Friday, June 29, 2012

California Produce

Recently we took a trip back to where it all began for us a million years ago (okay just 15 or so but it feels like a million).  I first met your dad at the fountain at Sproul plaza when we were both undergrads at Cal.

Thus, being the product of 2 bears, Judah has GOT to go to Cal (they have legacy admissions right?) and shall never ever ever go to Stanfurd (what, that's the proper spelling!).

I was really excited to get Judah some Cal gear and replace his fake Stanfurd cap with a Cal hat, but they are expensive! $25 for a toddler cap? Seriously?!

Judah, what are you doing?

Judah?  Hello?

We Cal grads done make some smart babies y'all!

Monday, June 25, 2012

So Far, So Better

Life with you just keeps getting better and better!

Btw, I have to say that I really do NOT like this hat (go Bears!).  It was a gift though so watchagonnado.

We started out on a rocky footing--hello colick, thank you for destroying any semblance of sanity I've ever had.  But it's been a steady, albeit still exhausting, trajectory upward and onward towards...betterness!

You are so much more indendent now.  You can walk, go up and down stairs, get your own toys, etc.  You don't need boob juice anymore.  You sleep all night (have been for a while now).

And you're fun!  So much fun!  You entertain the heck out of me.  I don't need to scramble my brain trying to think of fun things to entertain you--you are a 24-7 fount of silliness, constantly making me crack up.  And you're so communicative.

Starting the moment I see you in your crib in the morning.  You stand there and tell me "Poo poo."  I say that I'll change your diapers and you respond "Later.  Change it later!  Milk, ba-ba (i.e., bottle), rock-a-baby (i.e., cuddle me)."

And then it's on to waking up daddy.  You'll burst into his room and shout "Wake up Daddy!  Wake up!"  And on we go with the day.

You are generally cooperative and pretty easy to reason with.  As long as we let you do it "one more time" or a "little bit, little bit more" and then tell you it's the "last time, la ultima, last time", and sometimes count "1, 2, 3"'re pretty ready to let go of whatever you were doing or holding.

I keep wondering...will things just keep getting better?  Or will your "terrible two's" turn you into a demon child soon.  Cuz life with you is just too good now!

Friday, June 22, 2012

High Careers and Babies Don't Mix, Part II

So now there's a media firestorm over this article (see my last blog post for the link cuz I'm too lazy to link it again).  I just want to say 2 things about it.

First, thank you Anne-Marie Slaughter for publically voicing my own thoughts about the supposed awesomeness of women on the Supreme Court.  It's not that awesome when you consider that 2 of the 3 do not have families.

Second, I completely agree that “Having control over your schedule is the only way that women who want to have a career and a family can make it work” (quote from the article, which quotes Mary Matalin).

The reason Ms. Slaughter could be so happy in her career and parenting (prior to her stint in government) was because she worked in academia, that beautiful edenic paradise which allows you to set your own hours for most of the time.  If you want to go home at 5pm and resume work at 9pm, no problem.  Academia will let you do that.

But enter the big bad world of client demands and client-set timelines, and you are in a world of hurt.  And there is no more ruthless client than the corporate law client.  Our clients, Fortune 500 companies, wait for no man or woman.  They call you at 5pm Friday evening and demand a 30 hour work-product to be completed by 7 am Monday morning.

They schedule 10 am Sunday morning conference calls.

They make you work over Thanksgiving and Christmas.

They could care less that the new deadline falls right smack in the middle of your vacation plans.

And they have no qualms about asking you to work through the night.

But the BEST part of it all is not the sheer number of crazy-hours required--it's that it's all completely unplanned ahead of time.  It's all a wonderful surprise!  You thought you'd be free this weekend, but *surprise*!  Your client calls you Friday evening with some lovely change of plans.

Recently a male partner and I were talking about how unreasonable client demands can be.  He had just finished a major deal for Microsoft and was pretty annoyed at all the sudden all-nighters it required.  It was especially annoying because he kept having to cancel plans with his kids that really disappointed them.

It's great to have partners that honestly vent about these kind of frustrations.  But in the end, we both shrugged our shoulders cuz watchagonnado?  This is the reality and expectation in the business climate of today.  Technology has made our culture a 24-7 beast of constant connectivity.

