Friday, September 30, 2011

Stop the World I Want to Get Off

Nesting Man is a different man than a Nesting Woman.
I know this.
I get this.
Yet I don't get this.

When I need him to focus on family he does but not in the way I'd like him to.
I'm nearing the end of my second pregnancy.  This means that my brain is on overdrive thinking about impending labor, delivery, newborn, new routines, sleep deprivation, juggling toddler, husband, newborn and self.
This is the time I sincerely need support and feeling like I've got a teammate in this.

DH's nesting is about the global picture which I totally admire but it frustrates me.  He's currently brainstorming and figuring out logistics for his graduate studies.
I support him 100% and am the proudest wife about this.  I want him to do what makes him happy and what he feels can contribute to society.
I just need to be a little selfish now and think about the near future and the insular.

Putting up a brand new sink in our bathroom is his nesting.
I would have preferred him pulling out the baby gear so we can inspect and determine if we needed new baby gear to replace expired or unsafe gear, especially during the September Annual Baby Gear sales.

Heck, I'm starting to feel the pressure, literally and figuratively.
I'm trying to tie up loose ends before I leave for maternity.
I'm trying to prep the house before delivery.
I'm trying to fill out the necessary grown up paperwork for me, newborn and family before the baby comes.
I'm trying to prep our toddler for the new welcome but routine disrupting family member.
I haven't done anything on my for me list and I know I won't but I think I should at least pack my delivery bag.  That could be useful.
Oh and picking out names for #2 would be good.

How do I say this without being so narrow minded?
How do I express this without being unsupportive?
How am I going to do all this without losing the few marbles I have left?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Doing what needs to be done

Sometimes I make myself do things because I don't want to deal with the ramifications of doing  it the other way.
A lot of times this means that even though I'm comfortable, I'll force myself to be uncomfortable for a bit to reach for something or to get up to do something.
It gets harder now that I'm uber-pregnant.
With the first one, I didn't try to shimmy my way into things or closets or to reach for things too high for me.
I do now.
Why?  I don't want to but it needs to be done.  
I feel like I'm not doing my child justice because I'm making myself uncomfortable but at the same time things need to be done.
I need to lean and stay on a side for longer than I wish so I can care for my toddler.
It's the way it is being a mom already; you do what needs to be done.
I don't how Ma Ingalls did it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In Utero Bonding

I've said pregnancy is a public private affair.
I've said pregnancy is a lonely affair.
Pregnancy is also a very intimate affair between you and your fetus.
Seriously, this is pretty much as close as close can be.
You and your offspring spend 10 months together and everything you experience, he/she experiences.
Every emotion she/he experiences.
It's pretty close, closer than a spouse can be.
It's comforting to know this bond is there.
It also reminds you that your responsibilities as a parent begin long before you even meet face to face.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nesting Men

I'm sure I've spoken about this before but pregnancy brain is in high gear.
Men nest differently than women.
Men nest by extracting themselves from the family to do things for the family like clear out storage two years after the wife asks and on the first day the weather is nice and the family could potentially do something family oriented.
Or they make a list of to dos that consist of I need to dos none of which can be accomplished with a child in tow or even a wife sitting within breathing radius.
I get this.  I don't like it but I know it is what it is.
I didn't get this with #1 and it pissed me off royally.  It not only pissed me off but added onto my baby blues.  Yes, everyone gets the baby blues.  It's when it become PPD that you have to really worry folks.
I spent most of my first trimester dreading this nesting of man.  Nesting of man apparently starts around the time when you look like you are about to pop through to the 4th month post partum or at least that's been my experience.
Of course this is the time when a woman needs to feel like the team is on the same page.
My husband is in the nesting phase.  It's different now than before because now he's also dealing with frustration because he feels he can't get anything accomplished.  I know, every parent feels this way.
As a wife it's hard to see this and harder to deal with.
Last night I was uncomfortable (what else is new) and wanted to go to the bedroom to sprawl out on the couch and surf and relieve pressure from my back.  He had just vented his frustrations and took a bathroom trip as a I-don't-want-to-hear-it-leave-the-grumpus-alone stance.  So I felt obligated to stay next to him all night.  Uncomfortable. Silent. Not touching him. Not talking to him. Just there.  Uncomfortable.
At least I got some work done but still I felt compelled to be uncomfortable so my spouse wasn't.
I do the same thing with my child.  She wants to cuddle and for me to lay on my side.  With my ginormous belly I have a good 15 minutes before I have to switch positions, any position.  Yet I stay there for 20-30 minutes cuddled up next to her because it's my daughter.
I know women who will say I should put my foot down.  Seriously though, at 10pm did I want to deal with a grumpus whining that he can't vent to me or just sit and deal with the discomfort for a bit?  The discomfort like labor will pass.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Sometimes I prefer to stay in the bedroom even though I'm wide awake.
It's not that I don't want to be out in the living room or kitchen.  I just need to have some peace and quiet and no added to dos or the worry that I'm doing something to get in someone's way.
So occasionally I'll stay next to my daughter while she sleeps and I just read.  I stay very still and remain very quiet and read quietly.
I used to feel badly about this but I'm realizing this is a survival tactic for me.  It's me not letting the day, the todos, the niceties and what not get to me.  I just want to be in silence.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Preparing the Home and Family for a New Addition

