Monday, June 8, 2015

One Year of Love!

Fresh Prince--newborn Kavi

It happened. I blinked and suddenly my little guy turned 1 year old! It has been quite the journey of love, confusion, frustration, delight, anger, and awe. So much learning, so little knowing. Each day feels fraught with contrast...the blessing of witnessing this being grow and thrive juxtaposed with feeling taxed by being ever-present to another's needs, demands and processes. The knowing that down the road I will romanticize this time and perhaps even long for it while in this moment I
Our lil big guy--1yr Kavi
might be wondering when the hell it will end and dreaming of a future time! Loving being so connected to another while longing for freedom. Acknowledging that I called this in and appreciating the gift while wondering what life would have been like had that prayer not been answered. And ultimately, beneath it all, knowing that birthing (and mama-ing) Kavi is the most profound experience in my life thus far and that our connection will continue to shape me in countless ways for years to come. Some I'll enjoy, some I won't. And I'll always love him. Deeply.

So here's a little of what's gone on in his world since my last post...
The main announcement--Kavi is walking!! On April 27th, while visiting with friends, Kavi was motivated by a desire to play with Selim (a 5yr old boy) and he took two solid steps towards him before plopping on his bum. A little later that day, he took 6 steps towards Jolana, Selim's mama, trying to get a toy she was holding. He seemed so proud of himself and we were all beaming and cheering! It was a proud mama moment, indeed. Since that day, he has had much practice and is now a pretty skilled (and fast!) walker, falling mostly when he is tired or distracted. He is so adept in his little round body--climbing up and down stairs, getting into and out of little kiddie cars, walking in sand and bouncing around to music in his version of dancing. It's all quite amusing and amazing to me.

The next big announcement--and a follow up to previous posts--he is sleeping!! Ahhhhhhh. For several weeks I had been "sleep training" Kavi to help him learn he could get himself back to sleep when going through natural sleep cycles at night. I did so much reading and talking to other parents and even got a consultation through The Baby Sleep Site (they were great!). My desire was to continue having him co-sleep and to use as gentle a method as possible to get him sleeping through the night (at the hardest point he was was waking every 60-90 minutes and sometimes up for an hour or two in the middle of the night). In the end, he went into a crib (which has been better for all 3 of us, it seems) and we used a version of the Cry-It-Out (CIO) method of sleep training, a method I often heard was highly successful, and one I didn't think I could engage. After almost 8 weeks of gentler solutions, there was little progress. Those methods just didn't work with Kavi's temperament. In trying CIO, there were big shifts in only 3 nights! And now the little dude sleeps from 7:30pm til 6am with only one dream feed around 1030pm, just before I go to bed. Now and then he wakes sometime between 3-5am, but typically gives only a short cry or two and then right back to sleep. So amazing! Really, it baffles me still. Now that it's been a few weeks of successful sleeping, we're starting to work on getting better naps. Funny how it's an entirely separate training for the same action, just a different time of day. And now I feel more confident that day sleeping can improve and we will all benefit from that training as well.

In the world of communication, Kavi is likely making more advancements than what we're picking up on. He is chatting away much of the time and generates an expansive array of sounds, tones, frequencies and emotion. He's so expressive! He very clearly says the words "hot", "byebye" (with a cute little backwards wave), "wow", "gentle", "this", and we're fairly certain we've heard him say "thank you", "Ember" and "ok". And there have been countless experiences of him responding vocally to something said with what sounds like an appropriate comeback. So many times I've had folks ask, "did he just say...?" And every time I thought I heard the same thing they did. About a week ago, Kavi and I attended an intro sign language class where we learned many words and some songs to help anchor them. Since then, I've been using sign much more regularly than I was prior. I haven't noticed him using new signs yet, though I have noticed him noticing me signing. :-) Other than that, he has been expressing himself more adamantly around things he wants/doesn't want as well as expressing more affection through hugs, kisses and cuddles. The first hug he granted was to our friend Jens, who was over for a brief visit and has only hung out with Kavi a brief bit. As Jens was about to leave, Kavi went over to where he was sitting on the floor and gave him a hug. It was pretty tender and everyone in the room was touched. Since then, he regularly hugs me, his papa, his friend Ruby, and the little dog, Lila, who lives with us (also a very cute sight!).

Ruby & Kavi
Our days are filled with lots of play--near daily trips to the playground, a playgroup or play date with a friend. His closest buddy has become Ruby, an almost 14 month old girl who gives Kavi lots of hugs. We hang out with Ruby and her mom, Alicia several times a week. Alicia has a friend, Will,  who plays tabla. Will recently started giving Ruby her first music lessons by coming over to play for 30 minutes or so while she listens, dances and sometimes taps on the drums. Alicia invited Kavi to join in and he was so entranced that first lesson! He stared mesmerized, wiggled his body a bit, crawled over to touch and bang on the drums, then tried to climb on top of them. :-)

