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Archive for May, 2010


Don’t let that angelic face fool you. Luki wouldn’t cooperate by opening his mouth for the camera so I couldn’t get the appropriate visual, but I want you to know that…

Tyson is getting some company.

And judging from the outrageous poops last week [I don’t understand how poop and teeth are related either, but Google says they are so it must be true] and the several-nights-of-waking-up-screaming-at-4-a.m., this new little fella is going to be doing some damage.

My boobs just took a huge sigh of relief to be out of order, but somewhere in California an entire field of strawberries shuddered.

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Your grandpa was awesome! Week #21

Dear Luki,

Three years ago today, your dad and I made it official. We stood barefoot on the beach in front of our families and a few friends, and we promised to support each other’s decisions, encourage each other’s dreams, and love each other above all else.

Over the past three years, we’ve experienced some of the most amazing moments of our lives. None, of course, can compare to your arrival. You are better than anything we could have imagined and our love as a couple has grown immeasurably since you entered our lives.

But we also experienced incredible heartbreak with the loss of both our fathers. I, personally, don’t know how I would have survived those horrible, gut-wrenching moments without your dad’s unwavering support and dedication.

He is one of the good ones, Luki. And I know what a good one looks like because I grew up with the best example.

Your grandpa inspired me to look for a husband who shared some of his intrinsic qualities. And, although at first glance, your dad and your grandpa didn’t seem to have much in common (rock ‘n’ roll v. romantic ballads; t-shirts and jeans v. polos and khakis; electronic gadgets v. old-fashioned handy work) their personalities aligned on the qualities that truly matter: honor, kindness, patience, integrity, strength of character.

I chose your dad because I saw pieces of your grandpa in him. I chose him because one day, after we’d only been dating for a few months, he told me that he admired my father and wanted to be just like him when he grew up.

And now that your grandpa is gone, I feel so blessed to have him in my life. So honored to learn something from him every day. So relieved that you too will grow up with the best example.

I love you and your daddy so much,


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When I was in high school, an immature, but very clever boy came up to me and said, “Did you know that women can touch their elbows behind their backs, but men can’t?”

And because I also believed him when he said that the word gullible wasn’t in the dictionary, I stood there trying to do it, my chest mere inches away from his delighted face. Over the summer, my breasts had outgrown the rest of my body and they were all the rage among the pubescent boy in my class. I, on the other hand, wasn’t the least bit excited about my disproportionately expanded bosom.

I know what you’re thinking. Is this girl seriously complaining that her boobs are too big? What’s next? Is she going to whine about how hard it is for her to gain weight? But the truth is that I was pretty self conscious about my upper body. And it wasn’t just because guys were constantly trying to peek down my shirt. Having a small frame and large boobs meant that buying a bathing suit was a major hassle, that strapless bras never stayed on properly, and that saleswomen in fitting rooms referred to you as “busty” when helping you try on a cocktail dress that wouldn’t zip up past your ribcage. I realize that those weren’t absolutely tragic, life-altering incidents, but they were definitely inconveniences.

After I got pregnant, one of the things I worried most about was the size of my boobs. “How much more can they grow before they just explode??” I thought to myself as they kept expanding, rivaling the girth of my belly.

And then Luki was born…

My breasts got even bigger as they filled with milk and became my baby’s sole source of nutrition, but, instead of feeling self conscious and embarrassed by their size, I felt emboldened by their purpose.

It took a few months, but eventually, I stopped caring about what they looked like and pulled them out anywhere, anytime my child was hungry. Friends, relatives, complete strangers at The Olive Garden — they’ve all seen my boobs. And I’m absolutely OK with that.

A few weeks ago my son decided that he no longer wanted to nurse. Every time I offered my breast, he pushed it away and tried to wiggle out of my arms in order to go suck on something more satisfying, like a remote control or an electrical cord. It was incredibly frustrating.

After a week and a half of trying, unsuccessfully, to get him back on my boob, I surrendered my dream of breastfeeding until his first birthday and closed the milk bar. (Yes, I could have pumped. But you all know how I feel about the electric boob sucker.)

I was pretty bummed out about the unexpected end to our nursing relationship until I realized that my breasts had gotten significantly smaller than they were before I got pregnant!

This past weekend, I tried on every single dress I own and was delighted to find that the top of my chest wasn’t overflowing out of them. It was awesome. And I felt great.

So there you have it. The story of my boobs. A long and personal diatribe to say that motherhood: it has changed me. It has changed me in all kinds of ways. I feel more confident, more beautiful, more like the person I’ve always aspired to become. And it’s all thanks to my son.

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Signature Expression

Signature Expression

No trip to the beach could be complete without an appearance from Old Man Face. A few minutes later, he took out his pipe and mumbled something about having to walk to school barefoot, in the snow, uphill both ways.

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I still think we should have stayed

I still think we should have stayed

We’re back from Mexico. Unfortunately, Ton Ton didn’t think my idea to stay in paradise and work for tips as street performers (he already knows how to play guitar and Luki and I could have totally come up with a dance routine) was feasible.

I don’t know, something about having a mortgage in the US and “how am I going to afford insulin — you know, the insulin I need to survive — if I’m living off of tips?” These are the kind of minor, insignificant details that he likes to blow out of proportion.

