msLaura: Modern Mama Laura Hamilton + Dan Baker = Julian Hamilton Baker & Adrian Hamilton Baker "When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her."
- Adrienne Rich



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the portable baby


recent posts
Conversation yesterday while walking the dog

Say it isn't so!

John Y moved to Portland

A Whopper of a Toddler


Sleeping baby

Baker & Hamilton

Flip...and flop

Low-Hanging Fruit

Go baby go!

Night-weaning ROCKS

Bocce Ball Boy

Julian's U-pick Strawberry Patch

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August 26, 2005

Conversation yesterday while walking the dog

Playing in the car

We are walking Bugs around the neighborhood in early evening. Julian is riding on my back in the Ergo backpack. Multiple dogs are barking in the neighborhood.

Me: "Those doggies are talking. What does the doggie say?"
Julian: "Ruff! Ruff!"
Me: "That's right. And what does the cow say?"
Julian: "Moo! Moo!"
Me: "Yes. And what does the owl say?"
Julian: "Hoo! Hoo!"
Me: "Wow, you know all the animals! So what does the BABY say?"
Julian: (Pauses, thinks for a while...) "Duck!"

Which is actually true, because "duck" was the second word he ever said, and it's right up there with "doggie" in popularity.

This boy is FUN lately! We have been having a blast playing, talking, reading books and throwing balls. He understands most of what I say to him, and he's quite the little conversationalist in return.

Today I was cutting some fabric on the floor while J was playing nearby. I stood up too near the table and scraped my lower back on the table edge as I came up. Hurt like HELL, so I was yelling "Owwwwww!!!! Ahhhhhhh!!! UGGGHHHHH! OUCH! OUCH!"

Then I realized that Julian was staring at me, very concerned. I made the "hurts" sign to him and pointed to my back. "Ouch, Mama hurt her back!" He stood up and came around behind me to look at it, then gently touched the red scraped spot. And then, cutest boy ever that he is...he gave me a kiss on it to make it feel better.

What a SWEET boy. I am so proud of him.

August 22, 2005

Say it isn't so!

Tom Tomorrow: How to make it all go away.

August 21, 2005

John Y moved to Portland

John's going away party

Our dear friend John is moving to Portland today, so we had a going away party last night at Thea Restaurant. So sad to see him go, but it gives us a good reason to road trip up to Portland! And he has a good reason for going: true love.

Wow, Dan and I went out TWICE in one week sans bebe. We are ANIMALS.

August 20, 2005

A Whopper of a Toddler

Dan and Julian and I went out for sushi the other night. We gorged on our favorite rolls, and Julian flirted with all the waitresses and let them pick him up, then he tried to score kisses.

He made a big show of gobbling edamame and said, "Mmmmmm!!!!" very dramatically and appreciatively when the rolls came out to the table. Then he grabbed a piece of caterpillar roll and started devouring it, which the waitresses loved.

As we were finishing up, another family came in. I was busy with J, so I didn't look closely, but I did notice that they had a boy who was about 2-3 years old and ENORMOUS. Just huge. Like 300th percentile.

They sat down behind me, so I didn't really get to look at them, but Dan did. He told me after we left that the parents had sushi while the toddler had his own bag of Burger King. Chicken nuggets and french fries with ketchup. Now *really*. There are so many things at a Japanese restaurant that a toddler could and would eat. Noodles, veggies, fruit, chicken, rice. But they made a special trip through the drive-through to get a fast food dinner for this hugely obese 2.5 year old to eat. What the hell!

I'm not even going to start ranting on this again, because I already did. Just look back and read my Date Night post on obese children with fatty livers and the outlawing of fois gras.

August 17, 2005


I just checked my site stats and was both amused and horrified to find out that the number one search engine keyword that led people to my site for the past zillion weeks in a row was FREEBALLING.

I assume the reason was the photo you see at left, which was on my old blog sans censorship, and which was titled, "Baby J freeballing in the grass in Mexico". Well, to all you freeballing Googlers out there, suck it!

