31 January 2010

Pressing pause

What would it be like to spend 10 days in silence, without words, books, and music? Without sweets, dairy, wheat, meat, coffee? Without sheets and duvets and down pillows? In two words, life changing.

On the eve of January 31, 2008*, at a monastery in Thailand, my husband and I stopped talking, not sure what we were really about to get into or what life would look like on the other side. We would be apart and yet together, sleeping apart, eating apart and experiencing meditation apart and it would in the end change us as a couple forever.

So today, on this 2nd anniversary of the first day of our visit, we commit to making the next 10 days as mindful, simple and contemplative as possible. First major difference: we have a 10 month old nugget. 2nd major difference: we don't have a staff of 5 cooking divine vegetarian Thai food everyday. 3rd major difference: we're sleeping in a bed instead of a concrete slab. 4th major difference: our 4am wake-up is a baby not a beautiful gong. 5th major difference: life.

But we will do our best. For what I realized after those 10 days in 2008, is that I have the ability to press pause, whenever life starts to move too fast.

And today, I am pressing pause. See you in 10 days.

*To read about our experience at the 10-day Silent Retreat in Suan Mokkh, Thailand - follow this link

30 January 2010

Wide awake

"Without sleep, the brain is more like a messy desk full of teetering stacks of papers - it's harder to remember where the most important information is, much less apply that information at the right time."
from the 90 Minute Baby Sleep Program by Polly Moore

This is by far the best description of the affects of sleep deprivation that I have read. This is why you can walk into the kitchen and have forgotten why you are there in the first place. This is why the cereal box ends up in the fridge and the milk ends up in the pantry. This is why sometimes you wonder how safe it is to be driving a car. This is why you lock yourself out of the house, more than once. This is why you forget the coffee date you made this afternoon.

So now that we have a baby who sleeps "through the night", why the %@^#* am I still so tired? And why the %$#* are my eyeballs wide awake at 3am?

It is the sad and ironic reality that my body and psyche have actually adapted to the night wakings, similar to how we can adapt to the alarm clock ringing at 6am during the week, making it impossible to sleep in on the weekends. I guess I just have to be patient, and let my body gently relax into the fact that noone needs to be awake at 3am.

In addition, as my body starts to soak in the missing sleep, it may actually become more tired, as it transitions to having more sleep regularly. Another irony, that I simply need to accept and be patient with.

It probably doesn't help that it is 11:22pm and I should have been asleep an hour and 22 minutes ago instead of writing this post and answering emails. But this time is so precious - so quiet, so calm - and so mine! Who on earth would want to waste it sleeping?

So on that note, good night!

29 January 2010

So long Sophie

And just like that, she gets discarded. Thrown to the side with the other baby toys that have now been replaced with toy trains, music making drums and push carts with wheels. I thought Sophie would be around forever - well at least until his first birthday.

I don't when it happened - when my baby became a little boy. But he has, and on one hand it is the most delightful stage to experience and on the other I notice how I too no longer look at baby things or need to talk about baby topics. He and I are onto dump-trucks, sirens and building blocks. You can forget anything soft and gentle - the plush toys, the "lovie" - they are all in a bin collecting dust.

So today, the baby toys went into their own little plastic bag and they will go with the other baby things that we are saving should there be a number two.

This parenting thing is indeed the greatest lesson that in fact nothing stays as it is.

First falls

There may be nothing worse than the sound of your little tiny baby's head hitting your hardwood floor for the first time. But then it happens a second and then a fifth time, and you realize how much more durable they are than you think - the baby's head, not your hardwood floors.

I am not going to cover our whole apartment with foam padding, but I will pad his special play pit - just to be on the safe side.

And while most every other option is an obnoxious mixture of primary colors and large ABC cutouts - this new product might just please the aesthetic me.

{I didn't end up buying it - so I can't give you my opinion. But it might just be worth a try.}

Available here Natural Foam Mats

28 January 2010

Eat breakfast.

Really, it's a no brainer. eat breakfast please.

what does this have to do with new motherhood you ask?

well, mostly, as a new mom you forget to eat. or you don't make the time to eat. or you eat what your baby didn't {when you have made organic pureed sweet potatoes}. or you shovel what ever you can get your hands on into your mouth. or you get really good at runny on empty.

and if you are nursing, well, you figure it out.

so i am posting this because i need to take better care of myself. one of my new year's resolutions is to make my food either before or at the same time as i am making food for the nugget. then i eat right before, or with him or right after. either way, he might have a to wait for me for a few extra seconds, but let me tell you, it makes all the difference.

since i start to get extremely bored with breakfast foods, i use photographer jen causey's
simply breakfast blog to provide some much needed inspiration.

bon appetit.

