom and you can see he LOVES it. However, he also loves the closet doors. He’s very advanced — he drew a heart which you can see if you look very closely at the center of the closet doors.

He’s not kept the drawing to the walls. Last night he brought a crayon into the bath and drew a very nice magenta picture on the white walls of the bath. Larry will have him working on comic layouts soon.

It’s been so long I can’t remember the last time I posted. We’ve been terribly busy with travel, holidays, Internet connectivity issues, work, pet illnesses, and crazy childhood viruses. I’ve had a post drafted for a long time and had been waiting to post it until I had a chance to add in some photo links but I just haven’t had the time. I have finally decided I can’t wait any longer so bear with me as I write a long post with few photos.

But before you read the stories, Walker went for his 18 month doctor visit and here are his stats:

  • Height: 32″ (50%)
  • Weight: 24lbs 9oz (25%)
  • Head: 48cm (50%)

Photos can be found on my Flickr page (click here) >

But here are a few that are kinda awesome

And I wonder which one is actually, Happy, the Baby New Year from the holiday show “Rudolf’s Shiny New Year”

Bonk
When last I wrote, we were heading off to Florida. We had a wonderful time visiting Gigi and spending some time in sunny, warm weather. However, as with any travel, it was not without some small amount of drama. On our way out, we were unable to get a direct flight from SFO to MIA so we made a quick connection through LAX. I had conveniently scheduled the flights during naptime so as to make the travel relatively painless on the little man (and by extension, his parents). I also considered myself quite smart as LAX doesn’t have terrible delays due to weather and the recent set of storms was just starting in the Midwest and flights were beginning to back up. When we arrived in LA, we saw our flight was delayed 20 minutes so we went and got some supplies for the flight. We checked the flight again and notice dthe gate has changed. We packed up and headed to the new gate and looked again to find the flight delayed FOUR HOURS. Apparently there was a flight headed to Tokyo that had a fuel leak and had to make an emergency landing in LA. They gave our 777 to them and we had to wait a few hours while another 777 flew in from London. The airline was very nice and gave us some food vouchers so we had a leisurely lunch while our fellow passengers discussed their connections to South American destinations – only to find most of them would have to spend the night in Miami. Urgh. Walker was having a wonderful time playing with all the waiting passengers and running around. He was well past his naptime but was not interested in closing his eyes for one moment which brings me to the title of this section. He was tired. He was active. And his coordination was, let’s say, not at its peak performance. He fell. And fell. And fell. He bonked his head many times on the floor, the walls, Daddy’s knee, the seats, and the ticket counter. After one particularly impressive spill, I went to get him a cup of ice from Starbucks and while we were able to avoid a huge bruise, he spent more time eating the ice than using it to heal his swelling bumps.

He didn’t sleep much on the plane to MIA and we arrived well past his bedtime. He dozed a bit but didn’t get to sleep until after 1am Eastern. He awoke around 9 and was so excited to see Gigi and all the new stuff he wasn’t too interested in a nap – either in the morning or the afternoon. As a result, we experienced our first serious Toddler meltdown in the middle of Target. When presented with something he didn’t want to do (which was apparently anything),Walker would simply scream his little head off, accompanied by the alternating back arching and turning into a noodle. Fun times. It wasn’t until the next day when the alien that took over our sweet baby left and Walker once again was the charming little angel we all know and love. Oh, and did I mention he took two, 2+ hour naps? Both times, Walker spent the second hour of the nap curled up on me. Pure bliss I tell you.

Gigi has a beautiful apartment filled with many sculptures and mementos from trips around the world. In preparation of the King’s visit, she removed all the tempting items from sight and covered the furniture with sheets so no one would worry about an “icky sticky” boy getting stains on anything or general breakage of precious objects. The moment Walker awoke, he went into the living room, ignored the toys he had waiting for him, made a beeline to the one thing that wasn’t stored away – a brass and glass 40 year old Turkish shoe shine kit. Walker thought the brass covers to the polish bottles were nifty to stack, organize, and throw. After about a day of playing with it, we decided to find someplace to hide it, but then only after we were able to locate all the brass tops which had somehow made their way to all corners of the apartment.

And, of course there were new developments as well. Walker began to lie on his tummy and color with his crayons like a big boy. He also decided hiding behind doors was fun. One morning he chose to eat his rice cakes behind the bathroom door. So I slid a cake through the crack in the door and he happily munched away.

