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Preview: Blogging Baby Malcolm

Blogging Baby Malcolm and Salome

This is my web log about my precious children Malcolm and Salome. I thought it would be helpful for all our family members who are now spread around the world. It will help you keep up with us, and it will help me record my new experience of motherhood an

Updated: 2016-09-07T21:33:41.779-07:00


Baby Salome


Salome is so different from Malcolm, and the experience of raising her is so different. So much is going on in our lives now that looking back at my blog postings from Malcolm, I think that I need to take time to just check back in with my philosophies of mothering. I feel like all of us are really busying becoming ourselves right now, but Salome is with me nearly all the time. She still goes to work with me, she goes to daycare on campus while I am in class, and of course she is with us at home. She is a total blessing and a complex little being.

I definitely think that she is a thinker, a wise woman. She opens those big eyes and really watches people. She adores her big brother and breaks out a big smile the second that she sees him, and when we pick him up from school he makes her giggle all the way home.

She is really working on her crawl and getting too wiggly and active for me to take to the office on the days where there are no home visits so we are going to have reconstruct things in our lives a bit, but she is like a healing angel. Although one who does keep a creative sleep schedule!

Malcolm and Salome Go the ART Museum


I am sorry that I have written so little lately. I have had some technical glitches that unfortunately have not allowed me to download pictures for months. I have them all, just not on the computer. I think that I have almost gotten the problem worked out, I know which memory cards I need. Now I just need a little extra cash.

We took Malcolm and Salome to the Art Museum this weekend. They have a family day once a month for kids with lots of activities. This was Malcolm's first time and the theme was music. It was a big hit. Salome also did enjoy the peaceful atmosphere as she stared at all the people and colorful objects, but there were no naps to be had on her part.

I thought that the Native American exhibit was one of the most amazing things I had seen. I loved all the totems and carving of the tribes of the Pacific Northwest. Nathaniel and I really enjoying wandering that part together. By that time Malcolm had gone off with Curtis to hear the storytelling, and Grandma was covertly buying birthday presents in the Gift Shop.

It feels like we are finally settling into a new rhythm in our new home. A new year has begun, and a new term. I thankfully passed my Biostats class and am now enthralled with my International Health class. Baba Malcolm will soon return from a six week trip from Kenya to assist his ailing family members and I am sure some readjusting will need to be had again, but things are going better overall.

Salome is so close to crawling, and she is now eating sweet potatoes, baby cereal and avocado in addition to mama's milk. I am so in love with my baby, proud of my son and blessed to have my family. We are full of flaws, but I would not trade the fierce love of the people within these walls for the world!

