22 March 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Nugget

Mama maus made her first homemade cupcakes (with a help from Tio Peter) and the nugget ate his first candle. Yes, candle - frosting and sweet cupcakes weren't that exciting it seems.

But the weather was perfect, the birthday hat stayed on (thank you Leigh!), the company was a delight and the pit of balls was a hit with all the other little kiddies at Duboce Park.

So there we have it - our little baby is officially a toddler and my first year of motherhood has come to an end. But like so many things, this end is not final, for mothering and growing and learning and questioning and just doing the best that I can continues.

For now, it is time to rest, regroup and recharge. Stay tuned for where maus and nugget go next...

At this time

It's 12:17am.

At this time, exactly a year ago, I was trying to get some sleep.
At this time, exactly a year ago, I was having my first significant contractions.
At this time, exactly a year ago, I had no idea that in less than 10 hours I would give birth in a tub in our living room.
At this time, exactly a year ago, I didn't know if I was having a boy or a girl.
At this time, exactly a year ago, I was in the process of becoming somebody's mother.

21 March 2010

The Perfect Imperfection

One of the greatest lessons of motherhood is learning non-attachment.

Non-attachment to schedules and things how they used to be, non-attachment to being on time or keeping commitments, non-attachment to how things should be.

Many months ago I committed to reading one chapter of Momma Zen every Sunday. i figured with chapters that are sometimes only a few pages long, this would be more than doable. But here I am, months later, and I am still only on Chapter 6. 4 pages in 4 months - that is almost laughable. No, it is simply motherhood.

But it is Sunday and I have read my chapter (for the 2nd time) and this one is important. They are all important, but this is really important because its about making making mistakes.

I have always wanted to do things right - who doesn't? But it is one thing to do things right for yourself, it is a whole other animal to do things right for your baby. And it starts with pre-natal vitamins and perhaps ends never. And with all the information and with all the choices, we think that if we do enough research, ask the right questions and make the right decisions, we will do what is right and perfect for our babies.

Until we make a mistake. Until they fall down the stairs because we left the gate open. Until they cry because the bite of sweet potato we gave was too hot. Until we lock them in the car with the motor running because we are doing too many things as the same time.

And so I made mistakes. I probably made a lot of them as a new mom. And I may never know the consequences of those mistakes, but I have to trust that they are as much a part of the nugget's learning experiences as my triumphs. I am not a perfect mom or wife or friend or daughter or sister and hopefully I can accept the imperfections of those around me. Karen Maezen Miller writes, "Practice acceptance on yourself so that you can be kinder to your child." Isn't that what we want, to be kind to our children? And yes, it begins with accepting ourselves, all parts of ourselves - the parts that we love and the parts that we wish could be different. The parts that take 4 months to read 4 pages and the parts that say one thing and do another.

Practice acceptance for all that is, exactly the way it is.

20 March 2010

Happy Birthday to the lion!

A birthday chorus, a delicious carrot cake cupcake and his first old school baseball cap - a couldn't have imagined a better 1st birthday for the 2nd musketeer.

19 March 2010

Feeling better

He's back.

I guess that is the miracle of modern medicine, that after 24 hours and a couple of teaspoons of the pink stuff, our curious K is back, with smiles, babbles and an extremely delayed bedtime.

For the last two days, he's been a bit subdued and gentle, sleeping like a bear during the day, every few hours and then falling asleep by 6:30pm only to make noise again at 8am the next morning. And really, I have enjoyed every snoozing minute. I soaked in every minute of rocking in the glider with a stuffy nosed nugget dosing in my arms and even the time spent in the pediatrician's office with a very unhappy baby snuggled and asleep on my lap.

I am glad he is feeling better. And I am really glad that his fever is gone. And I fear, all that deep sleep may just be over. But we'll just have to wait and see.

18 March 2010

First Bottle of Pink Stuff

With 100.8 fever and a runny nose and cough that have been around for over 15 days, I figured it was time again to go to the pediatrician.

And as I guessed, this time, the nugget ears don't look normal.

So, the nugget officially has his first ear infection and we have our first bottle of pink stuff in the refrigerator. I knew it would happen and though it is not my intention to jump to antibiotics with every new sickness, this little baby needs something.

And besides, who wants to turn 1 and feel so crummy?

17 March 2010


It just so happens that today is St. Patrick's Day. We should have celebrated - not only because we should celebrate our good luck everyday, but because it's our papa's namesake day. That makes it his day and its special. But instead, he is fighting the miserable cold that the nugget and I sadly gave him as a welcome home gift.

