Friday, July 27, 2012

Induction Day

I'm hanging out on a bed here on 15 Long, Room 1.


Tim is stretched out on a pull out bed next to me. We have some RadioParadise going on and we're on our respective electronic devices. Ada is at home with her grandparents. Pitocin started just a minute ago and there is some work being done to get my body to go into labor even though things appear to be locked down pretty tight. I'm only at 1 cm and the baby is quite high so I have a long way to go.

40w1d: For the record, I think this baby is going to be really big. 

It's discouraging really and so far from the way I wanted the process of welcoming my children to the world to go. I'm a bit of a hippie at heart and I believe in the incredible power and wisdom of the human body. When I went into labor with Ada I trusted that with a little help everything would happen exactly as it should. Overlooking a few minor snags I would say that it was a beautiful experience. Learning how capable and strong my body was, how determined and focused my mind could be was empowering. Though I did deliver in a hospital last time I labored at home for a long time and had minimal intervention. I liked it that way. If I could get my knows-a-little-too-much husband to agree I would have done a water birth at home with a doula. Nothing would please me more than letting this baby come when he was ready. 

Well, one thing would please me more - for my husband to be present at the birth of his son.


Since we're on a university-inflicted timeline and they're not flexible it's up to me to bend a little. And by "bend a little" I mean welcome the metamorphosis of a beautiful, natural experience into a medicalized, forced one. I feel very disengaged from this particular birth process and that bums me out. Nature was driving the process the first time around and my body was following the commands. It all felt very right. Maybe it wasn't very true but I at least felt like I had some control. That is not the case at all now as I'm handing it over to science. I am a scientist so one would be inclined to think that it wouldn't bother me but it does. It feels all wrong.


Breathing through these early contractions reminds me of giving birth to Ada and how long it took. My head-space was so different then. I keep trying to talk myself into it. I've done it before countless times: one more mile, one more hour of study, one more lap, one more I keep thinking that one more contraction I can surely pull through. However, I suspect that I'll be quite passive and not so much the determined participant I was the first time around. I've already signed the consent forms for an epidural, you know, to save time later. For now, I just wait and hope that my body jumps in and does what it was meant to do, what it already knows how to do.

Hopefully I'll announce soon that mom and baby are well. Happy Induction Day to me! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Sunshine

I'm still pregnant.

Looking at this picture I've simply arrived at the conclusion that the people who invent maternity clothes are just idiots. I'm 40 weeks pregnant. It really is not possible to put my knees together because my symphysis pubis has turned to jelly so that a baby can come out. I would put this skirt away except for that there are exactly 4 things I fit into now and sadly, vertical stripes here is one of them. I'd like to strangle the designer of this skirt.  

I've definitely crossed that line - you know the one. When a pregnant lady goes from being huge to eliciting the "you're about to pop!" comments literally everywhere she goes. It's awesome. The other day Tim and I looked at each and gave the nod indicating that we're both ready. I'm anxious to see how labor will start, progress, how I will deliver, if the baby and I will both be healthy afterwards. I'm anxious to see how Ada will respond to her new baby brother. I know she'll be an awesome big sister.


Family time has been plentiful. Sometimes moments are so perfect that as much as you want to record them their tenderness is so fragile that instead you just exist in it for as long as you can, like listening until the very last note of a favorite song. We're lucky to have this time together without work to serve as a direct distraction. We've lingered in bed over coffee in the morning, read one more story and gone for walks when Ada wakes from her afternoon nap.


Ada doesn't know the details of what's happening and she doesn't seem to care either. For her, we're both present and that is enough for her for right now. What's amazing is to see her come alive under the circumstances. We wake every morning to the sound of her little feet on the wood floor. We pry our heavy eyes open to see her pink cheeks and bed-head hair running our way and when she locks eyes with one of us she brightens immediately. This morning she declared "I'm awake! No more sleeping!"

It's like watching a good movie - I just want to see what happens next.


The in-laws are here. What a blessing! Ada thinks that all this undivided attention is the best thing that ever happened. For me too! This morning Ada and I took her Hooper's Store cart to Whole Foods to get some stuff for breakfast. We got back from the store and I rested for 2 hours. Heaven, I tell you, and completely possible due to our visitors who are easily suckered into one more book or arranging the ponies into a parade on the arm of an overstuffed chair.


Today we went to the Presidio and Chrissy Field to walk around. Apparently the thought persists that if I'm prodded to walk around I'll go into labor. As if I haven't been walking all over this city for the past 40 weeks as it is. Anyway, I was engaged in my favorite past-time: watching Ada. My little free-spirited girl was running ahead of us and back to us, smiling and squealing, stopping to look at flowers or point our a helicopter. There's no question that she is 100% confident in our love and steadiness for her. It's pretty awesome to think that over the past 3 years this being who started off as pure sensation took her cues from us and is evolving into a completely unique being who is secure and sweet.


