Once Upon A Time
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Sunday, May 14 , 2006
29 Weeks 2 Days Old




I know I know... I've been a bit lazy with my updates... But it sure has been nice taking as long of a break as I have. As much as I enjoy writing these updates and creating this historical archive for Emma it does take time and can be stressful to compile given the limited bandwidth I have. I was thinking to myself yesterday why I write this blog. I believe there are several reasons. For one, the technology is there. Secondly, I know just enough about the technology to be dangerous. Third, to give our extended (and globally distributed) family a means by which they could stay connected to us in a leisurely fashion. Fourth, I want to remember these times forever for they come but once and are soon forgotten. Even when I reread old posts it's as if I am reading someone else's story as recollection of times, places, and events fail me even now. Fifth, and perhaps most important is I want Emma to know me. I want her to know, not only the old man that is her Dad, but the young man that raised her. I want her to know my love for her. My dreams for her and how privileged I felt raising her. How she is my guest in this world and how I want to hold her hand and show her around for as many days as the good Lord permits. I suppose this desire I have to archive my thoughts come from my own experience with my Mother who checked-out of this planet when I was eleven. She died a somewhat slow and debilitating death from colon cancer. I didn't figure it out until yesterday, but I imagine I would have liked to have known my Mother a little better. Not from the eyes of a child but from those of a man. What were her dreams for me? What did she think would become of me? What type of man would I grow up to be? What did she like about me? What advise did she want to impart? What lessons could I learn from her? Did I please her as a child?... I'm afraid there are far more questions than answers and I suppose that's what frightens me. I don't want Emma to ever have any questions about my love for her and what our time together was like. Life is short, I learned that lesson way too young. My mother didn't die instantaneously in a car wreck, but slowly over the course of several months. She knew her illness was terminal and knew she would be leaving her children behind. Perhaps she had hope that she would make a miraculous recovery. Perhaps she didn't want to accept the reality of her mortality. Perhaps the pain and suffering combined with the medication she was taking prevented her from collecting her thoughts and transcribing them. Whatever the reason, the fact remains there is no message in a bottle waiting for me with thoughts from decades past. Until today, I have spent my entire life unconscious to the fact that that was even important to me. I had accepted the facts as they were presented without question. I suppose this web page subconsciously attempts to assure that Emma has some tangible evidence of our history together.

OK then! Enough with the drama. Lets get on with the update!

So this is Elena's first Mother's day. Last year we celebrated it but that was really a dress rehearsal. This is the real thing people!!! This is not a drill! Elena is really a Mom; and an excellent one at that. I'm not kidding. It really makes me happy to see Elena and Emma interacting together. Emma never cries. She's high maintenance at times and will "complain" when she is hungry or tired or wants to be held, but other than that she is wall-to-wall smiles. I suppose if you married a Mechanic you could expect your car to always be running optimally. If you married an accountant you would expect to be financially stable and debt free. Well I married a Teacher and so my little one has the best care a Dad could ever hope for. Better yet, the Teacher/Student ratio in our house is 1/1 and Elena is such a good and loving nurturer. I really made out like a bandit in this Marriage, but don't tell Elena. I need her to believe that it is the other way around so I can maintain control around here.

We reached a huge milestone since my last update. Emma turned six months!!! What makes this even sweeter is that Elena also reached an extremely significant personal goal. To complete six months of breastfeeding!!! Elena had made that her goal during her pregnancy. We learned very quickly that it was easier said than done. We almost crashed and burned early on (check me out, "we", like I contributed anything to the effort) by trying to get Emma to drink formula, but Elena never gave up, stuck to it, and persevered. She is now a breastfeeding pro. I realize now how trivialized breastfeeding is. Although it is a natural biological function, the impact of its implementation is much farther reaching than one would suspect. Sleep deprivation from AM feedings, pain from engorgement, soreness, insatiable hunger from the huge caloric requirements required to replenish supplies, etc... And those were just my symptoms...

Truth be told, breastfeeding is one of the most physically demanding, selfless, thankless acts ever contrived. Although the benefits to the child (and Mother for that matter) are many, the toll it takes on ones body, spirit, and mind is high. I don't know if I could have done it for as long. And yet the personal sacrifices made go for the most part unnoticed. It is a sad and bitter truth. One in which I hope to change. Recently it was estimated that the average salary for a stay-at-home Mom was $134,121 per year. This estimate accounted for the hours required to perform the job and the many "hats" the Mother must wear (Housekeeper, Daycare Teacher, Cook, etc.). Essentially all the roles that are vital to keeping a family operating. There are no paychecks at the end of the week to recognize their contributions, or awards given to acknowledge a job well done. Instead there is guilt for not contributing to the financial well-being of the home. This is clearly wrong on every level but generally reflective of what our culture and society view as important. For the record, I get it. My biggest fear when Emma was born was that Elena would go stir crazy staying home and raising our child. I am not sure she knew the answer to that either. The good news is that she has adapted well to this role and thoroughly enjoys every moment she spends with Emma. We constantly thank each other. I thank her for staying home, and she thanks me for letting her. Her gratitude is redundant because I wouldn't want it any other way.

In any event, I would like to take a moment to publicly thank my beautiful wife Elena for her stick-to-it ness in achieving over six months of breastfeeding our precious Emma. In recognition and appreciation of her effort I would like to award her with the following honors:

Purple Heart - For injuries sustained in the line of duty.
Khaki Ribbon of Effort - For successfully completing 6 weeks of breastfeeding
Bronze Ribbon of Honor - For successfully completing 3 months of breastfeeding
Silver Ribbon of Endurance - For successfully completing 6 months of breastfeeding

I am proud of you for many things. Now I have yet another. You continue to amaze and humble me. Congratulations my love!

Click here to see how much your Mom is worth?

My cousins Julie, Jorge and their children (Rebecca and Zachary) visited us from New Jersey recently. I can't tell you how nice it was to see them and their kids. They are the gold standard for how a family should be on every level. It has been many years since we last got together so there was a lot of catching-up to do. Sadly their visit was somewhat short, but as I have learned over the years, the older you get, the more valuable your time becomes. As a teenager I used to drive an hour to get my car serviced at the dealer. If they needed to change say the engine, that was fine, I would patiently sit in the waiting room reading a book or watching TV. Perhaps go for a stroll and get a bite to eat. I had nowhere to go, no ride back, and essentially not a care in the world. Now if I need to get an oil change it is a well choreographed military operation with careful planning, logistical considerations, and synchronized watches to boot. Time is way too precious now and failure is not an option.


Emma is now weighing 20 lbs and is 27" long. She is extremely vocal now and shrieks and coughs repeatedly throughout the day. This all appears to be the very early signs of language development as she discovers and tests the intricate mechanisms that comprise her voice. It is a quite fascinating thing to behold.

Emma is also very much into tags. You know, the little piece of fabric that hangs at the top of your shirt behind your neck. Apparently babies are typically drawn to this miracle of the modern textile world. So much so that someone actually sells a fabric book with, you guessed it, nothing but tags. I know because we have one. The funny thing is, Emma is only interested in the real tag and ignores all the other ones on the book (which are really nothing more than ribbon loops). You can't pull a fast one over her that's for sure. I swear, you could give that girl a diamond and if it had a tag hanging off the end of it she would just be interested in that.

Now that Emma is 20 lbs we had to get her a new car seat as she has outgrown her old one. Check her out in her pimped up ride.