Tag Archives: development

Hello bed

I told Sarah two nights ago that I felt almost like I had been away at war and I was finally home in my own bed. We had been sharing our bed with Maia, or I had been sleeping in another room with Keana until Tuesday, May 26, we began to sleep-train Maia. You may remember our first attempt, which we abandoned for various reasons, but now in the new place, it was time. Sarah had finally had it, spending over an hour nursing and rocking Maia to sleep every night, half the time without success. With Maia’s refusal to stay asleep, we didn’t know what else to do except let her walk around and be ridiculously cute, until she finally got so tired and said, “Night-night”, at which point she’d generally nurse to sleep with ease. The downside of that was that Sarah really didn’t feel she had any time for herself, was very frustrated, and because Maia would go to sleep so late, she’d sleep in the next morning, throwing the whole next day off.

So Sarah set up the girls room—which they’ll eventually share—and when the going-to-bed ritual was finished, we said good night to Maia, closed the door, and walked away. Of course Maia screamed bloody hell, but only for about 20 minutes before falling asleep, on her own. She woke again around 10 p.m., fussed a little, then fell back asleep. During this training process (a week maybe?), Keana is sleeping at the foot of our bed on a sheepskin/”camping” bed, just so she doesn’t have to deal with Maia crying things out, but she’ll be in her own bed, in her own room pretty soon. Anyway, when I laid down that night, in my own bed, I realized I had been away for too long. Sarah and I hadn’t slept in our own bed together, just the two of us, since Maia was born. It wasn’t exactly glorious, because we were worrying about Maia, it was hot as hell, we were getting used to the new set-up ourselves, and I think our minds were spinning with what this really meant. After all, self-soothing and sleeping on your own is really a big step in life when you think about it. So I think both our minds were spinning with the fact that Maia was really growing up and getting one more notch in her independence belt. There’s so many great things about it that it’s hard to be sad, but still, letting go of your kids like that is definitely one of the most difficult things as a parent, and we know this is still in the “just beginning” phase.

At 1:20 a.m. that first night, Maia woke up and cried and cried until about 2 a.m., when Sarah finally went in to check on her. She was so sad she over-nursed and eventually threw up, so Sarah finished out the night with her. But we stuck to the routine last night, letting Maia cry herself to sleep, which only took 10 minutes! And on just the second night, she slept all the way through the night, a lone little soldier, until around 6 a.m. A proud moment for crazy little Maia and a great step toward getting settled in the 559.

Coming home

Wrote this one at Logan International, on my way home from Neel’s wedding, then edited/posted later:

May 4, 2009, 2:00 p.m.
Being away from my family always reinforces how much I love them, and thinking about/telling people I meet of all the fun, cute, silly, smart, crazy things Keana and Maia do really brings me joy, especially when I’m away from them. Of course that also leads to talking about what an amazing, supportive wife Sarah is—keeping the home-front running smoothly while I have time for myself and my friends. I’m here in Boston right now, waiting for my flight back to San Francisco, and I’ve been in Massachusetts for Neel’s wedding since Friday. Since we just moved to Fresno, and because of the cost, I wasn’t able to bring Sarah and the girls with me, but there will be a celebration on the West Coast, so we’re looking forward to that.

When I’m away I imagine all the ways the girls might change in the time I’m gone. Even though it’s just five days, they often have new favorite toys, new words, new games, and new jokes. Keana’s growing up so fast. Last Wednesday, April 29, she had her first day at Grandma Bev’s preschool by herself. She was very excited, and though she said she didn’t want to go alone, by the time Sarah got her there, she was more than ready to jump in with the other kids and start the day. The basic day consists of free time and art projects, then exercise and snacks, more play time- usually outside and barefoot- then a circle time where they share their stories, something a special they bring to share, or finish up art projects. At the end of the day, around noon, they all sit down for lunch. When Sarah, Maia, and I came by that first day, they were so cute! A bunch of little people, sitting together at a table outside, just eating and talking like a table of adults. Calm and polite, they just hung out and finished out their day together. We are really thankful for such a great school and I think it’s the perfect beginning to Keana’s education outside of our house.

