Monday, December 31, 2007

Whew, it's over!

I don't remember the last time that I was so looking forward to a year ending as I do for this year 2007 to be over. We have 35 minutes to go and I'm thrilled. The Little Man (no longer The Babe because at 15 months of age, he has been walking for four of those) is sleeping, the Hubby is whistling as he listens to music on his computer, and I take a few minutes to post for the first time in a long time.

The last six months have been as rough as they have been joyful. In June, I threw out my back and had to take a wheelchair to travel to our vacation destination; the Little Man got chicken pox; when we returned home, I felt so lonely and depressed (all my friends were on vacation and I had no good television to watch) I slipped into a real emotional crisis; I am tired all the time (yes I take supplements), then the Little Man and I alternated being sick (bronchitis, grippe, ear infections) for two months out of the last three; and all of this culminated in an early-morning hospital visit at Christmas.

Whew. I had no idea that my heart could be so full of love after the birth of our child, and that my body and mind could be so down and out.

Finally, in the hospital at Christmas, something clicked and I realized that I just had to snap out of this funk. So, even though I'm still tired, my mind is in good shape. I've also decided to start taking cold showers again (a yogic tool for all-around good health and against depression), a tool in my repertoire that I had forgotten about when I was in my funk.

So, I wish you more than anything else, as much as I wish us, HEALTH. Without health, there is just no life.

Happy, Healthy 2008 and beyond.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What were They Thinking?

Today, as I was bustling to an appointment -- with baby in tow in the baby carrier --in a part of Paris we've never been to, we passed in front of a kindergarten just as school was letting out.

One little guy, who must have been not much older than three, scrunched up his cute round face under a brown mop of hair and whined his displeasure to a woman I presume was his mother.

She turned towards him and said:

If you don't be quiet, I'm going to give you a spanking as big as a house.

He instantly stopped whining...and started crying.

I would have too, if I were in his shoes.

How about you?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Listen to the Silence

Baby was playing with two yellow plastic funnels that he had dug out of the bottom drawer I left open for him in the kitchen. He was so happy, he toddled over to me, gave me a slobbery kiss and cooed as he chewed on the plastic.

Suddenly, we heard the garbage trucks coming down the street, as they do every day at around this time. I was busy amusing myself by looking at The Sartorialist's blog, when underneath the clatter of the garbage being dumped into the truck, there was silence.

The Chinese put little bracelets with bells on them on their babies' ankles, so they know where their children are; I have one that was given to us as a gift. But I don't need it. I know that when the Babe is silent, that I need to pay attention.

So even though I was totally submerged in what I was doing, I heard the quiet underneath the noise. I knew that I had to check to see where baby was.

For a moment, I couldn't find him. Then, through the white curtain, I saw the cute bug. He had climbed up the one step and was looking out the window, checking out what was going on in the street.

I guess he takes after his mother!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Feeling Better

I think what was so difficult for me last week when I had my meltdown -- along with lack of sleep -- was that I felt alone. There is no reason for me to feel that way because I have a wonderful husband and terrific friends; but I did.

And then I posted on the blog, sent out some e-mails, and I was so supported by friends from all around the world. Thank you all for your kindness and thoughtfulness, and most importantly, for reminding me what kind of mother I am and want to be. Along the way, I had forgotten. I had forgotten to use sense of humor when the Babe was upset, as well as when I was upset. I had also forgotten to go into that deep place of love in my heart.

And all of this while the Babe was sick for the first time in his life.

I'm still a sleepless mom, but I'm back to my center, and so grateful for this beautiful child in our lives.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sleepless Nights

It's 2:48 a.m. and in a four hour span, the Babe has woken up, cried and/or nursed three times in that time.

It's during these times that I am close to losing my mind. And I wonder, am I doing something wrong? All my friends who nurse and have their babies sleeping in the same room seem to wake up many times during the night. I hear them say things like, I wish I could have four consecutive hours of sleep or If she wakes up only four times in the night, then it's a good night.

Dr. Sears says that it's normal for a baby to wake up once or twice a night until the age of one. That would be heaven. Mine wakes up anywhere between five and ten times.

