Friday, December 15, 2006

On and off.

We try hard not to laugh when you are turning your little light on and off at bedtime, but it's difficult. We don't want to encourge your delay tactics, but it really is funny.

I didn't mean to give myself a two week break from writing; I hope to feel on again soon.

I am finally finished with my classes! I'm so happy to know I'll spend evenings with you again. I won't have to hurry to press my coffee and put my bag together and then see your face pressed up against the window glass, waving goodbye. There will be goodbyes, but not like these endless graduate school leavings. I can't believe I'm finished already!

I passed my last test, a big test, but there will be more.

And I ran over a cat, I think. It must have continued it's tire-flung journey across the street; when I looked back (there were two cars behind) I saw nothing. The sound of the sickening thumps reverberated all day long. There wasn't a thing I could do -- I couldn't stop, I didn't see it coming, I couldn't stop. Someone's pet, maybe. Oh, no more of this, please.

Great Uncle G. is sick and we'll visit him tomorrow -- you'll have time with Nana and Papa too, which you've been asking for.

Two boxes have arrived from California, just for your material happiness this holiday season (Buddhamas?) and we are all lucky beyond measure, beyond the material.

As I watched you in class today, I was impressed. You are the same in class as at home or in public -- helpful, loving, smart. You don't scream and run. You tuck in your friends who stay for a nap and blow them kisses when you leave.

More soon...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Like the sky.

Last week when we were at Nana and Papa's house, I was no longer on your to do list. I barely got a sideways glance. The break was nice, I suppose, but I began to miss your cuddling and demanding I chase you. Dad explained that I am like the sky to you -- always there -- so you don't worry about not giving me attention for a bit; I'll return your love when you're ready again.

And this week, you've been especially loving. Tonight, you played with my necklace and said, "this is my mommy, you are my mommy" in this soft voice. I melted. You are so dear to me, in your fleece pig pajamas and hair smelling of California Baby bath soap.

I might not be writing to you every day (at least not for a bit) but, like the sky...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Deep thoughts: Groovy Girls

Today you were playing with your Groovy Girl. You've had her since your first birthday, but have only recently been interested in involving her in your doll escapades. I've seen many Groovy Girl dolls in shops (even at the grocery store) and admired all of the clothes and accessories one can obtain.

A few months ago, you really got into changing your dolls and by "changing" I mean "getting the clothes part way off and then screaming for me to finish the job and put the new clothes on." So my perspective on doll clothes has shifted a bit; when I see the little pants and shirts and dresses at Target, my eye starts to twitch in anticipation of the work entailed in keeping all of that stuff accounted for.

This afternoon, you finally realized that your G.G.'s clothes could come off! You went about undoing the Velcro until...the shirt and skirt wouldn't completely detach. I looked closely at the doll and (with a sense of relief) saw that they are actually stitched on. And not just one little thread, either. I considered digging out my seam ripper and freeing the vinyl skirt, but then changed my mind. I guess I wonder why the manufacturer would put that much effort into keeping on the original clothes yet so aggressively market the additional wardrobe.

Man, it'll be great to have a job again soon. I love it with you -- I wouldn't trade it, but the fact that I even had this dialog with myself (and dad) is somewhat disturbing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


If anyone else is following along here (besides you, my dear and my other dears), I'm thinking they must tire of reading my patient rants for you. It's not that I want you to have more freak outs, but sometimes the sweetness is overwhelming. What am I saying? It's great -- give me more! I just wonder if the repetition sheds any new light.

As I come to the end of my month of writing every day, I've learned a few things. First, I enjoy writing every day. And feeling the pressure to do it adds to the interest, at least for me. Second, I've realized how much I haven't written down in the past. Some of it may seem redundant, but I know I won't regret it in the future. I have felt some sadness for my lack of paper journal writing; in the basement lies boxes of my unfinished books. Third, I think I do appreciate you more. I take a breath and sort out our moments.

Today I found out that the father of our good friend passed away. And there is a shadow of more bad medical news coming down the pike. You are too young to fully understand this now, what it all means -- this life and death stuff. There's a part of me that wants to shelter you from it, but I know it's not possible, or even advisable.

Today your biggest sadness was when I didn't understand how you wanted to eat Gorilla Munch cereal. I finally figured out that you wanted to sit on my lap and eat a bowl with me, which you've never asked for. As we sat at the table together, enjoying something so simple, I realized I'd never eaten cold cereal this mindfully before. Thank you for this practice.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Two years ago, we made a mistake while on Thanksgiving vacation. You were 6 months old and had been sleeping out of our bed for a few months, but we thought it would be "better" if you slept in bed with us at Nana and Papas. It didn't work out so well. First of all, it was very uncomfortable in the double bed, especially with you kicking and squirming and nursing all night long. There weren't enough pillows and the mattress is so squishy, one almost tumbles right over the side. The second part of our error was revealed when we returned home. You no longer wanted to fall asleep in your crib. We were back at square one.

Full disclosure -- at 6 months, you weren't sleeping all night in your crib, but you started out there which makes a huge difference. You were doing so well -- slowly spending more and more time in your own bed.

So you spent the month of November starting your nightly sleep cycle in our bed and moving, at some point, to your crib. By December, we'd learned our lesson and you slept in the portable crib when we visited family. I can't distinctly remember what happened last year, but there was some issue with the transition.

Now, we are at year three. It is almost 10:15 and we've spent over 2 hours getting you ready for bed. I just rocked you and tucked you in again; you told me you were sad because you miss Nana and Papa. Earlier, you told dad you missed football -- you want to watch the guys kicking the ball. Even though the last two nights have been rocky, I'm thankful for language. I'm able to calm you with words, and you understand! We can talk about why you are sad, and we can work it out together.

Each night I rock you, your legs fall lower down my lap; your body feels heavier on my chest; the fingers that play with my hair grow longer and more agile. There will be many more transitions, and I can't begin to imagine them all.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Home again.

We are so happy to be home again, with our cat and rituals. Tonight, at bedtime you said to Myra, "I love her, she is my sister." I guess that lets us off of the hook for a human sister then? Currently, you are fighting bedtime with dad, something you never do. I wonder what the rest of the evening holds.

You certainly enjoyed almost 5 days with Papa and Nana and cried when we drove away.

[Interjection -- I have just returned from your room, where I rocked and then tucked you in again. Now you are playing with your lips and humming. The neighbors are revving their engine outside of our house.)

Where was I? Oh, yes. Thanksgiving. You ate turkey hot off of the new barbecue and hid in the living room while the rest of us ate. The attention was great, but football was more appealing. You Love football which baffles me. You don't really watch t.v. and we aren't big sports people, but somehow you have an interest. The only thing that trips you up is the amount that the players crash into each other and fall down. You are so concerned with their well-being and so this is what I hear: "Uh, oh! He fell down! Owie! Okay, he's okay. He doesn't need a doctor."

Going home is always interesting for me. Luckily, I have a great relationship with Nana and Papa and so there is a limited amount of drama. I hope our relationship is similarly close and healthy, but I'm realistic that you'll feel that same odd sense of push and pull I experience. I also hope that, by the time you are 31, I have new drapes and have gotten rid of your long-forgotten stuffed animals. When I talk to Nana about how difficult my entrance into the world was for them, I have a renewed sense of appreciation for my family, for you, for the ease of your existence thus far; maybe there is a reason for that drawer still filled with old cloth diapers and baby bonnets.

When we went to lunch this afternoon, you ordered sausage and peaches. When the waitress, set down the plate in front of you and bustled away, you said, "I want to say thank you." I assured you she would be back and as she returned, you leaned away from the table, looked into her eyes and said, "thank you so much." There is so much to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Out on a date without you -- before leaving, a cracker-mouthed kiss. "You'll be back," you confidently exclaimed.


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Friday, November 24, 2006

Real quick!

Visiting friends! Long nap during football -- more of Nana's pigtails. You are playing, I hear you with people you see in pictures.
More soon, of course.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey eaten. Finally napping. You looked lovely in new pink slippers, pigtails. More to come...


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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Off to give thanks.

Okay, I admit it. I've been writing here every day because the lure of free stuff is just too much to silence my muse. That's a little dramatic, I suppose. And it's only the possibility of free stuff, not the promise. I hope your future self is not offended by this.

I read other websites where people pour themselves out onto the screen about so many things -- parenting, cancer, television, education and celebrities, to name a few. There's a lot out there, both serious and fun. I've been moved to tears over things I've read. Something I don't understand, though, is the people who seem to hate what others have to say...and they share that anger. And then it's like a snowball growing bigger and bigger as it tumbles down the page. Sometimes, it's over something that's important -- you'll understand someday -- there are so many social and political issues; you will investigate and make your own decisions, create your own ideology. But the point is, sometimes the things people get riled up about are so small. There are good intentions involved, most of the time, sure. But then there are the times where those intentions go awry. I know you will encounter this at some point in your life and I hope we can prepare you adequately. Please just remember the value in everyone's opinion -- and play nice.

