Archive for category Isaiah
TweetIsaiah keeps bumping his head. And he’s ready to get out of his crib.
When he sees something that spilled he says, “AIGH NAKU,” which in Tagalog is equivalent to Oh My Goodness.
He’s talking in English, but uses Spanish and Tagalog words smoothly in his language development.
During dinner when I was belting out Journey songs he says from the other room, “Excuse me, Mama. Please be quiet.”
When he cries it’s because he can’t reach the iPod to play more songs that he likes to dance to.
When he empties his bottle and asks for more milk I say, “We’re out of milk” he responds, “Oh. Sorry.”
When I’m feeling low while I watch the news and the sad things happening in the world, he wanders in my periphery, holds up an empty plastic bottle and cheerfully says, “RECYCLE!”
Before meals we pray, “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” he clasps his chubby hands together and says very loudly, “GOD.” Nothing more. That’s the prayer.
When he sees my epipen in my medicine basket, he sticks out his index finger at me and says very matter of factly, “NOT A TOY!”
And the thing that most recently captures my heart is his very sleepy kiss and soft words, “Loff you, Mama.”
I loff you too, Baby.
TweetIt’s Friday and there’s no better picture to accurately depict the Friday relief and excitement than this cartoony picture of Isaiah.
A few nights ago, we were playing with the different features of my Christmas gift – our new computer – and Isaiah got pretty excited over the different scenes and tones the pictures can be set in. This overly exposed scene was his favorite. He looks how I feel inside: YES! I got through another week of work, parenting, surviving another week of winter, and listening to the Republican debates! I DID IT! GO ME!
Watching Isaiah grow into his own person is such a paradoxical experience. He is most certainly his own self, that is clear. And he says things like, “Isaiah do it.” Meaning, “HANDS OFF MOM. I CAN BRUSH MY OWN TEETH.” Or “Forget your hand, Dad, I know what a railing is!”
But the majority of things he says are mimicking what’s around him, especially language. Just yesterday, he asked to watch a Muppet video on YouTube and when the link was a little slow, I fussed around with the mouse and before the electricity from my brain sent the message to move my tongue to say the words, Isaiah sighs, “Come on, come on, COME ON!” I looked at him strangely. Yeah, I guess I say that a lot when the internet takes forever. (Forever: 39 seconds)
Toddlers are walking mirrors and sponges and it FREAKS ME OUT that they learn instantaneously when and how to repeat something in an appropriate situation. They can read the emotional situation and deliver the comment they heard, just like it was originally spoken. So, yeah, he’s his own person – he’s got his organs, preferences, room – but everything he DOES reflects me or Nick to some extent. Now that’s some scary shit right there. Seeing myself in a 2 year old? S-C-A-R-Y.
But it’s a joy. JOY. And that’s an unexpected part of parenting that I wasn’t counting on: the joy! The little things. I was changing him after a nap and I asked how his day was going thus far at 5pm and he goes, “Oh, I just love it.” A few hours later, he picked up an empty gatorade bottle and says, “Recycle.” And then he wore my high heels for 15 minutes while I cooked dinner.
*D my therapist says to look into our current moment with as much passion and intensity as we look to the past and future. If we all did this, we would relinquish control over the things we do not have power over or cannot change. Be present, she says, to only what you can presently know and see.
What I know and see is how fast 2 years of my life has gone with Isaiah. In the blink of an eye and in the swift move of parenting amnesia (I can’t remember what it was like to breastfeed or put him in a carrier), he’s a little human asking for juice and crackers at night, wailing when I turn off the radio because it’s time to say goodnight. Just like that (snap of the fingers) his onuses are too tight, his pants are too short, and he’s feeding himself with a fork and spoon.
