Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Note to My Kid

Two months ago my cousin contacted me asking me to write a letter to Walter for his new project called ANoteToMyKid.com. This website is a collection of letters from parents in different parts of their journey in parenthood some letters are to grown children and some are to toddlers such as Walter. The parents were asked to write to their child and tell them how proud of them you are regardless of their sexual orientation. I am so proud of my cousin Patrick Wallace for doing this and honored to be a part of this. In the same breath I am also very saddened that this website needs to exist. As a mother I cannot imagine shunning my child because of who they are atracted to and love.

I have watched as friends have been rejected from their parents, family and friends because of their sexual orientation.  I have also watched as other friend's parents have surprised them and totally accepted them. And now I am the parent.  I only ever hope for Walter is that he be in a loving and respectful relationship, the who it is, is up to him. As a parent I cannot fathom rejecting my child because of who he is attracted to and I want Walter to know that always.

So wrote a letter and will support Walter and the greater cause in anyway I possibly can. I love this concept for a website. Write a letter, tell your child you support them and are extremely proud of them for who they are. Let them see it and know it. And maybe, just maybe, the stigma of homosexuality can be overcome by love. Because at the end of the day it matters not who you go to bed with, but that that person treats you as respectfully and lovingly as you deserve.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lazy Sunday

Late morning brunch that consisted of an adult conversation of which Thomas character we like the most, on when exactly we are taking a trip to Disneyland, and of course how good the Eggs Benedict was. Well deserved naps that went into the late afternoon. Cuddle time on the couch where if the rest of the world fell away it would be okay because the three of us were snugly next to each other. Grilled steak and asparagus with roasted potatoes and sourdough bread. It was the most divine lazy Sunday that could have been imagined. I am the luckiest mom alive.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


If you haven't heard yet, the town of Forest Park, GA has just recently passed a new ordinance banning public nudity. And guess what? If you are a mom breast-feeding your over two year-old toddler you are NOT exempt from the law. I would like to ask the law makers of the great town of Forest Park a few questions, how did they arrive at the age of two? Just how they plan on enforcing this new law? And I think the most important question is why in the world is breast-feeding (at any age) considered nudity?

I just don't get it. Breasts have become over sexualized, people forget why they have been put on this earth to do. Breasts and de-facto lactating is what makes us mammals. How can breast-feeding be indecent if that's what you're supposed to be doing? Its not indecent and its not nudity. Pure and simple. It is a time tested way of providing nutrients and comfort to your child. Furthermore how in the hell would you be able to explain to your toddler, sorry no milk right now we are in a public place and there is a law against that? 

I digress, the best part of this whole story? The 300 angry breast feeding moms went to Forest Park's city hall and staged a nurse-in. For those of you not in the know a nurse-in is where you basically breast-feed with a whole bunch of other women to get your point across. Can you imagine 300 (well 600 if you include the nursing babies and toddlers) sitting on the steps of city hall nursing? There must have been some really happy babies and calm toddlers there.

My hat goes off to those 300 women who nursed-in. Thank you ladies you are amazing for doing that! And for everyone else I offer this little piece of advice: breast-feeding doesn't harm anyone, so if you are offended please just look away. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mama Anna's off the Hook Chicken Curry

So a few weeks ago I noticed something in our spice cabinent, we had 4 four jars of curry powder. Um...what? So I've been experimenting with various curry dishes. And what I am about to share has been a toddler pleaser twice now, seconds, thirds, fourths were asked for ("mo, mo, mo, mo, peesssss" with squinty face smile). I call it Mama's off the Hook Chicken Curry.

2 boneless chicken breasts or 3 boneless chicken thighs
olive oil
yellow curry
sea salt
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
1/2 yellow onion
peas (any other green veggie)

Prepare the rice according directions.

Heat about 2 Tbs olive oil in large skillet on medium high heat
While olive oil is heating slice chicken into 1/2" strips
Season chicken with about 1 tsp of sea salt and 1 Tbs of yellow curry
Cook chicken until all the way cooked through,
while chicken is cooking dice onion
once chicken is cooked through remove and add about 4 Tbs yellow curry and onion to the skillet
Cook for about 5 minutes or until onions are nice and soft
Add chicken back in, reduce heat let cook together for 5 min,
Add rice in, mix together until rice is yellow in color, add in veggies, cover and turn heat off until ready to serve.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Time is Fleeting

Nothing makes you more aware of time passing then having a child.