#2 will be debuting at the end of next month.  The exciting and anticipation is mounting.  The to do list is also mounting.
When you speak about prepping the home for a baby, folks generally think about decorating and buying equipment and gear.   Honestly, I tend to gloss over these things.  It doesn't fit our lifestyle.   We are more focused on making our home a healthy and safe place for our children.
With all children, younger and older, you need to provide a safe environment for them to thrive and grow. 
Safety First
Forget about whether you should have pink elephants or a mural of black and white stimulating patterns, it's important to make a safe environment for your baby.
1. If you don't want it broken, put it away
Put away any breakable or valuable objects that may be within child's reach and/or you.  During those first few months when sleep deprivation and post partum body wobbles are in high gear, your coordination is not at its peak.
2. Wear and use Natural materials
Also make sure items are clean and non-toxic.  Our family was always keen on using products in our home and self that were healthy but it became even more important for us during our pregnancy. 
As much as possible avoid unnecessary chemical intake.  Switch to natural cleaning products for home and body.  Just as what you ingest affects you and your family, so does what you surround yourself with.  Be smart and wise and choose products that are natural, healthy, clear and free for you and your family.  Not only will your family’s health benefit but that you get the bonus of having it probably be good for the environment too.  (You may not be environmentally conscience now but after you have a child, you realize just how much waste one person can produce and you begin to wonder, where does it all go?)
Being healthy also applies to what we wear which is why we use natural baby products on #1 and plan to do the same with #2.  We were big fans of Seventh Generationdiapers and wipes and still are.  In fact, I think that’s the first thing we started stocking up on when we found out we were blessed with #2.  I have my small package of newborn Seventh Generation free and clear diapers ready and a few large quantity boxes of size 1 diapers ready to go.  The biggest seller for us regarding wipes and diapers is that they are free of chlorine and man-made fragrances.
I remember the first time my husband opened the case of Seventh Generation wipes and asked why we don’t use a commercially popular brand.  I told him to read the label and the first thing that struck him was the words ‘Chlorine Free’.  “Why would anyone put chlorine in something a baby is going to use and something that is going to touch such delicate parts?”  I couldn’t give him an answer.  After that, he realized how important it was for us to be extra mindful in what we use not only on the baby but ourselves.
Here are a few more things we learned that might be helpful to others:
3. Mini Stations
In common areas, keep a small box of diapers, wipes and tissues available for quick and easy cleanup and diaper changes.  It’s great to have a changing table station but there will be times where it’s easier to have a little mini-station available such as in the bathroom, play area and bedroom.
It doesn’t have to be big.  For example in the bedroom we have a small bench at the foot of our child's bed that has a small dim headgear lantern, a small pliable changing mat, a package of wipes, a few diapers, a small pail for refuse and facial tissues. 
What’s the headgear for?  Well, a startled baby does not equal quality sleep so we keep the lights off and change our baby’s diapers in the dark.  We look like miners changing the diaper but it works.  By changing the diaper in bed, we keep the bed warm and toasty and avoid startling a baby and avoid the risk of fully waking up the baby.
We also keep a mini station in the car.  Yes, we it’s easier to have a mini-station than unpack a bag.  Plus having wipes available not only for diaper changes is a big win-win for any parent.
4. Clean Up Baskets
It’s also helpful to keep a small basket or box to put any toys or items that you think need to be cleaned.  Babies use all their senses to learn about their environment.  When you think that slobbered on block needs a quick cleaning, put it in the box and when you have a chance, grab all your to be cleaned items and wash them.  Our toddler also knows that’s where dirty items should go.  She participates in keeping our home and family healthy and clean.
Remember, those items are just going to go right back in his/her mouth or what not.  Use environmentally free and clear cleaning products.   As my husband once said, “If I douse this in bleach, my child is just going to be sucking on bleach.  Does that sound healthy to you?”
5. All in the Family
Instill the importance of health and teamwork early on.  Our toddler helps with cleanup.  Because we use natural free and clear products, I’m comfortable with her helping me wipe tables and do laundry.  She has her own spray bottle we place with diluted cleaning solution and a small towel and she helps wipe down tables and her toy areas.  She also helps sort laundry and measure out detergent.
6. Incorporate the other kids in baby safety
You would think being parents already baby proofing would be easier.  Not so.  Toddlers like things like pens and sticks and small coins.  We're blessed our child isn't into sticking things in her mouth but as with most toddlers, she drops the object wherever and whenever she's bored with it.  This means they are mostly likely going to be within reach of an infant. 
We've reminded our toddler to not throw things and to be mindful where she leaves her toys but it's an ongoing process.  We know we will have to be more alert when the newborn arrives.
7. Make sure baby gear is up to date and meet safety regulations
I'm not going to tell you to not accept a used baby gear item.  That's unrealistic in today's economy and bad for the environment.  However be smart about it.  Do not accept anything that has been in an accident or is over 3 years old.  When i was pregnant with #1, my mother recommended I use the crib I used as an infant.  No lie.  Here's the deal, back in the days when we were babies, the safety regulations were slim.  For gosh sakes, my brother's car seat was a hand me down that was essentially steel poles wrapped in toxic vinyl.  Be a smart consumer and read read read!     
8. Have your car seat inspected by a professional and/or police officer if your town provides this.  
You would not believe how may car seats my husband had to correct and advise our fellow friend parents on.  Two were strapped in on the bottom but not the back causing a flip and fold danger during an accident.  For your own peace of mind find the nearest inspection site and learn from the experts.
9. My list of nevers:
  • Never put an infant on a changing table alone.
  • Never put a carseat with an infant on the seated portion of a shopping cart.
  • Never put a bouncer with an infant on a table or other high countertop unattended.
  • Never leave the car with an infant or child strapped in unattended
10.Spend time with your family and yourself
With all the planning and prepping you can forget what you have in front of you.  Remember, the baby is important but also your brood here and now is also important.  Schedule a picnic and individual outings with your kids, spouse and yourself.  It doesn't have to be fancy.  An afternoon at the playground, a daddy-daughter restaurant date, a trip to the beach or amusement park are all fun things to do together before the family expands.  Amusement park you say?  Yes, during my 3rd trimester, DH and I took a trip to a small amusement park with our toddler.  It's not bad.  I wouldn't recommend a large theme park like the ones in FL but a small local one or town fair is doable.

