Friday, August 27, 2010

What do you think of your brother ?

Continuing on the discussion about how Aiden is coping with Sol turning his world upside down. If you ask him what he thinks about his brother, his answer really depends on how things have gone up until then. By this we mean, how many hours has mama spent playing legos with him or how many stories she's read to him or in general what proportion of her time has been divided between the two bros. If he's in a good mood, then he loves his brother and wants to teach him all sorts of good stuff (mostly how to play legos), if not, he'll tell us that he wants to put some major hurt on him or send him away. In this video he's being very honest about his feelings, but at least he wants to send him to his favorite place.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The next fashion trend ?

Anytime we see one of these punk kids walking down the street wearing lowriders down to their knees showing off their cool boxers, we wonder if one day we'll be watching one of our boys walking out the front door looking just like that. Here's a preview of what we can expect to see in a couple of years. Who needs lowriders when you can flip em around backwards.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I want to eat his dinner

A question that we get asked a lot these days is 'How is Aiden dealing with the new arrival?'. It was something that we worried about a little bit as well. W didn't know how he would deal with a new sibling, especially given that he had Angela's complete attention for his entire life.

We tried to prepare him as much as we could before Sol was born. He knew for a long time that there was going to be company very soon. In fact he even referred to the in utero baby as a sister. He would sing to the baby and tell us what all he'd teach her when she'd come out. Angela also rented some books from the library about having siblings which he'd question quite a lot. One other thing that really helped was getting a doll for him to practice. He named the doll 'cookie' and would play big brother to her. We had installed the baby's car seat next to his, a month in advance just so he gets used to it. He'd take cookie with him to the park and she'd get a ride in his little stroller. Having watched him with other babies, we knew he'd make an excellent brother, but we'd only find out for sure when it really happened.

So when Sol arrived we had our fingers crossed. As you might have seen from his initial reaction, he was really excited to see Sol. He took his own sweet time to get close to him but soon wanted to play with him and pick him up. In fact, sometimes he gets so excited that he doesn't quite know what to do with Sol. Pretty much every day he asks to hold Sol and it's really precious to watch how gentle he is with his little brother. He hasn't yet quite come to terms with hearing Sol cry. At first he rushes to Sol and tries to sing to him and when that doesn't seem to work, he raises the decibel level a few notches in an effort to drown out Sol's cries.

But of course we knew there'd be times when he'd show us the other side. There's been a number of times when he's demonstrated to us that he's not too happy with the situation. He has any number of ways of displaying his displeasure. Sometimes he pretends to be a baby and says that he needs to be held, rocked, nursed or in plain words 'I need some attention'. And not surprisingly it's seems to be around the same time when Sol needs Angela. If these indirect ways don't work, he'll ask us very direct questions like, 'Will you spend time with me ?' or 'Do you love me more than the baby?'. On a couple of occasions he's even threatened to take matters into his own hands with some pretty radical ideas. He's expressed various desires like 'I want to bang the baby', 'I want to jump on top of him' and best of all, 'I want to eat his dinner'. When it comes to these threats he's an equal opportunity tough guy. On a couple of occasions he's told both of us 'I want to throw you into the garbage can'. But so far these have been empty threats and he's not actually followed through with them. We are hoping it stays that way. There's only been one time when he's had a complete blow out which is quite natural given that there's a lot of thoughts that must be going through his tiny head and he just had to let some steam off.

We have been making a conscious effort to spend some quality time with him everyday so he doesn't feel like he's getting the short end of the stick. Keeping to his regular schedule of parks and other activities with his friends as much as possible also helps . We also try to get him involved with some of Sol's activities to give him a sense of ownership. You can already tell that Sol's going to love having him as a big brother and will probably be his shadow for the first few years.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I'm loving these hand pictures. I still can't get over how small he is. I'm trying to memorize how soft Sol's skin feels and what he smells like because I know he wont be a baby for long.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The baby's name is ?

Aiden's favorite word these days is 'poopie'. Regardless of what the topic may be, he somehow manages to inject poopie into the conversation. So when I asked him what the baby's names was, the answer didn't surprise me at all. The only saving grace here is that, unlike the rest of us, he uses it as a term of endearment. But I am still not sure that Sol would appreciate it at all, so it's good that we have it all documented for them to sort it out later on in life.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Big Bro meeting his little bro for the very first time

So when Angela started her labor we had asked Quita to take Aiden out for dinner. Sol was born while they were out for dinner and by the time we got home that night Aiden was fast asleep. So when he woke up the next morning and came into our bedroom as usual, he had no idea that there was a new person in the house. This video captures his reaction when he first discovered his little brother.

Which is which?

Can you tell which one of these is Aiden and which one is Sol ?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More about Sol

I wanted to add more about Sol's name.

The end of my pregnancy was very emotionally difficult. I struggled with so much darkness and anxiety and overwhelming feelings of loss. Pregnancy is supposed to be a joyous and beautiful time of anticipation and it was hard to accept that I wasn't experiencing those feelings. I worried about being able to connect with our new baby and about his health. I worried about being able to deliver him safely into this world. I worried that I had made a mistake in wanting another child so desperately. I worried about how Aiden would experience the change. I was a mess. I'm crying as I write this just remembering how broken I felt.

When things got really dark, people started appearing out of nowhere helping me. An friend of a friend nurtured and comforted me and became a friend of mine. My sister-in-law listened and reassured me I wasn't gong crazy. My mom moved in and simplified my life immensely. A another friend offered to support me with her gifts during and after the birth. Playgroup friends showed me you can be a loving and graceful mama to more than one. Someone unexpected left a gift here or a note there. It's not easy for me to accept help but it really felt like there were angels all around supporting me when I needed it most.