August 14, 2005

Sleeping baby

Sleeping baby

Last night went pretty well. Julian woke up at around 11:00pm and I put him back to sleep fairly easily, then went to bed myself.

I slept like a log until 4:47am, when J woke up a second time. I nursed him a tiny little bit, then he fell asleep and I went back to bed, leaving his bedroom door open so that he could come and get me if he needed/wanted to.

At 7:00am I heard Julian running down the hall towards the bedroom, then he popped in with a big morning smile to greet me and we played. Seems like this "Mama sleeps with Daddy now" process isn't very traumatic for him, thank goodness.

It is a bit traumatic for me though. I am thrilled to be back in our grown-up, cushy, comfy, big-ass bed again. I sleep soooo soundly without a big toddler tucked under my arm. But I kept dreaming that I was in bed with Julian and he needed me, or he was cold, or the blanket was over his face, or he had to pee, etc. Then I woke up and was startled to find myself in bed with Dan and Bugs.

I find myself somewhat sad that my little baby is not so little anymore, and is big enough to sleep without me now, but I'm glad too. It's an odd bittersweet emotion.

August 12, 2005

Baker & Hamilton

Baker & Hamilton

I'm on a nostalgic roll, so just posted a bunch of photos on my photostream from the early days of courtship. Click the photo to go there, then you can check out the slideshow once you get there (link at top right), that's the best way to look at the photos.

This shot is of the Baker & Hamilton building in San Francisco, which I had never before seen in my 13 years of living there. Dan and I started dating and we were driving on 280N through the city, going downtown. All of a sudden this HUGE sign appeared over the city skyline (the front of the building is shown here, but on the back is a truly colossal sign poking up several stories high). BAKER & HAMILTON, for everyone to see. And that was it, we figured it was meant to be.

August 11, 2005

Flip...and flop

Oh, fer cryin' out loud...I just realized that in that last post I sound like a pathetic adolescent, whining "No one UNDERSTANDS me!"

I'll really make an effort to just get over it. Until next time.

August 09, 2005

Low-Hanging Fruit

low-hanging fruit

Here's a rare pic of Julian in a stroller. Normally he's an Ergo backpack baby, but he likes to push this umbrella stroller around, so yesterday I put him in and took off on our dogwalking journey around the neighborhood. He liked it, but it hurt my back. Too low. I had to hunch over to reach the handles.

I went to yoga twice last week (thanks for motivating me, Laura Hagan!) and the Yoga Soreness hit me last night like a ton of bricks. I always get it after I've been away from yoga for a while, then I'm fine. I hauled my ass off the couch and slunk into the hot tub, which made it all good again. And while I was out there, I had a chance to look up at the stars, zone out, and get some good thinking done.

The good thinking was very productive. I decided to forget about flying to visit my family next month. Instead, Julian and I will ROAD TRIP! No, I'm not crazy, though everyone seems to think that being in a car with an 18-month-old kid for a week or two is pretty nuts.

Really, it will be fun! Just the cure for my bad wanderlust. I have a relatively free schedule, good maps, nice weather, and a reliable hybrid sedan that gets 45 mpg. What more can I ask for? It's the perfect solution.

I wish Dan could come for the whole thing. I'm trying to convince him to fly out and meet us along the way when he can get a few days free.

If it's awful, we can always come home. But really, with just me and Julian, what's to get fussy about? If he doesn't feel like being in the car, we'll stop and sightsee. We can drive for his nap every day, stay with family or in little motels at night. Even camp a little...why not?

So many possibilities...down the Pacific coast and up the eastern side of the Sierras? Or should we go down the western side of the Sierras and explore there? Not sure. I think I'll buy some guidebooks and get a fresh perspective on my home state.

So that's the plan and I'm excited. Late August, early September...on the road!

August 08, 2005

Go baby go!

Go baby go!

Yesterday we had our friends Laura and Mo over for Sunday afternoon badminton/bocce/BBQ. They brought their son Finn, who is 3 months older than Julian, and a good time was had by all.