The New Normal: Back to Work, Back to School


I saw that some of my friends were checking the blog, wanting to know how work is going, whether we are sleeping, and about all of our various transitions.Well, they are transitions, and transitions for this mama are never too easy, but so far so good. The truth is that when it comes to babies I am truly blessed! Both of my babies have been pretty easy, wonderful little beings, and especially with co-sleeping pretty good sleepers. My honey-colored girl is a little bit harder than her brother in some ways, but seems like she will be a very mellow soul overall.I have been taking Salome to work with me which I have been approved to do until she starts crawling. This has been wonderful! I was worried about it, and of course there have been some hiccups here and there, but overall it has been great. Meetings can be a little tricky, but if I am in my office or a home visit it is pretty easy to meet everyone's needs and get work done.Women throughout the office often come to take a peek at her when they know she is around. The African women who are my co-workers in our department have really become her aunties. They were there at the Blessingway, and supported me throughout my pregnancy and now they will hold Salome in our meetings together and speak to her in Amharic or French. Salome glows at this, and seems to really respond to the Amharic.I have been going on homevisits to meet new clients for a mothering group that I am starting for African women. It does not take much to be welcomed into these homes. I greet the women with a "As'salaam walaikem" and they respond and then ask about my baby. When they hear how young she is I often get a response that is something like "Oh, and you are already working. We must all struggle in this country. Sit down my sister." I tell them about our program and my ideas, and then ask them their stories. I learn about their struggles in their countries of origin and here. We hold each other's baby, and I offer them my support as needed. It is actually a lot of fun, and I think that my relationship with Salome has also grown through this. I am also happy at the early exposure she gets to African cultures. Malcolm got to hear the real singing and dancing of the women of Kisayani in my womb, and grow in the darkness as I responded to the traffic and crowded city life of Nairobi. Salome is growing now among whispered Amharic reassurances, Somali songs and smells, and with a whole hosts of aunties who welcome her into a global circle of women who struggle, and heal, and work and nurture, and cry, and feel oppressed, and sing, and love and laugh.School has not started for me yet, but I have an orientation in Corvallis this week so Salome's wonderful Aunty Kerri is going down with me to help with the Empress. Malcolm's school is off to a great start. Mountain Valley prepared him well. He has had so many years of cultivating community and problem solving that he is doing quite well. He interacts quite confidently with the sixth graders he sees in the hallway, participates in circle time, and is surrounded in diversity. The comments about wanting to be white are starting to fade, and he is beginning to respond differently to discipline and re-direction around his hitting and acting out. This is good for everyone. I am happy about it and still seeking more outlets for more physical play, because unfortunate nothing could be as physical as MV with its wonderful rope, and climbing wall, and jumping mattress, but he rests at naptime and comes home happy. I am already making friends with the parents which seems easier because our family seems average at the school instead of the oddballs, and most people are in the neighborhood. Things are definitely different than they were, but I am looking forward to the adventure of the next three years. Now, wish me luck passing Biostastics!We are off to life in the "New Normal."[...]

Malcolm's First Day at Pre-K-A New Beginning


Yesterday was Malcolm's first day of Pre-K at Holy Redeemer. Wow! How different from Mountain Valley! I realized how odd it was to not be met by Susan or Isaiah and see him run off to play on a mattress, and I did think about the fact that I did not see a play kitchen or really any dress up in the new classroom they moved to, but there were so many other good things too.

I had planned to stay until 11:00 because the newsletter said that we could do that the first day, but by 9:30 Malcolm had a story time, done calendar with the other kids, discovered the art supplies, had a tour of the classroom, and was ready to go outside to recess and snack time. He was ready for me to go. I did question myself a little "Oh my gosh, this is a long way from our little progressive school" but was reassured by the diversity, the sense of a neighborhood school, the diverse teachers, the other parents who seem so cool, and the thriving and huge school garden that Holy Redeemer put in this year.

It was a lot to handle just getting out the door as I also had to prepare things so that someone could watch Salome and I could be with Malcolm. I came home early to find baby girl crying with Jessica , a friend from church who helps take care of her when I need it, but we both figured out that her milk was just not the right temperature. Part of me felt guilty that I wasn't panic stricken at being away from Salome while I helped Malcolm adjust, but I knew she was safe and being well-cared for and that this was a big step for Malcolm.

It was great getting home at 5:30 even after not rushing the pick up because Malcolm was so close to home, and since he slept (yes he actually napped!) he was in a better mood than previous pickups, and that gave us time to play and put off dinner a bit. A great start-umm I think.

Pictures from Salome's First Month


Yes, I know she is almost two months old and I am just posting pictures from the first month here, but you know it is challenging with two so you all will just have to forgive me.