Teeth.
It seems Walker is always teething. Now it’s those four canine teeth. One has already made its debut and is almost half-way in. The other three are all coming in together making Walker a tad grumpy. And as always, the teething impacts his sleeping. He’s been waking up in the middle of the night yelling. The first time, I didn’t know what he wanted. He finally got out of bed and walked me to the kitchen. He was hungry and pointed to his cinnamon bread. I gave him a piece and he munched on it but was still whimpery and upset. He kept pointing at the counter and when I couldn’t figure out what he wanted, the crying escalated. I picked him up and handed him a few things. There was violent head shaking. On my third try, I handed him the Motrin dropper and he sucked away on it. I gave him some medicine and he was THRILLED. He finished the bread and went to sleep. Now, when he wakes, I’m a bit more clear on what he wants.

Mine.
Which brings me to the next terribly amazing development. Walker has found Language. Not just the language of pointing and shaking his head which has gotten him along very well up to now thank you very much, but now he has real, talking language. First, he’s very clear on what we’re saying. About two weeks ago, I was getting ready for work and Walker clearly wanted something. We were in the back of the house and I said to him, “Walker, your water is on the chair.” He looked at me and walked out of the room. Moments later, he arrived with his cup of water. He understood that I told him his cup was sitting on the chair in the kitchen and he acted on it. How amazing! He’s been selectively hearing me ever since!

Secondly, he’s found his own words. Overnight he’s started talking, in words we understand, and each day there’s a new one. It’s so fantastic that it’s been over the holiday break so I can hear all the new words. He’s saying words like Mama, Daddie, yeah, wow, uh-oh, no, train, moo, baa, go, wa (water), up, down, ball, ssssssssshhhhhhhh, and my two favorite toddler essential words – Barney (he really, really likes that big purple dinosaur) and MINE. The last one he uses the most because, well, apparently everything is his. I’m certain he learned the word from the big kids at Sofiya’s because before he could say it, he acted as if it was true. I’ve been spending a bit more time dropping him off in the morning and I notice he likes to take the toys the other kids are playing with. “Walker, it’s MIIIIIIIIIINE,” they say. Undeterred, he takes it and plays with it for a few minutes until he’s bored and steals someone else’s toy. So, I’m guessing he picked it up there. Probably not the last thing he’ll learn from bigger kids at school. (NOTE: I must say, this was written two weeks ago and the number of words has increased significantly. It’s really fun to try to figure out what he’s saying.)

Incidentals.
Christmas was very fun. We started the season off by cutting down the tree at Santa’s Tree Farm in Half Moon Bay. Walker helped pick it out and was so happy to run around between the trees. This year, he was not into Santa. There was a teenager Santa at the zoo and Walker kept his distance. At the tree farm there was a great Santa and thought it would be the least stressful photo opportunity. The photo really tells it all.

Christmas Eve was wonderful. Larry and I had our first long-duration date since my birthday in May. We dropped Walker off at Sofiya’s and we went for a leisurely breakfast, saw a movie, did some errands, and went to the new Academy of Science (which was a ZOO – do NOT go during the holiday unless you absolutely have to). We then picked up Walker and headed to Grammie Jane’s house where we had the traditional Christmas Eve Cioppino. Walker’s teething was terrible that night and he awoke a few times during dinner and was up and down all night. (It was the night I described with the bread and the Motrin. Merry Christmas!) PopPop stayed over night with Bart, and in the morning we had the traditional pancake, gingerbread and fruit breakfast with Uncle Thayer and our Hollywood friends Anita and Jared. Despite getting up at 6am, we didn’t open presents until 11:30am. I’m sure that will be the last lazy Christmas morning for many years to come.

I got two very thoughtful gifts from the men in my life. My father gave me the gift of time by making me a big beef stew I could freeze and use when I don’t have time to make dinner. My husband and son made me a sweatshirt that says on the back, “mommy deserves a pat on the back” with two little Walker handprints. I cried when I got it and wore it for a few days until it was too icky to continue to wear.

We’re spending our time watching too much Sprout TV, having fun with friends, and cleaning up the house. Walker and the cats are really starting to bond. Wilson now sleeps curled up next to him and Moxie is spending much more time near him – when he’s quietly sleeping. He pets them a lot and I believe will soon be saying “gentle” since he hears it so frequently.
Our Internet connection has been intermittent making it difficult to post to the blog, answer email, do paperwork, or get information, but it’s been fun remembering what life was like before we had instant access to, well, everything.