Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What Do You Mean It's Only 5:15? It's Dark!

I know it happens every year, but somehow this year's falling-back seems...different. Like, suckier. Like, I really really notice it, especially since we've started a backyard project and all the sudden there's this rapidly setting sun that I'm racing against as I frantically try to dig holes and spread bat shit (guano fertilizer!) on my new plants. Ivy has been kind enough to sit in her pink bouncy chair (NOTE TO ADVICE-SEEKING MOMS-TO-BE: BOUNCY CHAIRS ARE TOTALLY CRUCIAL. More on that later) and watch me garden, and I get all excited thinking about her joining me in a few years...And by that point, I might actually know what the hell I'm doing.

I'll post pictures of this project soon. I'll also write more advice. And post some videos of Ivy ROLLING and ALMOST SITTING UP and probably some of her ENJOYING HER FIRST THANKSGIVING!

But it's 10:23pm and you know what? I'm gonna get in bed. Because I can. And because I want to. And because it's Tuesday, and there's no good TV on.

Also: I got my IUD today. IUD! Can't say it was a pleasurable procedure, especially when the Dr. dropped one of the instruments and had to page a nurse to bring her a new, sterile one, which did not happen immediately, which meant that I laid on the table all dilated and speculum-ed for way longer than one would want, but luckily I had my Crackberry, which meant I could play Word Mole, the crackiest game of them all. The nurse finally found the replacement sterile thing, and shazam, I'm 99.9% not gonna make another baby for a while. Phew.

But what was I saying about Daylight Savings time? And how it's all dark all early now? And how by 6pm it seems sooooooo late? I dunno. Whatever. It happens. Good night!

Ivy Cat Cracks Up!

Ivy has been cracking up a lot lately—she's been giggling/laughing for a while, but now she's into full-on breathless guffawing. It's amazing. Mostly she likes when we jump up and down and make asses of ourselves. Get her every time.

This is definitely one of my favorite developments thus far...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Piecemeal Mama Advice, Con't

Every time I think about which gems of advice to dole out when I have a moment to sit down and write I get overwhelmed and my brain swirls with random tidbits of information that I feel I must convey. And I think I should organize these thoughts and apply some kind of structure or system to the doling, but then I realize that scattershot blogging and advice-giving serves as an accurate representation of How My Mind Works Now. Like:

—You'll be amazed by how much your boobs leak. Everyone is different, yes, and I have friends who squirted and soaked, and friends who never really made much of a mess. But be prepared, cuz you never know. My milk just 'regulated' a few weeks ago, and up until then I was wearing breast pads at all times (except for the many times when I forgot them, due to mom brain, and went to Home Depot and had to rush out with my arms crossed across my chest). You can either use disposable breast pads or reusable ones that you wash (those links are for just some of the many options out there). I definitely preferred using the washable ones, for environmental and comfort reasons, but for the first month or so the disposables were the only ones that actually worked. I soaked right through the hippie cotton ones. Eventually I would use the washable ones in the day and the disposables at night (you have sleep with some sort of bra or tank-top-bra thing on. The pads can still shift around, though, and I just got used to wet spots on the bed...) But seriously: I did not get the importance of breast pads until my milk came in and I was like HOLY SHIT THERE IS MILK SHOOTING OUT OF MY BOOBS AND SOAKING ALL MY CLOTHES! So: ADVICE! Buy breast pads! Have 'em at the ready! Put 'em in your purse, your diaper bag, your car. Leaving the house and realizing that you've forgotten to stick them in your bra really freaking sucks. Toilet paper stuffed in your bra does not hold a candle to the breast pad. Trust me.

—One of the things that's been incredibly challenging for me is remembering shit and keeping straight all the little things I need to do, buy, get, order, etc. Granted, I am not a terribly organized person (despite my Virgoness) but other mamas have concurred that Mom Brain is no joke. It put my pregnesia to shame. I do believe that it's some deep biological shit intended to keep up totally focused on the survival and growth of our babies. And that's great, but you need to leave the cave and get shit done after a while. I can't tell you how many times I've remembered things while in the shower or in the car, only to them get home/get out of the shower, pick up the baby, change her diapers, change her clothes, nurse her, answer the phone...and the thing I remembered just disappears. It drove me crazy for a while. If you already have a good system for organizing your to-dos in place, then right on, stick with it. I definitely did not have this, and now I just use the to-do app on my Blackberry, and I do it RIGHT when I think of the thing. I tried writing things down in a notebook, but I would inevitably misplace the notebook; I always have my phone with or near, so that's worked for me.

—I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a) an engaged, active, supportive, patient partner b) a supportive community of friends and family c) a community of other new mamas (and papas). I feel so lucky to have all three, and know that, for various reasons, it's not always possible to have all three. I didn't have any pregnant friends when I got pregnant, but through mutual friends, my midwife, a few new mom groups, a bunch of emails and a lot of gregarious chutzpah, I now have a pretty extensive crew of new mamas and babies to hang out with. The key is really to find people with whom you'd be friends even if there were no babies involved—it's really great to be able to talk about diapers and breastfeeding as well as non-baby related things. At this stage, it's mostly about us, as our babies are too young to really interact, but it's so great to be able to spend time with people who know what you're going through, and who can offer advice and perspective. And it's so exciting to think of our babies growing and developing together.

There's much more to be said about the family and friends and the supportive awesome partner, but my brain is ready to move on now. And my shoulder hurts. And I'm hungry.