Sometimes it's hunger, sometimes it's the need for comfort, sometimes it's a street noise, then it's a nightmare, then it's the urine in the diaper. And on a bad night, it's my sanity.

Some people look at me with accusing eyes because for them it's simple: put the baby in another room and let him cry. He'll get over it in two days.

Is that really the only way?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Walking Alone

My friend, Jai Hari from Los Angeles, wrote this comment and I find it so interesting that, with her permission, I am posting it in the main part of the blog:

I was once in a room where [healer] Guru Dev Singh said that learning to walk is one of the hardest things we will ever do in the human experience & that parents should never put their child into a "walker" or any type of training-wheels-for-learning-to-walk type vehicle during this critical developmental phase.

He said a child who learns to walk on his own without the aid of one of these gadgets is left with immense self esteem & the experience of serious self accomplishment which will serve & motivate him all of his life.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Lessons learned From the Babe

Sleep isn't always easy to come by when you have a baby; not for the little one and not for the Mommy one. And when we are tired and cranky, life just seems harder and more bleak.

But as soon as we are rested, what was challenging when we were tired, is now easy as peachy pie.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


On one of the only sunny days we've had this summer, Baby was doing his own thing, by crawling from the living room to his high chair in the kitchen.

Along the way, something stopped him in his tracks. He was puzzled by the change in the color of the wood floor. He was minding his own business and then right there, under his hands and knees, was something new. Something unfamiliar. Something fascinating. Something puzzling.

He looked along the length of light, scrunched his forehead, looked at me with big eyes, turned back to the streak, and then stroked his hand along the length of it.

Just marvelous.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Sitting at my computer, I hear giggles, squeeky- and deep-voiced, coming from the room next door.

Ah, the happy sounds of Papa and Baby Boy goofing around sure warm this mother's heart.

Who knew?

Today baby was fascinated by me doing single and double leglifts. He couldn't figure it all out, so he climbed on my belly and started crawling up my legs towards my toes.

Baby got a good laugh, and I got a good workout!

Friday, August 3, 2007


I've had all sorts of jobs in my life. I've worked as a photo sales rep at People Magazine; as a photo editor; manager of a photo agency; a journalist whose beat was the soap opera, "The Bold and the Beautiful"; as an assistant to alcoholic and/or rude producers in Hollywood; as an accountant; as a yoga teacher; as a driver for a cancer victim getting radiation treatments and blood transfusions; as an Arthur Murray's ballroom dance teacher, and more.

These days I have a job that is non-stop work, the hours are long, I get spit-up on, my muscles ache, my memory is shot, I'm often tired, I have little time for myself and there are no vacations.

I'm a full-time mother and I'm happier than I've ever been.

Now if only I could get paid for this job...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Parade of Ancestors

When my son was born, I figured he would look a little bit like me and a little bit like my husband.

What surprises me is that he looks different at different moments of the day; a look of fear, a mischievous grin, an innocent gaze, a boisterous laugh and I see my grandmother, my father, my mother, my grandfather, my uncle.

I see my ancestry in my son's face.

I am connected with not only those that are still here, but also with those that have passed on.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I observe my son. I see how hard he works to try to stand without hanging on to anything; a precursor to walking.

And then I think about how we all learned how to walk (unless we had some serious illness or disability), which in turn reminds me that no matter where we are in our lives right now, how deflated we might feel at times, we did at one time in our lives have enough drive and determination to reach an important goal that took quite a while to get to.

So if we could do it once before, we can do it again.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Every Day

Every day I am in awe of this child who is in our lives.
Every day I admire his determination to learn and grow.
Every day I respect him more for how aware and alert he is.
Every day I love him more.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


For years after turning 20, I didn't know if I should refer to myself as a girl or as a woman. In our youth-oriented society, women are generally referred to -- and refer to themselves -- as girls.

That hadn't felt right for a long time, but I didn't feel consistently comfortable with being called or calling myself a woman. I'd teeter between the two. I'd find myself saying, I'm a gir...woman. Or I'm a wo...girl.

