Lucky Penny

Things have not especially been going our way today. 

We had a super fun day planned: lunch with PEPS mums at Uneeda Burger in Fremont then coffee with longtime friend Sara at Milstead coffee shop in Fremont as well. We would walk. It would be a great adventure. 

First, we get out of the house late. But not before I decide to try to fit in a mat Pilates session. My first post-partum. I got all set up, waiting to just press play on my beloved Mari Windsor DVD. Lake went down for what appeared to be a nap, so I hit the mat. Within a few minutes he wakes up and begins to wail. I bring him over in his basket so he’s right there. I’m patting him and reassuring him between sets. It does nothing. I get my core workout in, and he gets his lung workout in. 

Second, as we are walking west on 45th through Wallingford toward Fremont we pass by Teahouse Kuan Yin, and see that it’s closing. I notice the owner Marcus inside and I’m compelled to stop in and give my regards even though we are already on the late side for lunch. Okay lunch is casual, but still it nags at me to be late. But Marcus and I went into business at around the same time ca. 2006. He taking over the neighborhood icon of the Teahouse and me opening my naturopathic medical practice The SPAhT in the same building. Also Fainting Goat Gelato, Trophy Cupcakes, Joule, and Molly Moon all opened during this time period around my block in Wallingford as well. Some of us did better than others. Some of us lasted longer than others. Some of us have expanded. Some of us have changed course. The life of the small business owner in an ever changing economy. So, with our shared history I just had to say hello to Marcus and wish him well. He’s in the middle of closing out and selling all the inventory and infrastructure. After some deliberation I end up purchasing their old huge industrial fan for $25, thinking it would be nice if the summer heat returns. Since we are walking to Fremont we leave it in the shop, and have no particular plan in place to get it home. He says he’ll be there until 8:30 tonight. I have some time. 

We make it to Uneeda Burger just as everyone is ordering. Perfect. I upgrade to a large 100% pasture raised patty medium rare, lettuce wrap no bun. It’s really delicious. That part goes well and I scarf it down. We are having nice conversations. It’s great to see these women again. We are sharing and developing bonds and getting through this new motherhood thing all together. It feels great. Then Becca asks me if that’s mustard on my wrap, or… I joking say I hope so because if it’s not we are in trouble since it’s way down by his feet. I kind of dismiss it as mustard, but she probes further and good thing, because it’s not mustard. Just looks similar. So I pull out my spare diaper and get to work right there on the picnic table using the water from my water glass to wet my reusable wipe. The PEPS mums are super nice helping me out. But one thing leads to the next and pretty soon we have the full trifecta: he spews spit-up, then pees a stream, then kicks over my full water glass water everywhere. Pretty soon you can’t tell what’s what. We also have a poopy diaper cover with no spare, and him howling like I’m murdering him the entire time. I go to the toilet to wash the poo off my wrap, and lo and behold discover at that point that they have changing tables in the restrooms. Then as I’m sitting down getting resettled at our table the waitperson comes over and asks us to use the changing table next time; people were complaining that they were uncomfortable. It made me feel embarrassed and demoralized. Sure, it would have been a ton easier for me too. It just didn’t occur to my baby addled brain that they might have changing tables and I could use one for the first time. The very first time. 

Next, my longtime friend Sara ironically suggests changing locations for our friend date from Milstead to Kuan Yin. I let her know it’s closing and ask her if she might like to do me the favor of helping me get the fan home. She agrees. We meet at Flying Apron. Catch up. Eat more delicious food. This time the vegan broccoli coleslaw looks amazing. It is. Another blowout. This time on Sara and this time I’m a bit wiser and more experienced so we go directly to the bathroom to get him cleaned up. I use my last clean diaper. The wool diaper cover gets poopy and I still have no spare. I try to wash it a bit, then it’s damp but not goopy. Sara’s a mum too so luckily she’s super helpful and understanding. At this point we are getting a bit weary. I’m still able to be a good friend and give solid unsolicited and solicited advice. 