All babies are miracle babies but Sol feels particularly magic to me because after all the darkness, his birth was everything we wanted and more. The moment I held him, I fell in love. It literally felt like the clouds had cleared and the sun came out.

Welcome to the world little Sol. We are overjoyed you've made it here safe and we are so blessed you joined our family.

Did you pick a name yet ?

Just like with Aiden, we hadn't picked a name at birth because we were hoping for a little inspiration from the baby. You'd think that after the experience from the last time, folks would be used to it. Not so. We'd get very curious looks anytime we mentioned the fact the baby didn't have a name yet. And we won't mention some family members who'd come up with all sorts of reasons of why we should get on with the program and come up with a name already.

So after a week of the baby being born, we finally settled on a name. We went through the same rigorous process as last time. And the winner is 'Sol Emmanuel De Souza'.

We were looking for names that meant a few different things like light, peace, wisdom etc. Sol in Portuguese and Spanish means 'Sun'. When Aiden was born, he lit up our lives like never before, and we didn't think that we'd ever experience that feeling again, but this baby has brought more light into our lives, so the name seemed apt. In Hebrew it means 'Peace'. It's also a form of Solomon who of course wrote the book on wisdom. 'Emmanuel' in Hebrew means 'God is with us'. And of course 'De Souza' is his clan name :)

Sol's pet name at home is 'Mijo'. It's a short form of 'Mi hijo' or 'My son' in Spanish. I hope he doesn't ever look it up on the Urban dictionary because I just did, and found out that in Portuguese it means 'piss' (Eu mijo na tua cabe├ža = I piss in your head). Must have something to do with the rivalry between those two neighbors. Why else would it be a term of endearment in one language and a bodily fluid in another that's closely related to it ? Anyway, we picked Mijo in honor of his Quita who uses it to refer to the boys in the family affectionately. Quita moved in with us to help us get through this transition and we don't know how we'd deal with it without her. We are thinking that we'll hide her suitcase when she decides to leave :(

Monday, August 9, 2010

In and Out Baby

Now that we've had a few days since the birth, I figured that I'd jot down my version of the birth story before my memory fades. It goes without saying that Mommy reserves the right to correct any aberrations that may sneak in here. After all, she's the main actor here and I'm just the supporting cast.

Our due date was August 9 (which BTW is today) but since Aiden had arrived six days early, we were on the watch out for early warning signs. Angela pinged me around 3:55 p.m. on Monday, August 2nd to let me know that there may be some excitement coming soon but nothing urgent. By the time I got home the excitement had died down a little but we still timed the contractions for a couple of hours to gauge the frequency. I stayed up a little late to watch a DVD called 'Comfort measures by Penny Simkin' because I figured that it may come in handy anytime soon. I had some redeeming to do from the last time and it was for this reason that Angela had lined up not one but two Doulas to help her labor at home as much as possible.

I decided to stay at home the next day just in case. Most of the day went by without much of a fuss and we even managed to do some last minute shopping. Around 2 p.m., I went into my office in the back to get some work done and Angela pinged me around 5 p.m. to let me know that she was having some strong contractions. Since she was pinging me from a laptop, I figured that it can't be that urgent. But when I moseyed back into the house I saw that the level of excitement had gone up a few notches. What I didn't realize at the time was that it was about to go through the roof in a hurry and that my nerves would be put to a stress test like they'd never been before.

We asked Angela's Mom to take Aiden out for dinner so that he doesn't get too disturbed. No sooner did they close the door around 5:35 p.m. did her water break. From here on it was one hell of a roller coaster. I was on the phone with the doulas and midwife, packing up the car and trying to comfort Angela all at the same time. By now Angela had progressed into active labor and needed to be transported to the birth center ASAP where highly trained medical professionals could attend to her as opposed to a frazzled IT guy. I somehow managed to corral her into the car at 6:15 p.m. and dreaded the thought of hitting work traffic. Fortunately the traffic was clear and we got to the birth center at 6:35 pm.

The midwives immediately checked her and found that she was into transition and at 7 cm dilation. When they told her that the tub would take 10 minutes to be prepared, Angela didn't pay heed and said that she was getting into the tub, water or no water. She got into the tub which was by then half full and was soon actively pushing the baby out. By now I had gotten into the tub along with her sister Helena. Within about ten minutes of pushing, we could tell that the baby was about to make his grand entrance.

At this time I should mention that despite my protestations, Angela had put into our birth plan that I was to catch the baby. When the moment arrived, I was a little freaked out about actually going through with it and it took a little coaxing from the midwives. At precisely 6:58 p.m. our beautiful angel dived into the water and with a little help from midwife Julia and aunty Helena, I was able to catch the baby under water and place it on Angela's chest. It was by far the most awesome feeling that I had ever experienced and I was glad that Angela insisted on overriding my preferences :)

We then got to spend some precious private moments with him during which time Angela was able to initiate breast feeding. The midwives then had him checked and weighed and handed back to us. We got something to eat and after resting for a couple of hours, decided to head back home around 10 p.m. We got home around 10:15 p.m. by when Aiden was fast asleep. We spent the next few hours just marveling at our new baby before dozing off to sleep.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chocilla #2

A quick post to let everyone know that our second baby arrived yesterday around 7 pm. He was born at Sage Femme Midwifery in San Francisco and like his big bro, had a beautiful water birth and this time Daddy actually picked up some guts to catch him in the tub. It was a pretty awesome feeling to catch your baby like a fish! Mommy, Baby (yet unnamed) and big bro Aiden are doing great. More stories will follow later (including how we almost had him on highway 101), but here's the first picture of the new born. He looks a lot like Aiden when he was born. See