Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Son

It's amazing that we have had Enzo for 12 months.  Tami and I were talking on our way to her sister's house for Enzo's birthday party; reminiscing about the day Enzo got out of the womb.  Well, we've been reminiscing for a couple of days with "remember what we were doing a year ago?"  Three days of contractions and 15 hours in the hospital gives a lot of "one year ago right now" reminiscing range to work with.  And then, 12:03 pm happened and  Enzo was peacefully asleep for a nap.  I remember the nap we got after Enzo was settled in, after he was born.  Tami and I were exhausted.  Surely, Tami was more exhausted than I, and I was super exhausted.  What an amazing event Enzo's birth was.  What a powerful and significant experience that was.  And now, this beautiful kid walks around, has 6 teeth, smiles a lot, likes to make noises, likes to play with Maggie (cat) and Monte (dog).  He gets happy to see his mom and dad and likes to be held by us.  He laughs like crazy sometimes, especially with loud kisses to his belly.  He has the sweetest baby cheeks to kiss.  This year with him has been spectacular.  He is happy and beautiful and we are so lucky to be a family.

One year old.  His first lap around the sun.

Here are a few pictures from Enzo's birthday party.

Calmly Gliding Through Space

Today the earth traveled through a place in our solar system worthy of note.  Having already passed through this spot just 12 months ago, at 12:03pm on December 30th, loudly declaring his existence to the world and to anyone in the vicinity, Enzo marked this significant moment in his time, this time around, by calmly and quietly gliding through space.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Enzo, baby girl, and a dash of OCD

(Looking for our Christmas tree.)

So much has been going on and big days are ahead.  Enzo's first Christmas is nearly here as is his first birthday.  So, I better post a bit of recent events before these big days happen.  Enzo will be 1 year old in just one week!

(First haircut.)

Updates on Enzo first.  It took two Sundays but we found the perfect tree.  My dad wanted to take us to cut down Enzo's first Christmas tree.  The rain was heavy on the first day so we avoided the mountains but didn't find what we were looking for.  We did the next week in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Our perfect tree.   Since then, Enzo's 5th tooth has broken through and it looks like the other teeth adjacent to his currently exposed center teeth are ready to join in.  Also, Enzo got his first haircut from Cousin Jo.  It's been a big month for The Kid.  It is amazing to think he will be one year old in just a few days!

(At the Academy of Sciences Museum in San Francisco)

And for baby girl?  She is doing well.  The big news is that I felt her moving for the first time two Tuesday's ago.  Awesome!  Tami says she is moving a lot and, apparently, she is like her brother in that she likes to play on Tami's left side and kick around.

As for me, I started going to see a therapist regularly.  I mentioned this in a previous blog.  It was my preemptive strike to make sure that panic attacks are not an issue as we approach the birth of our second child.  I was told that I have made plenty of progress with panic attacks having learned to deal with the anxiety and having not had a full panic attack in over a year.  My therapist said that I am, however, experiencing general anxiety and so I've been working on that.  Then, she mentioned that she would like me to see a psychiatrist.  So, I did, last week.  That's when I was told that I have OCD.  That's the big news in my personal psychological epic.  The psychiatrist tells me that all of the various anxiety ailments are connected and people who experience one issue often experience more than one.  He told me that while he could be wrong, he thinks that OCD is the main issue for me and has been for a while.  The general anxiety and other anxiety related issues I experience are the results of frustration and stress as I'm dealing with OCD.  Interesting.

I really did not see that coming.  I have always referred to certain things I do as "OCD tendencies" but never thought of myself as having OCD.  I live a pretty normal and successful life and nothing I deal with seems to get much in the way.  I've got my own methods for dealing with my "tendencies."  Now, as I learn more that OCD is not just odd actions, but includes thoughts, I understand that my tendencies have been around for a long time and really do have a major affect on my life, thoughts, decisions, and time.  The O, obsessive part of OCD, are the intrusive thoughts.  The C, compulsive part of OCD, are the methods and rituals to deal with the stress of the obsessive thoughts.  And the compulsive part can be thoughts to alleviate the stress caused by the obsessive thoughts, not necessarily physical actions. I use both thoughts and actions to deal with my obsessive thoughts.  Okay, I can see that I have OCD.  I've been diagnosed for all of two days but everything looks a little different as I try to analyze my experiences through a new analytic frame.

I met with my therapist yesterday to go over the results of that meeting and to talk.  I was reminded not to think of myself as having a bunch of issues but as dealing with anxiety that has expressed itself in a few ways.  I feel pretty good.  I wish I would have gone to a therapist a long time ago.  A year ago I would be satisfied to not have panic attacks as a regular part of my life.  Now, I find that so many of the thoughts I have are not necessary, that there is a way to learn to deal with them just like I did with panic attacks, and the associated stress that I have taken for granted as a part of being a thinking human being are not requirements for that status at all.  Knowing that has made feel hopeful and good.  To sum up with a simile; it's like not knowing I had a piece of glass in my foot and dealing with what I thought was the normal pain of using both feet to walk.  And then, feeling optimistic when someone says: "Hey, you have a piece of glass in your foot.  The pain you feel there, it's not normal, but don't worry.  You don't have to accept it.  I can help you get it out and you will feel better.  It happens to plenty of people and we're really quite good at removing glass from people's feet.  In fact, here's a book to get you started."  That's where I am at.  Hopeful, with a book, and a beautiful kid, and another on the way, with a great family, and two weeks off from work to contemplate and enjoy it all.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Entropy and Construction

 (Enzo the Helper.)