Fifth, baby diaper service calls. My lifeline. But difficult to work with. More miscommunications to clear up. I need these diapers! We see what happens when we don’t have them… We need them!

Finally I make it back to Kuan Yin and meet Sara there (she’s waiting) again, but the shop is shut and locked. The sign says he’ll be in and out. We wait. We prepare to wait longer. I can’t keep Sara hostage and lean on her goodwill. She leaves. I wait a bit longer. I take a deep breath. I decide since it’s nearly 6:30 and therefore basically dinner time, to turn lemons into lemonade by getting something yummy at nearby Vietnamese eatery Tigerly Ox. Maybe he’ll be back by the time I’m done. It then occurs to me to email him to see when he’ll be back; maybe he’s like a lot of people and is monitoring his smart phone. At this point I notice Lake’s just wet his nappy and wool cover through and the wrap is totally soaked. 

So I basically eat my way around the city while Lake eats and poops his way. Just when I’m feeling really bedraggled, it can’t get much worse, I find a heads up penny. Heads up, and therefore a lucky penny, at Tigerly Ox. Maybe our luck is about to turn. 

Behold: owner of Teahouse Kuan Yin responds to my email and offers to deliver the fan to my home in spite of his harried state of closing shop. Thank you Marcus. Thank you universe. I needed that just now. Even filled with challenges such as it was, it was a perfect day. Thank you PEPS friends, thank you Sara friend, thank you Lake friend. Thank you for sharing this day with me. I’m glad I spent it with you. 

Autobody Like it Never Happened 

I dropped my car off this morning to have the Fender Bender repaired. After all that initial delay and dodginess Bender finally divulged his mother’s insurance information and we were able to proceed as usual and customary with filing the claim; all above board. I can pick it up Friday. We’re car-free until then! It’s all bus and hike-it baby!

I contemplated leaving Lake in his basket while I went to drop the car off. How long would I be gone? 20 minutes? It seemed in a certain sense that it would be safer and more comfortable for Lake to stay home and relax. But he is just a month old, and something was telling me no one would support that decision. Luckily for everyone involved Lake was super not asleep, so he got to come along and scream to me from his infant car seat for a few blocks up to the Autobody shop. Then he got to be bundled into the wrap carrier and have a snack. Instantaneous calming. So we took the opportunity to have a lunch for mummy too while we were dressed and out.

Good morning !

They greeted us at Chaco Canyon. I then realized it was only 10:30am. I went ahead and ordered the community bowl for (first?) lunch anyways. The community bowl is a nutrient dense vegan sliding scale ($2-9) meal option. I figure since I’m essentially on unpaid leave for half a year I qualify for a price reduction. I paid $7 cash including tax and tip. I’m trying out how it feels to accept help of all types in the raising of this baby in a not-too-family-centered society. The community bowl is a really nice gesture and offering. Thank you Chaco Canyon community! Yum! Mummy fuel!

To continue the subject of automobile administration and price reductions, yesterday I received response from the judge regarding my 72 hour violation parking ticket. Upon review of my written testimony, the judge found me guilty as charged of the infraction, since I freely admitted to parking on the street without moving my car for more than two weeks whilst occupied with Lake’s birth. But she reduced the fee from $44 to $14. Frankly I think the city had little to lose by fully exonerating me from fines. Congratulations for birthing us a new Seattle citizen. That will be $14 please. And aren’t they benefitting from having one less car on the roads and freeway? Hmm, Seattle’s rules of the road may need modernization along with the city’s urbanization.


Today’s PEPS* group discussion centered around developmental milestones. I do prefer to focus on my own milestones and leave Lake to explore the environment in his own way, à la French model as elucidated by Pamela Druckerman in Bringing Up Bébé. Today Lake was enjoying the discovery of the curtain billowing in the breeze with the afternoon sun softly shining upon it. I doubt that is on a pediatric well child check, but it was a cherished moment to see him captivated for the first time in that way. 