Instead of green beer, green baubles and other green oddities, we ate potato leek soup, put a tired nugget to sleep at quarter to seven, watched a recorded episode of last night's Lost and will probably be asleep by quarter past ten.

And that is how these new parents celebrated this St. Patrick's Day.

16 March 2010


75 minutes, 4 poses, 2 bolsters, 2 blocks, 2 blankets and one eye pillow equals one totally relaxed and happy mama.

If you've never done restorative yoga, try it. It's the anti-doing and when we are rushing and doing and doing some more, we forget to breathe and then we forget to pay attention and then life flies by and then we say things like "I don't know where the time has gone."

But after class, time still keeps going and life still keeps going, but I am there for all of it. Really there.

15 March 2010

Day 358 of being a new mom

It's official - there are exactly 7 days left of my first year of motherhood. And it has me thinking about what this year has been about and how I have changed and what I have felt and what I have thought about and what I have learned and what is still to come and what I still don't know.

So what does it mean - this motherhood thing? What does it mean to you?

Squeaky Clean

There was sand everywhere. Up his nose, behind his ears and between his toes.

But that is simply what happens when you play with the big boys, in the sandbox all afternoon long.

First mouthful of sand

I figured he would try it, hate it and then be done with it.

Seems the texture and test of our local sandbox doesn't bother the nugget. The other moms just laughed and said, "Oooh, just wait until it comes out the other end."

Really. Is this really what motherhood is all about?

13 March 2010

In warm water

Sometimes it takes someone like Gisele Bundchen to talk about water birth and meditation and mindfulness in childbirth in Vogue magazine.

Sometimes it takes more stories like this to tell more people about what birth can look like.

Sometimes it takes just one beautiful and peaceful birth story to create another beautiful and peaceful birth story.

Sometimes its just nice to be reminded that there are all kinds of choices.

Sometimes its just cool to read about a home birth when you least expect it.

Happy Birthday to our little bee!

Frosting the hair, cake in the mouth, a perfect spring dress, a room full of adoring fans and mama and papa beaming with joy.

Don't think there was a better way to celebrate our first musketeer turning one.

Happy Birthday Sabina!

11 March 2010


"Everyone is asleep and mama is having a root beer float."

You know when a conversation with one of your favorite people in the world starts like this, that its going to be one of those conversations. You know, those ones that last for over an hour, without any awkward silent moments or superfluous "Soooos" that only comes to an end when a little tiny lady nugget makes noises reminding her mama that its time for a dreamfeed. Her little noises were the unspoken sign to quickly and without much thought find the end of our train of words and softly say "Talk to you soon."

So to my dear friend, up in Portland, thank you for reminding me that this first year of motherhood can indeed be one of transformation and transition and total mind blowing self-actualization. And that all sleeping and nursing and feeding and picking up out of the crib rules are out when it comes to sick babies. And that enjoying when your husband is gone is really more than okay. And that the girls weekend really just needs to be the girls weekend. And that root beer floats and chats with girlfriends from LBBH (life before babies and husbands) will always make everything better.

10 March 2010

First wave

You can't always catch the firsts on film. In fact, I don't really think you ever get to catch the firsts because they just happen and you are inevitability always standing there, totally unprepared with a dead battery or a full memory card.

So kudos to you who capture the firsts.

I didn't capture the first wave - in fact I couldn't have. But I saw it - how he thought, he connected, and then his little tiny hand let me know he was saying goodbye.

This first, as with most of them, is just the beginning. And I may just be able to capture his repeat performance.

08 March 2010

Dr. Mom

Image of Dr. Mom Essential Oil Kit from doterra

It is true, for my own health and well being I will choose an extra dose of Vitamin C, sinus cleansing with my clay Netti pot and good old fashioned sleep to fight off any ailment that comes my way. Will even used essential oils, acupuncture and homeopathy now and again. Antibiotics are always the last resort. I take a similar approach with the health of the nugget - but as he was nearing week three of this roller coaster of a cold and his disposition yesterday changed to almost unrecognizable, I decided today that it was time to head to the pediatrician and see if it was time to introduce the nugget to the world of pharmaceuticals.

I don't love our pediatrician. The whole office does an okay job - but it is never more than that. As for our actual pediatrician, he does a fine job but I never get the feeling that he actually remembers who were are. Maybe its because aside from the well baby visits, he never sees us or hears from me. But, my list of to-do's is long enough, so for now we will stay put. I figure he didn't give us trouble for bringing the nugget to the world at home or choosing a spread out vaccination schedule - what more could you ask for.

