Sunday, February 06, 2011

Parenting Meditation for the Week

From Everyday Blessings by Myla & Jon Kabat-Zinn

In any moment, we can choose to set aside the armor that has protected us, and ally ourselves with our children, giving them the gift of a more open, compassionate, and understanding parent. In the process, we get a taste if the way it might have been in our own childhood, and more importantly, we get to share the intrinsic freedom and connectedness of this moment not only with our child but with ourself. in choosing to break out of a negative cycle, the magic of a love that is unconditional touches us all. Each time we are able to do this, we take another step toward wholeness and our own liberation.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Snuggly Babies & Good Friends

Snuggling with Kai on the couch, who told me he wanted to cuddle with me "forever and ever" while I exchanged smiles with Willa over his shoulder. I love my babies so very much!

Watching Kai and his friend Niamh (pronounced "Neeve") hold hands while jumping on our bed. And then jumping off our bed, onto a pile of blankets and pillows they put on the floor. So precious. And so neat how these kids keep on growing up together!

Giggling on the couch with Kai, which made Willa giggle, which caused Kai and I to giggle even more.

Willa just absolutely digging her feet and her hands. She stares, mesmerized, at them saying, "ba! ba! ba!" over and over again.

A community of the most amazing women in the world. Wonderful mothers who take care of one another and one another's families in such beautiful and unexpected and truly life-saving ways. Just amazing. I'm really, really blessed. Like crazy blessed. I never knew that an email list would become my extended family. It is truly amazing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Blessings

My new tradition for starting my week off in gratitude. In no particular order:

1. Rockin' knitting lessons from Laura H.
2. A really affirming coaching phone call with Carrie, author of my favorite blog, The Parenting Passageway.
3. Friends who support my personal growth as a parent and as a human being.
4. My first real encounter with the joy of thrift stores.
5. All the knitting and embroidery supplies I have and am getting from my grandma via my mom. Nice to feel like I have her back again.
6. Really nice neighbors.
7. A snuggly 4 month old Willa.
8. The beautiful bedtimes and wakeups Kai and I have been experiencing lately.
9. The pleasure of washing dishes.
10. Quiet moments.
I was planning to write ten, but on a night of cold hardwood floors, I couldn't leave out
11. My LL Bean slippers.


Friday, November 19, 2010

this moment

A Friday ritual, inspired by SouleMama "A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Path to Smoother Days

Pick the part of the day that feels most broken and consider how you can make it magical.

When Willa was born and we were short a staff member at the studio, Bob was working even more than the crazy schedule he normally keeps. And I was doing wakeup to bedtime solo for most of the week. With a 2.5 year old and a newborn. Yikes. It still sounds terrifying to me!

And it was for a time. There were nights when all three of us cried. Which broke my heart just a bit, because I have worked hard since Kai was born to make sleep a peaceful, loving, nurturing event. He was a child who actually got excited about bedtime most nights before Willa joined us. We never did CIO and were totally comfortable nursing or cuddling him to sleep all along. So three people crying their way through bedtime was, well, excruciating for me. And sad for Kai.

But it just did not work for me to tandem nurse Kai and Willa to sleep. I tried it and I felt like all of my life force and energy were being pulled from me. It was too much for me to give.

So I spent a lot of time and thought on the subject of a peaceful, loving bedtime. I needed to be able to be up and carrying Willa in a carrier while nursing her. That was our best bet for a bedtime that met her need for being held and for nursing, while also meeting Kai's need for a bedtime free of a screaming infant.

I pulled out a lovely book of bedtime meditations for children that I have used for kids' yoga classes in the past.

I simplified and shortened our routine and made it very, very consistent night after night.

Kai and I both still miss snuggling up at bedtime until he falls asleep, but I am thrilled to say that he once again looks forward to bedtime, as do I. Most nights that I am solo, both he and Willa fall asleep in 3-20 minutes. On the now rare occasions, like tonight, when Willa is just too fussy to allow me to share meditations wtih him, he tends to fall asleep in the two minutes it takes me to walk her around the house and calm her down.

More often, though, after we finish stories or cuddling, nursing for two minutes in the living room, pajamas and teeth, we head to the bedroom and he has some water, then snuggles down under a blanket, says "bippity boppity boo!" while I turn out the lights. I then light a candle and share the "Bedtime Bless" as he calls it:
Bless my pillow, bless my bed
Bless me, too, from toes to head
Bless the earth, the sun, the air
And bless the children everywhere.
I read about Kai's special star, his own special garden, the animals that come to drink at a watering hold in his garden, the old tree that lives there. And he drifts to sleep, repeating back to me things like the fact that tonight his star is purple or the giraffe whose back he rides upon is blue.