Kavi is also newly in childcare! He spends 4 hours twice a week with 2yr old Austen and his nanny, Meagan. It's going great! From the start, he had no issues with me leaving and was even chill when I came to pick him up. In fact, on the first day when I picked him up to go, I was getting a little download about the day from Meagan and Kavi squawked at me to let him down to play some more! And some days as soon as we walk into the house, he is squiggling to get out of my arms to play. So good. Austen seems to be enjoying Kavi as he asks about him every day and points to the highchair Kavi uses and says, "Kavi chair". Kavi does well with Austen, too, though he is mainly interested in all the toys. I'm noticing his age group isn't quite into the interactive play (or not much of it), And I feel he is getting so many benefits from being with an older child he can learn from and in having the experience of not being the only one being served. And all the things he struggles/fights at home (highchair, nap, carseat, etc), he engages with ease when he's with Meagan. While it's hard to swallow that he gives us such trouble (I know, it's natural), I am pleased that he is so well adjusted while out and about in the world!!

We've had a couple of adventures beyond the bay in the past couple of months.  Mid-April we flew to Ventura, CA for a few days for a commissioned project with the Ventura Tourism Board. Andres created a couple art pieces, facilitated a workshop and a community art making day. We were warmly welcomed and enjoyed the downtown and all the time on the beach (complete with a playground!). We had such a sweet family time together going through shops, checking out the street fair, eating yummy food (especially our last meal at a quirky Mexican restaurant where Kavi was in rare form crawling around on the table and talking to the wall paper).

A couple weeks after this trip, we visited Laughing Heart, the land we were living on up near Grass Valley prior to our move to Fairfax. It was such a great visit with many friends, the Yuba River, staying in the building Kavi was born in and soaking up the beautiful land that feels like home to us. The best piece for me was feeling such strong community with so many people really allowed for an easeful flow and everyone's needs being met. Especially the day 11 year old Luna had 3 friends over for the day, all of whom were loving time with Kavi! This allowed me to spend time in the garden, help with chores on the land and connect undistractedly with my friends. So good! My favorite moment from that day involved Kavi. Luna was letting him play with a 5 gallon bucket filled with water and at some point, put him fully in it. He was splashing around with a wooden spoon and would slowly bend his knees til he was covered up to his chin, exclaiming "oh oh oh". Several of us hung out watching him play in the bucket for at least 20 minutes. It was pretty adorable.

Laughing Heart Family
Bubble magic with Yuba
The weekend prior to Kavi's bday, the Laughing Heart family came to visit us--all 6 of them!! And what a fun, joyous, heart connected weekend it was. We spent time on the beach, hung at the playground, hiked at a favorite spot, made amazing meals, and celebrated Kavi's birthday. Everyone in the house really enjoyed one another including the handful of additional guests that were in and out over the weekend. On Kavi's birthday, Luna & I took a long walk in town while Kavi napped on her back and when he woke, we headed straight to the playground. After awhile, the rest of the family trickled in to play, followed by our dear friend Dev, who was also spending the weekend with us. The playground was so much fun with so many dear ones there! And just as we were readying to leave, Yuba (a housemate) and Mirabel (his 3 month old daughter) showed up with a surprise--big bubbles!! Yuba set up a little station and within minutes had the attention of everyone on the playground! He wowed the kids by catching little bubbles inside big bubbles and won them fully over when he invited them to make bubbles too! It brought a touch of magic and made it all feel like more of a celebration. After this, we all headed home to decorate the house (thank you, Luna & Tule!) and grill up a delectable meal (thank you Andres! and all the sous chefs, too). The kids all played in the pool til food was ready, then we gathered on the deck, circled up around the table and had a family style meal, plucking foods right off the serving dishes. Next came the sweetest part. As I wasn't yet ready to deal with a sugar frenzy, Kavi's birthday "cake" was a watermelon slice (his first!) topped with blueberries circling a single candle. Everyone sang to him as he watched the candle flame flicker with a curious and excited look on his face. He seemed to be really taking in that everyone was honoring him. It was a special moment for me. After this was more pool time (which Kavi also loved), splashing and lounging around. Too quickly the day was ending and Andres & I began Kavi's bedtime routine. After dinner, a little play and shower, the 3 of us spent a few minutes together in our bedroom. Kavi played a bit more while Andres & I shared what we felt was the best part of our day, something that has become our nightly ritual. On this day, there was much to appreciate not only from the day, but also calling up memories from one year prior when Kavi was on his way into this world. Hard to believe a year had passed since our big birthing journey together in the roundhouse. What a potent time for our family!

Random Kavi cutenesses:

~Kavi is beginning to take an interest in looking through books, not just chewing on them. Now and then we'll snuggle up and look at a couple of books together, with him turning several chunky pages at a time and delighting at the images. Often it is for only a moment before turning another set of pages or closing the book altogether. His biggest interest in books at the moment, though, seems to be taking them all off of the shelves!

~He's recently gotten into playing the piano, requesting to bang away nearly every day, especially after the day Sarah sat for a whole session of playing and singing with him!

