31 October 2009

It's official...

I am a mom. Because the night before Halloween, I was on the floor with glue, scissors and sheets of foam making a part of my son's costume.

It was just a rocket to go with the astronaut's space suit I found at Chloe's Closet, but it felt important.

So my little guy, to infinite and beyond!

30 October 2009

And yet again

...another magazine folds.First it was Domino. Now it's Cookie and Gourmet {something that will surely be missed in the foodie world}. Yes, Cookie was a little fluff - and the extremely high-end children's clothes and room decor were surely out of most families' budgets, but it provided inspiration and imagination and a sense of wonder.

If you can grab the November 2009 issue with actress Rachel Griffiths on the cover, there are a few little morsels that go great with a cup of tea when your babe is snoozing or entertaining himself with a wooden spoon.

First pea encounter

{from october 11, 2009}

So I admit it - starting solids was more intimidating to me than breastfeeding ever was. When at 4 months he started to grab at my food and smack his lips, I thought "But baby, mama is not ready for solids!" But as with anything else, I simply took a deep breath, baked some sweat potatoes and off we went.
I will admit that there have been jarred this and that, here and there - pears were a hit, apples too - but peas, well...you can see for yourself. It just comes down to color - when I made my first homemade peas, the color was divine. Made the drab, lifeless and stale looking canned peas look even worse.
Seems the nugget liked the homemade version too.

Mamas in Mongolia

In Germany, you see this sign all over the place - it means there is a quiet place for you to breastfeed your baby when you are out in public places.

Imagine that.

My little nugget gets distracted by the sound of my voice, so you can imagine how unsuccessful breastfeeding in public is. So its something he and I do - away from the world.
What amazes me is that it is still a debate - a conversation about modesty or rightness or appropriateness. Imagine if it were simply a non-issue.

My dear friend Amanda emailed me this wonderful story about Breastfeeding in Mongolia
Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed or wean early or nurse long, this is just another perspective, just another mother and baby relationship.

29 October 2009

Spilled milk

Today was just one of those days.

A missed morning nap, a mom+baby pilates class that never happened because I thought it was at 10am instead of 11, a 20 minute nap in the car, a carton of spilled milk, an afternoon nap where mom and baby slept until a quarter to 6.

So the emails didn't get checked, the dishes didn't get cleaned, the pear puree did not get made, dinner was a frozen pizza and bathtime will have to wait until tomorrow.

These days aren't easy. But now, as I sit here, listening to the hum of the dishwasher and the contented breathing of a papa and baby who have dozed off to sleep, I realize, that I could be grateful too for days like today.

28 October 2009

The 3 Musketeers

This pretty much says it all.

The astronaut, the lion and the bee...not sure if we did this for them or for us. I think the man at the pumpkin patch who was taking "our" picture said it was the moms he was trying to capture.

But its their first Halloween - we couldn't help ourselves

27 October 2009

Nugget at 7 months

And then, just like that he can sit in a shopping cart and watch the world go by.

26 October 2009

Born at home in HD

I was hoping that by his 6 month birthday I would have found the time and inspiration to put into words the story of his birth. But, I have found neither. Not because I haven't wanted to, but more that it feels like it happened yesterday, and every moment in still etched into my brain and my body.

Instead, this past Friday, on the day after he turned 7 months, the wonderful Leigh of Marvelous Kiddo has given everyone the chance to see what I am still waiting to put into words. She is both mother and design maven - two worlds and passions that are close and dear to my own heart, so I am honored that she would choose our story as the Birth story of the week.

Yes, it is an intimate look at a very intimate day in my life - but it is also a beautiful story about what birth at home can look like.

25 October 2009


new uses for old things : natural curiosities : authenticity : children who build kites out of styrofoam and string : simple abundance : farmer’s markets : a well-designed space : groups of women working together : travel : young people who are fearless
what and who inspires you?

23 October 2009


There is sleep and then there is awake. And then there needs to be another word for action or non-action that takes place between 10pm and 6am that is some funky mixture of the two in 1.5 hour increments.

Needless to say mama was really tired on Friday morning.