We are off to spend Thanksgiving with Nana and Papa and maybe Grandma N. and the crew down south. I'll be writing here for sure -- I mean, there is the free stuff to consider -- but it won't be extensive. I love you so much, Lucy. I am thankful for so many things, but I am thankful to be your parent -- to be a parent with your Dad -- for health and happiness. It is simple, and beautiful.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Your dad and I have commented about how much hipper you are when it comes to music. When I was a kid, I liked some really dorky stuff. You like "rock and roll" as you say, and this includes Led Zeppelin, The Police and The Presidents of the United States. We have inspired a love of jazz as well; you even have preferences when it comes to jazz -- you like the experimental stuff and Coltrane, to start with.
Because you don't really watch t.v., we've been able to stay away from the really annoying stuff (The Wiggles and Barney), but you do like Raffi, a children's standard since the 80s. It's actually pretty tolerable. One of your favorites is Dan Zane, and he definitely rocks. You love The Beatles -- especially (predictably) "Lucy in the sky with diamonds." I've downloaded and checked out as much cool music for you and you've been receptive; once in awhile you surprise me by asking for something I'd choose if I was hanging out alone.
In my iTunes library, I have 3 or 4 renditions of a few favorites like, If you're happy and you know it, The itsy, bitsy spider, Wheels on the bus, This old man and Old MacDonald. I've got two "jazz for kids" albums which are well-executed and not cheesy.
I think your music tastes reflect your tendency toward sweetness and I'm happy to play Woody Guthrie singing Bling Blang 10 or 20 times, if that's what keeps you dancing.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Burping the baby.

I can't remember if I've mentioned this before and, frankly, I'm too lazy to look at this moment.

A moment ago, I was sitting at my computer eating a leftover Halloween Tootsie Roll. You were playing with your baby Jo, wrapping her in a receiving blanket and tucking her into bed. As I was scrolling through e-mails, you appeared by my side saying, "look at the baby, burp the baby!" I smiled and looked lovingly at the baby in your arms, swaddled tight. As you bounced her, saying "shh shh shh," I heard you swallow to make "Jo" burp. I had to laugh at your little belch and so you demonstrated again and again. This is something you learned from Papa and I'd hoped you'd forgotten. Thanks, Papa. Hopefully you can teach her other things too -- like how to find a wall stud and why one should appreciate college wrestling.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fubonn Market.

Today we had a nice family time that included a trip to an Asian marketplace nearby. Within the mall, there is a bubble tea shop, a Chinese bakery, a tea supply store and Fubonn Market. Although we had no quarters, you enjoyed sitting on the mechanical horses. You were so good as we strolled around; agreeable as you rode in the shopping cart. We found special rice cake crackers and a new melamine soup bowl for you. The excursion reminded us of Taiwan; we found steamed pork buns that we'll eat for dinner tonight. As we finished up our trip, you and dad discovered an altar complete with a Buddha statue, candles and food offerings. You stood before it and bowed, because that's what you know to do. I don't know if you really understand what it means, but witnessing your reverence is beautiful.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Message in a bottle.

Listening to songs on your dad's computer is on your Top Ten List. He's happily downloaded a few songs into his iTunes especially for you; one of the songs is a live rendering of Police's "Message in a bottle." You are especially into the drums, which are more prominent than in the album version (we have that one too -- you like to compare). One of your favorite parts is looking at the album cover. You always ask us to "see it bigger" because the band is jumping in the air with these wild looks on their faces.
Like many girls and women, I find Sting to be very...attractive (by the time you read this letter, this comment will either be funny or very uncomfortable -- maybe both!). It doesn't matter that he's twice my age. Yesterday, when we were listening to the song for the eighth time, along with the cute cymbal noises you make, I heard another sound. At first, I thought I was mistaken, but when I saw you put your lips up to the screen, making telltale "smack" and "mwah" kissing sounds, I had to laugh. You heard me and said, "I'm giving kisses!"

Friday, November 17, 2006


So here it is, you are stronger than us: definitely in will, maybe in physical ability. We are trying to work out how to get things done, and despite our best intentions, sometimes our behavior goes...awry.

In graduate school I've been learning that, as a teacher, I should have a procedure for everything. Undoubtedly, having a plan for handing in papers, dealing bathroom passes and arranging group work will save a lot of stress in the classroom. So we've got some "procedures" at home. A few work, and a few do not.

For some reason I find it difficult to write about this -- I have higher expectations for myself as a parent. At the end of the day, when you are standing on the bed resisting pajamas -- or when you are running away while I'm trying to dry your hair -- or when you are kicking me while I am brushing your teeth -- I lose my cool, so to speak. There's not an outward expression of my anger in voice or physical action, but I feel myself growing cold and silent.

You are such a good girl, overall -- you capture everything we say, and don't say; you take it to heart. I think you perceive your antics as a fun time -- you are not malicious. But your pluckiness is bigger than mine. To some degree, I am jealous of your energy -- of your lightheartedness. I'm trying to work it out, to understand how to do this.

As with teaching, there are a thousand theories and ideas about parenting. There are models that attempt to understand and control children. I agree with much of what I've seen, but I don't want to read books to "get" you. I certainly don't need them to love you. Where do we go from here? Thank you for the lightness and the questioning -- may questions never bring darkness.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


A dinner conversation, recounted --

Dad: Lucy, do you know what God is?

Lucy: (Thinking, head cocked) Ummm....

Lucy: I God a sausage!

(via Dad)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Month 30.

Right now I am sitting in the rocking chair in your room, listening to Dan Zanes for the 808th time and watching you eat corn chips. You are sitting in your very own rocking chair and I am your d.j.. I tried to put on Feist, the Andrew Bird, but you weren't having it. So here we are together on another wet, Fall evening.

You are officially 2 & 1/2-years-old today. Because I haven't been saving up moments to document, this entry doesn't feel as momentous; but your development is still amazing. Today, you put on your coat by yourself for the first time. Last night, you identified the letter F and made the sound; you'll be decoding, then reading in no time. You can count, realiably, into the teens. You love to identify colors; you see colors and numbers everywhere. You are really clued into the fact that things cost money. For some reason, you'll point to a sign or an item and say, "that's 20 dollars!" This makes us laugh, but your interest in your play "debit card" is slightly disturbing.

You've been so demanding lately, but 90% of the time your requests are related to a grasping for independence. You'll say, "my turn!" when you want to put on your pants, empty the dishwasher, brush your teeth and put away your toys. Sometimes, this push-pull we have turns a perfectly happy afternoon into a meltdown complete with kicking and screaming. I think we have similar tempers, actually, which only adds to the fire. Who wins we both want our turn?

In the next 6 months I hope you'll try more vegetables. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a diaper-free third birthday. I hope we find a good way to talk about loss with you, because right now I'm out of ideas. As we near the end of 2006, I will be finishing my night classes and I am so happy to know I'll home with you in the evenings. Next Fall, I'll be working full time again, for the first time in almost 3 years. Most days, I feel okay about that. Right now, sitting in your room, listening to music and fetching you snacks, I'm not sure I could find more contentment.

I love you, my little sack of sugar.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Your big sister.

You have a unique and loving relationship with our ten-year-old cat, Myra. There have been times in the past year where we considered sending her to live with Nana and Papa, but as your friendship has grown, we've realized how much we'd all miss her.

When you are crying or upset, Myra always comes to make sure you are okay. She'll lay down in your room and let you pull her tail. I am amazed at how passive she is with you, most of the time. Myra did lightly bite you a couple of times (not nearly enough to break the skin), but you've seemed to come to an understanding; you both use more caution now. Of course, we monitor you closely and gently re-route you if things look sketchy. Sometimes, even when Myra is annoyed, she still wants to hang out with you -- we think she likes this tension.

You sit on the couch, petting her, touching her tail and telling her, "I love you, Myra. So cute." You like to feed her treats and peek at her through her basement cat door. When she's taking a nap, you say, "Shh! Myra's sleeping."

I hope we have many more years with our black and white, beautiful companion Myra -- lovingly referred to as our first baby and your big sister.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Today our naturopath made a housecall. She called to check up on us because we'd cancelled an appointment a few weeks ago and when I told her we were car-less, she came right over. You aren't sick, but I've been and how great is a housecall on a rainy afternoon? I love our doctor.

We discussed your colds and asthma attacks and she changed your supplements a bit. I enjoy having options for you: you have your inhalers, and you have your vitamins. It all fits together well -- thank goodness for health insurance.