I knew today that we would get a resident, since our only option for today was the drop-in hours. And so, we waited. Me and the nugget - in the small, uninspiring room with the fluorescent light. And the most amazing thing happened - instead of janking the tissue from the exam table, or pulling on the dangling cords, he sat in my lap. No movement, no sounds. And as I gently hummed the tone of "Guten Abend, Gute Nacht", I could feel his body get even heavier. And then, he just simply fell asleep. Heavy and warm, his little body curled perfectly into the shape of my right arm. Really, this just tells you how very sick and uncomfortable the little guy was. It was only the sound of my own hacking cough that startled him back into consciousness, just minutes before the doctor gently knocked at the door.

After some poking and listening and palpating, it seems that he has a virus - an unknown, unidentifiable virus that is crawling through every household, school and public facility in San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area. And it would seem the cure is just some old fashioned TLC. Prescription: a humidifier, warm liquids, baby Tylenol when needed and patience. I guess we'll save our first bottle of pink goo for next time.

The harder part of this latest germ revival is that it has gotten me. And though I have been sick recently, this is different. And it is different too, because I am all alone. We couldn't have predicted that I would get sick while our papa is away so there is nothing we could have done differently - but really, this just plain sucks.

Because what do you so when Dr. Mom is sick?

07 March 2010

Being that mom

A few weeks ago, we (the three of us) were at our first real birthday party - you know, the kind with a few big kids, even more adults and a table full of edible finger foods. It was lovely and we were all having a good time and then, it arrived - the nastiest, greenest, runniest nose I have ever seen.

I kept my horrified reaction to myself, tried to put myself in his mom's shoes and tried to remain pleasant. And then I at one point I was able to actually step out of myself, see my not so pleasant reaction and some how find my "relaxed, laid back, no big deal attitude." Until we got into the car. Oh my lord. I felt like someone had just unleashed the queen of all character judgement and damnation - I had no idea I had it in me. It went something like this:

"Isn't there some unwritten rule in the code of parenting that you keep green snot away from birthday parties. I mean, what was she thinking. She wasn't thinking - she just wanted to be at the party. No respect for other people." There may have been some additional 4 letter words, but you get my idea. My loving and smart husband agreed completely - and that was all I needed I put out the fire. Or so I thought.

Inevitably, 2 days later - I had a green goo sighting on the nugget.

I quietly cursed her but somehow tried to access my non-judging mind. Nearly impossible as I tried to keep the germs from spreading to my husband who was about to fly to Thailand in a few days. Don't know if it hit him sometime during his retreat, but will find out shortly.

Finally, the nugget was drip free last week and on Wednesday we went to visit our first parent-led pre-preschool play group. And there, sitting delightfully at the snack table was green goo monster #2 - unconscouis;y spreading the love. Great, not again. I mean really - how hard is it to say "We're sick and a can't make it." Our time there was limited as was our contact, so I just prayed. We've been sick, I thought - it can't get us again.

So Friday comes along 2 days later and the nugget and I have a swim class to make-up. Not more than 15 minutes into the class, a dad with his curly haired little girl of no more than 6 months, joins the class late. I look towards her and let's just say her supply of green goo beat them all. And what takes the cake, is that with one quick jerk of his hand, it was gone without a trace, cleaned off by the chlorinated water we were swimming in. I wanted to bolt.

Swim class really???? Don't people know that green means infection? Don't people know that swimming with a cold is really not that good of an idea? Don't people think about other people?

Now, you may be thinking that I am extremely harsh and that kids are always sick and you can't blame the parents. And that I should be so lucky to be in a situation that I can stay home if the nugget is sick, but I am not talking about school or daycare or riding the bus - situations where a runny nose is just part of the reality. I am talking about optional activities like birthday parties and swim class. It simply would have meant being the adult and changing plans. I know, you are thinking, just wait until its your turn.

Well today, it was my turn. Because as I had feared, the green goo is back and with a vengeance this time. The nugget is a cranky, clingy, watery-eyed, stuffy nosed, coughing little man and I am right there with him. We are quite a team.

And today, as irony would have it, we had a birthday party planned that I was really looking forward to, actually really looking forward to.

But instead I had to be the adult, had to be the mom who knew the potential consequences. So the nugget and I stayed home and missed an important 1st birthday. And yes, being that mom sometimes sucks.

06 March 2010

Going backwards

My first year of motherhood is slowly coming to an end and I still feel like there is so much that I haven't said or haven't shared. What I have learned is that there is not lack of content, but rather the lack of time and energy to really process it all.

That is why if you were to see the back-end of this blog you would see drafts of posted started. They sit there in the lists of posts and every time I see them, I think "Oh yeah, I really wanted to talk about that...and maybe I still do." And since this blog is just as much a chronicle for me to remember the first 365 days of the nugget's life, I am going to spend this weekend finishing what I started.