At one point Laura and I were chopping veggies in the kitchen and the subject of Spain came up, so I was telling Laura about my year in Madrid and my gig dancing with a soccer ball on the Worst TV Show Ever ("Goles Son Amores", 1992). Laura was surprised and asked me what other stories I hadn't divulged yet!

Geez, lots. I used to be a very exciting, living-on-the-edge kinda person before I became a suburban mama. I got kicked out of boarding school, rode a motorcycle for 15 years, lived in various apartments around San Francisco, traveled a lot, posed tastefully nude for artist friends, was a go-go dancer, my fashion photographer boyfriend even tattooed my name and likeness on his arm, and then there was my string of crazy *French* boyfriends. That's not even the wild stuff. It's been an interesting life so far.

I was laughing with Laura that my latest "stories" involve oh, Julian pooping at the end of the driveway or something like that. No sex, drugs or rock-n-roll anymore.

That's OK by me, but it does make me a bit nostalgic. That life was so crazy, and I'm very happy to be where I'm at now. I wouldn't trade Dan or Julian for anything. But was fun.

The four of us were were sitting at the patio table drinking Captain Morgan and OJ and swapping stories of our romantic world travels, in between wrangling our toddlers, of course. New Zealand, the Big Island, Spain, France, Australia, the Caribbean, sailing trips to the Bahamas...I think we all got a bit nostalgic talking about faraway places we've been, the freedom of getting up and just going wherever you feel like going that day. No napping schedules to tend to, no baby bedtimes to consider. Stay out all night dancing with strangers if you feel like it...what's the big deal?

Truth be told, that life was getting a bit boring though. There's no thrill when you can just do anything you want, anytime. Wild nights end, and hangovers aren't much fun. We were ready to do something different, take the next step, focus on something besides ourselves, see what having a family would be like. And in many ways, the adventures I had before becoming a mama were TAME in comparison. I have better relationships now. I'm more fulfilled creatively, wiser, more successful, more the person that I always wanted to be.

It's nice to think back, though. I've got a baaaaad travel jones, and the conversation yesterday didn't help at all. If Dan could take off with me, or if I knew someone who could handle traveling with a mom/toddler duo, I'd definitely be up for a trip somewhere, anywhere. Several times a day I get images popping into my head of sipping a noisette at a Paris cafe, or a sunset over the sagebrush in Utah, the Metro in Madrid, soaring on the front of our sailboat in the Gulf of Mexico while dolphins ride the bow waves.

What's silly about it is that home certainly doesn't suck. We do fun events every day. Summer is great. I'm having a blast, for the most part. I just have that little voice inside calling me to go, baby, go!

Ah well, Julian won't be little forever. I had better enjoy this time while it lasts, and we can whoop it up a bit again when he's older.

August 05, 2005

Night-weaning ROCKS

I am making an effort to night-wean Julian.
Reason One is that I can no longer sleep while nursing him at night.
Reason Two is that I haven't gotten my period back yet (due to all the night-nursing), and we want to start trying for #2 sometime in the near future.
Reason Three is that I'd like to go back to bed with Dan at some point.

So far it's not going over so well. Sometimes he screams and then goes back to sleep, sometimes he just screams and gets increasingly upset. Last night was an increasingly upset night. He woke up and cried. I took him potty, but he still wanted milk. I was telling him that we would have milk in the morning, but Mama was too sleepy for milk at night.

He grabbed my nightgown and pulled it desperately, then cried "ROCK!", which is the closest word to "milk" that he can say right now. It cracked me up so much that I had to laugh and give him some. He is certainly learning to use his words effectively!

August 04, 2005

Bocce Ball Boy

Ball boy

I love this pic. Julian's ball obsession continues, strong as ever. He is actually pretty good at rolling the bocce balls, even though they're very heavy. The sky is the limit for his ball obsession, literally...a few weeks ago he pointed up to the moon in the early evening sky and said, "Ball!" Pumpkins and melons are balls too. Didn't you know?

