Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Children Will Not Being Going to SeaWorld With Their Mother

Ever. I am never taking my children to SeaWorld. Aquariums, sure. Rehabilitation centers, you bet. Whale watching tours, I'll pack the Dramamine. SeaWorld...NEVER.

They can go with their grandparents. Maybe families of friends.

But I will not encourage it or be proponent.

I don't believe in SeaWorld. I think it is cruel and heartbreaking.

When I was younger, my parents took me and my brother to SeaWorld, back when there was one in Ohio. Yes, Ohio. Right there is the first issue. Whales don't belong in Ohio.

Anyway, I loved seeing the whales and immediately had a dream hatching in my mind of becoming a whale trainer. I was in love with whales. They were beautiful and smart and looked like so much fun. We stayed there all day, and as the park was closing, I heard the beautiful orcas talking to one another. It made me cry.

This trip was what started my love of marine biology and the ocean. I started researching what it took to be in the water with these intelligent beings. The more and more I found out, the less and less I wanted to do it. SeaWorld broke my heart.

Do you know what happens to those whales in tiny tanks? It's like solitary confinement. Would you be happy if all of a sudden you were plucked from your life in the deep blue, swimming happily with family, hunting at will and put into a tiny tank, forced to learn tricks for food while loosing your musculature? I doubt it.

I understand there is a very educational component to SeaWorld, and they do a great amount of valuable research and conservation. And I fully understand that these parks provide the majority of people with the only opportunity they will ever have to witness these creatures.

But do they really need to? No. Not at the cost to the whales. There are other means to experience them.

Am I saddened by what happened at SeaWorld today? Absolutely. My heart goes out to the family and friends of the trainer that was killed. It is a tragic situation for all parties involved. And I don't think that she "had it coming" or anything. BUT YOU PUT A WHALE IN A FISHTANK! This is bound to happen, its inevitable. Orcas are intelligent hunters. With brains.

If they kill that beautiful whale, I will be very upset. They should look into releasing the whale. (And yes, I understand that even that process is not easy or cheap, or even feasible.)

I know I have taken my son to the zoo. Again, I understand the principles behind zoos. I will most likely take him again. But the zoo animals don't do tricks. They aren't interacting with humans. He has gone to aquariums. And maybe it makes me a hypocrite for taking him to those places. But I believe wild animals belong in the wild. When you cage up a wild animal, you can't know what to expect. You can't predict what will happen to them. Especially when you are throwing human beings into their ENCLOSED TERRITORIES.

I want my son to experience the beauty the world has to offer. I want him to experience wildlife. But an orca in a tank jumping on command? Not wildlife. It's simply a water circus.

I am a scientist. I am an ecologist. I am an evironmentalist. I have done wildlife research and behavioral research involving animals in their natural habitats. I do conservation projects and am involved with restoration. I have volunteered with animal rehabilitation. And this is something I believe in with all my heart.

I will never swim with dolphins either.

Birthday Celebrations

My son got three, count em, THREE first birthday celebrations. In retrospect, this was extreme overkill, I know. And I know he won't remember a lick of what he did for him. Regardless, it meant something to us to have our baby surrounded by people who love and care about him on his special day(s). And we have already decided that the best day was his actual birthday (at least logistic and $$$ wise) and he only gets big celebrations at 5 and 10 years.

For Isaac's actual first birthday, Ben and I took him to Mon.terey Ba.y Aq.uarium. It's quite a haul, so we had to stay in a hotel overnight and go to the aquarium the next day. He absolutely loved it. He had a blast watching the fish and pressing his little hands up against the glass trying to grab them. The aquarium has amazing exhibits, including a well thought-out toddler area that had a huge wave simulator (similar to a waterbed) that Isaac played on for about 20 minutes. It also had water he could splash his hands in and blocks to play with in a room surrounded by fish tanks. There was a huge tunnel he could crawl through, which he also liked, and that Mommy braved with him. It is possible that Mommy may have been scolded for talking in "educational terms" at various exhibits, throwing out lines about regeneration, niches, sequential hermaphrodism (oh yes, I did!), and ebb and flow. During the wave simulator fun, I may or may not have thrown in words like peak and trough. Jury is still out on that. :) I stand on that you are never too young to learn...