And in case you're wondering where Ivy is...she's with her Auntie Aubrey, aka her babysitter, and today is Thursday, aka Kate's Day, when I am baby-free and can write, go visit Kim in SF , buy Buzz's flea medicine, and, in general, have some delicious time to myself. What was I saying about the importance of supportive family? Yes. Exactly. Thanks Aubs!

A Few Recent Pics

Ivy met Jesus in Salt Lake City
And she was a total angel at cousin Adrienne's wedding
And she a precious perfect pumpkin on the flight out there

And she wore a ridiculously over-sized bee costume (courtesy of cousin Madeline) and hung out with a ladybug (Ginger Crash), Bruce Lee (Nikko), and a pirate (Io)

Another Note on the Name of this Blog

Awhile back, when I re-entered/restarted/revived this blog, I write an explanation-of-sorts re: the title. And I thought I'd revisit that explanation, as it seems time to do so, and it also functions as a kind of advice-to-new-parents. Because parenting, thus far, is certainly one big experiment. It is something we have never, ever done in our lives. Certainly, we've done things that vaguely resemble parenting in some way—having pets, babysitting, taking care of younger siblings, watching movies with parents in them, thinking about parenting, etc—but nothing, not all the how-to books/websites/blogs/advice in the world can prepare you for this singular and mind-blowing experience. Every day is new, every moment is new, every tiny development and concern and shift and change and milestone is a first. And like my preferred method of making soup, I sometimes use a recipe for guidance or inspiration (the advice, the how-to books), and I have a general (yet ever-changing) arsenal of reliable ingredients (patting, shhhhing, bouncing, singing, the stuffed fox, the yoga ball, this weird tube that's like a hippie rain stick for babies that she totally loves) but I'm adding news things, and I'm always kind of making it up.

And getting it right is very, very satisfying. And when you kind of mess up, or your once-reliable ingredient no longer suits the soup, you learn very quickly, and you figure it out (ok, we're NOT into bouncing right now), and you improvise (don't like the fox right now? Awesome, no problem—look, a sock! Let's play with a SOCK!!!).

And, if I may stretch this poor, abused metaphor out any further: Each day of experimenting with this new role and this new creature is—like a cozy, yummy, love-infused soup—super delicious.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Piecemeal Mama Advice

I've got this plan to write a big 'ol post filled with all the wisdom and secret tricks and product recommendations that have made their way into my brain over the past 4+ months. And oh, I've thought a lot about what to write. But oh, I never manage to do it.

Case in point: I am now typing this one-handed because I am nursing. And it's not even my good hand.

So rather than one big long crafted post, I'll try to offer my thoughts in the tiny bursts that this baby allows.

Thought #1: Once you have a baby, it becomes really hard to get anything done. It WILL all get done (mostly) but it will take a long time. I could elaborate, but I can't right now. Let's just say it took me over 10 minutes just to write this.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ch ch ch changes

Hello, 4 month old baby! You are freaking cute, among other things. You're also incredibly smiley, and quite talkative, especially in the mornings, when you release an endless stream of chatter and gurgles and coos and mmmmppprrrggrshsssss. Yesterday you rolled over for the first time, though I didn't actually see it. You were on your activity mat, eating your toes (your current favorite activity) and rolling onto your side. Then I went into my bedroom and a few moments later I heard you fussing. I emerged to find you on your stomach, fairly confused as to how you got there and unsure as to what to do. You'll figure it out soon enough. Yay!

Other developments I'm noticing: your head control is excellent, and your legs are wicked strong. You seem to be trying to sit up—when you're propped up against pillows, you strain to bring your head forward. You're still too floppy and unbalanced to do it on your own, but you seem to be trying. Also, you notice the dog now! And the cat. You watch them and smile and laugh. Speaking of smiling and laughing, you crack up every time you see your Grandpa Doug. Something about his face and his shiny head I guess...

You also seem to be noticing food, and the act of eating that goes along with it. It'll be awhile before you take part, but it's cool to see you raptly watching as the food goes to the mouth.

Aaaaand you're also totally making a sound that sounds like "mama." Just sayin'.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One Month, Two Months, Three Months, Wow!

Jason likes to say that the most commonly used sentence in blogs is most likely "So I haven't written on this blog for a while, but..." (or some variation thereof), and he's probably write. In an effort to avoid that let's just get to the point(s): It's hard to do much of anything when you have a new baby (and a new house) but I think I'm finally feeling a little bit settled. And I want to keep people posted on Ivy Cat, and me, and us, and life, and I want to do it for you all, Dear Readers, and for us as well. Because one thing that everyone tells you when you have a baby is very, very true: It all goes so fast! I find myself trying to remember what Ivy was like last month, or 6 weeks ago, and it's almost impossible. Like when did she start smiling so much, and making all these sounds? And when did she start grabbing and reaching? And when the hell did she stop taking naps!?! (She's actually napping right now. Hence blogging. Exciting!) At the same time, I really am enjoying it all, every moment of it (that's the other thing that everyone tells you when you have a baby). I'll never stop being thankful that I get to spend all this time with her.