We’re making our mini-stations and going through our to do list now.  I’m sure there will be more to do in the weeks to come and although my worry list will always increase with the addition of another child in our home, I have the comfort of knowing that we are being mindful and not adding unnecessary chemicals into our bodies new and old.

*I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Seventh Generation blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mommy's To Do List

Here is my wishlist of to dos I would like done before ToF comes.
As most parents will attest, most of these items will not come to fruition but one can dream:

  • Photos of ToF in utero
  • Completion of Photo Album for TG's 2nd year (I know. I know.)
  • Replace Baby Swing (I know I missed the big trade in.)
  • Wash baby clothes (Ok, I need to get the baby clothes first.)
  • Preliminary draft for birth announcements (Yes, I still do these.)
  • Finalize names (It was tough for #1 but even tougher for #2 for various reasons.)
  • Stock up on diapers (Let my prime membership lapse.  Darn.)
  • Buy going home outfit.
  • Complete registration packet at the pediatricians for #2. (I don't even have a name yet, what do you think my priority on this is?  I know it has to be bumped up though to guarantee a spot with TG's pediatrician.)
  • Finalize Daddy gift. (Yes, I get him a gift.)
  • Complete my admission packet. (Surprisingly it's a low priority item for me.)
  • Purchase TG's gift. (She's going to be a big sister. That's a big deal.)
  • Purchase Halloween costume for TG and ToF.  (I'm not crazy and have decided I will not make their costumes this year.  That's just too much.)
  • Watch the past season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. (DH Date kind of thing.)
  • Remind doctor of birth plan. (I just keep pushing this aside during our visits.)
  • Buy myself a present. (It's my birthday/I deserve it thing.)
Please don't even tell me I should delegate.  You'll make me pee myself.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Raising a child to have the power of self while keeping ones sanity

Discipline and parenting is all about control and when you realize you really don't have control, you probably retain or gain some of your sanity back.
My husband and I have different views about time outs.
I don't think they are helpful and useful.
My husband thinks they are.
I'm sure my opinions will change as does everything with parenting and human development.
For now this is how I see it, the kid is trying to express and learn his/her boundaries and develop his/her personal power.  Timeouts have no learning significance, decrease personal power and only frustrate the parent more than the child because timeouts are still giving them what they want which is attention and focus.  They still wield the control.
Now, I'm not saying that I don't take my kid out of a situation when she needs to be disciplined.
I do.  I take her out and I get down to her eye level and I try to get her to listen to why I pulled her out.  She may not completely understand but I feel I need to respect her and she needs me to hear me out.
I also give her a consequence if it happens again.  For example, if she decided to run out of my eye sight again and does not return/respond when I call her name, her playdate is cut short.  For me, she makes the decision then.
Again, I know that discipline is different for everyone and my thinking may change tomorrow and/or with a different situation.
I'm not saying I'm right.  There is no right or wrong.  It's different for every parent, every child and every situation.
What I am saying is it's hard for me to have a difference of opinion with my husband but also keep my tongue about it.
There are somethings I won't.  For example, thankfully DH and I agree corporal punishment is not for us right now.  We also agree that mutual respect is important.  We do not believe children should be subordinate individuals with no ability to question.
But just like I said before, I need to let their relationship play out.  They need to develop their dynamics.  That's the only way my child will learn and grow not only socialization-wise but in confidence and self-assurance.  The one thing a child should realize and continue to grow is personal power.  A person needs to know he/she has power and can use it for good and to strengthen themselves.
In a few months I may look back on this and say, "What the hell was I thinking?" but right now, I need to take a step back be confident in my decision and be supportive of my husband's.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The one where I talking about peeing while pregnant.

There is a lonliness to pregnancy.
There is also a very public private nature to it but I've spoken about that.
Today I'm talking about the lonliness a woman can feel because it's so personal and unique.  The people that should be very intimate about it are the mother and father of the child but it's the mother that has the first hand account of it.
No matter how much you try to explain it to your spouse, he/she will never truly understand and empathize.
There are good things and not so good things.  I can't say there are bad things because I truly believe pregnancy is a blessing and is a natural sacrifice.
Here are some things that are absolutely quirky about pregnancy:
1. You will pee when you sneeze, when you laugh to hard, when you stand up after you just peed,etc.  Pack extra underpants.
2. Sometimes you'll need to still wear liners or pads.  I'm not going to go into the lovely colors that you may see either.
3. Your body will do the wackiest things and you will not be able to explain them to anyone.  The other day I slept with my left side semi elevated because I could feel a charley horse approaching.
4.  There will be times when you cannot sit, stand, walk or lay down without feeling discomfort.  The balance ball is my best friend right now.  Unfortunately the best position for me on that thing is laying on it with my ass up in the air.  Sexy.
5.  Did I mention the peeing?
6.  There will be times when you try to pee because you feel like you have to pee but your baby is in a position that makes sitting on the toilet extremely uncomfortable.  The other day I was leaning to the side of the toilet because I just couldn't find a comfortable position to do my business.
7.  There will be times where you feel like you could jump your spouse.  These times are usually at the most inconvenient times.
No wonder I'm feeling lonely.  I wouldn't want to be around me either with all this peeing and what not. LOL

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Parents To Dos always take a backseat