Dr. R. wanted to listen to your lungs and look in your ears for good measure. At first you were nervous -- your bottom lip poked out and fat tears rolled down your face, dampening the collar of your sweater. But then she told you she was looking for a butterfly in your ear and you allowed her to peek in. When she was finished, Dr. R. said, "no butterfly in there...but I saw a drum." You looked interested, yet confused.

About an hour after she left, you came to me and said excitedly, "I have a drum!" I wonder what you picture in your ear now; hopefully you don't hit yourself with the toy mallet in an effort to make music.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

You are a person!

Yesterday, we were driving in the car and discussing our future plans. Dad and I were talking away in the front seat when, all of the sudden, you made a comment directly related to what we were musing about. I stopped cold and said, "J, I think Lucy understands 90% of what we are saying, even when were are not speaking for her benefit." Dad replied, "make that 95%." Then you chimed in, "I'm a person!" Of course you are; you are not our cat and thus you understand our language. Yes, you are a person...and our very smart girl.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Into my arms.

This afternoon, Nana and Papa came to the house for a visit. They joined dad and me for some afternoon theater while you stayed home with Beth. Upon coming home from our afternoon adventure, you ran from your room, to the front door. Out of all of the people waiting for you, you ran into my arms. As I swung you up, your head on my shoulder, I took a deep breath, happy to be home with you. Sometimes, it feels good to be your favorite.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Big girl panties?

Overheard this morning:

Lucy -- What are you doing?
Dad -- Getting out my clothes.
Lucy -- Those are your big girl panties!
Dad -- Um, well...sure. Actually, no.
Lucy -- Yes, daddy's big girl panties.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Although I usually write about the wonderfully quaint things you do, sometimes, there is sadness. It's not a grief wrapped up in you, but I periodically feel bent under the pressures of responsibility and knowledge of loss in the world.

Over the last year, our family has learned of so much illness -- and known it ourselves, to some degree. After our car accident last year, we spent many weeks in doctor's offices. Then, we've been working on controlling your asthma which has been a challenge. Both your grandmother and your nanny-caregiver are dying of cancer. I secretly imagined that we'd be able to gloss over it for you, but you are the type of child who is so aware of peoples "owies" and the need for doctors. When you ask to see Julie and talk about grandma being sick, I sometimes feel overwhelmed? How am I going to explain death to you? Is it appropriate at your age?

Honestly, I just don't want to cry about it anymore. The gift that Julie gave us, as a family, was a great one: she took you under her wing when you were 3 months old and gave you all the love she had. She is clear about the outcome of her cancer and for this I am grateful. I am glad I can sit across from her at lunch and talk about the end of her life. But it is surreal. You asked her to hold you and...she couldn't really. I had to turn my face toward the door to avoid crying in public. You wanted to ride in her car, too. I sure you think there's just a break in the schedule; amazingly, you remember the schedule you used to have with her.

But here I am, sad again and the tears are more for the questions you will ask than for my own, if that makes sense. I want to be honest with you about life and what is real. And I want to give you what you need, and what I need and what dad needs. I want you to be content and fulfilled and the happiest you can be.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

When friends come for a visit.

One of the coolest things about you is your friendliness. Today, our friend E. came over to chat and talk business. You've only met her once before, but took an immediate liking. She used to be a kindergarten teacher, and you seemed to pick up on that vibe right away.

Within one hour, you'd given her a nickname and then, in the second hour, you peeked up over the couch and said, "I love you!" Your voice had this tone, like you'd just discovered a new person to say this phrase too. It's hard to describe, but so sweet. E. was really honored by your affection. You seem to understand who is interested in you and generous with their affection; who you should trust. Of course, when you asked her to change your diaper, we determined she wasn't that close; that was the only offer she turned down.

When E. was packed to leave, you were ready for a nap; you showed her how you collect your dolls and climb under the covers. Thanks for making me look good, kid.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Right now, you are eating corn chips in a little dish. It was hard-won battle: the Choosing of the Snack. Sometimes there are so many choices, it's difficult to make one. I totally understand your angst, and I hope your problems remain that simple!

Today is election day -- a day where everyone realizes politics isn't simple. There are so many factors to look at, and decisions are not necessarily black and white, even when we want them to be. I want to raise you to look at all sides of each issue. For today, it's snack decision 2006: crunchy or soft; sweet or salty? And how lovely we can provide you with those choices.

May you always have a choice.

Monday, November 06, 2006


(So I had a picture all ready for today, but you'll just have to imagine it: Lucy in her salmon-colored, hooded sweatshit, eating a late lunch at her little table.)
You love the blustery weather, but only enough to image getting soggy going down the slide. Before your nap, you spied the mailman's car outside. You said, "I'll get the mail after I'm all done sleeping." Although you had protested, you were happy to lay down under the covers and close your eyes. The very first thing you asked to do was to check the mail. I slipped on my shoes and we stepped into the surprisingly warm and windy weather, rain blowing into our hair. I love the balance there on the porch -- you collecting the mail as I fish it out, turning your rested and ruddy cheeked face to smile at me; I feel you growing heavier on my hip as the changed leaves blow onto the porch. The best part is coming back inside with you, even though it is not always easy.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I like this house!

Today we were out looking at houses in some new neighborhoods nearby. You were so patient, going from door to door; we saw 6 houses total. In all of them you were happy to run around, laughing at questionable decorating. One that we all liked had a room that you declared "just my size!" You stretched out on the new berber carpet, sighed and said, "this is my room." Perhaps, perhaps.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

No hippies.

Dad: Let's get your pants and socks on.

Lucy: Go for a walk!

Dad: Yeah, we're going to walk on Hawthorne. And see the hippies.

Lucy: No see hippies!!

Friday, November 03, 2006

What's that?

"What's that?" you ask about sound outside. "It's just a car driving by," dad says. "What's that?" you say again. "It's the sound of the cat, asking for her dinner," I answer.
You ask a lot of questions using this "what's that?" format. I wondered where you got it from and then I found myself, the other day saying, "what's that?" directed toward a mysterious sound below the window. (It was just a bush, brushing up against the siding.)
I love your "what's that" and know you will soon add "why" to your repertoire. These questions make things more interesting -- they help our conversation flow. It's nice to give you words for things; I enjoy the clarification.

Tonight at sleep time, after you gave your love, you shuffled to your bed and climbed in. I watched you arrange yourself, finding it difficult not to help you in some way. I'm glad you still need me to tuck the blankets around you. Every day, a new part of your independent life is revealed -- what's that?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The end of an era.

At the beginning of October, I read a fellow mom writing about her last days nursing her daughter. Wood described herself as "a closet extended breastfeeder." I remember reading the post and really relating; at nearly 29 months, you were still breastfeeding before bed, and sometimes for a nap in the afternoon. The sessions rarely lasted longer than 2 minutes, and of course you were able to forgo any substitute when I wasn't there. You didn't even want a small cup of rice milk. Not many people knew I still breastfed, but I wasn't totally closed about it either. I had decided that, as long as we were both happy, our nighttime ritual was okay with me -- I did hope that, by 3, you'd be finished. We had our little dialog about nursing, though. You'd sit in your chair and we'd "talk about nursing." We discussed how tiny babies needed milk from their mothers, but that you are a big girl and were therefore ready to be finished. For many weeks we'd end the conversation and you'd still ask me to nurse.

Then, last Wednesday night, it just felt right to hold you on the floor and to really mean it -- to really be finished nursing. I held you while you cried, "momma nurse you" until you fell asleep. I didn't cry then, but after you were limp and gentle in my arms, we put you into your bed. I immediately went to the couch and fell asleep; it wasn't yet 9 p.m. Then next day, you did announce you were all done nursing when I picked you up from Montessori. My heart broke there, in the car, as I asked you, "are you sure?" In that moment, I realized the extent to which...I was breastfeeding for myself. I mean, I didn't want to be the mother that breastfed because of my own inability to recognize that my daughter is growing up and needing me less. You did nurse before your nap on Thursday, but I could tell you just weren't into it. At bedtime, you were really done; you kissed and hugged and giggled your way into bed.

I don't know why, but I thought it would be more difficult for you. Did I want it to be? This transition is like many others have been -- when you've been ready to do something, whether it be walking or starting your first day of school -- you've done it with confidence, with a sureness of yourself and those around you.

So, on Thursday night I wept at the table as you happily drifted off to sleep, comforted by your cadre of dolls. I cried because this growing up is bittersweet -- inevitable -- beautiful. You are becoming the person I want you to be: independent and loving. I hope you never misunderstand my sadness at these moments. May there always be enough between us that you'll confidently walk away, yet know I am here for you when you look over your shoulder.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Shall I...?