And then yesterday, I found myself confidently referring to myself as a woman. My mind tried saying girl and I couldn't even bring myself to say the word.

Becoming a mother, made me a woman.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Remember to...

As my life revolves around the ever-growing baby, I remind myself to pay attention to my husband. I don't want to end up like those couples that live side by side raising a family only to find themselves as strangers when the children leave the nest.

It's easy to get caught up in all the "chores" of family life, and so the hubby and I meet once a week for our family meeting to reconnect. We started our weekly meetings many months before the baby was conceived, and continue now more than ever.

We end the meetings that discuss our individual and joint lives with the section, One Thing I Love About You; a great way to rekindle the love that might get lost in the events of the day.

Friday, May 25, 2007

24 hours

There aren't enough hours in the day for me to show my son how much I love him.

Every day I love him more. Every day I want to be a better person. I want to be kinder and gentler. More thoughtful. Live my dreams so that I can show him how to live his.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Dressing a Boy...Oh Boy!

Today the Babe and I were waiting in line to pay in a children's clothing store. I lay the items I was purchasing on the counter and was startled by a woman behind me cooing loudly at the stroller.

I turned to her quickly to make sure she wasn't the umpteenth person trying to touch the Bub. She wasn't, she kept her distance, while she held some cute baby outfits in her hands.

Being female, I couldn't help saying, "Cute clothes."
The woman looked at me with surprise, nodded and cooed some more at the Babe.
After I paid and was about to leave the store, the woman became chatty.
"Do you have a hard time dressing your boy?"
Huh? I assumed she was referring to the dire lack of happy colors in the mini-male clothing collections, beige being quite popular in many stores.
"Oh, no. I find lots of colors for him in this store."
"Yes, but don't you wish you had a girl?"
"" I wasn't sure what she was getting at.
"But a girl you can dress up, you know, really cute."
Ah, now I got it. There are mothers out there who think their babes are dolls. Right. I'd forgotten about that.
Clothes are to me, albeit as cute as they can be, a practical matter. I dress the Babe in warm clothes when it's cold. I take the very same clothes off him, when he's too hot (which is often, therefore he usual sports the nickname Tarzan Boy).
I also try to choose clothes that match his personality: serene with great bouts of griggles and laughter.
And to answer the question, no, I wouldn't trade my beautiful firstborn who happens to be a boy, for a girl, just so I can dress him up.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Wonder of It All

Today I found myself breastfeeding and peeling organic, white asparagus, all at the same time.

Amazing what a well-placed infant in a handy baby carrier (Hug-A-Bub) can do on a mom who cooked a birthday dinner for her hubby.

If you had told me a year ago that I would be doing this, I probably wouldn't have believed you. If you had told me a week ago, I might not have believed you.

I felt like Earth Mother today.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Monday, March 26, 2007

It's not a Miracle!

I've been criticized for:

1. Holding my baby too much
2. Wearing him in a sling
3. Not letting him cry (Watch out, you'll be manipulated)
4. Resigning from my job to be a stay-at-home mom
5. Having him with me too much
6. Letting him suck his thumb (he's actually rubbing his gums as the teeth come down)
7. Not giving him a pacifier
8. Not having him sleep in a separate room
9. Having him sleep in our bed

And I've been complimented for:

1. How secure he is
2. How much he smiles
3. How happy he is
4. How tranquil and peaceful he is
5. How joyful he is
6. How interested and curious he is in everything around him
7. How alert and aware he is
8. How little he cries
9. How easy-going he is (we went on a 10-hour flight and he didn't cry)

Hmmm...seems pretty obvious to me.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Toy Treasures

In the beginning, the favorite toy was a book that not only crinkled, but was also chewable, had little plastic pieces around an easily graspable handle, had a tag on it, plus plastic tabs. This toy brought much joy (to big and small alike) for two months.

Then suddenly, without warning, that toy fell out of favor, and this one became the new joy for all. A chewable antennae, plastic handles for holding and gnawing, a mirror, and sounds that chuckled and sang when you pressed the numbered buttons occupied the little bub for many minutes. (Papa washed the toy one day at Mama's behest and the sounds didn't work anymore -- to Mama's great distress...Papa was off the hook once the toy recuperated from the water shock after a night on the radiator).

