Archive for February, 2009

My. Baby. Is. Portable.

I can hardly believe it.

It used to be a dastardly pursuit to take Mister Finn out for an errand, into a store, to someone’s house at our mom’s group. I think he would get overstimulated, overcome with fussiness sooner or later in the outing. But for the past month or so, he has been a model citizen out in public.

I thought it was a fluke the first time, a coincidence the second time, a random act of kindness from the universe the third time, then the fourth time I let myself suspect: Has my baby become peacefully portable?  And today, the fifth day of this Pleasant Public Personality, I am here to tell you-lovely-people-that-might-care that My! Baby! is! Portable!  In fact, I think he even has a better day if it includes an outing!  Do you realize what this means?!?!  I hazard to think!

Today my mom and I took him to a baby consignment store for more sleeper suits, out to lunch, browsing in a fancy toy store, and he was 98% agreeable 98% of the time.  I have, despite his mal-portability, been taking him places–primarily mom’s group houses and art galleries–but there was always a sense of urgency, like at any moment the tide might turn. I had to keep moving. But now….  I see coffehouses…. restaurants….  bookstores…  oh my!

Read Full Post »

I went vegetarian at age 15, with animal rights in mind. And Natalie Merchant, whom I had a big crush on.

In college I had a holier-than-thou vegan girlfriend. It was a bad relationship.

In my twenties I realized that my animal rights concerns were rather hypocritical considering my indirect use of animals in ways other than actually eating “meat” (such as leather, animal by-products, etc.).  When I broke up with holier-than-thou vegan girlfriend, there was much traumatic break-up drama and I got Mono, which lasted 2 YEARS. I started seeing an acupuncturist, trying to get well, and she said that one of the tenets of Chinese medicine is that a person should eat meat in order to be truly healthy. (They believe it is the only source of  “post-natal chi.”)  In college I had become really interested in Eastern spiritual/philosophical ideas within Buddhism and Taoism, and found some peace in the Eastern way of looking at things– where there isn’t so much Black and White and Good and Evil and Right and Wrong; rather, things are much more gray and muddled, and really it is a Western ideological habit to cling to an artificial list of rules that will make you feel like you are doing the right thing, when of course you are not completely weightless on this planet because you are a human in the 21st century and you need things that connect you to this culture, and our human world uses and depends on the earth and its resources and animals, and it is an illusion to think you can make yourself exempt from that; rather, all you can do is be mindful of where you fit in nature and in the food chain and in our post-industrial society, and do your best, but allow for imperfection and messiness.  Primarily, I realized I was more concerned with animals being treated with respect than I was about them being eaten. So when the acupuncturist poo-pooed my vegetarianism,  I was ready to think, “hmmmm… some fish would actually be really good….”  I started eating fish and seafood, then chicken, then everything. And I became a fully-functioning FOODIE, and wondered, How I could have possibly been a foodie without eating meat???  What would Julia (Child) think?!  Meat tastes SO GOOD! It adds so much color to the palette, so much pleasure to the kitchen.  I am also a travel junkie, and find that one of the best ways to experience another culture is by eating its food.

I buy meat and animal products from animals that had a happy life, whenever I can. When I eat meat and when I buy leather shoes, I think of the animal that lived and died. I thank them, and then I enjoy my dinner and my shoes.

I’ve learned enough from being a victim of self-righteous fundamentalists to know that my sparkling discovery of How To Live in Peace is mine alone; that of course it isn’t right for everyone. I don’t think I’m right; I’ve just found what feels right for me as I go about my life on earth. I totally respect my vegan and vegetarian friends and don’t secretly believe they should be omnivores. Likewise, I hope they don’t secretly believe I should be like them.

Read Full Post »

on bad days

It would have been nice to have a more graceful transition between the loveliness of my last post and the impending boredom of this one, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. 

Wifey and I are both overwhelmed and we both had meltdowns last night. 

We are confused and undecided about whether an 8 hour/week nanny will work for A. We wish very much that it would work. But it is still RSV season, and he is not 12 months adjusted until May. He also suffers intense separation anxiety lately. It would be a lot of work finding someone with the elaborate hand-washing habits we fantasize about. It would be a lot of work to get him used to someone new.  

