Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Cuteness Report

Despite the fact that her nap schedule has gotten completely erratic and out of control, and despite the fact that I still spend much of my day chasing her around the house with forkfuls of food, Lucia has been doing some extremely cute things lately. I thought I’d share some of them here. This is a post that's probably interesting only to grandparents and aunts, but let's indulge them, shall we?

She’s gotten incredibly attached to her blankie. Sometimes she puts it over her shoulders like a cape, or around her neck like a stole. Sometimes, when she crawls, she carries it in her mouth.

She’s also very attached to her duck and cat stuffed animals. They sleep with her in her crib, and in the morning or after nap, when I lift her and blankie out of the crib, she points insistently at each one until I pick it up and put it into her waiting arms. When we leave her bedroom now I’m always carrying a Lucia who’s hugging her blankie, duck, and cat. We can’t leave the room without all three.

She’s also taken to feeding her animals—not only her duck and cat but also her bear and monkey. We always eat at the coffee table now, and if one of the animals is sitting beside her plate, she’ll give it a bite of her food before putting it into her own mouth. She does this without our prompting. Very, very cute.

For the past couple of days, Andrew and I have attempted to take Lucia’s lion push-toy outside so she can walk without running into a wall after ten steps. This has backfired. There are simply too many leaves on the ground. She takes a step or two but then spots a leaf, plops down, crawls over to it, and then begins the process of putting that leaf and whatever others are within reach into the undercarriage of the lion. We can’t take the lion back to NYC with us, and I think I’m going to substitute a wagon when we go to replace it. (Then we’ll never get anywhere. But she’ll have fun.)

She’s gotten very finicky about having anything on her hands. For example, if she swipes at a yogurt-filled spoon and gets some yogurt on her fingertips, she looks at her fingers with alarm and then holds her hand straight out until I bring over a cloth and wipe it clean.

Somehow, Lucia has learned about housekeeping. Lord knows it wasn’t from me. If she sees a crumb on the floor, she immediately crawls over to it, picks it up between her thumb and pointer no matter how miniscule it is, and holds it out to me, even if I’m on the other side of the room. She won’t move until I come over and take the crumb away, thanking her for finding it.

I keep her in bare feet as much as possible when we’re home to encourage walking and balance, and when she wants to look out the window, she gets up on her little tippy toes—it’s so cute to see these tiny toes working so hard.

When she wants to read a particular book, she pulls it out of the book stack and holds it out. Once I take the book from her, she reaches her arms up for me to pick her up and put her in my lap to read. Too, too cute.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

To Get a Grape

Drum-roll, please: Lucia took her first steps tonight! She was standing at the coffee table, eating sliced grapes while I read her Bunny’s Noisy Book by Margaret Wise Brown, one of her favorites. She was being very cute, doing many of the bunny’s noises and movements—stretching, scratching, munching, thumping. When we finished the book, she pushed it toward me; I was to read it again. This time, when I got to one of her favorite pages, I held the book at a bit of a distance and also held out a slice of grape. She turned from the coffee table and took a step over to grab the grape. She did this several more times, walking toward both me and Andrew to get a slice of grape, taking up to three steps each time. We are on our way!

She’s been loving the Stride-and-Ride lion I got her last week, walking back and forth with it in the living room; yesterday I took the lion with us to the playground, and she walked all around the swings and down the sidewalk, stopping only to pick up enticing leaves and put them in a space underneath the lion for transporting. It seems this assisted walking has given her the right idea. Also, these grapes are exceptionally delicious—red flames from the farmer’s market. Who wouldn’t want to employ a new gross motor skill to get one?

Mountain View—specifically, the Park Place apartment complex on Church Street—will forever be remembered as the place where Lucia took her first steps. On a side note, I’m glad this day will be remembered for something other than the fact that she took only a twenty-minute nap.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thankful for blankie, wrapped around the shoulders,

and grapes,

and a cold afternoon at the playground,

and a fun new push-toy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010


Lucia is weaned. Our last nursing was Friday, November 19. I breastfed her for exactly one year, one month, and four days. Yay for us. It happened quite easily—we had been down to one feeding for a couple of weeks, before her morning nap, and then one day we just didn’t nurse; we just rocked and sang songs while she nuzzled her blankie. I didn’t consciously nurse her for a “last time,” which I think has helped me not be too sad. Weaning happened naturally and painlessly for both of us.

