Tuesday, November 27, 2007

When baby isn't feeling well

  1. Realize that baby is warm
  2. Take temperature
  3. Administer Tylenol, feel guilty for not noticing earlier that this might be why she was fussy, fret about whether to call doctor
  4. Nurse baby
  5. Rock baby to sleep
  6. Try to set sleeping baby down
  7. Immediately regret decision as baby fusses
  8. Return to rocker with baby
  9. Wish you'd left your book nearby
  10. Wish you had a glass of water
  11. Remained pinned to rocker with feverish baby
  12. Baby wakes up and cries
  13. Nurse baby
  14. Change baby's diaper
  15. Note that temperature is coming down
  16. Try to put baby down so you can put in a load of laundry/pick up toys/check e-mail
  17. Change your mind as baby screams
  18. Rock baby
  19. Nurse baby to sleep
  20. Baby wakes up and cries
  21. Realize that baby is warm again
  22. Return to step 2 and repeat cycle several times over next seven to eight hours
  23. Notice just before your spouse returns home and you will finally have back up that baby is feeling better and no one will believe how today went

Monday, November 26, 2007


Over breakfast in Albuquerque a couple of years ago, I told my colleagues that I was the anxious one in my marriage when it came to travel: I am the one worried about traffic and parking and security lines. I think others at the table were a little concerned about Brian when I said that because when we were doing site visits, if I wasn't sharing a cab to the airport with anyone else, I would usually up at National only a few minutes before our plane began to board.

Wednesday morning I was worried. Brian and I had considered driving down to South Pasadena for Thanksgiving, as Adriana had handled the drive fairly well when we went for Halloween. But the Christie mentioned something about 11 hours on I-5 on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and I decided that we would fly, in spite of the airport crowds. So I packed Adriana's and my duffle bag on Tuesday night, and planned on leaving for the airport almost two full hours before our flight was scheduled to depart (it's about a 20-minute drive with no traffic). And you know what? There was no traffic. We found a parking spot immediately and were taken quickly to the airport by the parking shuttle. We walked directly to the front of the line to check in (no checking in from home when you are traveling with a "lap baby"). The short security line moved quickly. Our plane boarded and left on time, and there were enough empty seats that we had our own row. Flying the day before Thanksgiving? No problem. What was I worried about?

It was a nice trip down to see The In-laws. Wednesday night my sister-in-law made a cheesecake topped with fresh berries to celebrate my birthday, and there were even a few presents for me. I spent most of Thursday over at my sister-in-law's apartment where she baked bread and a pecan pie, I made two pumpkin pies and an apple pie, and we took turns chasing after the baby. I gave many thanks for her standing mixer. Brian loves this recipe for pumpkin chiffon mousse, which I've made only twice before, both times deeming it good but not worth the effort; with the standing mixer it was a piece of cake (er, pie). Dinner was fantastic and we spent time after dinner playing a fun game of Trivial Pursuit, in which we kept reminding each other that the copyright on the game was 1981--questions about the Soviet Union and sports records weren't exactly up to date.

We spent a good part of Friday at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It wasn't Adriana's first art museum, since we did spend her first six months in the land of the free museums, but it was the first since she'd become mobile, so I was a little concerned about how she'd hold up, but she did fine: she nursed through the exhibit on Islamic art, slept through Southeast Asian, European, and Japanese art, and was up in time to enter the Dalí exhibit. She didn't last long in there, but I didn't really mind slipping out, as surrealism isn't really my favorite. I was glad to be able to enjoy the exhibit Japanese Prints: Word/Poem/Picture, especially several scrolls by Otagaki Rengetsu. I liked the simplicity of her drawings, the curves of the Japanese characters, and the translations of her poetry:

"Through fields and mountains the autumn moon follows me on my joyful way home as if to send me to bed."

Saturday we headed back home. The Burbank airport was virtually empty, and there was again plenty of room on our plane. We found our car, in spite of the fact that we didn't take the little card with us and didn't know the name of the lot. "No, I think our shuttle is yellow," I told Brian as we wandered outside at San Jose and he pointed to a blue van. Luckily a white van with yellow and black lettering pulled up just behind the blue one and it took us to the right lot, with Brian teasing me the whole way about how all I knew about where we'd left our car was "yellow." I don't know what he was so worried about; it was obviously plenty.