The Illusion of the Fourth Trimester


Everywhere I go lately people say "What a tiny little baby! Is this your first outing?" They inevitably fail to notice the four and a half year old standing next to me, and because I began this sentence with the words "Everywhere I go" it should be clear that the answer is no, it is not her first outing. To be clear we have certainly had our days and our moments staring at each other on the bed. I have watched Salome gazing at the beautiful beads that were given to us at the Blessingway. We laid together on the sandy beach, recovering and nursing while Malcolm flew kites with Uncle Naniel or played with trucks with Daddy or Grandma, but it has not been the same as the sleep -in Babymoon that I had with Malcolm.When Salome was born at the end, I felt my body totally ripped open. I still hurt and tense when thinking about that last part, which even though the midwife told me it was only about seven minutes of pushing, is just a blur of pain and the terrifying feeling that I couldn't do it and that my body was in control not me. It is odd to think of Salome coming into the world that way because she is such a mellow being, and when I look at her we are such reflections of each other. She even prefers to sleep in all the positions I had to put myself in in order to birth her. But it is also true that I do not have as much time to gaze and reflect upon her. I would love my truth to be the reality that all the people I greet think that I must be living.My actual truth is that on the first week Geoffrey had time off, my mother was here, and it seems like Nathaniel was around a bit. People were good at coming by to drop off food and ooh and aah at the baby. Many of them stayed too long and rendered me exhausted, but community was in tact. It still was not sleeping in with the baby the way that I envisioned which involved rarely leaving our bed except to use the bathroom. People began insisting that I come downstairs to eat very early on, and once downstairs I was fully in the chaos of family life. And I was always concerned about Malcolm so with part of my attention on the baby, part on my first born and part on healing, I usually felt like I didn't have enough time in any department and felt I was doing a disservice to someone somewhere. Also, I was totally unprepared for how much nursing Salome would hurt. The cramps with nursing the second time around are so much more intense. While I say that she is not as aggressive of a nurser as Malcolm, I may not have been as generous of a mama because with every feeding I was anticipating the cramping that would come and she wanted to feed always and randomly.Now, the men are back to work and are rarely seen it seems. My mother has left and while Salome is not yet one month old she is going with me to drop Malcolm at pre-school or to WIC appointments or to his music and swim class and the grocery store because I am the mom and have to do those things. I really wish that I had all the support to let someone else run all the errands and stay home with the kiddos, but Malcolm does need to be out and about and frankly he works harder than anyone else in this house to help me with his sister. He changes diapers, sings to her, pushes her in the baby swing, cuddles her and covers her in kisses, and helps me give her her vitamins in the morning. He even interprets her cries for me!I am very grateful for the meals and playdates that our community has provided. I just wish it didn't feel like it was ending quite yet. On the other hand maybe if I look like I have been home resting while I have been trying to run around and care for the two kids, myself, the cat and the three chickens then maybe I am keeping it all together.Stay tuned for pictures. I really want to post pictures and birth announcements, but I think right now I am going to go have tea and cuddles while the boy is at school.[...]