As parents we sometimes get into this desperation point where we try our best to make things go our way.
I mean, there are days where we want to be able to do things and the fear of not being able to accomplish them leads us to try to make pre-emptive attempts to help us reach these goals.
Most of the time it's a losing battle.
This comes from person who is Anal Retentive with hyperfocus tendencies, every day with a young child is new and every changing.  You can't plan.  You can try to have backup plans and prevent things (like tantrums due to lack of sleep, hunger, etc) but you never can tell.
Now, I'm a huge arts and crafts person.  That's why sometimes I'm called Mothra (Martha Stewart in Asian form).  Yes, I make a loose plan for the day and have backup activities.  That's what keeps me sane but I also know that if things don't happen, things just don't happen.  I can't kick myself or frustrate myself over it, especially if it's things I really want to do or need to do or worse, it's a non-kid thing that needs to get done.
Now, I don't always live by this but I really try hard because I know that I will probably lose my schmidt if I don't.
This morning, ok starting last night, DH was losing it.  He has a personal to do list.  It's part of his nesting which I'll get into another day.  Anyway, last night as part of the lovely toddler/preschooler wants to prolong bedtime tactics, TG asked for Daddy.
Part of this was me.  I was having severe back spasms.  I do not recall back spasms with #1 but I do know they exist and some women have that and God forbid, back labor.  Please, please Lord, no back labor for me.
Anyway, he started losing his schmidt and I knew it because he started the time outs.  I'm not a time out person, as you know, but I also know this is a discipline thing that he feels he is comfortable with so I try to hold my judgment.  Yet another to be discussed at a later date entry.
Going on, after about 20 minutes of me sprawled out on the balance ball, I feebly made my way to the bedroom to relieve my husband who clearly needed a break from parenting.
As soon as I came in, TG said, "Mama, are you going to stay here with me?  Yes?  Ok, Daddy can you leave?"
Of course Daddy mentioned chopped liver again and I mentioned to TG that she needs to go to bed now.
Within 10-15 minutes she passed out and I went back to sprawling on the balance ball praying the spasms would subside.
Going back to this morning, I'm packing my bags and getting ready to leave for the office when my husband says the following, "You know the zen garden that C has for T to play with as a sandbox?  I'm thinking of gettting one for TG."
PG: Ok.  With a newborn on the way and a dog in the house a 'sandbox' doesn't sound like a good idea but research it.  Maybe you can do it in an enclosed box and keep it in the kitchen or someplace where vacuuming and sweeping isn't terrible.
Yes, I know, I could have said 'no' but I'm more of a ok, try it and if it doesn't work, you learn type of person.
DH: I'm thinking of getting it today so I can have some time to do some of my personal to dos.  Where can I buy one of those?
That's when I gently mentioned that he can waste an entire day searching for this thing and setting it up with no guarantee that this will occupy our toddler for an extended period of time.  I also mentioned he could drop her in the bathtub with some new paint stamp rollers and some paint or her stamp pad to play for a bit or just let it go organic and see what happens.
I think as parents we think we need to entertain our kid or have activities and to dos for them.  It's more so when we have to do things but that's when nothing will work.
I've found that kids find ways to entertain and learn by themselves and it's amazing.
For example, as DH was having this discussion, I told him he could have finished his shower because TG was focused on playing with her lovey and dressing him in the bedroom.
Thankfully, he wasn't intense and seemed to understand what I was trying to say.
Now that doesn't mean he'll get some of the things or even one of the things on his personal to do list done today but maybe just maybe he won't get frustrated and aggravated because he spent x time planning and it never came to fruition.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I need to stop running the marathon & enjoy what's around me.

I know that at time I can be a bit of a grumpy Eeyore.  I'm matter-of-fact and less optimistic than I should be.
I try and I guess I can try harder to not be so much like that and to think on the bright side of life more often.
I think I'm kind of spreading it to my husband and that's a big wake up call.
My husband by no means is sunshine and lollipops.  He's probably more matter-of-fact than I am.  But lately I feel like my being so busy has lead me to not stop and smell the roses.  This in turn makes me appear to be a gloomy gus because I'm so busy doggy paddling that a wave or a stick hitting me veers me off course.
So I'm going to try to be more open to the occasional pebbles and sticks that I may hit swimming upstream.
I know it won't be easy but I need to remind myself to backfloat for a little while and enjoy the scenery if not for me but for my family.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Making my list, checking it twice

I don't recall the nesting instinct kicking in with #1 but I think it may be coming in for #2.  That or the change in seasons just lead to me working towards getting things ready for #2.
I cleared out the summer clothes for the fall clothes for #1 and started making my list of things to buy for #1 and #2 for the coming season.
Honestly, I don't think I buy as much clothes for myself as I do for the kids.  Kids grow so quickly too that I really search for items that will last the season and maybe the next season.  I'm a huge fan of Hanna's because of that.  Yes, they are more expensive but they really do last and many of their items are organic which makes the crunchy mommy in me very happy.
I figure with #2, we'll go the same route as #1.  We'll keep #2 in kimonos for the first month or two.  There really is no need to get newborns fully dressed as they spend most of their time swaddled, peeing, pooping and eating.  Fully dressed just means more laundry, more snaps, etc.
I think we'll probably get long sleeves kimonos since it will be chiller.  Maybe I should get some short sleeves too since the apartment is rather warm.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's Chicken!

So my kid is a lover of music.  She loves all music.  We make it a point to introduce different genres and discuss the difference in rhythms and instruments.
DH decided to introduce her to old school hip hop recently.  She now frequently requests Run DMC's Tricky.
She doesn't think it's 'Tricky' though.  She thinks it's called 'Chicken' and it's a song about 'Chicken' and eating it.
The first time I heard her 'rap' her 'Chicken' song, I think I peed alittle.  (I'm sure being really really pregnant had something to do with it too.)
It wasn't easy to figure out Tricky was Chicken, let me tell you.
I think I burned some synapses trying to correlate.  When we got it though boy were we rewarded with an awesome song and dance.  I only wish I had an implanted video camera to records these moments.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sibling bonding starts early

Tot is really taking to the belly, well, until it gets in her way, like cuddling and being kicked while she's napping.
Every morning, she greets her sibling and says good morning.
She likes to rub the belly, talk to the belly, wash the belly, rub lotion on the belly and kiss the belly.
She especially likes watching it move and will hit it gently to watch it move.  She finds it funny.
When we cuddle and she's napping against it and it moves, she'll wake up peeved that her sibling kicked her.  I find it kind of funny.
I'm glad though she seems to be understanding and excited about it all.  She thinks the umbilical cord is like a jump rope and the belly button is how the baby breathes and will be where he/she comes out.   I'm not ready to explain that part to her.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Different Planes

