Archives for July 2009

Angles Within Us

In the movies City of Angels, and Wings of Desire, people going about their lives were often caught up in negative self-talk. The angles, who would hear all this but could not be seen by people, would occasionally come close to a person engaged with their frustrations, anxieties, or fears and the angel would touch that person. Usually, it was a simple gesture, like a hand on the shoulder, but that simple touch was actually touching the lives of those who were negatively engaged.

You two are my own little angels now, even though both of you are still less than a month old. Periodically, you will be in deep sleep, only to startle, fidget, or fuss, beginning with small whimpers, then reaching a crescendo of full blown wailing. But if I notice your fussing early on, before it reaches such an energetic apex, I can put my hand on your head or chest, or bring my cheek to yours and you usually calm down and return to blissful sleep.

It works the other way around, too. When I find myself engaged with life’s frustrations, I can hold you close to me and everything melts away into love and compassion.

So what’s actually happening in these moments – the angle’s touch from the movie, my hand on your chest, or your soothing power over me? I suspect that in all cases it is all about open, genuine contact, offered lovingly, without judgment, expectation, or attachment to outcome.

As adults, we experience these moments with each other too, though they are often so few and far between, so rare and utterly unexpected, that we forget that each and every one of us has the power to touch another human being in that way. All of us have within us the capacity to be touched and soothed by that genuine contact, offered by another without judgment, expectation, or attachment to outcome.

In fact, that is probably the ideal model of the kind of parent that I hope to be for you two.


Looking at you two, my children, I see you both as good, wholly complete, perfect human beings. Ans so I wonder — since we all enter this world in this way, is it the case that we become less so as we grow older, or that I myself have lost sight of the perfect goodness of those around me? And if it is the latter, as I suspect that it is, then it is my hope to see, feel, hear, touch, experience, live, and connect with that inherent goodness in all those people around me again. And you, my precious children, are providing the flash of memory to make that possible by re-igniting the goodness within me.

An Introduction to Worry

OK, so I know very well that “Worry” never accomplished anything. Also, that as a youngster, I hated it when my parents would worry. That’s why on my 18th birthday, for example, I never even told my parents about my decision to jump out of a perfectly good airplane with a parachute on my back until well after I was back on the ground. Even so, I could still see Mom’s hair turning gray right before my eyes when I told her.

But as a parent myself now, I can confirm that you two have already fully activated my worry gene. It actually started the moment you were born, if not earlier. You see, my heart is so full of love for you, that I want everything to be perfect for both of you, regardless of the fact that there is more out of my control than within my control.

Lucas, when you were born, you didn’t cry, and you had a very ashen look to you. Remember, you were the second one out, and were pulled out by your feet. You were quickly rushed to the far side of the room where the nurses gave you oxygen, and within a few moments you were crying just like your sister. And oh, what a joyous sound it was to hear you cry forth with a full set of tiny little lungs.

Then there was the issue of both of your weights. all babies loose weight after being born, but you both lost close to 9% of that healthy 6 pounds 10 ounces that you each entered the world with. And you, Lucas, had low blood sugar to boot. Since Mamma’s milk had not come in yet, and there was definitely not enough for both of you, we added supplemental formula to both of your diets right away.

Then, just today, we heard back from your pediatrician that both of you tested positive for something called Carnitine deficiency. Don’t bother googling it — by the time you are reading this, it’s moot, and for followers of this blog, the Internet is a scary place to practice medicine.

So we took you to the pediatrician for a more detailed exam, and also had to take you two Children’s hospital for a special blood test only done over there. Lastly, in the ultimate bit of irony, there’s a chance that the problem is actually with Mamma’s milk. So she needs testing too. Let me tell you, this is one of the few tests that we really want Momma to fail, since it would mean you precious burritos are just fine.

Burritos? Well, yes. You see, when we wrap you up in your swaddling blankets, you both look like burritos. You are the beans and your blanket is the tortilla wrapper, and your mommies smother you with an abundance of love for burrito sauce.

Profound Philosophical Inquiry

So, most of us remember a game played with children called “This Little Piggy,” usually played on the toes.
The basics are that one toe at a time, one says:
This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had tofu (vegetarian piggies),
This little piggy had none,
and this little piggy went “wee wee wee all the way home.”

So here’s the questions:
That last piggy — wee wee wee — is he gleeful, or upset?

Were there five independent piggies (like the toes),
or are there actually two piggies, in that the sequence tells a story of
the first piggy going to market,
and the second piggy sitting on his butt.
The first piggy who went to market ate the tofu he bought there.
The second piggy did not have anything to eat,
so that second piggy went crying all the way home.

If it’s five piggies, did they all know each other?
If so, then why wouldn’t the piggy with tofu share with the one who didn’t have any?

So, one might be inclined to think that I’m just being silly, and perhaps I am, but the truth is that I actually do think about things like that now. All the time.

I want a Hummer

OK, earlier today I was thinking that I’m not officially a parent until one of you barfs on me. So at this point, it’s official. I’ll be wearing a lot of T-shirts in the near future, rather than anything that you might spit up on.

We had your first pediatrician visit today. You two are still loosing weight. Previously, the Doc said to only supplement you with 15 ML of formula after you breast fed. Now, you get 15 minutes to feed from the breast, then we’re giving you as much formula as you will take. Once Momma’s milk starts coming in, we plan to wean you off of the formula if possible. In addition to the convenience factor, it’s also better for you.

Recently, I’ve also noticed another change since I’ve become a parent. Both Momma and I try to be environmentally conscious. Now, under most circumstances, anybody who says that and decides to have kids is a bit hypocritical, since nothing one can ever do will have a greater long-term impact on the planet than having children. However, we get a few green-credits on account of you two being re-cycled of sorts. Despite that fact, from the first time I was driving home with the two of you in the back, I started seeing every other driver on the road as a potential hazard to the safety of you two precious cargo. In fact, despite presently driving a fuel-efficient hybrid car (Prius), I actually thought about trading it in for something like a Hummer. Better still would be a Sherman tank.

Baby’s first iPhone?

We may need to get a new iPhone, as the one that I have has been nearly consumed by you two babies. In fact, you left the hospital on Momma’s lap with my iPhone on your blanket, playing one of the soothing loops from “The Happiest Baby on the Block.” Plus, we are nearly always using it to record your various stats including feedings, medications, doctor visits, weights, and of course all-things-excrement. We’re using an application called “Total Baby” that is absolutely fantastic for this purpose, but when I go back to work, we’ll have to go back to paper and pencil for a while, else I’ll have to do some back-logging for data-entry.

Now, lest you think that this is simply Umi being way to high-tech for something related to baby, let’s not forget that you two have been high-tech since before the day you were born. That includes freezing, medications for Momma to create the perfect womb for implantation, thawing, transplanting, ultrasounds, and a hospital birth with close to 10 trained medical practitioners standing by. So in retrospect, an iPhone app is really quite trivial by comparison.

Names (Final)

We finally agreed on your full names. You are now Anna Catherine, and Lucas William.
Depending on who you ask (Momma or Umi), and depending on who is asking, we may describe the origins of your names differently.

For example, it could be that Anna is from Umi’s maternal grandmother Anne, or it could be similar to Anakin Sywalker.
Catherine is a variation on Momma’s mother’s name, Cathlene.
Lucas is either based on the apostle Luke, Luke Sywalker, or perhaps George Lucas.
William is just a cool-sounding name. It was also the name of Umi’s paternal grandfather, and one of Momma’s recently departed uncles.