Salome Did Arrive


Well, we did wait and wait and wait for our little Twinkle to come, and she did at last on June 24th. It was a very spiritually timed moment. Our little Twinkle did turn out to be the little girl that everyone somehow expected. Somehow at some point or other the community collectively shifted from gender neutral terms and began to call her by girl pronouns. We all just sort of knew. Everything was so different from Malcolm.We also know that if we had a girl she would be named after her grandmother Salome who so wanted to see Geoffrey and I have children, but did not quite make it. Our Salome was born exactly seven years after her grandmother's death to the exact day. Labor began on the first full moon after the summer solstice also. Apparently, many women went into labor that night as well.There is so much that I want to say about the birth, and I will continue to write about it I think in many forms for a while. I am so grateful for my doula, Erica, who was such a powerhouse, and arrived looking fierce and Oshun-like with a bright orange tie-dyed shirt and her short maroon Afro. It was also amazing to have my whole family-especially Malcolm present the whole time. Sometimes I watched them through my contractions as if they were doing some sort of dance, and seeing how they all interacted and took care of their various needs-without me mostly which seemed curious to me.I had started taking blue and black cohosh (the homeopathic not herbal versions) a couple of days before labor started. I had also been trying lots of other things especially long walks, Chinese food, and pineapple. Then we went about doing things that we needed to do that day, Wednesday the 23rd, we ran and errands and went to the library and then to my midwife's appointment. The midwife said that my uterus was so ready for labor that if I had been having contractions she would admit me to the hospital right then. She moved my membranes around a bit, and then we went to lunch Grandma, Malcolm and I. Malcolm said that he wanted eggs, and I wanted protein so we went to Village Inn. Salome, the last meal I ate before having you was at Village Inn although I did have some homemade chicken noodle soup later. The midwife's appointment was at 2:30, by 5:30 I was in labor.I labored a long time on the birth ball at home. I went on a walk with Nathaniel. I listened to Sweet Honey in the Rock and a classical guitar CD that Susan gave me, and took many deep breaths and waited. Soon it was time to call Erica and Geoffrey who was working a few blocks away. We went out for a long walk with as many inclines as possible and that was when I noticed the full moon. The night was very silent, except for the occasional passing train, and as we walked through our little park on the hottest night of the year so far, it felt like a little forest or a small town sitting quietly in the night. Erica and Geoffrey held me up when we had to stop for contractions but kept encouraging me to push myself so that labor did not stall because it had so many times before and we wanted to see this child!We went back to the house. Erica did Nia dances with me both on and off the ball. Geoffrey and Erica took turns walking me up and down the stairs. Mom gave me some broth of the chicken soup she had made that day. There was more music.Eventually, at around 11:30, it was time to go to the hospital and Nathaniel scooped up Malcolm who was sleeping in his room and loaded him into the car. Malcolm came to on the way to the birth center. He sat in the car silently watching the lights of the cars and the buildings we passed by. We asked him if he knew where we are going, and he whispered "the birth center." He was quiet for the first couple of hours at the hospital but he said that he loved our apartment which was the labor room which had our own bathroom, music player, couch and many other amenities to make us feel at home.During our time [...]

Waiting for Twinkle


So today is Twinkle's due date, and it seems like there is a ton of anticipation in the community. I am restless waiting for this child that I feel like I have been waiting for for so long, far longer than the nine months that this one has been growing in my belly. I have been wanting a second child for a long time, but my longings were met with real comments from my husband that we were too poor, and that Malcolm was too young for another one. Both of those were probably true at the time, but when this little one started to grow and we were settled into a decent house, Malcolm was almost four, weaned, and starting to become independent and I was 36, I thought now is my shot. I am not letting anything in the way of having this baby. So I fought to get Medicaid since my insurance had just ended , settled into a new job, and continued my grad school application, but I felt better because I just felt our family would not be complete without one more.

Frankly, I am totally privileged to be able to make that choice at all when so many Black women before me could not. So I feel like I have fought like hell for this baby, and now I am waiting and waiting. Text messages are streaming in, facebook is lighting up, people from Colorado are calling my mother, and Malcolm keeps talking to my belly telling this baby to come out. There have been contractions for weeks, the mucus plug is gone, and still nothing. My water won't break. Geoffrey is being very African. He says, "Only in America do women expect birth to work according to the numbers on the calendar." But I want my baby, feel guilty for having time off to care for someone that does not want to arrive, am struggling to hold onto my belief in natural childbirth, and am increasingly tempted by the nurse midwives offer of pitocin.

I have told everyone to stop asking for status updates every fifteen minutes, and am really beginning to see that this child must be a girl because it behaves much more like me than its brother. Geoffrey was a month early. Malcolm was a week early. I was a month late (after three attempted inductions of pitocin, and the birth resulted in several longlasting complications).

Twinkle, dear one, we soo want to see you and behold you and know who you are. The community waiting for you is full of people from all around the world, the US, various parts of Africa, Russia, Latin America and more. We are mostly progressive and deeply committed to healing this messed up world which previous generations did not manage to put straight. WE desperately want to see you and shower you with love from your big brother, mama, baba, grandma, uncles, aunties and more. Please, please come soon! We are waiting, but we do know that you know your time more than any of us. I will try to honor your choice about when to arrive and wait in anticipation of hearing your voice. We all love you already. Our family is held up by so many hands that even if we fall a while I am sure that it shall be into an embrace. Please dear child come!