I love my mom very much.  It irks me though that she doesn't like to go out.  Partly because she cannot walk too much without getting tired.  She's not an active person.  Partly because I think years of staying indoors and being insulated (community-wise) has made her comfort level outdoors very low.
Problem is, when you have a child you can't stay indoors.  You need to go out.  You need to try new things, explore, learn and discover.  I'm not sure my mother understands this but it makes it hard for us to coordinate get togethers.
All she wants to do is stay in her home.  I try to coax her out.  I tell her where we are planning to go.  I offer to pick her up and take her.  The usual answer is, "I don't like to walk around too much."
I am surrounded by park land.  My kid loves to run and explore park land.  My mother doesn't.  She lives near a zoo.  My daughter loves animals.  I offer to pick her up and take her to the zoo with us.  "I don't like to stay outside for too long."
It's not just with my daughter either.  She doesn't understand why I try to maintain an active lifestyle.  I try to explain to her that studies show an active, healthy woman is better for fetal development than a sedentary, eats a ton of food (unhealthy at that) pregnant woman.  Plus, I have a toddler so I'm naturally active.
Now, I wish I were more active but I don't overexert myself and I try my best to eat well and I continue to walk and do what I can physically.  It not only helps me for delivery but it also helps with cardiovascular development for my unborn child.
She thinks I should eat a ton of food and just sit and do nothing.
I know it's an old school mentality.  I mean, heck, my mother expected that I not take care of their of their child for 35-40 days post partum.  By the way, this explains a lot about what Chinese mothers consider 'nurturing'.  Sorry, I'm an attachment parent and birth bonding and bonding in general is highly crucial in my opinion regarding the development of social, relational and self esteems of both the mother and the baby.
I know the concept of this old school thinking is that the mother needs to rest and eat alot of herbs to increase her blood production after delivery.  However, it not only effect bonding but it also perpetuates the self esteem issues that most Chinese women have.  Yes, this is my opinion based on what I've seen from friends and acquaintances.
There is nothing more empowering than to say I can do it, I've done it.  You get that esteem flowing in you and I will tell you that esteem will pass on to your child.
Holy hell, you incubated and pushed out your child.  That'a feat in itself.  You can take care of your child and you can do it your way because, heck parenting is a personal thing.
Sure, ask for opinions and assistance on occasion but there is nothing more empowering than to achieve something on your own and on your own terms.
I want my children to be independent and self reliant.  I want them to be self assured and confident.  The best way to do this is to be the best role model I can be.  Like my Dad said, "God gave you what you have.  Use it and do not rely on others.  Let your mom be and do what you need to do."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Explaining the concept of time to a toddler.

My daughter is at the stage where she has to be able to do things on her own and at her own pace.
DH doesn't seem to understand this as he's rushing out the door.
Ok, I don't like it but I understand it and that's probably because I am anal retentive.
So it does aggravate me that it takes 15 minutes for her to pack her backpack and close it when it would take me 30 seconds but I also know she needs to do this at her pace and on her own.
The rule is this, if you interrupt this high intensity time for her, you are essentially making it that much longer for your because you have to wait so she can start from the beginning again.  I totally get that.
It's not fun but the reality is, if you want your child to learn and be self-sufficient and develop strong confidence and self-reliance, you need to allot that time.
So if it takes you 30 minutes to get out of the house, tack on 15 minutes for putting on shoes or whatever else task that needs to get done.
This isn't an easy feat for anyone but most especially from my husband as he runs on DH time, which is essentially like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.

Add to this the fact that my daughter believes that anything happens whenever.  Take it as a negative of living in NYC, the city that never sleeps, or the negative of having a DVR or the internet where you can get whatever you want whenever you want or just the difficult concept of time that a child and adults need to understand and restrict themselves to.
Fact is, I have at least one conversation a day with my daughter explaining that 'Time waits for no man.'
So much so that now my daughter is saying this phrase consistently.  I don't think she understands it but she knows it deals with time and the concept of time or as she would say, "Like the purple Time book."  We have a book on time and we refer to it often.

Right now she believe breakfast is a meal but it is not relegated to the morning meal.  Hey, I love breakfast.  I think breakfast is not only my favorite word but my favorite meal of the day so I'm not fighting it.  She is learning that every day has a name and my favorite line regarding this is her response to Sunday, "Again?"  We talk about how every day has a number called a date.
The big concept that she's learning and that I guess all adults continue to learn is how every day we do things that allow us to do other things.  The biggest way to get this across is our bedtime routine.  I explain if we stay at the playground too long, then we will be late for dinner which will cut short our storytime at bedtime.  She seems to understand this but I don't think the whole actions/consequences is completely solid.  It's a hard concept to grasp especially when you are three and believe if you say you are not tired, you will win the battle against sleepiness.

I wonder how adding a newborn to the mix is going to add to our time chaos.  I may have to start a complete day in advance if I want to get anywhere on time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My daughter thinks squeaking is coherent to these old ears.

