Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Another Poem for Froggy

Poor Froggy was up from 9pm-12:30am with tummy troubles. And while I rocked her to sleep, I thought of this:

Froggyface and the Moon

The face you have at the end of the day
is the same
as it was when you first
entered this world;
eyes adjusting to the light,
moon-shaped and questioning.
You looked up to me
and in a moment
answered everything.


Teenagers with Cystic Fibrosis

I have found a wonderful online resource/support group for people affected by CF. Tonight I entered the "Teenager" forum for kids with CF and was devastated to hear their pain, hopelessness and frustration. I know life will be different for Froggy, because of the new treatments, but it breaks my heart to know these kids are dealing with sickness and death at such a young age. A teenage boy called "CFBOY" left the following message:

"what is the point of life, especially for us? we feel so much pain to live just to feel more pain. honestly if i knew i was goin to heaven i would kill myself now. what does everyone else think on this subject?" -CFBOY

The response to his message was overwhelming. Kids w/cf, parents, friends all left uplifting messages that concluded life is worth living.

This was my reply:

I don't know the answer to your question, cfboy. I am glad your belief system will keep you from ending your life. When my baby was diagnosed with cf ten months ago, my first thought was to drive our car off the pier and into the ocean. I wanted to save her a lifetime of pain. I imagined our car sinking into the sea, and the suffering from which I would be saving her. And I wanted to die too, because the thought of losing her was unbearable, worse than death. But later, after sleeping, and crying, and looking into her sweet face, I realized that killing ourselves might save us from suffering, but I would also be stealing her moments of joy, wonder, and love. I never would have imagined that the last ten months could be so beautiful, even in the midst of chaos. And I believe you still have these moments waiting for you in life. We have no idea what tomorrow will bring. I know it's a cliche, but it's true. And from a mother who loves her child more than the world itself, let me tell you, each day that you are alive, is a day the people who love you, find worth living. I hope you will too.

The Summer You Learned to Swim

Our beautiful friend "J" sent us this poem. It reminds me of chlorine, neon sunscreen, and my parents gently letting go of my flippers, saying, "you can do it kiddo."

Poem: "The Summer You Learned to Swim" by Michael Simms, from The Happiness of Animals. © Monkey Sea Editions.

The Summer You Learned to Swim

for Lea

The summer you learned to swim
was the summer I learned to be at peace with myself.
In May you were afraid to put your face in the water
But by August, I was standing in the pool once more
when you dove in, then retreated to the wall saying
You forgot to say Sugar! So I said Come on Sugar, you can do it
and you pushed off and swam to me and held on
laughing, your hair stuck to your cheeks—
you hiccupped with joy and swam off again.

And I dove in too, trying new things.
I tried not giving advice. I tried waking early to pray. I tried
not rising in anger. Watching you I grew stronger—
your courage washed away my fear.

All day I worked hard thinking of you.
In the evening I walked the long hill home.
You were at the top, waving your small arms,
pittering down the slope to me and I lifted you high
so high to the moon. That summer all the world
was soul and water, light glancing off peaks.
You learned the turtle, the cannonball, the froggy, and the flutter
And I learned to stand and wait for you to swim to me.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanks for giving

The pictures say it all. It was a lovely Thanksgiving. Thank you Grandma W for a beautiful dinner and day!

Auntie "R" and Cousin "C" gave Froggy a Build-a-bear. I have never seen her so excited by a gift. Usually she is more interested in the paper, than the present. Cousin "C" made the bear for her, and she must have sensed the love and care that went into the gift. Happy Late Thanksgiving everyone!

And by the way, Froggydaddy made the floral arrangement. One of his many talents!

Ugh, the flu

(Sissy Snuggiekins and Froggy - five months ago)

We've been out of commission due to the flu. It struck the day after Thanksgiving and yesterday I started feeling better. Froggy had a touch of it, just enough to take away her little appetite (which is always scary) because weight is such a concern. But she is in great spirits now, and chowin down on Froggydaddy's green porridge. It's a concoction of yogurt, barley, green machine, goji juice, wheat germ, and apple sauce. It looks like something the witches of Macbeth stirred, but it's cake to her. She needs mega-nutrients, since her body has a difficult time absorbing.

Yesterday we went on a hike for Grandpa GJ's birthday and then over to their house for dinner. It was wonderful to get out of the city and see trees! And we finally got to see Sissy Snuggiekins. She's been busy lately, so it was great to talk to her, even if it was while she was instant-messaging friends on the computer, while simultaneously sending pics of Froggy to people on her cell phone. I'm such a technology moron, I was like, "wow you can actually send video over the phone?" When I was fourteen, we passed notes in class, and now you can "IM" someone on a hike in the mountains. By the time Froggy is in high school she will probably be able to send her hologram to the mall during Thanksgiving dinner. And then not only will we have to worry about her, but her many cyberholograms as well. Geesh.

