Working on no sleep…

Is really hard.

I got the Answer back from the DOJ (U.S. Department of Justice) in my case, and I have to review it and prepare for the next step of the case. The next step includes a settlement and/or discovery conference.

Normally this would invigorate me, but I am sitting on the tail end of a week of all night nursing sessions and 5 to 6 am rising.

The baby…. he is eeeeveeeel!!

Sadly, when I am sleep deprived, all legal-ese begins to sound like that teacher from Charlie Brown. None of it makes sense. Ugh.

Maybe there is more coffee on my horizon today than normally.

I am a little nervous about calling the DOJ to confer. My office mate is a little unruly, and he doesn’t really nap at reliable times, so I am as likely to confer in between bouts of head-bonk induced tears as I am in civilized silence.

This would be an issue of working from home. I doubt most lawyers have partners banging wooden blocks onto the floor or plastic drums urging them to “cantamos and bailamos” in the background of their conference calls.

I recognize that working from home is becoming more acceptable, and therefore there is a small amount of baby interference to be expected, but I am not sure the DOJ is ready for a true Otter experience. He likes to talk into the phone, and to eat the phone, and most of my phone calls are spent trying to fight off his attempts to wrest the device away from me.

If he is awake, and I am on the phone, it will only take him a moment or two to notice that the fun speaking toy is out, and be interested in using it.

Sigh, he is back to pulling wipes out of the box and distributing them all over the floor. I should go retrieve them.

Please wish me luck, and a long nap for Otter, when it is time to make the call.


This morning I dropped Monkey off at school like usual, but today one of her friends was going in the building at the same time. She shouted her name out and ran up to her. I watched my girl shake her hair out of her face, sling her backpack over one shoulder, and settle in to an animated conversation with her friend as they strolled into the building.

Suddenly, it struck me how grown up she has become. I flashed back to my own youth, and the sense of individual freedom that came with leaving my mother’s car and settling in to walk into the building with a friend. I remember distinctly the feeling of independence and the feeling of starting my day.

My little girl, the one who grew in my tummy, who nursed at my breast, who followed me everywhere I went, has her own life. A life that starts when I leave her side. She has her own conversations, her own relationships, her own troubles, and I don’t see or hear them. They exist outside of my life.

My baby is growing up.

As I watched her walk away from me and into her day I felt oddly bereft. I have always felt that motherhood is a touch cruel. It begins with the closest connection you can have between two people, the growing of a baby and the complete dependence of an infant then it becomes an exercise in teaching that baby to leave your side. Each day after birth is about teaching them to leave your side, to be independent, to stretch and in some ways break, that initial baby connection.

Ours is broken. My little baby girl has broken out of her dependence on me. She has her own little life, a complete world, without me in it.

It’s no wonder we are finding it hard to connect these days. I have been trying to hold onto my baby, and I should have been trying to connect with my young woman. She doesn’t need me to be there for everything anymore, in fact, she needs me to leave her on her own to figure things out, and to only come to her aid when she seeks me out.

It is time for me to let her break that initial bond, in exchange for a new, more peer-like bond. It is time for me to listen to her, and to consider her view point and her ideas, for they are no longer mirrors of my own. It is time for me to treat her more like her own complete person, and less like an extension of myself.

It is time for me stand back, watch her walk away, and try not to look too sad as I wait for her on the sidelines.

An article that brought me to tears…

Every once in a while there comes an article that sends goosebumps to your arms and tears to your eyes… this one, by Bob Ewegen (my dad) from The Denver Post, did that for me.

Black child, girl child, today your dreams are one

By Bob Ewegen
Article Last Updated: 01/25/2008 06:33:38 PM MST

Growing up on a farm in northeastern Colorado, I was constantly told, “Any American boy can grow up to be president.”

I dreamed of doing just that during those long hours on the back of a John Deere tractor. Today, at age 62, my odds of working in the Oval Office don’t look good. But that’s OK, because the dream served its purpose.

The things a child who wants to be president does — doing well in school, practicing public speaking, reading widely, participating in student government, going to college, etc. — also equip you to succeed in other fields. In my case, they led to the extraordinary privilege of talking with you and other Denver Post readers in what is now my 36th year with the West’s finest newspaper.