My daughter likes to pretend she's an animal or another person. Every day it's something different. Every day the voice that accompanies the pretend person or animal is usually a high pitch squeaky voice. My daughter is 3 and at that age most girls (I say most because there is one playmate of hers I swear sounds like Lauren Bacall) have naturally high voices.
Lord help me today was one of those days where everything coming out of her mouth sounded like incoherent bird chirps.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Everyone needs a Pot to their Kettle

"You need to let it go." said a friend as I was venting how short my rope felt.
<br>I know she is right and I know she is the one person who is like me and can commiserate.
<br>She was responding to the fact that even as I was venting to her my work emails were knee deep, my text messages were blowing up and my phone (cell and landline) were ringing simultaneously.
<br>I'm Mrs. Reliable.  I'm Mrs. Knows-Where-To-Get-The-Answers.  I'm Mrs. Fix-It.  I'm Mrs. Vent-To-Me-I'll-Just-Listen.
<br>I'm not tooting my horn.  Honest.  Take the job, please.
<br>"And you know you are just perpetuating this." said Pot to the Kettle.
<br>She's probably the only person that can tell me that and I wouldn't be offended.
<br>Once you become the goto person though how do you step out of that role and would you want to?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I'm no Superwoman so why do I still feel compelled to try to be

No woman wants to be superwoman. I don't care what anyone says. It's too much in an already packed life to want to be superwoman. We want many things but if we were asked if we wanted to be superwoman, we'd probably politely decline the position.
Yet, as a woman in modern society in an urban setting, more and more woman are superwomen. It's not their choosing. It's just the way it is.
I'm not talking about the women who bring home the organic nitrate free bacon, fry it in a cast iron skillet to avoid toxins from a non-stick pan women.
I'm talking about the superwomen who try to be everything for everyone they love. It's just not possible. You cannot be everything to everyone.
But if that's true, then why do we as women feel so awful if we don't or if we don't try to be? It's as if we ourselves perpetuate this notion.
For me, that hardest thing for me is to know that I cannot burn my candlewick too thin. Still, I cook and prepare all meals for the family, short order cook style too. I research everything for the family. I read everything I can find. I handle the majority of nighttime parenting. I send reminders to my husband for his schedule. I manage the family calendars. I plan and arrange outings and get-togethers. I research and coordinate classes and social events for the kids. I plan and coordinate learning opportunities.
I don't mind but it gets tiring and I ask myself why? Why do I it?
It's not about love. It is but that's not the point here.
It's not about delegating. Honestly, delegating won't work in my circumstance. I love my husband dearly but I need to dole out 'you plan it all' to avoid him burning out.
It's not about control. Please, I'd happily take a personal assistant to remind me what to freaking do.
In my case, things just need to get done and if I don't do it, they won't. Somethings will but out of sheer necessity. We're down to the last pair of underpants.
I know that is the classic excuse you probably hear but that's where I am.
I don't know the reason for others but for me it's just been the way it is and it will always be. I know it perpetuates the Mom/Wife will take care of it but I see no other course in this juncture.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Staring at the tornado from an underpass

I take this as the feeling I will get when I have to watch my child fail at something in order to grow stronger and wiser and be a better person. It's an awful feeling to be able to know what most likely will happen and not be able to change it. Not only that but to witness it and to witness a person you love go through it is an awful awful feeling. It blows. It sucks.  You feel helpless in this situation.
Problem is, you have to fight the urge to do anything about it. If you do, you in effect hurt your loved one. You aren't thinking of his/her best interest. No one can solve someone else's problems but they can help by allowing them to use the abilities that God has granted him/her. Studies show how children learn and retain more through trial and error on their own part not through others. I know this is another one of those captain obvious studies that are rampant but it's really really true.
It's a problem I think most folks have. That's why couples fight. One person wants to vent and the other wants to automatically offer a solution or a fix. That's why parents can hinder the process to full fledge independent human being. The parent wants to protect the child from harm but you can't protect a person from harm always. You need to build their character and their person to be strong and self-reliant so they can protect themselves and eventually display the necessary skills and strengths to help teach others to be self-reliant.
I want to protect my children like all parents do but I want them to be strong, smart and have a strong sense of self and their surroundings. I want them to be independent and not a follower. I want them to be true to themselves and not fall to societal pressures, mass marketing and modern society mandates. In order to do this, I need to be able to watch sometimes and let them fall. That means Mom has to have that inner struggle with herself and that also means Wife has to have the self retraint to know when to just be quiet and help ride out that storm and be there to help pick up the debris that follows it.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Tag Team Parenting Part II

The second hard part of tag team parenting and losing your schmidt is the potential to appear to have a superiority complex.
The person who is not about to lose his/her top will always appear to be an ass with some perfect parenting answer.
In actuality, they don't have any answers but they at this given moment their top isn't going to explode off so they may appear to have a bit more clarity.
When you are that person, viewing and assessing the situation, you have a choice to make, do you not say anything and walk away or do you pull your tag team partner aside and gently mention that maybe locking your offspring under the staircase ala Harry Potter may sound like a good idea now but the end results may not be the same although having a Voldemort killing son sounds awesome.
Decisions. Decisions.
Now I can say this honestly because my husband has done it to me so fair is fair. I said something. Not in front of my kid. I know better. While he was in the kitchen I quietly mentioned he may want to step away for a second before going back into the wrestling cage. I know. I know. You can't rationalize with a person who is two breaths away from going Hulk. DH knows this as many a times I'm two steps from Mothra attack mode. Still, call it what you will, a glutton for punishment, poking the bear with a stick, we both feel compelled to say something to each other and it never ends happily with a, "Oh you are right." We may think the other person is right but the beast will not allow that to be said at that very moment.
Now as the recipient of said sage advice, you get pissy and angry not because it was said or not because he/she may be right but because at that moment you want your tag team partner to be on your side. You're battling the cunning devices of a 3 year old and you want the sane adult nearest you to be on your side. They may be on your side but their words seem to be swaying toward the hypnotic doe eyed gazes of your offspring. It's like your partner instead of solidifying your armor has nicked it and that's the spot that will grow and spread until the shield becomes useless.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Parenting a toddler is a cage match

The hardest part of parenting a toddler is not the parenting of a toddler itself which is hard, don't get me wrong but the change in dynamics that accompanies parenting as a couple. Everyone parents differently. Everyone has different views on discipline, parenting styles, etc. Trying to mesh that together along with the meshing of couplehood and parenthood is hard.
 My husband and I are generally on the same plane when it comes to parenting. He teases me about attachment parenting but I think he sees the benefits and the sacrifices and for the most part his natural parenting style falls along the same path. Honestly, I think attachment parenting is natural parenting and because of such most people would lean towards this style of parenting, name or no name. It's modern society that lends towards other styles of parenting.  We discipline a little differently but that's to be expected. We both don't feel corporal punishment is an ends to the means or means to an end (I had a long day. Forgive me.) For the most part we both feel treating each other and our child with respect is the best way to show and learn about how to treat others.