I keep coming back to the idea that I want this time in my children's lives to be full of magic and wonder....

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Getting back to blogging....

Now that Willa is with us, I am struck daily by the different demands of parenting babies versus parenting toddlers. The first is all physical - exhausting to be sure, but almost mindless once you have experienced it. The latter....well, mentally demanding 24/7.

A friend wrote this week for brainstorming advice about Gentle Discipline. It got me to thinking - it's really time to start posting again. I'm on a journey that often challenges me. A journey toward parenting in a way that teaches with love and kindness and respect and authority. A journey into myself, really, because if I let it, parenting has this way of magnifying whatever limitations I have and demanding that I address them.

For today, a brief synopsis. The business we started a little over a year ago continues to go well. Our startup debt terrifies us sometimes, but we are not going deeper, we have successfully supported ourselves with just the business income from day one, and things look hopeful for a business loan to consolidate our debt and provide us some working capital and space to breathe a little.

Our plans to homeschool continue to deepen and solidify. For early childhood education, some aspects of Waldorf strongly appeal. An emphasis on rhythm in our home, seasons, the natural world.

Yep. I continue to nurse Kai, two to three times per day. Tandem nursing is an interesting experience. Glad to still be offering Kai this touchstone, also glad for the limits I have set to make it work for all of us.

I'm wildly imperfect in my parenting and striving to accept and embrace that.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kai and Lauren, when Kai is Two

Kai is now two years old.

He loves to paint and draw and do glue and sand painting. He makes "lara bar cookies" with dates and cashews in the food processor and his own pizzas in small pizza pans. He loves to do projects - like dying silk playscarves or making our own playdough. And to wear said playscarves around his neck like a cape while he runs around yelling "watch out, chicken coming!" or plays the game that he "invented" - red light/green light.

He is obsessed with the way things are put together and how they work. He was more interested in disassembling a friend's easel than drawing on it with chalk. He did all of the hex screwing for his toddler table and chairs from Ikea and for his sling bookshelf.

After weeks or months of thinking of crazy ideas and telling me "that would be silly" or "that would be funny" he moved on to saying "that would be oh my goodness!" and more recently "that would be very Happy Birthday!"

True to the job description of a two year old he is very skilled at testing limits. Mostly I find this entertaining. Sometimes I am tired and my own limits feel tested.

His little sister continues to grow happily and well in my belly, which sometimes feels as though it is getting bigger by the hour. When I was pregnant with Kai, I just wanted him to hurry up and join us in this world already. With Willa...well, some part of me would be okay if she wanted to just hang around in my belly until she was twenty and ready to be on her own.

We opened a personal training studio in September, and have been reliant solely on Bob's income since then. The business is thriving. And we have lots of debt financing that makes even owning a thriving new business a total roller coaster ride. Relying entirely on income from sales is not for the faint of heart. We are generally happy but will be less anxious when the studio reaches full capacity (we are at 85/120 right now), and then when we pay down our start up debt and build up our savings again.

Lately I have been feeling restless. A friend calls it SAHM syndrome. I am not struggling with any issues of identity loss - I'm feeling more myself as a stay at home mom than I ever did in former professions. I do, however, feel this sense that I should be producing something. My tasks and daily life are so process oriented and what I do make (food, projects to do with Kai, plans for future homeschooling) are mostly consumable. Many are witnessed by a two year old only and no other adults. Triumphs are in interactions and self-mastery. I recognize that I am also in the process of growing another child right now. But I'm feeling itchy for something that brings immediate satisfaction. Something tangible I can see and say hey, that's me, I did that. Like a book or a blog or an I don't what. But I don't want the associated pressure of it. I don't need any manufactured anxiety about what I'm supposed to be doing or producing on a daily basis, as I already have plenty to do in the course of a day!

Anyway. That's a quick snapshot of Kai and of me at this moment in time. We are generally happy, we miss Bob a lot and look forward to the day in our future when we realize it's time to hire a manager at the studio so he can back off working so many hours. That day is not today, but it will come.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Oh, and Have I Mentioned?

That frequently when Kai starts to go into a tantrum, he stops himself, lies down on the floor, and stretches out quietly for a few minutes? Why can't I learn to do that?!?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Language, Markers, and Trucks...