Sleeping straight through from 7:30 to 7—no more nursing—our baby is growing up! And now I get to splurge on some fabulous non-nursing bras. It is high time.

We’re Still Here. But: Books!

So, we’re still in California. Our best-laid plans were derailed on Friday, when our certainty that returning East was the right thing to do soon gave way to an equally firm decision that staying in California for a few more weeks was best. It came down to the idea of the simple solution being the best. Leaving today meant several flights (CA—FL—NYC), a flight back to CA for Andrew, several days of me and Lucia alone, my parents coming up for a weekend, an entire week alone, another cross-country flight for Andrew for the weekend, and possibly yet one more week alone. It just seemed…complex. Staying here involves just doing what we’ve been doing, with a flight back to NYC in mid-December. We can all stay together. Andrew has to be here for now, and so Lucia and I will be here too.

Though we’re very sad to be missing Thanksgiving in Jacksonville, truth be told, it feels fine to be staying on. We’re going to buy some more clothes and toys. We’ll join Beth and Nate in Napa for Thanksgiving. Lucia and I have been going to a wonderful weekly music/reading event at the library. We have familiar faces we see at the playground. And though it’s been rainy and cold, there are lots of places we can drive to when we just need to get out of the house.

It was strange to wake up this morning still here, when as late as Friday night we’d planned to leave, but we managed to distract ourselves today with the best book sale ever. The library—right across the street from us—had a book sale this weekend, and all told we made three trips and brought home 55 books for a total of around $35.

We went on Saturday, and I got Lucia a few new children’s books, and Andrew bought a few collectible-type old books (total for the trip: $23). The children’s books were priced at 50 cents an inch—when I went to pay, they just stacked up the books and measured them with a ruler. I had three inches’ worth. This was fun. But the absolute best part was today. I made a trip this morning—I couldn’t help myself; I could see the sign from our living room window; it was beckoning me—and got a few books for Lucia and for me ($6). Then we all went again later in the afternoon for their final-day sale of sales: you could fill an entire brown-paper grocery bag full of whatever books you found and pay only $3. There was a line, which we joined, and we each were given a bag. When the clock hit two o’clock, the start time of the $3-a-bag hoopla, the line swarmed into the rather small library garage, and people began stuffing their bags with books.

This wasn’t actually as insane as it might have been. It was crowded, but you could still get to the books, and since we had to be somewhat mindful of having to get these books home, we found we could actually browse and take our time and select thoughtfully (though there were people who were absolutely maniacally scooping books into their bags—many of them resellers, certainly). Because yesterday and this morning had been rainy, tons of great books were still around, and Andrew and I got just a wonderful assortment, including novels, a first edition Betty Crocker’s Guide to Easy Entertaining published in 1959, a Michelin guidebook to France from 1956, and a few ideal volumes that are going to be part of a Christmas project I’m not yet at liberty to reveal.

These pictures do not include the secret Christmas-project books, and this is only a sampling, not all the books we bought. And it strikes me suddenly as funny that this is our version of “moderation.” How on earth are we going to get these back to Brooklyn?

Anyway, to a bookish person like me, it was pretty thrilling today to be handed a bag and told to fill it with anything I wanted. I could have stayed there all afternoon, but, you know, Lucia needed a snack etc. At any rate, this was a very nice Mountain View day, and I’m sure the next few weeks will go quickly.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mountain View Days

We’ve had a lovely week in Mountain View. Temperatures in the seventies, cloudless blue skies, leaves crunching underfoot—a perfect California fall. Lucia and I have explored a bit further afield in the past couple of days. Yesterday we drove to Los Altos and walked around the cute downtown, full of nice shops and at least three fabulous toy stores. Today we went to the Stanford Shopping Center, an outdoor mall in Palo Alto, and browsed around for a bit. And Andrew and I have been sampling some of Castro Street’s restaurant offerings this week: ramen at a Japanese noodle house on Tuesday; burritos on Wednesday; and sushi tonight. All delicious.

I took Lucia to another free-trial gym class on Tuesday, at The Little Gym. Like the Gymboree class, Lucia was not amused. She did not want to crawl from the center of a circle to me, on the outside. She did not want to sit either on or underneath the gigantic parachute. She did not want to “walk” on a balance beam. She did not want to sit on a ball and bounce. She enjoyed a tunnel during “free exploration” time, and a soft padded ramp/slide, but the organized activities were not a hit. I can’t blame her, really. The child-Margo would have stuck to the tunnel too. Especially if a stash of books was inside.