Friday marked another milestone. My self-imposed extended maternity leave ended and it was last "full" day as Walter's stay-at-home mom. I planned the day to be special but not have any special pomp and cicumstance. And I only cried once! Somehow I couldn't keep it together when I was dressing Walter and trying to explain to him how I was going to go back to work and his new "friend" Nikki would be hanging out with him instead. And he just looked at me like "I know mom, this is going to be great for the both of us".

So we did the Genesse Park loop which is a nice 3 mile walk down to Lake Washington from our house. We've been doing this walk since last fall and it really does show off how much Walter has grown up. The walk (not always) includes a stop to Starbucks, then up a steep hill-- when we started doing this loop I had to push Walter up in the stroller, now he can walk it himself. Then down the backside of the steep hill, over to the northend of Genesse park where we (sometimes) stop at a playground, then over to the astroturf soccer field and ran the lines for a few minutes. Then it was across the street to the "agility" playground to practice agility. Six months ago Walter couldn't do one of the exercises on the playground, now he can do about three (with my help of course, but he knows what to do!), then it was to the walking path--my personal favorite, this is where we spent all fall in the mornings walking, picking up leaves, splashing in puddles and trying to catch birds.

We came home and well, Walter refused his nap. I like to think of it as him knowing somehow it was our last day together just him and I and he didn't want to miss a minute of it.

After "nap time" we went to Lakeridge Park with some new friends we've made this spring. Lakeridge Park is brilliant! It has a hiking trail, creek you can picnic next to, and a nice sized park. Lakeridge Park is tucked away in the very south end of Seattle next to Lake Washington. Walter played and played and played in the water. He loved it. His favorite game was "throw the shovel upstream and try and catch it". He dunked his head under water. He was having a ball. He and one of his friends then ventured on upstream for an in water hike. It was a great way to spend our time together. Did I mention it was one of the first days in Seattle over 70? It made the day perfect.

What can I say our last day together was magical. I know that there will be days off and I know that my job description doesn't lend itself to that high stress or taking work home with me, but still an era came to a close on Friday, and a new one begins. Its super sad and very exciting all in one breath.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Go the F*&! to Sleep: An update!

Go the Fuck to Sleep is being released early due to popular demand (and I suspect the digital copy leaks on the internet). And what a controversy it has started to stir. I mean, this is the way I think of it, and I do consider myself a bit of an expert here, if you can't laugh at the shitty sleep situation you are in, then you might be a robot.

I mean every parent has been there and now one parent has enough courage to actually write a witty and articulate book about what every parent feels. It is not the end of literature as one critic has said. It is satire if anything this book will propel satyrical literature. Okay now I am going to far and I realize this. But this book is a very comical stab at a very serious issue that most parents go through and like I said if you can't laugh at it, then maybe you are a robot.

I have provided a link to pre-order your copy from Amazon today if needed.

Parenting and the Internet

I honestly have no idea what parents did before the internet. Just as, I honestly never knew that this amazing corner of the internet existed. I affectionaltely call it the parenting corner. Where you can find all the answers to your child's  needs, ailments, and reassurance you are doing a good job.

Walter is acting up and out of control, what happened to my angel? askdrsears.com to the rescue! I don't know if Walter has an earache or not and what exactly does Scarlett Fever look like? babycenter.com's symptom guide to the rescue! I am having a down day and think I am the worst mother in the word parenting.com to the rescue with a funny story or blog post to cheer me up!

I know most likely grandparents were the ones to share the wealth of childbearing knowledge but in today's world where grandparents sometimes live 1000's of miles away and the thought of calling someone in the middle of the night because you don't know exactly what rubella is. I am grateful for the internet and the wealth of parenting advice it has for me to explore. And the fact that the internet doesn't get hurt feelings when you don't take it up on the advice is even better!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Toddler Bites

If the first year of life can be marked by the phrase "baby steps" then I think the second year of life can be marked by the phrase "toddler bites". Depending on which toddler you are talking about the last phrase could have many meanings. In Walter's case it means that he will take exactly one bite of banana and play for 15 minutes come back and have exactly three bites of his bagel and go back to playing for another 10 minutes and then come back for a swig of water and then go back to the business at hand. Then there are the times where he will ingest an adult portion of spaghetti and veggies, eat through an entire bagel, or an entire pint of blueberries and insist he wants more.

