Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year

Ryan, Jack and I went to Arizona to celebrate Christmas. It was a lovely visit. We spent time with family and friends in the sun. The sun was out EVERY DAY! Love that. Jack was almost literally showered with gifts. We are so grateful for all of the things that people have been inspired by their love for Jack to buy. Except for this:

video

I love my dad but somewhere someone is probably using that song as a method of torture. On that note (ha!), I have to mention the story of stuff. The singing dog/reindeer thing is the epitome of why I wish we all lived by this philosophy.

On Friday, Ryan and I visited Sedona while my mom watched Jack. If you can ignore all of the crazy identical faux-adobe development, Sedona is still amazing.





My mom and Jack:



Lastly, I had to include pics of my bro's new mustache. Just because I love my bro!

Lessons from Microbiology

A few weeks before my micro class ended, the prof and I were chatting at the end of a lab when I was the last person to finish. She often mentioned her kids during lectures using their various childhood illnesses as examples. In spite of all the information she made us memorize, I will always remember this conversation before any of that. Her kids are now in their early to mid-twenties and she told me what they were up to. She also mentioned they still lived in the area and the family had dinner together every Sunday. I commented how cool that was that they were still close. She said that when her children were in their pre-teen years, she and her husband realized they would have a relationship with them as adults longer than they would as children and they adjusted their parenting style accordingly. I had never thought of parenting in that way before. As of this summer, I will have lived away from my parents as long as I lived with them.

This conversation sort of haunted me throughout my arizona visit. For some strange reason, I felt like I was re-living my childhood the whole time and by childhood, I mean my teen years. They are the only years I remember well. They were so hard on everyone and they definitely left scars. Now I see all this as a parent. How sad that I can only remember those years. I think of the way things are with Jack now and I want him to remember this time too. We have such sweet moments that you just don't have with a teenager..

(us on the airplane)


All of this introspection led me to three conclusions: 1. I love having a *baby*! 2. I have lots of time before I need to worry about all this 3. because all I have is the present (all crisis of my life lead me to this anyway)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Best places for Seattle kids

One of my very dear friends from high school visited recently. I realized how dull my life has become... very. But I also realized I am not in the loop for great places to hang out with kids. The old hang outs (restaurants, coffee shops, bars) don't work anymore. So my friend Katie and I took Jack to the Seattle Public Library. They have a great children's section that Jack really liked and Katie and I could chat while we followed him around. We also hit the Children's museum with my PEPS group as we celebrated all the 1 year birthdays in our group. The energy at the museum was fairly crazy for a baby civilian but we had great conversations with the parents in my group who have mastered the art of splitting their attention.

These are pictures of Jack at the library:


Santa

Last weekend, some friends of mine asked me if I planned to take Jack to see Santa. I had not considered that idea but knew right away that the answer was no. I have a couple of reasons for this. During my own childhood and adolescence, I remember feeling powerless. I have always enjoyed adulthood because, usually, I do what I want. I always have choices. I don't like the idea of making Jack sit on a stranger's lap so he can get a picture taken (while he screams). I don't think it's cute. When Jack is older, if he wants to sit on Santa's lap and ask him for presents, that's fine. But until he is choosing it, I don't plan to participate.

For now, he can sit on mom's lap:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Blue and the Y chromosome


Jack and Lily have now become pals. They play together pretty well which is a change from the days when Lily constantly harassed Jack. She could do it because her motor skills were (and still are) way ahead of Jack's. She walks, waves, claps and does sign language. I mentioned this to our doctor who said "girls are more advanced." I assume she means at this age but when does that difference end and why? What is it about the double X that makes girls advance more quickly? The Y is pretty puny .. but I don't get it. I am sure there is a book on it somewhere but I don't have time to read it.

Watching Jack and Lily makes me think a lot about the characteristics we assign to each gender. I never want Jack to feel he has to be a certain way -- aggressive or stoic or whatever - just because he is a boy. I thought I would just try to avoid owning the stereotypical boy things. I always said I wouldn't put Jack in all blue - we didn't find out his gender so we would get gender-neutral gifts... but then I thought, what does color have to do with gender? If Jack wears pink every day of his life, will he be sensitive? Highly unlikely yet I don't dress him in pink. I feel strange about it so clearly we have assigned some meaning to color in relationship to gender.

