Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

April 29, 2004

mini Ridvan

Here's the girls' little Ridvan garden, complete with small person added by Georgia.

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Posted by Bahiyyih at 10:01 PM | Comments (1)

April 27, 2004

happy busy week

I'm excited about the busy week coming up with Feast, a Holy Day, all the Baha'i Center grand opening events and homecoming, Red Grammar concert, and a Montessori picnic, all in six days. I won't be lonely or bored this week! The girls are doing a great (and patient) job learning about service as we visit schools and drop off Red Grammer flyers. I've been trying to make it fun by doing something fun at every stop, even if it's just playing with rocks in the driveway for a moment. That's helped make it digestable for them.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 09:38 AM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2004

musing mother

Now that my kids are pretty much past their babyhood (except for Maya's insistence on using bottles and being in the early stages of potty training), I've been thinking about the next few years for them and how I want to raise them/what kind of mother I want to be/what kind of environment I want for them/what I want them to learn and I have a few preliminary musings on the topic/s.

What kind of mother I want to be: I've noticed that I've been avoiding places where moms hang out with their kids during the day and not seeking out so many play dates for the kids as I used to. I think the reason for this is that I want to do something different from what I've seen around me in mothering, and like Faulkner Fox talks about in her new book, Dispatches From A Not So Perfect Life, I've had to separate a little to try to come into my own as a mother and not get turned around by things that drive me crazy about the way stay-at-home motherhood is set up culturally here/the long distance we have yet to go to find true equality for the women that are mothers. I won't rant about those things here, Faulkner does a good enough job of that in her book. But I will say that I often feel like I am back in high school when I am talking to other mothers because I see materialism and competitiveness dominating conversations, popularity and exclusiveness being really important, looks being really important, and all the other weeds that pop up when we are feeling like we don't know the purpose of our lives and feel stuck in an insular world where we can't see or appreciate our true value to the larger world. I've had a much easier time finding myself as a mother when I'm talking to people that aren't parents of young children about larger issues that are important to me like seeing beauty all around and in people and how to find ways to serve people as a family, etc etc.

What I want them to learn: I want them both to learn that their thoughts, speech and actions are important, not so much how they look. This may seem obvious and doable, but I think it will be a challenge when so much societal garbage says the opposite. But aside from cultural images of women to deal with, there's just the everyday interactions with adults that they will have to try to understand. Especially Georgia who gets so much attention for having red hair, etc. I've always struggled with how to help her make sense of people's comments because she doens't understand what the big deal is. It's gotten a lot easier since I cut her hair short and since it's not so curly but that's not really the answer, it's just given me time to think about how to train her to think at a higher level. But parental machinations aside, I think both girls have learned the most lately about interacting with adults and about what friendship can be from the love that all the 'dandongs' have shown them. Love really teaches so much and makes them soak up it's 'lessons'. And it really helps me appreciate them more too; I can get some perspective after dealing with one too many tantrums that day when someone delights in the natural goodness of my children.

Alright, enough rambling for now. More later.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 09:50 PM | Comments (2)

April 20, 2004

today's events

Morning: We were all so happy to see rain today. It was such a gentle, springy rain, so nice for the growing things. We all booted up, put on our raincoats, and made a colorful little parade across the street and through every puddle between our house and the nature center parking lot (also a great puddle place). Maya fell down in a deep puddle once and slid through gooey mud once. Neither time was she a bit upset, and probably would have stayed sitting if I hadn't picked her up. Georgia stared down the storm drain, as did we all, watching the waterfall disappearing into that dark hole. I used to love doing that as a kid. It was so exciting when the edges got dammed with leaves and little sticks and tree seeds and I would have the very best time clearing all that away so the water could flow unobstructed and really fast down the little holes. I had to work pretty hard to convince Maya to come back toward home until I gave her something to look forward to: a bath. From one wet to the next. We were all completely soaked through, despite the raincoats, and the hot bath was just perfect.

