English | Espanol

He's on to her

To counteract the dee-pression in the last couple of entries to this blog, here is a cute picture of my kid:

I stole that pic off our friend Sam’s blog because I didn’t have my camera that day. I’ve been noticing that we don’t nearly take as many pictures of Luki as we used to. This parenting thing is soo old news to us now.

If you know us is in real life and have friended us on Facebook, then you probably remember the avalanche of photographs on my husband’s wall after our son’s birth. Entire albums titled, “Luki’s first day,” “Luki’s second day,” “Luki: Days 3, 4, and 5,” “Luki comes home,” “Luki goes to the park,” etc. By now, I think we’ve already established to the Internet that our son has a serious case of The Cute, so unless it’s his birthday or we’re on vacation, we don’t really pull out the camera much.

That picture was taken last weekend at a show Ton Ton’s band was doing in a local restaurant. Luki had a blast clapping to the beat of the music and running around the wide open space.

He also made a new friend. A puppy.

We’ve taught him all about puppies through picture books and stuffed animals, but Ton Ton and I don’t own any pets so he doesn’t get to interact with real live guau guaus* very often.

(*Spanish, dogs say guau guau, not woof woof. Also, frogs say crua crua instead of ribbit. Apparently animals can get lost in translation too.)

Anyway, he loves furry creatures. He hugs and kisses and licks and bites and jumps on his stuffed puppies all the time. Because he loves them, obviously. And that is exactly what he tried to do to the real life canine at the restaurant.

He headed straight for the puppy, arms wide open, repeating guau guau guau guau. And before we could stop him, his skin and the puppy’s fur had come in contact.

Wait. Have I not mentioned that Big E was with us?

Yea. She was. And she lost her marbles. Because the baby touched the dog, and dogs are dirty, and I can’t believe you don’t carry a bottle of hand sanitizer in your diaper bag and we REALLY need to teach him the difference between toy animals, which are cute, and real animals, which harbor deadly diseases in every inch of their bodies!!

It was hilarious. And immediately after, Luki picked up a rock and put it in his mouth, sending her completely over the edge. This child is going to get an infeeeeeeeeeection!!

I think he does it on purpose. And I love him so much more for it.

Your grandpa was awesome! Week #32

Dear Luki,

I know that I’m not setting the best example by what I’m about to confess, but here it goes anyway: I really don’t like getting up to go to work in the morning. I could say that it’s because I can’t stand to leave you every day, but that would be a lie. I’ve never liked it. Not even before you were born. I’d rather sleep, or read a book, or lounge around in my pajamas all day than sit behind a desk. Doing nothing is one of my favorite hobbies.

I assure you that I did not inherit that laziness from your grandpa. He kept busy all the time, if not with work, with projects around the house or favors for friends and family. And even though he liked relaxing and getting away, his body just wasn’t wired for leisure.

Without fail, he would get sick on the first few days of every vacation. It was never anything specific, just a general, unexplained discomfort. Your grandma would always say that it was just his body reacting to the lack of work. I think she was right. One time, when they went on a cruise, he woke up startled and confused in the middle of the night because he’d been dreaming that he was hanging up drywall throughout the ship’s cabins.

And it wasn’t just his total willingness to always take on tasks and projects, it was his commitment to doing them right. Whatever they were. I can’t tell you how many times I grew frustrated with him because he turned what I considered a simple chore — like hanging up a painting, for example — into a huge ordeal. He would poke around the walls looking for the wooden beams that provided the most support, measure to confirm it was absolutely centered, bring out his level to verify that it was straight, and dig around for the perfect screws to hold the frame. It took a lot longer than eyeballing it, but, once he placed it on the wall, it was always right on the first try.

The day of his accident he wasn’t supposed to be on that ladder. He’d gone to the work site to clean up. His company had finished all the work they were hired to do. And then, he noticed a few tiny holes in the ceiling, an imperfection left behind by another contractor. So he climbed up the ladder to fix it. To make it perfect. To do things right, as always.

It’s been really hard for me to accept that something so trivial has altered our lives in such a heartbreaking way. And as much as I try to not imagine the scene of his accident, I can’t keep my mind from going there almost every day. I hate those damn ceiling holes, and the contractor who left them there. I hate that work site, and that stupid ladder. I hate that whole damn day.