This all provides for stress. Who knew that eating would cause so much stress? This was definitely something I did not anticipate. I stress out about how much he eats or if he doesn't eat, when he eats and when he doesn't. At any given moment you could ask me how much Walter has had to eat and I can give you a detailed description down to the last crumb. Now there is a talent I never knew I had.

So here are my golden rules of combating the stress of Walter's eating habits:

  • When thinking about how many servings of fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy, ect Walter has I don't think in terms of per day, I think in terms of per week. Or not as a snapshot but rather a video. Some days its all carbs and some days its all broccoli.
  • Typically the biggest meal of the day for toddlers is lunch, so I don't freak out if he has four bites of banana and 19 Cheerios for breakfast
  • I keep an open door policy for Walter all his food is on a shelf he can access in the pantry so he can get his food himself, likewise for the fridge, he just needs me to open it.
  • And I try to have healthy super-foods on hand such as blueberries (the amazing little berry that has too many good vitamins and antioxidants to mention), salmon, yogurt and oatmeal.

And what exactly are the guidelines for serving size for a toddler? Check out the age-by-age guide that babycenter.com has. It is a truly magnificent tool. 

At the end of the day I know my job as mom is to offer healthy selections and it is Walter's job to eat. But it is so hard when I ask if he wants an apple? no. Banana? no. Cheerios? no. And then he settles for the 3rd cheese stick of the day. Huh? Cheese the wonder food for toddlers and adults alike.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thomas is his name...

When Walter was a brand new baby I would look at him and marvel, what would he be interested in as a little boy? Airplanes? Bugs? Dinosaurs? Trains? Art? Dolls? Animals? Cooking? Playing house? Super heros? And I had a hard time imagining it. I think part of it was I really didn't want to influence him in anyway.  So now its almost two years since my marveling and I think the answer is trains, followed up by planes and helicopters. Walter loves to sit in the windows that face north and watch the light rail trains come and go. So I can see how trains are a natural fit.

Late last week we had family friends over for dinner and after dinner the four-and-a-half year-old asked if he could watch TV. We put Thomas the Train on--one of the few shows that Walter has seen--we have a very strict rule of no TV in the house until 2, but only for special occasions is the rule bent. Walter and his friend watched Thomas the Train and were so happy. Walter even made up a dance to the theme song which included him waving his arms in the air.

It rained yesterday, all day. We were all low on sleep and all Walter wanted to do was watch Thomas the Train. And when I say wanted I mean insisted, and by insisting he was kinda crazy, like Beatles fan crazy. Walter was pointing  to the TV and waving his hands in the air like he did on Thursday night when the theme song came on and then asked for Thomas incessantly. So I went to the internet and printed out some coloring pages for him. It quelled him for a bit. But then the insistance started up again. Jose and I came up with a plan: Go to Barnes and Noble via light rail and use the rest of Walter's Christmas gift from his grandma (a $50 gift card to Barnes and Noble) after nap time. So we bribed our child to sleep with the promise of a "great surprise" when he woke up. 

We would rode the light rail into downtown with every intention of getting just this one Thomas the Train book.  One of Walter's friends had this amazing Thomas the Train book that Walter was kinda obsessed with when he was over at his house in late March. So we intended on buying just one book but....we came out of Barnes and Noble with almost $100 worth of Thomas the Train merchandise. Jose and I had been fighting getting Walter anything "commercial" for so long, and now we had done it in spades. On the 20 min light rail ride home Walter couldn't wait and we read two of his new books to him, over an over again. And I ask you now, how can that be such a bad thing? Walter loves reading about his newest obsession Thomas the Train and has totally forgotten about the TV.

I have posted what we purchased just in case there are any other Thomas affinanados reading, because in the world of books, they are pretty cool! And I also see we should have bought all these books on Amazon as we could have saved about $15. Live and learn!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sleep strikes and other such disasters...

When I was about 9.1 months pregnant and my best friend, Lara sat across from me in my living room and we were talking baby talk (her daughter is now 11), I suddenly sat up and asked;

"When should I expect BeaWally (Walter's name in utero since we were waiting to find out the gender when he was born-- Beatrice, if a girl and Walter, if a boy) to sleep through the night again?"

I can't even remember what I was expecting the answer to be,  but the answer I got was certianly not it, but what I needed or wanted to hear.

