Lake: I’m eating so much balanced food my head is popping off my neck!
Lake is back in the house! Let the good times roll, Lady Kitty. Your big brother is four years old (“just out of four”) and hilarious. He’s clearly been at Nana and Baba’s for a week. His hair is freshly cut and he’s discussing a balanced diet at the dinner table. Notable that he organized his own birthday trip: that he wanted to go, when he wanted to go, and when he was coming back home (he missed his family… “all of my family”). He was most excited about driving through the creek with Baba. The experience exceeded expectations.
Thank you, Nana and Baba for the special birthday present of your presence. Welcome home, überbalanced Lakelove!
The day started out bright as summer, and then rapidly darkened as a thunderstorm rolled in. I could see the lightning even with my eyes closed and heard the thunder growling. I opened the blinds to take it all in as the rain began to flood down. I could even feel the rain splashing on me through the window. As it happened I was dripping breast milk, but it could have been rain, or tears falling out of my eyes from a heart tugged open. I tasted the drops. The taste is surprisingly sweet like warm marshmallow milk.
My heart is aching for the nation, for the friends and family of George Floyd, and for those traumatized by the events of George Floyd’s disturbing and tragic death. So much time has passed and seemingly so little with regard to racial police brutality has changed since Rodney King was relentlessly beaten at the hands of four police officers when I was in middle school. A year later the officers were aquitted by a predominantly white jury, inciting those citywide riots that are burned into my memory. “People, I just want to say, can’t we all get along? Can’t we all get along?” pleaded the woke Mr. King on the third day of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Black lives matter. Why is that a hard one to reconcile and move forward with the important task of mitigating global socioeconomic inequities, the viral pandemic, pollution, and climate change? Why systemic hatred? Why hatred? Why greed? Why arrogance? This is what I repeatedly tell my son regarding bullies, “they just didn’t get enough love when they were little.” So I’m doing my best to love my children as much as my blood sweat milk and tears allow.
Tonight I’m holding a candlelight vigil at home, amidst city order of 5pm to 5am curfew and state order of Stay Home Stay Healthy. Meanwhile the sky weeps tears all day and into this night of unremitting rain. Somehow it’s still a perfect day, I reflect, as I share hot chocolate, marshmallow cuddle milks and my love with Lady Kitty by the fire.
Lake is four! We went on a hike to Lake Twenty-Two to celebrate. Vivien and Lady Kitty and I. It was a perfect day.
Meanwhile the birthday boy is celebrating with Nanababa in Quinault. They’re off the grid out at Big Creek eating birthday cake and having a great adventure, surely. He was very excited that he was going to get to drive the truck through the creek with Baba. That’s the kind of present and parties this four year old loves. Getting to see Nana after two months of quarantine was the best gift ever.
Back in Seattle packages keep showing up at our doorstep. Lots more presents and love are waiting patiently for when you get back home, Lake.
We love you, Lake! You’re perfectly delightful. Four years old… and such a bright, engaging and entertaining guy! You’re always with me. I carry you around in my heart. Happy Birthday!
Lady Kitty just rolled over for the first time today! She took care of business and met her milestone. No procrastination or laziness on her part. Then she kept doing it at least 10 times! I would turn her over onto her back and she would roll over onto her tummy again. She must have been enjoying herself. Keeping busy. Let the good times roll!
Nice work, Lady Kitty! Keep it up. You’re on a roll!
Ravenna, Cowen, Greenlake, Discovery, Carkeek, Matthew’s Beach… we love our city parks. We’re happy for the opportunity to focus on exploring more of them. Last week amidst the heat wave we were both especially loving the nearby beaches. Lake played in the water. The girls lolled on the daisy littered lawn. We beat the heat! We never tire of our tried and true local neighborhood parks. Now that the zoo is closed and parks like Golden Gardens, Gasworks, and Alki Beach are notoriously packed, we’re nudged to visit some parks that are less familiar to us or a little more out of the way. We accept the challenge and are enriched by it!
