How blue is his blue?

What does it mean when you dream about dolphins? Actually, I don’t know what it was – a seal/porpoise creature whose fin poked through gray water. He was friendly enough. I stood on a balcony looking over a venetian marina. Jack was around somewhere, in my arms perhaps, in reality sleeping fitfully next to me in bed. He hops until his head hits something, anything, usually my arm or armpit. That’s where he likes to sleep – with his head cradled. I wonder if that’s how he slept in my belly – head cocked at the right angle it will probably always favor? I already think he’s a righty. He favors everything right: Torticollis, rolling, gazing, swatting. But what I love, what I absolutely love, is how he looks out at the trees. We have a large sliding glass door and I’ll set him in front of it and he stares at the leaves rustling in the wind, the tuxedo of light and dark from sun to shadow. Sometimes he falls asleep. Sometimes he watches. I wonder what he sees? But then again, I see it too. All you have to do is watch, slow down enough, study. Seeing through a baby’s eyes is seeing through our own. We were all there, in a place where everything was new, even the light. It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?

the gaze

We took our first dip in the pool. He loved.

White on White. Chunk on chunk

White on White. Chunk on chunk


He turned 5 months old on Friday. He was diagnosed with broncholitis. Antibiotics and he’s much better.
Hi, I'm Jack. I love to laugh, look at the wind through the trees, poop out my diapers, JUMP JUMP JUMP, stick my hands in my mouth (which is probably how I wound up in the hospital with RSV and now have bronchiolitis two weeks later). I also love my bink and hanging on to mom's face. Bed head? Yes, please! I still have dad's ears. 15lbs 10oz and 26.5 in.

Hi, I’m Jack. I love to laugh, look at the wind through the trees, poop out my diapers, JUMP JUMP JUMP, stick my hands in my mouth (which is probably how I wound up in the hospital with RSV and now have bronchiolitis two weeks later). I also love my bink and hanging on to mom’s face. Bed head? Yes, please! I still have dad’s ears. 15lbs 10oz and 26.5 in.


He loves turning the pages. Sometimes it takes him a while to make eye contact (I mean there’s just so much to look at!), but when he does, it’s almost always met with a smile.
Oh Hi!
And, I mean, the hair!
Hair

Posted in Dreams, Photos, Uncategorized, When the sun shines inside | 4 Comments

Our week after our week

Jack’s cold turned into RSV and all the horrible things that ensue because of it: fever, labored breathing, loss of appetite. Thursday night, he was breathing so fast and so hard and we could see his ribs. You still wouldn’t have known he was sick, he was rolling around on the floor, squealing, laughing. This boy.
We took him to the ER. It was hellish. We had to wait in line at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and despite it being 11pm on a Thursday night, it was packed. The only and last place you want to take your baby, surrounded by other sick, vomiting children with God knows what, but the only logical place on the planet at that moment.
We didn’t wait long to be seen. I think when they hear “baby, RSV, not breathing well” they short cut you to the front of the line. We were grateful. He was in his fox pjs, blue and gray stripes with a giant fox face on the chest. He was smiling at the ER techs, wiggling and kicking his feet as he does, making it hard to get an oxygen reading, but they counted his breaths in a minute. 60. Too high. Listened to his lungs and said “we’re admitting you.”