We are confused and undecided about whether we can afford an 8 hour/week nanny. 

We still don’t have a sleep routine for A. that works for all of us most of the time. Wifey has been up with him twice each night lately. He is tired much of the day and hyper in the evening. It is hard for W. and I to not have any time to wind down and talk to each other before we all go to bed at 10:30. Due to the architecture of our home, in which there is no sound control, we often must be quiet while A. is asleep (when he is in a fragile, light sleep) and therefore can not clean the house and make noise except when he is awake. Except that when he is awake, he is his brilliant yet high-needs baby self who does not want us to clean the house. 

Our floors are filthy. Our bathtub is grimy. 

Supposedly I am an artist and supposedly I have a studio that I supposedly work in a few hours a week. 

I guess it turns out Mister Finn is a high-needs baby. W.’s parents nearly fled in confusion and dismay that here we have a baby who does not simply sit there peacefully. W. and I have no other baby to compare A. to, so we didn’t know he was exceptionally intense. 

He is intensely interactive and intensely expressive. He is often either singing and talking or fussing and screeching. Occasionally sitting peacefully. He has always been this way. On days when he is well-rested, he plays contentedly by himself for long stretches. But when he is tired he needs constant attention. He is very easy to console, smile and happily engage, but wait ’til you try to leave to go to the bathroom. 

W. and I are both keenly aware of how much better many things would be if we had a sleep routine for A. We would have a few hours together in the evening. He would be rested during the day. It would be a lot of work to establish a sleep routine. There would be a lot of crying. There would be not much sleeping. There would be gigantic knots in my stomach. We are confused and undecided if all of this is worth it to have a well-rested baby, and well-rested spirits. Or if it would even work. “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” is the book we are thinking of using. 

There is too much to do. The same load of laundry has been sitting on the couch for 3 days. After 2 weeks of the netflix envelope sitting unopened, we managed to watch a 22 minute episode of The Office last night while we ate dinner. We sat on the floor, as the couch was covered with laundry. 

I’ve stopped looking forward to the weekends because they are same as the weekdays. W. has to work on a freelance project, and our floors are still filthy and the laundry is still there. Except now there will be a fresh load to go on top of the week-old load on the couch. 

Sorry for dragging you to my pity party. I am probably exaggerating, and there are worse things in the world, and I’m so grateful, blah blah blah.  

It’s just that W. and I both woke with puffy eyes from crying so much last night.

Read Full Post »

About Naming Ceremonies

A Secular Explanation:

In recent times naming ceremonies have become popular as a non-religious (or non-denominational) equivalent of a christening where a young child, between 6 weeks and 2 years old,


is introduced to their family and social group in a meaningful way.



Like Baptisms or Christenings, you can have a Naming Ceremony at a formal venue, or at your house or at a neighborhood park.

Conducted by either by a trained celebrant or the parents themselves,


the ceremony allows the parents to publicly affirm their love and commitment to their child


in the presence of family and friends, formally announce the name given to the child, and to appoint “guide parents,” “supporting adults,” or “mentors” (the equivalent of godparents) who will morally and emotionally support the child during its life.


The choice of the given name is important and the naming ceremony serves to identify this new baby


as someone who exists as a unique individual—with a name that has meaning. Often, the meaning of the name is explained as part of the welcoming ceremony. There is usually a symbolic act during the ceremony that serves as the central moment of naming for the child. The symbolic act can be when all the guests welcome the child in unison, or the celebrant faces the guests and declares the naming and the crowd applauds, or the parents and siblings can hold the child in turn and make promises to the child. Specific phrases include: “We welcome _____________ to the world,” or “This child is named ____________ and may we look after him as friends and family.”

The ceremony will often include promises made to the child by the family, supporting adults and the attendees.



Poems may be read, music played. The family uses cultural traditions that are meaningful to them, and elements of all belief systems are welcomed.