We are having so much fun with words in our house right now. All of a sudden this week, Kai seems to repeat almost everything we say to him. He is starting to use two word sentences and is just delighted by the act of speaking. In his sleep, I often hear him saying, "Buh-bye mommy, buh-bye daddy, hi mommy, hi daddy" over and over. And after a diaper change yesterday, he waved at his penis and said "buh-bye nis!" and cracked Bob right up. Hmmm. I hope he doesn't hate me later in his life for posting that today.

He's also OBSESSED with markers. Crayons won't cut it anymore. Half the time he won't eat a meal because he's so focused on asking for markers and "papee" at the table to draw with. He even asked to come home from the playground yesterday afternoon to draw. But we have to take many, many breaks from the markers because they are just so tempting to eat, and while I'm okay with him biting off and spitting out the ends of crayons on occasion, I am NOT okay with him sucking down marker ink. It seems to make him less and less upset as I enforce that limit with him, and I'm hoping that after a couple of weeks, he'll chill with the marker eating a bit.

Speaking of which, I think part of what helps him with the limit is that I'm not just taking away the markers, I'm offering him his new favorite choices for handing things over or doing pretty much anything. I finally clued into the reality that my kid could care less about animals and animal noises, but that I could use his love of trucks to offer fun choices. When I need him to put something down or give it to me, he chooses between dumptrucking or diggering it down. Sometimes he makes a truck noise, sometimes he just says "diggee!" or "ump!". Same for cleaning up his big bag of duplos - we exclaim "Digger!" when we pick the block up and "Drop!" when we put it in the bag. And he gets so excited about cleaning up the blocks that sometimes when we're done, he then dumps the bag out just so he can digger all of blocks back into the bag again.

I love my kid.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Kai and His Crocodile

At long last, a video of Kai walking. He's now quite fast, though pulling the crocodile behind him does seem to slow things down a bit.


(This was close to bedtime, which is why the lights in the apartment are so dim)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Language Update...

New words and signs in purple at the end of the lists. Oh, and I added a new section - Yoga Kai Does!:

Words Kai Speaks (roughly in order)

  • Dada
  • Mama
  • Nurse
  • Truck
  • Up
  • Hat
  • Banana
  • That
  • Bees
  • Book
  • Back
  • Bye (actually, "Buh-Bye")
  • Ball
  • Out
  • Bath
  • Baby
  • Toast
  • This
  • Bob
  • David
  • Lampa (Sanskrit for "jump")
  • Apple (Cracks me up, because he always says, "bapple")
  • Bread
  • Monkey (monkey noises, that is)
  • Puppy
  • Belly Button
  • Bear
  • Backward (he hears it a lot "backward, go down backward, Kai!")
  • Help
  • Meow (when he sees a cat)
  • Bird
  • Brush
  • Butterfly
  • Diaper
  • Blueberry
  • Down Dog (Dow-Dah!)
  • Broom
  • Hoop
  • Block
  • Poop

Words Kai Signs

  • Nurse/Milk
  • All Done
  • Up
  • Down
  • Again
  • More
  • Yay! (okay, this is just clapping, but I think it counts)
  • Bye
  • Me
  • Rainbow (appears in his bedtime book)
  • Water
  • Door (Kai invented this one himself - he points to the door and makes a motion like he's twisting the doorknob)
  • Eat/Food
  • Diaper
  • Tickle
  • Sleep
  • Apple
  • Help (just learned today!)
  • Puppy
  • Bird
  • Brush/Comb
  • Butterfly
  • Pain
  • Banana

Yoga Kai Does
  • Down Dog
  • So Big (reaches arms up, then touches ground)
  • Star (Holds arms out to and stands wide, rocking back and forth to "Twinkle, Twinkle")
  • Ba La La (Alternating hand drumming)
  • Half Moon (Tot version - raises one arm up over head when he hears, "Up, up, and away, half moon)
  • Twistee (twists side to side when we sing "Twistee")
  • The beginning and end of Baby Planet
  • Kicky Cobra
  • Butterfly
  • Something I don't teach in classes, but he sees me do at home myself - he actually does the first few asanas of a sun salutation, with hands in prayer/Namaste cute!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Car Seat PSA

Think being a year old and 20 lbs. makes it safe for your child to forward face in a car seat? This can be a deadly misconception. If you're a parent and this comes as news to you, please, please watch this video, and read more over at my other blog.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Last night, Kai started really walking - not just taking a few steps, but using bipedally traveling from Point A to Point B. Today his locomotion is half crawling, half standing...He's less drunken sailorly about it than I expected, and just delighted with himself. Will try to post video in the next day or two!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another Very Quick Update - More and More Steps Every Day!