27 January 2010

First words

This time the first belongs to me: my first written words in the nugget's baby book. It comes at his 10 month birthday, or at least just a few days after, which seems an embarassingly late time to start such a journal, but I suppose it is better late than never.

I bought Nikki McClure's wonderful baby journal - The First 1000 Days - in the last weeks of my pregnancy, certain that I would diligently record and write and daydream and wish. I loved it then and I love it now because it is very unbaby - no elephants or rattles or pale blue ducks in sight. Her baby inspired paper cut-outs are each a piece of art - worthy of being hung on the wall. So it is beautiful and inspiring, and still it sat for 10 months. Often I glanced at it sitting amongst the other unread books on my desk and longed for just an hour - of quiet, uninterrupted time to simply record every small detail that my fuzzy milk-brain would allow me to remember. But that hour never came.

In my defense or at least justification to myself, this blog has become my place to record and recollect, but I realize that this is my place, my story, not his. During our trip to Denver two weeks ago, my diligent scrap-booking friend provided the nudge I needed. Though she too did the scrapbooks for her babies as a cathartic process for herself, the end result is that her 5 year old nugget loves to look back through his. For it is indeed, a book all about him.

Luckily, I still have around 700 days that I can record in this lovely journal, which leaves me with plenty to share.

26 January 2010


I l0ve everything about the cover of this catalog that arrived last week. It's not Domino, but it will do for today.

We didn't have the perfect nursery. We don't have the perfect nursery - just a bedroom that has to work for mama, papa and the nug that keeps metamorphosing as his or our needs change. And for now, it works.

But that doesn't mean a girl can't dream. Oh, and with the new catalog from Serena + Lily, this girl can dream.

I love the simplicity of the room they designed for Marlo - especially the brilliance of the white origami crane mobile. So easy to re-create. And, if and when there is a baby #2, I will somehow figure out how to justify owning their version of a very modern and very perfect moses basket.

25 January 2010

Me and the nug

{reposted today - with the whole series of pictures}

Yes, walkers are no longer made and it is even widely recommended that you do not use them. Okay, got it.

So what are you supposed to do when your mom keeps all of your baby items, including your walker from 1975, gets the seat re-sewn and then just puts your little nugget in it and he wheels himself across the hardwood floors like he is at Nascar?

You smile. And you enjoy it.

24 January 2010


What do you give your mama and your nuggi's Oma for her 60th birthday? This, just this.

23 January 2010

Off we go

Off to Denver, with a banged up eyelid and a spool of red linen thread. What more do you need?

First bump

So it happened.

He fell off the bed.

And we both cried.

This is a first I could have done without. And, I know this is just the beginning of many, many more bumps.

20 January 2010

I can't explain why I love these two photos. I just do.

19 January 2010

The hidden cost of travel

Yes, the fee for your checked bags is a hidden cost of travel.

Yes, the roaming charges on your cell phone is a hidden cost of travel.

Yes, the extra $10 a day to let your husband legally drive the rental car is a hidden cost of travel.

I am not talking about money though. It is something more - more costly and more difficult to simply accept as the price of travel. Here it is: no where you go with a new baby will ever be relaxing and rejuvenating unless you go with a full-time babysitter, cook, chauffeur and perhaps maid. Scratch that, not perhaps, maid for sure.

Here is why: your schedule stays at home as does absolutely everything that is familiar to your little one which makes for sleepless nights and discombobulated days. For your little inquisitive nugget, the guestroom at your best friend's house might as well be Disneyland.

And flying - well, that is just unnecessary with a baby, even if you have a baby who smiles adoringly at security, the jaded flight attendants and the older couple who is silently thinking "Please don't let that baby be sitting near us" .

Don't get me wrong - I would not have given up this past weekend in Denver with my two favorite mamas for the sake of an undisturbed schedule, but after getting up at 5am this morning, walking the nugget to sleep in the terminal because our flight was delayed for 2 hours and arriving home in the the first torrential rainstorm of the season, we realized all we wanted to do was crawl into bed and wake up a week later.

And so we slept. And rested from our vacation.