Let's just say I was SOO tired today that we made it all the way to Monterey to gran-mama's house before realizing I had left the bag I had packed for me and the nugget on our bed at home. That meant no diapers, no pj's, no food, no clothes for me, no underwear for me, no wipes, no good night books - nada! Luckily, I had run out of time to dry all the clothes that I had started to wash on Friday morning, so I had a bag of wet clothes in the car that maybe included a set of pj's for the little dude.

Luckily, there is always Safeway and there are always pampers, no matter where you are.

Winds of change

One of the downfalls of being a new mother is how small one's world becomes for a short time. National and international news and events tend to reach me either days later or not at all, unless I make an effort to turn on the computer or listen to the radio in the car. Sometimes "Old McDonald" just wins out.

So when I got an email today that said the Dalai Lama says we "western" women are going to change the world, I was hooked and wanted more.

And indeed, at the Peace Summit in Vancouver at the end of September, His Holiness the Dalai Lama proclaimed that "The world will be saved by the western woman."


As a I read more, I learned about Maria Shriver's Women's Conference that will take place this next week and was astounded to read that 14,000 tickets were sold within the first 20 minutes after registration opened.

Wow, again.

So as my world feels fairly small and I find myself wrapped up in decisions about Swine Flu vaccines, solid foods and toys that make noise, I trust that it is all part of how each one of us can indeed save the world.

21 October 2009

It's just pre-school...

I remember pre-school. I remember the fuzzy caterpillars that inched their way across the uneven bark covered ground. I remember the soapy water we could wash things in and the baby dolls that always seemed to end up in the sudsy sink, leaving their pinkish plastic skin slippery and warm. Actually, I remember all kinds of things about pre-school.

So it must have been a big deal.

So why was I so surprised when I heard about the Bay Area's put-your-unborn-child-on-the-wait-list-for-pre-school phenomena. Instead of joining the band wagon, I put my head in the sand and figured it would all just work itself out.

That was until last week when one of my trusted new mom friends shared that she had indeed added her little guy to some sort of list. Now, I was officially behind. But instead of panic, I breathed, accepted the reality, and trusted that it would all work itself out if I just gave it a little attention.

Without much effort, the next day I received an email announcing Pre-school Preview Night - 76 San Francisco pre-school/child care/school situations all under one roof on one night. I would start here. And so I did.

What I didn't expect was the line of stroller pushing families waiting for the doors to open at 5:30. I wouldn't let myself get overwhelmed - it is what it is. Stay calm, carry on, grab some brochures and then go home. And that is exactly what I did. The nugget and I asked a few questions, joined a few mailing lists and left with a stack of papers and a tiny bag of Haribo gummi bears (leave it to the German preschool to represent!) From Waldorf to Co-ops, Montesorri to Lycee Francais, all bases were covered.

Here is what I learned:

1. There is a baby boom - so yes, there are more families looking for a place for their babies but you will find something
2. Two working parents means pre-school becomes necessary so there is more pressure in a place like San Francisco
3. Structured curriculum vs. free play - there is a middle ground
4. Location, location, location - staying in your neighborhood simplifies life immensely
5. There are options that do not cost $12K a year - thank god!
6. Choose the right parents to play with - at the end of the day it is their values that will be affecting your life and the life of your little one

I left feeling assured that there is indeed no reason to stick my head in the sand.

20 October 2009

image from everyday people cartoons

I keep thinking I will go back and fill in the missing pieces - about breastfeeding, first teeth, first vacation and so forth. A mean, it's only been 6 months, that shouldn't be so hard to do. But then there is a day like today and all of a sudden it's 10pm and the whole evening disappeared because someone had some serious trouble going and staying asleep.

It just reminds me that we are still very much on baby time - and everything else just has to wait.


I was at Spirit Rock this morning, for another gathering of the Path of Parenting class. It is quite extraordinary to attempt any sort of meditation in a room filled with the coos and cries of at least 10 infants under the age of one. But that is why were are there, that is the whole point.

Since I have a nugget who would rather wiggle his way over my legs and through my arms than lay contented on his back with some sort of distracting toy, my practice is also to remain present and listen without getting sucked into his energetic movements. But it is much more difficult when his body is so connected to my own. But I continued, with one ear in the conversation and one eye on him.