In the last couple of weeks, some of Enzo’s new skills have become increasingly obvious.  Tami tells me that this week she watched him take notice a toy on the ground, squat down low without sitting, pick up the toy, stand up and continue walking with the toy.  Also, he’s learning how to get off of our bed, with us watching but not always helping him, by turning so that he is feet first getting off.  Tami has been showing him how to this for a while but I didn’t expect him to learn how to do this already and to remember to do this most of the time.  It’s really neat watching him do things that require planning.  And, there is another trend that has been building.  One that showed itself very clearly last night. 

Enzo’s general play, as is to be expected, is entropic in nature.  He is an agent of chaos in his actions even as his body builds him with the force of order into a larger human.  In keeping with his entropic nature, Enzo likes to see stacked blocks and then wave his arms through them until they fall.  My task is stacking them quickly and watching him knock them down again.  It’s fun.  Besides blocks, Captain Entropy likes to wave his arms about towards pillows or his mom or his dad when he is excited.  Enzo especially loves helping mom and dad by finding any box, or clothes hamper, and pulling everything out for us.  Adorable.  Messy, but adorable.    Lacking the dexterity and practice to manipulate, it makes sense that children first learn how to use their power to break apart and create disorder.

Eating has been the exception for some time.  Enzo can use two fingers to pick up small pieces of food and move them to his mouth.  I like watching that, too.  Recently, however, and this is the new trend that I alluded to above, I have seen Enzo place toys or clothes back into a container.  Yesterday, I watched him empty and refill a toy box (meaning a small box he likes to play with as a toy) with several wooden blocks.  It was like watching him practice putting blocks away.  He would place them in and get them to be relatively neat.  Then, empty them to do it again.  But the next time, he might try to throw them in from a couple of inches away.  Some would go straight in.  Some would bounce.  In one case, he kept throwing the same block at the area where it would bounce out, several times, making only the slightest adjustments to his throw.  The “throw” here was less than four inches.  He would throw other blocks in to the middle of the box.  But the one that bounced off the edge he pursued until it just barely cleared enough of the edge to go in.  It looked as if he was testing the situation to be sure of consistent results and then testing to see how to change the results. All of this took place while he was calmly sitting and focused.  I sat behind just watching.  There was no doubt that he was finding pleasure in organizing his blocks this time.  He was an agent of organization and construction, not only an agent of entropy and chaos.  When he does interesting things I often remind myself to be still, watch and appreciate; fighting the desire to get involved and distract him with my excitement.  When he was finally done with his little box and big blocks, that’s when I went back to kissing him, making noise, and playing with him.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Baby Girl!

We are having a girl! The Progeny is a Girl! I am excited. I would be excited if we were having a girl or a boy. I guess I'm excited just to know more about our precious baby.  She is beautiful in that fuzzy ultrasound way that 19 week fetuses are.  Plus a little more because she is mine to love and care for on Earth.

 (Her first foot print, recorded in sound waves.)

I should qualify this just in case there is a surprise later. The ultrasound technician could not get that perfect angled shot, the definitive boy or girl shot.  So, she said things like "you're having a girl", "I'm leaning towards girl", "I'm 80% you are having a girl." So, a little mystery for us.  But, it looks to be that The Progeny is a girl.  While the technician couldn't get the shot she wanted she did get a shot of our baby's bottom and was pretty sure she was looking where the avocados would be for a boy and she saw no produce from the angle she had.  So, to sum up, we are having a healthy and beautiful baby girl...... we're 80% sure.  And I love her!!!!!!!  I'm going with a definite girl and if I'm surprised then that's cool too.  I can be right or wrong. I'm not the biggest fan of most gender roles and I don't think our baby is learning them just yet any how.

So, the name search begins for me.  Tami is not as anxious as I for the name.  In fact, I was under the impression that we knew at least the first name if we were having a girl.  Tami told me a name she wanted for a girl a while back and I love it so I assumed we were set.  I was referring to her as this name in my mind as soon as we learned her gender.  But Tami made a good point.  What if we see her and that's just not her name?  Valid point indeed.  So, we need some more names to consider and then there is the middle name.

We have lots of time for names.  The Progeny, our baby girl, arrives sometime around April 27th.  And that's pretty exciting.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thoughts of November

November 2010 is nearing it's end and my son is nearly 11 months old.  He is an impressively beautiful child to me.  He gets around well, crawls pretty quickly when he wants to and walks fairly confidently for certain distances.

(At Great Grandma's house for Thanksgiving.)