I have to leave in six minutes to teach two classes, but Kai and Bob are taking a nap and I figured if I didn't blog now, who knows when I would get my next opportunity?!?

For about a week, Kai has been taking unsupported steps! It started with one or two, and is up to four or five. They are such sweet, small, tentative, cautious steps! I love watching! He often looks like he is considering what the best way to locomote will be, pausing before opting to crawl, cruise, or bravely walk on his own.

During the past week, Kai also started signing and saying "help" when he needs assistance, and, now that he regularly attends my Tots classes on Saturdays, he's also started doing Down Dog while saying "Daw Dow" (in addition to the So Big and Ba La La poses he's been doing for a while). I've watched other one year olds learn these things but it's amazing seeing it develop for myself. I'm soooooooo excited that my kids will have this amazing opportunity to be consciously doing yoga asanas at such an early age. Believe it or not, there are some three and four year olds out there, especially kids of yoga teachers that I've met, who have just this incredible presence in their own bodies and a really beautiful yoga practice. So cool. Oh! And because he's also around a lot when I do my own practice, he's started doing the beginning of sun salutations - hands in prayer position, floating up into mountain pose. Adorable!

In my own news - I start my yoga teacher (for teaching grown ups) in February and I'm ecstatic!!! I'm doing it with the teacher/at the studio of my very first yoga class eight or so years ago. Who would've thunk it?

Friday, January 09, 2009

Language Development Update II

Kai's vocabulary, both spoken and signed, has expanded quite a bit since the last update. I'm amazed that when we first showed him the sign for 'apple' he immediately repeated it. Quite impressive, little bear. As you can see below, B & T appear to be his favorite consonants, though he has not yet mastered bat, bet, bit, bot or butt. If someone would like to place a wager on a competition between Kai with a stick and a robot that bites people in the rear, then perhaps he could learn them all in one go.

Update: Kai learned his first word in another language yesterday! Lampa, which means 'jump' in Sanskrit, is a word he's heard a lot because it's used in Lauren's Itsy Bitsy Yoga classes.

Words Kai Speaks (roughly in order)
  • Dada
  • Mama
  • Nurse
  • Truck
  • Up
  • Hat
  • Banana
  • That
  • Bees
  • Book
  • Back
  • Bye
  • Ball
  • Out
  • Bath
  • Baby
  • Toast
  • This
  • Bob
  • David
  • Lampa (Sanskrit for "jump")
Words Kai Signs
  • Nurse/Milk
  • All Done
  • Up
  • Down
  • Again
  • More
  • Yay! (okay, this is just clapping, but I think it counts)
  • Bye
  • Me
  • Rainbow (appears in his bedtime book)
  • Water
  • Door (Kai invented this one himself - he points to the door and makes a motion like he's twisting the doorknob)
  • Eat/Food
  • Diaper
  • Tickle
  • Sleep
  • Apple
  • Help (just learned today!)
In addition to speaking and signing, Kai gesticulates wildly, dances, bangs things together, and makes multiple vehicle sounds. He appears to have separate sounds for ground-based vs. flying machines. I've been trying to teach him to make a train noise (woo-woo!), but to no avail. I should probably take him to see an actual train with a whistle. Maybe that will do the trick.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Kai's First Year in Photos

Kai's First Year

My baby is a year old today...

Our friends Jenny & Sophie were over earlier today, and Jenny asked if I'd been flashing back all day. Yup...I have been since two nights ago, as my water broke (and it was a gusher) the evening of the 3rd last year. All day yesterday, I kept remembering the beautiful sunset we awoke to outside Mt. Auburn on the morning of the 4th, and all the time I spent on the yoga ball trying to roll my contractions into a more regular, frequent pattern. And then this morning, when Kai let me sleep until almost 7 AM, I remembered his little two-hour old self (I'm choking up now as I type) and just stared in wonder at the almost walker I've got on my hands now. Bob and I have been looking through the year's photos and videos this week in the evenings after Kai goes to bed, and it's startling how recent his crawling and toddling really are. Feels like I've known this little toddler who ate my baby for a long time...but he truly was so little and young for so much of the year!