18 January 2010

Napping in style

Not really sure how the nugget got so lucky that he gets to sleep in such a fine buggy, to the sound of the Pacific Ocean lapping the shores in the distance. But he did.

And those naps in grandma's front yard were much needed after celebrating one's first Christmas.

As for the matching parasol, well, that came from Nikolaus.

17 January 2010

Three men and a baby

There they are. My four favorite men on the entire planet.

16 January 2010

The only sleep advice that works

I have read every book and tried every solution.

And the only thing that made any difference was this these 3 words that start with C by the totally outrageous author Gary Ezzo, whom you either loathe or love:

Cuddles & kisses

Cuddles and kisses are easy - you do that anyway. So don't stop. And trust your instinct - if your baby needs to be cuddled and kissed and held and rocked and it's three o'clock in the morning, do it. Do it because they are tiny and everything is new and scary and overwhelming and frightening and they are too little to be manipulating you in any way.

Be consistent in everything that you do. Every day, every night, every nap, every bath, every morning, every bedtime. Your adult self will fight this monotony - but don't let it for consistency is how babies learn. And if we give them the chance, they are far brighter than we think they are.

And your confidence will come. Because when you are consistent and patient, things change. Your baby changes. Your baby sleeps. And then, you can feel confident that what you do and what you did makes a difference, with everything, every time.

Nugget goes exploring

And then one day you turn around and your little baby can walk up to the pantry, open the pantry and empty the pantry.

I noticed him, amidst whatever task I was doing on the kitchen and at the moment he noticed me watching. And then there was this sort of acknowledgement like "You keep doing what you are doing and I'll keep doing what I am doing." And so I turned around and kept doing whatever I was doing. But something made me stop. Something made me turn around and sit down on my kitchen floor. Something made me just stop and pay attention.

It may have been 2 minutes or it may have been 10 and either way, nothing else seemed to matter.

Have you ever sat down on your kitchen floor? Have you ever really seen what their world looks like? It gives you a whole new perspective on the cabinets you open and close a hundred times a day or the floor tiles that you thought were clean but realize it was a false clean seen from 5+ feet up.

Anyway, I don't think the nugget really knew that I was watching him and it is not something that he will ever remember, but its a moment in time I hope to never forget.

15 January 2010

Puffs explosion

And then I came around the corner, and this is what I saw.

Puffs everywhere and a nugget sitting right in the middle of it all.

A new pastime

I have never really been an online shopper. Actually, I have never been an online shopper. Until 9 months ago. And I am not alone.

And though I have tamed the visits to Ebay, Amazon and Etsy, I can't help but click on the email notices that come from The Mini Social. The sales are short and sweet - just enough time to get you hooked and convinced that you really need to order that thermal striped hoodie for the nugget.


Follow this link to join https://www.theminisocial.com/myaccount.php?invitation=30214

14 January 2010

Sleeping through the night

Something happened last night. It really happened, I can't believe it.

The nugget went to sleep last night at 8pm. And then he just kept sleeping and sleeping and sleeping until 5:30 this morning. He did it. He slept through the night - no horrendous crying it out, no sleep training. Just patience. Just consistency. Just being really really tired for a really long time.

Here is the irony: I was up at 2:20am. Wide awake. Seems I need some sleep training now.

Second piece of irony: We are getting on an airplane in a few hours to fly to Colorado. So, this beautiful night of long sleep may be the last for now and we'll start all over again next week.

And so it goes.

09 January 2010

Urban baby

Movie star in the making or just an urban baby from 2010? Let's just say, the shades stayed on longer than I would have imagined. Thanks Freshie.

08 January 2010

from babycenter.com

The nugget had his 9-month old well baby visit today. Same thing - weight, length, head circumference. And then the pediatrician shows me some chart and tells me some sort of percentile so that I know where he ranks. But I don't care. I never do. Maybe I should? Should I?

I feel like it is just another opportunity for us to compare our children to each other instead of seeing them exactly for the individual tiny people that they are? Or seeing them as somehow too small or too short or too long or too heavy? We have a whole lifetime to be "too" something - why burden our babies.

But actually, it was not the standard height/head/weight measurement that sent me thinking today but something the pediatrician said. When talking to him about solid foods and the fact that the nugget seems to have quite a mature taste pallette - he was all over feta and clam chowder - he remarked "Oh, yeah, it seems the cautionary advice to stay away from allergy causing foods is not so severe anymore. Still, stay away from peanuts until age 5 and honey and cow' milk until about age 1 but other than that, he can try anything you are eating. Do you have allergies?" When I replied no, he reaffirmed his statement.