I've been thinking plenty, and writing.  Not on this blog but allowing my thoughts to flow in a journal.  The thoughts that occupy my mind most lately are of going back to graduate school.  I've been spending time looking into programs, contemplating my motives, and considering my plans for the near future in my career.  Thoughts of returning to school amuse me when I consider how excited I was to be done with homework in May.  I have come to accept that I simply enjoy the process of working towards degrees or certifications, struggling with new knowledge, and a college life.  I like teaching, but I think I like learning even more.  So, I have been exploring my mind and the internet for local programs and thinking about what I will need to do in order to get in to a desired graduate program in about three years.  Normally I spend my last waking hour, when the house is quiet, going through looking for interesting motorcycles or cars to unwind.  This last week I have spent the majority of that time researching colleges and programs.  It feels good to work towards something, even in the early stages before I know if I'll be needing a plan to work towards anything at all.  Some of the most interesting thoughts have been analyzing my motives, seeking to understand how much of my motivation is ego centric, career minded, and/or pleasure seeking.  Greg has made an interesting point that I can drop thoughts of my ego and quit trying to guard against it as though it were a bad thing.  He tells me there is nothing wrong with wanting to be the best at something or having goals.  Well made points as a result of a long conversation after which I began to focus on the other questions of what programs to consider and how will they affect my career goals.  This is what I think about each night and explains why last night I dreamed of visiting Universities and completing applications.  Why the security guard came into the dream I do not know.  Doesn't everyone complete their applications on a clip board, in the quad next to a gazebo in the night?  Luckily, this security guard turned out to be a friend in my dream world.

A list of November, 2010, experiences to wrap this up:  I have now begun a new phase in my vice principal career in which I conduct teacher observations and evaluations.  An interesting experience in itself.  I have separated two girl students who were very unhappy with each other.  I have realized, yet again, that I simply do not know instantly or with confidence how to help certain students succeed and I am forced in such cases to rack my brain looking for the "best" option instead of the "right" option of which I am simply unaware (I have much to learn).  I have lusted after a car again.  This is a feeling, when applied to machinery, that I generally experience with motorcycles.  I have test ridden the Can-Am Spyder three wheeled "motorcycle" in the rain with Don and Nathan at the annual International Motorcycle Show in San Mateo.  I have begun seeing a counselor again to help me continue to address my anxiety issues.  This for the sake of a good life, to continue progress in preventing panic episodes, and as a precautionary system to have in place to help me deal with any worries in the months before our second child is born.  Sometimes I think I am doing just fine and great working through my anxiety issues on my own and with certain people to go to.  Other times, like after seeing a counselor again this month, I am reminded of how much stress I carry with me even through my good life and how I could really use the help learning to process the stress.  I have just spent four excellent days with my wife and baby for the extended holiday weekend.  I have visited, conversed with, enjoyed, and watched my son play with lots of family, friends, a kitten, and two puppies.  I have enjoyed the cold and getting warm.  I have appreciated the rain from a covered patio.  I have snuggled with my Enzo.  I been loved by my wife.

 (Art in a headlamp...)

(Don getting off of the Can-Am Spyder in the rain.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Anaheim Trip

Wednesday afternoon we were off to Anaheim, California for Tami to attend and present at an educator's conference.  I went to spend time with them and to take care of Enzo while Tami was at the conference.  It was a perfect time for Enzo and I to be together.  From Wednesday at 3pm until Monday morning at 7:30am, I was with Enzo.  This was the most time I have spent with The Kid in a long while.  This trip also provided the most time I have spent alone with Enzo... ever.  While he still breast feeds, his ability to eat so many solid foods at this point has made it possible for us to spend long hours away on our own adventures while Tami does other things.  We made the most of it.  We spent a lot of time playing with blocks, making mmmmmm and baaaaaaa noises, going on walks, napping, and eating.  Eating is a long processes.  Tami asked what I learned about my son these four and a half days spending so much time alone with him and the biggest item on that list is that this kid loves macaroni and cheese and can eat an unbelievable mass of it compared to his total weight.  This we discovered at the Rain Forest Cafe at Downtown Disney where Enzo proceeded to pack away a large bowl of mac and cheese covered in a ridiculous amount of cheese sauce.  I had to slow him down on occasion to take off layers of cheese.  I have no idea how he was able to get it all inside his belly.

Something this trip gave me was a lot of time to simply admire and appreciate my son.  He is beautiful, smiley, happy, and a joy to watch.  I was thinking about, as I have been doing recently, how cool it is that he can provide so much joy to me and thus, how cool it is that I have done the same for my mother specifically as well as for others.  It makes me happy to know that at some point in my history, though I do not remember it, my smiles and noises and explorations and happiness made my mother so happy just to be near me, to love me, to watch me, and to appreciate me.  I feel very good knowing that I provided this great joy for her.  And I did this for others who cared about me.  It's a neat feeling knowing that I did this just as my son does this now for me.  How cool it is that we start out with this ability to provide such joy to others simply by being.

