Thursday, February 26, 2015

Where we've been, where we're going


Here we are, coming up on the next bend in the river! We have one week left living in our cozy beach cottage  in Stinson Beach. We have loved and appreciated our time here, so steeped in nature and beauty. And our family has grown so much. Having such easy access to the beach has offered each of us something special. For Andres, a clean canvas to step onto and explore new ideas. He has had almost daily inspirations around his art! For Kavi, an opportunity to play in the sand and explore all the exciting and tasty treasures. For me, stepping outside to listen to and smell the ocean during internal explorations. A delicious reset to relaxation, a reminder of how I want my life to feel.

Something I've been doing with Kavi lately is taking long, deep breaths. Inhaling through the nose and a long, audible "ahhhhhhhhhhh" on the exhale. Typically within a couple breaths, he takes notice. He'll smile, and after my exhale will mimic with his own giggly "ahhhhhhhhh". If I do this when he is upset, it takes him a bit longer to tune in. When he does, he gives a pained, somewhat whiny "ehhhhhhhhh". And it seems to calm him just a bit. That's what it's like for me when I step outside our door. And when I'm upset, it takes me a bit longer to tune in, but by the time I reach the beach (about a minute walk!), I am calmed just a bit. Kavi is ahead of me on this front as stepping outside instantly shifts his space! Of course, he is leading me in so many ways. More on that later. First, a little on what's next for us.

Our Laughing Heart nest

Our intention after leaving Stinson was to head back to our sweet little nest at Laughing Heart up north. And to build a more solid structure this time round so in future winters we could be on the land more. For me, it felt like a given that this is what would be. I so love it up there...the land, the Laughing Heart family, the Yuba, so many dear friends, the greater community among many other treasures. There's so much there for me. And a place I feel excited for Kavi to learn and grow.

Alas, about a month ago a series of small moments over the course of a few days brought me to a
Roundhouse at Laughing Heart--Kavi was birthed in there!
Thank you, LH family for holding our family so sweetly.
place of questioning. I was asking myself what was bringing us back to the land. That was easy to answer (see above!). Yet there was a little internal nagging. In exploring the tug, and looking at all the pieces alive in our lives at the moment, I realized it doesn't make sense for us to return (just yet). In bringing this to Andres, it turns out he had been feeling the same. Spending the past four months living a stone's throw from the beach made it that much more evident how much our lives are currently entwined with mama Ocean, with she and her sandy shores providing an ever renewed canvas. After a few conversations looking at many factors, we decided what makes the most sense for our family is to live closer to that which is providing the platform for a way of being that feels vital to us. *deep inhale* *ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh* Even writing this tugs on my heart strings. It's a complex, bittersweet and tender decision we've come to and it feels as if it will shift the look of our lives in a big way. ~I love you deeply, Laughing Heart, and all that you hold. I know that our connection will remain and continue to blossom. May it be so.~

So where to now? Well, for as much as my heart feels heavy to walk away from so much I love, it is also full of excitement for the many things we are walking towards. The biggies in our new
situation are 1) we're going back to Fairfax!! and 2) we're moving in with one of my dearest friends (Sarah), who 3) is in labor with her first baby as I write this!!!! What magic! I'm feeling so blessed to be stepping so easefully into a beautiful home in a beautiful place with an awesome group of people...and a brand new magical being!! What a blessing to live such abundant lives that we love where we've been, where we are, and where we're going. May I bring this piece into focus this week as we are packing, cleaning, tending the many projects currently in motion, all while ensuring lil' Lord Kavi is feeling heard/seen/held.
Me & Sarah
After finishing that last paragraph, I received a text from Sarah that things were moving along and that it was up to me if/when I decided to join the birth team. I packed right up and Kavi & I headed over there! About 20 hours later, we were blessed with the opportunity to support & witness the arrival of a beautiful, singing little girl on 2/24 at 3:38pm. Our newest community member has arrived!