The weather today is cooler; and next week is supposed to be in the forties and fifties. And so our imminent departure is less painful than it might otherwise be. We still don’t have plane tickets; but it looks like we’ll be heading East this weekend, to Jacksonville for Thanksgiving and then back to Brooklyn. I have a feeling this is not the last we’ll see of Mountain View—and the big revelation of this little journey has been that we feel very much okay with that. It’s nice here. But we don’t live here, and staying on indefinitely just doesn’t make sense. So now—on we go to winter.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Letter to Lucia: 13 Months

Dear Little One,

You’re over a year old now, considered, I believe, a toddler and not a baby. Phooey. You are still a baby, a dear one, a trying one, an adorable one, getting cuter and funnier every day. But as you are not actually yet “toddling,” and since you seem to be demonstrating absolutely no interest in it whatsoever, I will continue to see you as a baby.

You are very nearly weaned. We are down to about once a day—sometimes twice, but usually once. You are sleeping consistently through the night, from 7:30 to 7 or 7:30. This is blissful. I credit California; being here in unfamiliar surroundings helped break some of the breastfeeding associations, making weaning easier, and it was surprisingly painless to cut out the middle-of-the-night feeding. A week or so of Daddy coming to you when you cried, giving you your pacifier, and singing to you for a little while, and soon you weren’t bothering to wake up at all.

Your cutest new trick is “cuddle cuddle cuddle.” You have several beloved stuffed animals, and you love to crawl up to them, grab one, and squeeze it, sometimes falling on top of it, and then handing it to me for a cuddle, too. “Oh, snuggling,” I always say. “Cuddle, cuddle, cuddle.” Now, whenever you see a picture of a teddy bear in a book, you draw your little arms into your chest as though you’re hugging something and twist back and forth a few times. Cutest thing ever.

You still love the playground—the great one we have just across the street where you’ve spent your thirteenth month—but what you love most are the fall leaves that are strewn around. I’m not sure what kind of tree they’re from, but they’re brightly colored and long-stemmed, and you love to just hold and study them, hand them to me and then take them back. Yesterday you were holding one by its stem and just drawing it gently across your face and neck. We also have a kind of tree all around our apartment complex that drops absolutely enormous leaves—dinner-plate-sized. These, too, you love to hold and carry, and sometimes by the end of the day after a few trips outside our coffee table, too, is covered with them. The manic leaf-blowing gardeners don’t work weekends, so lots of leaves can pile up.

You are taxing me with your eating. I’ve written about this already, but please, little one, give me a little break on this. Chasing you with a fork has been a less-fun part of this past month.

You are happy here in California, and this unexpected month away has spared us one more month of cold weather. You’re a California baby—you’ve never experienced a real winter—and it will be interesting to see what you think. Crawling around in your bare babyfeet is soon to be a thing of the past, at least until next summer.

You are barking whenever you see dogs, and pointing at them, but aside from Mama and Dada, you haven’t yet said much. You understand nearly everything, however, whether I ask you to get Blankie, Bear, Monkey, your spiny ball, or pretty much any other toy. You look around for a moment, then crawl over to the toy determinedly and hold it up in triumph before snuggling it or putting it into your mouth.

Current favorite foods: grapes, teething biscuits, wheat crackers.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mountain View Weekend

It’s been an idyllic California weekend, though Lucia has the lovely souvenir of a black eye. There is nothing more awful-looking than a baby with a black eye, and she looks distinctly like she’s been in a bar fight. Other parents of toddlers, however, will surely understand that her bar-fight foe was actually a sudden loss of balance while cruising and an unfortunately placed coffee table.

Friday night we drove to Redwood City for dinner at the home of one of Andrew’s co-workers and his wife. Their house was just beautiful, with an amazing backyard that featured a Balinese daybed. Their house was stunningly decorated, full of statuary, textiles, masks, and other paraphernalia from the co-worker’s extensive work-related travels through South America. Needless to say, this couple does not yet have children. Everything was breakable, and stone, and heavy. Nothing was covered in yogurt-fingerprints. Toys were not underfoot. I had to watch Lucia with a hawk’s-eye…and yet I still could not stop her from taking her violent tumble. Poor baby. She recovered quickly, though, but her eye looks just horrendous. Fortunately the fall didn’t break the skin, but she hit just the right spot on her cheekbone to turn the whole area black-and-blue.