Just took a break from typing so that Bob and I could go show Kai the slideshow of pics of his first year of life (working on getting up online tonight, will post link later!), and I'm all choked up again. He's inspired so many wonderful changes in my life and in Bob's. Thanks to parenthood, both of us are now pursuing vocations that actually speak to who we are, and living a life much more in tune with I guess a sense of calling than we ever were before. Kai continues to be my favorite and best meditation teacher - years of sitting 10-day courses and practicing yoga can't hold a candle to what Kai has taught me about patience and remaining in the present moment fully with equanimity!! LOL. He's shown me more of my strengths and weaknesses and asked me to face them in a way that truly motivates and alters me...Early days of difficult, painful nursing, and his own discomfort with entering the world (some would call it colic, don't know what I call it other than hard on him and hard on us!) bonded us in ways I never would have imagined and make these days of his blossoming social and relatively easy-going self that much sweeter! Cosleeping and nursing have been such sweet experiences as well, and I delight more every day in waking up to his grinning little face each morning...I'm comfortable and confident with our choice to continue these practices until Kai himself is ready to give them up and makes that known.

I thought I'd share my perspective on his birth, now that a year's perspective has intervened. I've used some of what I wrote last year, and have added to it and edited it with this different view:

My water broke in a gush the evening of Thursday, January 3, right after I did a few down dogs and child's poses in bed! Arriving at Mt. Auburn during the nighttime hours (on Thursday, January 3, 32 hours before Kai was actually born!) afforded us the wonderful experience of waking in the morning to a gorgeous sunrise outside our labor and delivery room.

My doula told me some months before Kai's birth that a woman meets herself in labor. For me, that meant meeting someone who is realllllly good at asking for and receiving support and love! Bob was steadfast throughout and such an important touchstone for me, which helped me stay much calmer and more centered in my hypnobirthing breathing than I might otherwise have been. At my doula, Gina's, recommendation, I locked eyes with him during the transition phase and pretty much entered a trance like state that had him thinking this was a peaceful phase of labor for me. Nice trick, I think, as it was definitely the most challenging hour or so of my life! I really thought the pushing would be the scary, hard part, but for me, the scary, hard part was really transition (transition is the last few centimeters of dilation, as your body gets ready to start pushing. When asked about my labor, I said then, and continue to say now, that it was a wonderful experience. It was! I was fascinated by it as the experience occurred - growing up, I always knew for some reason that I wanted to experience pregnancy and childbirth. At times I'd been unsure about experiencing parenthood, LOL, but pregnancy and birth always fascinated me!

Afterward, people kept asking about the whole 32 hours really wasn't so bad. First, because not all of that was active water broke on Thursday night but my contractions weren't really regular or intense until Friday afternoon...and then Kai was born at 5:19am on Saturday morning. My experience of labor was that it was extremely intense, the hardest and most with during transition...Bob's presence, Gina's presence, and the support of our unusual OB Beth Hardiman (she delivers virtually all over her patients, truly got to know us, and really loves and has patience with natural childbirth and laboring moms) made me feel so loved and safe, so that in the moments when I felt terrified or overwhelmed, I could say so, experience it, and let it pass. I had created a book beforehand, with quotes and passages that inspired me/made me feel connected to the strength of women and feminity, as well as words of support from strong women in my life. I asked Bob to read to me from it frequently during my labor and felt so buoyed by it. I felt completely loved through labor...

I've read that pitocin (synthetic oxytocin, used to encourage a woman's body to get into a regular and stronger contraction pattern) makes the contractions and labor much more intense - since I was still only 2cm after being at the hospital for almost 24 hours, we decided it was a good tool for me. I have no idea whether the labor was more challenging as a result, since I have no basis for comparison! Either way, I'm felt pretty proud of myself, my preparation and my stamina...Especially in the months since, as I've been able to integrate the couple of more difficult/upsetting aspects of my labor into my narrative about it - the overdose of pitocin that Bob thankfully noticed only several minutes after it began (nurse left room after accidentally making IV drip go from 14 to 76 and suddenly I had contractions that didn't stop...this apparently lasted for only a few minutes, because Bob caught it so quickly - thank goodness for a husband who had trouble watching me and not the monitor once it was on! LOL). And the other nurse who told me I had "bad veins" (I have HUGE veins that people have practiced on!) and couldn't get my IV inserted properly, such that for the only time in my life, I began uncontrollably sobbing when she stuck me (and missed my vein)...the IV tech ended up doing it, and did so quite comfortably. And the in and out of nurses, the interruptions of the hospital, and even just the experience of departing from home, a place I didn't want to leave at all...I think for a while I wouldn't let myself think about all of this because I was afraid that it would negate the beautiful labor and birth we had. But time helped put that in perspective, and I now feel these were just as much part of an otherwise wonderful experience as the otherwise wonderful parts were! It is scary to think that if Bob hadn't been paying such close attention, both Kai and I could have had serious problems, could have even died, but...that didn't happen.