It is true that writing in hindsight may be different than if I had actually written on that very day - but it will simply feel more like story telling. And this is a story I want to remember. So be patient with me and allow me this looking back.

05 March 2010

Missing him

our wedding day, 06.03.06

We miss him. Okay, I miss him. I am not sure how much an 11 month old can actually understand someone not being there - but in my heart that look of overzealous bliss that happened around 6pm every night when the front door opened was there waiting for the few first days after his dad left.

It's Friday night and the novelty of being solo is beginning to wear off. And we still have another week to go. Our apartment can't really get any cleaner, I have already re-arranged the whole living room and our taxes are sort of being worked on. I will say, I have been extremely productive in his absence.

But today, on the way home from swim class, I drove along the rugged edge of the Pacific Ocean and watched as the spray of mist curled together with the gusting wind which formed a kind of film over the view outside the front of the car window. Short glances into the rear view mirror showed a completely conked out little baby boy - who was heavily resting his sleeping head on the side of his car seat. And then, when it rested into my awareness and I took a deep breath, I started to cry.

I think the hardest part is the extremeness of the distance - not just the geographical distance, but the complete lack of communication. No text messages, no Skype, no emails, no voice mails - nada, for 11 days.

And so, as with anything that can become more painful or uncomfortable when we add the torment of emotion to it, I am going to turn off the computer, light some candles and do my own meditation. Then, I will find some really girly music, maybe even have a grown up-beverage and baby proof the kitchen drawers.

And so looks the life of a temporarily single mom.

Tops and valves and parts, oh my

Bottles come with an immense amount of pieces. Maybe that's part of the reason that I barely ever used them. Yes, breastfeeding is much much simpler in this regard.

And sippy cups are not much better - everything has got a bottom and a top and a valve and a cover for to go. And for 11 months, I have been moving this stuff around our kitchen, from one cabinet and drawer to another, trying to figure out where it should go.

Finally, I think I have the answer. I had to take the top basket off of this set of three, but I must say, I love this. Wish I had thought of it earlier.

04 March 2010

Be inspired

It's 10:21pm and I should be going to bed. I should be going to bed because I have been staying up way too long doing god knows what for the last few nights and before long a little nugget is going to make himself heard and since I am solo right now there is no one to soothe his sadness but me. But I am inspired. I am really inspired.

I am inspired because tonight I was a city dwelling, non-mama adult for a few hours in a really cool, hidden San Francisco gem. Amidst a delightful gaggle of designing women, tech savvy young men and a bunch of authentically pleasant, engaging, creative and artistically well dressed people, I sat and listened to a panel of blog "experts" talk about everything from the time it takes to post to etiquette to "you would not believe who I ended up meeting through my blog." And all of this took place in one of those truly devine San Francisco locals. Tucked away unobtrusively in one of those "I know it's South of Market somewhere" alley streets, the Barrel House is rustic and real and earthy and totally cool.

The evening was called BlogOutLoud 5 - and I am just really happy that I rsvp'd, got a babysitter, put on some lipgloss and went. And what is even better, is that I had calling cards with me that I had printed yesterday. And on top of that, I actually introduced myself to 3 people. Don't laugh - for me, that is huge.

As for the discussion, yes, it was informative. Yes, I left with a few technical things to look into. Yes, it was inspiring to hear how a small list of subscribers could and will grow (if you aren't a subscriber - please, sign up!). But really what got into my veins and is still stirring now 2 hours later is that I was in a room with people who love what they do.

Have you ever felt that? That energy that effortlessly bubbles to the surface when you speak to someone who is doing exactly what they are meant to be doing. It doesn't happen that often, but somehow tonight, the space was buzzing with the energy of passion and forward momentum.

Be your bliss, I say - or at least, start blogging about it.

03 March 2010

Just imagine

This is not what the Mother's Room looks like at BabiesRUs, but just imagine our department stores had rooms that looked like this?

I had to go to BabiesRUs today. I say had to because it is my absolute last resort - always - but when the nugget realized that he could pull out the plastic protector doodads that I so effectively put into all of our exposed electrical outlets, I knew I needed a better solution, fast. And sadly, in the city of San Francisco, my only option was to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge and head to the smelling of plastic, fluorescent bulb lit superstore.

It was my last stop before heading home, so I had already pushed the nugget to his limits. It was already ten after six and he hadn't eaten dinner and the tiredness was starting to pull at his eyelids. I asked him to spare me 10 more minutes and then I would get him home as soon as possible. I found my "nugget safe" outlet covers, grabbed a few bags of toddler finger foods and a pouch of some sort of organic freeze dried something, paid with the friendly yet oddly placed older Indian gentleman at the counter and then sheepishly asked. "You still have the breastfeeding room, right?