IMG_6657

IMG_6658

IMG_6662

They put him in an adult-sized bed, he looked tiny, wrapped his big toe with the O2 monitor and finally we got a reading in the high 80s. Not great. They taped an oxygen tube to his smooth little face and all the while he’s fighting like a fish, hooked to all these damn wires and tired and fevered. It felt so surreal that we were even there. It moved so quickly and so slow.
We didn’t sleep that night. Between the horror of being there, the catheters they had to stick down his nose to suction out the mucus, the albuterol treatment, Jack screaming through it all – we didn’t sleep. He was so tired. He slept, thank god, as well as he could. But all we had was his bed and two plastic chairs dwarfed in the corner by the immense size of the room. He’s just a baby. Everything was so big. And nothing worked really. His levels were still too low. At 3am, they decided to admit us. It took another 2 hours to get our room.
They wheeled a chair for us and I held him trying to untangle the cords. It reminded me of the day we took him home, better circumstances, but holding him sleeping in the wheel chair like that.
Because the hospital was seeing so many RSV babies we had to double up rooms. “Practically every baby in the Valley has RSV right now,” the doc said. They paired virus with virus and our neighbor was a 3 or 4 month old boy named Daniel. His mother spoke little English, if any. Daniel sounded horrible. Every breath was labored, sad, hard. I don’t know how long he had been there before us, but from what I gathered, he was moved from another hospital to Phoenix Children’s. He had two older brothers which is why his poor mother was all alone (children under 12 were not allowed to visit the hospital). And he was getting worse. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how that poor boy sounded. Dying cat, calf, lamb. He sounded like he was in so much pain. The nurses were in often, trying multiple procedures. The main nurse spoke in rushed spanish to the mother, assuring her things would be OK. No one slept. Except Jack. I was grateful he could rest through it.
We had the spot by the window. We had a lounge chair and a bench that turned into a cot. We had an old TV mounted to the wall that was too dark. Our neighbors had it on a channel rotating Disney movies: The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Cars, Finding Nemo. I’d look up to see a movie starting, look back up to see it ending. That’s how time passed. The hours seemed like minutes.
Pat went home at some point to get clothes, toothbrushes, coffee. I had him get Daniel’s mother coffee. She didn’t touch it, but it was there for her if she needed it. I kept offering to get her food, I hadn’t seen her eat anything. But I don’t think she understood me and by the time Pat and our cousin Kara went out to get dinner, Daniel had gotten worse and what mother can eat in that situation. Nurses rushed in and out. He was on oxygen, but he couldn’t breath. He was whimpering with every breath. It was terrifying to listen to. They tried more procedures and finally when nothing worked they decided to move him to the PICU. The mother was sobbing and as a new mother who has said over and over here that she can’t let her mind wander to the horrible places minds wander, this was all very very real. And this woman was all alone.

In the most anxious moments, I tried to go over and hug her. She was sobbing in Spanish. “Gordito. Gordito,” she kept saying. Just as they were about to move Daniel, I had my arms around her back telling her her son would be OK. I had to believe that he would. Phoenix Children’s is one of the best hospitals in the country. He was in the best place he could be. The nurse was not amused at me being there. Kept saying “thank you. Thank you” like we don’t need your help anymore. I got the hint. I went back to my sectioned area and quietly sobbed. I was so thankful when they took him away. So thankful for the quiet. So thankful it was just me and Jack and I couldn’t hear him breathing. He was breathing, of course. On his own. That morning the doctor took him off the oxygen to see how he would do and his levels stayed above 90. And that was enough to keep him off, but he was still monitored and their feet are so small that sometimes the sensors don’t read correctly and the alarm jolts. I wondered who had to come up with that sound. Jarring enough to alert you, but sweet enough not to scare the children. It made me think of a radio lab podcast about the inventors of the iPhone sound family. The clicking noise had to be just the right noise, it had to arouse the right feeling.

My boys

The nurses brought Jack toys: a set of keys, a plastic squishy firetruck, a fisher price jungle sleep soother with a swinging monkey, blue lights, a parrot and a fish bubbling water.

Jack slept a lot. He rarely cried, only when they had to suction out his nose. He smiled and flirted with the nurses. He was the perfect patient.

The second night we slept OK. He was only up twice. Pat took the chair the first round. I slept from 8-3 on the cot. After I fed Jack at 3, I gave Pat the cot and tried to curl myself into the chair.

The sunrise that morning was beautiful as only the desert can be: warm and promising.

We found a channel dedicated to super hero movies: The Hobbit, Captain America, Thor. It was stupid, but I liked them hovering over Jack. The flickering light, the strength of make-believe men bounding around saving the world. It made me feel better.

They started cleaning the adjoining room.

The night nurse took the monitor off Jack and slowly peeled the tape off his face where they attached the oxygen.
We got another neighbor at 5 am. That seemed to be their admitting time. It was a little girl, maybe 4 years old. Right away, the mother was pissed. She couldn’t be there, she kept saying. She couldn’t be there. She couldn’t possibly share a room. How would she be able to sleep? She had to leave. Meanwhile, her daughter (yeah, the sick one, the reason you’re in the hospital, the person you should have been concerned about) was whimpering. We could hear everything she was saying. How she wanted to move her daughter to another hospital so they could have their own room. Oh my god, they had to share a bathroom as well. And the staff explaining there were no rooms available in the hospital, they were all full and how we were probably being discharged that afternoon. She wanted none of it. She had to leave, she said.
Finally, a head nurse convinced her to stay.