Prelude --
Shall I try to write here every day? For awhile I've thought it would better if I just wrote instead of saving everything up (everything being a relative word; I never get everything down). So..I'm going to attempt, since it is NaBloPoMo.

Since beginning graduate school over a year ago, I've written about 100 "reflection papers." I am thankful for that writing, but ready to focus my attention on writing something that is meaningful to me on other levels. I mean, education theory and Best Practice are important to me; you will surely grow up hearing our ongoing and endless discussion about our profession. But, again, it will be nice to sit down knowing that I can beginning writing longer pieces that have nothing to do with a grade. Because I'll have so much time to write when I am a teacher...right?

One --
For the last month or so, you've been preceding questions with "shall I?" in this endearing little voice. So you'll say, "Shall I pet the cat?" or "Shall I wear a sweater?" or even "Shall we change my diaper?". It is so proper and wonderful; we think you learned this manner of speaking at Montessori preschool. You also shake our hands at bedtime and say, "Nice to see you!". Although one may think these manners would help you become more polite, these manners are not fully extended to the cat: right now you are putting clothes on Myra's and "leading her" by the tail. I should rescue both you, right now, before Myra permanently moves into the basement.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

It's about time!

Short notes for today --

A couple of days ago, you realized that the words vegetable, pretzel and bubble sound very similar. We hope this is a sign of amazing language development to come!

Your memory is amazing; you remember events and people from months and months ago. Sometimes, this memory makes things more difficult.

As your desire for independence grows, our scuffles are more frequent; I want to give you room, but this is difficult for a number of reasons. As you tell me, "I'm not a tiny baby!" I can imagine you walking away from me in the future -- into schools, into cars, into your own house. "Stop!" I tell myself, be here right now! I still rock you when you wake with bad dreams; I know this won't be the case much longer.

You sing songs to us -- songs for school. You ask the cat, "Shall I put you in the bedroom?" You shake our hands and say, "Nice to see you!" This is a Lucy I fall more in love with. As you sing "wheels on the bus" on my lap, I smell your hair and soak it all in.

One thing -- let's work on the kicking and hitting. You are delightful and it's not becoming to bruise my shins and injure your father's...well, we'll discuss that later. But still, it's not the best way to negotiate, especially when we are brushing your teeth.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Where did the moon go?

In the last couple of weeks, we've started to have dialogs with you about the moon. You asked us, "where did the moon go?" On the porch, you say to dad -- "I can't reach the moon!" as you try to jump up to touch it. You've also determined that the moon "has a poopy diaper" that must be changed; this is a personification I'd never imagined. I love to talk with you about things you imagine -- things you see. Yesterday, you said the clouds in the sunrise "looked kind of like mountains."

You are becoming so sharp, it's hard to say anything that we don't want you to repeat later. This is good and bad. If I tell you we'll get your favorite cookies at the store, you'll remember I made that promise. Last night you screamed for cookies while we drove home, kicking the back seat simultaneously shoving your fingers in your mouth and hitting your face in a bizarre self abuse tactic. Next time, we'll get the (expletive deleted) cookies as I promised.

This attention to detail also brings us great joy as you tell people "thank you so much!" as we leave a restaurant and help us in the kitchen at home. You say, "I love you!" and can tell us (most of the time) what you are thinking. I mean, you are still Two in the classic sense; you struggle for independence while still needing us intensely. There are flailings and screaming. You'll turn your body into a wet noodle, your bones disappearing as you slip between my hands. These tantrums can be overwhelmingly frustrating, but I try my hardest to learn from them.

You are now going to school -- a Montessori program for children your age -- and you love it. I love to hear you talk about your friends, and your work. You sing songs and show us how you pretend at school. You've told us you want to go everyday and long to take a nap on the cots with your other friends. It's wonderfully obvious that you are nourished there. The transition wasn't too rough -- you've never cried when we leave you at class -- but you still remember that "girl pushed you" on the first day. You always follow up this statement with, "it's okay" so it's obvious that you are working through new situations and the emotions that arise.

There's something I haven't really written about here because I was, quite simply, afraid. Your Grandma Nancy has been fighting a battle with cancer and we were sure she wouldn't be with us by now. Dad and I wondered how we would explain death to you, our hearts exploding with grief. But it seems Grandma is getting better, in a sense. You've seen her and know she is sick. The doctors believe the intense chemotherapy is helping to kill the cancer, and we hope she will live at least a few more years. She has been in bed for many months; perhaps she will be able to sit up and take rides in a wheelchair. Maybe you will go for a walk with her! I want you to know her, but there's a large part of me that wants to protect you from the inevitable loss. If you were older, and could understand, I feel that it may be easier. The connection you make with her on the phone, through pictures and during our infrequent and short visits pain me because I know you cherish your human relationships. Your love for people -- from family to grocery clerk -- is vast. This capacity for love will, I hope, bring you more joy than pain in your life.

You are so beautiful.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


The short version of the beginning of our weekend is the photo you see above.

Oh, my sweet Lucy -- you are afflicted with asthma, which we've known, but it has really hit you hard this Fall. Hopefully, we'll learn how to control it, so you aren't attacked by a breathlessness that makes me shiver. I can't say enough how sad it makes me when you are limp -- when you have lost your Lucyness.

But your words have come back, along with your strength...and the lovely willfulness too.

More soon...

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A little reminder.

Today, you and I were hanging out in your room while I looked through drawers, cleaned off shelves. I like just being with you -- both of us busy together. I found some finger puppets you'd forgotten and you proceeded to collect all of your puppets in a little purse. In and out, the puppets went. I think you tried to get the cat to put them on; she escaped to the basement with a little knit lion clinging to her tail.
There's a drawer in your purple chest of drawers (in the 60's, it was orange; the 70's, it was turquoise) that I've been avoiding. It contains papers and other curiosities from your first year or so. I basically remembered what was in there, but, of course, my memory had faded as to it's exact contents. You were sitting by me as I pulled out two deflated Mylar balloons, your first jars of baby food (empty and clean) a hand-knit baby hat with your name in violet, many cards, our unexpected hospital bracelets and finally...a couple of tiny, unused newborn diapers. While I looked at them wistfully, you laughed and pointed -- "I'll put on diaper!" -- I was getting teary. I explained that you wore them when you were so little and they were even too big then! Sitting there, I couldn't believe how the memory had faded.
So much of parenting is living in the moment, it's hard to hold on to even the most beloved things; I am thankful of this when you are screaming and trying to take a bite out of your booster seat, licking your sandals and throwing all of the bowls out of your kitchen drawer. Even after spending 12 hours straight with you, I wouldn't want it to pass without something memorable -- interesting -- unique. Even if that uniqueness makes me long for an hour to myself, somewhere far away.
When I saw that little diaper, for a moment I thought, again, about having a sibling for you. Even though right now I am almost certain you will be an only child, I sometimes feel that longing creeping in. But then I remember all day sickness or the liquid contained in those cute little diapers, and my hormones re-balance themselves (well, at least temporarily!). Even though you (will someday) no longer wear diapers and need me at your current rate of intensity, I know each moment brings -- hopefully -- a lightness....

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Vacation, all I ever wanted....

So where was I? Vacation.

We went to Eagle Crest to Nana and Papa's one-week-a year condo. It was nice there -- I've always loved the breezy heat and the smell of juniper in Central Oregon. I'm missing it right now in our dim, dusty living room. There's something nice about going to a temporary house where one knows that the ultimate cleanliness isn't up to them. But that's something we can talk about later.
You enjoyed every moment, I think, even the moments you were afraid of the splashing boys in the pool. There was a swing you enjoyed:
And the bridge on the play set and even the steep slide. I believe that Papa actually tricked you into going down the slide yourself...which you caught onto and refused to go down again. Sigh. Anyway, you enjoyed the grass like never before (most likely because it is lush, green and soft and not dead and scratchy like our lawn) and even sat by the river while Dad fished.
You interacted with children and adults and sat through a long Italian meal. You sang your version of the ABC song, even adding the "sing with me" part at the end. This was a first! And we were amazed to watch you holding up fingers for numbers.

Lately, you've been really into your "baby signs" books. This summer we realized that you are reading them to learn another language; when you met a new friend, you were "teaching" him the signs. You often show us words just for the sake of doing it, not for the purpose of communicating. You are such a cool kid.

As I write this I'm thinking, as I always do, that I can never write as much of you as there is, if this makes sense. Hopefully, you will forgive me for missing some of your milestones or measurements. Looking at it in print, this thought is so redundant? Tired? I need to remind myself that I'm doing Just Fine (and that I'm good enough and people like me) -- just as I tell you as you learn to navigate physical and emotional obstacles for the first or eightieth time.