This is their one saving grace - this quiet, clean and non-descript room. The white billowy upholstered glider called me, almost magically and when I turned to sit, it was farther down than I expected. Me, plus the nugget and my purse and the newly acquired plastic bag fell into the chair and it caught us - my body relaxing immediately. It was like sitting in a cloud. If there is a baby number 2, I am sooo getting a chair like this, I thought to myself. I looked at the nug, he looked at me, I got him in position and I as started to lift out my boob he made this sound - like a fusion of "ah ha" and "yup". Sort of a high pitched "hup" and then feverishly went to town, eyes rolling back in his head. Guess he was hungry.
Once he finished, it had been my intention to eat and go but as soon as I perched the nugget into my lap, we didn't seem to be in a hurry anymore. I gave him the pouch of goodies I had just bought and helped him rip into it. There he sat, sort of to the right side, facing me, feverishly devouring the freeze dried apple cubes, while rhythmically spitting out the heart shaped puffs of grain that accompanied them. Tiny little fingers navigating the opening of the pouch and with such detail, picking at each small morsel. And then, with the same attentiveness the piece landed on his tiny little lips and then his hand was already reaching for the next one. Over and over again. His body felt like an extension of mine - I was not sure where mine stopped and his started. It was as if we had been sitting together in this chair forever.

I don't know how long we sat there.

When he had sufficiently emptied most of the pouch onto our laps and had more than 5 sucked on, spit out puffs attached to the top of his onesie, I figured it was time to head home. I cleaned up the mess, pocketed the parenting magazine I had started to read and wiped our hands with the last remaining dried out wipes.

I left BabiesRUs for the first time ever, with a huge smile on my face and a contentment that only comes from truly being in the present moment.

02 March 2010

I found him...

I have been searching.

I have been searching long for the perfect piggy bank for the nugget. From etsy to ebay to the flea market to my local goodwill store. Somehow I had it in my head that I would find the perfect vintage, well loved, modern yet rustic non-piggy piggy bank. Should not have been this hard.

I found him - on ebay. And I bid and I waited and I hoped and then I didn't win - by 50 cents. So then, I went a little crazy. I emailed the seller - letting them know I was interested should something fall through with the sale. I can't believe I just admitted that.

Knowing he was from Pottery Barn Kids, I madly searched online and googled his name over and over. Nothing. I found a link to an article from 2008 that mentioned the modern nursery additions. Great 2008.

But I kept at it. I mean I had the time - my husband is across the world sleeping on a bed of concrete and meditating all day that leaves me with lots of free time once the nugget is sleeping. Yes, I kept at it. And then another link - this google search engine thing is amazing. This time it was to the blog from plum tree studio which I will now need to add to my list of blogs to read - it is darling. And there in one of her posts - was the giraffe version, with a date from last week. That meant, I had a chance. I called the local store, and yes in fact, they had one, new in box, just for me. Or I guess for the nugget, but let's be real - this stuff is never really for them.

And, I should have you know, that shortly after hearing the overzealous PB employee ask for my name and number, I checked my inbox and would you believe I had gotten a response from the ebay seller saying they had another one for sale and I should respond back if I wanted it listed. I realized in reading this how slightly "over the top" I had gone and sat back in my chair and took a deep breath. I figure, I never get this crazy over stuff...I won't be too hard on myself this time.

The irony is that this little fellow came from Pottery Barn Kids - as un-vintagey as it gets. But I think he was meant to be ours. Sometimes you don't get to choose who you fall in love with.

01 March 2010

A clever trick

There needs to be a new word for baby proofing. Making your house baby safe doesn't cut it either. I have put up a gate at the stairs and put plastic doodads in the wall outlets, covered a few really terrible tile corners with some sort of clear puffy plastic and even enclosed our desk space and made it the "grown-up pit", but the rest I am doing as he dictates.

And really, I want him to explore his environment - its his house too.

So that is when I started to think about how I could actually shape our environment to be less risk free but also more engaging. I have been trying to figure out what to do with these black and white animal postcards from wee gallery and I finally hit the nail on the head.

A few pieces of self-sticking velcro, 6 adult friendly images of woodland creatures and just the right height makes the wall into a game. The nugget walked up to it the first time, stuck his squishy little digits right behind the image and with one pull, it was on the ground. Over and over again, one after the other. I stuck them back up, he pulled them off.

Right now I think its the sound of the velcro that is kind of fun. We'll work on the actual animal names next.