Years ago, I read an article by an African-American teacher that made the same points I just made about how the boy who dreams of being president also prepares himself for life. In sad contrast, the teacher said, many black boys dream only of being stars in the NBA. Their chances of living that dream aren’t much better than mine were of being president. But their fall-back position is far worse.

That’s because instead of doing the things I did to be president, some young blacks spend huge amounts of time playing basketball. Alas, if you don’t make the NBA, there really isn’t much of a market for dribbling skills.

That teacher also made me realize how lucky I was to have been a white boy. Because it wasn’t really true in my youth that any boy could grow up to be president — only white boys could. The White House was really a White Boy’s House. There are signs in front, printed in invisible ink that everyone can read, that say “No girls allowed” and “Blacks and Latinos please use the side entrance.”

Today, at long last, those signs are coming down. In a year when the Democrats are odds-on favorites to win the presidency, their race is down to a black man and a white woman, barring an upset by John Edwards in South Carolina today.

That means black boys, brown boys and all girls today can dream the same dreams I dreamed a half- century ago, with the same beneficial effects. It means my granddaughter Marlena can dream the same dreams my grandson Oliver can. And it means this amazing thing we call America is continuing to bring still more people into its glorious vision.

Against this backdrop, it seems almost churlish to ask: “OK, which specific barrier will fall this year?”

The media is besotted with that question. CNN had a show recently on “race vs. gender.” Polls say Barack Obama’s appeal is strongest with African-Americans. Hillary Clinton draws best with women and Latinos.

When the delegates meet in Denver in August, one of these special dreams will have to go on hold, while the other moves ahead. I can’t predict which dream will prevail. But history does say we’ve faced this choice before.

Feminist pioneer Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a strong abolitionist before the Civil War. After the slaves were freed by the 13th Amendment in 1865, Stanton and Susan B. Anthony split with ex-slave Frederick Douglass and other male allies by refusing to support the 14th and 15th amendments — because they granted the right to vote to male ex-slaves but not to any women. Douglass and other black leaders feared including women in the 14th Amendment’s vision of “equal protection of the laws” would prevent its passage.

The split had tragic consequences for both sides. Women had to wait for the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 to win voting rights.

Blacks in the South, in contrast, lost their rights — and often their lives — to the vicious “redeemer” regimes that restored white Supremacy after Reconstruction ended. For millions of black Americans, the rights supposedly granted in the 14th amendment were meaningless until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 made them whole.

There is a lesson in this history: black child, girl child, your dreams are one. Unite behind what you have in common and reject efforts to divide you. Regardless of which of you first wins the symbolic office of the presidency this year, you have both already changed history.

Bob Ewegen (bewegen@denverpost.)

Thank you daddy, for one of the best perspectives I have seen since the campaign began.

A comedian in the making…

Monkey has always worked hard to win a laugh. Sadly, she has been summarily unsuccessful with intentional humor. She has reduced us to giggles accidentally on a regular basis, but she hasn’t been able to turn her comedic yearnings into any laughter through jokes.

She cracked us up in the car on the way back from Virginia Beach when I indicated to Lee that it was time to nurse the baby by saying “My boobs feel like they are going to explode.”
Monkey giggled and tried to sympathize with me by saying “I know mommy, I feel like my butt is going to explode.”
The unexpected nature of the comment mingled with the inevitable bathroom humor had Lee and I laughing for quite a while. Monkey was pleased with the unintended result, but kept trying to re-create it. “My elbow is going to explode”, “my shoulder is going to explode”, “my foot is going to explode.” We tried to explain what had made her comment so funny, but she didn’t quite get it.

Which is why I am pleased to announce that Marlena has successfully produced her first funny original joke.

She is battling asthma, and when an episode comes on, it usually begins with a great deal of coughing. She is often hit with coughing fits before bedtime, as she usually gets an episode late in the evening.

The other night I was waiting to tuck her in while she fought her way through a particularly long coughing fit. When it was over she sat up, looked at me, made a weird face, and pretended to pull something out of her mouth.

“Ick. Furball.” She said, holding out the pretend hair ball.

I lost it. It was the funniest thing she had every said, and it was intentional. She gleefully and skillfully seized her opportunity to create a well timed joke. I am so proud of her. It took a lot of thought to create a funny moment out of an asthma episode.

My little girl is beginning to develop comedic timing, and an understanding of humor. It is another sign that she is growing up.