So here's what she's all about right now: smiling, reaching, grabbing soft toys/fabric, bringing soft toys/fabric to her mouth and sucking, grabbing hair, smiling, gurgling, making R2D2 noises, 'flapping her wings', wriggling, being naked, splashing in the bath, sleeping in the Ergo, eating her hands, chewing on her cloth book, staring at the ceiling fan, staring at her psychedelic mobile, getting her diaper changed, and staring intensely at our faces. And the faces of others. She'd stare at yours if you were here. And of course, she's into nursing. She's waaaay into that. Current favorite objects include two different cloth books, Sophie le Girafe, a stuffed rabbit, a purple cow rattle, a little wooden figure thing, bright green blanket, and a small stuffed fox (whose nose she sucks).

Monday, August 31, 2009


moving day. Hard at work. on Twitpic

More soon, from our new home on Canon Ave.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Ack! We are moving! We bought a house, we are packing, Jason is working, Ivy Cat is nursing, Buzz is sleeping, Henry's spazzing. Barbara and Doug are helping, Aubs is touring, painter is coming, floor guy is coming, we are learning, resting, multitasking. Why spread out major life changes when you can do them ALL AT ONCE?!

In other news: Ivy Cat's best friend has been born! Lara and Mitch welcomed Io Augusta Trale into the world on August 6—just over a week ago! Ivy and Io have hung out a few times, but have yet to really get deep.

Now I will go get Jason and go buy kitchen floors—Marmoleum!—and then pretend to pack for a while. Sigh. I hate packing. But I am beyond thrilled for our new home!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

5 Weeks

And 5 weeks has passed since this child was born. Almost exactly, in fact—it's 3:08pm, and she was born at 3:26. Amazing. It's seemed like forever, and it's flown by. She was born a million years ago and she just arrived yesterday. We're used to her, we know her, she is a total mystery. She is big—11 lbs now, and even taller, and her neck is getting stronger and she sleeps well at night and loves to eat and she smiles at us.

And we bought a house. We are moving in a month. This will be a very very busy month. I feel good and calm but very aware of all that we have to do. I love being home with Ivy, though it's hard to get much done.

How do those mommy bloggers do it?! I guess it gets easier and you settle into a routine and your brain gets less addled and mushy? I am getting good at using my feet to pick stuff up off the floor when I'm holding her so I don't have to bend down. If only I could pack with my toes...

Right now she's in her bassinet and I'm rocking it with my right foot. She's kind of napping, kind of grunting.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009


Precious tiny creature. In the swing making sounds—like grunts and coos and a kind of squeak. Waving arms. Startling, the Moro Reflex, this primitive thing you do to protect against beasts and dinosaurs. A pure remnant of a long time ago. Little moving mouth, little moving eyes. I sat down to write here, finally, and then she began to cry in her swing and I cannot let her cry in her swing and so the writing was put off, and she laid in my arms and nursed until she fell asleep and I let her stay there, warm and soft with her mouth still open around my nipple. I spend a lot of time in this blue chair. The Giants game is on. We took a nap today, the three of us. She likes to sleep on her side and curl against us, her arms folded in front of her, one leg straight and one bent, the same way I like to sleep. The Giants score. The cat stares out the door. A stack of Thank Yous to write and oh how daunting that is. She squawks and tells me she'll soon tired of the swing. And so I'll stop this and scoop her up again. I am more than happy to do this. Here I come.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I Don't Even Know Where To Begin

That's the problem with blogging, I guess. When you stop for a while, for whatever reason—say you had a baby, and couldn't do much but stare at her for several weeks—it's hard to start back up. You start to fret about what to write, how to catch up on everything, whether you need to detail all that's gone on or whether you can just skip a bunch of stuff. And really, it hasn't been that long—Ivy Cat is only 17 days old. We have had her for 17 days. We've been parents for 17 days. But oh how amazing these 17 days have been. How long and magnificent and unlike anything we've ever known. How quickly one can slide into an entirely new role, a new life, a completely new way of being and orienting and thinking and loving. 18 days ago I did not have a tiny creature rocking placidly in a swing next to me. I did not get up in the middle of the night to nurse a sweet sweet cooing baby (instead, I got up to pee). I did not know how unbelievably good babies smell, or how much we would love laying in bed with her in the morning, watching her make faces as she slowly wakes up. And I most definitely did not know how big my boobs would get, and how important those Lansinoh breast pads would be!

And there's so much more. This is such an amazing time of learning, both on our parts and on Ivy's part. Everyday is new information, new movements, new expressions, and new discoveries. Her poop changes, her coos and grunts change, she uses her hands more, she grabs at her toes. We get to know her better every day. Two nights ago we discovered that playing loud classic rock provokes instant calm and shut-eye in Ivy—so far Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti and the Stones' Exile on Main Street have put the kid to bed in like 3 seconds.

She's a good sleeper and she's not much of a crier—I mean, she cries, but she calms quickly. She's remarkably alert when she's not sleeping, and is an enthusiastic nurser, to say the least. She's getting perfectly chubby. Those cheeks and thighs. Sigh.

We can't stop taking pictures of this child—I'm putting them online at my Picasa site and also on my Facebook page.

So, Dear Readers, I am back, and ready to update you on every single development in Ivy Cat's life.

I'm kidding. I mean almost every single development.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Leave of Absence Due To Extraordinary Circumstances

Dear Blog,

Extraordinary indeed! I'm sorry to have abandoned you, but I'm basking in the wonders, curiosities, discoveries, and challenges of brand new motherhood. A quick update is this: Ivy is 10 days old and totally amazing; we're in escrow on a house; our dear cat Stevie Nicks was struck and killed by a car; and I'm currently on psuedo-bedrest, due to prolonged post-partum bleeding brought on, most likely, by the fact that I have not 'taken it easy' since the birth. I've felt great and have been out and about, up and around, and that may have been too much. So this weekend I'm couch and bed-bound. Boring, but I'm trying to make the best of it while my mom and Jason wait on me and hold the Dear One.

