Not Enough Hours in a Day

Who knew life can be so much busier with a kid? Well, we kinda knew…

So it’s been over 3 months since our last post, and we’ve stopped trying to make an update at the end of the month to coincide with Ethan’s birthday after he had turned one. I think he’s officially a toddler, although honestly I don’t really know the exact age at which a baby is considered a toddler. We waited patiently month after month for each of Ethan’s developmental milestones, and anxiously anticipated his ability to walk. Well, as they say, be careful what you wish for!

Our little guy is not only walking around, but well, let’s say he walks with one speed – full throttle. Either he has a ton of energy or he just loves to speed through everywhere at break neck speed as if he is on a sugar high. As daddies we follow closely behind with nervous concern that he might… SPLAT! … too late. Recovering quickly and being the super baby that he is, Ethan quickly gets up and is right back on his feet running as if nothing happened. Nope, our guy knows no fear. Very rarely would he even shed a tear even if he accidentally bumps his head against something. He’d simply swat at his head as if there’s a fly buzzing around, and in seconds he’s running around, giggling and laughing. We’ve been told that often times kids cry when they fall only because the adults watching them let out loud gasps and shrieks that end up scaring them. So we’ve learned to control our own almost involuntary vocal reflexes and instead strain to calmly walk up to help him up. Seems to do the trick…

Just this week though, Ethan lost his footing and fell head first into the back of the dining table chair. Our au pair could not react fast enough and well, Ethan received his very first serious head bump. Obviously traumatic at the time, we were happy to see that our au pair was able to regain her composure by evening and finally stopped apologizing. Oh, and as for Ethan, after a couple minutes of TLC from our nanny he was happily playing with his toys, laughing and giggling while sporting his new decorative 3D head tattoo.

As tough of a kid as he is, Ethan has now learned how to turn on the waterworks on command. Take something from him that he likes – BAM! Niagara Falls couldn’t flow water fast enough. And that expression, well, it just melts your heart. A quick hug, some soothing words, and even better, giving him back what he wants and everything’s back to normal. Hmm, I wonder if us daddies are being manipulated?!? No way!!!, kids don’t do that, do they? Yesterday Ethan lost his balance while just standing and fell forward with his right knee slamming onto the hardwood floor. Obviously suffering from the pain feedback, the little guy gets up, puts his hands on his knee as if to caress away the sting, looks at me with furled eyebrows and puckered lips, and while whimpering, hobbles over to lift his leg onto my lap as if to say, “Daddy, ouchie, please kiss and make the pain go away!” Well, quick hug and he was speeding off like Lightning McQueen.

So what else has been going on with us these last 3 months? What could have kept us so busy that we couldn’t even write a simple blog update monthly like we used to do? Are we such wimps as parents that we couldn’t even handle one little toddler? I mean, what about those admirable parents with (gasp) 2 kids or even (shriek) 3 bundles of joy?!?! Well, honestly Ethan cannot be used as an excuse. We fully appreciate the fact that Ethan is an amazingly easy-to-care-for infant. I mean, at 4 months he was sleeping through the night for 5-6 hours and by 6 months it was 8 hour runs. For the last several months, it’s more like 10-11 hours. Lights out at 9-10pm and Ethan’s Daddies can finally unwind after a really long work day and be able to sleep until 7-8am next morning. I mean, even when Ethan got sick with the cold/flu (and it’s only happened like twice), he was ever the best patient and took his medicine and drank as much milk as he could.

Well, there’s really no excuse other than his Daddies wanting to enjoy time with their amazing precious little boy and loving him each and every minute of the day. Oh, and did I mention, for his first birthday we got Ethan’s a new house. Yup, we decided our old place was just too small for Speedy Gonzalez and he needed space to run. Our 3 month long search finally culminated in a intense bidding war from which Ethan’s Daddies emerged triumphant with our family dream home with a view in which to raise our son. From the way Ethan explores his new home with unceasing curiosity, we think he has given his stamp of approval as well.

We also welcomed our new au pair to our home. Our previous au pair completed her one-year assignment with us and we were very sad to see her go. We were worried how Ethan might take to the new face in the house and concerned that he might have separation anxiety. But our new au pair is great, and Ethan easily took to her and in fact has grown quite fond of our new family member.

Alright, I’m sure you’re tired of reading boring text by now, so on to the obligatory pictures!

John with our new au pair Danhua in at Twin Peaks in SF

John with our new au pair in at Twin Peaks in SF

The Family at Twin Peaks in SF

The Family at Twin Peaks in SF

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"Daddy it's really cold!" - Under the Golden Gate Bridge

“Daddy it’s really cold!” – Under the Golden Gate Bridge

Yup, one speed....

Yup, one speed….