Another neat thought came to me at dinner tonight.  Tami made her home made tortillas and I was enjoying them hot off the stove while our dinner, one of my absolute favorite Tami meals, her bean soup, was cooking.  I shared some tortilla pieces with Enzo as they cooled and he was hooked.  Tami's tortillas are good, so I can understand.  Then I realized that right now, as Enzo eats these tortillas, Tami is in such a neat position establishing his favorites.  She is practically programming our child.  Anything she makes that is good is now about to become the best, the absolute measure by which others are compared.  My grandma's spaghetti is delicious!  No doubt about it.  But I know that all others are compared to grandma's spaghetti and meatball because, while grandma's comes with love for me, it is also so much a part of my life's history.  The spaghetti sauce and meatballs of others may taste good but I know that that they don't, and simply can not, truly compare to my grandma's.  Grandma's are the standard of excellence to me and always will be just as my mom's Spanish rice is the standard for me.  Objectively delicious and subjectively perfect.  And Tami gets to do this now with Enzo.  She now gets to establish, through no additional effort, the preferences of our son and the standards by which his future meals will be measured for any meal she makes well and often.  I wonder if I will perfect any meals in time to have a similar effect.  It's interesting to already know my son will like thick tortillas when he is older.  I wonder if he will like oatmeal thick as his mom does or soupy like his father does.  Time will tell. 
(The Happy Lion for Halloween)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Big News in the Family... Already!

Enzo is going to be a....

Yes!  We are having another baby!  Tami, and, well.... all of us in the house, are excitedly expecting a new baby on April 27th, 2011.  Enzo will be just 16 months old when he becomes a big brother.  Which brings me to the runner up blog post title for this post: "Amazing how productive we can be with a baby at home."  I was trying to figure out a list of cool accomplishments to give that title the necessary double meaning when Tami over ruled me.  She reminded me of an agreement we had, that I don't remember making (this happens more than it should and my memory is just fine), to announce this pregnancy with a photo of Enzo in his new "Big Brother" bib that Tami made for him.

Our soon to arrive child, "The Progeny", already looks like a little baby as we're now 13 weeks in to the pregnancy.  We saw The Progeny in an ultrasound yesterday.  Tami and I were conservative about announcing this news, just as we were when pregnant with Enzo.  We wanted to wait until the second trimester and the ultrasound to make it official news.  It was not easy holding this back, I can assure you.  I think it is a major reason I have not written much on my blog or chatted much about my thoughts lately.  It's also the reason Tami had to keep making silly diversions to our friend Laurie when she asked to  borrow some of Tami's maternity clothes.  Now you know why we were stalling, Laurie.  It was for a good reason.  She already needs them.

Amusingly, the stress that arose for me soon after learning we had a new baby on the way was what to call the baby.  With Enzo, it took me weeks to come up with "The Kid" so that I wouldn't have to refer to the baby as "it" when we didn't know the gender early on in the pregnancy.  The Kid sort of stuck with Enzo so I'm not comfortable transferring capital T and capital K, The Kid, to the new kid.  With some helpful suggestions, I'm going with "The Progeny" on this one.

It's all so amazing.  We have been very lucky and now we get to experience another beautiful  human discovering our fascinating universe.

Enzo has more big news!  Besides being a third of the way to big brother-ness, he also took his fist steps today!  His first steps out into big space without holding on to anything.  Tami called me while I was at a software training to break the big news.  Super cool.  He is getting quite confident in his moving around.  I can see the decision taking place in some cases while he decides whether to crawl or to walk along the side of a room, holding on to walls or furniture, to get to somewhere, someone, or something interesting.  Soon, there will be a third option for him to consider.  He has now taken several one-step walks since his maiden free-handed vertical voyage today.  There is a lot to be enjoying right now.

Also cool and unexpected is that I wrote a children's book today.  It wasn't a plan.  I was doodling during a computer software training and one of my doodles, a little alligator, inspired some words that inspired a short children's book.  I have a few more adjustments to make to the words and then I can work out the plans for the art.  I'm rather excited to have this project and looking forward to discovering the results.  Soon-ish, The Kid and The Progeny will be able hear a children's book directly from the author.


We're having another kiddo!!!!!!  Wooooo-Hoooooo!!! Here comes The Progeny!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Welcome to the great month of October!

(In between hair cuts.)
Nothing matters unless we make it so.  And I have made October matter.  It's the most important month in the life of me as far as celebrating my own existence is concerned.  It is my birth month. An entire month devoted to me, by me.  An orange month. A calming month. An observing month. An appreciating month. It's a good month.  For me, it's my month.

October is a time for me to focus on my existence and I do.  To begin this great month, I wore an orange tie (my favorite color) and enjoyed a Friday at work.  The best part about looking for the good things in life is that they are all there when you look for them.  October 1st was a Friday this year... sweet.  Several friends were hanging out at a restaurant on my first day of celebration... excellent.  They weren't there to celebrate my existence, they were there to say audios to Sam who quit his job and to say hola to Don who turned 34 the day before.  But they were also there when I wanted to be hanging out.  So, perfect for me on my first day of October.

Today I woke up and saw my beautiful boy.  He has three teeth out now.  The most recent addition Tami discovered in the night between last Monday and Tuesday.  It's on top middle, left of center.  He smiles beautifully.  Then I gave myself a haircut when Tami and Enzo went to dance class.

My hair was pretty long. Maybe 20 inches in front and 10 in back.  I put it into three pony tails and chopped it off.  I'm not yet certain which group I will donate it to but I'll finish reading up on them and send it out early next week.  All of the groups make wigs for cancer patients.  Until then, my long hair sits in my room, on a shelf, in a box; three pony tails waiting to be used again.