Anyway, I'll be back soon, with so much to say.



Friday, July 3, 2009


And we are in love. More soon. Much, much more. But for now, just know that after a long, hard labor full of unexpected twists and turns, Ivy Catherine Schatz Pontius was born on Wednesday July 1, 2009, at 3:26 pm, weighing 8lbs 13oz and measuring 21.5 inches long. She is beyond gorgeous, has tons of light brown/blondish hair, and stunningly long fingers with fancy lady nails. We cannot get enough of her.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This Is It

I am in labor! Early labor, to be exact. My mom just arrived—wait hold on I'm having a contraction—ok. Kim is here massaging me, Jenn brought delicious food, and Aubrey's walking Buzz. The cats are mellow. Oh my god Kim is massaging my feet. Joanna Newsom is playing. I'm having contractions every 4-5 minutes, lasting about 30-40 seconds. Had 'em all night. They're not too bad—I mean I don't love them, and they definitely hurt, but they go away. Amrit was here for a while earlier and is pleased with the progression of it all. Ivy's heart rate sounds great. I've received so many amazing loving supportive texts and Facebook comments and tweets and oh how modern is this? I am live blogging labor. Kim is rubbing my feet with coconut oil. So far, so good.

I will try to write more later...

I can't wait to meet this baby.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

What We Are Doing

Dear Ivy Cat,

Guess what tomorrow is? Oh, what? You can't guess, because you are still inside me and that makes cognitive processes like guessing quite challenging? Ok, fair enough. I'll tell you.

Tomorrow is June 28th, your due date.

Now, your dad and I haven't put much stock in this date—it seems arbitrarily decided, based as it is on the first day of my last menstrual period (September 21st, 2008—so long ago!) and not on the day we're pretty sure you were conceived (September 28th or Oct 1st, one of the two). But it's still a date that's been in our brains for some time now, and though we've never expected you to come on your due date (a very small % of babies arrive on their actual EDD) we do know that you're coming very soon. You're snuggled way down low, and you've been that way for some time now. And for the past few days, I've been getting increasingly less comfortable, and am experiencing more intense pre-contractions, more shooting inner thigh pain, and more frequent and intense pressure and pain on my cervix (it feels like getting a PAP smear, but in reverse. Ivy, that will not make sense to you until you're a teenager and you start getting annual exams. OMG you will be a teenager. Eek!) I get tired faster and don't last as long on my feet. I just also just feel...different. In a way I can't quite describe. A way that seems to indicate that you're getting close to coming on out.

(Also, today is June 27th, which means it's been 9 months since your dad and I got married. Best 9 months of our lives.)

So, I thought I'd let you know what we're doing while we wait for you to arrive.

I am resting and sleeping a lot, conserving my energy for our labor.

I started sleeping on the guest bed, in the back room, because it's a lot softer than our bed, and it's much easier on my hips. I can sleep in late now, which is fantastic. Your dad sleeps in there with me, on the floor on a bed I made him, because even though I want to be in the bed alone, we like to be near each other when we sleep. Plus I find the back room a tiny bit scary at night.

We went to IKEA and bought you a stuffed crab, because you are going to be a Cancer. This crab has been a favorite of ours for a long time (Una has one) and it is very soft and squishy (unlike real crabs, which are hard-shelled and pinchy).

We've seen some movies. Star Trek and The Hangover and Away We Go, which was pretty much made for us, for this point in our lives.

I send emails and read blogs and check and update Facebook and Twitter. Those things might seems incredibly antiquated to you by the time you can read. As will this blog. You should see the big, huge, heavy laptop that I'm typing this on.

I am reading my favorite children's books to your dad, as he is less well-versed in the wonders of these books than I am.
We are watching lots of Giants games.

We go for walks, and sometimes I swim.

We watch TV, but we also listen to music, and sometimes silence.

We talk on the phone and hang out with our friends and family members who are very, very excited for you to arrive. Everyone's asking about you.

I am keeping your dad posted on all sensations and twinges and pains and movements.

We are listening to lots of Michael Jackson, because he died very unexpectedly and we both love his music and grew up listening to it.

We are practicing diapering and swaddling on a stuffed elephant. It's about the right size (though you will not have a trunk).

Your dad is helping me tremendously by doing things around the house that I can't really do on account of being about to have a baby and all.

He's also cooking me dinner right now, which is excellent, as I'm really hungry.

On that note, I'm gonna go help him along. And pour myself a glass of wine.

See you soon, love.


Una's Advice

Our dear friend Tonya asked Una, her 4-year old daughter, aka our lovely Flower Girl, aka the Smartest Four Year Old On Earth, what advice she has for Jason and I and Ivy Cat. And here are her wise words, as transcribed and emailed by Tonya:

She needs a bottle.
She needs a cradle.
She needs baby toys.
She needs to be fed.
She needs loving and kisses and hugs.
You need to be careful.
You need to watch over her.
You need to make sure she doesn't fall off the slides or the swings when she goes to the park. You need to make sure she doesn't stay outside when it is a thundering, lightening, and rainy day.

