Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter, 13 years, and Any Day Now

Enzo colored Easter eggs for the first time this weekend and he enjoyed himself very much.  He is such a beautiful boy.

Then, Mama hid them for him twice and he got to find them  in the yard two times.  He definitely got into that!

His grandparents and cousin and aunties were clapping, and then he started clapping, and then he was smiling after finding each egg.  Good times!

(Me on my first bike.)

Also, today is the 13th anniversary of me riding home on my first motorcycle.   It was a 1986 Yamaha Radian purchased for $2,200, all told, from the BMW dealer on San Carlos St. in San Jose, California thirteen years ago today.  I only got the shortest bit of a ride in today on this anniversary but I did get to ride and those couple of miles felt great.

In other news, our second baby will be arriving any day now.  I realized, beyond a doubt when driving to work this morning, that there is a part of me that is nervous about the upcoming birth experience.  I don't want to be nervous, but I am so that's OK.  It's just that it's an experience that I must go through, I can not avoid, and that knowledge tends to make me feel a little anxious even though I want the experience; as I do in this case.  Knowing that I have not the option to avoid the ordeal gets me anxious.  Knowing that I can not walk away, postpone, or ignore an experience makes me anxious.  I can not avoid that our daughter will be on her way out soon and I don't want to.  It's just that I can't and that has it's effect on me.  Another part of me has embraced the adventure, welcomes the experience,  is feeling good, comfortable, and very excited to meet and welcome our baby into the world outside.

I think this is how I have learned to deal with this flavor of anxiousness.  After the summer of my freshman high school year, an important summer in the making of me, I started noticing what I was afraid of and then taking on those fears directly as a challenge.  This started out as asking girls out, volunteering to speak in front of the class, walking up to people and talking, and generally embracing discomfort.  This mentality has served me well and provided for a lot of experiences that have made my life flavorful.  With so many of the experiences that I have relished was a choice to take on the experience and that came with the knowledge and comfort that I could have changed my mind and my direction if I chose to.  Other experiences have been beyond my control, at least at some point in the unfolding, and I have had to face them willingly or not.  Some of these I have embraced and savored and others I have not embraced and those have resulted in a less than desirable ozone-like flavor and aroma.  Examples of these include when I cut my hand in a window as a child (was I nine?) and instantly thought, "Well, there goes my night, this is what I will be dealing with tonight, I can not take this back, there is no way to undo this, I will have to go to the hospital and deal with this."  I did not embrace that experience.  This resistance to what I can not avoid, this mode of thinking, or of feeling, is what I believe makes it difficult for me to deal with death and even hypothetical events beyond my control.  Whether by my own making or by nature's consequence, it appears to be the same anxiousness, same solution, and the same satisfaction in coming through to other side of an uncomfortable situation if I embrace the experience.  It is a slightly different flavor when knowing that I can't avoid a path into the experience, but a similarly full and positive feeling results when I accept and embrace the event anyway.  Interesting.  I am making my way through this perspective for myself as I type it.  Plenty for me to think about and a good reminder to accept my nervousness and embrace the event of my daughter's birth as I did with my son's.

My baby girl is on her way and just knowing that I will soon be holding her and loving her in my arms makes me smile all the way from my deepest inside straight through to my everything.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

First Word

(Lunch with Abuelita.)

I don't know when you call it a first word.  Some people would have declared Enzo's first word a while ago but I just don't know what the requirements are for official declaration.  For example, he says "Mama" a lot.  But he never says it to his Mama.  He says "Popi" a lot.  But he never says it to me.  When I am coming in the door, Tami will tell him "Popi is home" and he'll say "Popi", get excited and run to see me, but he never says it to me.  He does sign language for several words so we know he communicates in words.  But today, Enzo said a word directly and audibly that I can finally say is incontrovertibly a word used appropriately with appropriate meaning.  And the word?…. Agua!

We were having breakfast at home this morning and I asked him if he wanted more agua (Spanish for water and pronounced, by me anyway, as ah-wah).  And he said "agua" reaching for his water container.  Awesome!  He did it a couple of more times after.  So, I don't know what his first word was, and I never before had thought to consider that the declaration of a first word depends very much on the criteria decided on by the adults, but I'll declare now that today, Enzo definitely spoke a word clearly and with meaning.

Tami and I had wondered what the first word would be and whether it would be in English or Spanish.  Agua makes sense as we say it often and consistently in Spanish.  In fact, our family says agua as well when speaking to him, perhaps from hearing us say it so often instead of water.  So this is one word where the bilingual input Enzo receives is minimized.

(Easter Egg hunt in Newark.)