A perfect day at the park! I’m glad I spent it with you outside exploring…
It’s not quite the braided spikes hairstyle being popularized in Kenya, the one resembling the COVID-19 virus, but the brilliant rhododendrons backlighting does create a beautiful corona of glowing long hair. It’s the overdue for a haircut pandemic look. Ha, I have no excuse that the barber shops are all closed, because we cut his hair at home normally. I can tell he’s overdue for a visit with Nana and Baba though. He always comes home from NanaBaba’s sporting a fresh short hair cut, looking smart and about a mile older.
Tip for parents new to the home-haircut: we let him watch a show on the laptop. He sits immersed and immobile while we snip snip snip!
Discovery Park is a crowning gem for all of Seattle in what is otherwise the exclusive neighborhood of Magnolia. We’re discovering it anew, having visited twice now this week. It affords myriad opportunities for immersion in nature and enjoying the benefits of the shinrin-yoku (Japanese word/concept for forest bath). This morning I dropped the “kids” off near the lighthouse then drove back up the hill to park on the roadside (parking lots are closed). While I hiked the Loop Trail, Lake and Vivien played in the sand on the beach.
Lady Kitty and I delighted in forest bathing as we walked the loop.
Read more about the Loop Trail and the history on the Washington Trails Association page.
We’ve been watching The Great British Bake Off and we’re in a winning mood. Who’s the winningest baby??? Lady Kitty is star baby 11 weeks running now. She is already asleep for the night at 7:30 pm and (knock on wood), she sleeps through the night usually 9 hours. Then after an early breakfast she’ll often stay in asleep mode.
A few days ago she slept until noon (with two breakfasts at 5:30am and 8:30am)… I enjoyed time for yoga! She’s feeding/growing and smiling now too! She gurgles and coos and it’s the ultimate heart-warming connection. That’s what I call star baby!
As I mentioned in my recent Toolbelt blog post, Julietta Skoog brings a great voice for positive parenting. In her free weekly parenting tips email this week, she mentioned a ritual to create a meaningful moment with your toddlers and children. It’s a rift on the highs and lows sharing tool called rose/thorn and stem. The rose is the highlight, the thorn is the lowlight, and the stem is the learning or growing challenge/opportunity. When I look out over my life these days it’s all coming up roses. It helps that with the newest family member Lady Kitty, she’s all rosy roses, and very few thorns. So while others are lamenting the pandemic quarantine and/or disruption to our maternity leave plans, I’ve been actually quite content and happy. It helps having a great team for sure! Missing the kids’ grandparents is the hardest part for me personally. Allow me to take an inventory of my blessings, I bet I can easily come up with a dozen roses on the spot!
1. Upon hearing I was sidelined with excruciating bilateral foot pain, our incredibly kind and generous and thoughtful neighbor loaned us her stationary bicycle through the end of May. She’s a real inspiration, and she had her husband and father drag it up and down stairs and down the sidewalk to our front door, so I’m determined to use it! On this stationary bicycle I can work up a real sweat! And read. And baby wear!
2. My friend Miranda was up for a bicycle ride along the Burke Gilman Trail earlier this week. We rode for 2.5 hours, all the way out to Kenmore! Who would have guessed that was going to happen? I had never gone for a walk-and-talk style bicycle ride before. I ususally think of the traditional walk-and-talk around Greenlake. But with the COVID-19 social distancing notwithoutstanding, my feet have made it impossible to walk, so I’ve been taking a rest to heal them and it’s been effective. I was starting to miss getting outside to exercise though. Turns out the bicycle date actually works phenomenally. The stationary bicycle is great for exercise but bicycling outside is exhilarating with the wind in your face and the relative speed. It’s a rush and always so special to have an open talk about life with a friend.
3. We matched with our new au pair for fall! That’s not only a relief for what can feel like a stressful process, but it went super easily this time, and we feel like we really lucked out! More about Madeline soon!