Lily has many fabulous girl clothes including this gold jacket. I think Jack looks happy in the coat.. Would my dad agree? No.




Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

It is an absolutely beautiful day in Seattle today. I went to a yoga class this morning and had time to reflect on the many things in my life for which I am very grateful: Our community of friends and family who have made our transition to parenthood possible, our health, and our little guy who almost always emanates joy.



Also a better pic from halloween.. Bridget had jack and lily just hanging out in their halloween costumes. Lily was a dinosaur.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cake

We had a little party for Jack. I secretly hoped he wouldn't like the cake as I have seen a few babies his age do. But, alas, that did not happen.



Happy Birthday to Jack

It was a beautiful day -- on the day you were born. That is what Bridget and Heather's grandmother said every time she called her grandchildren on their birthdays. When I heard that, I wondered what I would say to Jack. On the day you were born I had no idea what the weather was like because I was so overwhelmed that I never thought to look out the window? No. I won't say that because I imagine that my narrative of my first few days and months with Jack will fade and instead be replaced with my feelings for him now. It is impossible to summarize this year. Certainly, it has been the hardest of my life but not the worst. I have made a lot of sacrifices but for a worthy exchange.

If I were to convey anything to Jack about his birthday I think I would steal the sentiments from the last few pages of the lovely children's book 'On the Day You Were Born.'

On the day you were born
the Earth turned, the moon pulled, the sun flared
and then, with a push, you slipped out of the dark quiet
where suddenly you could hear ...

a circle of people singing with voices familiar and clear

welcome to the spinning world the people sang
as they washed your tiny hands

welcome to the green earth, the people sang
as they wrapped your wet, slippery body

And as they held you close
they whispered into your open, curving ear
We are so glad you've come

Saturday, November 17, 2007

12 hours later

So here I am 12 hours after my labor technically started.. I was having regular contractions but nothing very strong. Since my water had broken 12 hours earlier, the midwife insisted I check into the hospital. The strange thing about remembering this time is realizing that I was in denial about having a baby. I suppose it was a coping mechanism for something that was too overwhelming to even imagine.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Last year at this time

If you asked me what I was doing on August 12 or May 23 of last year or any specific day of most years of my life, I would have no idea. But I do remember November 16, 2006. I woke up, walked to my chemistry class, had lunch at a little cafe by school, then I went to my chemistry lab where I stood for 5! hours working on the most tedious lab of my entire year of chemistry. A former chemistry professor saw me and mentioned he didn't think I was going to make it until the end of the quarter based on the size of my stomach. I really didn't think I looked that big. I got home around 5 .. I don't remember what happened until 11:30 when I felt a weird snap and suspected that my water had broken.

Here is what I looked like:



(we actually took this on the morning of 11/17. i had sort of slept that night .. but not really)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Photo shoot

I recently decided that we should have professional family photos taken.. I wanted to celebrate the end of Jack's first year. I am also aware that I am not a great photographer so I wanted some good shots. A dear friend of mine took the photos (samples of her work) at the arboretum. Here are a few of our favorites:





It's kind of weird having a family photo taken. (We do have shots of the three of us but I don't have the images yet) This used to mean a picture with my siblings and parents. But now I have a family of my own. I feel very grown-up. I suppose it's time.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Happy Halloween

A little late.

The latest news is that I started a babysitting co-op in my neighborhood. We have 6 families participating -- kids range in age from 4 months to 7. It's a pretty simple arrangement. Everyone gets 15 poker chips. Each hour "costs" one chip and the only way you get chips is to watch someone else's child(ren). Ryan and I are going out tonight (woo-hoo!) and I am watching 2 kids tomorrow night. I actually like children now whereas before I had a child, I thought they were kind of boring. So, I am looking forward to getting to know the kids in my neighborhood.

Also, Jack has mastered getting up and down from a standing position so he is much happier. He is also feeding himself and displaying preferences for food as he eats. While this is a totally mundane thing that everyone you know does, it's crazy to see it displayed for the first time in another person. Yesterday I gave him a plate of eggs, toast, avocado and cheese (all sliced into small pieces). He ate the toast first and when it was gone went for the cheese, then the avocado, and finally the eggs -- although he mostly threw those on the floor. When I tried to feed him avocado first, he shook his head no and pushed my hand away.