After a couple of hours at home we headed back out, to see my friend Lynn, who was at her parents' house for Thanksgiving. It was fantastic to see her and her husband. She's expecting her first baby in April (a girl!), and I was a little envious of her belly, but it was fun to talk baby stuff and catch up.

And to round out a perfect holiday weekend, Adriana slept for nearly six hours straight when we got home. What more could I want?

Monday, November 19, 2007


Today is my birthday.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Seven songs

First, anyone else ever realize that you've been up for two hours and all you've eaten is a brownie and you go into the kitchen to get something healthy and end up eating another brownie? Gah! Why do I bake when I know I'll just eat what I bake constantly until it's gone?

Okay, seven songs I'm into right now, courtesy of Mary.

"St. Peter's Bones" by Girlyman: I am totally in love with Girlyman's harmonies

"Do You Remember?" by Jack Johnson: This somehow reminds me of when Brian and I first started dating

"After Party" by Ozomatli: With such profound lyrics like "Oye, baby! Oye, mami! Donde esta la after party?" this band is clearly destined for greatness

"Subterranean Homesick Blues" by Bob Dylan: So fun to try to sing along to

"Cease Fire" by Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irions: I don't know what it is about this song, but I can listen to it over and over all day long

"36-24-36" by The Violent Femmes: Another one that's fun to sing along to

"Born at the Right Time" by Paul Simon: Perhaps my all-time favorite Paul Simon tune

I wasn't going to do the bit where I tagged others to do this, but then it occurred to me that I am curious about what folks are listening to. So, Caitlin, Lauren, Ruthie, Anna, Jewel, Christie, and Eleeza, you are it!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Why is it that when I do stupid things I feel compelled to tell the internet about it?

Just as I was getting into bed, Adriana woke up. As I nursed her back to sleep, I realized that she needed a diaper change. I went into the other room and got everything ready (double thick diaper, plenty of toys to keep handing her in order to keep Her Wiggliness on her back long enough to get her cleaned up), and then returned to the bedroom for the baby, who miraculously kept her eyes closed and stayed calm and cooperative throughout the change. I sat in the dark, rocking her until she was completely asleep again. Once I had her in her bed, I went to start a load of diapers. Sure, it was eleven at night, but there were only two left, and we needed to leave early in the morning, so it made sense to get them going now.

And then the good luck that kept the baby asleep while I changed her ran out.

As I began to pour the detergent into the cap, I couldn't see it coming out. So I tipped the bottle further. And felt detergent run all over my arm and splash onto my bare foot. Aha! Because I hadn't wanted to disturb Brian's sleep, I hadn't turned on the light (which I guess I thought would be more disturbing than the sound of the washer running right outside our bedroom door). I couldn't see the detergent coming out of the bottle not because it wasn't happening, but because it was dark. Very clever of me to figure that out, don't you think? Well, I do have a master's degree.

Now I need to figure out how to keep the detergent from ruining my carpet. I mean, I wiped it up as best I could, but I don't think that's enough. The internets tell me that I may be in need of a carpet shampooer. Guess what I'll be doing this weekend!
On the first day of sixth grade, back in 1989, I sat down across the table from a pretty girl with brown hair in Mrs. Sanchez's social studies class. If someone had told me that eighteen years later we'd be spending an afternoon together playing with our kids, I don't think I would have believed them.

Why yes, the baby is sitting in a doll stroller with a wheel falling off. Perhaps letting the five-year-old do the assembly wasn't the best idea?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Time for cheer

A few years ago I was in Chicago for work in early November. As our taxi from Midway approached the hotel and we saw the Christmas decorations up in the windows at Marshall Fields, my boss said happily, "I love Christmas decorations." Which probably wouldn't have stuck in my head if it weren't for the fact that she was Jewish.