After the aquarium, we took him to and he had his first kids meal supplemented with carrots and sweet potatoes. :) He loved the jello and that Daddy wore a lobster bib similar to his Bibster! And man, did the day tire him OUT. He made it through the entire aquarium, which was about 3 hours of fish-filled fun, and another hour in the restuarant. As soon as he was in the carseat for the drive home, he was out like a light. I don't even think we made it out of the parking garage before he was snoozing.

It was the perfect way to spend his birthday. It was great to have time just me, Ben, and Isaac and to spend his first birthday as a family.

The second birthday celebration was his Handy Manny themed birthday party here in California involving our friends. Isaac has many fans. :) It ended up being a really nice time for everyone. My friends came from all over the Ba.y A.rea and D made him a cupcake tower. He tore up his cupcake, believe you me! During this party, we discovered that Isaac loves to have people sing "Happy Birthday ." He laughed and laughed, and clapped his little pudgy hands (Sorry, kiddo, but you gots some pudge!). Ben was a little overwhelmed (to say the least) by the number of small children at our house and I am pretty sure I will be doing the birthday party thing solo for a while (going to other people's parties, I mean). Isaac got some nice gifts and it was fun to see him play with the other babies. He's around other kids all the time at daycare, but these where around his age. He's a social baby! :) The third and final celebration involved the long trek back to Ohio. We flew, and thank the lord we did. He got our own row every flight and it was needed. Isaac is just not at a good flying age. He doesn't like to sit still and his attention span is very limited. Daddy did teach him to look out the window and say "ooooooooh!" which was amusing.

This party was pirate themed. And the cake was a family effort and it was AWESOME! I had a very specific picture in my head of what I wanted the cake to look like, and it came out perfectly. We only had to purchase the sheet cakes. Isaac was surrounded by his family. And I really can't describe how wonderful that was for him. He had so much fun and he (like his mommy) loves to be the center of attention. Everyone signed a big card for him that will go in his memory chest. I know that being so far away from so many people that love and care about Isaac and us is hard on everyone, and it is difficult to miss these milestones in our lives. He was completely disinterested in presents. However, once we got started, he entertained everyone with his "oooooooh" ing. :) Love my baby! So the first birthday festivities have come to their close. It was a seriously big deal, so much in fact that it almost warranted opening and closing ceremonies, similar to the Olympics. It is very bittersweet for us. I am glad the mayhem is over, but sad that my baby has passed another milestone and is racing toward the next. He's so big now, and such a little man.

It truly has been the best year of our lives in so many ways.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Friends Don't Let Friends Make Life-Altering Decisions on Hormones

When I was about 7 and a half months pregnant, hormones raging, I told my husband that I wanted to go back to school. I made this decision based on a commericial. I don't remember the commercial, and in all likelihood, it was for or carpet installation. This commercial was so impactful, I felt the need to wake up my husband and share the great decision I just made. I mean, great! I wanted to go back to school!

My husband, being the tactful man he is, especially when awoke by his wife who was NOT in labor or bleeding profusely, rolled his eyes and went back to sleep. Whatever, I was all in my zone and was already thinking about what school I wanted to go to and what I wanted to study.

The next day, my husband nixed my idea. COMPLETELY. He simply said, you can't make life-altering decisions when your hormones are like this.

And you know, as much as it pains me to say, he was absolutely right.

A few days later, I was over my back to school obsession. And I was glad I hadn't seriously gone after it, because now the thought of spending another 4+ years in school seemed absolutely, certifiably INSANE.

My new one was cutting all my hair off and dyeing it a different color.

Again, not allowed to do so, because of the hormone thing.

I felt like this many times throughout the past year, all during stages in which my hormones were completely out of whack. Right after I gave birth, when my milk supply came in, when my IUD was put in, and now that I have stopped nursing and my hormones are assumably trying to stablize themselves.

And my thoughts aren't rationale. Combined with sleep deprivation and working and everything else, I manage to come up with some doozies.