Saturday, the Clarks continued their own California exploration by coming to see us in Mountain View. Just like old times, we descended on a restaurant with our unruly group—eight now, requiring a very large table and two high chairs and a lot of extra get-settled time. We chose a Mediterranean restaurant with a mix of Greek and Turkish food, which had a beautiful garden—we ate outside on a gorgeous, sunny afternoon, surrounded by greenery and flowers and a tiled fountain. Lucia and Rowan chattered together for a while and even briefly held hands. Then we all went to our playground for a while and played with the astonishingly large leaves covering the grass at our apartment complex.

And today Andrew, Lucia, and I went to the farmer’s market—it’s nearly 70 degrees, sunny and beautiful, and the trees are all changing color; the market is, we confirmed today, likely the best one we’ve been to; I spotted some climbing vines on the way home with tiny, tiny leaves in brilliant red and orange; Lucia munched on a sample slice of organic Gala apple; and it’s terribly, terribly hard to figure out where we most want to be.

It is almost impossible to complain about Mountain View. This is a really nice place. And though it looks like we might be flying back East on Saturday as we’d originally planned, able to spend Thanksgiving with Andrew’s family and get back to NYC in time for holiday markets and other fun things, there’s a lot to argue for simply staying on here until his project is fully complete. Black eyes notwithstanding, Mountain View wouldn’t be a bad place to spend a couple more weeks.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rose Hip Tea

At the playground this week, two little girls—sisters—were waving at Lucia from across the playground, and echoing her little squeals back at her. Then they came over, holding hands, because they wanted to say hi. After some smiling and waving back and forth, the older sister said firmly, “We have to go now. We need to get things for my project. I’m doing a project on rose hip tea.”

“Are you making rose hip tea?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said matter-of-factly. “And I need to go buy rose hips.”

This seemed like a very California-y project. But I hope we’re able to send Lucia to a school where she can make rose hip tea, too.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Iron Chef, Silicon Valley

Poor sick baby. For the past couple of weeks, Lucia’s had a cold and cough, and yesterday it took a turn for the worse. So this morning found us at an urgent care center, where we saw a pediatrician and got some antibiotics. I hope this will help. There’s nothing sadder than a runny-nosed, coughing baby who’s also teething.

Perhaps because she’s not been feeling well, Lucia has decided that eating is just not for her these days. Three times a day, I embark on an Iron Chef-style contest to use whatever’s in the fridge and freezer (not much, in these temporary quarters) to make something she’ll actually a) put in her mouth, b) chew, and c) swallow. (Sometimes we get through one or two of the steps, only to then have her give the Mango Face and spit everything out.) There have been meals where I’ve prepared three or four things—an egg, toast with cheese, various cut-up fruits, pasta—only to have her deign each item unacceptable and toss it to the floor. And I can't just say too bad you don't like it, because we're trying to pack the pounds on this skinny minnie. She has to eat, toddler stubbornness or no toddler stubbornness.

So I’ve had to get creative. She rarely eats in her high chair now. Instead, she prefers to stand by my chair like a puppy, opening her mouth for a forkful of food and then sitting down and crawling a few paces to chew and eat before approaching the chair again. Sometimes I let her go play and just follow her around with the fork or a bits of food in my hand, slipping it into her mouth when she’s distracted. Sometimes she winds up back in the kitchen and eats what she threw off the table. (Thank goodness weekly housekeeping is part of the corporate apartment deal here.) The past couple of days, I’ve taken her to the playground and fed her lunch while she sits in the swing. The toughest sell of meals is dinner, which she usually just refuses. But we’ve found a trick that’s worked like a charm two nights in a row: Andrew carries her in the Bjorn and we walk down the bustling Castro Street while I feed her from a Tupperware container. Out in the world, interested in the sights and sounds, she eats everything I give her. Needless to say, mealtimes have surpassed clothes- and diaper-changing times as the most exhausting times of my day.

Are these healthy habits? Surely no. I'm a big believer in regular mealtimes, sitting together at the table, and so forth--or at least I was, until I realized the unfeasibility of this with a young'un who just has no interest in leaving her crawling and playing for sitting and eating. But forcing her to sit--forcing her to eat where she is when she clearly is resisting it--just seems a little pathological for a one-year-old. As long as she still thinks eating is low-key and fun and healthy, not stressful and trying and anxiety-producing, then I think we'll probably wind up on the right side of things in the end.

