Friday, July 31, 2009

(sit small)

this has been quite a week.
we have had dear friends in town all week visiting us all the way from england. 
this morning i plopped them off at the airport, 
so sad to see them go but thankful for the time we've shared.
we now have other dear friends visiting from philadelphia. 

(if any of you have ever been in my teeny home you will find it comical that we have been housing so many visitors)

friends with history- 
relationships that last across distance, over the span of time, and changes in life circumstance. 
these are the types of friends who don't care how clean your house is, 
or who can tell from one look that you've been crying, 
that ease your burdens by listening and then saying just what you need to hear, 
that make you laugh until your sides hurt,
that stay up until 4 in the morning with you talking 
about the most important things in the world or nothing at all.

this week my parents also both signed 
divorce papers.

good to be with friends.
good to talk to them. 
good to just be quiet with them when life takes tuns you weren't expecting.

it has been quite a week.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

a tragedy. serious.

dear freaking entire west coast,

please get a rita's already. 
it is summer after all, and i can't even indulge once without heading across the country.

i wish my friends coming from philadelphia this week could secretly stash some away for me in their luggage, but i don't think that would work so well. 

frozen delight+ cross country flight=bad news bears.

isn't the bay area supposed to be the temple of food or something like that?
i'm just saying.


Friday, July 24, 2009

happy friday!

the last few days i have been sorting through loads of medical insurance paperwork, bills, and the parts of my to do list that i have been putting off. so not fun when you are knee deep in a mess of paper, but i'm almost done! so i am enjoying a cup of coffee at peets while little m hangs at home with her papa. 

i love that fridays is matt's day off! 
i love the weekend!
have a good one!

foodie friday

so, matt doesn't like it so much when i rave about him on my blog. he kind of squirms and rolls his eyes. in response i say, "sorry, deal with it. rave on i will and that's all there is to it." 

don't get me wrong- sometimes sweet mateo drives me crazy: he hates car heat, i love to be toasty; he loves punk rock, i am destined to duet with u2; he is anti-microwave, i am all about heating every baked good up for 15 seconds; he wants to take a vow of poverty and live in intentional community in the hood, i am just content to live in the land of ghetto birds (but with my own kitchen and a space to call my own); he drinks english breakfast tea with whole milk and 2 cups of sugar, i drink nonfat lattes. when it comes to disagreement, i am the hothead, not him. my poor peace-loving husband married a fiesty one. so don't let me mislead you into thinking it is 24-7 roses and cupid arrows at our house...but truly, most of the time i do think my husband is great. 

like when he makes awesome food.
a few weeks ago he made gnocchi from scratch and it was incredible...

fresh gnocchi and straight from the garden basil, mortle and pestled into pesto.
happy belly!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


(the beach, summer 2008)
i feel that i should clarify (my last post) by saying:
  • i am very thankful for the leaps and bounds that little m has already made. she does respond to sound in ways that she never, ever did before having cochlear implants.  she does babble. she does have some receptive words and (maybe, hard to tell) emerging expressive words. she is doing so, so well and i am very proud of her. little m so works hard at listening and learning! i didn't make it mean to sound so hopeless, because truly i believe her growth already is a daily miracle.
  • i know that she will be in a place where she is speaking and listening. i know this because i see kids who are older than she is, who are doing exactly that! but i also don't want to pretend that there aren't times that it isn't hard, and that all of this work (although i know that it is worth it) is tiring. sometimes i just am grieving the necessity of doing so much work.
  • it's been a hard "deaf issues" week. first, i increasingly realize what typical hearing kids are doing at a much younger age because, well, i have been around more of them lately. that isn't a bad thing, but it brings these feelings up & i want to be honest with myself about that. second, we had a lot of appointments last week and then a very hard therapy session this morning. it has been a week where it makes me sad that little m has to go to all of these hearing loss related therapies and audiology appointments. i feel bad for her when she is tired and cranky and yet is slotted for a therapy or booth test. i wish she could just snuggle in her crib for a nap, or play on her floor and not with a professional. but i am grateful for the people she works with- they are amazing.
  • i don't think that this issue is just one for those of us who have deaf or special needs children. we live in a culture of comparison, and i myself hate when i am feeling competitive or comparing, so i thought i'd bring it up (as ugly as it may be.) i feel like it has struck me even more since becoming a parent, although i think it is rampant in our society (and maybe human nature?) in general.
  • i don't feel like this all the time. but it is there enough that i thought i would give it a voice, so that if you have ever felt the same or similar you wouldn't feel alone.
(thanks for the encouragement, to those of you who have commented. 
i am grateful to those of you who are a few steps ahead of me, 
as well as those of you who are on a different journey but who walk with me,
even though i am a broken person, mother, and friend) 

the comparison game

one of the things that i've discovered in this thing called being a parent is that it entails a lot of comparison. 