I am lucid enough to know that these ideas really aren't good or even logical ones. Still, in that moment, I think that they are the best ideas I have ever had and I can't figure out why my friends and family aren't roaring with support. Quite a few of my friends are pregnant now and just getting into the hormones. Oh, the hormones! I try my best to be tactful and supportive because I have been there. I am still there.

There are certain areas of my life that I want to change or at least work on changing. I am hoping that now my hormones are steadying out, I will be able to make decisions with more ration and logic, rather hormones.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Legendary Letters

Isaac reached a major milestone over our Ohio trip.
He didn't start walking. He didn't start using a spoon. He's not potty trained.

This is something that I highly doubt most people consider any kind of achievement, but I do.

While we were in Ohio, my son got his first set of magnetic letters. They cost me $1 from Wa.l-mar.t. I have been looking for them FOREVER. Apparently California does not appreciate the magic these legendary letters hold.

Why am I so proud of this moment? Why does it mean so much to me?

Well, it's not because he can stand by the fridge and spell words. It's not because he can move the letters around and make their sounds.

It's because almost 23 years ago, I met my very best friend over magnetic letters in first grade. We both wanted to play with them. I don't remember who had them first. I just remember that one of the best things that ever happened to me was the friendship that came from the teacher suggesting we share them.

Maybe it won't happen to Isaac. Maybe he will hate the letters. But I can tell him the story when we play with them. And I can tell him how this tiny pieces of plastic brought someone so special, so important, and so impactful into my life and consequently into his.

To me, this is a milestone, that he gets to be part of the connection these letters made and that he can look at them and think about his godmother.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


One year has given Isaac boundless amounts of energy and vigor. Yesterday, we went to Por.trait S.tudio for his one year photos. Was it just me, or were his 6 month photos way easier? Probably, because he wasn't really moving around then, he'd just learned to sit up. Regardless, this session was messy.
No kidding, I broke a sweat under all the lights, trying to wrangle my little wiggle worm into sitting still for one shot. He figured out that the back drop would bounce him back if he leaned back into it, similar to our lazyboy chair. That is all he wanted to do in the beginning. And then he would not stop MOVING. Even enticing him with cookies, did not work.
When all was said and done, we did get some great shots and I am really happy with the package we ordered. Still, is it wrong that I am almost excited for the day when the school takes the yearly photos? This kid has limitless energy. He doesn't tire easily. I wish I could borrow some of that energy!
The 1 year Dr. appt went well. Isaac weighed in at 21 lbs. 2 oz, and measured 30 1/4 inches. HIs still in the lower percentiles. We definately have a little guy on our hands. He got his chicken pox vaccine (yes, I decided to do it) and his first polio shot. The Dr. said he is still right on track with his development, and was impressed but his ability to spout off sentences, like "Daddy did it."
As I write this, Isaac sits in his highchair, chomping on his grilled ham and cheese sandwich and peas, and seeming to be plotting how to detach the Handy Manny balloon from the chair, leftover from last week. I know its redundant, and every mother says it time and time again, but I still sit here and marvel at how much he's changed and how proud of him I am. :) I am amazed as I watch him use his energy and enthusiasm to figure out his world. I am stunned by how quickly he picks things up and remembers, and how he expresses obvious disinterest in others. I watch him make messes and enjoyo every single minute of it, and although I am annoyed at cleaning it time and time again, I still let him do it, because he is so happy.
We named him appropriately. :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010


This past week, ever since Isaac's birthday really, has been insane. Busy, busy, busy. And the busy-ness means that I have been neglecting aspects of my life, like blogging.

We are getting ready to head to Ohio this week for the third and final birthday bash, ringing in Isaac's first year. I have been trying to get everything around for that. And for our taxes, so we can take all of what we can to the person doing our taxes when we go. Of course, being the type A that I am, I can't leave the house a mess, so I have to clean.

Isaac has his one year photographs taken this afternoon.

I have been SLAMMED at work.

Not to mention, Isaac's party consumed most of last weekend.

Oh, and Ben, Isaac, and I have all been sick all week. ALL WEEK. Like, sick so bad that I left work on Wednesday. And that I wore ponytails all week.

Sigh. I promise, I will have a more substantial post soon. SWEAR. with photos. I am just so behind in every possible way right now.