It lasted about three weeks, only to be replaced by...

a water bottle?!
Before baby arrived, I had a panic attack when a friend sent me a list of everything I needed to get for baby. It was eight pages long.
Then another friend told me that one actually needs very little "stuff" to welcome a child into this world; a drawer as a bed would do and a whole bunch of love.
I'm finding this to be so true. We have "stuff", but I also don't fret about having enough or the "right" stuff. The angel loves the way the water swishes inside his "new" toy.
And today, I discovered another "toy" that is now on the hit list:
(Cotton Squares)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Who Says...?

Who says that you have to cook the evening?
I'm the one who (generally) cooks in our household. We eat a hot meal in the evening when my husband comes home from work. This means that I need to start chopping the veggies and banging the pots at around 5 p.m., right during the babe's AND my very much needed nap time.
Sleep generally wins and so the good-sport-of-a-man I married is left with morsels of cheese to contend with for dinner (albeit it we live in France so the morsels are quite tasty), or he would offer to cook for me instead.
I love cooking, and I love nurturing the easy-going hubby with a home-cooked meal and so I meditated on the subject to see if I could come up with a solution that would make everyone happy.
The light bulb went on and so now I cook supper in the morning (everything but the rice, pasta or quinoa)! Imagine that! What a concept! I can cook the meal in advance and then reheat it later! (On the stove top...not the microwave).
Sometimes it's just so simple.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Noise Shock

A friend just sent me this quote from Yogi Bhajan Every Day™ Inspiration for a healthy, happy, holy life, dated 3/17/2007.

Any time you shock a child's brainwave length, you reduce the capacity of his neurons to function. Never, ever use a high pitched punching tone of voice with your child. You disturb his brain wave length and create an electric storm in his body. For that felony you should be imprisoned for a minimum of seven years. 9/20/90

Our babe hates jarring noises and cries at the top of his lungs when he is startled. To make his life a little easier, whenever I can, I give him a preview of the loud noise that is about to assault his senses. For example, before I turn on the vacuum cleaner, I will try to replicate the noise as best I can, progressively increasing the volume. And only then do I turn on the vacuum cleaner.

Sometimes I forget and I will, out of the blue because I've thought of something, shout to my husband who might be doing something in the other room. The babe will just look at me and cry, especially when he's tired. Now I try to moderate the volume when I call to the hubby.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Volume You Put In...

Years ago I went to Golden Bridge, a yoga studio in Los Angeles, to hear H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, aka Muniji speak. He said many thought provoking things (You want peace, but you are all in pieces), but the one moment that stuck with me the most was at the end of the evening when Muniji took a few questions from the audience.

A tired-looking woman stood up. She straightened out her sagging shoulders and asked him what she should do with her son who was always yelling.

Muniji looked at her, paused, and then very gently said:

The volume you put in, is the volume that comes out.

It took a while for his comment to sink in, and when the woman realized that he was putting the responsibility back on her, she wanted to argue with him, but sat down instead.

Now that I am a mother I have compassion for the woman; I can see why she might be turning up the volume, possibly just out of sheer fatigue and frustration. Because I've had a number of years to contemplate Muniji's comment, and to see it in action all around me, I make the effort to stay calm so that I can always speak in a respectful tone to my child.

And when I can't because I'm just too tired, then I give the babe to the hubby for a little while.

Especially because I've noticed it's even more grave than what Muniji predicted. I believe it's:

The volume you put in, is the volume that comes out...tenfold.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Digging for Buggers

I know. I know. I'm still doing it.

If you had told me before I gave birth that I, an intelligent woman who speaks four languages and has a Masters Degree, would develop an obsession with cleaning out her child's nose, I would have laughed and vowed that I would never do such a thing.

But just a few months later, I find myself facing a profound inner struggle as I see my angel's air passages clogging up with the Paris pollution. I tell myself, no, I won't do it. No, I'm just going to leave him alone. The midwife told me that he clears out his nostrils by sneezing.