Thank you, Una. I think these are all very, very good suggestions.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Oh Jason, you wonderful wonderful man!

He did indeed play me a song after I finished reading his post. It is a beautiful song, and I cried and cried. Jason is a very talented songwriter. And a very good husband. Right now he's working super hard, trying to get as much work done as possible in advance of Ivy's arrival. We're incredibly lucky that his work schedule is so flexible—he plans to be home for a few weeks, and then gradually ease back into working from home, and from the office (which is about 5 minutes from our house). He's in the kitchen on a conference call at this very moment and I would just like to say how totally thoroughly proud I am of him and the incredible company and career he's built for himself, and for his fabulous employees—who are also our very good friends. When I first met him White Whale was just him and Alex and this intern-y kid and they did websites for local bakeries and bands. It was legit work, and they'd done some work for Brown and RISD too, but it was still pretty scattershot and random. Almost five years later and he's the head of one of the top higher ed web design companies in the country, with a seriously impressive client list that includes some of the top-ranked universities. He rides his bike to the office, he has conference calls from our kitchen, and sometimes he video-chats in his underwear (shhh, don't tell. He wears a shirt.) He works super hard, and yes, he thinks about work quite a bit—but he's not consumed by it, he doesn't slave away for a boss he hates, in a cubicle he hates, it doesn't rot his soul or rule his world, he loves the people he works with, and he gets to do what he loves to do, which is be really smart and have big awesome ideas. And, he will get to be a very present, very available dad. Which is so, so important.

My sister and I were incredibly lucky to grow up with a dad who got home from work around 3pm (he went to work at 5am)—he was always home after school, and he was involved and active and fun and he definitely left work at work. I'm so grateful for that. And now he's retired and he does triathalons and gardens and explores the bikes trails of San Jose with his cousins and feeds Jay, his pet bluejay. And he's very excited to be a grandpa. So, a belated blog THANK YOU to Doug for being an outstanding father.

And finally, here's a picture from this weekend—from Father's Day, in fact. We went to Jen's (the cute one on the left in the blue dress) baby shower/birthday party/Solstice/Father's Day BBQ in Richmond, and, of course, the preg ladies had to line up for a photo shoot. We are indeed in order of due date, with me definitely leading the pack. From the left we have Jen, mama-to-be of Ginger Crash; Lan, mama-to-be of an as-yet-unnamed boy; Kitty, mama-to-be of Tallulah; Geeta, mama-to-be of Ari; and moi, mama-to-be of Miss Ivy Cat, who, after squirming intensely for the entire duration of this blog post, seems to have fallen asleep. Thanks for that, dear. You were all up in my ribs.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

So first of all, I've been meaning to write a guest post on Kate's blog for ages. But, I mean, it's intimidating! I can rattle off 800 words about Twitter at the drop of a hat (proof) but when it comes to writing about the stuff that really matters— not the work stuff but the home stuff, the stuff people that don't really know us don't know— I freeze up.

You can't blame me; my wife is an amazing writer. Following this blog myself has given me yet another window into the world she's living in; we spend a lot of time together, so I'm usually up on the facts (although the calendar thing was a surprise to me). But to see how she frames it for you, the reader— how she turns an experience that, holy crap, has got to be essentially unwriteable, into lucid, engaging, interesting writing, that's a miracle to me. If you're a regular reader of this weblog, you know that she's got two modes: sometimes she's chatty and dishy and practical about pregnancy and motherhood, and other times she lets herself go and pours out pure magic, streams of consciousness, Web literature. The fact that she is both of these ways in person too is why I love her.

Anyway— so here we are, Father's Day, on the verge of Part Two of both our lives, and I can't get out of writing on this thing any longer. So here are a couple of notes from, um, a dad's perspective.

For Kate, her pregnancy is about our daughter. For me, it's about Kate. That's a weird thing to say, but it seems right. Obviously Kate's the one with the physical connection; pardon the obvious statement, but she is growing a new person inside her. I can't wait for Ivy to be born; especially as the day gets closer, the feeling gets bigger and bigger. But it's a theoretical feeling, kind of. I know this new thing is coming, and I'm ready for it, but I have no sense of what it's going to feel like.

(This doesn't bother me. It seems like a lot of literature for "first-time dads" is all about how we have to be prepared to be a sidekick in the early child development phase, or to deal with pregnancy being more about the mother and child than it is the father. But, I mean, that's obvious, right? My time will come.)

What I do know is that this process has profoundly affected how I see, and feel about, Kate.

We've known we wanted kids for a long time. (Kate made up the name Ivy Cat in a text message in 2005.) But we haven't really known what that meant. Saying "I want to have a child with you" is basically the same thing as saying "I want to spend my life with you," just a little more graphic. We've known for a while now that we wanted to spend our lives together, so talking about kids was just a natural extension of that expression.

But now it's different. Over the last nine months I have watched Kate become a mother— and the amazing thing is, she's become a mother without losing any of the sweet, funny, dorky, juvenile, raucous things that I liked about her in the first place. Watching her transform both physically and— metaphysically?— has been a transformative process for me as well. It's her that's turning me into a father— not the child we're about to have. We're parents already. And shit, we are going to be such awesome parents!