Not only are lawyers expected to work around the clock at the drop of a hat, but in-house employees are being squeezed into the strait-jacket of constant availability.

There is really no more 'sacred' time.

And that's not just unhealthy for parenting, but for everyone.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

High Careers and Babies Don't Mix?

Within minutes of each other, 3 people 'sent' this article to me today:

Why Women Still Can't Have it All by Anne-Marie Slaughter (first woman director of policy planning at the State Department and Dean of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs)

Well, technically, only my hubby sent it to me.

The other 2 people (female law school classmates) 'shared' it on Facebook.

It's basically about her reflections on how motherhood and professional career success are incompatible, and perhaps irreconciliably so (yeah, I may have made up that word). I don't have time to write much on this right now, but talk amongst yourselves.

Women can NOT have it all...yes? No?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Operation Wean Judah: Postscript

So it's been a while since Judah's last breast-feeding session (FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE!)

I think he had his last sip-o-the-boob 4 or 5 weeks ago and it was so anti-climactically uneventful (and I was so swamped with work) that I completely neglected to blog about it.

I had built up all this anticipation and anxiety and in the end, he let it go without a fuss, or even a whimper.  All the things I had worried and fretted about for months, were completely unfounded in the end. 

My first fear was--how the heck is he going to go to sleep without the boob?!  Literally since the day he was born, his bedtime was preceded by breast-feeding until he fell soundly asleep.  It's worked so well for us (well, frankly, I kinda hated always having to be the one to put him down, but that aside, it's worked well), I was always loathe to change things up.

But that night I told him boo-boo was still owie and he immediately opted for the boob-replacement, a bottle of cow's milk.  And that was that.  He didn't fall asleep while drinking the bottle, but I held him for a while in the rocking chair and he fell asleep soon thereafter.

My second fear was--I'll never have that close cuddling time with my squirmy wormy baby ever again.  Seriously our times of breastfeeding were the only times he would sit still for more than 5 seconds.

But that fear was unfounded as well.  He lets me hold and cuddle him while I give him his bottle of cow's milk.  In fact, he requests that I cradle him by saying "Rock-a-baby!"  And there is that long snuggle/holding time as he falls asleep in my arms every night.

And so we've moved on.  Sort of.

Everyday, at some point, Judah will stick his hand down my shirt and say "Boo-boo okay?"  (Translation:  Hey mom, is your boob okay now?  Can I finally get a sip or what?)

But I remind him it's still owie and he accepts the bottle uncomplainingly.

And most surprising to me, I don't miss it at all--not even a little bit.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bus Boy

You're dad recently bought you this bus set, complete with 3 ethnically diverse bus riders and functional wheelchair, just to be totally politically correct.

Yes, politically-correct toddler toys are hilarious. And your dad is awesome.

He loves indulging your budding love of motor vehicles. He has so many fond memories of playing with his own little matchbox cars as a kid.

You love playing with the bus and you're always narrating your adventures, saying "Ride the bus, Habitot!" or "Ride the bus, Studio Grow!" You also love playing with this car garage contraption.

You have so many little cars of all sizes now that I'm pretty sure my demise will entail breaking my neck after slipping on one of them as I make my way through a dark living room.

Thursday, June 07, 2012


Recently Judah's learned to say the 3 sweetest little words:


The first time I heard him say it was actually over the baby monitor as he was waking up in the morning.  I thought to myself, "No way!  He doesn't know those words, does he?!"  Even if he does know the words, I'm still doubtful he really knows what they mean.

But the very next day, the spouse asked him "Do you love mommy?"

And he chanted "!" in his halting way.

And then he followed it up with "!" (I assume he's referring to himself--healthy esteem or major narcissist? hmmmm.)

Sometimes I really marvel at how wonderful a baby/toddler's love is.  I remember, long ago, when I was young, gorgeous and childless (and happy and carefree and bubbling with life get the picture)...but I digress...I remember hearing someone say that baby-love is the closest thing to unconditional love.

I thought that person was crazy.

How can a helpless baby give you anything, much less love, much less unconditional love--the highest, purest form of love?

But now I understand.  I get it.

When Judah was just 4 months old, a helpless little blob, I often felt completely crappy.  Running around attending to a colicky baby for 3+ months had taken its toll on me (and sadly for those around me, on my hygiene).  It was all I could do to shower every 3 days and slap some moisturizer on my face.  My clothes looked sad.  My hair was sad.  My un-worked-out body had gone completely flabby with neglect.