Rite of Passage: He is a Big Boy Now


Wow! this week was definitely about rites of passage for Malcolm, and for mama too. For a couple of weeks now I have been having Braxton hicks contractions so we expect our little Twinkle star to arrive any moment. In fact, I expected twinkle long before now since Malcolm arrived at 39 weeks, and my due date is in two days. However; one thing that we have all learned in this process is that Twinkle is not Malcolm.

So during this time, Grandma arrived, and Malcolm got to go to his promotion ceremony at Mountain Valley. This was a good experience for him, and I think that it was important for him to move on when the other big kids that he grew up with there moved on. After the ceremony, they had a pajama party at school, and he decided that he wanted to spend the night there with his friends. He had wanted to go last year but then backed out when he realized mama wouldn't be sleeping there too. This time he hardly gave me a second glance. I can tell that he had a great time.

While he was sleeping over, I lost my mucus plug (while watching "Capitalism: A Love Story" with all the adults in the family) and thought for sure that this was a sign that labor would start in the morning and we may have to pick up big brother early. "Maybe this means I am carrying a little activist? " I thought. No such luck however; because in the morning there was not much happening with my body except anticipation, and tiredness I kept sleeping.

So Malcolm came back home for a couple of hours and then was off to one of his best friend's birthday party. When Uncle Nathaniel picked him up around 4:00 he fell asleep in the car on the way home and slept until the next morning for about 15 hours all together!

After that, we had a mellow day and then Grandma and Malcolm conspired to get him a Big Boy Bed. We had been reading about big boy and big girl beds a lot in all the library books we got about having a new baby brother or sister. To my shock, Malcolm said that he would love to get a Big Boy Bed, and we were off to Ikea and he has been sleeping in it the last two days. I miss my baby boy. It seems like a lot of development jumps all at one time, but I guess that is how growing up is, and it really was like a rite of passage weekend. Reminds me of when the young men were kidnapped from the villages in Africa and taken off from their mothers homes to become men. Still he is only 4! But definitely not a baby anymore-so Twinkle come on I have milk and love and empty bed for you!

More Tulip Festival Pics


Malcolm also loved driving the old tractor and seeing some of the first steam trains at the Tulip Festival, but he wouldn't climb on the steam trains with the engineer. Maybe next year!

April and May Pics


This year we went to the Tulip Festival again, but we were only able to make it on the last day, and we weren't able to take any friends with us. We had fun anyway. The weather was beautiful and so were the tulips. Next year when we go we will have the baby with us too!

Malcolm's Choir Debut!


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A Magic Boat



Here are some pictures of Malcolm making his magic boat. He loves Puff the Magic Dragon right now and wishes he could sail away and have wonderful adventures with Puff himself so we built a boat. I think that ours is at least as good as Jackie Paper's!

Malcolm's 4th Birthday part 2



Malcolm's 4th Birthday Party!


Malcolm's party was a lot of fun. We had a Chinese Lion dance, pinata, art, and a music jam session, and of course it was great fun to be with friends!

Malcolm's Christmas bike


All Malcolm wanted for Christmas was a bike, and he got it. I only wish he did not have to wait all the way until Christmas because then it was very cold for a bike ride, but he loves it. I did have feelings about the pink and purple streamers, but he likes sparkles so what can I say. Santa listens to what the children want-well mostly anyway.



Wow! I haven't blogged in months. I think that I am finally having some time to reflect on 2009, and wow what a whopper of a year. 2010 is also promising to be full of change, but I think that it is promising to be very exciting change. Malcolm will have a new sibling, and I may begin to take some graduate classes. It is all overwhelming. I have so many things to write about, but even though I am few weeks behind on this I want to make sure I get the lovely Christmas pageant pictures up then we can mover on to other things and I will try to catch up more soon. I should be sleeping, but my sleep schedule is crazy during this pregnancy so I will just roll with it.