So yea, we’re back. And I know that before I left I was all, “don’t worry, the house has WiFi, I won’t abandon the blog,” but then I got there and was completely swamped the whole time. You know, with the eating, and the sunbathing, and the swimming, and the eating, and the napping, and the boating, and the eating, and the sand castle-ing, and the pool splashing, and the sunset watching, and the eating.

Seriously, you guys, it was exhausting.

Anyway, the trip was fantastic. Luki got to experience the ocean for the first time, which was, like, a huge deal for Ton Ton and I. We both grew up surrounded by water and it just seemed unnatural for our baby to be 10 months old and not have dipped his toes in the beach yet.

At first he had a minor freak out, probably because we were so excited that we just walked into the ocean and dropped him in it, without warning. But he quickly calmed down and very much enjoyed sitting at the shore, getting his feet wet, and trying to eat sand.

I’m not going to lie. I was worried about this vacation. I mean, yea, I was looking forward to the beautiful sceneries, and the naps, and the food; but given that my baby practically got us kicked out of a graduation ceremony the previous weekend, I was a little bit concerned about his behavior.

Fortunately, Luki knows the difference between a boring ass graduation and THE BEACH!!

From the moment he stepped into our rental house, he was overjoyed — jumping, and shrieking, and clapping his hands together. He was a delight, and everyone we encountered was amazed at how happy and wonderful he was.

He loved sitting outside in the evenings and feeling the ocean breeze tickle his face.

He ate entire fillets of fish, whole, adult portioned quesadillas, and his weight in guacamole.

He even made a new, amphibian friend.

And in the end, I came home feeling the same way I do about the voyage that is motherhood in general… It was sooo much better than anything I could’ve possibly imagined.

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Your grandpa was awesome! Week #20

Dear Luki,

There are a million things I wish I had done differently in my relationship with your grandpa. I wish I’d been more patient with him; I wish I’d said, “I love you” more often; I wish I’d taken more time out of my not-really-all-that-busy schedule to sit and just chat with him.

I’m not saying we had a bad relationship. That’s not it at all. We saw each other all the time and shared wonderful moments together, but I often took him for granted. He was such a fundamental and basic part of my life, that his presence sometimes went unnoticed. The best analogy I can think of is to say that he was like air — I need to breathe to stay alive, but I don’t take notice of every breath I take. In the same vein, your grandpa was an essential part of my life, but I didn’t always appreciate everything he did.

I wish I’d done things differently, Luki, and I’m trying to be a better person each day, but I also know that your grandpa understood me. That he didn’t hold a grudge or harbored disappointment. He would call me up randomly if we hadn’t talked in a few days and say, “If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain,” and we’d both laugh and chat for a few minutes.

It is such a relief to go to sleep at night and know that, despite all my shortcomings, he loved me unconditionally. That instead of focusing on my flaws, he skipped over and worked around them to ensure that we had a solid relationship.

I wish I’d done things differently, but thanks to your grandpa, I am not tormented by the fact that I didn’t.

Luki, I hope you realize how important it is to show others how much you care about them: do it often, do it candidly, do it effusively. But more crucial than that, son, I hope you learn to love and accept others despite their imperfections. And, as stoic as the mountain may remain, I hope you never give up on getting there.



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Ani's Graduation: Part II

Ani's Graduation: Part II

Even though there was an instant during our disastrous morning in which I reasoned to myself, “Well, missing graduation isn’t that big a deal…he’ll still be a Georgia Tech graduate even if he doesn’t get to walk with his class,” everyone made it to my brother’s graduation ceremony on time.

Shortly after our arrival at the event, Luki had a meltdown. I think he was sleepy and, since there weren’t any high chairs or shopping carts around for him to nap in, he proceeded to scream at the top of his lungs. A week before, I would have popped out my boob and instantly comforted him, but that was no longer an option.

As I was trying to rock him to sleep on the bleachers, the woman sitting next to Ton Ton whispered loudly, with every intention of being heard, “She needs to get that baby out of here!” And our little family had to step outside in shame.

Now, I understand that crying babies are annoying, I get that. But it’s not like we were at an art gallery or a movie theater. We were in an arena filled with people. Loud people. And also? I guarantee you that Luki’s wails were far more interesting and original than the commencement speaker — some CEO of some major company — who couldn’t come up with anything more creative to tell the 2010 class than: “reach for the stars” and “follow your dreams.” Seriously. He literally used those two phrases.

Anyway, Luki and Ton Ton spent the remainder of graduation isolated, sitting on the top bleachers while I meander back and forth between them and the rest of the family.

But our baby was not the only menace to the sanctity of graduation. As my uncle, mom and aunt were conversing, at their normal, Cuban level during the veeeery long ceremony, the lady sitting in front of them turned around and said, “This is a very special day, could you please keep it down?”

Oh no she didn’t!

Unlike Luki, who couldn’t defend himself from the sneers of the incredibly uptight Georgia Tech parents, my aunt swiftly responded, “We know it’s a special day! That’s why we’re happy and celebrating!” and continued to carry on her conversation.

When it was Ani’s turn to go up for his diploma, my uncle screamed so hard that I’m sure Ms. Canyoupleasekeepitdown’s ears are still ringing.

To sum up, my loud and inappropriate family had an entire section of a basketball arena huffing and puffing, rolling their eyes, and muttering under their breaths.

But it’s all good, because at the end we got to witness this:

The insanity leading up to that moment? Totally worth it.

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