Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Toothwatch, 2009

Toothwatch 2009 continued today following a particularly brutal 2:30 am wake up that could only be soothed with Tylenol. In the light of day I noticed Hank's two front, bottom teeth poking through. Later in the day I believe I found a third tooth poking through on the bottom, bringing the grand total to four. Wow! He'll be all caught up to his younger friends in no time!

Some fun milestones to report. In the last couple of weeks Hank has done some funny things. At the ripe old age of 14 months...

1 -- Riding on a carousel without sitting on someone's lap. He sat on the horse (well, the pig), and held on to the pole, and went up and down as the carousel went round and round. I had my hand lightly on his back, but basically he did it all himself. He didn't look scared, but he was holding on to that pole for dear life -- his little finger tips were white, he was gripping so hard!

2 -- First time picking out produce at the grocery store. He pointed out the fruit and vegetables he wanted me to get for him. Blueberries, bananas, pears, and sweet potato. He practically threw himself out of the cart trying to get at the bananas (he often eats three a day).

3 -- First time walking in a parking lot (while holding my hand of course), into a building, waiting for the elevator, and riding in the elevator without being in a stroller or held. Very cool!

4 -- Putting two and two together -- looking through his books, Hank now notices things that are similar from page to page. Of particular curiosity to him is an illustration of the moon that comes up a few times in one book. We'll get to a page with the moon on it, it will capture his attention, and then he will flip through the book until he finds another page with the moon on it, pointing enthusiastically all the while. He does this with an animal book as well, in which he will often pick out all the pictures of cats, and then all the cat-like animals (the lion, the tiger) as well. Really, really cool!

5 -- First time tattling on something/someone else -- today Hank tattled on the diaper pail (after it fell on him when he pulled it over on top of him), and on Munchie. I hear a crash and a cry, and then all of a sudden Hank is behind me with a very sad look on his face, blinking back tears, urging me to come see the 'perp'. He points at the guilty party and looks at me to make sure I know who 'did it'. Mommy's little tattle tail...

Sorry there haven't been many pictures lately. Hank is totally obsessed with the camera and whenever I try to take a picture he notices immediately and becomes transfixed by the camera, and does whatever he can to take it away from me and smack it against the floor. Thus, the camera has been put away for a little while...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama!

inauguration 005, originally uploaded by allthingssara.

Today we had the good luck to be able to all go together to a local BBQ joint to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama. My mom and dad met up with us at our apartment at 7:30 this morning, and we had a raucous car ride into downtown Oakland -- there was a lot of excitement in the air. Everett & Jones, the local BBQ place, was hosting a free breakfast and several hundred people were there, crowded into the restaurant, to watch the proceedings together. There were old people, young people, black, white, asian, middle eastern, pretty much every kind of person you can imagine was present and accounted for, and everyone was pretty excited. We met our friends Torey and David down there, too, with their little baby boy, and we shared a bench with a view of a large screen. There was lots of cheering for the Obamas and the Bidens, and lots of boo-hissing for the outgoing administration, and plenty of tears. Torey and I were a complete mess while Aretha Franklin sang 'My Country Tis of Thee'. Everyone in the place went NUTS when the newscasters broke into Itzak Perleman and YoYo Ma's beautiful performance of John Williams' setting of 'Simple Gifts' (to which I walked down the aisle at my wedding) at noon to announce that even though the oath had not yet been administered, because the moment of noon had passed, Obama was officially the president. Talk about exciting.

There was a great buzz everywhere we went for the rest of the day. People all around me just seemed happy and there was lots of greeting strangers in the street with smiles and hellos. Much more than usual. We were all really happy to have been able to celebrate with family and friends at a big community event.

Later in the day I went to the grocery store. When I was checking out the girl bagging my groceries grumpily commented to the equally grumpy checker something to the effect of, 'they all seem to think Obama is, like, god or something, but nothing's really going to change.'. It happened so fast, as I was placing my bags in the stroller, that I didn't say anything, but as I walked home I started feeling kind of annoyed by the comment. I mean, can't we have one measly day to celebrate this massive milestone in our history without the cynicism? I'm pretty excited about Obama and the potential of this administration, but I don't have any delusions -- I mean there's only so much one person can do. Nevertheless, he's given me and the rest of his supporters a lot of hope. Anyway, I thought about the bagger and the checker my whole walk home. After getting inside and putting everything away, I was looking over my receipt. I noticed that the checker's name was 'Hope'. Ironic.