Meanwhile Mummy met the milestone of hitting the yoga mat for a Vinyasa class at We Yoga Co! The other PEPS mummies inspired me to get out for a solo adventure and resume a much loved activity. I turned the cancellation of our Monday Night $6 Movie Date (with Orca card) at the Sundance Cinema by my husband working late to an opportunity for me to get out since I’d already arranged Lake-care. The Lobster can wait. Infinite gratitude toward my neighbor Reba for her open invitation of generously offering to spot Lake so I am able To step out. This is my first yoga class in a month, first class post-natal. It’s time to reyogify! Summer is here and the beach beckons. 

It is so interesting to see which poses I am able to flow into more comfortably and which are more challenging. It wasn’t what I expected. Eagle. Sleeping eagle. Airplane. Plank. Side plank. Warrior I. Warrior II. Side angle. Triangle. Downward Dog. Half pigeon. These turned out to all be old friends that I slipped into with a surprising ease. Forward bend. Happy baby. Upward dog. Cow. Child’s pose. These I was forced to approach gingerly and show a healthy respect towards. It seems the labor of pushing really strained my low back and hip ligaments. 

Nonetheless it seems it’s better for me to just get back on the mat. Keep up my conditioning so that I’m strong of mind and body, a positive role model for my son. Be fully present and free of anxiety for the unexpected and precious moments when Lake meets his own milestones. Better to yoga than not to yoga. The hour flew by. 
*Program for Early Parental Support 

Sunday Kind of Love

I’m blessed to have that Sunday kind of love. The love that is there when you’re broken on the floor crying days after giving birth and when you’re weeping along with your inconsolable infant when the only thing that will calm them is your breast and you just want a break to catch a few winks or finish the laundry or wash a few dishes.

Lake is a wonderful perfect baby. We could not have gotten a better one. Even so, after a great day of adventuring evenings can be tough. It’s like he gets too tired to function, too tired to fall asleep. All he wants to do is breastfeed until he eventually falls off, asleep. However, this is an ephemeral sleep from which he will immediately arouse if he is set down. It takes a magic number of these false starts ending in wailing then peacefully suckling again before his off switch is officially flipped. This process tests your mettle. It’s hard to stay upbeat when that little face that was so recently asleep on your breast crumples into the most abject misery imaginable.

The moments of peaceful blue eyed baby love seem distant and unattainable. In times like these I’m grateful for my Sunday kind of love husband. I can tell he’s tired too and his nerves are rattled too. And he might not have this miraculous ability to hotwire Lake’s off switch like I somehow expected he would. But he does turn to me with love and devotion and picks my spirit up off the floor and kisses my tears away. And he changes some nappies and tries some new diversion tactics with Lake while I use the toilet. And he joins in my off key singing. And he makes dinner when he’d rather not. And he puts on some soul music and slow dances me in the kitchen. 

Urban Craft Uprising 

The Urban Craft Uprising is an event that’s held biannually in the Exhibition Hall at the Seattle Center. Auntie L and I had gone in December while Lake was still in utero. I got a knit maternity dress designed and made by a couple from Portland with the label Make it Good. The woman was wearing this particular dress and expecting as well, a few months further along than I. She was sweet and gave me the maternity discount and promised it would stretch and fit well all through pregnancy. That held true. And it’s understated enough that it could be worn everyday if necessary, dressed up or down with different accessories. Wonderful dress: packs well, travels well. Only downside: what works for pregnancy doesn’t necessarily work for breastfeeding. Whole different ballgame. Needs buttons, zippers, snaps, or wraps. Needs access. 