It's true what they say, that you go somewhere else during labor...time distorts itself and the experience is the most physical I imagine I will ever have. Overall, I'm happy to have had what I needed to give Kai a relatively peaceful birth...he was born incredibly alert with his eyes wide open and checking out the world.

I feel like I have to acknowledge my early breastfeeding experience right now, too, because for the first ten weeks, I couldn't imagine how we would make it to a year, and I'm so proud of myself and of Kai for getting here. In those early weeks, we survived tongue tie and frenulum clipping, serious oversupply, thrush, cracked & bleeding nipples, repeated nursing strikes, several days when it seemed Kai had completely forgotten how to latch at all (not even in the painful way he had been that had at least achieved milk transfer), consultations with multiple LLL leaders and 4 LCs, and many, many hours of tears for us both. When things finally got better, and our thrush disappeared, I had a week before returning to what was then my full-time job. At that point, when I started trying to pump, I discovered that my breasts didn't react well to any size or shape of breastshield! Smaller sizes chafed and gave me plugged ducts, bigger sizes sucked in my whole areola! I learned to hand express in a major hurry, and thanked heavens for oversupply and the twelve or so jets of milk that each breast produced at a time, and suffered through several months of three 45-60 minute hand expressing sessions a day at work in order to get a reasonable enough amount of milk that would continue to maintain my supply. Though, unfortunately, Bob and Kai were suffering at home (Bob was a full-time, SAHD for a few months) because Kai absolutely, completely refused to take a bottle - he went for two or three months drinking maximum 2-3 ounces of milk/day...poor Bob spent all of his time trying to feed, soothe, or help to sleep this little child who just wanted his mama to nurse. It was soooo hard for all of us. Actually, as we both looked through photos, we were surprised by how emotionally we still responded to some of the photos Bob took of Kai during that time. I still feel real sadness that I was away from Kai for so much time from just before he was three months old until he was nearly six months old. And Bob still feels such sadness at watching the poor kid hungrily refuse to eat. But...we made our lives look very different as a result, and I'm grateful for that. And had the early challenges to nursing not existed, we might never have found our dear friends Jenny and Sophie at a breastfeeding support group, who were the only ones we knew with the exact set of issues we faced!

Anyway, my goodness, it's been quite a year. I feel like I've just written a book - thanks for reading through it to those of you who have. I'm so intrigued to watch Kai's personality unfold in these next years to come...and thank you to all of you for the support you've offered our family as we've learned to be a threesome...

In wonder and awe at the journey to and of motherhood,

Monday, December 15, 2008

Important Update

Kai is currently beating a piece of toast to death with a remote control.

That is all.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Language Development Update

Words Kai can speak:
  • Dada (or Ah-da)
  • Mama
  • Nurse (it's more like Naynaynaynaynay, but the intent/meaning is clear)
  • Truck (usually comes out as T...T...Tr....Truh.....T.... but again meaning is clear)
  • Up (uttered once or twice several weeks ago and not since)
  • Head/Hat (aka Het, see previous post)
  • Banana (his latest, which also takes the form of Ba-nuh or Na-nuh)
Words Kai can sign:
  • Nurse/Milk
  • All done (most often used when he's finished with a meal)
  • Up
  • Down
  • Again (often used when he wants us to read a book again)
  • More (I've only seen him do this once and am not 100% certain of his intent)
Kai is also doing a lot of pointing these days - at things that he wants, things that we name, just for fun, and for who knows what other reasons.

He clearly understands many more words than he says/signs. This whole language development thing is fascinating.

Sorry that I don't have any other profound insights right now, but I'm rather sleepy and just wanted to do a quick post to document Kai's development for posterity.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday Blogging Madness - Long Overdue Beach Pics

These are from a trip to Crane Beach in Ipswich, MA back in August....

Wednesday Blogging Madness - Kai Outside

Kai continues to love being outside. Here are some recent pics of our outdoor adventures:

Swinging at the park just down the street

Crawling around and playing with leaves

More fun with leaves

Reaching for pine needle in grassy clearing

Wednesday Blogging Madness - "Het"

In an effort to try to blog here more often, I'm introducing Wednesday Blogging Madness. Since Wednesdays are generally less hectic for me, I'm hoping that I can at least post a few times, even if I don't get around to posting much on other days. So without further ado, here goes....