Lara got very serious and said "Don't expect to consistently sleep through the night until BeaWally  is in kindergarten."

"What?!" I asked incrediously.

"I don't mean that they won't sleep through the night before hand, they will it just won't be consistent. They don't sleep because they are working on a new skill, they don't sleep because their teeth bother them, they don't sleep because they are sick, they don't go to sleep because they know that it bothers you. There are a million reasons why they don't sleep, but they don't and if you expect them to you will just be setting yourself up for hard times."  In short I could expect to sleep very little in the next 5 years.

My head started spinning. Surely Lara's daughter was some sort of outlier.  Surely I wasn't going to be sleep deprived for 5 years? And more importantly why, oh why, had no one told me about this before?

Now in the almost two years that have come since that conversation I am happy to say Walter has slept through the night. Though not consistently. He will always go to sleep but then around 1 is when he likes to wake up. He is a huge night waker, especially when he is working on mastering a new skill or teething. There was a string of one nighters every 4 weeks until he was about 8 months old where he stayed awake for 24 hours straight. That was crazy. No one, not even his doctors could figure out a reason for it. And then just like that he stopped.

There are people who suggest sleep training. Which is an option. But we haven't tried any sleep training for two reasons. First reason, to me (and this is only to me) the amount of time and energy it takes to sleep train isn't worth it. Because once they get sick, start working on mastering a new skill, the routine is altered in any little way, all that sleep training is out the window and you have to start at the beginning. Second reason, is I am a freak. I don't need a lot of sleep to function and while I do complain about not getting sleep when its bad, I would rather not sleep than train Walter and have to listen to him cry-it-out. I can't stand to hear him cry. So I sacrifice the sleep, and I am okay with that.

So when there are nights like last night where I didn't get to sleep until a little past 4am because my darling boy was teething so bad he whimpered "mom, mom, mom, mom" for 5 hours straight, I console myself with the fact that this will all soon end when he goes to kindergarten. Three years isn't that far away is it?

Now I do realize that what I have just written is a huge generalization. Some babies sleep through the night almost immediately. Some babies take to sleep training like a champ. But not all and I am writing this to those that, like me, whose children don't sleep through the night consistently and can't/won't sleep train. You are not alone.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forward

Another lifetime ago I was a Starbucks store manager. I came to work at Starbucks as a barista because I was laid off from my job as a Post Production Manager at a documentary film company. It was supposed to be a temporary job. A job to help me until I found another job. But only, I stayed. I quickly climbed the ladder and before I knew it I was responsible for a store. My time a Starbucks was hands down my most favorite time ever working. Yes there were still days I wanted to call in sick and forget I worked there, but they were very few and far between. I enjoyed putting the legend into legendary...

Fast forward to today. I've been looking for part-time work in the health care field. I haven't been too successful at it, out of possibly 50 resumes I've submitted I got one interview. And lets face it it has been very intimidating to go back to work after being out of work for so long. Then a Starbucks store manager friend of mine suggested I put my application in. No way. I mean, no. I left Starbucks. Barrista? what in the world did that have to do with becoming a nurse? Nothing. That's what.

But then I started thinking.

This year we want to buy a house. I want to actually earn money, not just spend it. I wanted adult interaction. I wanted a job that I didn't work exact opposite hours so that our family was never together as a whole. I needed a job that I didn't take home with me at night. I wanted to do something that I excel at.

A barista is it. The store is four blocks away from our house. I can walk. I know the job, I could do it in my sleep.

So I applied. I went to two interviews, and now I have a new (old) job. A job I was luke-warm in thinking I would want to take I am really excited for next week when I get to don my green apron once again. Only this time, I'm not the boss.

Friday, May 13, 2011

....and we're back

Sorry for the interruption. This time it wasn't me being a slacker blogger. Quite the contrary. I was busily clack, clack, clacking away during nap time yesterday and went to hit the 'publish' button and much to my dismay, it said "unable to publish at this time, blogger site down for maintenance--read only mode is available." Okay.....I guess it was some kind of huge maintenance as I wasn't able to post anything as of bedtime yesterday.

Yesterday's post wasn't that great so I suppose I am glad it didn't post. It was gloomy all about the sad weather Seattle is experiencing and me wishing we could have just three days in a row without rain. I mean its mid-May!