What I love about child-raising is how thrilling it makes the average daily event. My lunch description sounds very dull, I am sure but to me, I was completely amazed by the whole event.

I couldn't get a great shot of Jack in his monkey costume. Ryan looks a little crazy but this is the best I could do.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Appetite for Destruction

Jack is pretty proficient at crawling and pulling himself up to standing.. he is quickly figuring out how to gracefully get from standing to sitting but he isn't quite there. So he is moving even more quickly than before but with one important difference. It seems that now when Jack enters a room, he surveys it to find the most dangerous object with which to play and heads straight for it. His room has lots of nice toys and a chair to climb on but he always goes for the space heater or the cord connected to the space heater. It reminds me of the view of the Terminator's brain ..constantly assessing what will cause the most damage. I am not sure why babies evolved to do this.. although now that I think about it, maybe it was the parents who evolved. I suppose if you couldn't figure out how to watch your child you weren't going to be ultimately successful at reproduction.

Jack's mean face. I think he is mad because he threw soup on his face:


Jack with straight hair:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

new talents

Jack and I are both expanding our skill base. Jack sleeps mostly on his stomach now. Generally, we have to change his diaper in the middle of the night otherwise he wakes up completely soaked. Whenever I try to roll him over, he rolls back onto his stomach. So now I just change his diaper in the face-down position. It was challenging at first but now I have mastered it. He never even wakes up. It's like I'm the clint eastwood of diaper changing...or the yoda of diaper changing or whatever. you get the idea.

Not to be outdone, Jack has started pulling himself up to a standing position. Everywhere. He is no longer safe alone for more than 10 seconds because he doesn't really know how to get out of the standing position so he inevitably ends up falling and hitting his head which is distressing for all involved. He is not yet the michael jordan of baby-standing but I am sure he is well on his way.

Here is the requisite baby butt shot. baby butts are so darned cute..

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Gums

When I was pregnant I learned quickly that I was better off not reading any books or looking anything up on the internet regarding pregnancy or labor. It was all bad news.

Sadly, however, I have not been able to ditch the few baby books around my house that tell me where Jack should be in the 80 different kinds of developing that he is currently doing and will do until he is like 22. So this is going to be a long 22 years of worrying. Basically, according to the books, Jack is a little behind in a few things.. for example, he has no teeth. I don't know any babies this age that have no teeth. So I look in the book. What does it say? Most babies have teeth by 10 months. Then I think, do I know anyone who never got their teeth? Really, I have never met anyone without teeth so I am pretty sure he'll get them. But since everything is controlled by your DNA and the DNA arrangement we get is seriously more random than the lottery, it seems theoretically possible that at least one person has never gotten their teeth. But I hope not.

On an unnrelated note, here is Jack in one of his favorite shirts:

It's the 70's Baby!

When I went home I got baby pictures of my brother, sister and me. I wish I had one of Ryan -- he is working on it.

me (10 months):


my sister (13 months):


my brother (12 months):


Everyone says Jack looks just like Ryan but I think he looks at least a little like my side of the family.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Weekend in AZ

Last weekend, Jack and I traveled to Arizona. The last time I took Jack on a plane, he was 4 months old. It didn't occur to me until the morning of my flight that things would be different this time. jack moves all the time now unless he is asleep. so i bought baby benadryl just in case I ended up in some desperate situation.. plus I thought he had the sniffles so perhaps I could justify drugging my child. Not surprisingly, no one sat next to me. A woman my mom's age sat down in the aisle seat of my row and told me later she sat there because she knew there would be no one between us. She really helped me out because Jack was a wiggle-worm the entire time.

When I arrived my mom and stepfather and brother met us. They dropped me off at the house of one of my high school friends and took Jack back to their house. Then 3 of my high school pals and I went to Prescott for the weekend. It was a lovely weekend of just sitting around, drinking mojitos and enjoying the sun. I slept in until 9am. It was pure craziness. My mom had a good time too.. although she was not that into waking up at 5:30.