But I can’t get mad at your grandpa for trying to finish his job, for wanting to turn in perfect work. Because I’d rather miss a father who gave it his best all the time and in every aspect of his life, than still have one who was just second-rate.




Remember back in the day, when I used to update this blog several times a week with boob and poop and crazy grandma stories? Yea. Those were the good times. Back when the most mobile thing about Luki were the projectiles flying out of his bottom.

Now? The speed at which he traverses the entire house on his tippy toes rivals anything NASA has sent into orbit.

(Luki walks on his toes most of the time. At first I thought it was cute, but then I googled “toe walking” and discovered that, although it’s very common, it could be an early indicator of Cerebral Palsy, or Autism, or Sensory Processing Disorder. And, because I’m crazy, that’s what I’ve chosen to believe.

No, there are no other symptoms that point to any those ailments. And my mom apparently walked on her toes for most of her toddler years. She turned out relatively fine, you know, minus her inability to leave the house without a package of Clorox wipes. Still, I have continued to google and type “toe walking” into the search boxes of blogs about kids with special needs. Because, did I mention? I’M CUH-RAZY. It’s just like when I was pregnant and convinced myself I saw a bird claw in the ultrasound picture. I was sure I’d give birth to a pigeon/human hybrid even though I’d never had intercourse with a feathered creature.)

Anyway, despite only using about a third of his foot, he moves at lightning speed. So I spend the vast majority of my time at home trying to stop him from hurling himself down the stairs or from opening the kitchen drawers and licking the steak knives.

What is that you say? Most of these hassles could be resolved by babyproofing our home?

Yea. I thought the first three paragraphs of this post had already established that I don’t really do rational.

Also, Luki goes to bed late. Like at 9:30 p.m., sometimes 10:00 p.m. We have two reasons for putting him on this schedule. Number One: We really like him. And since we both work and get home in the late afternoon, we like to extend our time in the evening with him. Number Two: We like to sleep in. By putting him to bed late, we can get him to sleep until about 8:30 or 9 in the morning, which is awesome.

I have no idea where this post is going.

Oh yea. I think I’m supposed to be trying to explain why I haven’t been blogging as much. That’s it. Luki and his late night toe walking are keeping me busy.

But also, another reason, perhaps the biggest reason, is that I’ve had some sadness for the last couple of weeks.

I don’t know, you guys. Everything. Life. My job. Time. Mostly, that my dad is still dead.

He is still dead and I don’t feel any better about it. And I think I psyched myself up with this “everything happens for a reason” mentality and have been expecting something amazing. I’ve been looking for The Reason, but I just can’t find it anywhere.

And the clarity of the days after his death is gone. You know? The perspective, the Wow Being Alive is Awesome feeling. So I feel the sadness doubly. Because he is dead. And because sometimes I still let stupid, little things upset me even though the most upsetting thing of all already happened. It makes me sad to feel sad about anything other than the fact he’s not here.

And in case you were still unsure, that last sentence puts the final nail in the coffin: I am totally insane.

So there you have it. I’ve been busy, and sad, and completely nuts. And now that I’ve told you, well, I feel a bit better. Thanks for that.

Last night, before bed

I love my life. That is all.

Your grandpa was awesome! Week #31

Dear Luki,

Whenever I talk to others about your grandpa, one of the first things they mention is how optimistic he was. He could spin anything unto its positive side and brush away what, to others, seemed like the most difficult of problems.

“Oh that’s not a big deal,” he’d say about everything — form a huge scratch on his brand new car to a lost job opportunity. “More was lost in the war.”

Upon meeting him and seeing his eternally cheerful disposition, you would think that he’d never had a worry in his life, but that wasn’t the case. Your grandpa overcame many obstacles and faced tons of difficulties while he was here on earth. He was born to a family of incredibly limited means in a country ruled by a dictator. He tried to flee Cuba several times unsuccessfully before finally being able to immigrate to the U.S. One time, he and your grandma lost their house and were literally living on the streets when an escape plan fell through.

After moving to America, he worked day jobs and lived paycheck to paycheck, sometimes not knowing if he’d be able to make the rent that month. He went into debt. He did business with shady characters. And he was let down by friends and family members.

I am not saying his life was more burdensome than anyone else’s, just that, like the rest of us, he too faced challenges. However, he chose to laugh through them most of the time. It’s not that he ignored his problems, that’s not it at all. Whenever he encountered a bump in the road, he worked hard to overcome it. But he simply didn’t see the point of moaning and groaning about it first. After all, sitting around feeling sorry for one’s self doesn’t make road bumps disappear.