But yesterday's service interruption combined with my vacation just goes to prove how hard it is to keep a blog going. There is a certain amount of dedication and determination that is needed for it. I wish I would have started blogging again earlier. It really does serve to clear my mind. The past month it has served to be my reset button during the day. I have foregone my naps that I usually take with Walter to write. I feel more refreshed and a bit more centered. This doesn't happen when I just write in my journal. I think it has something to do with being in the public forum. I can't deny that it is fun watching the stats, seeing that people ARE actually reading it. There was even once a reader in Russia. They have since not read my blog again. That makes me sad, as I love Russia, and anything Russian, that may have been my proudest moment. I am grateful for anyone who reads.

A month into it the blog the number one suggestion that I have received has been the ability to leave comments is hard. I will work on that. Until then you can always click on the 'email me' 'pencil' button at the bottom. I can post your comment then in a 'dear abby' sort of fashion. I know some of you have gone to the facebook page and left your comments there. I will figure out how to make comments easier to leave here. I need to start breaking into that html business again. Just when to find the time...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

No use Crying over Spilled MIlk

....a mom must have come up with that phrase after the 1000th time cleaning up after her precious little bundle of joy. Seriously. Seriously I was not prepared for what is the mess of having a child.

The first six months is not that bad in retrospective. Its just poop that expodes all over the place and spit-up. But brace yourself...the mess lurks just around the corner. We walked into Walter's aunt's house last year (Walter was about 8 months, and his cousin 4 years old.) and it was cluttered with toys pushed to the side, under the couches and incorporated into the living room decor. I stood there in my ivory tower and wispered quietly to Jose "we will never let our house look like that". Ummm yeah, a year later it does I say as I am eating my humble pie.

Don't be fooled by "the mess" in the beginning it really is a begnin presence, some baby food here, a dropped utensil there. It really starts at around six months for two reasons, most babies start eating solids AND they have the motor skills to throw things. Why, oh, why would mother nature be so cruel, doesn't she know that is a messy combination?  So food is thrown, toys are thrown, then they become mobile and toilet paper and boxes of Kleenex are fascinating beyond all belief , there are  the dumped glasses of water, pulled books off the shelves, the gravity game from the high chair with the baby food--splat on the floor, hand prints on the windows, marker on the floor and before you know it the mess is all consuming. And you could be cleaning all day long and still not make a dent in it. Because once one mess is cleaned another has been created.

You have two options, fight it--cry over the spilled milk. Or embrace it--growing up is a messy adventure.

Embracing it is hard, especially when I was so judgmental about the messes of others just a year ago. But mess is the nature of growing up. Its gonna get messy. Its how you deal with cleaning up I think is the key. At our house we have a couple of rules:
  •  if something spills we clean it up right away. And so far Walter loves doing this.
  •  At the end of the night we put away all the toys/art supplies/books that were taken out and not put away throughout the day
  •  Try to put the last book read on the shelf before taking a new one off (we are at 50%) with that one. 
  • Walter throws away his own diaper
I am also lucky in the fact that Walter loves to dust and use the broom so I foster this behavior any chance I get and praise him for the great job he did. I live with the hope that one day, in the not so near future the mess will leave, but I know better. So I have my friend the mess to keep me company.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Home again, home again jiggity-jig

So, we are home. I know that the blog, much like my house plants has been neglected since we left for California. And I had such aspirations of having all my posts that I so diligently prepared beforehand self-publish according to the auto publishing feature. Better luck next time. 

We went down to Southern California for my grandfather's 90th birthday party. Ninety years old?! He is an amazing man, who has lived through amazing times. He is also the man Walter is named after. 

Traveling with a toddler is an adeventure. Well traveling is an adventure period. But with a toddler you need to be prepared for anything. The X factor is huge. We are lucky in the fact that Walter is fairly easy going. He survives on minimal sleep while still managing to be his adorable and funny self, impressing all the family members.

However it seems there is always that looming X factor. I think is what makes the adventure stressful. Did he sleep enough? Is this place too loud? Is he too hot? Does he need more food? There is always something that sets him off. And trying to guess what it is before it happens is sometimes a hard thing to accomplish. At my grandfather's birthday party at 3pm he promptly stuck his fist down his throat to gag himself and with that we had to leave, when babies turn to bulimia to signal they are done, its time to go. I so wanted to stay. I only get to see my family a handful of times a year and Walter was having such a good time playing with his cousins. But we had to go. It was time.