It's Father's Day, and I found myself celebrating it in some pretty conventional ways. Kate cooked bacon (not easy for her), I used power tools, read the Sunday paper. But what we're really celebrating, I suppose, is the end of non-fatherly concerns; one of the last days where I don't have to worry about a single thing except my damn self. (Which is worry enough, but hey, that's a different post, if not a different blog.) The funny thing about it is that the process of becoming a father— which absolutely begins the day you find out she's pregnant— has already led me to a place where selfishness feels kind of silly. Unnecessary.

I mean, sure. Ask me if I'm feeling selfish once I'm knee deep in shitty diapers. I might be. But for now, in this magic place, basically 99% of the way towards fatherhood, I feel much more like part of a thing than I ever have before.

And now that I've written on her blog, I'm going to go play her a song.

Friday, June 19, 2009

It Finally Got Nice + Hot Out

Hi Everyone!

I have not had a baby yet. I promise I will let you know. She will be here soon, that's all we know (never has the word 'soon' seemed so vague). I am feeling excellent—after a week of laying around, napping, reading, and generally loafing, I finally got bored yesterday and made myself do stuff (errand running, shopping, dog walk, and a swim in Lake Temescal). I felt energetic and happy, though by the end of the evening I was very ache-y in the groin, and started to really sense her presence atop my cervix in a very intense and not altogether pleasant way. That feeling continues today—it's not a constant discomfort, but it definitely comes and goes and when it comes, it hurts. So yay! I think moving around made her drop even lower (how is this even possible?) I will continue to move around this weekend, which involves two showers (bride for Dana tomorrow; baby for Jen Loy on Sunday). Aubs returns from her Outstanding in the Field trip on Monday—we're assuming Ivy'll wait until then.

So anyway. Jason's using power tools on the porch because he's making bathroom shelves. I've turned into a total neat-freak—clutter of any sort drives me crazy, and I had the housecleaners come back and reclean because they did an unsatisfactory job (I felt like such a mean old rich lady doing this, but seriously, I paid them a lot of money and they did a crappy job!) Today I went to Alameda and bought a nursing bra, and two 'night bras' (you have to wear bras at night after you have a baby? Who knew?) They are not remotely sexy, but they are majorly comfy. So, there ya go. And really, everything's in place.

The birth tub is set-up. Test run was a success, and I spent several nights floating about in it, loving it very very much. Now it is drained, and awaiting labor.

Text message groups have been made to ensure easy labor notification for all interested friends and family; Important Phone Numbers list is made, and is on the fridge; email group has been made so we can send out epic post-birth OMG OUR BABY IS SO CUTE email.

My Labor Mix has been created—14+ hours of favorite mellow songs.

Jason is planning his Twitter birth announcement, and I'm visualizing the birth, as well as the 1st family photo (can we possibly get both cats, the dog, the baby, and us to be still for a picture? Will I be able to tolerate such an abundance of squirming, excitable life energies?)

In general, everyone's on alert. Every time I call my mom or sister or Jason, they assume it's 'the call.' I've told them I promise it'll be the very first thing I say when they answer.

My sleeping is better, though I now wake every hour to pee. Though for some reason, there tends to be a 2-hour period between 3 and 5 where I don't wake. This is a nice period.

Aaaaaand now I'm going to make a galette. Peach, plum + nectarine. A galette is a good thing when you don't want to worry about an attractive crust. That's more Advice for Ivy right there.

Aaaaaand actually maybe I'll take a nap instead.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Advice For Ivy Cat

My new favorite blog is 500 Pieces of Prudent Advice For My Baby Daughter (thanks for the link, Taryn!) I pretty much agree with every single one (except for #76 and #87. Cuz I think chopping off your hair—even impulsively—can be awesome; and as we all know, not every lady needs a bra) and I love the author's (one Jamie Morrison Curtis) inclusion of art + poetry + quotes. Reading it made me weep (especially #19) and think (#63, #44) and smile (#72, #43) and nod in agreement (#82, #31) and it also reminded me that, a few months ago, I started my own list of advice for my daughter.

So here is my list, and I am blatantly copying Jamie by including accompanying images. It's so overwhelming and amazing and wild to think about what we can and will teach her—and what she can and will teach us. And also—please feel free to add your advice! Even though I like to act like it, I don't know everything.


Little Creature, you will always be so small and so huge at the same time; this mirrors our world, which is a giant tiny place.

Everything you do matters; everything you touch feels it.

Not everything has a beginning, middle, and end, even though we often want this to be the case.

Trust + honor women. "Feminism" is not a dirty word. (Your mom's one.)

Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party

It is fun to go very very fast and very very slow. To bounce off the walls and lay quite still.

Know your histories, both personal and familial, as well as cultural and political. You come from complex, fascinating people: farmers, ranchers, beer makers, car salesmen, engineers, teachers, artists, writers, musicians, hippies.

You also come from a troubled yet wonderful nation. Learn about the good and the bad.

Your dad met the President!

Kara Walker, Slavery! Slavery! Slavery!

Record yourself talking for hours on end. Read, make up stories, interview yourself. You are unbelievably interesting.

If you fight for anything, fight for justice, for love, and for your rights.

Sliced peaches in a baking dish; add brown sugar, butter, cinnamon. Bake and eat with ice cream.

Be mindful during your rebellions.

Any open space can be a million different things

If you capture an insect, place it kindly in a jar; use a hammer and nail to make holes in the metal lid. Provide sticks and leaves and put it on your windowsill. Spend a hour or so watching it move its strange fuzzy body up and down the stick. Then let it go. Always let it go..