As for the hair on my head, it's pretty amusing.  I kind of look like I am just a guy with an interesting asymmetrical haircut.  Then again, I kind of look like guy who doesn't know his friends played a prank on him in the night.  If I added three or four colors to it then it would look pretty cool, I think.  I look like the new BMW S 1000 rr sport bike.  Look at that bike from the front and then at each side.  You'll wonder how many designers were involved in that one and how much fun they had meshing their thoughts together.  But still, kind of cool in that it comes together.  Anyway, my hair is funky weird.  I hoped on the RC51, craving a motorcycle ride on a motor too fast for my talents (too much Top Gear watching on BBC) and rode to Santa Cruz where I now sit at Java Junction, sipping coffee, typing on my phone, and waiting for a 12 o'clock appointment at a salon I found across the street.  It's a GREAT October 2nd.  And it's just the beginning of the month!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy 9 Months!

9 months in and 9 months out! Happy birthday my beautiful son!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Making Noise

(Picnicking at Vasona Park.)

Enzo has two sounds figured out now.  Ma and Ba.  Listening to him will often include "Ma ma ma .... Ba ma ma ma...  Ba ba ma... Ma." It's very fun to listen to.  These two sounds, and a couple other tendencies, seem to have sprung up within a week and a half.  Other neat developments in the world of Enzo include him moving his tongue a lot; rolling it around his mouth and lips.  Also, he stands without holding on to things.  Yeah. He stands there, on his own, where ever "there" happens to be.  Big-time stuff.  As for standing, it has not been without costs.  My beautiful son has a little bruise on each cheek and a faded one on his forehead.  They don't seem to bother him.  He's gotten more adventurous and these little scuffs are a part of it.  He is adorable.

(Shea and Nicole joined us.)

Standing on his own involves climbing up to vertical along any surface; my knee, a table, a chair.  Then, just letting go and looking around.  Seconds later usually involves a little bump-to-the-rump landing, and Enzo taking off in a new direction of exploration.  All of this is pretty exciting, extremely entertaining, and truly fascinating.  It's difficult not to get most excited about the "Ma ma ma" sounds. So close to a spoken word.  So close to one of those definable human qualities we hold so dear.  These particular sounds do not yet seem to hold meaning for him.  Though, Enzo is already communicating with sounds and that is clear to me.  I know when he wants to be left to crawling on in a specific direction, when he wants more food, and when he wants to pee.  These messages come primarily from his sounds though movement does accompany.  We are definitely getting beyond just reading his body language to understand his needs and moving into that new arena of Enzo knowing what he wants and him trying to communicate that want to us.  It's not all worked out yet, this new-to-him vocal communication, but he's working on it. The comprehension appears to develop quicker then the ability to speak.  This is better than any documentary.

The ascent of man, in fast forward motion, plays for me through my son.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Baby Cheeks

Who doesn't like babies?  I smile at babies. I'm happy for people when they have babies..... most of the time.  But I never really got excited to see baby pictures or even really cared much in general about other people's children unless they were students or family or friends.  Intuitively, I knew babies were a big deal so I respected them and smiled for them and generally felt good knowing they were out there.

Since having more direct experience with the birth of a child I get much more excited for people.  I have gotten literally giddy for hugely pregnant women, any-day-now women, when I see them.  I am full of pleasure when I see a happy baby with parents.  It's neat to be able to sense the reality of the specialness in a child's existence where before it was a bit more vague.  And this led to the following...
The principal of my school has a very cute picture in her office of her grand daughter with those adorable cheek proportions only available to babies.  Because I get excited about such things, I actually noticed the cheeks recently.  Seeing them I can almost feel my son's cheeks when I kiss them, almost see my son in my mind's eye and his beautiful cheeks.  Which got me to thinking.

The little baby in the Principal's office photo is not as little any more.  Over four years old in fact.  Those baby cheeks have been replaced with an entirely new set of beautiful cheeks.  What we learn in one situation transfers, for better or worse.  I have, I believe, 8 framed pictures of my son in my office.  All of them make me think of my beautiful boy that I get to see when I get home.  But someday..... someday those pictures will not be reminders of the little cutie at home that I can see in minutes and kiss and hold and love and enjoy.  Someday, those pictures will be memories of what cheeks USE to be at home waiting for their loving father to see and kiss and love and smoosh with affection.  Someday, these photos that tell me in their 8 thousand words "go home..." will whisper "look at this... do you remember when.....?"

I may not be ready to let these moments go.  As if I have a choice.  I love every kiss.

I see another reason why some people have babies instead of baby, I see another reason why my mom has wanted a grandchild since way before I knew what a girlfriend really was.  Our brains never let us recollect with perfect fidelity so we carry on and recreate.  How can we not become addicted to creating such beauty.  Will I begin to think of grandchildren as soon my youngest has teenage cheeks?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy 8 Months!

Lonely at The Middle

I'm far from "The Top," but I wonder if I have a little insight into why it may be lonely there.  It's not for the reason I expected.

I feel a new sense of loneliness as an element in my job.  I expected that I would not be able to share all of my thoughts with my teacher friends at work as an administrator because I would know things not to be shared.  I am prepared for relations to change because my role is different.  How they will change I will not know for a while.  The beginning of a school year is too busy in any role to be exceedingly social.

