Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Becoming abuelitos...

When I was in college, I spent a year drinking beer and going to clubs studying abroad in Chile. One day, a group of friends and I decided to go skiing; after all, the Andes were practically our backyard. Having never skied before, I did the logical thing and decided to skip the lesson; fly down the mountain at full speed forcing the other skiers to swiftly move out my way; and throw myself unto the ground in order to stop because I couldn't figure out how to hit the breaks. As I laid in the snow waiting for a kind soul to help me up (the skis were bigger than my body and I couldn't get up on my own), I thought to myself..."What the hell is a girl from Cuba trying to ski for? I am from the tropics, I have no business being on this damn mountain!" And on that day, I vowed to limit my interaction with nature to the beach.

For some reason, I had to have a near death experience to realize something the rest of my family had long ago figured out. We are all beach bums. Yet, nobody, and I mean NOBODY, loves the beach as much as Uli, my father. Put that man near some water with a cold beer and a towel, and he is in heaven. So, you can imagine his frustration and disappointment when Big E refused to go to the beach throughout my entire pregnancy because: "Our little girl can go into labor at any moment, we can't abandon her!" No, it didn't matter that I had a completely normal and uneventful pregnancy -- Big E was convinced that if she left the city, I would go into labor, even at 20 weeks gestation. When I suggested they go on vacation after the baby was born, she looked at me with disbelief and said, "What? And abandon my baby? Are you crazy??" Yea, that's right, she said "my baby".

And that is why things got a little bit complicated after Luki's birth. With wonderful intentions and Luki's best interest at heart, Big E and Uli overwhelmed Ton Ton and I with their interventions. They were a tremendous help during those first few weeks; but at times we just wanted our space, and the grandparents just would not leave. We had a talk with them about it, things were said, feelings got hurt, and the situation was tense for a little while.

So, you can imagine my surprise when Big E announced two weeks ago that she and Uli would be taking a last minute trip to the Dominican Republic in a few days. She didn't even ask if she could take Luki with her!

Ton Ton and I took a huge sigh or relief. They were starting to realize that, as grandparents, it isn't crucial for them to always be near the baby...Yay!

Off they went for an entire week at the beach -- my father was thrilled. I think Luki missed them a lot, especially the theatrical production they put on every time they're around him (it involves lots of singing, whistling, and talking in funny voices with fake accents). And, upon their return, they confessed that they too missed him terribly.

But, they realized that it could be done; they survived a week without Luki, and they are better grandparents for it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Eh...John has always been my favorite Beatle anyway.

Once upon a time, when waking up before noon on a Saturday was sacrilegious and our shot glasses had not yet been replaced with baby bottles, Ton Ton and I went to Vegas. Shortly after our arrival, as we gazed out the window of our pyramid shaped hotel, we laid eyes on a giant billboard announcing that Paul McCartney would be playing Sin City the very next night. Sir Paul McCartney! Needless to say, my husband crapped his pants. Two minutes later, we were standing at the ticket booth inquiring about availability and prices. Good news! There were two tickets left, yay! Bad news...they were $250 a piece. Ton Ton was willing to pay $500 of money we didn't have to see one of the Beatles, but I refused. In the end, I won, and we didn't go to the show. Instead, we played the slot machines, won about $800 and lost it all before getting on the plane home. Yes, we even gambled in the airport.

Anyway... ever since that trip, the name Paul McCartney can't come up in casual conversation without Ton Ton giving me the evil eye and saying that not going to that show was "the biggest mistake of his life, Paul is old and he can die at any moment." Oh, my Ton Ton and his penchant for overreacting...

Ok, so fast-forward to this past June: I'm thirty million weeks pregnant and we find out that the Beatles' front man will be playing Atlanta on August 15 with much more accessible ticket prices. Ton Ton starts doing his happy dance..."this is great! we can drive down for the day, maybe crash at your brother's place, oh we'll have so much fun!" Yeap, that all sounded great, except for the pronoun, we. He seemed to have forgotten that by August 15, I would have a tiny person permanently attached to my boobs. I could see the disappointment in his face, so I decided to give him a ticket and permission to go to the concert with a friend as his birthday present.

And that is how Ton Ton spent this past Saturday in Atlanta, standing in a park, wiping tears from his eyes as Paul belted out "Hey Jude." He came home ecstatic, proclaiming it the best show he'd ever seen, talking about how wonderful and friendly Paul was, how he played for three hours, the energy, the lights, the fireworks...I just handed Luki to him and told him to change his diaper.

I admit it, I was a little bit jealous. The thing is, Luki has changed our lives so much; we love him in a way that we didn't even know existed before he arrived, and our love for each other has multiplied. Ton Ton, who is even more sentimental since becoming a dad, recently told me that he fell in love with me all over again when he saw me give birth to our son. Yet, Luki hasn't changed the fact that we love to rock, and go to the cinema, and try out new restaurants, and travel. And, I think it's important that we continue to do all those things...they will keep us sane and our son grounded. As much as I care about our baby, I don't want him to ever think he is the center of the universe, not even our small, three person, solar system.