The bright side of all this is that she is gaining weight. We weighed her at the Clarks’ house last weekend and today at the doctor’s, and she’s over 17 pounds! Today she was 17 pounds 14 ounces, but that was with her clothes on and after a successful breakfast of French toast topped with a banana/olive oil/syrup mixture. Nonetheless, I’m confident we’ll pass our weigh-in.

And now to bed. I just took a soak in this apartment complex’s hot tub—relaxing in the cold night, with leaves floating on the surface—and I’ll seize sleep while I can.

Monday, November 08, 2010

California Social

Lucia was a little social butterfly last week. Thursday, our friends Julie and baby Allison drove down from Auburn (near Roseville) to spend the afternoon with us. Allison is just five weeks older than Lucia, and Lucia had such a good time playing with her—they actually seemed to play together, rather than just side by side. We spent time at the playground and here at the apartment, and there was lots of giggling and passing toys back and forth and standing at the window, playing with toys on the windowsill. I met Julie in prenatal yoga—and it’s always been fun to see how the girls have grown over this past year-plus. Maybe someday they’ll be transcontinental pen pals.

Saturday we spent the day with the Clarks in Napa, happily revisiting wine-country territory we thought we’d left behind. The grapevines are all gold and red right now, and the scenery in wine country is gorgeous—since we missed the inferno of the summer, we can look at the landscape, including the fully brown hills and dry grasses, with nothing but admiration. It was wonderful to see all the kids again. Henry and Elena took me on an excited tour of the house, pointing out such wonders as the bathtub and the glider. The last time we saw Rowan, he was just a tiny infant—now he’s a smiling, crawling little baby. Lucia giggled and grinned as H. and E. hugged her, tickled her, and handed her toys to play with. At one point they were by themselves playing in another room, completely happy. And I had the experience of having two little babies in my lap at once. Perhaps this is a sign that Andrew and I need to catch up with the Clarks and get some more children in this house...

It was definitely strange to be driving home from Napa again, especially since we passed the entrance to the road we usually took home and continued on toward San Jose. Old haunts, but new, too.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Playground Angst

Three years ago, Andrew and I got married at The Summit; now, three years later, we’re across the country (still), but on the plane from JFK to SFO we fell into conversation with the Aussie couple sitting in front of us who’d spent three weeks in the United States, including a stop in Farmington to see Fallingwater. We told them we’d gotten married at a place called The Summit—and they said that’s where they’d stayed. Small world. And three fast years!

It hardly feels like November here, with temperatures in the mid-seventies, sunny blue skies, lush greenery everywhere. Some leaves are changing, though—at the playground, Lucia’s favorite activity is crawling around and picking up all the fallen leaves, examining each one carefully before handing it to me and seeking the next one.

Our lovely playground, however, sometimes seems to me to be the site for some psychoanalytical issues I’ve never addressed. I’ve mentioned before the abject fear and loathing I had as a child for other, brasher children who would ask if Molly and I wanted “to play.” I never wanted to play. I wanted to stay inside and read. And it is hard not to feel this exact same mixture of powerlessness, shyness, horror, and claustrophobia sometimes when I’m with Lucia and other children approach and ask to play with her, or when they take an interest in her toys. It should be noted that I never feel this way when it’s another little baby with a mom approaching Lucia curiously; I am always, absolutely always, up for conversation with other mothers and interaction with other babies. I’m talking about the older children—the three- and four-year-olds—whose parents seem nowhere to be found.

Take yesterday, for example. After seeing Lucia’s instant adoration for a Hot Wheels car another child was playing with a few days ago, I bought her one at Wal-Mart yesterday, and she clutched it obsessively in her fists the entire way to the playground. But as soon as she’d she plopped down on the spongy fake pavement by the playground equipment, a little boy approached and asked to play with her car. Lucia did not want to give it up. The boy snatched it. “It’s okay to let him see it,” I said weakly. His mother, seeing this exchange, ran over, returned the car to Lucia, and scolded the now screaming, melting-down fiend-child.

Besides the unwanted-playground-interaction problem, this is an example of my own need to MAN UP and stop other little kids from stealing my baby’s toys. I’m curious about whether there’s a good way to do this. I can’t very well scold the other child myself, so I find myself resorting to a ridiculous routine that does Lucia no justice whatsoever, encouraging Lucia to “share” her toy and then, modulating my voice, requesting that the other child also “share” her own toy back to her. It’s one thing when two babies are playing and grabbing and exchanging objects in a friendly, curious way; outright toy-snatching by and older kid is another. I somehow felt just as powerless as Lucia yesterday, looking on sadly as another kid ran off with her beloved new car. Which is crazy, since I’m the mama, and I wanted to say in a loud, mama-bear voice, GIVE IT BACK TO HER NOW. SHE’S A BABY. (Actually, maybe this is exactly what I should say.)