Just like that. Science and research does it again - it changes its mind. And we are supposed to worry less and feed them more. I suppose these rules and guidelines come about because someone decides to give their infant coca-cola in a baby bottle or something outrageous like that. But this list of rules of "should not's" is so long for pregnancy and the first year of life - I see mothers turning themselves into knots just trying to get it all right.

And then I go to the pediatrician and he says, "Oh yeah, by the way..."

06 January 2010

Me time

I went on a date with myself today.

I used to take Artist dates, a term Julia Cameron coined in her art manifesto The Artists's Way, as a way to get inspired, see the world, be by myself. It's like shopping - I don't really like to shop with other women or my husband or my mom. I like to go by myself and take my time and look and see and observe. And that time is what I miss most of all from my life before baby.

I need time to be alone - perhaps like some need time with others. And yes, I have all kinds of time alone these days but alone with a baby does not count. It does not count at all. Alone means alone - with no one to need me or alter my course or distract me.

So today, while the nugget played with his girlfriend Alex, I simply got in the car, left the to do list at home and drove downtown. (Okay, so I drove. Yes, I drove when I could have easily taken Muni. But cut me some slack - my time was limited and suddenly I have become very aware of germs and riding in a Muni bus for even 5 minutes is like swimming in an oversized petri dish. So yes, I drove.) And yes, I used precious babysitting time to just spend time with myself without really getting anything done. I won't make a habit of it - but today, I deserved it.

And what hit me immediately as I approached Market and Powell - is that there is a whole world going on. A world without babies and diapers and separation anxiety and puffs and sleep training and drool and car seats and my god the list goes on. I just wanted to stop and grab someone and say "Do you know that I had a baby?" And really, they would just look at me and say "Okay, crazy lady" and be on their way.

A world outside apartment #8. I was flabbergasted and amazed and envious.

What I wanted to do was meander through Anthropologie and get lost in the racks of clothes I was not about to buy and the home items that I have no room for in our tiny space. But I had a little bit of a mission: to find shirts that fit my postpartum/nursing body. I knew it wouldn't be fun and that I would need to swallow my pride when I looked at the size but this was part of my new year's intentions: to accept the state of this body, exactly as it is. I am only 6 days into the new year, so I have gotten to about my chin...I still have a way to go with this whole acceptance thing.

But back to my mission. I needed cheap, stylish and functional. I was/am not willing to invest a great deal of money into this new wardrobe - the first step is to accept, the second is to work really hard at changing it. Store #1, no dice. And the clock was ticking - so store #2 had to be a winner. So I marched into the Gap, grabbed a few pieces off the sale rack and was pleasantly surprised when I actually smiled at myself in the mirror.

It was a half smile - but I thought, "This will do."

04 January 2010

And so it begins

And so, it is a new year.
And inevitably, the new year is always started with the sad sight of abandoned and dehydrated christmas trees. It is even more obvious in the city where no one has yards or mulch makers in their garages.

I saw the first tree a few days after Christmas. It's still at the foot of our communal long driveway - brown and dying. It makes me sad. Now, this first Monday of the new year, the streets are lined with abandoned trees as the weekend gave people the time and energy to clean up the holidays and make room for regular life to start again.

I too cleaned away any trace that Christmas was here - though the smiling faces on everyone's holiday cards are still greeting me every morning. I think I will keep those up for a while.

03 January 2010

Being that girl

I did it. I finally finished a book that was not about vaccinations or developmental milestones or a sneaky gorilla.

Like meditation and reading and relaxation and simply doing nothing, I let these things fall to the bottom of my "to-do" list when there are dishes in the sink, laundry to fold, bills to pay, a husband to spend time with and a baby to nurture. So, that is why it took me forever to read this book. And I only finished it because I mindfully and consciously made the decision to sit in the comfy chair and read.

And really, the end was the best part. It was the best part because it was hopeful and real and honest. And it ended in the South. And it ended with a happy girl in a truck - a girl who for most of the book was floating and detached and sad and directionless and ungrounded.

I finished it and let my feelings of accomplishment marinate for a few hours. And thought about this girl who found purpose when she became a mother, a girl who grew up when she went back home. A girl, in the South, in a truck.

Tonight, I told my husband I want to be a girl in a truck.

He kind of paused, looked at me, and said "You are a girl in a truck - It's just that its a hybrid SUV."

I smiled.