Nine months

Dear Boo,

It’s hard to believe that you’ve been out in the world for as long as you were inside my belly.

You have utterly transformed our lives. We don’t sleep nearly enough, ever, as your day – and so our day – begins sometime between 4 and 5:30 AM. We don’t leave the house after about 6 PM every night, as we spend our evenings entertaining you until bedtime, and then, hanging out listening to the monitor as you blissfully snore away. My lunch hours, which used to be spent either in meetings or in front of the computer, now find me driving across town to feed you and kiss you a few dozen times. Instead of looking for the best $30 bottle of wine, I comparison shop diapers and tiny fleece coats embroidered with doggies and bunnies and trucks. I walk around in a perpetual sleepless haze, trying to get my job done while also trying to be the best mom I can be.

And yet, my life is a thousand times richer, every moment. You are madly tenacious, curious, stubborn, and fiercely happy when you get your way, and fiercely upset when we refuse you anything that strikes your fancy. Watching you explore and discover is the best entertainment I know. You have been having insane developmental leaps the last few months and it’s hard to keep track of them. A week after your seven month birthday, you figured out how to sit up on your own. A couple of weeks later, you figured out how to crawl, and you were about eight months old the first time you pulled yourself up to standing on your own. Now, you do this crazy crab-crawl all over the house and we just try to keep up with you. You are transfixed by all reflective surfaces – mirrors, windows, the stove – man, do you love the stove – and you, awesomely, tend to prefer the boxes that toys come in over the toys themselves. You don’t stand by yourself yet, but several times you’ve tried to balance on your own, and you fall pretty spectacularly, too.

We started you on solid food when you were about five months old, and you ate with gusto… until about three weeks ago. Now, we can only interest you in yogurt and the occasional waffle or green bean. And you still only have the two bottom teeth that came in months ago.

And you’ve had your mishaps. Last month, when your mama turned her back for about three seconds, you fell off of our very high bed onto a very hard wood floor. You weathered that much better than your mama did. You’ve also cut your mouth pretty badly on cardboard boxes a couple of times, and shut your fingers in many a drawer. At eight months you got the nasty “hand, foot and mouth” disease, followed closely by an ear infection, and you’ve had a bad cold basically since you started daycare.

And your sleep. Oh, your sleep. You do sleep through the night now, for the most part, except that your night ends in the wee hours of the morning. We are often up for hours before the sun even thinks about making an appearance. You spend those early morning hours playing and laughing and generally having a good time, though, so really, we can’t complain.

Best of all, you spread joy. You smile at strangers and friends alike. You want to touch and experience everything and everyone you encounter. You love your mama and your daddy maybe as fiercely as we love you. And when you go to bed at night, I miss you so terribly until you start talking at us to let us know you are awake.

Thanks for choosing us, you perfect, sweet, beautiful little boy.

I love you,



Dear Boo,

I’m in San Francisco at a Grantmakers in the Arts conference. You and your daddy were here with me until this morning, when you left in the wee hours so your daddy could get to work at a reasonable hour. It’s the longest I’ve ever gone without kissing your sweet face, and while I know you are okay (and, in fact, at the moment, deeply asleep), I miss you so much I could pass out.

You smile at everyone who meets you. Yesterday, you met a few of my colleagues, and one of them, who has declared that she’s never having kids, said to me, “I couldn’t leave that little boy every morning. I don’t know how you do it.” I don’t know how I do it either, except by way of one foot in front of the other. It feels so wrong to work so I can pay to have other people be with you all day, most days. But I can’t afford to *not* work, and truth be told, my job is deeply fulfilling and gratifying – and in that way, I’m utterly blessed. But some days are much harder than others, and tonight, although I loved walking around San Francisco by myself for an hour, and I can’t wait to close my eyes for what I hope will be the first long night of uninterrupted sleep in more than half a year, I also feel adrift without you, and your father. You, my love, have become my anchor. Life with you and your daddy is joy I honestly never thought I’d know.

At the same time… it sure would be great if you could, you know, sleep. As in, regular hours. It would be super if you could start your day at a reasonable hour. Recently, we’ve started to hope and pray that you would sleep until 6 AM because 4 AM has become your witching hour. Honestly, it’s completely dark outside, the rest of the rational world is asleep, but you are ready to greet the morning far earlier than the rooster.