Kai said another word today, although I'm not quite sure which one. Let me explain....I was putting a hat on his head and repeating "hat" and "head" to him as I did so. After doing this a few times, he looked at me and said "het!". I'm not sure which one he meant, but I suspect head, since Lauren and I have been repeating body part names to him since he was a couple of months old.

Here's a Kai head/hat/het pic from a few weeks ago:

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Kai's Fourth Word is Obama!!!!!

And we even have witnesses! We weren't able to teach Kai to raise the roof for our election party tonight, but he did learn the word Obama! Add that to Mama, Dada, and Up! We're so proud of our little progressive munchkin.

Monday, October 06, 2008

9 Months....Already???

Wow. Nine months have passed since we greeted Kai, and that just sounds so old. When Kai was still brand new, I used to meet 8-, 9-, and 10-month olds who just looked so big to me. And now he's one of them. One of them who, according to his pediatrician, continues to be pretty big. At today's visit, he weighed in at almost 22 lbs (still 75th percentile) and we discovered that he is 29.5 inches tall - up to the 90th percentile. Our theory, based on his large hands and feet at birth, that he will take after my very tall, very lean Grandpa John persists based on this new data.

These days Kai loves sounds of all sort. Especially sounds he can make by banging, scratching, waving, rubbing, or otherwise manipulating multiple objects together. Pots, pans, spoons and yogurt container lids are way more exciting than any of his toys. Except books. He LOVES books. And he'll pull all of his books off the low shelves until he finds his favorites - Sheep in a Jeep, How Do I Love You, and Where is Baby's Belly Button being chief among them. He's even turning pages successfully at times now (at other times, his version of page turning looks more like grabbing the book by a single page and dangling it high in the air while singing to it). His absolute favorite book we reserve for bedtime - Love is a Handful of Honey - Kai LIGHTS up when he sees it and we love having this evening ritual together as a family.

We've been reluctant to think it true, but the more time passes, the more it seems he may actually know what it means when he says "mama" and "dada," which he's been doing for a while now. I finally decided to believe it today when I left the room for a moment and he frantically began moving toward my new location while intensely calling out, "mama!! mama!!!" He also waved at our pediatrician repeatedly during today's visit, and she told me we could "count" that as well. As posted previously, Kai also clearly makes the sign for nurse - both when he's hungry and also when he just wants me for whatever reason. Mommy = milk apparently, even when milk is not wanted. It's so funny how gradual the assignment of meaning seems to be with gestures and words, though. The signing was clear and obvious when it began, but the waving and the words - well, those were a much slower process. Things he did or said frequently that have become more discriminating with time. He's amazing. A wonder to watch unfolding before our always amazed eyes.

Kai's also loving food of all kinds these days. He usually just has some of our dinner - as long as it's in small enough pieces, he does fine and doesn't need it milled or pureed. He adored the lentil vegetable soup I made for dinner tonight. His pincer grasp is getting pretty reliable, so he is also getting good at feeding himself. Which can make for some messy meals.

I think that's most of what I have to report tonight. I'm a little sad and wistful that his time out of the womb will, from now on, be longer than the time he was with me so closely. It seems every day brings out new actions and experiences of his growing independence, which is exciting and also something I quietly grieve, so grateful for what now feels like the immense freedom and wisdom in deciding to be physically there for so much of his first year. I continue to love him more deeply than I ever knew was possible, even when he shrieks with horror because I've removed some tiny something from his hands that he picked up and really wanted to put in his mouth. He's such a miracle.

And...for the grandparents, and our friends who've been demanding more are a few. We're working on the video, but it takes ages to upload and with two tiny startup service businesses, well, time is a precious commodity these days, and when available, spent mostly with Kai.

These are from earlier today at the park. It was chilly, so Kai was nicely bundled in his very bright fleecey pants and oddly kind of matching sweater. He sits very well and happily on his own and has for some time, but suddenly at the park, he decided that it would be a fun game to lean against my hand and fall backward whenever I started to remove it - he would laugh and laugh. Which made me laugh and laugh. So we just kept going up and down for several minutes. Bob recorded it - that's one of the videos we want to get up sometime soon!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Kai Speaks!

...well, with his hands.

