Tag Archives: communication

Present, past, future

So much is happening, has happened, will-be-happening that I hardly know where to begin. Maybe I’ll just start at the present, move back a little, then jump ahead to a not-so-distant point in the future…and probably all over that timeline in-between.

I’m hungry—be right back…

I just had some of Sarah’s amazing mac-n-cheese. Damn that’s good. (I told you I’d start with the present, right? Okay, let’s move on.)

Side thought: Our camera is still broken! I finally mailed it in to get fixed, but who knows when it’ll be back. I feel like we’re really missing out on things here.

Let’s really begin:

Keana’s downstairs sleeping and Sarah is with her sister Iana for a night out and a slumber party. For those of you who don’t know, Iana is moving to San Diego in August with her boyfriend Ryan. Ryan’s already down there in law school—just finished his first year—and Iana’s going to join him in Ocean Beach. She’ll still be working at the National Writing Project and coming up to Berkeley about once a month once she moves, so we’ll still get to see her a little. It’ll be interesting to see how Keana deals with the move since Iana comes over to the house once a week to play with Keana and visit with Sarah. I’m sure she’ll miss her lots.

Before Iana leaves she’s been trying to get time in with all her friends and family here in the east bay (hence the “sister night” tonight). Also, as part of the ongoing going-away flurry of activities, Sarah, Keana, Iana, and (Grandma) Jennie went to Big Sur for the weekend of June 30–July 2. They hope to make it an annual trip just for The Ladies and it sounds like they had a really good time. Since I wasn’t there I can’t really fill you in, but maybe I can get Sarah to write a blog entry soon to cover all the ins-and-outs of that trip. For now though, I’ve put together a video from footage that Sarah took one evening of the trip.

I can, however, tell you what I did that weekend. Oh man. As a little background info, I haven’t had time alone at our house since Keana was born. I have had some time to myself while traveling for work and other short one-nighters here and there visiting my brother Peter in Santa Cruz, but this was the first time at home alone. Seeing how this blog isn’t just about me, here’s the synopsis:

June 30, afternoon:

  • Ran errands
  • Got car washed
  • Slept on floor with cat

June 30, evening/late night:

  • Went to Giants game (vs. Arizona Diamondbacks) with friend Kacie
  • Ate donuts
  • Watched movie

July 1, early early morning:

  • Watched movie
  • Slept

July 1, morning:

  • Still sleeping

July 1, afternoon:

  • Ate breakfast
  • Went hiking at Tilden

July 1, evening:

  • Went to movie theater and saw Live Free or Die Hard (third time to theater since Keana was born)
  • Ate
  • Practiced trumpet
  • Backed up music
  • Cleaned toilet
  • Slept

Exciting, huh? I had a blast but realized that I am truly a changed man. Staying up till 4 a.m. just isn’t the same and I truly missed my Girls. The house was too quiet and although it was really good to just do things for myself, it didn’t have the same magic as doing things for the little person with pretty blue eyes. Of course I missed my best friend Sarah too.

June flew by extremely fast and here are some magical Keana things we’ve really been enjoying the last month:

  • I may have mentioned this before, but before bed, while brushing teeth, it is so much fun singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Keana knows all the words and has added a hilarious “BWAAAAHHHH!” at the end while shaking her head back and forth vigorously. She’s crazy and we love it.
  • While walking without shoes on she’ll often say, “I’m just in my feet!”
  • In June we made it to the ocean twice and while standing in the ocean, Keana yells, “I love it! I love it!” and, “Here comes the ocean!” as the waves come to shore.
  • The other day, while sampling some of her imaginary soup, I said, “You are very skilled in the culinary arts Baby,” and she replied, “I don’t have any culinary arts Papa.”
  • Playing ball: Keana loves to be chased while carrying a ball and faking you out by throwing it off to the side instead of towards you. She’s also perfected the reverse over-the-head throw where she throws the ball backward over her head. The ball thing has really added a whole other dimension to “I’m gonna getchya!” one of our favorite games.
  • Keana continues to be the sweetest ever, often saying, “Oh, I love you so much,” and requesting hug after hug before I go to work. And what better way to come home from work than with her screaming, “Papa’s here!” as I walk up the stairs followed by a, “Oh, I’m so glad you’re here Papa!” when I walk in the door. Of course she does this when Sarah comes and goes too, but Sarah doesn’t leave as often.
  • Clinging to Mama: maybe it’s because Sarah’s pregnant or some other developmental thing, but Keana has been all about Mama lately. When I’m here Keana often refuses to let me change her diaper, feed her, and brush her teeth. I know Sarah could use the break but I think she knows this will pass and happily pulls the weight even when I’m around. Aren’t moms great?
  • While in Big Sur, Sarah said that after she gave Keana a bite of food Keana ran down the hall a little bit, stopped, turned around, and in a stylized, deep “monster” voice said, “Thank you Mama.”
  • Keana loves to pretend. This morning we were playing downstairs, opening and shutting doors so the dinosaurs wouldn’t get us while eating imaginary pie out of tiny to-go containers that were used for pickles.