"What's so funny? Haven't you ever had a monkey on your back?"

“What’s so funny? Haven’t you ever had a monkey on your back?”

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Ethan loves to point and say "Tis!"

Ethan loves to point and say “Tis!”

The Family at Lombard St. in SF


The Family at Lombard St. in SF

At Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge

At Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge

"Yay! I can run!!!"

“Yay! I can run!!!”

At John's Company Family Day

At John’s Company Family Day

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Celbrating Ethan's First B-day

Celebrating Ethan’s First B-day

My first birthday cake!


My first birthday cake!

Our good friends George and Leon at Ethan's Birthday dinner

Our good friends G. & L. at Ethan’s Birthday dinner

Aunt Will/Kim and Family at Ethan's 1st birthday dinner

Uncle W., Aunt K. and Family at Ethan’s 1st birthday dinner

The Family with Uncle Tony

The Family with Uncle T.

Venus & Leonard

Aunt V. & Uncle L. at Ethan’s birthday dinner

Well, wouldn't you be impatient at your first birthday cake?

Well, wouldn’t you be impatient at your first birthday cake?

Wow, my first lai cee (red envelope).

Wow, my first lai cee (red envelope).

Ethan and Evelyn’s First Birthday

  It’s been an amazing year. Today we celebrate Ethan’s 1st birthday, and remember fondly the birth of Evelyn. It’s hard to believe time has gone by so fast and both John and I have also turned 1 year old as new Dads. One year ago we found ourselves on the other side of the world having just arrived at New Delhi, learning of our children’s birth while we were still in the air. We were overjoyed but cautiously apprehensive at the same time, knowing there’s a chance our celebration might be bittersweet.

  Our first sight of the precious little ones in the NICU was unforgettable. There was a rush of joy and bewilderment as we savored our moments with them. For a moment in time, nothing else really mattered to us. We were in our own world with our pride and joy, marveling at the miracle of life and the beauty of creation. We had become fathers, and we couldn’t wait to bring them home.

  On this special date we shall cherish every year, we celebrate the arrival of Ethan and Evelyn, who have made our dream of becoming a family a reality. Although Evelyn is no longer with us, I shall dedicate her loving memory to a later post. For today, it will all be about how their births have transformed our lives, and moreover, how for the past year Ethan has brought more joy to us than we have ever experienced so far.

  I knew I liked children very much, but never thought I’d ever be able to find the love of my life, much less have kids of my own. May 29th, 2012 will forever mark the beginning of a new chapter in my life – I became a Dad. In an instant my perspective of myself, life, and the world changed. As I looked at the two precious miracles of wonder, gently caressing their tiny fingers and toes, waves of mixed emotions overcame me. The sheer joy and elation as I watched Ethan lay soundly asleep are tempered by fear and worry over Evelyn’s poor prognosis. My heart ached at the sight of tubes in her mouth and nose, only to be comforted by the tranquility of Ethan’s peaceful and rythmic breathing.

  The oppressive heat of the Indian summer strained the City’s electric grid, and there were times when the power went off shutting the fans and AC units in the NICU. Clad only in diapers I worried that it is still just way too hot for poor Ethan and Evelyn. But soundly they slept, and when they each opened their eyes for the first time, it was just magical! There’s something about becoming a parent that’s innately instinctive. There’s a strong desire to protect, to nurture, to love. An instant connection forms between parent and child that is stronger than any bond, without conditions. True to the adage, you don’t know what it’s like being a parent until you actually experience becoming one.

  We were so fortunate to bring Ethan back home healthy and strong. Stepping through the front door to the house for the first time with our precious gift was surreal. Instantly the ambiance in the house transformed to one not unlike sitting by a warm fireplace on a snowy winter’s night. Over the ensuing months, we got our routine down and surprises in Ethan’s development tested our knowledge in Baby Care 101. Sleeping through the night, turning over, sitting, standing, crawling, eating solid foods, and finally, walking – Ethan achieved so many remarkable milestones this past year. He has brought John and me so much happiness and joy.

  We are definitely planning a big birthday bash soon for the little guy with all our friends and family. But for today, it will be a quiet and intimate celebration just between Ethan and his Daddies, as we spend this day reflecting on just how much we love our special bundle of joy, and remembering the memory of Evelyn in what could have been.

  To our dearest son and daughter, both of you shall always have special places in our hearts. Happy Birthday from your proud Daddies.

Ethan&Evelyn_heart

Baby’s First Flu

  Well, despite being vigilant, there’s just no way avoiding it. Obviously one of us brought the nasty bug home and gave it to poor little Ethan, who got his first serious illness at a week shy of his 10 month birthday. Look at his poor runny nose…

  Yup, that and a cough and a 104°F fever that didn’t break for almost 2 days, suppressed only by repeated doses of baby Tylenol. The little trooper, as miserable as he was, he still managed to sleep through the nights – and days – cuz his little body was using all his energy to fight off this nasty bugger. Luckily, once the fever went, the little guy sprung right back into action.