Nick took the opportunity to clean out the basement this week (what a great guy, I’d never think to do that on my day off), and I was admiring his work, I saw all these baby toys, bottles, and paraphernalia were outgrew. No more boppy pillow, no crib bumper, no walker. Being a parent is so reactionary and immediate that it’s hard to retain any memory of what you did before. All you really know is how to do NOW. And given D*’s advice about staying in the present, that relationship seems perfectly complimentary.
Be present. In the blink of an eye, it’ll be ten years from now with no memory of today.
TweetRandom Sunday Funny:
Isaiah calls the vacuum KIKI. If you’ve spent any time with him in our home, you know that there are four of us that live here: Me, Nick, Isaiah, and Kiki. Kiki is talked about everyday and if she doesn’t make an appearance at least twice a day, it’s not a good day for Isaiah. I should add that because of Isaiah’s affinity for Kiki, our floors have never looked cleaner.
So you can imagine my nonchalance when I was walking Isaiah up to church in his stroller and he starts yelling KIKI! KIKI! I figured it was his daily shout/invite/demand that Kiki make her appearance. I was about to inform him that Kiki doesn’t make appearances outside when I saw him pointing and shouting at an elderly woman, with plastic tubes coming out of her mouth, gingerly rolling her oxygen tank on wheels toward the church entrance.
Isaiah, excited that a mini Kiki lookalike did, in fact, make outdoor appearances, only grew in certainty that Kiki can do and clean and manage all things – carpet, bare floors, AND SIDEWALKS.
He kept pointing KIKI! KIKI!
It was the first time I wanted to gently put scotch tape over his mouth.
TweetUp at Racialicious, there is a roundtable about interracial dating and I served on the South Asian panel (holla Pinoys! represent!).
I wish I had more time and energy to expand my thoughts and reflections on the topic — it’s always good for me to remember where I’ve been and how I want to raise Isaiah as he goes out into the world someday to find a person to share popcorn with, hold hands with, love and maybe bring home to meet his crazy mama.
I am often reminded that Isaiah will not have the same experiences as I did growing up. Racial conflict and tension was such a HUGE part of my identity formation and for Isaiah who is fair skinned and likely will pass as a mixed kid, will likely NOT have such tumultuous times when he develops feelings for someone. What’s weird is that I’m both glad and upset that he’ll have it easier than I did.
Reasons why I’m glad my kid will not face the same emotional battles when it comes to interracial dating:
Uh, yeah. I don’t want my kid to suffer because of some effed up system that dictates who you can and cannot be attracted to. Dumb. Unnecessary. Did I mention it’s also bullshit?
Reasons why I’m a little upset he will have it easier than me:
Is this wrong? I grew from those experiences. A lot. It talk me to think on my own, to believe in myself, and to identify my true thoughts and values based on my lived experiences, not by what other people told me to believe. Adversity creates strength, or as Frederick Douglas said, “Without struggle, there can be no progress.”
I want Isaiah to understand the complexity of race and interracial relationships. I want him to understand his very flesh and bone is made up of ancestors from two different parts of the world. One is not better than the other, but they are extremely different. Both need to be honored and I guess I’m worried that without anything providing a bump in the road, he will cruise through his life without giving a second thought to the implications of culture, heritage, tradition, and race.
But I guess that’s why I’m the parent, right? To make sure that he does think about it and, someday, comes to appreciate that his mixed blood came from two people who faced a lot of cultural differences and learned how to incorporate those differences into love.
TweetI get that most books and info centers just want to help. I get it. I get that most parents truly do worry their lives away about whether the foods they’re feeding their kids are right, about whether the car seat will protect them in side collision, and whether their speech and mobility coordination is on task or below average. I get that most information and data is used for two purposes: to comfort or to instill fear.
In my email inbox, I am flooded – on a regular basis – by emails from baby centers, parenting magazine, and mother-centered orgs. And I noticed that they usually put a question in the very beginning of that email, either the first line of the email or in the subject header.
“IS YOUR TODDLER EATING RIGHT?”
“IS YOUR CHILD SHOWING SIGNS OF FILL-IN-THE-BLANK-WITH-SOMETHING-THAT-IS-INCURABLE?”