New pics will be on their way soon. I forgot my camera/computer cord in Iowa. Just waiting for the UPS guy (who Buddy scared the other day) Poor guy. Buddy ran out of the house and barked him out of the yard. You should see what he does to the mailman.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Doctor Appointment

One of my favorite baby pics of Froggy.

We had our (every-eight-week-pulmonology-appointment) today! And despite the three hours in the doc's office, plus 2 1/2 hours of commuting, the news was great!!!

Froggy is 19 lbs, 13 ounces and 29.5 inches long. She's in the 10 percentile for weight and above the 25th percentile for height! Her lung function is 100% and the docs couldn't be happier!

We had some issues with her malabsorption, but we've adjusted her enzymes and we'll add some high-calorie shakes to her diet to put on the pounds. Froggy is now on two different types of Pancreatic enzymes, and that should help balance her absorption of fat and carbohydrates.

On the way home from the docs, we got stuck in horrible traffic and Froggy screamed bloody murder for an hour and 1/2. Stupid mommy forgot her pacifier. I realize she is 14 months and now is the time for weaning, but not after a flu shot, throat swab, and 3 hours at Children's Hospital. The poor baby just needed a little comfort and today was not the day for it. I felt horrible!!!

When we arrived home, we found cupcake wrappers around the house. Buddy (the dog) had jumped on the table and eaten four chocolate cupcakes that our neighbors baked for us. I was too tired to scold him, so he escaped with an "oh Buddy, I'm glad you had a good day!"

And now, I'm off to bed. Our baby is healthy and happy! As we approach this Thanksgiving, we truly know what it is to be thankful!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sing, Sing A Song, Sing Out Loud, Sing Out Strong!

We need some new music in our house.

Froggy loves to dance and this little soul sister has some rhythm.

Any ideas on great CD's, songs, types of music for a 14-month-old? So far, she seems to like Afro-funk, Soul, Cuban, and even some R & B (not my fave). But I am open to anything.

Please help! Any ideas on new music? Who are your favorites?

My Favorite Songs

Goodnight Irene - Leadbelly
Try a Little Tenderness - Otis Redding
T'Aint Nobody's Bizness If I Do - Bessie Smith
Gimme a Pigfoot - Bessie Smith
Me And Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin
Get It While You Can - Janis Joplin
River - Joni Mitchell
Graceland - Paul Simon
In My Life - The Beatles
Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
Sunshine of Your Love - Cream
Ghost of a Dog and Lost In The Moment- Edie Brickell
Them There Eyes - Ella Fitzgerald
Teach Your Children - Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
I Feel Good - James Brown
What's Going On - Marvin Gaye

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Small World

There is something that I selfishly and unselfishly enjoy about being a mother, that has nothing to do with my daughter and yet everything to do with my daughter.

My friend Mieke (as most of you know)has the wonderful ability to befriend complete strangers, everywhere she goes. She knows the personal history of every Starbucks employee in California, firefighter, police man/woman, postal worker, neighbor, passerby, shopper, etc, etc. In fact, if you don't know her and you live in the SoCal area, you are either a hermit, or a total a#$hole.

It's an ability that I admire and envy. When it comes to strangers, I'm shy and would rather not strike up conversations about the weather or price of gas. And it's not because I want to separate myself, if anything it's the opposite; but it is difficult to make the unknown known. And I guess fear lies at the heart of separating ourselves from the people who share our universe. Mieke has no problem with this. If the universe was a mansion, Mieke would request that the other 4 billion people sleep in her bed. And I love that about her.

She can walk up to any woman at the park or Costco and say, "I noticed you are wearing a pushup bra, now is that as comfortable as my athletic one?" all the while lifting her shirt, displaying the sports bra to her new best friend. And the person at the other end of this conversation, this complete stranger, you would think, might be startled by her directness, but it's the contrary. If anything, they are relieved, relieved that someone has broken the invisible barrier of strangerhood. And here they are, two women in the middle of Costco pulling up their shirts, while others walk by completely jealous of this interaction, wishing they too were invited to pull up their shirts and discuss their saggy boobs. And while Mieke befriends this complete stranger, she simultaneously hands over her business card, saying, "call me, I know a great plumber, agent, and boyfriend for your niece's daughter. In fact, come over on Sunday, we're having Wafflestompen, it's a Dutch thing, you've gotta try our puffages." I wish I could be this brave, but I'm not. So I'm forced to use my baby to make friends.