Sometimes I know I will be able to let you grow up -- I know that that's part of the deal. Other times, I wish I could just capture you right now, sitting in my lap reading golden books and learning a thousand new things a day. I hope you are always able to tap into how unique and wonderful you are. It sounds trite, really, and looks it too. There are so many people writing about how "great" their kids are, and I'm not that different I suppose. My greatest wish is that all of these moments together -- the vacations with us listening to frogs and with your new words and with your backseat dreams of swimming pools and will be come everything you hope to be.

P.S. Would you please remind me to stand up straight? I'll need all the help I can get!

Home again.

You had such a great time in Central Oregon this past week and I want to write it all down carefully.
There was a lot of step climbing and swinging. Bonding with Papa on the deck. Fishing in the Deschutes with Dad. Enjoying the scent of juniper and splashing in the pool.
Photos to come...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Quick Update

There's so much going on with you, it's hard to get it all down.
In the past couple of weeks, we've all been a bit under the weather, and because of this you (briefly) lost your position as "number one consumer of good food." I shouldn't complain; you love to snack on cereal and juice and rice milk. But still, when one gets used to a vegetable eating baby, it's hard to let that go. You've also asserted your distaste for the booster seat and I'll admit to helping your dad strap you in. Once there, you seem to be okay with it. Perhaps your long legs hit the edge of the seat uncomfortably, so we'll work on that.
Your language is amazing. We are having a hard time keeping up with you, honestly. You can identify the letter "h" and "i", and even identified the "h" in an HBO ad on the wall of the Cingular store a couple of days ago. We were at the fly fishing store and the salesman said, "when in doubt, use these flies." You turned to me and said, "when in doubt." We have to be very careful about what we say. I listen to you talking in bed, listing of body parts and favorite things to eat. You chat about our friends and about hugging and love. You put your head on my knee, stroke my arm and say, "sweet." And you are, indeed, sweet.
I have not uploaded recent pictures onto my computer, but I will soon. I've promised myself I'll make a little movie and organize your digital memorabilia. Oh, you love dad's new camera phone. In the past week, you've started asking him to take pictures of your favorite things, and so now, on his phone, are pictures of rice chex and Mexican rice. You are so wonderfully quaint, my dear girl.
More soon, including some documentation about: weaning (or our half-hearted attempt of), potty training?, and cancer updates.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Now what was it you did?

Every time I turned around this past week, I thought, "I need to write this down!" But then, there are so many things -- and the next event rushes in --

This week (and part of last) has been "Lucy becomes social" week. It's truly amazing to watch this -- you are a new toddler. It's not that you were inverted before, but it took you a lot longer to warm up. Now, you are running around stores and asking to hug and kiss other kids (and touch their hair). In the past week, we've had get-togethers with a few friends, and you've been really comfortable. It's great to see you initial conversations, laugh & smile. It melts my heart to hear you talk about our friends later, carefully pronouncing each name.

You have a thing with textures, especially cotton shirts and hair. It's a way of calming yourself and relating to others. You like to sit behind me and play with my 'do and then run around front to check your work. This is a wonderful, hilarious game we play; we both laugh and laugh! You like to "touch, shirt" and I've noticed you do this (sometimes) when you are nervous. Nana says her grandmother did this, and I remember doing the same thing with a blanket I carried around for years. And we are working on your 'thing' with grass. I think the pokey grass bothers you because it's...pokey...but you are trying to like it. Heck, you went down the big kid slide today, unafraid of the speed and the bark dust at the bottom, so you are making huge leaps!

Your language is blooming and your sentences become clearer by the hour. It's great that we can understand each other more. You've started adding the "guh" sound to "goodnight" too.
You are also really enjoying sleeping and napping. Sometimes you don't want to nap, but most of the time you tell us, "sleep, bed" or "nice nap." Tonight when I put you down, you smiled at me and talked about your dolls. Back when you were a wee babe and I'd wonder if you would cry as I left the room, this moment seemed so far away. Even though you still like some mom time before bed, I know you are a healthy sleeper. I know that, unless you have a bad dream or your teeth hurt (your last molar is coming in!), you will sleep until the morning.

So I guess I was able to remember a few things to say, right? Oh! One totally charming thing you do (that's also helpful!) -- you like to make sure drawers and doors are closed, especially in the kitchen. You also put some things, like toys and dishes, away; so wonderful.
I think we are doing okay here (deep breath). I can't wait to see you smiling tomorrow -- can we have another tea party?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Summer vacation

Today was the first, official day of summer for our little family. Dad is on summer break for the next two months! I am so excited, and I know you are just beginning to figure out that we are on a new schedule. This is the first summer break I have spent with dad and I know it's going to great! We have a lot planned for the next two months: trips to the the zoo and OMSI, rides on public transportation (including the trolley!), many walks to the park with swings and slides. As I told dad this afternoon, this time together is better than any vacation we could take.

This morning we visited the Montessori center where you will go to school next Fall. I can't believe you are already old enough for this step. It won't really be preschool until you are three years old, but I know you will love it there. At first, you were a little nervous when we went into the toddler room. But then you saw the bookshelves and the big pillows. You made yourself at home with "Kitten's First Full Moon." It is such a lovely place -- so peaceful and kind. More than we ever hoped for. You went on the slide over and over, gaining confidence with each trip. You met new "friends" today; each child is referred to as a friend. Later in the day, at another playground, you said to some other kids, "bye, friends!" This is a shift -- you've been saying, "bye, kids!" when you leave. You also seemed more confident around other people after our little trip this morning; I don't think it is a coincidence.

You are blossoming before our eyes. Each day brings new words and new expressions. You mimic sounds of animals and trucks. You've even started imitating the voices of different singers. The other day, when Miles Davis was playing, you said, "Be Bop!" You "change" your doll's diaper and cradle your baby Calin in the football hold, saying "shhh, shhh" while bouncing. There are times when I wonder if I can possibly appreciate you enough. Sometimes I am impatient with your whining or repeated, unwanted actions. I think my frustration is normal, but I worry that I will behave in a way you will carry as a burden, or as a fault of your own. My sweet girl, may you continue to grow and develop healthily despite my errors on this path.


Sunday, June 11, 2006


I was sorting through your pictures today because I had to order some prints. Sometimes, hanging out with you all day, I forget how many good times we have; when you are screaming at the cat and throwing food, it's easy to put aside how compatible we are. You have such a great sense of humor and I feel lucky that you'll sit and color, read and play with blocks. Our days are mostly mellow. Sometimes I wish you'd never heard of Raffi, but I suppose it could be worse. Until Raffi, I never knew that Old MacDonald had a freaking band! Dude, I was missing out thinking he only had a farm.
Dad is almost finished with school and soon we'll be home together. I know you'll be excited to wake up every morning and have him here. As it is now, you run to the door every night and say, with glee, "oh boy!" when you see the car pull up. "Open door!" you often demand.
I could write reams and reams, but for now I am so tired from our weekend. I know you will be up early tomorrow morning, but I had to document a few of my favorite moments here.

Monday, May 29, 2006

An Ode to Two

Oh, Lucy. Here is what brings me to my knees: at bedtime, as I'm tucking you in, you roll over and say, "I love you much." Then, you roll onto your side and say, "night, night." My sweet, sweet girl.

Your party was great! There weren't too many people (but almost!) and you were happy for almost the duration. Your best friends were there and now you are happy looking at pictures of them, especially S. At one point, you walked up to D. and said, "pink dress." You were so excited about your dress! This weekend, you've decided that you should wear a dress every day, even if it needs to go on over shirts and pants. How did you get so girly, so suddenly? You also ask to wear my lip balm, saying, "try it" and then after it's on, "like it" with a big smile on your face.

Your favorite toy right now is the baby stroller. You love to wheel it around our little house. Sometimes there are so many animals and babies piled in, you have to stop periodically and stuff them back down. I love to watch you nurture your little family.

You are really getting a personality as far as what you will and won't do; what you do and don't like. Usually you are polite about it, but it's funny to watch you with your "okay" and "no" answers -- complete with little body movements! Just this weekend you have expanded to "I don't want to read it" and "Lucy do it/eat it/wear it/try it." Watching your language develop is so cool! Of course, there are times when you don't have words and so you scream or cry. I really try hard to figure out what you need, but at the same time I feel it's important for you to understand what is necessary for our daily lives. I am definitely the one who "lays down the line" when it comes to your stalling techniques and refusal to do something, like eat. At some point I have learned that I can't just ask you if you are ready for lunch/diaper change/a new song on the stereo.