So, in the end, I'm glad Ton Ton got to see one of the Beatles. It's a great story he can share with Luki when he's older. And I know that the day will come when our son's fixation with my boob will be replaced with an obsession with baseball, or playing guitar, or vacuuming WITH HIS DADDY. And on that day...I shall rock again!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

There's a new gordo in town.

My little brother, Ani, is home for a week before he heads off to Atlanta to finish up his undergraduate degree at Georgia Tech. He spent this summer in Boston interning for Raytheon and only came home once before -- for his nephew's birthday. A few days before his arrival, Big E began preparing industrial sized quantities of his favorite foods because, "last time your brother was here we were so caught up with Luki's birth, that I hardly paid any attention to him!" Big E is convinced that when Ani is not home eating her food, he is simply not eating anything at all.

Like any good Cuban mother, Big E has a special kind of love for her only male offspring, her little boy, her gordo (even though he is tall and lean). A love so special that, when I was pregnant, she actually admitted to me that one of the reasons she wanted Belly to be a girl was so that el gordo's place in her heart and our family would not be compromised. Well...I'm sorry everybody, but Luki is here to steal the show!

Now, as much as Big E tries to keep her gordo center stage, she cannot help herself; Luki is just too darn cute! Plus, we've already established that he has magical powers. This is a basic snapshot of what this week has been like so far:

Big E (to Ani): So, you are applying to grad school at MIT and Stanf...DID YOU SEE THAT? DID YOU SEE? LUKI JUST SMILED AT ME! HE KNOWS WHO I AM!

Big E (to Ani): you think you'll take Raytheon's offer? Well if they are willing to pay for your grad...LUKI IS TRYING TO TALK TO ME! LOOK AT THAT, HE IS TRYING TO SAY ABUELITA!

Big E (to Ani): Are you ready for the GRE? What time is...WHY IS LUKI CRYING? NO, NO, GIVE ME THAT BABY, YOU GUYS DON'T KNOW HOW TO COMFORT HIM...


Friday, August 7, 2009

Doctor's visit -- our new happy hour

Luki had his second doctor's appointment yesterday. Finally! Ton Ton and I had been waiting with baited breath for this -- the way we used to look forward to Friday nights out on the town and sleeping 'til noon on Saturdays. At his first appointment, when he was only 4 days old, he was proclaimed in excellent health...but in the past thirty days, we'd come up with a host of questions and concerns. Our excellent pediatrician answered them all to our satisfaction...

How much weight has he gained? Well, babies should gain an ounce a day, so Luki should have gained 30 oz, instead, he put on 45oz. He is an eating machine!

How about length? Should have grown 1 inch, instead, he grew 1.75 inches. Such an overachiever!

Why is his belly button sticking out like that? Because he has an umbilical hernia! Yay! Why does this congenital malformation make me happy? Because I had one too! That is why today my navel is so big and deep, I can fit a nickel in it. In your face Ton Ton! He may have your eyebrows, your mouth, your chin, your skin color.... but NOT the belly button! NOT THE BELLY BUTTON!

Is it normal for the poops to be non-stop, fly out of his butt like missiles, and attack his parents? Yes.

Is it normal for him to be going prematurely bald? Yes.

Is it normal that he constantly spits up a cheese-like substance and tries to eat it? Yes.

So, as you can see, our little boy is amazing! He got a shot at the doctor's office and took it like a champ -- much better than his daddy who, hours later, was still absolutely heart broken to see him get poked in the thigh.

Luki is also really glad he got to go to the doctor, now he can finally update his profile.

Name: Luki
Age: 1 month, 1 week
Height: 22.25 in
Weight: 9 lb 14 oz
Hobbies: sucking, sharting, staring, sleeping, smiling

Sunday, August 2, 2009

It's our monthiversary!

All of our friends with children warned us about this, and it is absolutely true. Time flies when you have a baby! Luki is one month old today even though I just pushed him out yesterday! I guess I need to start packing his bags, because next week he will be heading off to college.

If Luki was our employee, his probation period would be over and we'd have an evaluation. He would totally get to keep his job! Of course, we'd give him a few tips about trying to not shart or throw up on his parents as often, but overall he'd get positive reviews for: sleeping 4-5 straight hours at night, his amazing neck control, and his ability to focus and track objects with his eyes. Oh, and he'd definitely get points for melting our hearts with the ever increasing smiles. We have yet to catch them on camera, but they happen.

Although, the truth of the matter is that we are his employees. I wonder if he'd let us keep our jobs...our evaluations would probably go something like this:

"Mom, thanks for the breast milk; it's really good, but I do not find it amusing when you put your nipple in and out of my mouth just to see my reaction, please, do not mess with my food. And Dad, I really appreciate that you play guitar and sing me to sleep...but could you stop belting out the Christmas carols? Not sure if you've noticed, but it is August, not December! And one last thing everybody, I know I'm going bald, I can see it, you don't have to constantly remind me of it...I'm sensitive about my receding hairline!"

Congratulations on surviving a whole month with us Luki! You are a true champ!