Nap time: I got to watch K-PAX during Maya's nap. It must have been a great book, all that suspense-building about whether he was an alien or a delusional. I especially liked the part where he eats a banana with the skin on. But I kept hoping, for the actor's sake, that he got to spit out each mouthful after the camera went to the doctor. EEEW! And, of course, it was also very sad, but also hopeful, depending on what conclusion you decided on. Not many movies let you choose the ending like that. I like it. I wonder what a Jane Austen movie would be like if there was an ambiguous ending. Would it be involving or just frustrating not to know if the noble heroine ended up marrying her good-hearted gentleman friend?

Afternoon: There's a great threesome of Baha'i holy days coming up starting tomorrow called the Festival of Ridvan that celebrates Baha'u'llah's declaration of His mission and message. They're very happy holy days full of flowers and celebrating and I remember this great thing my mom did during this time when I was a kid. She would put together a miniature garden with a little paper tent in the middle and water all around (like the garden of Ridvan that was the setting for Baha'u'llah's declaration). Like all mom's craft projects, it was cute and artistic, and made from things we had around the house. It made the whole holy day memorable and at my level. So this year, I'm starting the tradition with my kids and today we made our little Ridvan garden with grass seed and alyssum flowers and pretty river rocks in a big dish thing. It was very satisfying for me, and I think the girls enjoyed it too, even if I did get fussy at the end and want to keep the watering down to a gentle sprinkling instead of a flood. Perhaps that would have been more historically accurate, but it wouldn't have helped the grass and flowers any! Maybe next year we can all have our own little gardens to make so I can be as fussy as I want about mine and let them be themselves too.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:44 PM | Comments (1)

April 16, 2004

Heroic Toddler Party (posted by Billy)

So I'd been wanting to have a cookout this Saturday (tomorrow) before we had our recent medical experience, and I still want to. We'll provide grillables, a kite, frisbees, a sandbox, a reconfigurable play structure (if anybody has a rubber mallet, that might help with reconfiguration), and four celebrants. We'll have to rely on you for additional attitudinal richness, eating, frisbee-throwing, kite-flying, and general running-around-on-a-Saturday-happy-to-be-alive. Or come and find a shoulder to cry on, if that is what you need at the moment. You can even bring your work gloves if you would like to help us convert an old garage foundation into a good place for playing.

We'll plan to have lunch around noon. We'd love to see you any time.

Posted by Billy at 10:57 AM | Comments (2)

April 15, 2004

1 hospital story

Numbers have been at the forefront of my frustrations with the modern medical system lately because I don't think in numbers if I can help it, I just try to go with the flow. This has been an essential tool to develop as a mother, trying not to get anxious about everything. But when I entered the medical establishment's culture Tuesday night (and before that on the phone with various nurses), I entered number world, and culture clash ensued. Eventually I had to capitulate and talk in numbers to be heard. So here is Maya's illness story in numbers:

Days Maya was on antibiotics for impetigo (a bacterial skin rash): 6
Days Maya had mild diarrhea from said antibiotics: 4
Days Maya started having even worse diarrhea and throwing up to boot: 4
Degrees of Maya's fever in last four days: unknown (due to my hand on the forehead method of measurement)
Level of frustration non-measuring mom had trying to convince clinic nurse that Maya needed to go off the antibiotic even if she hadn't used a thermometer: 10/10
Average number of poops per day in last four days: 6
Average number of throw ups per day in last four days: 4
Days Maya had gone without keeping down food or liquids: 3
Number of tears available in Maya's tearducts when she cried for water Tuesday night: 0
Number of Baker family members in the emergency room Tuesday night: 4
Hours from arrival in ER to seeing an actual doctor: 3
Level of dehydration in poor Maya: 10% down (2.4 lbs of water missing)
Number of times IV insertions attempted: 6
Number of departments sending representatives to stick Maya for an IV: 4
Successful IV insertions: 0 (due to tiny, liquid-less veins from dehydration)
Number of times in 20 years her doctor has seen patients this hard to get an IV into: 0
Four year olds watching the beginning of IV nightmare: 1
Four year olds rescued by Grampy Frank: 1
Pedialyte (good liquid for dehydrated people) successfully administered by mouth (by parents) during IV nightmare: 8 ounces
Hours from seeing doctor to insertion of NG tube down her nose to her stomach to send in a doctor-controlled drip of the same pedialyte parents had successfully been giving her: 4
Hours of sleep parents got that night: 1-2 (interrupted often)
Hours spent admitted to pediatric ward for Maya to hydrate and recover: 10.5
Total number of people who wanted to know all about Maya's poop: 22
Number of episodes of administrative confusion based on the Eliana vs. Maya issue: 5