We enjoyed browsing the booths filled with talented and engaging artisans and craftspeople. The vendor Make it Good was back today for the summer event. Now their son is two months old. I was excited to see if she had a new design. Nope! Unfortunately for me, their new line is going to be baby clothes. Just what I don’t need: more expensive baby clothes, aside from my weakness for Petit Bateau. They grow so fast; thank goodness for lovely well stocked hip urban baby consignment shops! Hello Seattle!

We had a good adventure. We took the bus! Lake’s first bus ride. And then we walked through the Seattle Center to Pike Place Market to check out a boutique Auntie L had her eye on. Alhambra is well curated with beautiful textiles of summery blouses and designerly sheer cashmere sweaters. Pretty jewelry from an artist in Turkey. Oh well, easier on the pocket book since it looks like we’re moving into a no jewelry period as my son is beginning to grasp at my delicate necklaces. 

Lake did swell though! I think it helps that he’s so cute and little; he draws a lot of positive responses. He’s a great little walking companion too. He falls asleep and then when he wakes up he gets a warm snack on tap. And then he stretches and falls back asleep. This is the life! Thanks for the charming day Auntie L!

Cuban Cuisine and Camaraderie

Cuban Cuisine and Camaraderie

Friday Social with the PEPS parents (mummies) was a success last week, so today we convened again, this time at Bongos near Greenlake on Aurora. Bongos occupies the old gas station at 65th and had caught my eye many times while zooming southbound on 99, but thought it was a drum shop or some such thing. Boy, I had no idea! It’s completely transformed into a slice of the Carribean with a large outdoor dining space with sand underfoot. Order off the chalkboard menu and take a number to your chosen seat. Their jerk chicken has won accolades as brilliant, being the best in Seattle. I tried it out as a plate with black beans and fried plantain. It wasn’t quite as spicy as I was anticipating from recollections of the best chicken I’d ever eaten in Jamaica, but overall it was delicious. We ladies visited while the babies slept for the most part. 

The babies started to wake up from their siestas around the same time, signaling it was time to go. We had already lingered through from the lunch rush to the early dinner diners.  So nice to have adult time and a support group, even if the conversation hovers around baby territory for the most part. From the mundane (how to find the time to exercise), to the existential (whether to go back to work), to the heroic (how it might take three days to make your husband cupcakes for his birthday),   to the astounding (which of our old favorite haunts, eg ocho, don’t allow babies because liquor laws require all humans present to be over 21; dogs okay), to the nitty gritty (which are the best galactagogues). My interface with the outside world also apprised me of the breaking news from last night, that the UK voted to withdraw from the EU, prompting  British prime minister David Cameron also to step down and the Dow reflects the dramatic shift with a -600+ point plummet. Amazing what can happen while you’re changing nappies. Lake is completely unfazed. He is innocent and trusting, fully immersed in the moment and the business of being alive. Meanwhile the world keeps remodeling itself.

On the walk home we admired our own little slice of heaven and the last of June’s most fragrant roses. 

Here’s Lake hiding out in the K’tan, snacking and catching up on his beauty sleep before our next adventure! Another perfect day… I’m glad I spent it with you. 

Poke Party

Today we were fortunate to have a visitor from work! We made introductions over a coffee and biscuits. Lake liked his new friend, and after a bit we set out for Wallingford on foot to find a lunch spot and take in the sights (there are little lending libraries! there are floating homes! there’s Gasworks park and a windstorm!). But not before Mr. Cat showed off his impressive length. He’s a full twice as long as Lake. 

We were headed for my favorite TNT Taqueria, but on the way there we encountered the 45th Stop N Shop & Poke Bar (2323 N 45th Street). It holds the esteemed location of the historical Erotic Bakery, and has already been witnessed by me to command lines out the door and down the block since its opening earlier this year. I had told my friend of this phenomenon. So when the 45th Stop N Shop loomed into view at the top of the hill we were primed and powerless to resist. My friend is from Hawaii and a connoisseur of the finest culinary pleasures so this was a good test. 

It passed! See the colors flying?!