Now back to lil' Lord Kavi. What a multifaceted character he is! Today he is 9 months old and just as in between each of these posts, much has changed since last I wrote. He now has 8 visible teeth (though it seems a couple
Super Kavi on location for Between Worlds project...
at a private beach!
Papa & Kavi on a hike
more may be coming in), is a master crawler, is beginning to take assisted steps (and is very pleased with this), is climbing up (rocks, short tables, a set of stairs!!,  fireplace hearths) and maneuvering through (under tables, chairs, obstacles we've set up for him) whatever he's able! His vocabulary and repertoire of facial expressions is vastly expanding and ever generating awe, giggles and adults behaving completely silly. He has discovered his tongue and often sticks it half out while repeating the mantra "num num num" (insert mimicing adult(s) here). He still spends much of his time smiling, though is getting quite good at throwing a little tantrum, either throwing his body back with great force or launching forward and pounding his hands on the floor while shouting out. The latter is rather amusing when he does it on the beach--and comes up with a face full of sand! While he spends some time on his own in discovery, he appears to prefer company and warmly greets everyone (though lately he has been more aware of my presence and will fuss if he notices me leaving the room he's in). He absolutely prefers to be outside! He's become a pro at picking up every little thing he comes across and getting to know it through rolling it around in his mouth. His finger dexterity is rather impressive (at least to his mama). And I'm certain he's clever at problem solving beyond his months on the planet! Overall, he is already seeming more like a little boy than a baby.

Papa & Kavi: stormy photo shoot
Photo by Edward Saenz
Diggin' his new carseat! For now ;-)
Recent adventures include another northern Cali beach tour for the Between Worlds project (Kavi saw his first elephant seal close up, whales, fox, much animal medicine on this trip), meeting/being admired by LOTS of new people at a couple of papa's work gigs in SF (and mama needing to keep a constant eye out as there were countless not-so-safe treasures to put in his mouth on these beaches),  a photo shoot with papa--in the middle of a windy/rainy storm at high tide!, his first time crawling into the ocean, his first (second and third) time(s) having a new person come over and spend a few hours with him so we could work uninterrupted, attending a play group in Bolinas, upgrading from the infant car seat (he's SO much happier being in a more upright chair--now he only cries half the time:-)), and a few new foods being added to his diet (papa has made some awesome soups, yogurt w/ spirulina, hemp seeds & banana, brown rice cereal, and two unintended food experiences: chocolate and a cookie--both times he snatched and chomped!
Oh yes, crab is tasty!!
Perhaps better with hot sauce!

And to keep track so I have a place to go for reminders, here are a few of the ways he's been my teacher of late. The obvious and ever present mirror for levels of patience, or lack thereof. Lately I've noticed places I feel I'm deepening my patience (around him crying in the car, for instance), but then wonder if that's really the case, or if I'm just learning to tune out certain input. I mean, if I'm actually becoming more patient, wouldn't that show up overall in my life, not just around one particular thing? I'm still mulling this over. Another biggie is clear communication. I've been noticing my language so much more with Kavi around. Noticing how I talk to him. I might say, "you don't want to put that stick in your mouth". Then I realize, yes, he does want to put that stick in his mouth and a more accurate thing to say is, " I don't want you to put that stick in your mouth". I'm also noticing how I talk about him when he's right there, but as if he's not there. It's an interesting behavior. We wouldn't do that with adults, but seem to easily do so with children. Ok, so I'm seeing I could use cleaning up both in the what and the how I communicate with others. One last lesson to share just came up for me today. I was feeling frustrated with what felt like Kavi's constant displeasure. I was pretty worked up and wanting to run away (at least for a bit). I also felt guilty about my response as it was likely that he was experiencing teething pain and needed more comfort/closeness. At some point I begrudgingly scooped him up to go for a walk. Within a few minutes I felt much calmer, clearer, lighter (the "ahhhhhhhh" of walking on the beach to the sound of the ocean's lullaby). I realized the guilt was both in wanting to offer compassion where another is experiencing difficulty, but also because I wanted to be a "good" parent. And in my moments of frustration/agitation/anger, was judging I was not being that. Then I realized an important distinction. It's not the emotion that's an issue, but the modeling of it, the "how" of its expression. My role as a
parent is to be a model for Kavi. I want him to feel safe in being/expressing whoever it is that he is becoming. So an important part of that modeling is how I feel/display/express my emotions. Of course I'll have times of feeling frustrated. So will he. I get the opportunity to show him how to express that emotion in a conscious, healthy way. To share what I am feeling and to own that feeling as my own (it wasn't his fault I was frustrated earlier today). And to model tools to shift emotions (like a walk on the beach!) once they have played their part. Mmmmmmmmm, good stuff. Thank you, Kavi. For the smiles and cuddles and cries and bites--for all the joys and challenges. Each piece is an offering and I am learning so much from it all! 
And now for a few gratuitous photos. And more video here. And yet more photos here

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