So dad and I have decided that the first poem you write will be an ode. You can already distinguish between books of poems, books of essays and novels. You are the daughter of readers, that's for sure! You also love to "write poems" with dad. You get to use a real pen and write in a little journal and you love it. So, when you talk about the people you love, you say, "Oh, Megan" and "Oh, Nana" and "Oh, Dr. Roberts." These words are usually followed by a loving look directed toward the person, whether they are standing in front of your or reside in your imagination. You certainly enjoy "your people" and as you develop, and watch your language flourish, the conversations about life are more and more developed and emotional.

I feel as if I'm always missing something when I write to you. I have mini-essays written to you in my school notebooks and pictures on the camera. I know there is more; there are so many moments in the day when I think, "I should write that down!" Dad and I are going to get a voice recorder so we can get your words on (digital) tape. We are so excited about spending the summer with you and know the two months we'll have together will go so fast. Let's try to slow it down, just a little, and write lots of poems together.

Monday, May 15, 2006

2 Years Old: Birth Story - May 15th, 2004

Today you are two. I've been telling myself that I would finally, officially, document your birth story. Later on, I'll add some pictures, but words will do for now.

The day before I went into labor was very busy. I took the day (Friday, May 14th 2004) off of work because I was heading to a baby shower at dad's school. It was a great day, although I was very tired. It was about two weeks before your due date and we'd had an ultrasound the week before. The technician said that I wasn't close to labor; there hadn't been any changes in my cervix. We still didn't want to know if you were a boy or a girl, but after that appointment your dad and I both felt strong girl vibes.

But back to that day. The shower was to be after school, so I spent the day with dad's students. I helped with reading and math. I fell asleep reading at his computer and tried to drink as much water as possible. Finally, the end of the day came and it was time for the shower! I remember that I was wearing a maternity skirt that I'd only had a couple of weeks; like this year, the weather had just started to turn nice. But my feet were swollen in my burgendy clogs and that was kind of uncomfortable. I was also wearing a white t-shirt with small stains on the belly. There were many gifts and wonderful cake. I have this memory -- clear as day -- of packing cake up in a basket and hauling it home on my lap. I even remember part of our conversation with the janitor.

People kept saying I looked like I was "ready" and that I had "dropped." I didn't agree, but I smiled and took their good wishes to heart. On the way home, we stopped at The Delta and picked up fried chicken, greens, macaroni and cheese and biscuits. It was so good! Dad and I were exhausted from the day. I remember I had on a blank tank top as we cuddled on the couch for awhile. We decided to turn in early, around 9:30 or so. All of the gifts remained piled by the front door: a bathtub, boxes of clothes, and bags overflowing with toys and books.

We got into bed and fell asleep immediately (well, not until I had piled up my 5 pillows around me). At about 1:00 a.m. I woke up with a start. It was not unusual to wake up in the middle of the night, but I was so awake. Did I feel a cramp? I got up and went to the bathroom. I think I was coming back to the bed (only a few steps away) when I felt sensation for sure. Dad rolled over and said "are you in labor?" like he had been every night for almost two months. I remember saying something like, "I'm not sure." I got back into bed thinking, "well, if I am, it will be at least another 15 minutes before I feel anything." But I was wrong; only a few minutes later, I felt another cramp. I wasn't sleeping, but I remained on my side, facing the wall. I told dad every time I felt something and, after a few contractions, I sat up.

It gets kind of blurry now, this next hour. Background is necessary. We had been planning to deliver you at home. We had a birth kit, towels and sheets at the ready. Your room was still the office. Your doctor was going to be out of town this weekend and said, before she left, "just don't go into labor this weekend!" But we had backups: two other naturopaths as well as a naturopathic student who would have come to the labor with whoever ended up delivering our baby.

So, back to that hour. Dad kept counting the contractions and soon they were 5 minutes apart. I didn't want him to call anyone because I was convinced it hadn't been long enough. I mean, it was only 2:30, how could I be that far along? At some point I was finally fully off of the bed. I remember dad washing dishes. Myra the cat was on the bed, concerned about the noises I was making. Dad convinced me (actually, he was calling the shots now) that he should call the backup doctor. The doctor was surprised to hear from us and wasn't really prepared -- he said he'd have to go to the clinic to get his emergency supplies first and to call the second backup. While all of these phone calls are going back and forth, labor is becoming more intense. I'm beginning to wonder how the hell I thought I'd do this without help of some kind. I could only breathe and moan, "okay, okay" over and over again. The 2nd backup doctor was not available; she was at an emergency c-section. The student could not be reached. The first backup was still hemming and hawing.

At some point, I went into the bathroom and threw up, probably around 3 a.m. Hindsight reminds me that this is a sign of transition, but I was out of my body completely, not thinking about where I was in labor. I was laboring alone, in our bedroom. My chest was lying across the bed, my belly hanging off of the edge. I think I was pressing myself against the wall, to create a counter pressure. It was amazing and surreal to be that out of control and totally in control simultaneously. I guess dad was there, trying to make contact. He was cleaning up my mess, too, and checking to see if I wanted physical attention from him.

Okay, so now it's just before 4 a.m. I'd gone into the bathroom to pee a few times, but I felt like I needed to do more. I was sitting on the toilet and I thought, "wow, this feels difficult." All of the sudden it dawned on me that I should feel myself. I reached down and felt the top of your head! Hair! I yelled to dad, "I feel the head, call 911!" And he did. I stood up from the toilet and waddled past our bed and toward your room (our office). I knew there would need to be more space to lay down. At the instruction of the 911 operator, he put down some clean towels and I somehow lower myself onto the floor. I was on my back, propped up on my arms because I wanted to slow things down a little. I was screaming and trying not to push when the ambulance arrived only minutes later. (One of the benefits of living in a questionable neighborhood is the fact that ambulances are always close by!)

Here I thought I was going to have a nice, quiet birth surrounded by women and soft lighting. But instead, I was in our office surrounded by our books, desk and computer. All of the lights were on. I was donning only a tank top and I couldn't see very well because my glasses seemed unnecessary. In the bedroom/office attended to me were 2 or 3 firemen and 3 paramedics. At least they were cute! One of the firemen (I remember because he had on his yellow pants) let me hold onto his arm and squeeze the bejeezus out of his hand while I pushed and screamed. I was so happy they were there, but it was just so strange. I remember clearly that I found the situation to be quite funny and I think I made a joke. Each time I'd push, they get really quiet and watch me. There was one paramedic waiting to catch the baby and the firemen holding my hand. I remember realizing, after the first "real" push that the baby wasn't just going to slide out. If I had been crouching, it may have been different, but when the pushing started, I was surprised and amazed by the power of the process. In between contractions, I really didn't feel much pain. When I pushed, though, I was on fire.

Eventually, we determined that we'd go to the hospital, as the backup was not going to make it to our house for any part of our adventure. In between contractions, they lifted me onto the gurney. Remember that pile of baby paraphernalia by the front door? It was kind of in the way and had to be pushed to the side for us to make it through. I remember laying on top of the gurney, wearing only my tank top, wondering if they were going to cover me with a sheet or something before they wheeled me out onto the street. They did, but just barely. It felt so strange to have the night air on my mostly-naked body. I think I managed to not have a contraction until we were all inside the ambulance.

We only live 3 miles from the hospital (and I'm sure of this because the bill indicates the mileage) so we set off. Having contractions while lying prone in a moving vehicle was very odd, to say the least. Dad tried to say something soothing to me while stroking my hair and I told him I was calm enough. Everyone laughed. I had a few more contractions and then, as we were almost to the hospital, I knew I was having my last push. At 4:33 a.m., 3 1/2 hours after labor began, you came out in one big push -- the sensation was so strange -- the round head, the feeling of bones, the sudden emptiness. The other EMT said, "It's a girl!" with tears in his voice and I was shocked. I really thought you were going to be a "Henry" but there you were, our Lucy. The EMT put you right up to me, to see if you would nurse, but we were all in shock. Somehow we were all rolled into the ER. I couldn't see anything clearly because I still didn't have my glasses on. The ER doctor poked at me and told me I'd torn, but it didn't matter. We were all healthy and I had my natural birth!

Our short stay in the hospital is another story and, although it wasn't what we planned, I was happy to have such an "easy" labor. We did not know it at the time, but your entrance into the world was an indication of how you have met milestones so far: you do it your own way and have been amazingly easy. Of course I could tell stories of the mistakes I've made, or fits you've thrown, but right now I'm simply remembering the miracle of your arrival.

I love you very much.