As soon as Maya started perking up, it all got a lot more qualitative. So I'll finish the story that way. Maya was so happy to be feeling better, and to have than darn tube out, that she ran across the room back and forth, did a little dance, wrestled with Billy, jumped on her bed, and generally was a whole different person than the lethargic, miserable little girl that we brought to the hospital let alone the sleepy patient hooked up to tubes and wires only hours earlier. We had some very kind visitors bring us food and toys and clothes. Maya started drinking juice and popsicles and jello and the nurse and doctor decided it was time to go home. And Maya's been improving ever since. She's eating normally and drinking lots and keepng it all down. And as soon as she got home she started saying all these new words: yeah, meadow, bagel, rope, button. It's like she's so happy to be home and felling good that she just wants to talk talk talk and try new sounds just for the sheer pleasure of it. 'Joy gives us wings' indeed.

Billy here.

Yeah, it was a pretty hard couple of days for everyone. I think we'll be having a "Heroic Toddler" party sometime soon! Maya endured, fought, struggled, cooperated, clung, trusted, and finally celebrated her way through this ordeal. I hope that her psyche doesn't bear too deep of scars from it. She doesn't seem to be plagued by nightmares or anything, but her playing has occasionally had a manic quality to it -- which could just as easily be explained by the extra sugar she's been getting in Jello and popsicles as by her worry about being poked and prodded again.

Thank you to everyone who helped us in our time of need -- doctors, family, friends. There are times when our dependence on our fellow human beings is irrefutably illustrated. We love you all, every one. Every little thing people did felt like a mercy and a loving assistance -- from looking up telephone numbers to bringing much-needed food (Maya's first solid food was Strawberry Fields bread and soup (she did her own dipping), which she ate with relish, and which she kept down with determination), to giving Georgia a place to stay away from the ruckus for a day. And everything in between. Everything helped us on at least two levels: the practical, and also the spiritual -- which had a lot more to do with the sense of love and support we constantly received.

Whew! More later! Thanks for letting me write, Bahiyyih!

Posted by Bahiyyih at 02:49 PM | Comments (1)

April 12, 2004

it's a spring thing

We got a lot of gardening done this weekend, thanks to a new batch of play sand in the sandbox. It's white beach sand and doesn't get the kids dirty like regular sand. So with the girls at their own private beach, Billy and I can tackle our many outside projects. We spent a year just observing what came up in the garden so we wouldn't end up digging up perennials. It was very hard to wait that long, but I'm glad we did because now we can plan wisely and use what we have. I'm mostly moving plants around to give them more room, digging out little junk trees, and weeding while Billy does the grunt work of cleaning out the garbage dump area of the yard, hurling hunks of concrete into a pile to be recycled, and untangling big old vines from the wreckage of the old garage foundation. It's very satisfying and even theraputic to finally dig in and change things after looking at our mess of a yard for so long. It's also really pleasant to look back on a weekend and feel like I really accomplished something. ooo...that reminds me of a great quote I just read from Robert Rodale, organic gardening pioneer. He said, "Gardens are great places to teach the important lessons of life. Ability to observe leads to understanding. Work can be enjoyable. Persistent effort can make a barren place productive. Optimism pays off." I'm so there.