But I left today with an "ha-ha". An ha-ha of understanding, of clarity. Dukkha is a Pali word that is often simply translated into Suffering. Anyone who has studied Buddhism knows that the Buddha's first teaching is that life is Suffering. It is through the practice of meditation and mindfulness that one is able to reduce some of this suffering. Forgive this VERY simplified definition - I am a new mom with only a small window for writing.

I have heard this word Suffering over and over again, and never really connected with it. Not that I haven't suffered or experienced pain - but the word Suffering to me describes something extremely difficult and soul destroying like famine or the after affects of war. What I was experiencing from an overactive mind or from making assumptions needed a different word.

And today I heard it - pervasive unsatisfactoryness.

That's it. Its uncomfortable in these pre-pregnancy clothes that are still too tight, its annoyed that the cupboard doors are open again, its unhappy with the paint in that room or the upholstery on that chair, its dissatisfied with the monotony of motherhood. That's the suffering.

Now I get it, now I get what the Buddha was talking about.

19 October 2009

Picking up the pace

{written may 30}

I see the irony here, being such a proponent of slowing down but there are times when it is time to simply slap it in the *%@.

Today is one of those days. Okay, May 30th was actually one of those days and now it is over five months later and if I don't start now, I may never.

I have been waiting. Waiting for the right blog name and the right image. Waiting for the time to go back and write: about giving birth at home or learning the difference between pain and suffering, about what the first 4 weeks of parenthood are really like, about all the magical and mind blowing things that happen on a daily basis, about the boredom that sets in mid-day when you have had no other adult human contact.

But as I sit and wait for the time to write about what has already passed, I am missing the opportunity to write about what is happening now. And what I have learned is that writing in the now is juicier to read and more healing to write.

So, today I am picking up the pace and looking ahead. Every so often I will glimpse into the rear view mirror, and perhaps share a bit about what I see there.

18 October 2009

Secrets of Baby Behavior

It seems I am not alone, yet again. There is just something about the 1st year of parenthood.

There are classes to teach you how to breathe in labor, how to bathe your newborn baby and even classes how to communicate with your infant with the help of sign language. But there is a never a class called "The First Year: What on earth is going on."

Perhaps this new blog from the UC Davis Lactation Department can help to demystify some of the wonders that take place in the year of parenthood.

Take a look...

Secrets of Baby Behavior

and pass it on - because at the end of the day, its the information from the moms and dads who have come before that is simply the best.

17 October 2009

What it really means

I used to think this meant "Be cautious, drive carefully, there is precious cargo on board." I used to think it was a warning to other drivers.

I still think it is a warning to other drivers - to be aware that the driver of this car has not slept through the night in 6 months, does not have both hands on the wheel because her right arm is twisted up and behind her to grab Sophie who fell overboard and has the pedal to the medal because she figured she had enough time to get home before needing to nurse but she underestimated Bay Bridge traffic and now she has a screaming infant in the back seat who doesn't give a *@#% about the Itsy Bitsy Spider.

15 October 2009

Grouchy McGrouchalot

Originally posted on alexbolg.wordpress.com/funny-pictures

Something is up with the nugget. Grouchy, cranky, impatient, irritable, clingy...that about sums it up. And then I think about it for a moment and grab the book - the book that tells me that we are right smack dab in the middle of Week 26.

I would be cranky too if my head wanted me to crawl but my body couldn't quite figure it out, if I fell over onto my face just because I was sitting and my sense of balance is not that of a yogis yet, if I started to be constipated because my mom is feeding me iron fortified rice cereal, if my gums were screaming in pain because my 2nd set of teeth was cutting through and if I were just totally bored with the stupid baby toys that someone keeps putting in front of me when all I really want is the cell phone and the car keys.

When I think of ALL of this - I relax, take a breath and simply pay attention to this little guy whose world is one big HUGE transition at the moment and then I remind myself that this too shall pass.

14 October 2009

In the company of women

There is just no other way to say it....

If you are a new mom, you HAVE to find a way to spend time with other moms.

It had been almost 4 weeks since our Tuesday mom-date had happened and I didn't how much I had missed this time, until I was on my way home.

Because, it just makes everything okay.

1. It makes it okay that the little nuggets are waking up again ALL night long - and restless and needy.

2. It makes it okay that at 3am its okay to bring your 6.5 month old back into bed with you and hold them tight until they fall asleep in your arms.