Today, Froggy and I were shopping for diapers and other baby paraphenalia at Target or as they say in France, Tar-geh. It's Veteran's Day and every other mother and child on the westside was also shopping for binkies and sippy cups. Each aisle I approached, a conversation ensued. Women with their babes in tow, seemed desperate to connect. And I don't mean desperate in a negative way, I mean, "dear God, I've been playing 'here comes the spinach, down the hanger, and peek-a-boo baby doll, how big are you, Goodnight moon, Is Elmo feeding Dorothy?, please don't stand in the stroller, stop kicking your sister, wash your hands, don't pick your nose, don't eat your crayons, let's play nice, use your indoor voice, that's a beautiful macaroni necklace' kind of way." It's an adult, seeking another adult's company in the lonely job of stay-at-home mother, kind of desperate.

In aisle 7, I ran into an African American woman (who by the way had lost all of her baby weight, sob sob) and she asked, "Is your daughter about a year?" I said, "14 months." And the conversation was on. Her daughter was 13 months and also bald. We joked about how other babies have hair, but our little baldies are just as beautiful. We chatted about teething, Motrin, innoculations, Chicken pox, walking, behavior, how they grow so fast, first birthdays, diapers, wipes, bottles, breastfeeding, pediatricians, family, going back to work. She mentioned that in two weeks she would be returning to her job, after a year off, and how hard it would be to leave her babe. Her daughter's name was Hannah. She has four teeth and they all came in at the same time. In five minutes I learned more about this woman than I know about some of my closest friends, and the only reason is that we share a common interest, our babies. Our children open up a world for us. If we are too shy to say, "You wanna be my friend?," we can say, "Is your baby also standing up in the grocery cart?, or "Have you tried the new Luv's, do they really handle big poohs?"

It began with my pregnacy, and it didn't just include women. Men were also dying to talk about their lives, their wives, their children. "When my wife was pregnant, when my baby was born, when our lives changed forever..." I was amazed that in a city like Los Angeles, there were so many people who longed for friendship, conversations on the sidewalk, in line at the grocery store, the UPS guy, a barrista, dogwalker, neighbor. Through this beautiful, difficult and miraculous job of parenthood, I've realized that we are united and bound to our world and the people sharing this space.

When we empathize with a complete stranger about 3 o'clock feedings and sore baby gums, concerns over diet and innoculations, frustrations of balancing family and careers, we really can't be strangers anymore. The ties that bind us are bigger than the space between us. And in the mansion of 4 billion people, you can't help but think, "wouldn't it be nice if we all lived in the same room" and no one was really a stranger after all?

We need eachother, to understand how we are truly in this together. Whether we're online with someone in Australia or Bangladesh, or shopping with another mom at Target, the love for our children is the glue that holds us together. They're our future and more importantly our present, connecting us to the moment and eachother, one diaper, one rubber ducky, one person at a time.

Highlights from our trip home.

As the babe sleeps I finally have a moment to ignore my cleaning and write about our Iowa vacation. I won't bore you with every little detail, okay I will:

Aunt B came over and taught Froggy how to walk while holding onto a laundry basket. She pushed it around the living room and was very proud of herself.

Froggyaunt and Froggyuncle drove down from Wisconsin and we had dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant. Froggy was wild with sleep deprivation, so we spent most of the time on the floor entertaining her, but it was great to see them.

Cousin E-boy (a.k.a. Dangerboy) loved his little Froggy and read her stories, chased her around the house (her very favorite activity), and made sure all of his toys with small pieces were put away. When I was rocking Froggy to sleep, E-boy would pop his head in the doorway and say, "Is she okay?" He will make a great daddy someday.

Cousin Dramaqueenie also entertained Froggy in the way only a child can. The baby was mesmerized by Dramaqueenie's silly expressions and laughter. On our last night in town, Dramaqueenie had an opportunity to see a highschool production of "Grease". Her mom said it was a tough call, and DQ called us at the restaurant to say she wished she could have been there. And then in typical DQ fashion said, "You know how it is Lisi, I just HAVE to see my theatre!" I understand.

My sis (Auntarctica) and I shopped at the Megamall, had two wine and cheese miniparties, and took her new pup Ruby to the dogpark. Froggy LOVES, LOVES, LOVES her cousin Ruby. The pup is hyper so everytime she would approach, Froggy would bat her eyes to avoid a tail in the face. It became a Pavlov's dog scenerio, where everytime she saw Ruby, she would start blinking wildly. Even if the pup was clear across the room, she would blink, blink, blink. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

It was wonderful to just relax (as much as you can with a one-year-old) at my parents' house. It's cozy and familiar and I love the sounds of the wind blowing through the corn, songbirds, coyotes, and leaves crunching underfoot.