Its that X factor that always keeps me just north of enjoying myself completely on vacation. I want Walter to enjoy himself so that he likes traveling. I try to make it so enjoyable for him that I forget about me. This is not to say I had a horrible time, hardly. I was back where I grew up, I saw friends I hadn't seen since I left for Seattle, I got to hang with my whole family, it was  great time. I just hope Walter had an equally great time.

Now we are home, the routine is back as if it never left and no one has to resort to baby bulimia to get their point across anymore. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

21 Months and Counting

Today marks 21 months since Walter was born. He's doing great, finally starting to really articulate himself, eating more and more every day, and has recently mastered running. Watch out world. It blows my mind that I have been able to keep him more or less out of harm's way for 21 months, especially considering I hadn't changed a diaper for at least 10 years before he came along.

It also blows my mind that I have also been breast feeding him for 21 months. Yes I am that crazy breast feeding mom. When I was pregnant I thought I would breast feed 6 months tops. I didn't really research it, but knew that would be the way I would feed my baby. I mean why buy formula when you can have the real stuff for free? Sadly, that was my main reason to breast feed. Pre Walter. But a funny thing happened. I really enjoyed breast feeding. As a new mom adjusting to mom life this was one thing I was really good at. And most of all I wasn't prepared for the emotional and physical bonds that come with breast feeding.  And it is such an indescribable feeling to have something that my body produces kept my baby healthy and alive for the first 6 months exclusively and from then on as a super comforting, nutrient rich treat.

Like I said, at first my goal was 6 months. That goal came and went and it just felt like it wasn't the right time to cut the flow, especially since when you start adding solids its not just like they start eating and stop wanting the breast. So I said 1 year. At the end of July it was clear neither Walter nor I was ready to let go. So I readjusted the goal to 2 years, with the promise of a slow weaning process. And in a few months when the early days of August arrive I know that will be the end. It makes me sad (I am tearing up right now) and relieved (yay! After almost 3 years I can have my body back to me, all me !) all at the same time. I have no idea how I am going to go about weaning Walter. We've almost cut all the nursing sessions out in public. But at home he just loves to come over and have a little pick-me-up. I still nurse him to sleep at nap-time and when he hurt himself. It is still crazy to me, after all these months the milk still flows. And keeps flowing.

So in honor of 21 months and counting. I am going to dedicate Friday's posts to everything breast feeding. Information and dispelling disinformation.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cause I'm Leaving on a Jet-Plane

We are leaving for Southern California tomorrow. I am so excited to have five non-stop days of sunshine I think I am forgetting to be excited that my grandfather is turning 90 and that is the real reason for our trip south. However with as excited as I am, and I am excited, did I mention its been in the 90's there? It hasn't even toped 70 here, I am meeting tomorrow with dread. One reason and one reason alone.

Getting there.

I used to have this romantic notion of the airport as this magical place where it connects people together. And who was I ever to pass up a beer on a bar stool chatting up whoever I could? Its fun. People are fun to watch too. Then on the plane you sit back, relax maybe read a magazine, maybe order a cocktail or maybe even have a nap. Ahhh the glory days of yore....

And then Walter came into the world. He's traveled by plane 7 times in his almost 21 month life span. Four times to California, twice to New Jersey and once to Denver. All times he's done great on the plane and its been fun to watch the progression of his awareness of his surroundings. From his first flight at 3 months where he had no idea what was going on to his last flight a month ago to where he was counting the different planes and squealed with joy when he saw them take off.

It is a labor of love to make sure Walter gets to see his family as much as he does. I don't mean this as a complaint at all but man-oh-man. Tomorrow morning is going to be some kind of stressful until we have successfully installed the car seat in the rental car and are off to my dad's house.

When traveling with a young child/toddler/baby life changes. Before you never even knew a counter existed where you check your bags. Now you pray to god you can chat the nice lady up an she will wave a bag fee or two for your 19 pieces of luggage you are taking (and that is just for a short four day trip). Before you breeze through securtiy, grumbling about those people "who don't have it together". Now you are one of those people who don't have it together. Just how do you fit the car seat through the metal detector? You used to amble through the terminal, maybe stop for a beer. Not now. It is time to entertain! And thankfully Sea-Tac is a great airport to see planes land and take off.