3. It makes it okay that your 6.5 year old is making all kinds of weird noises, body movements and awkward motions - that don't mean that you have to schedule an appointment with the neurologist.

4. It makes it okay that you wanted to schedule an appointment with the neurologist.

5. It makes it okay that your husband is on a business trip in Indonesia for 10 days or heading to Mexico for an extended weekend.

6. It makes it okay that your body remains a mystery and that you are talking to your gynecologist about things you had never thought of.

7. It makes it okay that you are totally confused about the Swine Flu vaccine and indecisive of yet another important decision that has to be made.

8. It makes it okay that you haven't signed up your 6.5 month old for preschool - oh wait, until one of you says that she got her guy signed up last week and then you really feel the pressure because someone you actually know and trust jumped on the insane-register-your- unborn-child-for-preschool bandwagon.

9. It makes it okay that you fed your baby iron fortified rice cereal with banana without knowing that this would REALLY clog up the pipes.

10. And it makes it okay to laugh about all of it.

13 October 2009

Hello body, nice to meet you.

Image from http://joyofnia.com/welcome.html

We had to introduce ourselves at the beginning of class and say why we had signed up for this 8 week Nia class.

Yoga is too slow and hip hop is too fast is what came out of my mouth.

I am in awe of the new moms who sign up for baby-boot camp, start running their regular 5k ritual or rejoin their advanced yoga class shortly after giving birth. My body has revolted and it is a different body from what it was 15 months ago. It is a body I am not quite familiar with. But it is mine and though I have a closet of cloths that remind me of what was, I am working on embracing and even accepting what is.

My hope, without being attached to any kind of result or outcome, is that this Nia class will be a chance to get re-acquainted.

12 October 2009

A little living large

We live fairly small - a one bedroom apartment, one car, not too much stuff. And mostly, it makes me happy.

I say mostly because part of living small is enjoying what you have and making use of things that may be older but still functioning. And so, when we found out I was pregnant we knew the Saab 2-door Convertible would have to go at some point but there was no rush. We love that car - even in chilly San Francisco we love to ride with the top down. We figured we'd outgrow the car before we outgrew the apartment, but that still meant we had time. Somehow we managed to squeeze the infant car seat in and out of the passenger side door and then when he got too big and heavy (which was way sooner than I expected), I squeezed my way behind the driver's seat, baby held tightly in my arms. That that wouldn't work forever became painfully real in the last month.

You see, getting an 18lb baby into a rear facing car seat in a two door car requires the most ungraceful and now painful body contortions you can imagine. I commend those of you with 2 door cars - I don't know how you do it. I lasted exactly 6 months and 3.5 weeks.

So today, we went from small to large. Tonight, parked in our small space in the communal garage is a 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid. Yes, an SUV. And I love it.

I am not a car person but today I felt a giddiness that does not bubble to the surface very often. In fact, I still have a smile on my face when I think about it. It is new and clean and big and under warranty and big - oh did I mention that already. I guess when it comes down to it, it has just a bit of breathing room and that is exactly what this new mama needed a little of.

11 October 2009

Picture of the week

The nugget attended his first birthday party - we think he thought the party was for him!
Happy 1st Birthday to Lois!
Thank you Leigh for the cutest most adorable party hat!
Available at A Rabbit in the Hat

08 October 2009

In the still of the night

It's 3am.

There is a husband sleeping on the second bed we've set up on the couch in the living room.

There is a nugget sprawled out in the middle of our queen size bed in the bedroom.

And then there is me - wide awake.

That is the brutal irony of being a new mom - suddenly all are asleep and quiet and you are awake with a mind that is racing with to-do lists and half-started projects. But somehow tonight is different. I am usually able to go right back to sleep after the nugget has woken me up, but tonight my eyes wouldn't close. Instead, I simply listened to the sound of nothing. No whimpers or cries to discern, no jack hammers loosening the tiles in the courtyard, no end of day conversations, no demands, no decisions, just silence.

I have read that some women indulge in the quiet of the morning - the time before everything and everyone stirs, the time perhaps for themselves. I am certain that it is later in the early morning, probably not 3am but I will work on that.

For now, it was just the amount of me time that I needed. Now I just need to decide who I should go snuggle with.