This Little Light of Mine


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Night Night Mama


We just put Malcolm to bed. There was nothing that out of the ordinary until we got to the end. He said, " I want to sleep in my bed." I said, "Ok" and prepared to crawl in his toddler bed with him to give him Mama's Milk. He said, "No, no mama's milk. I will see you in the morning mom." What happened? That was our last sacred time for mama's milk, and no cuddles? Just some stories, blankets, and a kiss goodnight? I don't know what to think of all this. It seems a lot for one night. At least I wanted my cuddles.

Malcolm the Firefighter



Grandma sent Malcolm this outlandishly big fire truck from Colorado. It was quite an adventure into the Industrial Area to get the fire truck, but I have to admit that it is pretty adorable, and it is metal and paint rather than plastic so I took these really cute photos of him.

Looking for Herons-Finally some photos


If you look really, really closely at the photo of the lake, you can faintly see one heron which was far away. Malcolm loves blue herons and for months I had planned on taking him to Smith and Bybee Lake which I read about in the Metro Parent in the Spring. I have to say that I was a little disappointed in the lake, and annoyed that in part of the lake you could hear the race track nearby, but Malcolm had a lot of fun and enjoyed the sheds for bird viewing. He liked pretending that they were houses he was living in. We did see many herons, and so it did not disappoint on that count. I think that I prefer Leach Botanical Garden though.

This Week


First, everyone should know that the camera was located, I just did not use it to take pictures this week. I mostly used my cell phone, and therefore I don't have much to post just yet. This week we had a lot of fun taking care of our friends that we nanny. It is amazing to hear all of the words and concepts and ideas that Malcolm already knows that I had no idea he knew. Tonight in the bathtub, he told me he was going to go somewhere in his private boat. I did not know that he understood that the word private can be used to show that something belongs to someone. Now that I am writing this I think that this idea must have come from the book "Where the Wild Things Are" we have been reading that a lot lately, and Max rides in a private boat just for him.

He also has been practicing breast feeding and bottle feeding dollies. We have been around a lot of babies lately, and he is really enjoying the opportunity to be nurturing. He has also been acting out books again including checking out library books like Ron in his book Ron's Big Mission.

At Nico's house Malcolm taught Nico how to have counseling sessions which he knows many people have, and what can I say his uncle is a co-counselor and his grandma is a therapist. He got his friend a chair. They both sat down in the chairs. Malcolm said in a sweet welcoming voice "Hi, how are you?" then they giggled and giggled and giggled and then he said " It was good to see you. See you next week. Bye." Then they ran around the room, and Malcolm asked his friend again "Do you want to have a session?" Then they did it all again. It was very cute. I was in the kitchen washing dishes, but periodically I would look over at them and he would say "No mama, we're not done with our session."

You know you are an Oregonian when...


Ok, first off I can not find my camera at the moment. It has been ss a week of losing things which happens when I am too stressed, and family life has been very stressful lately. I did take a very cute picture with my cell phone, but don't know how to get the pic from my phone to my computer so you all will have to wait a little bit for this photo. I usually try to be the really together mama on this blog, but this time I can't embellish it. I am a bit unorganized, but not totally. I am really get some areas of my life together.

Ok, back to being an Oregonian... You know you are an Oregonian when you want to make playdough with your son, and realize you are out of food coloring so you go to the park to pick Oregon grapes to dye your playdough. It was great. Huge mounds of beautiful purple dough. Luscious dough, wonderfully enough all the kids in the neighborhood want some. Even some of the kids that I pegged in earlier post as more hardened inner-city kids can't resist homemade projects, a little bit of attention, and Malcolm's smile. We tripled the recipe so we could give some to friends. Maybe next time we will multiple by six andalso take some to the Spanish Speaking kids up the street who we have been wanting to play with. Anyone know Spanish for Playdough?