IMR: 1999: June: 12 —  Saturday, 11:51 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

[ She Walks! ]Katie is walking now. For almost a week, actually.

(I was all ready to write about it on Wednesday, but then Katie rolled in her bed and bonked her head and started crying, and Jen — half asleep and thinking she was still in Florida — panicked and started yelling "Mom! Mom! Mom!" But that's another story entirely, and one not worth telling save for the "mom" bit.)

In fact, Katie started walking sometime during the afternoon of Sunday, June 6. I'd even document the exact time of day, but... well, goddamn it, we weren't there to see it happen.

We were visiting mom in Mililani, and decided to sneak out and see "The Phantom Menace" at the new (and decidedly superior) Signature Theaters at Dole Cannery Square. When we walked out the door, Katie was the toddling little thing she always was, daring to take no more than three or four steps to a nearby object. When we walked back in, jesus, if she didn't sprint through the living room, colliding with my legs with a happy shriek.

Jen and I were dumbfounded. Stunned. We had to see it again a couple of times before it really registered. Mom beamed proudly, knowing Katie had finally experienced a genuine milestone in her presence. Jen was hysterically happy, almost in tears.

Walking. Just like that! A snap of the fingers, pow, she's tearing up the rug like she's been doing it forever.

Even now I'm amazed at how quickly it started. For weeks we knew she was capable of walking but didn't, simply because she was too afraid of falling. But I had no idea that the line between paralyzing insecurity and brazen confidence would be so sharp, and be crossed so suddenly.

Suffice it to say, I forgot most everything about "Star Wars."

Walking. The adventure that is parenting takes yet another quantum leap toward insanity. On one hand, we can now enjoy that most priceless of household joys known as the "pitter patter of little feet." On the other hand, our blood pressure now simmers a good ten points higher, knowing that said "pitter" means Katie can patter that much faster toward peril.

Actually, it hasn't been so bad. I'd be embarassed to say exactly how many times she's knocked her head against walls and doors and whatnot, but such are the trials and tribulations of bipedal locomotion. She's taken it in stride, with surprisingly few tears. Indeed, when she takes a tumble, she almost immediately begins chanting, "Up! Up! Up!" — it's as if she's cheering herself as she gets back on her feet to take off once again.

Things at work are again in flux, but thankfully in a good way. We're still closing the books on our meeting in Hong Kong, yet at the same time working in earnest to get things set for the next one here in Honolulu next March. (We also have two smaller meetings in Auckland this September.)

The exposure we've been getting locally has been pretty good, from a front-page article two weeks ago to at least half a dozen positive editorials in both dailies in the last two months. But the challenge is converting that into active participation and support from the local business community... and making sure the state fulfills its promises in a timely manner.

Anne, our short-term hire who helped coordinate some of our promotional activities, left last week for greener pastures at WorldPoint, headquartered in the Manoa Innovation Center. (I mention it only because she's the second former staffer to end up there this year.) Meanwhile, we've brought on three new interns and will be adding a fourth next week... and that's just the beginning.

With the ultimate goal of having as many as ten interns and one or two new full-time staff, we're again looking into expanding our office. That means I get to play architect again, which is fun, though now we're moving into the nitty gritty stuff. Expanding our LAN and PBX phone system won't be cheap, and of course there's the new computers and furniture and supplies. And negotiating the rent? Yeesh. The building is throwing some ridiculous numbers at us, and our boss is already entertaining the thought of moving to an entirely different building.

One encouraging note, at least for this incurable pessimist: when I was explaining the layout I'd designed for the extension, the boss asked where I'd be sitting. Since this project won't be finished until November, I can imagine that I'll still be employed at least until then.

Wonder of wonders, I had Friday off. It was King Kamehameha Day, one of those only-in-Hawai`i holidays, and one I suspect we weren't even supposed to get. (We were denied both Good Friday and Kuhio Day, after all.) But the boss mentioned it on Tuesday, everyone cheered and immediately started making plans, and with the grins on everyone's faces, no one was going to take it back.

[ Waterbaby. ]We decided to take Katie to the beach in the morning, before the sun got too strong. We grabbed some towels, some industrial strength sunscreen, and headed out to Magic Island.

While visiting the in-laws in Florida, Jen had set Katie up with a baby-friendly inflatable float and a wading pool. She apparently loved her near-daily swims, and that spirit clearly didn't fade when she came home. Even though the ocean was considerably larger and colder than a wide plastic tub, she remembered the float and confidently splashed and kicked and babbled up a storm.

I looked over at a surf meet that was taking place further down the beach, and wondered for a moment just how much Katie would grow to love the water.

Eventually, we found a spot in the park to stretch and dry out, and while Jen and I relaxed, Katie zoomed around. She stumbled more than usual, experiencing uneven terrain for the first time, but learned quick.

[ Snoozers. ]As the sun rose overhead, we headed over to Ala Moana so I could get a haircut. (Jen scheduled one too, but chickened out, deciding she wanted her mane to get just a little longer.) Then it was up to Mililani for another visit with mom. The long, afternoon drive afforded the girls a much-needed nap.

Mom's house is much more conducive to running around, and Katie had a ball doing laps around the place. Grandma H. was equally thrilled to have her great-granddaughter around, having missed her quite badly while she was away. I set up a new swing (from Florida) in the garage, and Katie contendedly swung while a confused cat watched from afar. Finally we took her to the small park in back, and let Katie roam the grassy square until the sun went down.

Not surprisingly, Katie slept fast and deep last night, although it did start off a little rough. I think she had her very first nightmare — about what I can't begin to imagine — waking suddenly and crying for seemingly no reason. She calmed down only after turning back and forth to look at Jen and I, alternately squeezing our arms and cheeks with her little hands.

She's so much more independent now that she's found her legs, yet still clings to us at the end of the day. I hate thinking that things will someday have to change.

Tomorrow we're hooking up with Donica and who knows who else from back in the day for a long-overdue gathering. Ten bucks we won't go ten minutes before launching into "why Ka Leo still sucks."

After the lunchtime picnic (at Magic Island, come to think of it), it'll be over to dad's for an early Father's Day. Unless IMR deceives me, the last time we saw him and Gayle was in February. Boy will Katie have a few surprises for them.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 12 June 1999 · Last Modified: 16 June 1999