The crazy thing? Early this morning, namely, 4 AM, you woke up, and started calling for us. And since we are in a hotel, I couldn’t let you fuss to see if you’d go back down. So pretty shortly, I got up, turned on the light, and went to lift you out of your crib… and there you were, sitting up. For the first time. Sitting up, hollering your head off for someone to come get you so we could start playing. You’ve been sitting for a month now at least, but only if we sat you up. At some point, in the wee hours of this day, you figured out how to get from Point A to Point B. And crawling isn’t far behind.

I’m so proud of you. And in about seventeen hours, I’ll get to see you again. Until then, sleep well, sweet dreams, and don’t grow up too fast.

I love you,


seven months

Dear Boo,

I’m so sorry it’s been so long since I wrote. I started an online baby book for you, and did some writing there, but it’s been ages since I wrote there, either. Life with you, and with work, is so crazy busy that it seems impossible to fit everything in. But it has been such an amazing seven months that I’m a little heartbroken that I’ve not chronicled it except for in pictures.

Speaking of pictures, I sure like to take them of you. Because you are the most beautiful little tyke I’ve ever seen. Obviously I’m biased, but your smiles bring me crazy joy.

You turned seven months yesterday. I went back to work a few days after you turned five months old. Which means, for two months, I’ve spent the bulk of my time missing you. It’s a tragic truth that us new moms have to go back to work right when our little ones start to get super fun. You laugh and smile ALL THE TIME. The only things that make you sad are 1) being very tired or 2) when I or your dad leave the room. Your favorite place to be is in a small crowd, as long as everyone is paying attention to you. You are tenacious and voraciously curious and are ready to be doing all the things you can’t yet, namely, talk and walk. At just under five months, you decided it was time to drink out of a glass (which you now do anytime anyone lets you). At six months you were sitting up by yourself. And just a couple of weeks ago, your cut your first and then your second tooth.

I have so much more to say about you, but it’s 9:45 PM which means it’s past my bedtime, since you like to get up very very VERY early. But you always wake up smiling, so I can’t help but look forward to the morning.
I love you,


week six

Again for the fam, random pics from little Drew’s sixth week of life.

post bath


crazy sweet boo

more smiles

sleepy boo

at the beach

more sleepiness

carolina smiles

and more smiles

little Drew and big Drew

Andrew’s first five weeks

I’m just now starting to emerge from the fog of these first few weeks, and wishing that I’d had time to write about what this time has meant and done to me. All I can say in the short time I have while the boo is sleeping is that I can’t imagine a world without him. Although I can imagine a world with eight hours of sleep straight. Or twenty.

My family has been asking for pics, so here’s a random assortment of his first five weeks. In the last week, he’s started to truly lock eyes with me and give me big smiles, which is enough to melt away the exhaustion for a good hour. I know he’s just mimicking, but it’s brilliant to behold. But I haven’t yet successfully caught one of these smiles on camera. Anyway, from the beginning…

Andrew just a few hours old

getting his hearing tested

with Uncle Steve at the hospital

first weight

four days old

One week old

13 days old

first walk on the beach

post bath

two weeks old

three weeks

with mama, three weeks old

bath time

crazy look, three weeks old

almost a month old

with daddy

not so excited to get dressed for a walk

almost five weeks

five weeks old, Santa Cruz baby

Andrew pondering Klabbat, the bunny his grandma made for him, modeled on the bunnies she made for Sean and me when we were kids

Popeye blurry smile...

I can’t believe my boo will be six weeks old next week. If I could, I’d stop the world and get off for a time with him. Although… I guess that’s what I’ve been doing these last five weeks. I love you, little guy.