We spent the rest of the afternoon watching MSNBC coverage (how much do we love Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow??), and rebroadcasts of the speech and poem (because I missed those -- Hank had had enough by the time those started!) (I LOVED the speech - especially the commitments made to science and the acknowledgment of us Americans who are 'nonbelievers' -- what a change already!), and enjoying the memories surrounding this day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


One more quick post before calling it a day over here... To celebrate his 14 month-iversary today, Hank sprouted two teeth! For real! He's finally got teeth! And they are so cute! Exclamation point! Finally! Finally! He's like a REAL boy! We haven't managed to snap a photo yet, but we'll capture them on 'film' as soon as we can. They are coming in on top, I think the canines. Looks like teeny tiny fangs. I think I'll call him 'Fang' until more come in. I can't believe he's been working on these since he was 3 1/2 months old. Finally!

Now if he would just give me a kiss, I would be in heaven this week.

Nothing Says 'Happy New Year' Like Burning Things

CIMG9137, originally uploaded by douray.

Last saturday night Henry and I took Hank and several dried up xmas trees to Ocean Beach for the annual tree burning. My parents met us down there with their xmas tree, so including the ones we picked up on the street outside our building, I think we had five or six trees to burn. We got to the beach right at dusk, as the nearly full moon was rising over the edge of Golden Gate Park. All the fire rings were already taken, so we joined another group at theirs and pretty soon trees were going up in flames (FWOOOSH!!) all around us. It was super fun.

Hank has been super awesome the last couple of weeks -- he's so busy, all the time. His need to explore is on an all time high. Henry and I took him to Ikea last night to have meatballs and buy a curtain rod, and we turned him loose in the sofa department. We let him run amok, climbing here, running there, for quite sometime -- until it was clear that he was becoming a danger to himself or others, at which time we had no choice but to put him on stroller arrest.

My favorite thing he's done lately is give me a real live, honest to goodness hug. I'm still waiting on a sloppy kiss from him, and those pesky teeth, but I'll happily settle on a hug from my big boy.

Friday, January 2, 2009

To everything, Turn, Turn, Turn...

So I was saying that a lot has been going on these last several weeks. In addition to some really great stuff, we've been nursing some disappointment and the sadness too. I've been debating whether or not I wanted to post anything at all about it, but what is the point of keeping a diary and leaving an important event out? So in the interest of honoring our the experience and loss, I'm posting what is probably going to be a long and possibly graphic story.

I was hoping that I would be making a post right about now announcing the impending arrival of our second child, but sadly I won't be able to make that announcement at this time. We learned I was pregnant about a week before thanksgiving. We were pretty stunned -- I had just barely recovered from my gallbladder removal (done in the hopes that any subsequent pregnancies would be easier for me), and we had just started trying. It was clear from the get go that it was going to be very different than Hank's pregnancy -- I wasn't experiencing physical symptoms, had nearly no morning sickness, and all of this left me feeling a little worried, and not really believing I was pregnant. Nevertheless, a few nights before thanksgiving, with all our family members crowded around a cozy table at a local italian restaurant, we decided to announce that I was pregnant. It was a wonderful treat to share the news with everyone at once, and made for a very bright spot in our thanksgiving week., and even though things have not worked out, I don't regret making that announcement for a second.

Things kept cooking, but I continued to not believe I was pregnant, and even forget that I was pregnant. I rarely felt sick, and felt kind of relieved when I did feel my stomach turning. I never developed my Super Sonic Sense of Smell, kept forgetting to call and make my first prenatal appointment, and I didn't have any heartburn. The only 'symptom' (if you can call it that), was blind rage and cravings for weird foods like doritos and bread and butter pickles. (in fact, I joked that I should have known I was pregnant when I nearly ripped the head off a postal clerk who refused to release a package sent for Hank's birthday to me because Hank and I did not share a last name, and then went straight to safeway for a bag of doritos -- something I haven't wanted to eat in years).