This is something I need to remind myself of everyday. For me, sometimes it’s much easier to sit at my desk and list out everything I don’t like about my life. To be sad and worried about the things that didn’t quite turn out the way I’d hoped, instead of rolling up my sleeves and trudging through the difficult times. With a smile.

I hope you always smile as you work through your life’s challenges, Luki.



Hard to follow

So, I’ve been kind of quiet on this here blog for the past couple of weeks. The following is a list of excuses:

First I was in NOLA for a work conference where the Internet access was limited and the good times kept rolling me away from my laptop and toward Bourbon street. And then I came home, after spending a WHOLE! FIVE! DAYS! away from Luki, so I chose cuddling over blogging. And then, you know, this little thing called my Actual Job That Pays The Bills got in the way. And then I took some time to write this article for Charlotte Viewpoint magazine. And then, well, I tried to blog, but nothing really interesting was happening.

Oh, we did go see Inception. I loved it, Ton Ton hated it. He said it had “too much going on” and the plot was hard to follow.

The main reason I wanted to go see it was that everyone on Facebook kept talking about how good it was. So after the movie, Ton Ton said that if people on Facebook liked a movie called “FECES: The Biggest Piece of Crap You’ll Ever See” I’d probably go see it too, and love it.

Whatever Ton Ton, Inception was awesome and you know it.

Anyway, I guess I should mention that my kid is thirteen months old today (how’s that for a smooth segue?).

I’m not really doing monthiversaries anymore. Now that Luki is one, there’s no need to celebrate every single month of his life. That’s for babies, and he’s a full blown toddler. Maybe I’ll dedicate an entire post to his half birthday.

Actually, the real reason is that I can no longer keep track of everything he does and learns in a month to put into a single post. It’s too much. He is on all. the. time. Asking for water and waving goodbye and picking out books for us to read to him and brushing his hair and licking discarded applesauce containers he pulled out of the garbage pail and eating pounds of blueberries in one sitting and pulling wrestling moves every time we try to change his diaper and getting a top tooth and working on an escape route out of his crib and climbing up stairs and this list can go on and on, but like I said, I can’t keep track anymore.

How Ton Ton could possibly think that Inception had “too much going on” after living in the same house with this kid baffles me.

Here he is at the park pointing at a plane, or at a bird, or letting us know that he’s one year old. I don’t know, his plot is too hard for me to follow.

I do know, however, that I don’t need Facebook to tell me that this is the greatest “movie” I’ve ever seen.

Your grandpa was awesome! Week #30

Dear Luki,

Wow, I can’t believe this year is already 30 weeks old. We are more than halfway trough 2010 and before I know it, it will be the anniversary of your grandpa’s death. Time has gotten twisty since that horrible day. In part, I feel like I was sitting in his hospital room yesterday, praying with all my might for a miracle, but, on the other hand, each day without him is so difficult to endure, that sometimes it seems like time is made of a stretchy, taffy-like material.

I am so glad that I started (and have continued) this project, Luki. I know that, when you get older, these letters will help you understand who your grandpa was, but they’ve had a much more immediate impact. When I sit down each Wednesday to tell you about him, I feel his presence. And as I write about the kind of man he was, I am inspired to work harder towards becoming the kind of person I’d like to be.

There are so many things I want you to know about him that aren’t necessarily material for an entire blog post. They’re little things — details, random memories, lessons he taught me.

Things like: He wore polo shirts more often than not. He tried sushi for the first time a few years ago and loved it. He got more speeding tickets than I can remember.

He had a funny idiom for every situation in life. He spoke in a deep funny voice and made up nicknames for others.

He taught me to ride a bike and to swim. And when we were in Cuba, he made your uncle and I wooden toys.

He had a mustache, but shaved it off for my 10th birthday and never grew it back.

He laughed loudly.

He never sat at the dinner table without showering first.

His bedside clock always had the wrong time on it and he never wore a watch.

He whistled all the time…

I realize these aren’t significant qualities, there’s no underlying lesson for you in these tidbits of information. But I want you to know these kinds of things so that you have a complete picture. Because I hope that, just like I feel his presence when I write these letters, you too can have a similar experience when you read them.