One month

Four weeks ago this morning, you popped into the world. I’d been having “early labor” for ten days – three full hours of serious contractions every night, with random contractions during the day – and I thought you’d never arrive. But on the night of Tuesday the 1st, my water broke at 10:15, and by 11:15 we were at the hospital and I was having contractions less than a minute apart. I went straight into transition, no hours of slow laboring, and by 2 AM I was dilated 7 centimeters. An hour later I was at 9 1/2 centimeters and they thought you’d come any minute. Alas, by 5 AM, I was stalled, still at 9 1/2 and my cervix was getting swollen from my urge to push. Our incredible doula, Natasha, told me that I had to get an epidural because they had to slow down my labor to get the swelling down. I’ll admit that by that point, I gratefully bent my back to the anesthesiologist and as Jon held my hands, a needle went into my spine and the pain stopped almost immediately. Jon and I slept for two hours before the meds wore off, and after a while, the nurse threatened petocin to jump-start my labor. But by 9:30 my body was ready again, and only seven minutes later – 9:39, you popped into the world with your arm wrapped around your neck. (Apparently, you’d gone down the birth canal trying to suck your fist – as you often did in the womb – and your arm got pushed up.) But you came out safe, sound, and perfect.

It was one of the best days of my life. They put you on my chest and I sobbed and sobbed with gratitude. You were sweet from minute one. Your dad and I held you as they cleaned you up and in that moment everything changed for me. I won’t go into it – it sounds like such a cliche – but from that moment you redefined love.

The labor was crazy intense, but the doula got me through the pain and your dad never let go of my hand. I don’t remember a lot about it, other than the two of them getting me into a warm tub that was sweet relief for a very short time. And I do remember begging for meds as the hours dragged on. I called both of my parents after I got the epidural, which was really bizarre, since just minutes before I was incapacitated by pain. But at the end, I felt no pain but was able to push and that was the best of all possible worlds.

For the record, I gave birth at the Sutter Maternity Center here in Santa Cruz, about a ten-minute drive from where we live, and it was the most extraordinary medical facility imaginable. Every single nurse was lovely and sweet and helpful; the food (on-demand room service!) was delicious; Jon had a comfy place to sleep; even the bed was comfortable. And our doula – my god, what would we have done without her. I can guarantee I wouldn’t have gotten through labor without her help. After the birth, she spoon-fed me oatmeal so I could keep both hands on my son. She was awake and there with us from midnight until 2 PM the next day. She was such a blessing.

That first day was perfect. We all slept. You ate. I stared at you. Your grandma and Uncle Steve came to visit. We slept more. The nurses helped us do our first diaper change.

When we came home a few days later, your grandma was here to help, and she’s been here ever since. Sadly, she leaves next week, and you really love her (and she really loves you) and we are all going to miss her. She’s been making us great dinners and playing with you a couple of hours each day. She can talk you out of a meltdown and is completely immune to your wails of discontent – she just engages with you until you don’t feel like being unhappy anymore, which always happens pretty quickly.

You are so sweet, so consolable. The longest meltdown you’ve ever had has lasted maybe twelve minutes. You coo and grunt and smack your lips in your sleep. You love looking at shadows and lights and you give gassy smiles all the time. You are growing like a weed and are already almost too big for the the 0-3 month clothes. You have huge, light eyes and chubby legs and you smell… I can’t describe your smell, except to say that when you are asleep on my chest – like you are right now – the smell of you is what keeps me from going over the edge of sleep-deprivation sadness. You like having your hair washed when the water is nice and warm. You hate having a wet diaper but don’t mind hanging out in your own poo. (Maybe, like Sean when he was a baby, you don’t mind it cuz it’s warm.)

Most days, we walk to the beach. Halfway home, I’m usually singing a song to you, and you start sighing in your sleep. You mostly sleep well at night, with some four-hour blocks that make the world a little more manageable for your parents. You look exactly like Jon did when he was a newborn. Your pediatrician can’t stop talking about how sweet and handsome you are.

I can’t believe that a third of my time with you is already gone. The thought of handing you over to daycare in two short months reduces me to sobs, so I don’t think about it. The thought of being away from you for more than a few minutes at a time is bad enough.

For now, I’m going to keep enjoying every day, even when I can barely keep my eyes open, and keep marveling at the miracle that is you, my sweet little Andrew Ian. I hope you already know, somewhere in your hind brain, that your mama loves you so much it almost breaks her heart. Happy one month, sweet boy.

February 4th

As of yesterday, I am 35 weeks. Which means that you, little one, will show up in the next five weeks or so. It’s hard to believe. This pregnancy has not seemed short, like so many people say. It’s been one of the most intense eight months of my life, for so many reasons, not least of which is the constant awareness of you. Your father has been just extraordinary. His care of me, and his care of you, is something so powerful and sweet that I hardly know how to process it. He just left for three days and without him I feel adrift. Luckily, I have you, and I have a host of things to do to prepare our home (and my brain) for your arrival so I’m not too worried about filling the time.