The lonely feeling I have found already is the result of contemplation and mental processing.  As a teacher, in an entire academic year I may learn of a student that I have with personal or family issues.  A couple of students at most. I may deal with a couple of unhappy parents or know of a conflict with a teacher.  That's when I had less than 200 students, their parents, and many colleagues in a year to interact with to any significant degree.  Now, there are well in excess of 1,000 students to concern myself with.  That's a lot of parents.  All of the teachers are now professionals whom I deal with as such and not just coworkers with whom I socialize or collaborate with.  In just two weeks I have had serious conversations with several students and teachers.  In just two weeks I have had to process significant concerns of multiple students, and to a far lesser extent, teachers.  For comparison, in 8 years as a teacher I have rarely received the email that lets teachers of a particular student know to be aware that a major tragedy has struck the family of a student in that teacher's class. Now I have written that email and it is no easy task, no standard human response, to think of the facts in a students tragedy solely as logistics.  I find my capacity of compassion used on a regular basis.  For each significant case, I am aware of these human lives so important and I know that I have the opportunity to make a positive, detrimental, or neglectful impact.  These are real people dealing with very real circumstances from death of a parent to feeling as though he or she can not learn or feeling as though he or she has a problem with another and lacks the tools to deal with the problem.

Everyone of these humans deserves my attention and I am not overtaxed in my ability to provide as much as I currently know how to give.  But with each situation of such caliber, I require an amount of energy and quiet to process for myself.  I do have friends and family and colleagues who laugh with me and joke with me, listen to me and allow me to listen to them.  The loneliness comes from the additional need to sit quiet in my mind while I process the death of a parent, the stress of knowing not what to do, the clash of home life and school life, the culture shock of middle school versus elementary school, and much more.  I am not lonely in a physical way.  Yet, I feel lonely more often as I spend time more often weighing situations not mine, deciding how best I can be human in return, and processing those thoughts, feelings, and emotions after each situation.

And so, even with excellent friends and family, it is a bit lonely in "The Middle."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting Clear Again

(Enzo with his cup after eating.)

I have begun the second week of work, with students present, this academic year.  It has been quite an experience and I have been adapting as quickly as possible to my new role in education as vice principal.  Luckily I am well supported; the principal and one of the other assistant principals have held my exact position before (we have three vice principals with different primary responsibilities at my school) and they both make themselves available to help me.  Also, I have had a couple months of work in the summer to learn.

Still, I have lost myself a few times in the work to the point of feeling ungrounded.  I have felt some anxiety on occasion with some triggers being work stress and others being nothing to do with the job.  Today, for example, was quite hot, a trigger of mine, and while I was sweating in my shirt and tie I did have to work through anxious thoughts that I might end up in a panic attack.  It never came.  It has been much of a year since I have had a full panic attack and I have become good at dealing with anxiety most of the time.  On occasions that I am not so good, as was the case last Friday, my lovely wife is there for me.  As are several good people who have assured me that I may call on them at any time I feel my anxiety rising.  This Friday, Tami was there to help me work through my anxiety.

It was the high anxiety I felt Friday night that helped me in a way.  It meant that I gave myself excuse to spend as much of Saturday as possible appreciating my son and wife and avoiding any responsibility or concern that did not deal directly with our time together.  That prepared me for Sunday when I did just enough around the house and at work to feel responsible, to get a grip on my reality, and to feel a sense of peace and so take a look around me.  I never seem to realize I'm not myself until I'm me again, looking around and appreciating the world with some version of my general perspective.  A perspective that includes knowing my family and my experience is more important than achieving any self-, or otherwise, established deadline.  It all prepared me for a better today.  In essence, I felt less desperate to accomplish any task today though still effective at my tasks, more myself, appreciative of my surroundings, happier and present.  Even in dealing with anxiety during the heat today I was far more myself than I had been last week.  I woke up with plans to get to work early but I was totally okay with getting there at a regular time; giving Tami my fool attention when we had reason to chat this morning and love each other.  After school let out, I was fairly efficient and, not spending a ridiculous amount of extra time at work, I arrived home completely awake.  Last week most of our evenings together uncharacteristically involved prepared food, late night eating, and zombie-like unwinding with a television after a bit of chatting.  Today I washed dishes, Tami prepared a meal, and Enzo sat in his high chair serenading us with his various sounds between eating avocado.  Then, Enzo and I spent a couple of hours playing with no sounds other than our own.  It was a great time.

It's late now, and I am tired, but I am also me being tired.  I was there today when my body worked, talked with Tami, washed dishes, played with Enzo, and as I write this post.  I know what the air smells like, I know what my skin feels like.  I remember how good my son's skin smelled as I kissed him tonight.  I remember how much I loved my wife as we talked about big things in life.  I've been too far from myself, and too tired anyway, to be philosophical lately.  But today, I felt the satisfaction of being, doing what I needed to do, experiencing what was mine to experience, and enjoying the extra treat of spending my evening as a family with Tami and Enzo.  It's good to be here.  And, writing this, taking stock through words, felt very good.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mind of his Own

Looking at this picture you may say to yourself:
Wow, I can see here that Enzo.. and he is ADORABLE... is not correctly in his car seat.  He appears to have stood up in his car seat to talk to his mom and to only be distracted by the camera taking his picture.  Yes, yes it is quite clear that when his father placed his baby boy in the car seat, rather than sit without resistance as he did in the old days of January... or even July of this year... Enzo simply decided to squirm, twist, stand and then begin a smiling and cooing conversation with his mother despite his father's efforts.  It's also quite clear to any logical mind, you don't have to be Sherlock to see it here, that 1) His father must have been laughing and enjoying this event rather than forcing his will, and 2) His father has simply spoiled the boy by taking thousands of pictures of him  to the point where The Kid simply stops to pose for every photo op.
And, yes, you would be correct.