“WHY WON’T JOHNNY PLAY WITH OTHER KIDS?”
And here’s my own question: Have you young parents ever noticed how most “help” books/emails/brochures engage readers by playing on your natural fears as a parent? In your desire for a “normal” child? (So to reassure yourself that you are a “normal” parent?”)
Well, I’ve noticed it and it’s starting to get to me.
Being a parent means living in the forest of worry. I worry. All the time. I worry about Isaiah’s future. I worry that he won’t have friends. I worry he’ll develop some kind of mental or learning disability. I worry he’ll accidentally ingest a peanut and not have anyone around to help him or know what to do.
I’m his mother, of course I worry.
But there’s a line between worry and fear. And I’m giving up the “fear” part. I decided this yesterday when Isaiah laughed for about an hour straight. Since the weather has decided that spring is allowed in Cleveland, Isaiah has spent much of his time outdoors, in the grass, absorbing sun and Vitamin D — and the smallest little things (squirrels, feathers, DOGGIES!, blowing leaves, bark, whistling grass, and peaceful neighbors) make his giddy with giggling.
I looked at him and thought, “I think I’m doing alright if he’s this joyful.”
Isaiah is enjoying life, every little inch of it. And I decided to be the kind of mother that enjoyed it right along with him. One of the first steps is knowing that there is no “normal” parent and no “normal” child. We hope and pray that we, Nick and I, continue to find and develop ourselves as adults and that Isaiah does the same at each stage of his life. The worry is inevitable, but the fear is not.
Letting go of the fear never felt so nice.
I couldn’t write your year letter. I just couldn’t.
There is/was something about “a year old” that I could just not muster the bravery to sit down and admit to myself that you are one year old.
December 20, 2010. Your first birthday. You lived it just like any other day. You lived it like you do everyday: joyously.
I watched you crawl and climb over things and everything. I watched you nonchalantly take your hand away from the kitchen shelf that you were using to stabilize, for a moment, stand ever so briefly on your own before landing on your cute little bottom.
Your Dad and I had a staff meeting at work and you came with us. No longer the silent child, you squirmed, laughed, and wiggled for almost 2 hours around the room, making everyone smile and sigh with memories of their own child. That night we went to a holiday party where everyone oohed and aahhed over your handsome face, your toothy grin, and your bright brown eyes. To me, this is how all babies are: calm, comfortable, stranger friendly, healthy, and full of adorable babble.
Apparently, this is not the prescription for all children. I don’t know how blessed I am.
To me you have the soul of a poet – an observing and thoughtful mind, a deeply feeling and intuitive person. You have your father’s spirit – so easy going without any kind of trepidation of life. Your excitement is all me – squealing, seeking company, finding fun everywhere, and seamlessly entertained by everyday surroundings. How this is all going to mesh together is a mystery to me and your father, but we are confidant that however you grow, you will be a special child with grace and blessings.
As your mother, I had my own self doubts. I have intense doubts about my ability to be a good parent. I’m not good at hiding these questions and feelings. The couch has witnessed numerous hours of quiet contemplation of what is best for you, what is best for me that behooves your safety and development. I have so many moments of uncertainty that I feel I live now more in question than at any other time in my life. And the only times I am certain are when you face me with that big smile and laugh, completely content in my and your father’s company. It is in those brief moments I remember that you have all you need so as long as your father and I are here, peaceful and loving, joking and playing with each other and you.
My doubts never leave, despite my prayers that they relinquish their powerful hold. I hope that someday, far off in the future when you have your own children or when you find yourself responsible for someone so vulnerable, that you can find a memory of me loving you with fear, despite fear. I hope that somewhere in your soul is recorded that during your first year of life that you were loved beyond all things, beyond all desires, and above all matters in my life. I hope that the small occurrences of my being short, snippy, or tired are smoothed over by the avalanche of nights we spent quietly talking and closely praying, those moments your head slowly dipped into rest on my shoulder and I teared up with gratitude. I hope, somewhere, those times are encoded in your being.