This weekend also reminded me of why I love this house. It's real identity is a little summer cottage, and when it get to be itself, it shines. During the winter, it tries to be something it's not- a snug warm cabin. Of course, it never works to try to be something you're not, but when warm weather comes back, it remembers its good qualities and sits a little taller. It's a great place to take a break from outdoor adventures- gardening, playing in the park and woods and swimming across the street in 'our extended yard'. So here comes the good part of the year for it and for me. Hooray!

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:07 AM | Comments (6)

April 09, 2004

tv weaning

I told my mom that i feel like I have a mucky instrument today and don't know what to write and she told me to write anyways so I guess I'll listen to her. Billy sent me an article from the Christian Science Monitor about a new study linking tv watching by little children and later development of ADD and hyperactivity in general. Just another reason to go ahead and further with my new tv restrictions. First I cut out tv on the weekends with Billy as the substitute. Now I'm working on weekdays. The rule is only Mondays and Wednesdays do PBS or movies from the library come on. This one's a lot harder and requires more fun ideas from mom of things to do. The good weather is helping a lot to wean us all away and so far we've done more finger painting, playground playing, bike riding, reading, pretending, cooking, and duckling and chickie watching than a few weeks ago. Our camping trip was another thing I hoped would take us in a different direction. I get so bored at home, it was great for us all to do something really different.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 03:28 PM | Comments (1)

April 07, 2004


Feeling too ho hum to write lately but here are a few tidbits. I got Georgia the little girl bike of my dreams (and hers) with the streamers on the handlebars and a little basket in front. We were both very pleased.

We're weaning Maya the rest of the way. She protests a little at bedtime, but it's day three now and last night she knew what wasn't going to happen and didn't really cry, but was glad to be rocked on my lap in the 'green chair' instead of trying to fall asleep in bed without nursing. So I think she's more than ready. She had been falling asleep with Billy in the green chair without any problems lately and when she did nurse, it was just for a few seconds- just a token nurse for emotional support and the relaxation of something familiar and comforting. But she seems satisfied with the skin contact of kisses and cuddles to help her get to sleep now.

This is by far the easiest part of either of the girls' weanings. And I'm pretty excited about what it means for me. This is the first time in five years that I can eat just for me without worrying about how it's going to affect another little tummy. I'm not even going to whine about how that sounds so selfish because I'm so over that. I have paid my dues and am so grateful to have these two big girls now that are past babyhood and can eat by themselves. I love each new stage as it comes. They are each more exciting and enjoyable than the last. We have been having the greatest time playing at the playground together. Yesterday Georgia and Maya pretended to be the mommies and I was their baby (on Georgia's prompting) and they were so sweet and gentle leading me around to play. It was payday for me to see what they thought a mommy was.

Here are some Maya pictures, eating like a big girl and being cute.

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notice the pinky

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oh, I'm gonna eat this, yes I am

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into the mouth

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I've always loved letter-shaped food. (These are french fries)

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The second time Maya requests ponytails, and she wants three. Way to go for the gusto girl!

Posted by Bahiyyih at 09:56 AM | Comments (5)

April 02, 2004

laugh until you cry

Georgia, Maya, and I have more or less all had the flu for a few days, and Billy has valiantly taken care of all of us. This means that I've caught up on some reading, including funny Dave Barry. Here's one I loved. It's called : Clearly not for the faint of art and it confirms my experience at modern art museums while revealing me to be clearly uneducated on the topic for finding it so funny. I was particularly sympathetic with the nasty armchair issue since I enjoy garage-saling (or maybe garage-sailing fits better) so much and have turned my nose at many chairs like the one in the art installation: Chair.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 08:26 PM | Comments (1)