Ok, sometimes it's more like this...
Did I mention they both have the redheaded streak in them?  It comes from his mother's side, thank you.

Now the thing with parenting is that every parent, including the Duggar mom, will be tested to the point of losing his/her schmidt. That's what kids do. That's what humans do. We poke and prode to see how far we can go. That's why we have folks that climb Mount Everest or run for president or eat 91 dumplings in 8 minutes. The real test is not how you try not to lose your schmidt or how you react to the schmidt provoking but how you as a spouse handle watching your teammate nearly boil over.  See, if you are blessed with having a tag team in the parenting arena, you also have to watch as the other person gets pummelled or turn nearly into a green hulk. Sorry I don't watch wrestling so no witty wrestling references.
Wise parents know you will never win a fight with a child so the key is to avoid battles. However, battles like tantrums will arise on occasion and when the adult starts fighting back with the child, it can seem unfair or one sided. Don't let size or age deceive you. Kids are brutal warriors. As Jason Good says, "you will always lose a battle of wills to a child because they really have nothing to lose."
So watching my husband move into the Daddy Idol stage as I mentioned the other day is great but with that we are also moving into the how far can I push Daddy arena. As a Mom, I have to let them play it out. It's their relationship and as with the many other relationships my child will develop, she needs to build that relationship onher own. It's not easy though and you just have to ride it out because after that wave, another one is churning up.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Attaching to Daddy

There comes a point in a girl's life where her Dad can do no wrong.  When holding his hand is the safest place you can be.  Where sitting in the car listening to tunes, driving around with your Dad can be the best thing.  For me it started when I was around 3 years old.  I recall the sticky faux leather red bench seats of his car.
I remember seeing my Dad in the front driving and singing along with me.  I remember walking down the block and reaching out for his hand.  I recall swinging our hands front and back as we walked.  I remember being curled up on the couch reading with him or pretending to read the newspaper with him.
I think my daughter may be headed towards that milestone.
For the longest time, it's been Momma for everything.  Momma for bedtime.  Momma for eats.  Momma for storytime.  Momma for boo boos.  Momma for potty time.  Momma for bathtime.
It got to a point where my husband would sometimes joke that he was second fiddle.  I think it hurt a little.  It hurt me to see her kick him out of the bedroom when it came time for bedtime or when she'd cry saying she'd want him to leave the bedroom so she could stay with Momma.
Slowly we're seeing more requests for Daddy.  Daddy rubs her back.  Daddy helps her with the bath.
Mommy is still the potty person though.  <i>How did that happen?</i>
It's nice to see the development.  It's natural and is at her pace.
It's also nice to see this now as we hit the final stretch of pregnancy #2.  To see her grow in independence and development and strengthen her attachments to her parents is really calming and uplifting.
Yes I still have the wonders of how I'm going to be able to juggle all the plates but I also know that things will work out.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

In my head

Wake up...
Did my toddler get the appropriate amount of sleep?
What should I make for breakfast for everyone?
Why do I have to always think of what to make for breakfast?
I wonder what my toddler will pretend to be today?
I wonder what DH is doing now?
Is the fetus moving?  Good.  Good morning, fetus.
Good morning, toddler.
She doesn't want milk this morning.  Natural weaning kind of nice.
Remind toddler to brush her teeth and wash her face.
I have to get up and wash my face.

In the bathroom…
I need to wipe down the sink.
Mental note: Buy new toothbrush for tot.
I wonder what DH is doing now?  It's awfully quiet but I know he's not going to walk the dog until I'm outside in the kitchen multi-tasking.
Will I be ok if we don't take the photos I've been asking for for two weeks?  Will I be ok with that and not be bitter?

In the bedroom…
I'm pretty sure if I left the trash in the bedroom it would stay until the stench of dirty diapers is permanently etched in the trash bin. 
Animal Baby Magazines is pretty basic but the photos are adorable, even of a mouse eating blueberries.

In the kitchen…
I'm getting tired of having to worry about eats for everyone.  Every day it's what's for breakfast and empty the dishwasher.  Argh…  What is DH doing?
We have a shared Google Calendar we use to put important schedules and events so we can both see them on our phone and computer.  I swear I probably am the only one who finds this useful.  Why do I keep populating it?
Why is it when I make a statement about how I'm tired of being the troop leader I get the response, I'll take the child away so you can do your thing in peace.  I don't want you to take the child away.  I want to not have to be the damn troop leader every freaking day.

In the living room…
Why is it so odd that I have no plans or ideas for the day?  Could it be that I am tired of being disappointed by plans/ideas not coming to fruition?  Man if I don't get these photos done, I'm going to be really pissy.
My kid loves music.  It could be the 1-800-CARS-4KIDS ad and she stops in her tracks to listen and sing or bop.
Why is it me researching and coordinating things?  If I'm not sending e-mails to remind folks to do stuff, I feel like things wouldn't get done unless it was for self-interest.
I need a wife or a robot wife.