P.S. I know you will hear this story over and over, but I want to note here that the date of your arrival was auspicious. You were born on my grandmother's birthday. She was my dear friend and, although she passed away in 1998, I've felt her close to me. Before we knew you were a girl, we decided you should have her middle name. And then here you came, early, and on her birthday. I believe she may have been there, helping us along.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Yesterday you woke up and said, "birthday?" and we smiled together. "Yeah!" you say, when we talk about your birthday. I'm not sure you know what it means, but you are excited.
You love the swing at the park. 30 minutes of repeating "whee!" & you refuse to use the other equipment. You often call the bark dust "yucky" & would rather sit in the shade eating Trader Joe's Os.
In the house, you run away from us, into another room and yell, "Lucy! Hmmm." This hmmm is what you say when anything is hiding, or you are looking for something. In your book about the barnyard animals, the reader spends the book asking "...but where's goose?" and you always add the thoughtfully placed "hmmm" at the end.
You love to listen to the same songs over and over and over. You especially love "Old Mac Donald." Luckily, we have a few versions of this song...but I'm still going crazy. I found myself singing Raffi when I was alone in the car. This can't be good...
I can't believe you will be two in four days. You were standing at the door yelling "I love you!" at dad this morning and I realized how tall you are. Your hair may still smell baby sweet, but what's inside that head of yours is expanding and expanding. I know you will excel in whatever you choose. This seems like such a common thing to feel about one's child, but I just can't help it.
I love you! Please stop coloring on the hardwood floor. I promise to get you the requested coloring book for your big day...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Almost Two

Yesterday we set out to buy you new shoes. For days you had been pointing to your boots and saying "tight boots" so we knew it was time. When we went to the kid's shoe store, you were shy at first. And then you discovered the little clogs that matched your dress. You really loved those clogs, but they didn't have your size. Instead, you have one pair of pink Teva sandals and one pair of hot pink shoes and you are fully girly with them. Today you insisted that I take them off and on until I finally hid one pair in our bedroom so you could forget about them for awhile.
Your speech has really taken off in the last few weeks. You are putting 3 words together sometimes and I love having our little conversations. Last night we left you with the babysitter and as we were getting ready and you two were settling in you said, "bye-bye, kiss, back." It's great that you understand that we are coming back. There is no anxiety when we leave you with the trusted few who watch you.
You've also started saying colors, counting and you even identified a letter or two. You study your little books and can name more items each day. Sometimes I'm surprised and wonder, "when did she learn that word?" I love it, even though it is bittersweet.
As the weeks pass and you become more independent, your will grows stronger. You insist on being changed on the floor now, which is fine and it really wasn't an option. You cry for animal cookies and snacks and really demand things Right Now. We listen to the same music over and over (and over...) because it makes you so happy. Today you were listening to this Raffi tape (How did that happen? Raffi?) that we found at nana's house and you said, "Oh Raffi. Gentle." My heart melted even though, sometimes, I just really want to listen to Led Zepplin. You like them too, just not as much. You've started asking us to rub your back too, for comfort. Sometimes you get a little pushy, but when you cuddle, I can remember back to when you were a newborn and close to me every minute, so I take what I can.
In the fall you will hopefully start Montessori "school". It will be a big change, but I know you will thrive there. Julie will see you when she's feel well enough; neither one of you would have it another way. We are still not sure how your nana N. will do. We hope she will be around to see you grow another year older, but we may only have 6 months. Your grandpa R. was in town a few weeks ago and you effectively wooed him. I love the way you love, Lucy. As always, watching you grow is challenging and beautiful.
Thanks for chillin' with us. xoxoxo

Monday, April 03, 2006

22 & 3/4 months: Roller Coaster

"Are you noting all of the cute things Lucy says?" Nana asked. And I had to admit that it's been awhile since I've written down a list of your words or noted the cute things you do.
The last few weeks have been up and down. Julie received better news about her cancer, and so we are more hopeful about her future. Because of treatments, she will not be able to take care of you next school year. This is sad, of course, but we are all happy for the more positive prognosis.

About three weeks ago, we found out that your other grandma has breast cancer throughout her body. At first, the news was very bad, but now it seems there's hope for a longer life. It has truly been a roller coaster.

You move around so much faster now, and it's hard to keep up with your curiosities sometimes. As you reach your hands into dangerous areas, I find myself frowning and No!-ing and wondering if I'm teaching you "right". If I say no loudly, you get this worried look on your face. I don't want to be angry, but sometimes I'm so on edge, I can't find a more skillful way of dealing with a situation.

One thing that's happened, for sure, is that I'm much more careful about leaving possible hazards out in the open. And I'm neater overall. But then I wonder if this Anxiety I feel about What Could Happen?! is healthy. Tonight, for instance, I placed a small pair of scissors on our nightstand. Even though you were already in bed, I couldn't be sure that I would remember to put them away which led to a mini-drama unfolding in my mind which ended with the aforementioned scissor poking your eye (or ear, or leg, or...or....).

But I wanted to write about what you've been "doing".
You love to play hide and seek now, although you don't totally get the waiting part. It's so sweet.
Yesterday, when you were leaving with dad, you told me you loved me. It took my breath away, truly.
You've been putting two words together into coherent sentences, and you ramble on and on about other things. You love to read and ask to hear poems.
You love your baby dolls and now insist on sleeping with them. They must go with you, along with your books, in your orange Hello Kitty backpack.
When we were visiting your grandma Nancy in the hospital, you loved to walk in the halls. You would stop at each green square and do a little hop/squat dance.
You are so much more emotional and sure about what you want. You understand so much!
When you found your broken crayons or a hangnail, you started saying (very seriously) "oh shit". Umm, well, we are working on that one; now you are leaning toward "oh dear!" instead. It's very difficult not to laugh, but we're working on that too.

I've been worried about how to wean you in general, but specifically from your periodic middle of the night nurse time. It's purely for comfort (yours, not mine). Over the last few weeks, you just seem less interested in general. You're too busy! There are other, more interesting things to look at and that's fine with me. And then I started taking this cough medicine at night that has unknown effects, so I had to put my foot down on your nighttime allotment. And it's been surprisingly easy. You want me to hold you, swaying, for about one minute. Then you ask to go back into your crib with your baby and blanket. Amazing. There are easy things about you that make me hold my breath and wonder, "when will this end? I know it will end!" At dinner, you ask to take your vitamins and then clap your hands when you are finished. Dude. I know we are lucky.

Well, party on, my sweet! Grandpa Roy comes tomorrow and we can't wait. Until tomorrow....

Monday, March 13, 2006


This week you've really started loving to "hide". It's so wonderful to watch you discovering this idea. We borrowed a tube/tunnel toy and you love to crawl in and ask us to hide with you.

Papa and Nana bought you a Curious George monkey and now you like to hide the monkey too. You implore us to hide the monkey in your room (and then back in the living room) so you can find it over and over and over again. "Again, boomkies!" you yell. I love the way you giggle when you discover where we have hidden him. My favorite part of this game is when you walk into the room, looking; you say "hmmm, hmmm" with a serious look on your face, a finger tapping your lips. I know you are copying the way we look for our keys or phone.

You are such a good walker. After all of those months wondering if there was something "wrong", I realize that you were just waiting until you could do it right, with confidence. You rarely fall, and are getting more agile in your other movements. Now you ask to go on walks outside. I love your sentences: Boots. Hat. Coat. Walk? Papa. Nana. Truck. Bye-bye!

You ask us to read certain books and have even asked to hear poems. I can't begin to explain how proud we are of your interest in the reading arts. You are drawing with your crayons more and more -- soon, I will have to hang up your masterpieces. Hopefully you continue to understand that the place to draw is on the sketch pad.

We spent a night and day without you. While the sleep was amazingly wonderful and it was nice to have a break, I missed you so much. I know you had a fine time without us, but I was so happy to have you back in my arms. You seemed to grow while we were gone. Even though it was only 24 hours, your hand felt lighter in mine -- more independent -- and I realized how quickly time is passing.

Every moment, I love you.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Crust First

Dear Lucy,

I had some other words written for you, but I have to skip those for now. They are in a safe place; the place where I keep words/smiles/movements/general loveliness.
Right now, you are sitting in your rocking chair and eating your favorite snack: spelt toast. I've noticed that you eat the crust first, turning it round and round until it is all gone. I think you save the best part, the middle for last. You are saying "hi, hi!" and laughing as I type and drink my coffee. I hope you always like to eat the crust first, whether real or metaphorical. I know this is kind of cheesy, but that seems to be my theme this month.

Now here I am, avoiding the bad news I need to tell you. It may not be as bad as we think; if that is the case...I will have worried for naught, but my heart tells me otherwise. Julie, your beloved nanny, is sick. She has a disease called cancer. About a month ago, she told me she was having lumps removed from her neck and that the doctor didn't think it was cancer. She did not feel ill and so there was no reason to believe otherwise. The toxology reports came back with the bad news that it is, indeed cancer, and that it is melanoma. The frightening part is that they aren't sure exactly where it came from, since the melanoma was never visible on the outside skin. She will wait for other specialists and doctors to look at her case and, hopefully, there will be good news. In my own research (and from knowing others with cancer), I found that melanoma in lymph glands is not good and when cancer presents itself in this way, the chance of survival is very low.