~For a moment, we thought Kavi was a beer lover. One day, after much squawking from Kavi, Andres gave him a little sip, after which Kavi became insistent that papa give him the bottle. Andres kept moving the bottle to other spots and trying to distract Kavi with berries, but he kept pointing at wherever the bottle ended up. There was some screeching involved. After Andres finished the beer, he gave the bottle to Kavi, who tipped it back repeatedly to recover any last drops. He played with that bottle for another 10 minutes and we couldn't lure him outside to play! I was convinced he was going to be a little fiend when he saw a beer from then on. A few days later, as an experiment, papa gave him a sip of beer again and Kavi spit it out, with a disgusted look on his face. Turns out, it was just the bottle he was crazy for. And still is.

~There is a statue of a seated Buddha atop a big step in our home and Kavi often sits with it, tapping its head or pushing it around. One day, he had a dust rag and went over and began cleaning the Buddha. Good thing he keeps it clean as papa likes to put berries atop its head for Kavi to find.

~A few mornings ago, the 3 of us were hanging out in our room and Kavi was in a playful mood. He was walking round and round and suddenly began practicing making sharp turns, arm raised, looking somewhat like a matador. Each time he did, he would fall down. Then back up again, walk walk walk-sharp turn! At some point, he was able to do the maneuver without falling down. Once he got it, he began spinning in full circles, which he's been practicing a bit every day since. It's quite entertaining!

~Kavi often hangs out in the kitchen with papa while he cooks and he typically gets into the cupboards and crashes around in the pots and pans. One day he was uninterested in his usual explorations, so papa opened up a large, deep drawer that we keep food in.  Kavi began taking things out and eventually climbed in the drawer, sitting atop and playing with all the goodies. He was quite entertained.

 ~Kavi loves our local Farmer's Market! It's a weekly affair and is a sweet, social, family fun scene beneath the redwood trees in a downtown park. Even when we don't need supplies, I make it a point to take Kavi just to witness his antics: dancing to the live music, begging food off the picnickers, running round to all the booths and looking for interesting items to abscond. It's my current favorite place to take him!

~He is beginning to help with the getting dressed process. I call out "right arm" and "left arm" as I put his sleeves on and he puts his arms through. Often he is playing with some object while we dress him and he's now learned when we say "switch hands" to put the object in his other hand so that he can put his arm through the sleeve. He'll even do this while he's squawking about the process even happening!

~Check out ninja Kavi

Testing the soil
Farmer Kavi
~Kavi seems to enjoy putzing around in the garden with us. He loves being outside and when we're in our own yard, it's his chance to run around naked in the sun!  He has watched us weed, amend the soil, plant, water and harvest. While we do our chores, he wanders around til he finds a little stick and a spot in one of the garden beds and does his own version of gardening. It's super cute!!

~We've been having some really great days together--particularly when we're outside and with others. This past Friday was particularly sweet. We had a little playgroup at our house in the morning and a
friend Kavi rarely sees showed up. They had a so-so time playing together until the last 15 minutes or so of play when they found their groove. That's when they began jumping around, playing "froggie". They were laughing joyously while falling over, bumping each other and being raucous. Seems they needed some rough housing! Later that afternoon, we met up with some friends in town and all walked to the park together. Kavi insisted on walking and wouldn't even let me hold his hand! He was strutting down the street with such a smile (and getting lots of attention!). Once at the park, Kavi went straight over to two guys playing their guitars. He stared for a moment or two, then began strumming on one of the guitars. He hung out in that spot for 10 minutes or so, strumming and pounding on the guitar, dancing and watching the two play. Xander, the 4yr old boy we were hanging with, was taking pictures of the scene and his 9month brother, Leo was dancing away. Then the scene shifted--Kavi ran off and he and Xander chased each other around the park. They got into some real roughhousing. The roughest I've seen Kavi play yet. And he was soaking it up! some of their play had me cringing, yet Kavi was laughing and going in for more. Seems this part of him was really needing to be explored! Oh, the things a 4yr old can teach us. We played in the park for awhile, then walked the family home, since all the boys were appreciating each others company so much. Saskia, the boys' mama, made us all dinner while I played with the boys. Xander wanted to give us a tour of the house and show us a few of his toys. Kavi got really into playing on their keyboard (he's been gravitating to musical instruments a lot!). Then all 3 of them got into more group play...mostly Xander roughhousing the two young'uns. And again, they were all delighted. After dinner, we walked home tired and filled up by a day of connection and laughter.

~I had an "a-ha!" moment while watching Kavi explore a couple days ago. He was moving from one object to the next, checking out whatever he touched, the people around him, the ground beneath his feet. And all the while was so expressive! Sometimes appearing happy, then frustrated, then determined, then... And as has crossed my mind many times, I thought, "babies are crazy!". To me they often appear to be little drunk people, following every impulse with little continuity and often looking irrational. Then I thought about it in another way. While his behavior (and babies/kids in general), can appear erratic, it speaks in part to how in touch he is with his internal world. He feels, then he expresses. There are no barriers. And though I often don't understand what he is communicating, he is very clear. Immediately sharing what is going on for him, what he wants, needs, desires. Potent wisdom from Guru Kavi. :-)

Such a water baby!
There are so many more moments to share about Kavi's rich, expanding world, but I'll leave it there for now. Thank you, Kavi, for all the growth, love, learning and magic. 

Check out more video here. And more photos here

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