Froggygrandma let me sleep in and fed Froggy breakfast. It was heaven! It reminded me of a quote from Paula Poundstone, "I just can't imagine any activity I enjoy more than sleep!" Amen to that sister.

Froggygrandpa was a huge hit and laughed at everything the babe did. I could hear them giggling together all week. They played "hiss at the cat," "peekaboo" and Froggy entertained him with her musical Kazoo talent. It brought back memories of dad entertaining my sister and I while mom made dinner - the great games, funny faces and stories. Some people are able to hold onto childhood, carry it with them into the adult world and then pass it onto a child they love. And that's Froggygrandpa.

My mom cooked all week and even baked an apple pie. Sleep and food, does it get any better? Why did I ever leave home?

FroggyuncleJiffypop (aka JeffyGecko) was also a huge hit. He was a great daddy replacement, tall, silly, and wrapped around her little finger.

We also spent three days visiting Great-grandma Gus and Jack. Froggy enjoyed showing off her yoga poses (downward dog) and got into everything in the apt. I wish the babe had let Grandmagus hold her, but she was too busy, crawling from one outlet to the next. :)

We also spent a day with Greataunt Dort, and she took us to a great lunch that Froggy slept through. We looked through old black and white photos of my Grandma Betty and it made me sad that Froggy will never know her warmth.

It seems like Froggy changed so much over the last few weeks. Here are a few new things she has mastered:

She picks up the phone, or anything resembling a phone and says, "huh?" "huh?"

She's discovered the joy of giving and hands over her most prized possessions, (her rubber ducky, lambie blanky, and kitty book). She quickly takes it back, but it's the thought that counts.

She hisses at the cat.

She can dance, put on my sunglasses, and crawl faster than any baby I've ever seen.

It was a great vacation. Thank you everyone who took off work, drove six hours, baked, babysat, bought dinner and gave of yourself! We appreciated every minute.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Little Play Called "Marriage"

Wife: I was doing laundry and found a speeding ticket in your pocket.

Husband: Yeah?

Wife: When did you get it?

Husband: On my way to the airport.

Wife: Why didn't you tell me about it?

Husband: Because...I didn't want to.

Wife: It was in my car. And I pay our insurance. Don't you think I have a right to know?

Husband: Was there a more important reason you called me? Or is this it?

Wife: This is it.

End of call. End of play. End of marriage (just kidding)

On the topic of marriage, I was saddened to learn of Brittany and Kevin Federline's divorce. Or for you US and People magazine readers, Brit and K-Fed, yo, calling it quits, beeeotch!

I realize that their announcement might have been overlooked because of the so-called election hype. But I believe that nothing is more important than the break-up of pop icons Brit and K-fed; even the democrats winning the House and Senate, or Don Rumsfeld forced to resign - no, no, the end of this marriage will be remembered as the most tragic event ever to occur in the history of the US, if not the world.

It came as a total shock to me, as I'm sure it did for you. And I will never forget where I was, and what I was doing when I learned of their parting. They were an inspiration of love and morality, ideal parents to their boys, hiphop Sean to the Preston, and Jayden-yo-yo-just a newbie boyeeee, proving that yes, you can get pregnant while breastfeeding your 2-month-old baby if you are married to an insensitive dork who still wears his hat backwards, pants around the knees, rapping about the grave injustice of being a rich white kid married to the luckiest nontalent millionaire in the world.

They were our moral compass, and proof that the sanctity of marriage is alive and well. It is a sad, sad day when we have to look to our own families and belief systems to define what marriage means to us, rather than opening up a celeb mag for a glossy pic of Brit with a "Juicy" symbol on her butt and K-Fed smokin a cig, at an LA night club, lovin it up, while their babies are home with one of many nannies, yes, that's love. I guess until Kelly Clarkson or one of the Carter boys gets married, we will just have to pretend that we too know what love is all about, yo, dog, yo, fool, yo, yo, whudup G.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pictures from home

We had a wonderful time in Iowa. I'm too tired to actually write about it, because little Froggy has a cold and was up coughing last night. Poor thing. But the docs say she should be fine. It was so nice to be home and breathe the autumn air, see my family and get some sleep.

Froggy was thrilled to see her daddy at the airport and could not snuggle him enough. I'm off to bed, night, night.

My Beautiful Iowa