Here are some photos of the events:
Sitting:


Hiking:



Sorry these pics aren't great but you get the idea. I snapped a couple of my brother, dad and stepmother but then got lazy about photo taking (sorry mom!):




Once I got home I went through a little mini-depression then I had a realization. I profoundly miss my old life -- the life before Jack where I did mostly whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. At the same time, I am so happy Jack is in my life. He is a small package of joy. I realized these two things don't really contradict each other -- its not either 'I miss my old life and regret my decision to have a child' or 'I love my child and have no desire to return to my old life'. It's that I miss my old life and I love Jack's presence in my new life. Both at the same time... sort of a strange paradox.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More bb fashions

I dig the baby fashions. Luckily for me, I have a few very fashionable people in my life who either have children a little older than Jack or who enjoy buying children's clothing, so Jack has some great stuff. Here are a few of my faves:


casual at the park in levi's and a T with moose on it

(this is also a pic of Jack's immune system strengthening before your eyes as he chews on the plastic rake he found at the park)

hipster with a message

(it says "my mommy loves me")
business casual for the golf course or dress-down fridays


keeping the collar up on a cold day


life of the party in polka-dot jammies


this hat was a gift from my mom's aunt... it's a wee-bit small but we stretched it.

Free time!




Now that I don't work constantly, life is better. We took a little vacay to the oregon coast.. we hiked, walked along the beach, and listened to the '4 hour work week' ( an entertaining and kind of hilarious book on how to live more and work less ).

My first day

After quitting my ER job, I started a few weeks ago at a women's clinic. I work three days a week. The days I work are long so I don't see Jack much then but I have four days off with him and that is working out great.

The clinic where I work is a little different in that it receives a fair share of bomb threats. My first day the entire staff attended a training regarding what to do when and if this happens. Among the many conversation topics were who among the staff would be willing to actually look for the bomb if someone says they have planted one ( a highly unlikely event). No one said much for a few minutes but a few women volunteered that they'd be willing to do it since their children were grown. That turned out to be the dividing line -- if your children were not yet adults, you wouldn't do it, and if there were, you would.

I am not sure what I would have said before I had a child to be honest. However, it is clear now that our childrens' well-being is far more important than all of our strongly-held beliefs.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

PEPS photo found

One of my peps pals pointed me to this early photo of our little ones. Jack is at the far left doing what he did best for the first three months of his life:



Here he is again.. mellower and bigger.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Our first summer

I haven't had much to write lately on the blog .. mainly because all I have been doing this summer is working. I have really been struggling with the balance thing. I recently accepted two part time jobs and I still have one more class to take next quarter. Now that the jobs have started I can see this was a bad idea. I am so used to doing as much as I possibly can but the problem with that now is that I don't see Jack. So it's not working.

I plan to quit one job and have a sane life.. it will probably delay my entry into graduate school but I don't care anymore.

In Jack news, our little one is commando-scooting (not exactly crawling yet but definitely moving forward). He is also a lot louder these days. We were told by his doctor that he had to gain weight so we've been feeding him super-high-fat cream of broccoli soup and yo-baby yogurt and stuff like that. According to a 1977 growth chart, Jack was in the 40% for weight but according to an updated 2006 chart he is apparently in the percentile with anorexic super model babies.

One of our few fun activities this summer was a pool party with our PEPS group. All the babies are around the same age... I wish I could find one of our earlier photos because they have all changed so much.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Swimming Lessons

We took swimming lessons this summer at the Colman pool -- a lovely outdoor salt water pool right next to the puget sound -- with our friends Megan and Maggie. Jack sort of enjoyed himself.. He definitely does not like swimming in the cold and there have been many cold days lately. Otherwise, he occasionally smiled but he wasn't enthusiastic. We'll try again next summer.




Maggie and Jack


The woman in this picture was in my chemistry class last fall. Her daughter is very into the water and I thought her shades were hilarious.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

9 months


Last week, Jack had his 9 month birthday. He has now been on the outside as long as he was on the inside. It's been a rough couple of weeks as I finished my chemistry class and then started my first of two new part-time jobs. I was very cranky since my class ended with a cumulative exam covering the entire year of general chem. Jack was also very cranky and I didn't make the connection until I mellowed out these last couple of days and so did he. They certainly are observant. Who knew?

He is now getting confident on all fours and rocks back and forth. He really wants to go forward but he doesn't quite know what to do first. We cheer every time he gets on his hands and knees so he might just be satisfied with that and think he has arrived at the apex of his motor skills. I had heard that parents get so excited about every little developmental step. It's true. It's funny how interesting it is to watch your baby become a little person.. everything seems miraculous.