And I have to agree with her. I know some people are appalled at how early the Christmas marketing seems to come, but I have to admit I find it kind of exciting. I mean, seeing the Christmas section at Macy's back in September was a little strange, but I love the season. Yes, it's commercialized and the "real meaning" of the season sort of gets lost in the madness of it all, but it's still fun. There are goodies to bake, presents to wrap, secrets to keep, songs to sing. There are get togethers with friends and family. Halloween is over, the cooler weather seems to be here, and I am ready for one of my favorite times of year. (Okay, so by the time February rolls around, I'll be calling spring my favorite, I'm sure; although I just remembered that now that we're back in Calfornia, so February won't be a big horrible mess of "freezing rain" and "wintry mix," which is what an angry, vindictive god gives west coast kids who think that east coast winter precipitation is only lovely, fluffy snow. Not that I'm bitter.)

Anyhow, this is just to say that last week I came into possession of a Baby's First Christmas ornament. And that a cute little red Christmas dress that I've been wanting for the baby went on sale, so I had no choice but to purchase it. And that I started Christmas shopping. And it was all quite fun and exciting.

But I'll probably be tired of hearing "Winter Wonderland" by the end of November.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ten months

Time goes so fast when you have a baby. I am pretty sure that just last week I was sent home from the hospital with a new born, and now it's like we have a little person around here. I mean, sure, she's a little person who poops her pants and can't get to sleep without help and whose audible communication skills are fussing, crying, and shrieking, with the occasional raspberry and "ba ba ba" thrown in, but still, she is noticeably moving from baby toward toddler.

Not that she is a toddler yet. In spite of dire predictions from various family members, Adriana is not yet walking. She cruises quite well these days, but still prefers to crawl if she wants to move quickly. I'm actually sort of excited for her to start walking. Yes, I know that comment is going to come back to bite me at some point, but I just think that if she's going to be mobile it would be easier, especially when we're out and about, if she were up on two feet instead of crawling.

Adriana is more fun to play with every day. She puts blocks into a box now, instead of just dumping them out. We have a stuffed monkey that she hugs and pats (and sits on and waves around). If you sing "If You're Happy and You Know It" she claps her hands, although not at the right time. She likes to chase and be chased, although it seems funny to call a version of the game that moves so slowly "chase." She likes the swings at the playground, and splashing around in the bathtub. She sits still for stories sometimes, and seems to particularly like the books we have with photographs of babies and children.

She is finally seeming to enjoy food a bit more. She never eats very much, but she is willing to try, and that is progress enough for me. In the mornings, she and I share a bowl of oatmeal. At lunch we usually have some yogurt with fruit and flaxseed. Snacks are Cheerios and slices of fruit that she feeds herself, or sometimes we feed each other. At dinner time, Brian and I feed her from our plates. The other night she ate lentil soup with great gusto and I wondered if the main problem with all the food I'd been offering in the past few months had been the lack of cumin, but the next night when we had leftovers she barely ate any at all, so I once again have no idea.

We go back and forth with sleep. For a few days last week, she was waking up too often at night, and I was exhausted. When she woke up "only" five times one night I felt refreshed--after all, that was better than waking up eight times--but that feeling was short lived. The past few nights she seems to be sleeping a little better, and both nights there has been a four-hour stretch that is absolutely heavenly. I know there are going to be good spells and bad spells. The problem is that when we are having bad spells I am too exhausted to try to fix things, and once we get through the bad spells, I think that things are going well and there's no need to worry.

These days, my favorite parts of the week are our yoga classes. The best one is the Friday morning one, which isn't as well-attended as the others. Adriana is usually the oldest baby there. She plays with the other crawlers, and investigates the smaller babies. And on Wednesdays when there are often older children there, she watches the toddlers with great interest and follows them around the room (usually picking up the Cheerios they drop behind them). She climbs on me as I do sun salutations, and cuddles up to nurse during the relaxation time at the end. Unless she curls up to nurse with me while the rest of the class does sun salutations and climbs on me (or one of the other moms) during the relaxation at the end, which isn't too bad either.

Friday, November 09, 2007

In orbit

I was moving laundry from the washer to the dryer when Adriana pulled up on my jeans and hugged me around my leg, grinning up at me.

"What's it like to be the center of her universe?" Brian asked, joking, as I loosened her grip so I could move without knocking her over, just as I do many times every day now that she has discovered that my jeans are great for pulling up on.