I appreciate the supportive comments on my last blog post. My girl is strong and resilient and often better at quickly getting to the heart of the matter than I am. Maybe I shouldn't worry so much.


Is today the day her brother will come? I don't know. Tomorrow then? Maybe...while we're waiting I'll take more moments like this one:


I'll just focus on enjoying my family of three while my sweet little girl is still an only child. She has added "You Are My Sunshine" to her singing repertoire and it just gets me every time. My sunshine indeed...


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Letter From a Shitty Mom

Dear Ada,

Oh! My sweet, sweet girl. I am so sorry. I've been a shitty mother lately.


These past weeks you must be wondering what on earth happened to your normal mommy. The one who is reasonable, fair, patient and consistent. The one who plays with you, snuggles and cuddles you and goes for long walks with you. The one who includes you, engages you and teaches you. My beautiful babe, I hope we both see her again really soon. I miss being that kind of mommy to you. I am sorry for every single time I've had an outburst in the past few weeks. We are both so frustrated and apparently I'm not always much better at managing that emotion at the age of 40 than you are at the age of 3.

Baby brother is taking up so much room that mommy is really uncomfortable. She isn't sleeping at all anymore so she is very, very tired. Even simple things like breathing, eating and bending over seem impossible at the moment. Even though my behavior and actions don't always reflect this, it's true that I love you more now than ever and more than everything else in the whole world combined.


Your grandparents will be here on Friday. Once they arrive I can't continue to deny anymore just how much all of our lives are about to change but especially yours. Within a very short period of time you will get a brand new baby brother to share attention with - attention that has always been all yours. You'll go on a vacation to grandma and grandpa's house in FL and when you rejoin daddy and me it will be in a new house in New York. You won't see your friends again. We won't go to your favorite familiar places anymore. I don't even know how to explain this to you so that you really understand how far we're going and how permanent this is. We've talked a lot about how cool it will be to be a big sister and the blue house in New York but honey, you're only three. At this point it's all pretty abstract.

It makes me sad to think of how disoriented you will be even if you do handle it in stride like you always seem to. I also worry that you think you've done something wrong. Precious girl, you haven't. Change is inevitable and you are about to experience a lot of it in a very short time period. I wish I could protect you from this. The best I can do is try my hardest to guide you through it with love and patience and the consistency of your daddy and me being with you. This is just one more reason why I hope we both see your normal mommy again really soon.


I hope that it is enough. I love you so much, baby girl.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Local Guide to San Francisco

I was at my favorite grocery store early Sunday morning scooping bulk pinto beans into a plastic bag when it occurred to me that there are a few things about San Francisco that I will really miss. Visiting a city and having a local show you around is always way more satisfying than going it straight from your Frommer's. In this spirit, I've put together a list of places in San Francisco that I love, things I think you shouldn't miss if you visit. Needless to say, there is no possibility to eat at every restaurant or go to every shop in this city, so just because it's not on this list doesn't mean it sucks - I probably just haven't been there.


Mission Dolores Playground - with a 1.5 million dollar price tag you'd expect this place to rock and it does. Your kids won't be disappointed. And that's coming from a playground snob.
California Academy of Sciences - it just plain rocks.
San Francisco Zoo -  the kids part of the zoo is really nice. The rest of the zoo is nice too but this is always where we begin. The other plus is that it's not so big that you can't cover it all in a couple/few hours.
Beach - Listen up: If you come to San Francisco DO NOT expect what you typically think of as California weather. Chances are likely that it will be foggy and windy and chilly for a decent part of your stay. The water? It's freaking cold. And the undertow will mercilessly sweep you out to sea. But it's beautiful. Especially if you can manage to go up or down the coast.
Golden Gate Park - Maybe once I spend some time in Central Park I'll have a different opinion but at this point in time I think Golden Gate Park, including the panhandle, is hands down the nicest city park that exists in the world today. Go deep, friends. You won't be disappointed.


Coffee Bar - Good coffee is everywhere here. Blue Bottle seems to reign high and Philz has a local monopoly but Coffee Bar is my personal favorite. You can get one of the best cups in the city here. Plus, they carry the next thing...
Dynamo Donuts - There is nothing like this anywhere else. Nothing. Deep in the heart of the mission you can find the greatest donut ever made.
Goody Goodie - The best chocolate chip cookies. The Best. But my favorite here is this big, super thin lacey chocolate wafer with black olives. Mmmmm! Mastery of the salty sweet.
Bi-Rite - Isn't it world-famous now? For good reason. Plus, it's right on the corner from the Mission Dolores playground so it makes a perfect date with your favorite little person.
Ice Cream Bar - In Cole Valley. They have good ice cream but the real knock-your-socks-off feature is the soda jerk in the back. Dang, this is old school done up right. Phosphates, floats and things I haven't even tried yet...