Other than school, Keana is still busy playing with dolls and stuffed animals, often inventing little stories and scenarios between them, changing outfits and arrangements every five seconds. Sometimes I listen in and can’t help but laugh at something funny she does and I think this makes her self-conscious, because she’ll say something like, “Don’t listen Papa!” or “Don’t look over here Papa, just keep working.” It cracks me up, but at the same time I want her to know that I just love her imagination and always want to support it, so I say okay and look away. Keana still loves her movies so we have to regulate that, but we don’t have “regular” TV in Fresno now, so that’s not an issue. And of course, at bedtime, she still loves her stories and often can’t get enough of the dinosaurs. She even knows the dino families like the Sauropods (Brontasaurus, Brachiosaurus) and Ceritopsians (Triceritops/Pentaceritops).

Little Miss Maia is still our action baby. Her independence is growing by the day and she can get out of bed on her own and just walks out of the bedroom, and through the house, looking for her Papa and sister in the morning. Last week I showed the girls how to climb a tree in our front yard and she was so excited that she demanded I put her up on a branch. She LOVED it. Keana on the other hand wasn’t so sure, and exclaimed, “I’m not as brave as Maia!” But she’s brave in other ways. Maia also discovered the little froggies in our backyard and when playing outside, likes to say, “Huh, huh!” when exploring the known froggie haunts as if to ask, “Are they in there? Are they here?” She’s also quite fast; speed she’s gained while running from her sister when they play chasing games. The girls love to play with each-other and if we have to change Maia’s diaper or start something like bath time, Keana yells, “Put her down! We’re playing! Bring her back!” Maia’s vocabulary is also expanding with words like toot, balloon, sissy (for sister), tacos, and other words she may copy from you, but hasn’t really used consistently. She understands just about any yes/no question you ask her, and last week she even started saying, “Mmmhmm.” Adorable.

Since being in Fresno, we’ve spent quite a bit of time with Grandma Jennie, which has been really great. For the whole first week, Keana said several times a day, “I want to see Grandma!” or “Let’s go to Grandma’s house!” She does not like the fact that Grandma has to actually work. A week ago Jennie brought some ribs over to barbecue, and found three dead baby chicks on the ground while we were all playing outside. The night before had been really windy, so we think they fell out of the tree. Anyway, Grandma facilitated the burial while both Keana and Maia looked on. I think it was a tough experience for them, especially Maia, but I also think it’s so important for the girls to learn about the natural world, good and sad, and I’m really glad Grandma buried them, cause I was not prepared to be doing that.

So it’s time to board the plane, but I cannot wait to get home and see my ladies. I won’t be traveling for a while so that’s good. While these breaks are good for me to have time to myself and do my thing, I feel like I’m missing out on a lot back home.

Home-birth birthday numero quatro

Today we gathered for our monthly home-birth get-together, and we also celebrated the kids’ fourth birthdays. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been four years since we all had our first kids and that we’ve all stayed in touch. It was an amazing class, and I think it really was something special and unique for us all to go through together. There were seven kids there today, out of eight, and we all had a lot of fun. Now that the kids are so old, they pretty much just play together and run around in circles, literally, while the adults and other babies get to visit. Maia was especially social today and managed to not get plowed over at all. We’re definitely going to miss this group of people when we move, but we’re hoping that regular visits to the bay will help us keep in touch.

Little Miss Maia has been a real fire cracker lately too. She is so physical and just goes for things in a way very different from Keana. She’s very agile, turning in circles quite well for a little one, and runs and climbs like a little monkey. The other day at the park she climbed up the half-barrel for the first time, almost by herself, a feat that Keana didn’t try until she was almost a year older than Maia is now. If I hold her hands, she’ll walk right up my chest, over my face, and onto my shoulders, squealing with delight as she goes. Maia is so independent and often wants to try things for herself. She very much wants to do what everyone else is doing and refuses food that’s prepared just for her. She just pushes it aside and reaches for yours. Speaking of food, she’s our little carnivore and is usually happiest with her own sausage or hot dog to gnaw on, politely spitting the skin into her little bowl.