Because what I will remember is having my life shaved nearly bare and finding you in the center of it. My life morphed into something unnamed. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what it is and what happened, but I have a feeling I’m going to let it be unnamed for quite some time and just live it out. It’s a year later and I still don’t know what happened when you came into my life. All I know is that the force of goodness has never left since you arrived.
Happy 1st Birthday, Isaiah.
Happy Life and Spirit and Peace and Wonder to you for all the years of your life.
Love You Always,
TweetIsaiah just had a rare pre-sleep meltdown. It lasted 30 minutes. The noise was similar to that of a child who has been denied every kind of right, pleasure, applesauce, and freedom known to a 9 month old. Every effort Nick and I made only made things worse. His screech oscillated between hollering at us and showing us his tonsils. I believe the neighbors were peering out behind their curtains, “Such lovely landscaping, such a questionable parenting tactics…”
Nick and I used to say that we would like four children. These days, we say, “We’re open to having 1 to 4 children.”
TweetSomeday, probably not too far off into the distant future, Isaiah is going to ask, probably demand, why I wrote about him so much in a public domain. Specifically, he will want to know why I wrote about something so personal, so private to his life and dared to share it with 6 billion people (minus the folks with no internet access).
After seven days of only wet diapers, Isaiah finally pooped.
It was one week ago when it all began. I noticed he hadn’t had any soiled diapers. Didn’t freak out until day #2, but was somewhat mitigated by Nick, the unflappable father, who remarks,”I’m sure it’s normal. He’s probably fine.”
And then day #5 came. We finally got a hold of a nurse at the office who instructed
1) Prunes. Lots of prunes.
2) Put him on his belly
3) Soak his fanny. (And she did say fanny.)
4) Rectal thermometer. (Oh dear…)
5) Pediatric laxative.
So, Isaiah turned into something close to a 20lb. fig when I started feeding him baby prunes. He loved them, but not BM.
Soaked him. Twice. Nothing happened.
He went to the doctor who felt his stomach and figured it’s probably just his digestive system getting used to solids. It probably doesn’t help that I fed him bananas.
And then this morning. Day #7, he was playing on the floor, with a big grin on his face. And then suddenly he went still, a peaceful look on this face and I looked up from my chair, wondering if a garbage truck had entered the room because the most FOUL odor wafted across my face.
He went. He went big time.
And I rejoiced with him. Coaxing him along, in the likes of Drill Baby Drill, “Poop Baby Poop!”
When he was done, his eyes got doubled lidded, he gave me a sloppy smile and fell asleep on the changing table.
Rejoice in the clean-up! That’s my advice to BP.
TweetThere are days where I wonder if there are some unexplained things about the relationship between mother and child. I mean, think about it, a growing human being forms his bones, blood, and organs INSIDE a woman’s body. Everything the mother is, quite literally, is given to her child. It’s quite extraordinary.
There are days when I just look at the little Meatball and wonder, how did this kid ever fit inside me? How did he come from me?
Well, I soon found the explanation.
While Nick was in El Salvador, I was busy trying to clean our office. The one room that is consistently neglected because, since no one else but Nick or I ever go in there, it never meets the “we should pick up the living room before so and so come over,” or “we’re having company over so make sure you scrub the toilet and vaccuum,” requirements.
So, while I was hauling boxes of recycled paper out of the house and pouring through old papers, I came across one of my baby pictures. I saw it and I just stared. It was almost eerie.
It was the same feeling when Nick took this picture of me and Isaiah in the hospital. It was a feeling like, “I’ve seen this picture before somewhere, but I can’t think of what picture it is.”
I found the picture.
You tell me.
Is there some unexplained force that binds me with Isaiah?
I don’t know.
But since we look like almost identical twins from birth, I’m open to anything.