We are trying to hope for the best -- to picture our lives with her -- but it is very difficult. She loves you so much and has become a part of our family. We were so lucky to find a person so talented and willing to take care of you. I honestly don't know what we would do without her. I feel selfish for worrying about our needs. I feel confused about why I can't just think positively. Julie needs us to approach her illness with hope. I guess I just can't help but think of what I'll need to tell you. Even if she can beat the cancer, she will need treatment. How do I explain illness when you aren't even two years old? You already ask about her. When she was recovering from surgery, you would say her name with a question in your voice.

There is no ending to this entry, there are only questions. Whatever happens, I know that we will get through it, together. If not for you, Lucy, we would not have met Julie -- this must have some cosmic significance.

I love you,

Friday, February 10, 2006

Birdie Update

What's really great about this week is that fact that you started asking to go for walks. The sun is finally out, and I think this has helped. What's not so cool is when you cry because we don't go down to "Z-z's" house. You really want to see her, but also, you are into her cat, Elbow. As I am unofficially trying to wean you from your daytime feedings, you scream when I don't nurse you for comfort. You'll get the hang of it.
Another cool thing is that I can talk to you and you understand. Aaaand, when you don't like what I'm saying, you say "nooo!". This is funny, but only the first 20 times. But you are still cute and your dimples rock.
You are trying out walking more and more. Today you walked to Z-z's dad and gave him a kiss. . And you say "kiss" too, so sweet.
Finally, last night at bedtime, you said "potty" as we were going into the bathroom for your steam breathing. We sat you down on your Swedish potty chair and you went pee! It was awesome and if the rest of potty training is this easy...then you can have all the (wheat/dairy free) cookies you want! (Wait, is that a good idea?)
Thanks for such a lovely Friday --

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Big Weekend

Dear Lucy,

Hey! It's been a big weekend for you. There have now been real, taken-on-your-own steps taken (more on that below). There was a trip to the emergency room for an asthma attack too, whoopie!

Verbally, you've just...taken off! You've grown, verbally, miles just this weekend. You repeat Everything we say, and seem to understand the context. For instance: no. Wow. It actually sounds like "no" now. And cookie sounds like cookie. This afternoon, while we were eating brunch out, you dropped your spoon. I said, "shoot!" and you repeated me, and proceeded to practice the word all day long. I thought maybe I was saying it a lot, but I wasn't; you kept trying it out without my prompting. Tonight after the bath, you insisted on holding onto your stacking cups. As I was folding the towel around you, you lost your grip on them and they slipped to the floor. As they fell, you said, sobbing "oh, shoot!" and dad and I had to laugh. At least you used it in the correct context.

Then there are the colors. You love to name colors. And talk to BoohBah. And repeat what your electronic chair says: "Hi there!". (I could really do without the chair, but you like it and it was a gift from Nana.) Before the bath, you were hugging yourself, something I've seen you do in the past week. I couldn't figure it out until we said, "Lucy, what does that mean?" and you answered "baby". You were pretending to rock a baby, just like the girl in your baby sign language book. It's not only that you say words and we understand them, but that you understand the questions we ask and then answer. This is wonderful.
You've also started throwing real tantrums. This is cool, right? Okay, not really. But it's kind of nice to know that there's nothing I can do except watch you flail on the carpet and whip yourself into a real fit. I especially like it when you throw your cookie on the floor first and then roll around in it. That's pretty. But I like the feeling of relief in those moments; the feeling of recognizing the "Lucy that's separate from me". Nothing I offer will truly ease your suffering, and the moment will pass.
When we were in a couple of stores today and, unlike last week, we only had to bribe you with one cookie. This week, you were happy to sit in the cart and talk with us. Of course it helped that we got you some "bottles" for your doll, but I'm going to give your burgeoning maturity the credit for now.
And finally, my heart skipped a beat when you walked to me into my arms! We were in your bedroom and you were having a fit and standing in front of dad. You really wanted to be in my arms and I was sitting in front of you. And you just did it! I think, for a moment, you forgot your trepidation and took those first, three, unassisted steps. Then later, you walked from the orange chair in the living room to dad by yourself! Of course, after that we spent 20 minutes trying to get you to do it on tape, but to no avail. But we know and you know that you did it. And you'll do it again (tomorrow?).

I'm so proud of you, Lucy. You are so wonderful and smart. I know you will find wonderful things in this life. I promise to help you figure out this asthma problem you've got going so we can avoid the Kaiser emergency room for breathing treatments. You are such a trooper. As always, your humor grows. We love to watch you laugh at silly things and read your books, quietly, in your rocking chair.

I can't wait to see where your next steps take you.

Rock on,

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


There's this really funny thing you do as I'm putting you to bed that I need to document. (I fear I'll forget it by February if I don't!)
As the weeks go by, you are more and more verbal. It amazes us; you now sit in your little chair, "reading" the "Baby Signs" book out loud. I love to watch you, because you do the signs along with the pictures. (Note to self: take a picture of this. Actually, just take more pictures in general.) A few weeks ago, whenever I would ask you if you are okay, you started saying "yeah". Sometimes, it sounds like you are saying "da", but I've always understood what you mean. I think I noticed it when you were eating and would begin to cough. I'd say, "Lu, are you okay? Do you need water?" Or something like that. When you mean "no", you've started shaking your head and will make some kind of "pushing away" sign with your hand. And besides, it's pretty clear when you mean NO, right? Ha, ha! Mama's funny!
Where was I? Oh yes. So now, when I tuck you into your crib, after I place the two blankets over you and you are hugging gorilla tight, I stroke your head a few seconds and say, "are you good?" and you say -- "yeah". I love this and even though I know you are okay, I live for that "yeah". You are growing up so quickly and I know you won't always tell me you are okay. Or you won't be able to, anyway. So, just humor me a little longer. Put your head on my shoulder and pat me on the back when we are both awake in the middle of the night.
I love you, my sweet 20-month-old Lucy.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

19 & 3/4

What a holiday! Today, when you left with dad to go to Julie's, you were like a new baby. And I fear I can't call you a baby for long. You were standing at the door, laughing and ready to go.

In the last few weeks, you've really learning to communicate what you need. Over break, your dad taught you the sign for "pain" and now you say "oww" and put your little fingers together. Yesterday you received three vaccinations and this morning reminded us that it hurt. You also have molars coming in, but you are so tolerant of them, most of the time. My other favorite thing with your language development is that you'll say "da" and "yeah" for "no" and "yes". Actually, sometimes "da" means yes, but we usually figure it out. You'll sit in your high chair, or on the floor, and talk up a storm. And you'll get pissed if you need something we don't understand. If you want more cookies, we stand away.

Your personality shines through when learning new tasks. "Shines" is a nice way to say that if you don't get how something works, you'll shriek and throw the toy, sometimes throwing yourself to the ground in the process. Usually, this means you are ready for a nap of some kind, but sometimes we just have to laugh (over the screaming) and redirect your efforts. But it's so cool, really, to see you figuring out the world. Each day you ask us what things are called -- yesterday, you were intent on learning the difference between finger and thumb. Unfortunately, when you say "truck" or "sock", it sounds an awful lot like "cock" ... and I'm not ready for you to say that word. And let's me honest, will I ever be ready?

This holiday season, just in time to ring in the new year, we had our first real medical scare. We took you to the doctor because you were having trouble breathing. We had a well-baby visit set up, but you were not well at all. Although dad and I thought we didn't need to go to the hospital in the night, it turns out we should have just gone. I felt so bad. When we got to Kaiser, you were so lethargic from lack of sleep and liquids (you couldn't nurse or drink water). We now know you have asthma, so it'll be a life-long watch over your lungs. They did breathing treatments and oxygen. And chest x-rays. And an i-v drip to restore your fluids. And finally, you were yourself again. We'll finish up your medicine for the beginning of pneumonia and keep your liquid steroids around. You also have an inhaler and let me tell you, you LOVE that thing. (Note to manufacturers of the tube/mask contraption: do you really think the little bear on the side is going to make kids feel better about using it? It doesn't seem to matter to our Lucy and in fact, talking about said bear makes her chuck the entire piece of plastic across the room.)

All in all, you are growing fast and loving the world more each day. You are becoming more of a toddler in voice and action, and even after the 89th round of "Baa, Baa Black Sheep", I'm happy to sing it again. But don't push it. Ha!

All the love in the world to you --

P.S. Next time, remind me to write about your fixation with pictures of: The Buddha, The Dalai Lama and Dr. Andrew Weil.