“What the fuck?!” was the only thing going through my head during this whole time. This woman was willing to risk her child’s life for a private room?! Lady, this was not vacation, this was not a hotel room. We were in the hospital. We were in one of the best hospitals!
Later that morning, they started playing Disney shows on their iPad. Loudly.

I went to get coffee.

When they started playing techno, I lost it. I went to the nurses station. Our nurse was sitting there, so I asked politely if she could ask them to turn the music down. She said, “I’m so glad you said something. Did you hear what they were trying to do?!” “Yeah, about moving the girl to another hospital?!” And we guffawed at how absurd this woman was. “You guys are the perfect neighbors,” she said. “Your baby doesn’t cry, you’re super nice. I’m so so sorry you have to be next to them. We’re hoping to discharge you soon.”

She went in, asked how they were doing, asked if they could turn the music down.

“Who’s asking?” The lady barked. She was younger, I think. With her mother. At one point, I heard her ask if the oxygen was coming from the monitor on her daughter’s finger.

“Your neighbors as asking,” the nurse said.

They turned it down. Enough for us to start hearing her cussing me out. Suddenly I was a “fucking bitch.” “Why couldn’t she say it to my fucking face?” All the while her mother is telling her to be quiet.

Pat stormed to the nurses station the moment I yelled “Ma’am, I can hear you!” I had Jack in my arms. My chest was pumping. Fuck this woman. “WE’RE ALL DOING OUR BEST HERE,” I yelled. “NO ONE WANTS TO BE HERE. YOU’RE THE ONE WHO’S CLOSED YOURSELF OFF IN THERE.”

“Why didn’t you say it to my face?!” she yelled back from behind the rainbow curtain.

“OK! I will!” But as I moved towards their section, Pat had returned and held me back. “No way,” he said, putting his hand on my chest. “They are discharging us.”

Apparently, while this woman was being a fucking toddler, imbecile, Pat went to the nurses and said “one of us is leaving. This woman is using profanity. Someone is leaving.”

They pulled the doctor out of his rounds for us. I was fuming. Pat was packing. After the doctor gave us the OK, the nurse came in and apologized profusely. Of course, it was not her fault. And thank you for everything. And get me the fuck out of here.

Heading home

Heading home

No where else I'd rather be

No where else I’d rather be

He’s doing OK. He still has a cough which kept him up most of the night last night, but that’s to be expected. They said the cough could last a few weeks. I’m fucking over it. I’m sick along with him. The same cough. Same congestion. We’ve been sick together for over a month. Enough already.

We took him to the doctor on Monday to follow up. He’s on the mend. But RSV is a bastard and he could catch it again. Please, God. I don’t really pray, but please, God.

Rollie Pollie

Swings

Jack is Jack. He’s been a little sad, a little grumpy, but he’s laughing and rolling over and we went on the swings yesterday. I’m still trying to recover. I don’t exactly know what hit me. Two nights ago, I grabbed a skillet on the stove that had just been in the oven. I’m fine. We’re fine. I’m grateful to have such a wonderful hospital here. I hope to God we never have to go back.

Posted in Jack, Photos, Sigh, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Our week

I had Monday off, one of those rare newspaper holidays. I’m surprised we still get holidays. Wasn’t the LA Times going to reduce those pesky things? Who needs them?!
Jack and I went to the park and met up with an old co-worker and a mutual friend who both have kids. Jack was the littlest of the bunch, the other two are walking and talking a bit, so we had some mom/Jack time while they went down the slides. I’ve had John Lennon stuck in my head for a week. Imagine. That’s Jack for me. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” Yeah.
Imagine
Did John Lennon have kids? He writes like he had kids, like he knows. Being an artist, though, you’re touched by a different hand, maybe by that same hand that touches us when we have kids. Some other door is opened. Artists look for those doors. I can’t imagine going back, nor do I want to.
You can’t stare at anyone like you can babies. When we get older, we start to look away. I love that Jack and I can look at each other, really look at each other and he smiles and there aren’t any fights or broken hearts or bad histories. It’s so pure. We won’t always be like that. Or maybe we will? I don’t know. Either way, I’ll know it was there.