it starts at the very beginning with what your pregnancy was like (nausea? sleeplessness? weight gain? heartburn? backache?) 

and continues through to what your labor was like (complications? how many hours of active labor? how long did you push? all natural? drugs? how soon did you get drugs? c-section? c-section after pushing?) 

and then it keeps going once this little human is out in the world and has become a part of your family (colicky? how good of a eater is your baby? what type of temperament-mellow? fussy? how well does she sleep? how fast is he to roll over, scoot, crawl, cruise, walk, eat solids, potty train...)

i am not being critical; much to my own chagrin, i am the queen bee of having issues with comparison. and i've asked just as many of those questions as the next parent, whether i like to admit it or not. once i found out that little m was deaf, i was like, "oh great, now i'm really going to have issues with comparison." at least i know myself well enough to know that much; sometimes i do compare little m's language progress to that of her hearing peers, and it puts me into a dark and discouraged place. 

when she was very small, the words that would most pierce my heart would be because other moms would complain that their infant couldn't sleep if it was noisy or that the baby would startle easily. i would just get quiet when other parents talked about how their baby loved this musical toy or the song on their mobile. i would see little newborns turn toward the sound of their parent's voice and it was like i was dying inside.

now my sweet daughter is getting older, and so are her little baby friends. sometimes it isn't even a baby i know that triggers my sadness; it can be a random infant in a store or at the park that is at least 6 months younger than my daughter and is making sounds that i have never heard come out of her mouth. 

babies that are 
6, 8, or 10 months younger 
than my daughter 
are babbling dada 
or mimicking speech sounds 
or speaking actual words. 

and little m is not. 
and i grieve it every single time. 

i almost started bawling the other day when a baby months younger than little m pointed at the bubble container and said, "bub-bub." little m looked on and smiled and continued climbing the stairs. i teared up and repeated, "yes! those are bubbles." simultaneously i felt such sadness that my own daughter was nowhere near expressing herself that way, and guilt that my first thought was loss rather than rejoicing in this little one's verbalizing.

it's complicated. 

because i don't want a different baby. 

i don't think my daughter is broken. 

i love all of her, and she may not be defined by her deafness, but it is a huge part of who she is and who she always will be. i don't begrudge the celebrations of other parents as their child first babbles, says words, strings together a sentence, sings a song. i don't want to feel envious or compare my child to theirs, but i do. i don't want to cry when i hear a baby echo the voice of his mom of dad, but i do. i want other parents to be able to tell me that their baby just said a first word or a sentence, and not worry that i will downward spiral or resent them. i should be able to celebrate this thing that i want just as much for my daughter. instead it still feels like a tender, recent wound.

the funny thing is that it's easy to compare to the norm. it's easy for me to be sad that my daughter is a few years behind her hearing peers; with her cochlear implants she will have access to speech and language... she will be able to speak and listen someday. but there are children who get implants when they are much, much older, and have a far more difficult road to acquiring language; some of those parents are comparing their child's progress to a child like mine, who has been implanted early, with a crunch in their hearts. besides, there are children who have far more hurdles to overcome than my little m, with syndromes or complicated diagnoses or multiple developmental delays.

some days are hard. some days having a deaf daughter breaks my heart for twenty different reasons. some days i struggle with feelings of discontentment, or weariness, or grief. some days all i do is compare, compare, compare. some days i don't like myself very much.

but i am learning, through this beautiful child of mine, to have gratitude in this journey. i would hope that i am learning to listen, see, feel in ways that are not marked by comparison and envy, but by grace and joy. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


my sister rebecca is a reading specialist. 
i think her literary bent has rubbed off on little m; 
check out her absolute joy in devouring the written word.

(little m praising the reading gods)

i think she's ready to join book club!

Monday, July 20, 2009

bon voyage

our friends are moving to france for five years.
yay for them and boo for us.
monte, kristy, and...

their two sweet monkeys, sophie and elodie
are leaving the delights of oakland
for this:

i think i would be content sitting on that bench for the next five years, no joke.

meanwhile, our friends nicola, rain, and jair are on a visit to the bay area from england and our friends lydia + anna talked about their honeymoon to tahiti, for goodness sake!