A Native American Explanation:

Based on the Native American tradition of naming a child, the Naming Ceremony is a welcoming of the soul to the physical world, by the family and community. It is an honoring of that soul and an acknowledgement of the courage it takes to walk the journey of life in the physical. It is an honoring of the name that the soul has chosen as part of its identity. It is about welcoming the child into the family and community.


These ceremonies give the child a sense of safety and belonging, honor and respect. The most important aspects of the ceremony are love, intention, meaning and sacredness.

The ceremony is held in a circle representing the circle of life, continuity, wholeness and oneness and reflecting the fact that everything in life happens in cycles and circles.

The child is blessed and anointed with the four elements of life: earth, air, fire and water.


We sing songs and play rattles. Rattles were originally used for soul retrieval, which is perhaps why it is one of the first gifts we give to our babies.


After the ceremony people are invited to write in the child’s “Book of Days” which is a very special book that will be with them all their days and capture all the special occasions and Rites of Passage throughout their life.

The Naming Ceremony is a beautiful, meaningful experience and an awesome opportunity for creativity, unity and a celebration of the miracle of life!


In various religious traditions, wine, pipe smoke or some kind of mild inebriation at the end of a ceremony “seals the deal.”


And in various religious traditions, some sweet food is eaten, as a celebration of the sweetness of life.


Blessing (Zuri Indian poem)

Our child
Now this is the day.
Our child,
Into the daylight
You will go out standing.
Preparing for your day.

Read Full Post »

First Birthday

It was a beautiful day.  It is hard to wrap my brain around the fact that it has been a full year since A. was born. But here we are: he is ONE! I feel victorious, blessed, and tired. As beautiful, important days often are, the day was a frenzied collection of minutes; the minutes a frenzied collection of content that has been planned carefully yet rushed to completion. The ceremony was really lovely. All of the people there were so happy for us, and for our baby boy. He made it. We made it.

Read Full Post »

The In-Laws

Wifey’s parents are here.

They are hell-bent on A. using and liking a pacifier. He used to like to go to sleep with one, but a few months ago he started spitting them out and blocking entry. They are trying to get him to use one again, rather than chew on everybody’s fingers. I don’t think they’ll be successful with this, so I’m letting them amuse themselves trying.

They have another grandson, two months younger than A.  Baby Thomas is a very predictable, easy baby, and I get the feeling that at every turn when Mister Finn does not behave as Thomas does, they stumble over a huge mental speed bump: “If he was tired, wouldn’t he just rub his eyes and go to sleep?” Heh.

I’m a little worried about what it’ll be like on Monday (A.’s birthday and ceremony-day) when my parents and Wifey’s parents are in the same magnetic field. Will a blinding-light and apocalyptic siren permeate the atmosphere, like in Lost, when The Button didn’t get pushed in time? There were some moments like that at our wedding in 2004. They haven’t seen each other since, primarily due to my dad’s dramatic pronouncement that W’s mother shall not ever set foot in his house again. Luckily, we didn’t know the extent of the discord until afterward.

Baby Thomas and his sister are in daycare 10 hours/day, so they are used to being taken care of by different people. But Mister Finn is at the height of separation anxiety and gets upset when one of us isn’t there when he is feeling tender. (Especially me). It’s sweet on our end; we feel so special that this little being needs and wants us like the earth needs the sun.

Baby Thomas is on a three-hour schedule that he never deviates from. Ever. He has food or a bottle (8 ounces exactly, every time), plays, sleeps, repeat.

You’d think that with two extra adults here, it would be easier on me because I’d have help taking care of my baby. But actually it feels like more work because I’m still taking care of my baby while simultaneously narrating my every move to answer their questions about all of the ways A. is not like Baby Thomas. It is exhausting. There have been really nice moments, too, and they treated W. and I to dinner out alone together, which was splendid. We ate a ton of Thai food and I got tipsy on half a glass of wine– the other half I spilled on my lap.

Read Full Post »

The Way You Are

You are almost 1 year old.

You are almost 9 months “old.”

You are 16 and a half pounds.

You have no teeth yet.

You sit in your high chair.


When you’re nursing, you touch your head like you’re fixing your hair. Or sometimes you scratch your head. And sometimes you hit yourself in the head repeatedly.