Having a work friend visit reminded me how removed this baby-centric life with Lake is from my professional life. My days and nights blend together and time slows to a stop up close to my son. Meanwhile time on the outside is whirring so fast. This marks the first month of my six month planned maternity leave. It feels as though it hasn’t even begun yet, and already it is 1/6 through. 

Thank you for this precious day. I’m glad I spent it with you. 

Feeder Grower

Lake is essentially a feeder grower right now. Feeder grower is a term I picked up as a pharmacist intern on the neonatal intensive care unit meaning no pathologies, just time needed to get bigger. There tiny babies were working on finishing development and getting up to adequate size for discharge. Here Lake’s working his way through the fourth trimester. He’s a good sleeper, that helps. He’s learned from the best!

He’s also a bit like Mr. Cat in that he likes a clean litter box, so to speak. Even if he’s just gone Mr. Cat will find a way to go again right after the box is cleaned. Similarly for Lake, after a change seems like the best time to go. And unfortunately Lake doesn’t see a connection yet between changing and a clean nappy, so he’s not a happy camper during nappy change. 
All this eating and sleeping and eating is paying dividends though. We visited our midwife today for a checkup and he’s up a pound since his last check up two weeks ago! That makes for a heavier load but a proud mummy!

Defensive Walking 

I love to get outside and enjoy the fruits of our urban backyard. Some days it can be a major accomplishment to make it outside our flat door. Today was one of those days. Yea! Dressed and ambulatory as a twosome!

It’s starting to feel like I spend a disproportionate amount of time shaking my head disapprovingly at drivers while I’m out walking though. I want to enjoy the city, but I want to feel safe!


I often say out loud. Today I watched incredulously as a driver shouted back to a pedestrian whom he had nearly run over after the pedestrian made a gesture like

What was that?

Okay the pedestrian didn’t exactly have the walk signal, but the drivers lane was also backed up so as soon as the driver made it through the light he had to stop for the next light.

Lake and I cross, luckily without incident. I’m only a few steps along, however, when I hear behind me a telltale


Motor vehicle accident. Someone was turning left across traffic. Someone was going straight. I don’t know who had the light. I’m starting to feel like that part is irrelevant anyways.

img_1110It recalls a salient saying regarding driving in Italy.

Green means go! Amber means go faster! And red? Red is just a suggestion.

Meanwhile I have become a paranoid pedestrian. Today’s adventure was taking me in search of the Whole Foods organic strawberry sale, and after that intersection I took to exploring the quiet alleys. It was great! The most congestion I experienced was when I walked along with a free range chicken.


Yep, we had a bucolic foray up north. It was almost like we ended up at a farm stand. My prize! Yum!

Boggling Books

Whew! What a stack of reading material. I think it’s time to let them go. All the obligatory reading that might give us a happier, sweeter, quieter, smarter baby. All the well intentioned well-wishers best sellers best references, crucial advice critical information. Try to cram it all in and become an expert on baby hatching and baby raising after work, before bed, on a rainy day. It’s time to say goodbye. 

To be honest, most are, at best, a few chapters read. Many had me outright in tears and left me feeling depressed. A few tables were helpful here and there. The cliff note version of most would suffice: shushing, sucking, swaddling, swinging. Be in the moment. Experience the sensations. Let go of fear of the future. Take your folic acid. Exercise. Speak to your child like a sage being at all ages. Pause before acting. 

I liked to follow along with the size of the fetus in the Mayo Guide. My husband read two chapters of Simkin’s The Birth Partner and said he would have been really lost without having done that. He was amazing, so must be two great chapters. Nana read the cliff note version of my personal favorite, Bringing up Bébé by Druckerman and wholeheartedly endorsed it, so it’s nice to know we have a common reference. Now I think I’ll stick to Goodnight Moon and continue doing yoga. 

Meanwhile, Michael took a different route and after he read his two chapters of birth partnering basics, he took the time to catch up on classics. Smart move!