Ooh, Ice Cream.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Surviving the Hurricane in NYC

I meant to write this last week but things were a bit hectic.
So Hurricane Irene made it's way up north to NYC and we were a direct target.
Because of such the Mayor implemented a full out preparation plan that included evacuations of hospitals and nursing homes and low lyings areas that had major potential for flooding.  The MTA also shut down the mass transit system, buses and trains.
I do not recall this type of disaster preparedness ever in my life in NYC.
Still being the jaded New Yorker that I am, I watched the news and did common sense preparation.
This included making sure I had groceries but not more than my usual grocery shopping, stocking up on toilet paper because no one wants to be without TP, disaster or not, filling up my gas tank and charging my batteries on my flashlights.  Oh and of course contacting family to make sure they do the same and that they refill any prescriptions needed.
Apparently the other New Yorkers, those who are transplants, went crazy and bought out water and paper products like mad.  Lines at the wine store were pretty large as well.  I suppose if I wasn't pregnant and a parent and sequestered in my home I'd stock up on wine too but water?
My brother said that up by him the line for back up generators was ridiculously long.
Ok, may be it's because I live in the highest point in Manhattan and may be it's because I'm a jaded New Yorker but I really didn't feel the need to over prepare.
Yes, I live in an island but I'm at the highest point.  If I flood, we're looking at a <u>Day After Tomorrow</u> scenario.
Some of my neighbors, lovingly transplants, high tailed it out of NYC.
One family wound up with power outages where they went.  Another family endured flooding.
Here in the neighborhood we endured a few downed trees.  That's it.
Now I know that we are fortunate but I also felt like NYC has an amazing infrastructure and a strong will survive attitude.  I'd rather be in the city than in the rural parts of New Jersey or Pennsylvania during this type of potential disaster.
The biggest thing I was concerned with was how were we going to make it through the weekend trapped indoors.  When I say we, I don't refer to the dog who thinks she's a cat and does not like to go for walks but me, my husband and our toddler daughter.
DH was thinking the same.  He was concerned that thunderstorms may be too much for TG again and so he beelined to Toys R Us during her nap and just as the mass transit system was shut down to pick up an erector set figuring it would take a good chunk of time for them to build and put together.  <i>He's right but I'll save that for another post.</i>
I planned out the arts and crafts and cooking projects.  I also prepped some group activities for the building kids just in case.
In the end we wound up doing the usual amount of activities as we would on any given day.  We read about hurricanes and looked at pictures and maps.  By the end of the storm, she was able to tell me when the weather person was on television and would describe where the hurricane was on the satellite image.
We did some spin art and made hurricane paintings.
We made oatmeal cookies with pretty much every nut I could find in the house.
We did hurricane dancing which involved a lot of spinning.
We read more about clouds which came in handy the next day when she spied the cloud change in the sky.
And there was the erector set.
The storm passed through the night and we barely heard anything indoors.  We could see the trees blowing madly but other than that, we didn't hear thunder or any other potentially disrupting sounds.
The next morning TG woke up to the sun peeking through, the eye of the storm.  She looked out and exclaimed the wind was quiet now.  I tried to explain that in the middle of the hurricane it can get very quiet and still but that the winds would pick up again soon.
Sure enough they did but not was violently as we had suspected.
We opted to stay away from the parks until the park rangers gave a greenlight to go in but took a walk up the block to allow the dog to pee.
By the way around 10:30-11am on Sunday, I'm fairly certain every dog in NYC peed.  Every dog and dog owner in the neighborhood was outside during the eye of the storm to allow their pooches some quick relief.
That evening as DH and TG walked our dog up the block, they saw and heard a tree crack and fall to the ground.  It was enough for both of them to decide it was best to go back home.  <i>Thank you Lord  for the blessing of common sense.</i>
So that's our story of how we endured Hurricane Irene.
It wasn't bad for us, thankfully.  The hardest part was dealing with the claustrophobia which peaked on Sunday afternoon.
We know others weren't as lucky so we're continuing to be thankful.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Giraffe in the City

I've got my pillow fortress in full force now.  Everywhere I go in my home I have my pillows I use to build my little pregnancy belly comfort zone.  
I feel like Linus and his security blanket.
Speaking of security blanket, my daughter's lovey spent his first night outdoors alone.  Giraffe in the Big City.  I'm thinking of writing a kid's book about it.
On Monday night we searched high and low for her lovey to no avail.
PG: Honey, where was the lsat place you remember seeing Jay Raffe?
TG: Picnic.
PG: Honey, I don't recall you having Jay Raffe at the picnic.
TG: I pee peed in the potty in M5.  Jay Raffe pee pee too.
PG: Is Jay Raffe in the M5 (our car)?
TG: Yes.
DH: {murmurs}I'm certain I brought him up after I parked the car.  
He bee lines to the car facing the treacherous skunk gangs that have taken over our park filled neighborhood.
PG: Honey, if Jay Raffe is in the M5, we may have to wait until the morning to get him.  Would that be ok?
I'm hoping to buy us some time just in case he doesn't find him.  
Now, I need to say honestly, we have backup loveys.  2 in fact.  However, kids have a sixth sense for their loveys and no matter how many times you turn them over and rotate them, they sort of start catching on.  TG isn't there yet but I also knew that if I whipped out backup #2 at this point, a full inspection would be in play.  
TG: Oh, ok.
And like that she fell asleep for the first time without her lovey.
DH returned with an ixnay on the raffejay.
I pulled out he back up and when she woke up in the middle of the night to pee, she asked for her lovey.
I handed her backup #2 and she said, "Thank you Daddy for getting Jay Raffe from M5."  With that she hugged her lovey and passed out again.
That alone was a big milestone but then something awesome happened.
The next morning, DH took our dog out for her morning pee.
He texted me immediately. 
DH: Look what I found.

Apparently, Jay Raffe fell out of my husband's bag as he was carrying everything home.  A kind person must have recognized this as a toddler's special toy and placed it on the hood of a car that was directly in front of our building.  He appeared to have suffered some treading but nothing a good soak in the laundry wouldn't take out.
I'm not sure who was happier with all the events, TG in the middle of the night receiving backup #2 or DH finding #1 on the street in front of our building.
Who knows what Jay Raffe encountered in the night.  Maybe he met a pack of skunks.  Maybe he endured blistering winds.  Maybe a near run in with a pooch that needed to relieve him/herself.
We're glad he's back though.