Anyway, fast forward a few weeks (and if you don't want to read about things like blood, clots, and cramps, maybe skip the rest of this?), I started spotting brown blood. This is pretty normal in early pregnancy, but it made me uncomfortable, and when it didn't stop after several days, I called kaiser and wouldn't let up until they made an appointment for me to come inthe next day. At that appointment I had an ultrasound and we saw the eggsac and the embryo inside, a flickering heartbeat. The doctor measured it and said that it was measuring a perfect six weeks, four days gestation, exactly right for when we think I ovulated. Needless to say the ultrasound gave us some degree of reassurance, and we left the appointment feeling like we might actually be headed towards having another baby.

The spotting continued for another day or two, and then finally stopped. I was relieved. I managed to forget about it and we started preparing for Christmas. In the middle of that week I had a horrible, horrible dream in which we learned I was actually carrying two embryos and that one wasn’t going to survive, so we were going to have to have that one removed. We ended up in a horrible place with blood all over the floor, and the surgeon removed both embryos, without telling us. On the way out, I realized what had happened and I was heartbroken. I woke up certain something was wrong with the pregnancy. But there was no spotting and I think I actually had some morning sickness that day, so I remained confident.

That weekend we went out to do our Christmas shopping. We were feeling good, having a nice time, got a lot done, but when we got home, I was spotting again, much heavier than any of the previous times, and I got very, very worried. If it had been the same as the initial incidents, I probably wouldn’t have thought too much of it, but this was like losing my mucus plug before Hank was born. I was very worried, so we called Kaiser. It was a Saturday and the advice nurse was no help. She actually told me that it would be inappropriate for me to go to the emergency room for this, that they wouldn’t do an ultrasound to check on the pregnancy. (I found this hard to believe but we decided to stay home, anyway).

The next day I was still spotting brown, but we decided to go about our plans. I went out to Orinda to make cookies with my mom and our cousin Joyce, and Henry took Hank to the city to see an exhibit with our friends David and Torey and their little baby boy. In the early afternoon the spotting changed to bright red and heavy. It was clear to me right then that this was definitely a miscarriage.

Henry came to the house with Hank. We left him with my parents and went back to our apartment to wait it all out. I called the advice nurse again, who repeated that the emergency room wasn’t a good place to go during a miscarriage, as they would probably just have me sit around and wait for a loooong time, so home was the best place to be. Over the course of the evening the bleeding came heavier, clots started passing. It was very sad.

The next day, Monday, I was finally able to be seen by a doctor at the ob/gyn clinic. They did an ultrasound and immediately when we saw the screen I said, ‘it’s gone.’. It was gone. Just gone. To my eye, there was an empty, empty uterus. Nothing left.

The doctors who diagnosed the miscarriage were terrific with us – very kind and comforting. One of them said that all we could do was go on home, take to each other and love each other. While the last two of those instructions were a given, we weren’t quite sure about going home, so we went to a matinee. It was pouring rain and so, so cold.

In retrospect I can’t help saying that I knew there was something wrong with this pregnancy from the get-go. It just seemed to come from out of the blue, and I never felt much of a connection. Also, the heartbeat, even though we saw it, just seemed slow to me – slower than what I remembered seeing of Hank’s heartbeat when he was just an embryo. The doctor didn’t make any comment on it, but I still feel like it was slow. Fortunately the miscarriage was early enough that I didn’t have to have a D&C, and I was able to just let it happen naturally. It took several days for the bleeding to stop, and for the clots to stop coming.

We were really, really sad for several days, but this probably happened because of a chromosomal defect, and I would rather have my body sort it out early on than be faced with a horrible decision, or worse, down the road. I’m just glad that I’ve got a great husband and a fabulous toddler who make me feel as though if this is all I am going to get in the family department, then I am set for life, because I don’t know where I would be without these two.