Keana continues to amaze us on all levels, but just last week she started to grasp the concept of adding. I asked her if she had nine monkeys and added one, how many would there be, and she quickly answered, “Ten!” She doesn’t always get it right, but the ideas are definitely sinking in. She can’t wait to start school and I’m pretty sure she’s going to be a little ring-leader. When we go to the park she’ll have all the other kids playing chase with her in a matter of minutes, whether they’re two years old or six. Quite the social butterfly. She still struggles with sharing with Maia, but at the same time is amazingly sweet to her little sister. It’s definitely been a struggle for us lately, but we’re all continuing to figure it out and maybe some day we’ll get it.

Playing in the rain (and other news)

It’s been a pretty busy weekend I’d say, though we rarely have one that isn’t. But as you’ll see, as this entry unfolds, there’s been more than usual lately. Maia and Sarah slept in until almost 10 a.m. mainly because Maia was up for a while somewhere around 4:30 a.m. But today we played in the rain and upon seeing Keana and I stomping in puddles, Maia really wanted a piece of the action. She eventually was content to just walk around and sit near a shallow puddle. She also enjoyed licking the umbrella. We became too wet and cold after a short while and headed back inside.

For good portions throughout the day, Keana entertained herself with dressing up and playing out imaginary scenarios with her toys, often singing the narration. At one point Sarah and Keana were playing a type of follow the leader game, flying, dancing, jumping, and wiggling all over the house while Keana screamed, “C’mon Papa, we’re entertaining Maia!”. Naps were basically a wash today which means we had more time to do some chores and Sarah made a great pork loin with chard, squash, and yams on the side.

Yesterday we sold a desk which we had posted on craigslist and then headed out Albany Point (or something) near where we live. We had never been there before and it was definitely interesting. Basically, it’s a landfill that’s closed down and overgrown with vegetation and it has road/trails that have a great view of the bay and San Francisco. There were a ton of dogs and I got the feeling that it was a little too janky for it to be a kid hang-out, so it has become a dog hang out. There’s sort of an “artist” community that’s claimed it, I think, with evidence of various domiciles in the bushes. small altars/art pieces scattered about, and a pretty large graffiti palace. I think it was safe in the daylight though, and we ran into a family that I know through work, so at least we weren’t the only ones with kids. We stopped by the shore and had a snack on a pile of concrete but had to watch out for the snaking re-barb that was poking out. Sounds crazy but it was actually fun and good to get out before this big storm hit.

So, you may have said earlier, “Huh, they’re selling stuff, why?” Well, we’re moving to Fresno, or as we like to say now, FresYes! The squeeze of the bay area has finally squeezed us out and since all of Sarah’s family and many of her friends or all located in one area- Fresno- it just made sense. Not to mention Grandma Bev runs a fairly prestigious preschool which Sarah attended and now our girls will have the chance to attend, so we feel very fortunate for that. It’s going to be a culture shock for me, I’m sure, but we’re excited about the possibilities this affords us and are looking forward to actually being able to get ahead financially. A big bonus too was that my employer, NWP, is allowing me to keep my job and work from a home office in FresYes. For that, I am exceptionally grateful, especially with this sad economy. I’ll be coming back to Berkeley about once a month for meetings and checking in, so I’m looking forward to staying connected to the area in that way.

All this excitement has really been keeping us busy, and we’ve sort of put Maia’s “sleep training” on hold. We did, however, set up Hotel Hokama downstairs. We moved the twin bed out of Keana’s room, so we put Maia to sleep upstairs as I get Keana ready for bed, Keana goes to sleep in her room, and when I head down for the night I bring Keana with me and I sleep with her and Sarah sleeps with Maia. It’s a little crazy, but it works. This way there’s no kids waking up in the middle of the screaming for one of us and we mostly all get a decent night’s sleep. Don’t worry though, it won’t always be like this. We shall reclaim our adult sleeping quarters, probably when we move and have a house that’s not split up funny and creepy like this one.

Damn, I guess that’s the last couple weeks since my last entry (in a nutshell). I’ll try and keep up more, especially in this exciting time of transition and with Keana’s birthday right around the corner!