I'm tired lately. Business has been really good this week, but I'm pooped from it all, so today I'm taking the day off from the world of commerce. Well, I did sew up two wraps, but that's manufacturing, not really commerce.

I'm behind on my homework. I was trying to read Playful Parenting and Becoming the Parent You Want To Be: A Sourcebook of Strategies for the First Five Years this week, but I really haven't gotten any reading done at all. I've just been too busy with business. Heh. Last week I read 3-4 books, but this week, nothing.

I've been looking into the concepts of Positive Discipline and Non-Violent Communication lately, but just very briefly. The two sort of go together, although Non-Violent Communication is not necessarily for parents/children, it's frequently used in international mediation and diplomacy as well. Both make a lot of sense to me, at least what I've learned so far.

I feel like I'm very unprepared for discipline issues. I know spanking and punitive measures sure as hell didn't work for me. Being spanked and punished made me angry and distrustful of my parents, unwilling to communicate with them, and solidified my resolve to do things my own way, just to *hide* it better in the future. My brother was spanked way more than I was, and he certainly hasn't turned out very well. Sorry if you're reading this, Morgan, but you haven't.

So I know what I *don't* want to do as a parent, but I'm still grasping around to figure out what an effective alternative is. I'm a big researcher, if you didn't know that already, and I definitely like to feel prepared for new and challenging situations. I think I'm on the right track now, but I have a lot of reading and processing to do.

Julian is a fantastic little boy in so many ways, and without tooting my own horn too much, I think I've done a great job so far...but it is relatively easy to be loving and responsive to a cute blobby little infant who relies on you for everything. It's much more challenging to stay loving and communicative with a little person who has their own personality and agenda, and who can talk back!

Can you believe that it's August already? Not me. One second ago it was May and I was wishing that summer would hurry up and arrive already. One. second. ago. Flash!

New Julian words from the last 3 days:

He loves the word "apple". And he's SO proud of his exploding vocabulary. Funnily enough, he has started signing like crazy again, at the same time that he is saying tons of new words. He still signs "bird" instead of saying it. He started signing for "potty" again after a hiatus. He *finally* is signing for "drink", after almost a year of me signing it to him.

"Hurt" is another popular sign that he is using. Unfortunately he has a lot of opportunities to use it, as he insists on running everywhere, especially if the ground is hard, uneven, sloping and rocky. He also prefers to run with both hands full, so that when he falls he can't put a hand out to stop himself and instead breaks the fall with his face. Ugh.

Oh, he's up from his nap, gotta run!

August 03, 2005

Julian's U-pick Strawberry Patch

Julian pointing out his strawberry of choice

Julian is a crack-up. Every time he goes out in the front yard he scans the strawberry patch for any little spot of red, then points at it and says "Mom! Mom!" until I either pick a strawberry for him or tell him that it isn't quite ready yet.

The veggie garden is really coming along. There's corn, zucchini, japanese eggplant, 3 kinds of peppers, 3 kinds of tomato, Swiss chard, 2 kinds of artichoke, 3 kinds of basil, 2 kinds of melon, English cucumber, dwarf Meyer lemon and some other stuff...oh, strawberries. There were a few different kinds of lettuce, but they bolted (flowered) so lettuce is done for now.

Green beans were kind of a bust, I didn't pick them in time and they got tough.

I'm waiting and waiting for the heirloom tomatoes to ripen up. I have jalapeno peppers too, so we'll be making our own salsa fresca. Yum.

You can't slack off when you've got a producing garden. You eat food when it's ready, or preserve it somehow, or else you just miss out completely. The window of vegetable opportunity closes, no second chances.

The corn is really good. The tomatoes are remarkably sweet. The zucchini is unbelievably prolific *and* good. Cucumbers, delicious and not bitter at all, even the skin. LOVE the garden!

I really wish I had a fig tree, but our neighbors down the street have one in their front yard. It's sort of tucked away in an empty part of their yard behind some bushes, and no one seems to be eating the fruit, so when I walk Bugs past there in the evening I snag a few ripe figs and scarf them down.

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