Why I am still smiling after the longest day of work so far this school year:

One of the best experiences in a day is to hear this kid laugh.  It's especially excellent to start him laughing, it's not difficult to do, and then to keep it going until it turns into a long string of loud from-the-core laughs and shrieks punctuated by pauses of anticipation until the next kiss/snuggle/silly-face comes in to release another set.  Tami is very good at this with Enzo.  She is also great at laughing loudly for no discernible reason until Enzo get's caught up in her laughter and starts laughing and yelling out in extreme joy himself.  He can't possibly know what his mother is laughing about but the site and sound is a good enough reason for him to celebrate and join in.   These are the best, most rejuvenating, and healing sounds that nature can provide.

Here is The Kid playing peek-a-boo with his mom.  We were camping with friends on the coast in Mendocino County while celebrating our 5 year anniversary.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Here is to 5 excellent years my love.
Happy Anniversary.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Likes and a Dislike From This Week

I like the way my freshly bathed baby looked so content and cozy being wrapped in his towel and cuddled in my arms tonight.

I liked how adorable my freshly dried and naked baby was when he decided he didn't want daddy to put on a diaper as it was far more interesting to twist around and play naked.

I like the way he plays with more purpose now.  He looks at things, touches them, pounds on them, examines them now.  His attention span on an object is considerably longer and he does not always attempt to put all things in his mouth at all times but appears to be intrigued by looking at and testing the object he is playing with.  Often the object is a chair or remote control.

I like the way waking up lately has not been a simple process of opening his eyes but a mini production that lasts minutes.  It does not begin with opening eyes but with grunts and sounds as he stretches, twists, rolls over, arches, pushes himself up, lays back down, rubs his face, and then tests the light with his eyes.  It's a beautiful free flowing ritual.  Today, Maggie, our feline friend, jumped on the bed just after Enzo's eyes were opened.  He loves animals.  He gets quite excited and smiles and giggles when he sees them and he did the same this time.  But his excitement outweighed his muscle control which comes to him over several minutes when waking.  His eyes went wide and his smile did the same.  He pushed himself to touch her but made it only a fraction of the distance on the bed and came down into a soft blankety world of grogginess, smile intact.  In short time he was ready to mount another expedition of half a foot but Maggie had gone on to follow her own muse leaving Enzo to find his interests stimulated by the pillows, blankets, and dad that he had beside him.  He looked quite satisfied with what he had.

I didn't like the fear I felt during dinner.  Enzo had coughed a few times while eating rice cereal followed by him looking up with mouth open, still, and not making a sound for what was probably only 2 seconds.  In that time a horrible feeling of fear spread through me with the preparation to act if he was choking.  He wasn't and all was perfectly within the realm of normal.  But, I disliked that feeling of fear pervading my body, radiating from my heart outward as adrenaline infused my blood.  I was simultaneously scared, refreshing my mind on what I had learned in CPR class, and calculating the most efficient way to extract him from his high chair and get him into position over my arm.  The mammalian brain is a fascinating device.  I have done well in my life to separate myself from attachment to material objects through logic and rational thinking.  Doing this has saved me considerable stress in life and made for more interesting adventures.  But no logic I can try persuades me to remove even the slightest attachment of my being to my son, not even to relieve myself of stress.  My only peace comes in being with him or knowing that he is with his mother.  This is an attachment I shall have to deal with but one that I am willing to excuse so early in my fatherhood.  Perhaps the change will come naturally and is part of my normal evolution in this roll.

I like knowing there are places I can go and be as comfortable as I care to be like I was last weekend when Enzo played in the pool for the first time at Matt and Mitra's house.

I like the excitement in Tami's voice when she called me at work Wednesday to tell me that she just watched Enzo pull himself up from the floor to standing for the first time by holding on to our bed.  This is one trick he seems to have really taken to as he pulls himself up to, or nearly to, a standing position often now.

I very much liked receiving another call from Tami that afternoon telling me that she just watched Enzo crawl for the first time!  And, though I wasn't there, I would get to watch him do it!  Enzo had been playing with his Grandma Phyllis on the floor and playing with a wooden truck that his Grandpa Hun had gotten for him.  Tami pulled out her phone to video record him pushing the giant truck around but he stopped playing with it when she got the video going.  Luckily she kept recording because he then crawled for the first time.  He's been army crawling, pulling/pushing himself around with his belly sliding on the floor, for a while.  But this was his first torso-in-the-air locomotion.  And without further ado, presented for your viewing pleasure.... Ta-Daaaaaa....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stern Grove (*Updated)

I've been officially an Assistant Principal for three weeks now.  It's what I think I would like to write about but under limited wakefulness I am drawn more to write about my son with the words my waning wakefulness can afford to spare.  In brief, he is super.