One of those hard times in parenting

Maia’s sleep habits have not been working. She’s been having trouble nursing to sleep on some nights, and even when she does go to sleep, she often wakes up around eleven, wide awake, ready to party. Something had to change, and because Sarah’s been the parent of choice for Maia, she especially was ready to try something new. So two nights ago we tried letting her cry it out, as we did with Keana, but it was a failed attempt. We knew in order for it to work we had to stick to our guns, but we broke down and “saved” her. The rest of the night was one of Maia’s worst, mostly because I feel she thought Sarah was going to leave her.

Last night we talked about what we did wrong the previous night and re-calibrated for the new round…

  • 7:30: Sarah records a lullaby on the laptop to be played in a loop to reassure Maia in her times of need.
  • 8:13: We put Maia in her crib, I turn on the recording, set the laptop to shut down in three hours, and we wish Maia sweet dreams.
  • 8:14: Maia is already crying her little heart out.
  • 8:42: Maia’s cries die out quite a bit, with only periodic, long, sad howls interspersed.
  • 8:52: The crying picks back up.
  • 9:01: Cries start to die down again and I’m hopeful this is it as Sarah’s faint recorded voice can be heard in the breaks.
  • 9:25: Poor little Maia is really putting this to the test. I’d say she’s as headstrong as her papa.
  • 9:37: Silence. Finally.

She woke up again at 2 a.m. but went back to sleep fairly quickly, on her own. Then woke again at 4:45 a.m. ready for milk, but again, went back to sleep after her little snack. Then we all woke up (again) at 7:30 a.m.

Have we done the right thing? Only time will tell. We take some comfort in the fact that we did this with Keana and she sleeps well now, but man, these are the hard things you do as a parent that you can never prepare for, even the second time around. Of course today Maia developed a cold and it doesn’t seem right to keep the “training” going while she’s so sick, so we’ll pick this back up when she’s better. Man oh man…this parenting gig is tough.

Who needs a petting zoo?

Tonight, after we went to the park, I was trying to make dinner and hold Maia and she got a hold of the lettuce bag. I was too tired to fight it so I just sat down with her and let her play with it. She proceeded to grab little handfuls of lettuce and shove them in my mouth (along with her whole hand). Maia sure gets a kick out of feeding other people, and as I sat there, I realized feeding other people is kind of like feeding the animals at the petting zoo. What little kid doesn’t like that?

In other news, we celebrated Sarah’s 30th with a surprise party in the garage last Saturday. It was a blast and Maia was my party sidekick, sleeping most of the night in the sling, strapped to my shoulder. Keana ran around and played chasing games with various guests, and around 9:30 p.m., she and Grandma Jennie went inside to mellow out and ended up watching Disney’s Robin Hood three times until I came inside around one in the morning, and we put Keana and Sarah to bed. Although many of the guests provided the fun and helped decorate, Grandma Jennie, Tia, and Uncle Ryan were a big help all weekend, especially for clean up on Sunday.

So the week has pretty much been recovering from that. Some new Maia developments include head banging while walking as well as almost running. She can say “tickle-tickle” and a loud “Mmmmm!” when she sees you get some food out she thinks she might like. Maia is our little athlete and is an aggressive little climber and bouncer. She loves climbing on Keana’s little chairs and often insists on standing on them. Just today too, she danced in a circle with her arms up as Keana sang the theme to Sleeping Beauty.

Which brings me to the Zooba. She is amazing. Her latest, most articulate phrase is, “I’m three but I’ll be four in March.” She has continued to struggle sharing with Maia, but it’s interlaced with some of the sweetest sister moments you’ve ever seen. Tonight Maia took a water bottle over to her and Keana wanted a kiss, but Maia shook her head “no”. So Keana said, “No? Okay, I’ll just take a sip of water then.” A few minutes later Maia cashed in on that kiss. Keana can also pick Maia up and uses her special powers to help keep Maia safe—which is really sweet—but sometimes we have to stop her from scarily hauling her sister around for no reason (who, by the way, weighs half as much as her).