He took his first swing ride. I had to stuff a blanket in front of him because he’s still too small to fit properly. He stared off at the other kids for a while, but then saw me in and out of focus, back and forth and giggled and giggled each time he got close to me.
First swing

Tuesday, he was supposed to have his wellness visit with shots. He’s had a cough for a month and it started to sound wheezy Monday night/Tuesday morning, so I had them check it out again (we’d already gone to the doctor twice and he sounded good). I don’t know if it was this latest cold I caught (I have also been sick for about a month), but it finally caught up to him. He has RSV. He’ll be fine, just hard to see him whimpering in his sleep and fighting a fever. But even through all that, he giggles and giggles and then sometimes through a giggle he’ll realize he doesn’t feel well and cry, then giggle again. He’s such an amazing, happy boy. I don’t want anything in life to touch or change that.

Hey, Girl. You? Me? Highly infectious respiratory virus? You know you want it. ‪#‎allthecoolbabiesgetRSV‬

Hey, Girl. You? Me? Highly infectious respiratory virus? You know you want it. ‪#‎allthecoolbabiesgetRSV‬

He hasn’t been eating as much because of his fever. And the joy of that is you’ll start to have porn star boobs and have a letdown in the middle of the night, soaking your bed. We are both having accidents – snot, poo, milk. I think half of being a mom is being a kid again and all that entails – the good and the wet.
I’m working from home this week, even though we are still paying for daycare despite the fact he isn’t there. So be it. I’ll take a week not showering, forgetting to brush my teeth, wash my face, eat, do my hair. We all need that sometimes. I hope his fever breaks soon.

Posted in Jack, Photos, Uncategorized, When the sun shines inside | 4 Comments

4 months old (well last week)

Happy 4 months, Love Bug! (last week) Let’s see, he’s been sick for about a month, is the best-dressed at daycare (also the happiest), he gets stuck mid-roll and gets mad, has found his outside voice (neighbors agree) and loves to sleep smushed into our armpits.

4 months old

Posted in Jack, Photos, Uncategorized, When the sun shines inside | 2 Comments

Scratch

I’m in a weird place right now. I’m afraid of my writing. Not, boo! afraid, I’m just totally avoiding it. It’s been so long since I sat down to edit a poem, to write a poem. I tried today (tried is an overstatement). I wrote one draft and gave up. It’s been nagging me. The idea that now Jack is here, I need to work on getting some of my life back. MY LIFE. Not the life I have with him or with Pat, but my things, my loves, my wants. Do I even love poetry anymore? I’m scared that I give up too easily, that I have no confidence and how can you keep getting rejected without the confidence to keep going? I feel like a failed writer. I can’t even call myself a writer these days, that would imply the act was being acted upon.
I took this kind of break after college or maybe the last year of college. I just didn’t write a whole lot. Maybe that’s my thing every so often – to step back and reevaluate what it is I want to be doing, detach enough to dive back in. And then I worry of all the growth I’ve missed in the time I’ve been away. I’d be so farther along, I tell myself, if I just stuck with it.
I think a part of me has needed to detach from the logistics of writing – the people I feel baring down telling me I’m not good enough (wait, what people? ME.), the rejections which are an inevitable part and because of all these extraneous things, writing stopped being for me. So I’m waiting until I can own it again. I’m waiting until I feel itchy without it. I think it’s starting to happen. The anxiety is coming back. I just, fuck, can’t get the doubt out of my head, the voice that says – be a designer instead, you’re good at that, you have support in that. Being a writer without a support system is hard a fuck. Strange that some parts of me have completely changed (Holy shit, I’m a mom) and others haven’t one bit.

Posted in Sigh, Uncategorized, Writing Life | 6 Comments

I saw what love might have done had he loved in time – Mary Oliver

Posted in Good Writing, Poetry | Leave a comment

This world

Jumping Jack

^ A video of Jack being Jack above ^

Springtime Jack

On the move

What the hell did I take pictures of before him? I remember saying I would still talk and write about adult things. hahahaha! But I don’t really want to. Adult stuff sucks. I think the coolest thing about having a baby is the fact that I can be a kid again in some small way. I have to relearn all the songs I’ve forgotten, I’ll soon be able to play in the dirt alongside Jack. Having kids is reverting in a good way, but with responsibility. I mean, that and loving someone so much it scares you to death.
I’m in a mom’s Facebook group and someone posted about a coworker who lost her 4 month old to SIDS the other day. That’s how old Jack is. I can’t even. I can’t even go there. Becoming a mom cracks all the gates we put up to protect ourselves from getting hurt. And to be a good parent, we have to keep them open. How do you love and nurture wholly when you’re closed off? I can’t even go to the place that poor mom is writhing in now. I just can’t.
Jack is meant to be in this world. Of course he is, he’s IN this world. And I’m supposed to watch him grow up and say words. I’m supposed to hear his voice for the first time, to watch him walk, tie shoes, fall off a bike. There is too much joy in this boy. Damn, we are lucky … the lot of us.