I may be totally wrong about this, but I feel as though I already have a sense of your personality. You are going to be one active, curious kid, and you are going to be a handful. But you are also going to be game, ready for most anything, and I think, even, adaptable. You aren’t going to be an anxiety monger like your parents – somehow you will figure out that there’s just no need. This is what I know to be true of you now, so, when you are eighteen we’ll just have to decide if any of it sticks.

You move ALL THE TIME. You kick, you roll, you do a ton of stretching. You have explored every inch of the small cavity you fill and you continue to take what you need to keep growing strong. You are a miracle.

I’m awed by the extra crazy love you inspire in my friends and family. We had a baby shower a couple of weekends ago that included a bunch of our family being here – including your grandma! – and it was a completely glorious long weekend. Uncle Ian and Aunt Tessa built all of your nursery furniture. Uncle Steve did a zillion errands. Grandma made cheesecake and couldn’t stop rubbing your little home in my belly. And about twenty close friends came over to raise a glass of wine to you and share their advice on parenting. I hope that somewhere in your hind brain, you are aware of all of this, and aware of the veritable ocean of love you swim in every day.

So, now you have the hiccups, which you generally get 3-5 times a day. With how much my belly bounces, I can only imagine how much your whole body must shudder with every spasm. But it means that I need to stretch out cuz the only way to calm you down is to give you more room. So I’ll put my computer down for now, and lay down, and give you whatever it is you need to keep cooking in there for the next few weeks. There’s no rush, my love, as much as you seem to be ready to tackle the world. Give your lungs the chance to develop even more, get fatter. The adventure starts soon enough.

January 5th

I’m sorry I haven’t been writing, baby boy. I was pretty busy starting a little new side business (EverPresent Gift Bags) and generally getting caught up in all things holiday. You, however, have been very busily growing. I’m 31 weeks tomorrow, and you are apparently about 3 1/2 pounds and potentially viable outside the womb. But I think you like it in there, or at least, that is how I’m interpreting your daily calisthenics. You are one crazy active baby and your still love kicking my bladder and you get the hiccups every day. I hope you are sleeping, because I’m certainly not.

Turns out I’m anemic for the first time since I was 18, either because I’m not absorbing enough iron or because you, sweet boy, are leeching it all out of me. And then, last night, we had our first big scare. I woke up at 4:30 AM with searing pain in my right ankle and foot. The pain was so intense and so terrifying that I was sure something was terribly wrong. My ankle was trying to contort out and minute after agonizing minute passed while I tried to breathe through it. I scared Jon so badly that he almost threw up. After about five minutes, the pain started to subside, and leafing frantically through one of my baby books I found a section on leg cramps. Turns out this is a pretty normal pregnancy symptom – severe, charlie-horse like pain but in the ankles and feet. It means I’m electrolyte- and magnesium/potassium-deficient. So today I ate multiple bananas and your father spent the evening rubbing my ankles and feet. (Never take for granted how much love there already is in this family, little man.) I can only hope it doesn’t return.

Because I’ve been on airplanes the last few weeks, and because the pain was so severe, I was convinced it was an embolism that was going to travel to my brain and that would be it for me. Even after reading about the cramps, I lay awake for an hour in a cold sweat panic hoping that I wouldn’t, you know, die, from a pulmonary embolism. I was happy to finally fall asleep, and happier still to wake up.

I’m also having Braxton-Hicks contractions, somewhere in the ballpark of 20 or 25 of them a day. And sometimes you decide to kick while I’m having the contractions, and that’s just a barrel of laughs. But I love the constant reminder that you are okay, that you are growing.

So, keep at it, little one. You were feted at Christmastime with the sweetest gifts from a family that already loves you like crazy. You already have three “baby’s first Christmas ornaments” even though you weren’t technically here yet for the holiday. And no fewer than three baby showers are planned to celebrate your imminent arrival. You are my beautiful baby boy, and it’s your job to keep leeching minerals from your mommy and keep growing like a weed. Just two months until we get to really hang out with you. Can’t wait.