Magnolia - Great home brew. Don't forget to order up some Devils on Horseback while you're there.
Alembic - Magnolia's little sister down the street serves up any kind of whiskey you could possibly want. It's also where I fell in love with bone marrow.
The Ramp - On a warm day it reminds me of being in the Gulf in FL. A local place to meet and have good conversation. Neither the food or the alcohol is anything to write home about but somehow I ALWAYS have a great time here.
Club Deluxe - Nightly jazz and they make a great hot toddy.
The Buena Vista - You can't come to SF and not go here for an Irish Coffee. I don't care if you don't like coffee or don't like whiskey. You will like this. I promise. For kicks, take the trolley from Union Square to get here.
Toronado - If you're a beer connoisseur then this is the place for you. Especially if you like Belgian brews - they have everything. BONUS: the sausage place next door is awesome. Has there ever been a better pair in the world than sausage and beer? I didn't think so.


Amoeba Music - Where music is concerned you can find anything here. And if you're into vinyl then hold on tight because this place will blow your mind.
Rainbow Grocery - a local employee owned co-op dedicated to organic, local, sustainable food. When I saw the bulk section here I nearly fell to my knees and wept great big happy, thankful tears.
Flax - If you are an artist and this place doesn't have what you are looking for I will pay you ten bucks.
Ambiance - My favorite clothing store hands down. Now with 4 locations in the city and deals for locals I can't stay away. The women here are the nicest in town too. If you tell them you need an orange sparkly party top they will bring you everything in the store. This is good because the selection is vast.
Loved to Death - Macabre. I can't stop going in there.
Cookin' - It's on Divisadero near the Haight intersection. Doesn't look like much from the outside but the first time I stepped in it was as if the clouds parted, angels sang and God himself confirmed that I had found heaven on earth. Some of the kitchen stuff is new but a lot of is is from estate sales. You can find a pyrex lid for the casserole from your grandmas kitchen. You can find cast iron skillets of all shapes and sizes. It's amazing. I could get lost in there for hours. HOURS.


Nopalito - Get ready to have your definition of Mexican food totally shaken all around.
Aziza - Moroccan. Amazing Moroccan. And the cocktails are outstanding.
Hog Island Oysters (or Anchor Oyster Bar) - A staple and for me a site of many great dates both with my husband and a small group of girlfriends. Duh. Yes, get them raw and get them with champagne. Otherwise you're only cheating yourself. Anchor Oyster on Castro between 18th and 20th is a decent alternative.
Zazie -  Best brunch in town. The line supports this too. Come on a weekday and come early. Maybe there is something better in town but I've had so many great times here that it still ranks as my favorite even after 6 years.
Cafe Gratitude (or Source) - For real, stop whining and try it. Think of it as an adventure since most people won't and don't cook this way at home. The worst that could happen is that your learn how raw vegan food could make you so damn happy. Source is a great alternative if you just can't do raw. At source they have a vegan Twinkie that will make you wonder how and why people still eat the other food-like substance that will survive the nuclear holocaust along with the roaches.


Habit - I have seen Carrie for 5 years now. I love her. This is one special lady. I want to move her to New York with me or fly back to SF when I need to take care of business.
Lavande - See John in Cole Valley for a pedicure. The price is right and he does a better job than anyone else.
Alemany Farmers Market - Yeah, the farmers market at the Ferry Building is pretty stunning to see but Alemany was the first farmers market in the state and is still where the locals go to do their shopping.
CSA - there must be a hundred of these in our geographical area of CA alone. I always wanted to participate and then when we did I found it to be one of the very best things we've done since moving to CA. The fact that local organic food is so hard to come by in New York is a shock to me. I mean it. A total shock. I had no idea how lucky I was.
Cole Hardware - The nicest people. And they know what they're talking about. And in that tiny store they have everything.
Library - With X branches and the ability to go online to reserve books from any one of them I am shocked when I can't get a book I want. Shocked. They have everything.

And because it happens to fit this week:

Friday, July 6, 2012

Buttoning up: It's Getting Late

I've been a terrible documentarian lately. That bums me out because the time will come when I'll want to look back on this period of our lives and I will have not recorded anything. So, in no particular order, here is an effort to button up some loose ends. So many of these stories deserve their own space but the truth is that if I don't get them out there now, it'll never happen.

Tim's first week of temporary unemployment was spent deep in planning mode. That long, intimidating list I started with has been tamed considerably but the truth is that there is still so much to be done. We did manage to complete Project Beige-ification 2012 so the whole apartment is painted. This was no small feat and I'm eternally relieved to have it just over with. If I may say so, it looks great. We're enjoying the lightness and neutrality of our home in this state. In fact, it would be downright soothing if it weren't for all the chaos.