4. Lady Kitty had her two month visit with our pediatrician Dr. Abigail Grant, whom I’ve already gushed about. She’s always a treat to see and talk to, and it was great to confirm Lady Kitty is growing strong, over 12 pounds and 24 inches (94th percentile for height!). All is well with our healthy beautiful baby!
5. I’m taking the opportunity to clean out the bathroom cupboard and… finding a whole sheaf of pre-packaged face masks, I’m enjoying a glowing face!
6. Sending my nephew a birthday package that includes the dry ingredients for a cake. All he has to do is all oil and water and bake, and then he and Lake can FaceTime and eat birthday cake “together”
7. Riding my bicycle to the post office to mail the package! Again the thrill of being out about town with the wind and sunlight on my face.
8. Michael bought me a present to honor that he’ll be gone most of the parenting hours for the next 8 days as he dives in to his back-to-back “4 10’s”… doing an 80 hour two-week work week straight through. And the thoughtful present was: a dozen delicious GF vegan chocolate chip cookies from Flying Apron! Yum. They really help ease out the rough moments. Of course, I have to eat them in secret or I’ll be forced into sharing them with Lake and end up with a sugared-up toddler on my hands. Then things would quickly spiral from tough to tougher.
9. Yoga and meditation Sunday mornings at 9am via Zoom with Jodi Boone via Zoom Link. (Feel free to join! Suggested donation $10). She is so beautiful with a lovely presence and “arrives” right directly in my living room. Need I say more?
10. Having friends over for dinner at the weekend. It’s so valuable to find a few friends to Stay Home Stay Healthy with. Its lucky to find friends who have already had COVID-19, or if you both agree you’ve been effectively quarantined and are not currently infected/contagious, or if you’re young and willing to take the risk of being exposed to SARS-CoV-2 to build up herd immunity, it can be mentally and emotionally enriching to expand your quarantine family.
11. I found a neighbor to bring accountability and some editing help for working on my memoir! It’s never to late or too early to start your magnum opus, right?
12. Championing effective communication together during a meaningful relationship talk with my husband. Congratulating ourselves on our maturity, for real. Being willing to sit with the discomfort (or imagined discomfort) to talk bravely and honestly brings intimacy even if other gains are not made (though often we might be surprised at how receptive our partners are when we are being truly vulnerable). This 5:31 video clip shared with me by my friend Bobby helped me expand my limitations of compassion.
Yup, a dozen roses… Life is coming up roses! Not that there are no thorns, (foot pain, missing friends and grandparents, and …), it’s just that with such a bouquet of roses it’s easy to focus on the beautiful blooms and they kind of hide the roughness of the thorns. A perfect day… I’m glad I spent it with you!
P.S. Be well, my dear reader. Feel free to share . What are your roses/thorns/stems? or simply feel inspired by me sharing my post-partum quarentine joy and gratitude.
P.P.S At bedtime Lake says, “ I love you the most. You’re right here in my heart. Is that why I think about you all the time? And you’re in my dreams?” That’s a whole dozen roses right there!
The global community is finding solidarity in continuing to shelter at home. Here in Washington we have the order for another month. I’m reading What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton and allowing myself to mourn the outcome of the 2016 Stronger Together campaign, as well as that we don’t live in Sweden, or that we’re not calm and strategic and mature as Sweden. So my family finds solidarity in matching pajamas. When we have a hard day, Michael will usually lead the way by donning his Dear Deer hannajams (hot top: currently everything is 40% off).
Lake loves matching too, so he’s quick to follow suit. At Lake’s behest I dress Lady Kitty in hers.
Lake lit up with the idea of Vivien taking a picture of us in a row, where you couldn’t see where one of us ended and the other one began. Very Buddhist/Dalí.
It works! The puzzle is put back together in a show of love and solidarity after a rough day. A perfect day, I’m glad I’m sheltering in place with you all!