Also yesterday, long after the fiend-child left, Lucia was playing happily, standing at a bench and alternately examining leaves and her Hot Wheels. Two young children—likely four or so years old—approached and began playing with her, letting her hand them her car and then handing it back to her. All very fun to Lucia, who grinned and grinned. They were cute, playing little games with her, delighting in the little touches she’d make to their shirts or hands. Still, it went on a long time. Then the little girl wanted me to draw shapes in wet sand, which required the toting of a bucket of water from a fountain to the sand pit, etc. And then they wanted to help put Lucia back into her stroller. And then they followed us out of the playground, nearly to the street. I had no idea where their parents were, but I encouraged them to return to the playground. Each time I turned around, however, there they were. “We’re following you,” the little girl announced gleefully. Well, yes, they were, but there was the street, and then a long pathway to our apartment far from the playground. “Just…stay there,” I kept saying. “Stay there and we’ll turn around and wave.” Eventually, they did stop, and we made our escape.

Sheesh. Sometimes it really feels like I’m not grown-up enough to be a mom. But now that Lucia’s in the playground stage, where interactions with other kids are inevitable, I really need to learn how to manage these encounters. I can’t be the mom who yells at other people’s kids; but I can’t be the one who doesn’t care that they run into the street, either. And I definitely can’t be the one that forces Lucia to just stand there quietly while others encroach on her toys or her space without her consent, simply because standing quietly was usually my way as a kid. No more of that. I’m the mama now.

Monday, November 01, 2010

A Spooky Realization

Happy birthday, happy Halloween. For my birthday Friday we went out to a great Indian restaurant; for Halloween tonight we went to a party at Andrew’s boss’s house. The rest of the weekend has been strangely relaxing—gloriously so—with a nice lunch of pho on Saturday afternoon (Lucia had her first taste of Vietnamese food) and the farmer’s market today. We got groceries, ordered pizza, took walks, played, read. It seemed so quiet, so civilized, so normal, so…nice.

One week of Mountain View down. And, I hope, infinite more to go! Ha! Things have taken an interesting turn! Instead of feeling like our return to California is a burden and a horror, we are slightly horrified to realize that this time around we…like it. It feels treacherous even to write this, seeing as how the past three years have been more or less a long rant against the Golden State. But the thing is—and I think I made this clear in my summing-up-our-CA-years posts—we did grow to have a certain fondness for certain California things and places. We were so miserable for so long, but at a certain point—likely coinciding with our pregnancy and baby and move to Roseville—things just settled into comfortable settledness, in our lovely house and lovely backyard and everything we could possibly need just a five-minute drive away. In the end we left so quickly—it was literally just a few weeks from job offer to cross-country move—that it was almost impossible to register all that we were leaving behind.

Anyway, we just feel relaxed. It’s very strange, and it happened very quickly. There are redwoods outside our living room windows. There is a bright blue sky, high-sixties sunny days. All week Andrew’s been home earlier than he is in New York, simply because the office is a quick five-minute drive away. There is a spectacular year-round farmer’s market. This weekend we just relaxed at home (poor Lucia has a cold and cough)—and though we also relax at home in Brooklyn, this just felt somehow more relaxing, more laidback. And I’m not sure why this is. Is it because we’re removed from the errands and tasks that go along with living in an actual household, rather than a “furnished” corporate apartment with exactly one frying pan? Is it because hopping in the car to go somewhere doesn’t involve dreading the search for parking once we return? Is it because there is simply more space in which to move and breathe?

I don’t know. Surely, we don’t want to move back to California. Surely we don’t. The soul-suckingly-exhausting cross-country flight with a one-year-old is reason enough to stay back East. So what does it all mean? What do these thoughts and feelings add up to? I have no answers, not yet. But this week Lucia and I will make a daily trip to a great playground across the street, where she has discovered the sand pit. We’ll pick up some interesting snacks at the Asian grocery store nearby. We’ll hop in the car and explore the Daiso store I discovered today near Trader Joe’s. We’ll walk down Castro Street, browse in a used bookstore, have a cup of coffee (an indulgence I’m once again allowing myself now that we’re almost weaned). And it won’t be bad. It won’t be bad. At. All.