(Enzo at Stern Grove in his Frog clothes.)

 This last weekend we went to Stern Grove in San Francisco.  Through out the summer, on each Sunday, concerts and performances are put on for free at this park.  This has been going on since the 30's.  Mrs. Stern donated the park and headed the organization to ensure that the public would have a chance to see for free the arts that are not always available to all.  You can read more here and see the schedule. It's the only place that the San Francisco Ballet will perform out of doors each year.  Tami and I found the event years ago when we wanted to see the San Francisco Symphony perform.  We simply brought a blanket and were amazed to see hundreds of people enjoying lavish picnics with plates of fruit, salads, sandwiches, and bottles of wine.  Ever since, we try to make several performances per summer and we are way better prepared than on that first occasion.  Like so many, we show up hours before the performance begins and enjoy a leisurely picnic, sometimes with friends, and chat away the San Francisco Sunday until the show begins.  The shows are very diverse and include poets, plays, ballet, and music from classical to popular groups like They Might Be Giants who will perform this summer.  On this last Sunday, we heard an impressive guitarist from Spain and his group named DePedro as the openers.  I loved their music!  The headline performance was a French group called Caravan Palace that combined synthesizers, string instruments, and more to create trippy jazz/swing/dance music.  Going to Stern Grove is like a sampling of culture from far and near whose common thread is a stage.  Our friend Tom met us for the last portion of the show and then spent the rest of the day in The City with us.  We had a great time.

(Enzo always likes hanging with Tom.)

 (You can see his first tooth in this one.)
(*Update: Just hours after publishing this post, we discovered over breakfast that Enzo now has two teeth!  His front two, center bottom, teeth are now growing out past the gum.)

 Though I've been working for the first summer in years, we've managed to enjoy ourselves very well.  We've had several friends over for dinner (I can not imagine how I did not pull out my camera on those days), visited with family, gone on walks through town, watched Enzo continue to enjoy the world and people, celebrated important birthdays, helped The Kid with his teething, helped me with my now removed wisdom teeth, talk, play, and love each other.  My favorite parts of these days besides the above continue to be the mornings where Tami, Enzo and I have time to wake up slowly and chat in bed.  Oddly, or I suppose, quite naturally, the more time I spend with them in the morning the more I miss them during my day.  It's VERY nice to have a reason to miss being somewhere with 'someone-s'.

(I feel that there are words captured in this snapshot of a gesture.)

Enzo also supports himself sitting now.  This has opened up the world of high chairs and the wonderful world of sitting face to face.  A couple of days ago, just as Anne, Perry, and their lovely three month old daughter Gwynn were arriving, I turned to see where my lying down baby boy had been to find my sitting up baby boy playing with the radio.  Awesome!  I missed and can not guess at how he did it by himself but I was very excited.  I look forward to watching him do it again someday.  The first time we sat upright and face to face on the floor Enzo appeared to assess the situation and then just laugh while looking up at me.  That's exactly the good feeling that was going through my mind as I took in the scene.  It was novel and giddy.  Admittedly, this kid laughs a lot.  I suppose the whole world is novel to him.  It's contagious; that feeling of joy goes through my mind regularly when I am with him or thinking of him.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Growing Enzo

Enzo has his own cup now, and he loves it.  As soon as he sees it he throws both hands out to grab it and hold it as we help him drink from it.  It's cute.  I'm surprised how excited he gets about drinking from the cup and I sit trying to think of an explanation but I can't come up with one.  He is only drinking breast milk or a very small serving of water from it when he is eating solid food.

Well, that's not all of the news.  Tami called me yesterday at work to tell me that she saw his first tooth popping out!  As they were at the A's game when I got home, and Enzo was asleep when he got home, I had to wait until this morning to see the tooth for myself when Tami got him laughing.  A small white tooth has broken through on the bottom, just to his right of center.  It's exciting.  In a short period of time Enzo has added solids, a spoon, a cup, a tooth, and a whole different type of solid-food-eating baby poop.  So far he is eating organic plums from his Grandma Phyllis' house and organic avocados from Whole Foods.  Eating is an interesting production, thankfully.  Viewed any other way than as a bonding and entertaining time the event would look like quite a chore.  There is no 'fast food' experience in such a simple meal for this new-to-the-world-of-solid-foods eater.  When people were giving us used items for our son I thought, "We'll never use all of these bibs but I guess we'll have options."  Oh, we will use all of those bibs.  It's one bib per meal and that bib is saturated in food and drink when The Kid is done with it.  It's more interesting to watch and help him eat then watching anything on TV.

I'll throw in a couple of photos from the 4th of July weekend below.  For those interested, I add photos to the picture links on this blog often even if I don't post a blog.  Right now those links are at the top right of this post and you'll find that clicking on the 'Life Pics,' for example, will lead you to a '2010' year link with over 200 pictures in mostly chronological order from just this year.

 (4th of July Parade in Fremont.)

(Playing in the light of a sky light.)

(Happy Birthday Nicole!)

(Stop in Santa Cruz for breakfast during a motorcycle ride.)

(BBQ at the Gomez's new house.)

(Enzo enjoying the Gomez's BBQ.)

(Me doing the same.)