You play peek-a-boo, covering your face with your hat.

You don’t want to go to bed at night, and when we move towards your crib, you erupt into enthusiastic chirping, talking, flapping your wings, as though you’re trying show how not-tired you are.

You sleep in a yellow chickie blanket sleeper.
You usually wake up very tender and need to be comforted, lulled back into the world.

You beat your chest with your hands like a monkey when you get excited.

You squeal when we kiss your tummy.

You look at me like I have a bounty of colorful feathers sprouting from my head when I speak to you in French.

You grunt.

You play your piano.

You laugh when I exclaim to you in made up words: “Frippple Fripple!  Drrrrrrrraiken Draiken Draiken!”

You sit and pick things out of your wooden bucket one by one and examine each thing carefully, passing from hand to hand: a domino, a purple wooden block, a plastic star.

You bang, bat, hit, drum.

You haven’t wanted to crawl, yet. But you roll from one side of the living room to the other.

You perform acrobatics in your bouncy seat.

You love to scratch the couch.

You smell like heaven.

You love pears.

You look at me like I’m the greatest thing.

You have absolutely no interest in a sippy cup, putting your hand out to shield your face from it.

You read with great concentration.


You often sing when you’re done nursing.

You smile and kick your legs in excitement when we head out for our walks.

You love music.

You love your baths. You splash and kick and play with your pelican.

We always know when you’re pooping, because you grunt and make little fists held close to your body, and your face turns red.

You smile when we sing. You always want to socialize with us.

You jump excitedly in your jumper.

You chew on our hands.


You smile when we move towards the CD player.

You smile at yourself in the mirror.

You talk a lot: “brallla, mama, ba ba ba, amballlll, guh guh guh, tchrim, aircgh, ehnnnng, bagel, da da da da, awra-aya, je je je, jhzoom, wa wa,  mam ba-ba .

You grab my hair and yank my head towards you. Then you try to get my whole chin in your mouth.

You make this face:


You bury your face in my chest when you meet someone new.

Read Full Post »

25 things about me

After being tagged 5 times on Facebook, I finally wrote out my list. You all already know some of these things, but I thought I would share anyway.

1. On the first day of first grade, I was so excited to wear my new yellow outfit with butterflies that I could not sleep the night before.

2. Music saved my soul

3. January 20, 2009 was the first day that I had hope for the country I live in.

4. I’ve always thought my parents were pretty swell

5. I’ve been obsessed with Paris since I was 7 years old.

6. One of my dream jobs would be The Person Who Gets To Create Soundtracks For Movies

7. I had a very scary pregnancy and childbirth, and was told that I would most likely die if I got pregnant again

8. I believe a lot of life’s pleasures are in the little things, like pizza, marbles, and quantum mechanics.

9. My first crush was a girl in my little brother’s kindergarten class. I was 8.

10. I am much better at starting things than finishing them

11. I believe in reincarnation, and really don’t think it is that strange a concept

12. I married my favorite person in the whole world

13. I want to have a farm with a vegetable garden, fruit trees, and chickens when I’m an old lady

14. I’ve always been phone shy

15. The only foods I don’t like are lima beans and caraway seeds.

16. I have a rose tattoo on my left forearm. It is a rose I drew, from my grandmother’s rose garden. Also, my middle name is Rose.

17. I was a very anxious 9 year old and 21 year old.

18. I was vegetarian for 14 years; now a happy omnivore

19. I find David Byrne, Kathleen Hanna, and Joseph Campbell endlessly inspiring.

20. I still can hardly believe that I made my son. ?!?!

21. I never get bored. Ever. I am ridiculously self-entertaining.

22. I feel less lonely around other people the older I get.

23. I’m fascinated by the world’s religions

24. My tolerance of the Religious Right has worn to a thread, and I’m tired of making nice

25. Statistically, I am rare; I have been the 1 in 10, the 1 in 1000, the 1 in 100, the 1 in 20, the 1 in 50, and the 1 in 15,000; also, I did not smoke pot at Humboldt State.

Read Full Post »