"A little stressful, and mostly wonderful," I told him honestly.

But after he asked, I started to think: right now, yes, I am the center of her universe, but she is also the center of mine, and I think that's exactly how it's supposed to be right now.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Courtesy of Helen and Sami

Brian came home from work and asked if we had any beer. I checked the fridge. No beer, but there was a bottle of sparkling wine that had been brought to our housewarming party back in August. So we had left over lentil soup and champagne for dinner.

And we lived happily ever after.


When I first met Brian I didn't understand his deep true love for Halloween. I mean, I love candy and playing dress-up as much as the next kid, but is it really a holiday one must celebrate with family?

Well, it turns out that if you come from a neighborhood that gets exponentially more trick-or-treaters than I've ever seen in my life, you certainly do. I mean, you don't even worry about having people ring your doorbell in this neighborhood: you just sit out on the front porch and people form a line that reaches down to the street.

That graph right there shows that my in-laws provided candy to 1,715 trick-or-treaters last Wednesday, just slightly more than last year. So Brian, Adriana, and I spent all of last week in South Pasadena, where we decked out the front yard with ugly ghouls strung across the lawn on fishing line, fun jack-o-lanterns, and Herman, the dummy who is dropped on unsuspecting little beggars as they made their way up the the driveway.

Herman, hanging in the trees:

The ugliest Halloween decoration ever:

Pumpkins (I did the witch):

And now, what I know you've all been waiting for, my favorite squooshy monkey:

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Music of the Universe

From Isabel Allende's Paula:

Celia was walking back and forth, leaning on Nicolás, never losing her calm, taking short breaths when she doubled over with pain, and resting when the small being in her womb gave her a brief respite. My daughter-in-law carries in her veins secret songs that mark the rhythm of her steps as she walks; during the contractions, she panted and rocked back and forth as if listening to an irresistible, internal Venezuelan drumbeat. Toward the end, I thought that occasionally she made fists of her hands and a flash of terror passed through her eyes, but immediately her husband make her look straight at him, and whispered something in the private code of husband and wife, and her tension eased. . . .

By midafternoon, Celia made a sign; Nicolás helped her climb onto the bed and in less than a minute the apparatus and instruments the midwife carried in her station wagon materialized in the room. That girl in shorts seemed suddenly to mature; her tone of voice changed and millennia of female experience were reflected in her freckled face. "Wash your hands and be ready," she told me with a wink. "Now it's your turn to work." Celia put her arms around her husband, gritted her teeth, and pushed. And then, on a surging wave of blood, emerged a flattened, purplish face and a head covered with dark hair, which I held like a chalice with one hand while with the other I quickly unlooped the bluish cord wrapped around the baby's neck. With another brutal push from the mother, the rest of my granddaughter's body appeared, a blood-washed, fragile package: a most extraordinary gift. With a primeval sob, I felt in the core of my being the sacred experience of birth--the effort, the pain, the panic--and, gratefully, I marveled at my daughter-in-law's heroic courage and the prodigy of her solid body and noble spirit, designed for motherhood. Through a veil, I seemed to see a rapturous Nicolás, who took the baby from my hands and placed her on her mother's belly. Celia rose up from among her pillows, panting, dripping with sweat, transformed by inner light and, completely indifferent to the remainder of her body, which continued contracting and bleeding, she folded her arms about her daughter and welcomed her with a waterfall of words in a newly coined language, kissing and nuzzling her as every mammalian mother does, then offered the baby her breast in the most ancient gesture of humankind. Time congealed in the room, and the sun stopped above the roses on the terrace; the world was holding its breath to celebrate the miracle of that new life.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Orchids at the Huntington

Overheard in Beverly Hills

Man on cell phone: So do you want to have sex with me, or do you want to marry me? . . . Both?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

384 days until I turn 30

Last night, I had a glass of white wine, several garlic bread twists, two slices of pizza, a glass of red wine, a couple of seven-layer bars, a brownie, a slice of kahlua cream pie, four peanut butter cups, two miniature Milky Ways, and a cup of hot chocolate. That night I had a stomachache. This must be one of the downsides of getting older. I would swear I was able to eat like that not too long ago.

Must go eat through a nice green leaf now.