Louise Bourgeois, Spider

Listen to any and all kinds of music. Then make your own.

Run races with anyone willing. Feel so so fast.

Try very hard to not hold grudges, and to not sever ties with those you love. It's almost never worth it. Forgiveness is hard, but so so important.

People older than you have many stories to tell you. Please listen to them; they have much to teach you, and when you’re their age, you’ll want younger ones to listen to you.

Imogen Cunningham, Imogen Cunningham and Twinka

Write your name in secret hidden places.

Make grand pies from mud, and entire cities from sand.

Be a careful and kind friend to animals, even the ones that bite. But try not to get bitten.

Read everything you see that has words on it. Cereal boxes, street signs, instruction manuals, newspapers, recipes. You will eventually understand (most of) it.

Many of the best ideas, artworks, songs, poems, and concepts are the result of experimentation. Take risks, allow for error, do things no one else is doing.

Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein

Learn which secrets are good to keep, and which ones you should let go. Some secrets are special and just for you; others are meant to be shared, and can make you feel funny if you hold them in for too long.

Always, always stand up for yourself. Even when the person before you is a powerful grown-up. This includes me, and your father, and your grandparents, and your teachers. You will not always win, or get to do what you want, but you should always say what you believe is right.

I totally support your right to protest—just be smart and alert. Don't go alone, and know where the cops are.

Every season is exciting. Fall has crunchy leaves, crisp air, good smells, and school again. Winter is cozy and Christmas and sometimes iced over water. Spring brings baseball and flowers and warm dirt and flowers. And summer is…well, summer is just magic.

Frida Kahlo, Viva La Vida

Know what you like, and what you don’t, but always try new things. Like food. It’s important to try new foods. I didn’t like eggs until just a few years ago, and I’m still working on cheddar cheese. (I still don’t like baby corn, though.)

If you are going to talk about someone, think to yourself: Would I say this if he or she were in the room? If not, it’s probably better left unsaid.

Kids can be cruel; this is a fact. But you don’t have to be; this is also a fact.

Play lots and lots of dress-up. You can be anyone you want with a few scarves, some grown-up jewelry, and a big box of old clothes.

Amy Cutler, Dinner Party

If you stay in the bath too long, you’ll get prune hands, but you’ll also have fun.

You’re beautiful like birds taking flight across a February sky. Like clear winter sun on somebody’s shoulder; a grey cat stretched across a sofa; tiny budding flowers. A gentle nap on the day that I learned that you’re you. Beautiful like the visions we have of your future.

And really, darling, all you need is love.

New Sensations

I'm definitely having new sensations every day. Two nights ago I slept poorly; my hips were killing me in a way that felt different from other painful-hip nights. The discomfort was located in the hips, but it radiated out and across my lower belly—like menstrual cramps, which is how early labor pains are generally described. So upon waking and feeling this, I laid in bed for a while, wondering if this was indeed the beginnings of labor. But despite the sensations, I knew it wasn't labor, and I didn't feel scared or nervous. Restless, yes; uncomfortable, yes. But not scared. When I got up to pee, the pain subsided, so I figured it was just round ligament pain, or some other new thing to feel. It was interesting, though, to lay there in the quiet dark, feeling this new unpleasantness, and just being with it, wondering about it, letting it happen. At one point I got up and stretched and squatted and kind of wandered around the house, since neither side was tolerable for sleeping. And I felt comfortable with this middle-of-the-night ghost-y wandering, and I saw it as a taste of what's to come. Having to get up and pee and having sleeping-on-my-hip pain has given me a sleep schedule that, I imagine, may come close to approximating my future sleep schedule—granted, when I wake up to pee all I do is pee, and then go back to sleep (or attempt to). I'm not nursing a fussy baby or rocking in a chair for an hour. But I waking up every 1-2 hrs, and I am relatively cognizant during the waking time, as is Jason. We both like to sleep, but I do feel like we're good at waking up and being alert right away, not all draggy and miserable.

Every day I continue to feel new-ish things. Kind of hard to describe, but I just feel...different. I can tell that she's lower, and I'm feeling increasing pressure on my groin, and more of the twinge-y shoot-y pains. Most of all, though, the Braxton-Hicks contractions are increasing in frequency and strength—I get them pretty much every time I do something that requires physical effort. Yesterday I walked Buzz down to Gaylord's, my coffeeshop of choice, and what is normally a quick easy jaunt was, for sure, a challenging and slow trek. On the way back there is a small hill and I had to pause several times to let the contractions subside. They're not painful (though there was a bit of discomfort on the hill), just really strong.

Last night I slept quite well, no hip pain, just waking every hour to pee. Lower baby = smaller bladder. The Ever-Shrinking Bladder. Like my Ever-Shrinking (But Not Popping Out!) Bellybutton. I kind of don't think it'll pop. It's close, though. And so so tiny.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

So so mellow

Well. Here we are. Homestretch. Two weeks? Three weeks? One week? We'll see. Mostly, these days, I am: napping, reading, walking slow. Aching, stretching, lying on the couch. Watching baseball, looking at the internet. Dust-Bustering cat furballs. Thinking about having a baby. Running small easy errands. Sleeping. Smiling. Emailing. Sometimes crying. Feeling Ivy move down and down and squirm and poke. Nesting hardcore.