I wonder now how long it will take for him to use the word primarily.  While he used it a few times today, his own version of the sign language for water continued as his his favored method of asking for water today.  Three fingers spread like a "W" and brought to the mouth is how we ask him if he wants water.  He uses his single index finger and brings that to his mouth to ask for water.  I think of it as equivalent to a childish slur in pronunciation of a spoken word from a young speaker.  But today, the word was audible.

The first confirmed word of Enzo Raines has arrived.  Agua.

(Walking with Papi.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Relative Thinking

Last week I met Nathan and Laurie's new baby Charlotte. A beautiful little newborn girl.  I have been friends with Laurie since high school and Nathan since middle school.  Long term friendships.  And now they have a child together.  Those kids we were have turned in to us adults.  A slow form of magic.

Holding Charlotte, only a couple of days old, I was instantly reminded how delicate a new baby is.  How small and delicate.  And I realised how gradually though steadily my assessment of Enzo's smallness and delicateness has changed.  I never stopped thinking of him as a little baby or as requiring me to treat him delicately as compared to adults.  But I don't think of him as I did Charlotte that day, as I did think of him when he was newly born.

What I'm trying to say is, there was no banner over an arch that I walked through where I discarded an old concept of my son and dawned a new one.  My perception changed quietly but my vocabulary did not.  Rights of passage, life ordeals; they are important to mark and prepare us but reality moves on whether or not we have such events to mark our days and time.  And so my adorable son is no longer that little beautiful baby that he was.  He is a bigger descendant, a here and now little boy with strong links to that perfect little baby that he was.  Now, the perfect 15 month old Enzo.

How much of who I am in my own perceptions is outdated, old vocabulary, remnants of a different me, factors left unmarked by rights of passage or ordeals?
I'm still in my 20's, my body is in it's 30's.  That's how it feels.  Like the me that is me is younger than these years my body has been around.  Maybe not.  Maybe this is just what it is to be in my 30's and my concept of 20's and 30's has just been wrong.  After all, I was just a little kid looking at my family through a little kid's mind when I formed these perceptions of adult 30's, 40's and 50's.

So then........ I am really 30 something and also in my 30's, body and person.  Huh, so this is what it feels like. It's not what I thought it would be.  It's a little funnier, with more music, and lighter hearted than I expected.  Nice!  I thought it would be much more serious.  Maybe it was more serious for my family back when I was forming these perceptions.  Maybe there are others out there with the reverse realizations to make with their harder life circumstances right now at odds with a happy-go-lucky assessment from their youth.

A one could get lost in this relativity.  With no base point to consider unmoving and solid from which to compare all other points or to which one can return when needed, it seems wisest to take in as much as possible, like an insect landing on the river's water, 'fingers' and 'toes' spread wide to find its stability on a moving and undulating body of never-stand-still.

Going to Sleep

A couple of days ago I was trying to help Enzo fall asleep.  He was spinning around in bed, talking away in his pseudo-language, and generally having a good time being tired and awake.  Eventually, he slowed down a bit and I decided to move him to have his head in the same direction as us and then lie close to him so he knew I was there.  His eyes were closed by then, he wasn't moving as much, but was still squirming a little.  I lie there inches away admiring this beautiful human in the low light when I see his tongue dart out and taste my hand.  I say taste because he then sort of smacked his lips as though he were trying to figure out what flavor cupcake frosting he had just discovered. And as quickly as the first time, his tongue shot out for a second tasting and the connoisseurs mouth moved around approvingly. At this point I was stifling the laugh; he was so close to finally falling asleep I couldn't make a noise. My stifled laughs caused my chest to rise and fall but no sound left my clinched lips.  I knew I couldn't bare another licking and keep quiet so I regrouped, moved my hand under me and scootched my forehead to his instead.  And then it got awesomely ridiculous! Eyes still closed, his tongue stretched out to find the world of air only, like a snake just inches from my face.  To the ceiling we must have appeared a scene from a baby adventures version of Indiana Jones with me staring at the advancing tongue.  The tongue pointed right at me and was trying to get closer. I steadied my weight behind my forehead to hold The Kid back. I thought only a second about the need to keep my laughs on the inside while his baby forehead pressed into mine, twisting his face for any possible gain in position, tongue edging closer to my face which was frozen in stunned amazement and then, the slightest last effort of his and llluoooooomp! He licked my nose! I retreated my face into the pillow, barely kept the laughs quiet and in my belly.  Awesome. This last effort seemed to satisfy The Kid, tongue tired and sated, he quieted and slipped into the last millimeters of sleep.