There’s so many amazing things we get to witness on a daily basis that I can’t possibly write them all down here. Today we were watching videos from Keana’s first year and Sarah noted that we’ll never be first-time parents again. In the videos the giddiness in our voices and apparent amazement at every little thing Keana did was so obvious that I couldn’t help but agree. What’s it going to be like when this next little one is born and changes all our lives in a new and different way? I also noticed that the amount of documentation by photo, video, and words has slowly decreased as Keana has gotten older and it made me a little sad. Have I gotten lazy? Have we started to take the day-to-day wonders of Keana for granted, and therefore haven’t dedicated the time and energy to capture the latest fleeting moments? I don’t know- I’d like to think not.

Only two things to do: get that damn camera fixed and keep writing.

One, Two

Keana turned two. It came and went as quickly as just about everything else around here. She had three parties: one on Wednesday, March 22 with just Sarah and I, one with Sarah and Tia on her actual birthday (while I was teaching), and the big family extravaganza birthday on the following Saturday, March 24. I also snuck away from work to have lunch with my Ladies on her birthday since I couldn’t be there in the evening.

What I want to know is who coined the term “terrible twos”? Methinks it was someone from the school of “children should be seen and not heard” and someone who believed the domestication of the human animal was a very important step around the age of two. Keana speaks her mind and isn’t afraid to say “no!”. She’s learning to reason, argue, and persuade. She’s very sweet but tests her boundaries and the boundaries of those around her. When she hits the limits of those boundaries she takes note, pushes them more, tries a new approach, and learns. She remembers everything and recalls things from weeks ago when she sees an association. We see the fine line between discipline and restricting freedom and growth. Sarah and I are of the mind that there isn’t much flexibility with boundaries regarding Keana’s health and safety, but everything else is pretty much gray. It seems she needs us to let her have her gray areas and discover and define some things for herself. That’s one of the greatest joys lately is seeing her make these discoveries for herself. These discoveries used to be things like clapping or swinging her arms or opening and closing a box. Now that Keana’s two she’s discovering how to express herself in an effective way to others and she’s learning how to speak her mind. There’s nothing terrible about any of it. In fact, it’s teaching me I need to revisit my own domestication and socialization and rethink what’s important and what’s not while moving through the world.

All personality

Every day we see Keana’s personality emerging more and more. She has such a great sense of humor and we find ourselves laughing at her little jokes all the time. Like when she’s sitting at dinner and singing, “Sausage, sausage,” or saying in a deep, growly voice, “MEAT!” The photo below from February means so much more when you know the context. Sarah said she wanted to get a photo of her, not saying anything about the stroller, but Keana went and got her stroller so she could pose with it. You’ll see that she came up with this hilarious pose. It somehow reminds me of those photos you see from the 1800s when photos were new, and people would pose with their prize possessions, like a clock or their favorite rifle or something. The best part is her face too. Very serious and very cognizant of the camera. Definitely one of my favorite photos of the month.

Keana continues to be a voracious reader and often entertains herself looking through her books, especially when we’re busy. She’s able to name the titles of her favorite books and says portions of the story when you flip from page to page. She’s got an amazing memory and continues to pick up on lyrics to songs we sing all the time. The latest trend has been singing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” while brushing her teeth, and she chimes in on all the “echo” versus singing, “Like a light bulb!” and, “Ho, ho, ho!” and, “You’ll go down in history!”

We still visit the park across the street many times a week and she’s able to climb up the stairs of the play structure and go down the big slide all by herself. In fact she insists saying, “No Mama help!” Quite the little independent. She also seems to enjoy observing the other kids’ behavior at the park as much as playing on her own, and you can just see her little gears turning in her head. Tonight when we went to the park she was all about collecting wood chips and rocks to keep as little treasures and she even made sure that I had my own saying, “Papa have a rock too.”

This week Keana turns two and we can hardly believe it. She’s certainly not a baby any more and we’re excited and even a little in awe of her ever-emerging personality and independence.

The girl can talk

It is such a joy to hear Keana’s little voice! From the moment she opens her eyes in the morning to the moment she closes them to sleep, she is talkin’, askin’ questions, singin’, and makin’ noises. We absolutely love it. Sometimes we just lie awake in bed in the morning and listen to her talk and sing to her stuffed animals in her crib. The last couple of weeks she’s really been memorizing lyrics to her favorite songs. She’ll ask, “Mama sing it?” or “Papa sing it?” and smile and dance—but always listen—until she gets a piece of it then sings along. So far she’s learned part of the Sesame St. theme “Sunny Days” and the Dragon Tales theme, and she continues to get better on her “ABCs” and “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'”. Another popular phrase has been “Try it?” when we tell her something won’t work. It really makes me stop and realize how important it is for her to try just about everything on her own and reminds me of how much I liked to figure things out for myself, especially when adults told me how it would or wouldn’t work. I swear Keana teaches us just as much as we teach her.