November 21st, 2010

Baby boy, you love to tap dance on my bladder. And kick my kidneys. And roll around in my lower belly, pushing with hands, feet, butt, head – it’s hard to tell, really, but you are one active little boy. Sometimes it seems as though you are doing calisthenics, sometimes it seems you are actually trying to get my attention.

A few weeks ago, your dad and I went to go see your Grandpa conduct a concert in San Francisco. It was a terribly harrowing drive in a severe rainstorm across the mountains, but we wanted to be there. You’d only been kicking (or at least, I’d only been feeling you kick) for about a week, and so we were still adjusting to your new presence. We settled in the auditorium, in about the tenth row, which is not great for acoustics but I like to see the cellos sawing away. The first piece was the overture from Candide, which is lively and bright for the most part; and then the very atmospheric “The Swan of Tuonela” by Sibelius began. And you went nuts. You were rolling and then kicking me so hard you were practically lifting me out of my seat. You’d never been that pronounced in your movements – and frankly, you haven’t been since, even with how active you are. You flexed and stretched and punched your way through the entire piece, and calmed down the minute it was over, only giving half-hearted knocks during the next piece, Smetana’s “Moldau”.

You’d never heard music that loud before. We have music on at home all of the time, but not at that level, and not with that intense kind of vibrations. So I think you were reacting to just the noise, but something about that piece must have spoken to you. I love to think you are going to pop out of the womb a classical music fan, or at least, with some sense of music. I don’t think that actually happens… but it does make me look forward to introducing you to music, and maybe you’ll even play an instrument or two even when you are really little, like your cousin Barnaby, who, at 3 years old, was already mastering his mini drum set.

And now you are with us just about every hour of every day. I’m sure you must sleep, but I only have a couple of hours a day that I don’t feel you. And I can even see you now, too – nothing specific, just the shudders of your kicks or taps – but it’s crazy to watch this happening in my belly. It’s so good to have evidence of you, beyond my ever-expanding midsection, because I’ve been struggling a bit of late. I assume it’s the hormones, or my inability to muster the energy to exercise as much as I should, but I’m awfully prone to the blues these days and I have to be very diligent and careful about keeping my spirits up. Your kicks fill me with equal parts joy and anticipation and fear. But I’m glad I can feel you, I’m glad I can have an actual physical sense of you as I approach my last trimester.

So, keep on kicking, little one. But try to keep your elbows off my bladder.

October 22nd

Hi, sweet baby boy.

For the past couple of days, I’ve been in Iowa visiting your Uncle Kent and Aunt Miss. I love Iowa, particularly in the fall, and most particularly when it’s sunny blue skies and in the 60’s. And I’ve been blessed with just such a few days, as well as the company of my brother and sister-in-law. It’s been restful and fun and so good to be here. I even get to see my oldest friend in the world, Anastasia, while I’m here, and she lives in Canada and just happens to be here for the weekend, so it’s an embarrassment of riches.

But I feel like I haven’t been paying all that much attention to you. The thing is, all we do is talk about you. I think that Melissa may be almost more excited about you than your parents-to-be, if her outpouring of love and sweaters is any indicator. Twice now she’s come home from work with bags full of the sweetest baby boy clothes (and blankets and sheets and such) I’ve ever seen. And this on top of a new yoga mat and pre- and post-natal yoga video that was waiting for me on the entry table when I first got here. It’s been so much fun talking baby with her, and going through all of the clothes, but I’ve almost been doing it at a distance from you. Although, clearly, I couldn’t get away from you if I tried. I guess it’s the first time I’ve been focusing on what things are going to be like after you are born, as opposed to what it’s like now when you are still in my belly.

I packed two huge boxes of goodies to ship home, and then came up to my room and rubbed my belly for the first time in days. My belly is ever-tightening, ever-growing, and I guess I’m writing to say that I hope you are doing swell down there, that you are continuing to grow all the beautiful bits you need to grow, and that I hope you enjoyed the double-oreo Blizzard yesterday and Kent’s awesome chickpea curry today and that I just can’t wait to meet you. You are going to turn my life upside down, and, well, I’ll be as ready as I can be for you.

In the meantime, I get one more day with Kent and Melissa before I return to your dad. Maybe if you are good tomorrow, you’ll get a Cherry Dilly Bar before we leave the land of Dairy Queen. I hope it’s as tasty by the time it gets to you, cuz it sure makes your mama happy.