  Of course, things were complicated by teething pains. Those two big front chompers are bursting out, and well, incessant drooling did cause a terrible cheek rash that no amount of  aquaphor and lotion was able to quell. Aww, see those sad puppy eyes saying: “Daddy, Papa, my cheek hurts.”

Poor guy, finally he’s got some hair too, but short of slathering on some styling gel, it looks like he has a perpetual bout of bad hair days.

“What?!?! Stop staring at my frizzy, electrifying hair!”

What’s more, after an entire week being cooped up essentially in his crib and room, no one can blame him for suffering a bit of cabin fever.

“HELLOOOOO??!?!  Let me out, let me out, LET ME OUT!”

Luckily, he is easily distracted… “What was that you say? You’ve got some apple sauce?!?!”

  These days apple sauce is about the only thing he’s willing to eat though. Since being sick his milk intake has plummeted, and weight-wise he has also shed a pound or so. As worried as we are about dehydration, we’re happy if he’s willing to take in 2-3oz of milk each feeding, but his daily totals only add up to barely 1/3 of what he’s used to eat. Hopefully, his appetite will come back in a couple of days or so.

  We’re just relieved that he’s feeling much better and back to his old self. He crawls like a super baby and easily gets up on his knees and feet when he braces against something. Cruising freely should be around the corner soon. What we find amazing is that these little milestones – sitting, crawling, climbing, standing, etc. – appear to occur relatively suddenly. One day out of the blue you just see him do something new. It’s just so amazing, this human instinct, the innate developmental ability.

  Oh, and did I mention he’s beginning to verbalize “Dah-dee” and “Bahhh-bahhhh”? Happy 10-month birthday sweetie!

A Sad Day

I struggled about whether to make a post or not, but at the end I think it is important for us to make an acknowledgment. Today we found out a heartbreaking and devastating news -  our friend Bernadette, whom we met when we were in Delhi, lost her precious superhero Hayden (aka Master Chief) yesterday. She has chronicled her inspirational and admirable story in her blog, Rasta Less Traveled.

We met Bernadette in the NICU at the Delhi Newborn Center where her twins Hayden and Scarlett were being cared for along with our newborns Ethan and Evelyn. Despite enduring her own challenges at the time she made time to come meet us and cheered us up when we told her of Evelyn’s poor prognosis. In fact, her upbeat demeanor and optimistic encouragement really helped us feel better in our own trying times. We also were so fortunate to have seen both Hayden and Scarlett for the first time.

As parents who have also lost a child, we empathize with Bernadette and her family in this most difficult and heart-wrenching time in their lives. However, we also recognize we cannot begin to truly fathom her loss as our journey cannot compare to what she went through in order to have a family. Words simply cannot begin to describe her trials and tribulations, and certainly can’t do justice to the super-human emotional strength and unfaltering optimism with which she carried herself so admirably through everything. Bernadette is a Super Mom in every respect.

We also found out today to our surprise Hayden Michael shares the same middle name as Ethan, which makes our acquaintance with Bernadette that much more serendipitous.  We were immensely privileged to have met this amazing woman, and feel so blessed that we had the opportunity to see Hayden in person all the way on the other side of the world.

Fly high and reach for the stars, little superhero Hayden.

Can You Believe It? 9 Months!

We just can’t get enough of Ethan.

Our sweetie pie grows more adorable to us each day. What joy it is for us to come home and be greeted by this handsome face! Yes, we are absolutely speaking from the point-of-view of extremely biased parents, but then again, what parent doesn’t? Our little guy is healthy, engaging, happy, and growing. Notice anything special about these pictures?


In case you missed it, look closely at that smile.. see the pearly whites? Yup, those two chompers sprouted almost 2 months ago, but now they light up that smile even more. Oh, and here’s another neat trick.

Yup, give him something he finds interesting (usually anything red, new, has strings, or has an apple logo), and he’ll crawl after it with lightning speed. He also knows how to sit up on his own, and clamber up onto his knees (time to lower the crib more).

He has a healthy appetite and has tried even more exotic foods like pears, cantaloupe, kiwi, and papaya. However, his favorite remains the fresh applesauce. Oh, and we also discovered something else, Ethan has an amazing set of lungs. No longer shall he just entertain us with cutesy little utterances of baby goo goo ga ga. Now he knows that when he wants attention, he’ll bellow out one heck of a shriek that would give the fat lady a run for her money!

 And see, we aren’t the only ones that think Ethan is one handsome chap. Can you say “Mirror, mirror on the wall?”