Thursday, May 28, 2009

Little Moccasins

Last Friday, we stopped by a shop in Hanalei called Ola's. We were drawn in by the shop's glass display, given Jeff's interest in glass blowing. When we were in Venice a couple of years ago, we spent three back-to-back days in Murano so that Jeff could check out all the glass shops and factories there. This time, we emerged not with glass blowing tools, but a pair of little brown moccasins that we spotted among the touristy chotchkies. They are completely useless and impractical, a fitting purchase for a first time mother. I plunked my credit card down gleefully, holding back the urge to blurt to the store clerk, "It's for our little boy."

For the next few days, I took the moccasins with me wherever I went. If I went from the bedroom to the living room, they went with me, where I laid them down a foot to my left on the couch. When I went to sip my papaya, orange, and guava juice -- or pog, as they call it in Hawaii -- on the balcony, I sat them on the stand next to my book. I sometimes rested them on my belly, to try to imagine the feet of the little guy and the rest of his body protruding from the soft folds of leather. When we packed our stuff to return to SF, I secured them in the front pocket of my backpack so that they wouldn't be crushed by other things.

These shoes are the first and only purchase we've made for the little guy so far. We didn't want to start preparing before the CVS, and once we received the CVS results, we thought it made sense to wait for the spina bifida test. We had our spina bifida ultrasound on May 15th, and everything seems to be progressing smoothly. It was amazing to watch the technician press her sensor in various angles to point out his heart chambers and his kidney, and to hear that that he has no club foot or cleft lips. We took her word for it since all we saw were grainy images of a big head and boney hands flowing back and forth as if he were giving us the royal wave. And him moving and twitching and shaking, as if he were doing the jitter bug. We went in the following Monday because they needed one more photograph, and he decided to do a face plant just as the technician tried to capture a decent image for us to take home.

Now that the tests are behind us, we are now letting ourselves look forward. We have a little over four months left to read all the books we want to read, to buy whatever the little guy needs, and to become the parents we are becoming. We are not ready yet, and I suspect we'll never be ready. But we hope to be less un-ready.

In this process, I marvel at the strangeness of it all. Strange, not in a bad way, but in a way that feels foreign, even though this is one of the most common experiences in human history. And in a way that is mind-boggling and incredible and unreal. To have another creature inside of me, moving this way and that, causing little flurries in that vicinity of my body usually reserved for mundane digestion. I went to my first pre-natal yoga class a couple of weeks ago, and the instructor kept repeating, "Remember! You are your baby's first home." Now, what prepares you in life to become a dwelling?

When I was registering for sixth grade, I remember my dad asking me if I wanted to sign up to play the clarinet in band. I had no idea what a clarinet was, but I said ok. When I started mastering how to blow into that thing without squeaking, I remember suddenly realizing that I was playing the real thing. That this clarinet was the same real clarinet that the bearded guys in professional orchestras played. Me, playing a real clarinet.

I'm a long way from sixth grade, but that's how I feel these days. That I'm about to be entrusted with this little guy. Me, a mother to a real live baby.

Holy shit.


  1. Glad to hear you are doing well! I hope you had a great vacation. I am still very attached to the first few things I bought for my son when I was pregnant with him. It's different the second time around, although if we find out that we're having a girl this time it will be great fun to go out and buy some little girl things. (I am 17 weeks now so it will be 3 more weeks until we find out).
    On another note, check out this neat website showing the baby's growth week-by-week:

  2. I almost wish you *had* blurted it out to the store clerk. :) The imagery you paint is so vivid in my head.

    I am so happy for you that everything tested great!

    "We are not ready yet, and I suspect we'll never be ready. But we hope to be less un-ready." This so perfectly captures our feelings right now too.

    We found out two weeks ago that our baby is a little boy too! The ultrasound images were to fuzzy and weird, but so exciting to see movement. Like you, we were most excited about verifying the health of the baby, so we would be happy with either sex. Knowing means we can start thinking of names though. :)

    Last night, we felt unmistakeable kicks for the first time. It was so amazing/weird/awe-inspiring/befuddling.

    We haven't bought anything yet, but we received some well-loved hand-me-downs, which I love.

    p.s. The word verification for the comment entry is "ovule"! How funny!

  3. I'm so happy for you and your family. =)

    I was and am so confident that this pregnancy would result in a healthy baby.

    I can so relate to everything you wrote on this post... it IS so strange to think that this miraculous and amazing experience of pregnancy is one of the most normal of human experiences... so "normal" yet so not "normal". =) Please know that I'm here if you ever want to hear about my first pregnancy and how we prepared for our first. =)

  4. Holy sh*t is right. Nothing prepares you for motherhood. It is the most glorious and painful thing you will ever experience in life. So so happy for you! I know it is out of your way but check out lullaby lane in belmont (i think). Less overwhelming than babies r us, has everything you need and the people there are helpful.

  5. You never get over the feeling of "Holy Shit" that will go with you at every stage of the game!

    And in the end it is all about attitude.

    Next stop will be your attitude towards giving birth.

    Just remember it is the most natural thing in the world. There are women doing it every day...even as I type this and you read it. Take whatever pain you feel comfortable taking and do exactly what you want to do, not what others expect you to do.

    Be strong, be courageous, but be sensible! God Bless your family as you continue on your amazing journey, enjoy every part of the ride because it is far too short.

    Before you know it you will look at your husband one day shortly after bringing home your baby doll and say, holy shit, now what?!

  6. Congrats on everything. Glad to know that you enjoy doing yoga now - do you like the class, and which yoga place is it at, if you are comfortable sharing.

    I hope it will continue to be smooth sailing.

  7. Hi, Amanda and Eingy, so fun to hear about the progress of your pregnancies. Have you seen these amazing photographs by Lennart Nilsson?

    Mary, I hope your delivery proceeds smoothly!

    Joelsamama, I'll definitely check out lullaby lane -- another friend recommended it too. Now I just need to figure out what to look for.

    Ivn4me, thanks so much for your sound words. Very good advice that I take to heart.

    Anonymous, I've been going to Yoga Tree. I'm trying to figure out if I like it, but I'm going to stick with it for the duration of the pregnancy since I hear it does help with the delivery. The teacher (Jane Austin) is very good and enthusiastic. I'm also planning to try out prenatal pilates and see how that goes.

  8. You'll be a natural, I'm sure of it

  9. Joelsamama, I'll check out that store too. I don't work too far from Belmont, so I might swing out after work one day. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Mary, I'll raise my hand for wanting to hear your stories about your first pregnancy! I have a blog at (not my primary blog) for baby-related thoughts, if you want to drop your comments there. :) I hope to hear of your fast and easy *fingers crossed* birth of your newest addition soon! :)

    Amanda & Shinyung, I just found out today that one of my long-time friends out here in the Bay Area is also expecting in October! It's exciting to hear about so many fall babies, and hearing your progress. :)