December has been surprisingly generous this year in Northern California.  We have had an abundance of mild, sunny days that have encouraged us to spend most of our time outside.  On the best of days, we set out on planned get-togethers with our treasured friends.  But even on the worst of days, the parks are teeming with families and we always seem to bump into someone that we know for conversation and lessons in toy-sharing.

g has never been a good sleeper.  Although I have tried to get him on a schedule that retains a modicum of respectability, I can’t claim to have succeeded.  These days, he goes to sleep at night at a later hour than most adults I know and by the time he wakes in the morning most of his peers have been disseminating chaos for hours.  Naps have been starting around 4pm, extremely late by most toddler standards.

Our prelude to naps is usually a story and a squeeze or two and it often takes g a little time to actually fall asleep.  By the time he’s out, darkness is quickly descending upon our little bedroom and it always manages to catch me by surprise.  After an afternoon in t-shirts and sandals, I have a hard time remembering that it is indeed wintertime.  But, as the last traces of light disappear and the stillness takes over, I am thankful for our version of winter and this life that feels so wildly indulgent, this freedom to just linger.

Soon our version of winter will arrive.   There will be many days when we will be stuck indoors, isolated by the rains and viruses of the season.  Playing and conversing with friends will come at the expense of painstaking planning and I will be reminded that there is hardly any traffic in the slow lane.  But during these final afternoons of 2011, I just watch until the darkness robs me of my vision.  And then I listen – to the silence of a winter afternoon, to the rhythmic sounds of g’s sleeping breaths.


Happy Holidays

Happy holidays to you and yours!!

Updates from baby watch 2011/2012:

No more scary episodes (whew), even if it is all still awfully frightening.

No explanation for the spotting but my doctor is optimistic and so, I’ve decided, am I (for now).

Although we are far away from family this Christmas, we are celebrating with beloved friends, strengthening my conviction that family is about much more than blood relations.

Wishing you all the best during this holiday season!


No thuds yet, graciously.

The spotting stopped fairly quickly and has not returned since.  I debated calling my doctor, for reassurance, of course, but I decided against it, mostly because I know that there is really nothing she or anyone can DO right now.  It is far too early for delivery and, sadly, there is little else to be done.  Second trimester spotting is usually a result of something affecting the placenta and all we can really do is wait and hope.  Wait and hope.

I suppose that 24 hours of serenity is better than nothing at all.

In the meantime, a huge thank you for your supportive comments.  I am hanging on dearly to the knowledge that this could turn out just fine.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I met with my Dr a few days ago and we poured over the facts of this pregnancy.  Everything looks good, she concluded.  It seems your past experiences were probably just bad luck.  I came home feeling pretty good.  G and I had our first conversation about it as if it were going to happen.  It felt a bit awkward. New territory, I suppose.

Yesterday I made a decision to change the way I live this pregnancy from here on.  I have been so conditioned by my experience with g and his twin, which was fraught with complication from early on. I was told to take it easy and so I spent my months staying as far away from living as I possibly could.  I became a shut in, afraid to waste even the smallest of efforts on anything that happened to concern the present tense.  I existed, as still as humanly possible, and just waited for the other shoe to drop.  Eventually, the giant thud arrived.

I decided not to do that again.  Yesterday, I tried on the guise of the sanguine pregnant woman. I went for a walk. I met a friendly woman at the park, 7 months pregnant, and exchanged chit chat about having a second while our sons scrambled about, omitting all of my usual qualifiers.

I told my family.

Today I woke up feeling a little strange.  I felt cramping. Then I discovered the spotting.   Neither is acceptable at 18 wks.

I don’t think I would feel much different if thunderbolt-wielding Zeus himself had stepped down from Olympus and told me not to forget where I belong.

Today I’m back in my old oversize clothes, all the better to conceal the bump. Except for the fool’s cap – that’s new.

And now I’m just waiting for that giant thump.

Technology: I love you. I love you not. I ………………..

I find that it’s not so simple to develop a nice coherent philosophy to live by, even, or maybe especially, in relation to those things that matter.

Take technology, for example.

Through some combination of nostalgia for a bygone era and miserliness, I am drawn towards a low-tech lifestyle.  Although I own a cell phone, it was by far the dumbest phone that I could find – several years ago.  We also own a car but I lament the fact that, despite it’s almost 17 years, it doesn’t have roll-up windows.  Our single desktop computer serves nearly all of our technological needs: communication, entertainment, data management.  But you may be thinking; you have a goddamned computer! Indeed.

If you catch me in the right moment though, I will argue that much of my technology usage is dictated by the society that I live in.  I love blogging but I would take any of my favorite bloggers in three dimensions, perhaps over a glass of wine in my kitchen, any day.  I  revere the internet but, given just the right circumstances, I would much rather give up my connection than, say, my coffee.

There is, however, one realm of technology that I get particularly excited about: imaging.  From digital photography to bioluminescence, I am amazed at how much humans have been able to extend our already impressive visual abilities. Working as a biologist, I was blown away by the incredible advances in microscopy, allowing us to see ever deeper into cells at ever higher resolutions.

And then there’s ultrasound.

I can find no criticism for a technology that has the ability to tell me that my young fetus is actually growing and thriving, that, so far, everything looks just as it should.  And, I’m even more humbled by the way that the grainy black and white likeness of a tiny hand or a gently curved shoulder can cause even the most weary of expectant mother’s hearts to puddle in her chest cavity.