And then he'll sneeze, but the nose is still stuffed because the culprit is lodged in the front crevice of the opening. I had never known about, nor paid attention to, that huge shelf on the inside of our nostril where a whole lot of bugger could gather and hang out.

So, I made a game out of it. I made silly sounds and silly faces.

That didn't work.

The digging and the wails continued and the worst part was that I couldn't even get them out. They would dry up and cling all the more.

Then a light bulb went off in my dim head. If I couldn't get the hard substance out, then I just needed to soften it. No more digging into my child's dignity (I know, I know...I've said that before). Instead I figured if it is softer, maybe then he can sneeze it out.

I believe there is always a solution; you just have to be creative.

So, I took a cotton swab, dripped a small amount of almond oil on it, explained to the angel what I was going to do, gently inserted the swab into each nostril really controlling myself not to dig (Oh, the challenges of motherhood), did it without bringing forth any tears and then for good measure, I put the swabs into my own nose making sure the angel was watching.

Done. Now we just had to be patient to see what would happen.

Well, I didn't have to wait for long.

A few minutes later, the bub rubbed his face when he was overcome by sleep and to my very pleasant surprise (I never thought I would say that!), there on his upper lip was a very large, round, obstinate-that-makes-parents-into-obsessive-clean-freaks substance.



Monday, March 12, 2007

Advice for New Parents

My writer friend Kai asked me for some advice, which she is going to put in a book for her friends. This is what came to mind:

1. Your child will always look to you to see how to react to the world, so remember to stay calm.

2. Use “please” and “thank you” when speaking to your child – from the get-go.

3. Behave in the same way you expect your child to behave.

4. Dr. Sears – the famous American pediatrician – warns new parents against becoming desensitized to their child’s cries. Rest so you can be there for him/her.

5. Sleep when your baby sleeps, especially when you are nursing.

6. When your baby gets frustrated by his physical limitations, distract him with laughter.

7. Laughter is always the best medicine.

8. Remain flexible so that you will know when your baby can wait for you to finish whatever it is that you are doing and when you need to drop everything to take care of your child.

9. Always try to give your child two choices (be creative), no one likes to be told what to do. For example, instead of battling about putting on a coat, give her the choice of the red coat or the blue coat.

10. Remember – your child understands everything.

11. Don’t underestimate your child’s intelligence just because he can’t speak.

12. Relax. You will know what to do when the time is right.

13. Trust your intuition

14. Have Fun

15. Listen to your baby. Really listen (don’t just pretend). Your infant is actually talking, even if you don’t understand her language.

16. Crying is actually talking in a high volume to get your attention. How would you feel if you were 100% dependent on another human being for everything (food, potty, comfort)?

17. Don’t worry about a child “manipulating you” in the first six months. How would you feel if you were crying because your teeth are hurting, or you are hungry, or you are in a dirty diaper, or you are cold or hot, or you can’t get your body to do what you want it to do, and no one came to your rescue?

18. When your child is frustrated with his body, try putting him in the position he can’t manage on his own, without him realizing it, by playing.

19. Did I already say, relax and have fun?! Relax and have fun! This is the most wonderful experience in the world. And when your baby laughs…ah, the heart just melts.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Bugger Busting

I have a very calm 5 1/2 month old infant. I can clean out his belly button, dig earwax out of his ears, go excavating for sleep in the corners of his eyes, but when it comes to buggers in the nose...there is no doing it without bringing on wails and tears.

So I figured, just leave the kid alone. I vowed to let his nose self-clean for seven whole days.

I nearly broke down after a few minutes when I saw this:

I almost messed up again a few hours later. And once again, I caught myself in time.

But this morning, 24 hours after I made that vow, I couldn’t help myself any longer. My son’s nose was so full of buggers that I could barely see an air passage in each of his nostrils.

I tried removing the multiple culprits with a well-placed finger. When that didn’t complete the job, I had to resort to a well-placed cotton swab accompanied by wails.

I wasn’t sure he would forgive me, but when I took him in my arms and apologized, he immediately calmed down and curled his head into the crook of my neck.

Thank God for his good nature; I’m not sure I would have forgiven me so easily…