Ada turned 3 years old a couple of weeks ago. Man, what a difference it has made! When she is sweet, she is so sweet I can't stand it - I have to grab her and squeeze her and kiss her.


But the defiance, the "No!" and tantrums...Oh man, when they're bad, they're so bad. Being super pregnant = slow, breathless, chronically tired, etc. makes these moments even harder to deal with calmly and patiently. I find myself feeling like I need to explain to some people that no, a three year old doesn't really need an actual reason to loose their shit. Today a full 20 minute melt-down including a thrown chair (by her, not me) ensued because I flushed the toilet. She wasn't even in the bathroom with me so how was I to know that this task had been declared hers?

Sticking to the positive cause I don't really want to remember how hard parts of this phase are:

Her imagination is on fire! It's almost palpable since her third birthday too. Just a totally new series of expressions and fears and songs, stories, games. Sometimes I have no idea where she comes up with these things and other times it's a mash-up of her favorite stories and songs. A few examples:

She got a doll house for her birthday. Her grandma Judy kept texting, asking for pictures of her playing with it. I would be happy to except for that she has dispersed the furniture to match ours. How she has managed this amid the chaos of our house is beyond me but her doll bathtub is on on the rim of our bathtub and the bathroom sink sits near our bathroom sink.

My phone doesn't take great pictures, sorry. My memory card for my camera was busted though so I have about 10 days of pictures that are just gone. Ugh :( 

Then there are things like a "scary bee", which is actually a small gnat that only her young eyes can see. These things, including "scary monster", can send her running to us for comfort. Still the response is that "mommy is here, I'll take care of you. Oh look! The bee flew away."


My favorites at the moment are the games that come along with convincing her to eat real fruit. We have to ditch the squeezy fruit. Convenient? Yes! Super freaking expensive? Hell, yes! So we have a game to get around this. Sometimes it involves a race car or police siren:


Other times the United States and Russia are on a peace mission to space or it's up to Ada, the space monster to save the day by gobbling up the bad rocket. Blast Off!

It's not been all painting and packing. We have managed to have fun. Take for example the day we rode the bus to the playground at Mission Dolores followed by a lunch date with mommy AND ice-cream at Bi-Rite AND a bus ride back home. It was more than her little head could handle and I was totally over-the-moon in love with my scrambled egg-devouring date.

Droid = not a great camera.

While other people were grilling out on the 4th of July, we met friends to go bowling at Lucky Strike. Ada thought this was the best thing in the world. It's 3 days later and she is STILL talking about how cool bowling was.


It doesn't look like she has much of a future in bowling - didn't hit a single pin on her own and only about 60% of her balls eventually made their way the full length of the lane. Her dad, on the other hand, deserves a parade for the frame he bowled with her on his shoulders. He's a good bowler and I'll pretty much never let him live it down.

For real, Droid? Can you even see that she's on his shoulders? I swear she's up there. 

Oh, and the girl who wouldn't wear a hat if it were to save her life insisted on wearing the hat and mittens we bought for Thanksgiving in Tahoe to the bowling alley. On July 4th. It was an anti-packing tactic that Ada has perfected. Because of this I get about one box packed per day.


Along her new fashion lines is the insistence that my toes be painted blue. I started this off just because I thought she might like it. Turns out the girl is obsessed with my fun-colored toes. Why not? It's just nail polish....


Finally, a taste of the future. Our new landlords offered to let us plant a garden. Holy lord am I ever excited! I'll go into it later but I'm a little bummed out by the food scene in New York. In San Francisco it is laughable how easy it is to find local, organic, seasonal, amazing produce all year long. There's a whole movement here that makes it easy to really nourish your body with minimal environmental impact. I like it that way. Like, really like it and will really miss it. Besides, this pregnancy has turned me into a near-vegan so our food has become an even bigger issue than ever before.

Ok, we found a community garden near one of our favorite playgrounds. Ada thought it was cool and looked on at the strawberries for a good 10 minutes while we talked about how they go from being flowers to baby strawberries to ripe ones that sometimes the pill-bugs eat.


Despite our very best efforts to grow things here, it hasn't been meant to be. Living atop a windy hill right at the fog line with a beautiful but sun-shoking giant cypress tree in the backyard has worked out to be VERY unfavorable for growing food. We'll try next spring at the new place. I'm already dreaming of vine-ripened tomatoes and more zucchini than I know what to do with. Ada will be at the perfect age for putting a seed in the ground and seeing it on her dinner plate later. I can't wait to do this with her!


OK, it really is getting late. This mama needs to head off to dreamland. Tomorrow we conquer the garage. This is going to be a huge task. I'm not sure if I'm ready. Certainly, waking up at 2:00 am like clockwork with my hips on fire doesn't help. I know new babies don't sleep a lot but man, I'm really looking forward to the sleep that I do get being good, pain-free sleep.


Good night.