I've been making the ASL sign for 'milk/nurse' to Kai for months now and this week I discovered that he actually noticed. He now makes the sign whenever he wants to nurse and often looks very proud and pleased when I respond.

More pics and that promised video of Kai crawling very soon...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Breaking News: Crawling!

Our correspondent in the field informs us that at approximately 12:45pm EDT on the 8th of September, one Mr. Kai Alexander Bellon successfully crawled for the first time. Said Mr. Bellon was seen tossing a toy on the floor of his living room, and then crawling to retrieve it.

We hope to obtain video footage of this new development, just as soon as Kai's parents are able to locate their camera.

Stay tuned for further developments.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

On Our Own for a Few Days

Bob's away on a meditation retreat for a few days this week, so Kai and I are having some good quality mom and baby time together! I won't lie, I sorely missed my sleep in time this morning when he decided it was a good day to revert to waking up at 5:30 am and there was no dad in sight to join him.

At this moment, Kai is alternately playing with his organic cotton carrot (thanks again, Kate!), pounding the floor and then laughing hysterically when I look down and over at him, or...

successfully dragging himself forward just a little bit!!! This is a brand new first as of the last few moments!!!

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Daddy Diaries: Another Photojournal

We don't get around to posting nearly as often as we would like, but here are more pics highlighting some of the events of the last two weeks:

Kai about to devour a paper bag

I really wish we had video of this. He loved the sound the bag made as he whacked it with his hands.

Am I not supposed to chew on the green part?

Kai showing off his standing skills and computer skills (the hat helps with both).

Kai has become a big fan of the water.

From our trip to the DeCordova Museum's sculpture park.

Kai took this one of Lauren and me sleeping. He finished half of that bag of popcorn while we napped. And, of course, he patiently waited for us to wake up, entertaining himself by singing Beatles songs and making friends with a family of squirrels. Okay, that's all lies and misrepresentations. But we did have some good family time on our Sesame Street blanket.

From our hike in the Middlesex Fells.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Daddy Diaries: Adventures in Solid Foods

Kai has turned into a champion eater and explorer of all things edible. It seems that he'll eat just about anything, as evidenced by the raw onion he grabbed and sucked on while Lauren was making dinner the other night. When Lauren took it away, he got upset and reached for more. Some of the more run-of-the-mill foods he's tried so far are: avocado, carrot, quinoa, zucchini, oatmeal, sweet potato, rice pasta, banana, watermelon, spinach, lentils, and blueberries. It's hard to decide which foods make the biggest mess, but I'd say that sweet potato and watermelon are right up at the top of that list. He needed a bath immediately following both of the meals pictured below....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me! or...Thank You!!!!

I feel so very loved and special. Thank you to my wonderful husband who absolutely accomplished his goals of surprising me for my upcoming 30th birthday, and of making me feel so good on this occasion...The video, audio, and e-mail submissions were lovely, and what people had to say at the party was so generous and kind and nice.

Bob knows me well, and truly, I do love public praise and surprises and being the center of attention (hey, I can admit it about myself! :) ), so his request for people to share why they think I'm so fabulous was pretty much the perfect gift! And yes, I was totally, completely surprised. It actually scared the bejeezus out of me when I walked into the house and saw so many people all yelling, "surprise!" It was also just so fun because there were multiple babies and kids here, and well, I loved that.

A special thanks to Deji for driving to NH to pick up a cake that would agree with Kai's tummy via me (dairy- and gluten-free).

I have to say, I'm really looking forward to actually turning 30! (August 12, in case you're wondering!).

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Have we mentioned? Kai is teething. But he's approaching the process in a very individualistic manner. No sign of his front four teeth, but we've seen white pop through in the back where molars go, and there are big swollen lumps where canines and incisors live. During our most recent visit, our pediatrician exclaimed, "Oh! I know this happens but I've never seen it! Let me feel!" Kai obliged.

Our generally chipper fellow has definitely been slightly less chipper with all the activity under his gums.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Daddy Diaries: Photojournal Edition

Bath time in the sink!

Splashing is a necessary and fun part of bathing.

Play time with friends Jenny & Sophie.

(back row from l. to r.) Lauren, Kai, Jenny, and David. Bob's knee and Sophie in foreground.

Solid foods are messy!

Gnaw, gnaw, gnaw. Carrots are good for teething. Especially when your first tooth to break through is a molar. Yes, seriously.

Kai liked his bowl more than the avocado on this day. (don't worry, the chips are for Lauren)

Avocado soul patch.