Today I woke up at 7am and spent about 40 minutes thinking about what needs to be done in the house to prepare it for birth + baby. So much is already done, and it is pretty clean, but this is the nesting thing, I realize, and I could not go back to sleep until I'd visualized every room in the house in its ideal, clean, prepared state. Luckily Ruby came down for Jason's birthday, and she stuck around and helped me tremendously.

The baby room is temporarily the birth room—we've set up the birth tub, and Ruby helped me move stuff out of it and get it clean and organized. She also helped me move our bed and eliminate Jason's bedside table (sorry dear) to make room for the amazing beautiful bassinet that Jenn made (made!) for us. (Well, for Ivy, really.) And Aubs came over and hung up curtains in our living room to make it more private, and Jason is currently doing the dishes. Yay, help! Learning to ask for it. Because I do need it.

Yesterday was Jason's birthday and his gift from me was something he's mentioned several times over the course of our relationship, long before we'd made any sort of baby-having plans: matching monkey suits for him and his child. You know, for Halloween, or just hanging out, being matching monkeys. So I commissioned Mali, Aubrey's terribly talented roommate and pal, to make 'em. And they are awesome and adorable and Jason looks so cute. I had her make Ivy's costume fairly large, more toddler-sized than infant-sized, so that she'll be able to grow into it. I cannot wait to see them both in full monkey regalia.

Amrit was here yesterday, and everything is proceeding apace: Ivy's "snuggling" down lower, as she puts it, dropping gradually rather than in one fell swoop. Amniotic fluid levels are great; blood pressure's great; everything seems to be the right size; and Ivy's heart rates are excellent. Now, we just wait.

I am enjoying this waiting. Not feeling anxiety or worry or 'when will it happen?!' Just trying to be peaceful and calm and enjoy every moment as it is, as it comes. Happiest birthday dear Jason!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More Healdsburg pics!

Jason and Aubs lounging on the lawn
Awww. Love + a beautiful plate of food = total bliss
Hands-on w/ Dan, Kelli and Jason
Hi Buzz.
Lovely Julia, lovely Ruby, lovely me, lovely sun
Me, Aubs, Ruby w/ muddled magic cocktails
The men by their fire

Thanks for the pics Julia! More can be found here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

New camera, other pics

I'm not that crazy about the pics I took at the showers, as I cannot stand my crappy digital camera. Julia took a ton of great ones, and when she gets em up on Picasa I'll include a link here. Mr. Long-lost-and-now-found-again-friend Mike Semas took some great ones in San Jose, and has them up here. To rectify the camera issue, I went to Best Buy yesterday and bought a fancy new one, about which I'm very excited. I shall take new amazing photos and post them and you'll all be amazed by the incredible difference that the new camera makes.

I felt very, very pregnant while in Best Buy. After about 45 seconds of standing in the Return line, where I was returning a router for Jason, I became exhausted, and totally irritated that they didn't provide a chair for pregnant ladies forced to stand in this hellish line. The same sentiment overcame me a bit later, once I'd waddled all the way to the restroom, and then all the way to the camera section, where I stood like a moron, staring at a sea of digital cameras for like five minutes without anyone coming to assist me. I want a chair to sit in! I thought, brimming with a fiery sense of pregnant entitlement. Why is there no CHAIR?!? Don't they know that my entire groin aches and my legs are tired and the groin ache sometimes radiates down the legs and I cannot just stand here like a normal customer?

Then I went for a swim, which greatly relieved all groin and hip discomfort. Upon arriving home, though, it was book-and-couch-and-Giants-game-city for several hours. I couldn't handle another errand. When Jason arrived home I quickly discovered that, in addition to feeling the physical intensity of the baby, I was really feeling the emotional intensity as well. This was most evident when I started to cry because he left an empty popsicle box on a shelf instead of immediately recycling it, and again when I cried because he asked "What are you doing?" when I was g-chatting w/ Rachel; I managed to take this as some kind of accusation, rather than a pretty innocuous question, and so cried. And we then had a good discussion about giving me a bit of extra room to be irrational and weepy and snappy. Cuz this shit is crazy, man.

And then we ate a delicious dinner and put away baby shower gifts in the baby room. Or rather, I sat on the bed and told him where to put things.

I love you, Jason. You are the best.

Finally, some shower pictures!

JP, Buzz and I in front of one of my dad's many sheds.
Mom, Aubs and I post-shower, after I'd changed into my regular preg uniform of tank top and stretchy green pants.

Dana and I and Liony, my beloved stuffed lion. Somewhere along the line he lost all his stuffing; my mom refilled him, sewed him up, and now he's good to go.
Me and the fabulous Madeleine. She liked my necklace.
Insane amount of gits. Thanks everyone!
My dad worked quite hard on the yard, to great effect. Note that all brightly colored chairs are former crappy white plastic chairs that Doug transformed using spray paint! Amazing!
Some baby pics of Jason and I, and the Open Letters to Ivy Cat booklets that Ruby made. They're now filled with amazing messages of love from many friends and family members. So so great.
Gramma Judy had personalized M&Ms made.
Grammas in the kitchen!
The Sunday brunch at Ruby's. OMG. OMFG.
Blurry Jason and I.
The Infamous Muddled Cocktail Bar before it was ravaged by muddlers.
Cutest decorated gazebo ever. The hanging onesies spell out IVY CAT. Julia is attaching the papal picadas that were bright and awesome.
The most wonderful host and party planner, Ruby, the most wonderful friend and helper Julia, the most wonderful fruit snack and belly-sized object, watermelon, and me.