Posted in Jack, Photos, Uncategorized, Videos, When the sun shines inside | 4 Comments

There is no end to this love

Bubble-beard

Bubble-beard

Raisinets

Raisinets

Lollipop guild

Lollipop guild

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There is no end to this love

There is no end to this love

He’s going down so much easier these days. Thanks, daycare. This morning he fell asleep within minutes after I picked him up from his jumperoo. Even a few weeks ago, I’d have to rock and rock and rock-bounce, rock bounce bounce until he slowly closed his eyes. He’s growing up before mine. I held him for a long time anyway, they way we used to. It’s scary I have to say that 3.5 months in – used to. His warm head resting under my chin, it amazes me how well we fit together like branches growing in and around each other.
In two months, Pat has a work conference in Orlando and his boss wants me to go, but it means I’ll have to leave our boy for a few days. It’s a hard balance: Me and Pat; Me and Jack; Me and Pat and Jack. But Jack’s Nana is going to fly down and take care of him. I’m excited to go on an adventure with my guy again. It will be good for us. We’ll both miss Jack horribly. Pulled in multiple directions: motherhood.

Posted in Jack, Photos, Uncategorized, wandering mind | 4 Comments

‘Today, we’re younger than we’re ever gonna be.’ -Regina Spektor

I guess day care is alright … they at least inform parents when their clothes are inside out.
But I miss my guy this morning. We’ve been sick. Cold number 2 in 3 months. Good track record… He’s the happiest, sick baby I’ve ever seen and other than the cough/congestion, you’d never know. The joys of breastfeeding are that I also get sick, but our dyad is pretty amazing when you think about it. He gets sick, I get sick to give him antibodies, we both get better.

Mornings with my man

Mornings with my man


In the span of two days, the tree outside our door seasoned. Fall to winter to spring. Dead leaves fell, buds rose, green leaves emerged. Phoenix has a unique way about it. It follows nothing. I like that. I wonder how long we will be here? How Jack will be aware of this place? His birth certificate says Scottsdale on it. How weird is that? People say all the time that “He/she is mine” when they are referring to their kids. When I see his birth certificate, the name of the place he’ll say he was born, it makes me realize that he is not mine, just as any person is not someone’s. He is from me. I am his home for now, but he is so his own.

Posted in Jack, Photos, seasons, Uncategorized, wandering mind | 2 Comments

Happy 3 months, Jack

Jack 2 months

Jack 2 months

Jack 3 months

Jack 3 months

Night feels like limbo, some strange net where the hours hang. Pat and I are floating birds, the way they hang in a drift. There is no other person on the planet I would wake up for as much as our little man.
He’s 3 months old today and it’s hard to put a baby to sleep when he’s staring into your eyes, clearly tired, but giggles through his pacifier, which makes you giggle which makes us both giggle. Fuck sleep. I’ll take that any hour. And he gives smiles so freely, even at 1 am, then 4 am.
I guess I forgot to post his 2 month picture. My mom says he already has a little boy face. Here is his 2 months description: Case study of a laugh. Happy 2 months, Jack! He loves to eat, laughs every time dad changes him (sucker); smiles constantly; hates the car, but who would want to be strapped down anyway; loves the sound of water; could take or leave bathing; and just slept for 5.5 hrs last night. Jack for the win.

And his 3 month description: Anatomy of grabby hands: 3 months old! It takes mom 35 min of rocking me to go to sleep. I then sleep for 35 min. I think that’s fair. I love giggling, kicking and desperately want to crawl. The car seat is getting better cause I can look out the window while I shove my hands in my mouth. I get lots of toe jam. Nico is my bff in daycare, but I know in my heart the teacher loves me more.

I thought I was tired before, but working from home and having Jack is a whole other level. He just went down for a nap and after giggling, we both stared at each other until he fell asleep. I’m grateful work is letting me do this from home a couple days. I’d miss things like that. You can’t get that stuff back. I mean, I brushed my teeth this morning, so that’s pretty good. The sun has been napping on and off today. Things are as they should be.

Posted in Jack, Photos, Uncategorized, When the sun shines inside | 4 Comments
 

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