Last Saturday we went to Pt. Reyes Station for biscuits and gravy at the Pine Cone Diner then headed out to the beach. Sarah and I really have Santa Cruz in the veins because we figured we’d just go over to HWY1 and pull over whenever we saw a good beach, like we used to do when we lived in Santa Cruz. Well, needless to say, up north on HWY1 is not like HWY1 near Santa Cruz. Eventually we found Bolinas (yeah, we’d never heard of it either). It’s kind of like a distilled version of Santa Cruz. Not a ton of tourists and crazies, and a lot of real northern CA beach bums and surfers. We had to run through the ocean near this retaining wall to reach a small patch of sand, so you could say easy beach access there was not. Keana had been talking about the ocean since we mentioned it Friday night saying “Ocean—get in there?”, so Sarah was determined to get our Girl to the beach. Keana loved just standing in the ocean waiting for each wave and didn’t flinch once. In fact, we had to yank her out on a couple surprise waves so she didn’t get totally soaked. She didn’t even mind the sand, though she still thought it was “messy”.

I remember when I was growing up I talked all the time, and now as an adult Sarah would definitely say that my verbosity has remained strong, especially late at night or when she’s trying to sleep. I remember too how adults responded to me when I talked and how that made me feel, and I want to always be sure Keana feels that she’s being heard, that what she says is respected, and to try and have patience with her as she expresses her thoughts out loud. I think if we encourage her voice through listening, she’ll learn to verbalize her thoughts better and even become a better listener in the process.

bABy Cs

Keana started singing her ABCs last week. It’s really cute because she requests the song by saying “Baby Cs?” and continues to sing “Ba-by C D E…”. Not only that, but she also lip-syncs to the song and then finishes strong with “XYZ”.

This morning I also realized how big she’s getting when she refused to hold my hand walking down the sidewalk. As she walked she sang, “It’s a big world, it’s a big big world,” and truly it is for a little walking, singing baby out on the street. But every day I think the world gets smaller and smaller for little Miss Keana.

Emerging independence

Keana continues to show off her little personality. It was Sarah’s birthday on Friday and Keana sang along with “happy birthday mama” and proposed several toasts at our burgers and champagne lunch saying, “Cheers!” throughout the meal. It’s amazing to see her pick up on all these social protocols. They seem so complex for a little baby yet she learns them after only observing them once. I guess it really scares us on some level too to realize that it does only take her one time seeing something to imprint it on her brain. And it’s not just her copying us either. There’s a little bit of that, but time and again she’ll bust out with something that lets us know she’s learning everything right now and she knows what it means and when to use it.

Keana’s almost two now and she’s definitely exerting her independence. She’s able to communicate really well and has been forming longer, more complex sentences. This has made it much easier for us to understand what she wants and allows us to explain things better to her. That being said, the word “no” has become pretty popular too, but it hasn’t really been that frustrating for us. Most of the time it’s really okay for her to say “no” and for the other times we just have to explain the situation to her and she understands. Don’t get me wrong either, this girl is a spitfire, but if we treat her with respect by acknowledging her intelligence and capabilities, the outcome is generally good for all of us. After-all, isn’t that really what any of us wants? The need to be heard and respected seems to run deep in everyone and we see it emerging more and more in Keana every day.

Seasons change

The backyard is filling up with leaves, the World Series is on its way, Shelby my coworker has already carved her pumpkin and its getting dark earlier and earlier. This can only mean another year is on its final lap. That last moment where we can all breathe right before Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa and New Years bum rush us and leave us all on our asses wondering where the hell it all went.

This is Keana’s second round of holidays already and the tradition solidification process is already well on its way. She continues to change on a seemingly hourly basis. For those of you who don’t have kids or have forgotten, she is almost a year and seven months now, and eats everything we eat, sans the processed foods and sugar of course. She can form crude sentences now like, “I hold you”, “Mama sleeping” and “Shoes on”. What’s really amazing is she’s starting to grasp what seem like really complex associations. For instance if someone stays over—as Grandma Linda and Grandpa Sam have recently—she asks the next morning, “Grandma here?”. Now just about every morning I get her up she asks about Grandma or Tia or if “Mama sleeping?”. Really fun and amazing.

Adorable, amazing and “smarter than I am even now” continue to inadequately describe little Miss Keana. The more and more she wants to do things on her own and try out new things, the more we realize that she is becoming the little person she was meant to be.