I felt like the human equivalent of poop.

I remember being at a social function and feeling so horribly inadequate.  I was not pretty, or witty, or fun, or sparkly.  I was sleep-deprived, slow, sort of stinky, and not at all cute.  I had not been a good friend, or member of society for months as I had been holed-up in my cave of colickiness. 

I've never felt less-loved or less-lovable in the eyes of the world.

Feeling utterly defeated, I finally slinked back home to my baby.

Whose eyes lighted up upon seeing my face.

Whose arms reached out to me.

Who giggled and cooed with delight at my smiles.

The whole world may despise me, but my baby loved me.

The whole world may reject me, but my baby wanted me above all else.

My baby accepted me just as I was.

Just as flawed and broken as I am.

Sound and Fury

Last week was awful, awful, awful, awful.

Did I mention it was awful?

It is one thing to have clients tell you to work 10-12 hours on Saturday and Sunday. 

But THEN to keep changing the major terms literally every hour so that all your hardwork has to be undone and redone.  

And THEN to tell you a few hours before a Saturday meeting that it's been cancelled. 

And THEN to tell you an hour later, it's been un-cancelled.

And then re-cancelled.

And then re-un-cancelled.

And then, finally re-re-cancelled.

And then to get on your Sunday telephone conference only to have your clients tell you they've changed the terms AGAIN.  Well, actually, they're just considering changing them, they're not really sure...they're so undecided they cancel the rest of the 5 hour call after confessing in that first hour that they don't know what the heck they want to do.

I won't bore you with more details, but imagine a careening roller-coaster, with a bunch of puke on the seats, and no safety harness...that about sums it up.

I mean, HOW in the heck am I supposed to arrange childcare if I don't know if and when I'll be needed until literally a couple hours before I'm needed?  I sadly don't have a live-in-nanny that can be summoned on a moment's notice.  And the spouse works all Saturday.  And if I hire someone, I can't just un-hire the person as soon as she arrives because suddenly my meetings have been cancelled.  ARRRGGGHHHH!!!!

But the "best" part is that all the while I'm toiling away, missing my baby, getting frustrated at the constant change of plans, I know, I know deep within my bones, it's OBVIOUS, that this deal is NEVER going to happen.

We are running around like mad headless chicken for NOTHING.

The clients had ridiculously unrealistic timelines and unrealistic goals and it was NEVER going to happen.  And in the end, it didn't happen.  The deal was called off yesterday.

To be honest, I'm glad.  If the deal had continued, it would've just meant more crazy hours and intense stress for a few more days (and probably missing out on another weekend with my family).

And oh how I've missed my little guy.  I honestly don't know how partner-moms can do it.  HOW do you not see your kids, but for an hour each day?  How do you leave your kids for days at a time while you travel for work?

I know kids are malleable and they adjust.  They learn to cling less to you and more to someone else.  And I guess that's the trade-off partner-moms are willing (and probably happy) to make.

But I believe it comes with a price.  If you abdicate your role as the major care-giver in your kid's life, you are also abdicating your role as the major moral-guide in his/her life as well.  I read, and it makes sense intuitively, that kids will care about your values only to the extent they have a relationship with you.  Hence the famous retort, "You can't tell me what to do.  You're not my mother."

And those are words I never want to hear coming from my kid(s)!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Little Baby Daddy

Judah recently saw his neighbor's baby doll and really wanted one of his own. So of course, being the kind of mom that wants to encourage any nurturing tendencies in my kid, I got him one that very day.

They say that girls exhibit a tendency to 'mother' dolls at a very young age, before they are even exposed to any cultural conditioning. Even if they aren't provided dolls, they will 'mother' stuffed animals and the like. Boys, on the other hand, have a tendency to play with cars and trains.

Judah certainly loves his motor vehicles, but I'm delighted that he also has a very nuturing aspect. He's been feeding and rocking his stuffed animals to sleep for a while now. And now he gets to do it with a real baby doll!

One day, I can see him being such a great dad. And before that, hopefully, a great older brother.

Although, truth be told, he's not interested in 'baby' for very long. A quick feeding. Some rough rocking. And then he's on to his cars for half an hour.