so all of a sudden i am struck with wanderlust, imagining where i would fly away to for a season of life. it isn't happening anytime soon, but it is always fun to dream of possibilities. i've been reading this great book for bookclub about africa, and it made me miss west africa.  i told matt i would love to head back there sometime, especially if i could do work similar to the last time i was there, making drawings for storyboards about health related issues for villagers. not as sexy as the poisse, france

it would also be fun to live in italy or france for a year or two. i don't know if i could do it for longer, i might grow too homesick.
a. way cuter kids clothes
b. good food + good wine
c. culture galore: old buildings, history, art...
d. the possibility of euro-hopping and galavanting from country to country for a weekend trip
e. maybe matt would pick up an accent - you never know...
f. proximity to our european friends: nicola and the girls in england, niki, robyn & chris in the netherlands, bono in ireland
g. little m picking up another language
h. in italy- gelato and cappuccino; in france, wine and crepes
a. euro-smell (ie the underutilization of deodorant type products) 
b. we would be so poor; "hello, weak dollar; nice to meet you," the euro
c.  far, far away from our sweet ones here
d. the unfortunate practice of women of ALL ages and body types wearing very teeny bikinis + men wearing speedos. tragic.

how about you? where would you head off to?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

things i love at this very moment

fresh from the tree peaches, nectarines and plums!
sharing long meals with friends

eating outside

celebrations, big & small

not doing much at all but hanging out

listening for airplanes
(little m can hear them pass by, understands the word "airplane" and she points up at the sky!)
summer camp

having the time and space to share life
the front yard with friends from far away, the ice cream cart passing by, watering the garden, sunflowers growing tall, laughter, an entire afternoon of talking and lounging, peets iced coffee, strawberries straight from the garden
little m having relationships with people who love her
impromptu playdates
strawberry shortcake smackdown! 
this yummy version that i concocted vs.
matt's version.
i think i lost.
(but it was close)
and who really loses when you get to eat two versions of strawberry shortcake 
in the same sitting?
the light at the end of the day

i love summertime! 

what do you love right now?


the other day this double rainbow arched over oakland- 
it felt like a sweet promise over our tired city.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

little m is 15 months old today!
somehow rolls of fat=supercute on her,
but not quite as scrumptious on grownups.

just saying.

Friday, July 10, 2009

going back in time to our vacation a few weeks back, i conclude with the most amazing day. we'd dropped our little monkey at matt's parents, and headed for an overnight trip to solvang.

{two tidbits:}
1. it was the first time we've left little m overnight since she was born; although we have left her with babysitters galore for entire days. 
2. matt and i have chronic plan-making issues. in other words, any time we have a free day or weekend & we try to make plans, then we either enter the zip code of indecision city, we get in a fight, or we end up doing nothing because we can't figure out what we are going to do. so with 36 hours to plan, we were a little anxious about our impending open-ended fun-fest.

but fun fest it was! in just a day we were pretend food critics, wine tasted, went to a rummage sale at the local mission, happy houred, sampled peaches at a peach farm, coffee shopped, book stored, watched the wire (shocking, i know), walked through ye old town of solvang, eclair gobbled, slept in without being awoken by the delightful cries of my daughter. 

it rocked. 
don't we look happy?
we sat for a while at this amazing winery and just talked.
sunshine, conversation, surrounded by a peaceful vineyard with my favorite person.

pretty great, right?

and then, we discovered the. best. thing. ever.
um, no it wasn't these succulents. but they sure are pretty, right? 
and they were hanging right outside of the best thing ever.
it was a pretty good clue that what was inside was super adorable.
we had stumbled upon a tasting room
and were lured inside by the pretty vintage trailer 
advertising cupcakes inside.
i couldn't resist.

i'm sorry, did domino magazine (r.i.p.) manifest itself as a wine tasting and cupcake shop?
i was dying from how great this spot was.

adorable city.
how cute are these cupcakes?

you can get yourself one cupcake, or two, or...
a freaking flight of cupcakes, my friends. 
as in, taste 6 different flavors of amazing.
as in the aforementioned best thing ever.
as in, 6 mini cupcakes, just enough to share with your very favorite person.
you only see three cupcakes here because we devoured the first three in mere seconds.
these aren't dry cupcakes in which the cake is merely the vehicle for the frosting 
(which in my opinion is the problem with most cupcakes. 
sure, cupcakes are pretty, but most of the time not so tasty.) 
these yummies have nuggets of delicious filling in the center of each one, 
and the cake itself is moist and so good.

this retro trailer was parked outside. love love love it. how cute would this be, stocked with cupcakes and hitched outside of your next party? but alas, i live half a state away, so i'll just have to hit enjoy cupcakes up the next time i am headed to the southland. or, i can just dream of the delight by following their blog.

(but faithful reader michele mollkoy, who also lives not so far away, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't hightail it over there and pick yourself up some yummy. like asap.)