Then there is the whole flight. Which your number one mission is to ensure the complete and total satisfaction of this little human being. Our last trip to New Jersey was a doozie it was the only time flying (knock on wood) that Walter really wanted up and out, and really? Who can blame him? 5.5 hours sitting in the same seat? There is no down time on the plane it is entertain, entertain, entertain.

I have done all this and more. Meanwhile every non childed passenger looks at you as if you are a pariah and breaths a sigh of relief when they see you are not going to their gate/flight/row.

Monday, May 2, 2011

9 Years 7 months, 2 weeks and 4 days Later

So this next post has almost nothing to do with having a child. But I still feel I need to get this off my chest.

I was there. In New York City the morning of September 11th. I was drinking orange juice and coffee studying for the LSATs. The morning the sky was calm, crisp. The cat was in the windowsill trying to catch birds outside.

It started with a phone call.

"Anna what did I just see out of my office window, turn the TV on." My friend Stuart exclaimed.
"What? Why?" I hadn't ever heard such hysteria in Stuart's voice before. And we once rode on a train together through Russia.
So I turned on the TV, it was in Spanish, I couldn't get reception on an English station so I had to feebly translate. It was surreal I didn't think I was translating right, how could a plane hit a building? On purpose? I was still translating and talking to Stuart  as the second plane started flying low. Stuart was FREAKING out on the phone, once I saw what he was seeing in person I had the same reaction:
"Get off the phone! Get out of your building!" I shrieked.

I was a strange mix of panic, disbelief and kicking into survival mode. Water, food, how does the first aid kit look? We need provisions was all I could think of. So I made my way to the bodega down the street buying gallons of water and more canned food than I could literally carry home on my own. I got home and turned the TV back on. By then the Pentagon had been hit and Flight 93 had gone down. I was alone except for my cat who sat in the window blissfully unaware of how the world was changing by the second. I have never felt so alone before in my life. What the fuck was happening? Would I have to go into work at 3pm?

I took a shower. It was hot, I think the hottest shower I have ever taken. I didn't know what to do. I had friends who worked in the towers, by the towers, in tall buildings, in Manhattan. The waiting was the worst part. Where was everyone? Was everyone safe? What the fuck is going on? Way back in 2001 not everyone had a cell phone, I tried calling those who had one. "all circuits busy" that phrase haunted me every-time I tried to make a call for days. I sat on the couch chanting I am okay, I am okay hoping my family on the West Coat could hear it somehow. I knew it was early there. Maybe they hadn't heard yet. I tried calling them so many times. "all circuits busy". I am okay I kept chanting holding the phone.

I felt impotent. I couldn't watch the TV anymore. By this time the towers had fallen and the mass exodus was happening out of Manhattan. There was no subway service. I had a car. I figured I could pick people up and take them home. So I drove down to the Queensboro Bridge and started asking who needed a ride home. It was chaos, but a stunned chaos. I drove three car loads of people home to Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island.  My last car load had two people covered in white soot. Each car ride we were silent, except for the occasional direction.

Finally I was running out of gas and they had started running the subways in the outer boros again, it was time to go home. I left notes on friend's doors in our neighborhood to come over and let me know they were okay when they got home. Shortly after I got home my roommates came home with our friend Chris. They just happened to run into one another on their way home at Queensboro Plaza. How does that happen in a sea of thousands? But it did.

No one had eaten all day. No one wanted my canned beets I bought either. We debated if calling the Chinese place down the street would be appropriate or if they would even be open on such a day. We reasoned yes. We ate take-out Chinese and watched TV into the wee hours of the morning.

And now the mastermind of my most terrible day has been killed. And I feel numb. I can't be happy for a life taken no matter how abhorrent a person he was, I just can't be happy. But don't get me wrong, I am definitely not sad that he is dead. I am numb. I can't feel anything. I want to feel something about this. Instead I just remember that day, over and over in my head. And I never want anyone to feel the way I did that day.

 In past 20 months since Walter's birth I've actually apologized to Walter for not "cleaning things up a little more" before he came into this world. So much hate. So much animosity. So much division. The events of last night remind me never forget. Never forget how silly our differences really are in the grand scheme of life. Never forget to lead by example. To teach tolerance, love and respect for everybody regardless of what they believe or they don't, regardless if they live near you or far away from you, for we are all connected in one way or another. I hope this death brings a new era of peace and understanding.

And one day, I believe understanding is possible. And I dare you to believe and behave the same way.