That’s the latest and I think we’ll be using the three day weekend to catch up with our lives.

Pre-turkey update

It’s the week before we head to Texas for Thanksgiving. I’m going to San Antonio for work on the 19th and Sarah, Keana, Maia, and Uncle Peter are joining me a few days later. Then we’re all driving to Fredericksburg to visit Grandma Linda and Grandpa Sam. Boy are they in for a surprise. I think it’s been almost seven months since they’ve seen the girls—more than half of Maia’s life so far!

Maia is getting more and more verbal and she vocabularic arsenal consists of hi, hello (pronounced “heh-roh”), dada, mama, and more. She blows kisses by putting her hand to her mouth and blowing into it, and can of course wave (and if you’re lucky you get the two-hand wave). She is her father’s daughter being very particular, and very clear about what she wants and doesn’t want. She’ll shake her head with an emphatic “no” when you offer her things, and when she’s done playing with something she throws it to the side like a pirate casting off an empty beer flagon. It’s really hilarious. Besides, it’s safer to throw things to the side so you don’t trip over them as you move along to the next thing, right? Maia also loves climbing. She’ll climb all around on the couch, often taking a moment to bounce up and down while stabilizing on the back of the couch. She loves to throw her head back with complete abandon when she knows you’re there to catch her (and you better be), or when she’s on a bed. Climbing on Keana’s little chairs is also a favorite while we get Keana ready for bed. She sits backward on them like the Fonz and bucks back and forth like she’s riding a bull. Maia is one crazy little action baby. Speaking of action, she loves to walk and almost run while holding on to our hands. She’ll be walking any day now and none of us can wait. Keana especially seems ready for her little sister to be more mobile to chase around and have fun with in that way. They certainly love playing games with each other. Maia’s even learned to hold something out so Keana can reach it, then pull it back quickly and laugh and run when Keana fails to reach it. Something I think she might have learned from Keana. It’s so much fun to see them interact and play with each other. It is tough not to be overbearing when they struggle, but Keana really does bring so much joy to little Maia, and vice versa.

On the food front, Maia doesn’t eat a whole lot of regular food, though she has sampled just about everything we eat, with the exception of cow milk, honey, and spicy stuff. Tonight she grabbed an onion off my pizza and said, “Mmmm!” then proceeded to spit it on the ground. So she’s not afraid to try new things!

Little Miss Thang (a.k.a. Keana) is progressing amazingly as well. She is incredibly tall, mischievous, bright, and funny. Her comprehension of life is really incredible at times. Last night I was I having a hard time with being patient, and as I was reading her bedtime story I told her I was having a hard time and that I was sorry. Keana replied, “That’s okay Papa. Just do your best.” A not-even-four-year-old with amazing insight. We absolutely love her energy and humor, and though we struggle with it at times, her bright little light is such a great asset to our quadripod.

Keana’s really starting to develop her physical being as well, gaining speed while running, height while jumping, and trying out things she was afraid to do before. She loves throwing and catching, though she often turns catching into a comedy routine of errors. Her slapstick humor is really quite funny. Keana also loves to kick the ball and Tia Iana thinks we might have a soccer player in the making. To give you an idea of her evolving personality, here’s some of her latest and greatest quotes:

8/13/08: Keana had a song stuck in her head while driving around and it was really bothering her, so Sarah put on the local jazz station. Keana started shaking her head around and said, “Oh yeah, this is workin’ my head out.”

9/1/08: “Helloha means ‘hi’ in Spanish!

10/6/08 (While I was cooking her a quesadilla): “Mama, are you going to last forever? I don’t want anyone to die because we’re having too much fun!

10/11/08: “I’m so busy I smell cake!” (while eating dinner)

10/15/08 (Keana’s first poem): “The tree I love with all my might, I close my eyes and it turns to light.

10/22/08: After coming home from an outing and being very tired, “I just want some yummy, delicious quiet time.

So, as you can see, we got a lot going on here at Team Hokama ,and in about a week, the whole fam damnly flies to Texas for Thanksgiving adventures and Maia’s first birthday! You’ll get it all right here, so don’t touch that dial.