A week after the miscarriage we headed to NY for a week for Christmas. While we were there we did so many things that really restored us and helped get back to feeling so much better. We took Hank for pictures with Santa – I had desperately hoped that Hank would scream and be scared of Santa this year, but no dice. He was pleasant as he could possibly be, and after an initial quizzical glance at Santa, smiled for his picture and had a great time. He definitely was on Santa’s ‘nice’ list after that!

The next couple of days Henry and I left Hank with Henry’s parents and we headed into Manhattan to explore and reconnect. The first day we went in we did the nicest thing I think I have done in months – we hiked in the snow and crisp, sunny day through Central Park’s Ramble, a wooded area surrounding a lake, with tons of birds and animals roaming about. In fact at one point I turned to Henry and asked him, ‘are there Cardinals in NY?’, because it just seemed like a perfect place to see a bright red bird. Almost as if on cue, a small flock of cardinals descended into a tree right in front of us!! I couldn’t believe my eyes! We finished that day off with a trip to the Guggenheim to see the art, walk the spiral, and enjoy a holiday concert. It was lovely. We got back to New Hyde Park feeling like new people. We went back into Manhattan the next day to recreate the first time we went into the city together. We started at Rockefeller Center where we enjoyed trendy cupcakes while watching the skaters (and hoped for a Tina Fey sighting!! No dice), then we meandered up Fifth Avenue, stopping in to lots of the high end stores to ogle pricey items, and get my engagement ring cleaned at Tiffany. We even braved FAO Schwarz to buy a couple of Christmas presents for Hank. That place was a madhouse, but so fun! You can actually make your own Muppet there! We finished the day off with hot chocolates in a hansom cab ride at dusk, as the lights of the city came on all around us. After that we zipped over to the Times Square area to go to one of Henry’s favorite old haunts, Ollie’s Chinese Restaurant – it was terrific.

Christmas eve and day were mellow and lovely – time with family, and Henry’s friend Steven and Christina were able to come by a couple of times too. The day after we took Hank to a petting zoo where Hank was attacked by goats and a llama (I’m still surprised we got out of there with all of Hank’s fingers intact), and took a train ride with his daddy. And of course Hank spent countless hours going UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN the stairs, over and over and over again. He only had one bad fall, after which I was certain we were headed to the emergency room, but fortunately he bounced right back after the tears were moped up (mostly mine!!).

Now we’re back home and getting back into a routine. We are feeling pretty much recovered from everything, but I still have sad moments (like when I saw a baby wearing the same kind of hat that we lost the day the miscarriage started – I almost demanded the mother to tell me where she had gotten the hat! Can you imagine??), but for the most part the experience has become just that – an experience. Granted, an experience that we would have preferred to skip altogether, but an experience that is part of our lives, and now we can move on.

And of course while all this has been going on, I've also been trying to start a business of my own and sort out a mess with the EDD (my boss denied my unemployment claim after laying me off -- we have to have a hearing on it! It has been such a huge stress). So we've had quite a lot on our plates. The last few months of this year have been pretty rough, so I for one, am happy to see a new year come in to play right now.

Thanks for reading, and for those of you reading who were supporting us through the whole thing, thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is so incredibly good to have friends and family who are so kind and I can only hope that we are able to give back half as much as we receive from you.

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, I’m going to go roughhouse a bit with my little guy! He is so, so much fun these days and he has no idea what comfort he’s given us both recently. He’s getting more and more verbal – he points at things as says ‘oh! Wa dat??’ {oh what’s that, or I want that, depending on inflection and tone) and ‘oba deh’ (over there) and ‘aw doh’ (all done). Oh and he runs from place to place now and wears real shoes. When did my baby become a toddler?? Shocking. His latest thing is climbing in and out of a giant suitcase over and over again. Sometimes I give him a book, his wooden tomato, and a blankie, and he just kills time in there with those things. Pretty cute. Must take some pictures.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

The first day of the new year is coming to a close around here. Sorry I've been so quiet the last several weeks. I've got lots to say about what we've been up to, but it is going to have to wait a few more days. Just wanted to send a quick post out to the friends and family that read this (and the ones that don't!) thanking you all for the love and support and kindness you give to us Wagmonds all year long. I don't know where we would be without all of you.