What The Babies Are Saying

I’ve been active on social media for the past decade or so, with the past 5 years being mainly focused on Instagram, or what I call “a hub of photographic inspiration.” And as time goes by, I’ve found a world of photography from mothers who are also creatives (i.e. illustrators, graphic designers, etc), or bloggers who just became mothers, or photographers who are also mothers – any combination of those three interests me. I don’t necessarily fit into any of those above-mentioned categories, but nonetheless I am a mother, and since becoming a mother, I found myself being drawn to those who show their lives through Instagram, with beautiful images laid out in such a way that if you view it in their profile, as a series of square formats, you can see that not only does it serve a purpose aesthetically but also personally.

Now, as my oohs-and-ahhs have subsided over the years, I’ve realized that Instagram is just like a Facebook for photography. As I’ve gotten sick of FB and quit checking it altogether, I am slowly checking Instagram a little bit less as well. Don’t get me wrong – there are still people who I follow on Instagram who are not mothers, but rather photographers, who provides me with inspiration – beautiful images to look at and dream about. But as I’ve looked at a lot of baby & family photos, I tried to step into the shoes of these babies and children who are being photographed and shared constantly on social media. I wondered – if I was that baby, what would I think? How would I feel about my parents blasting images of me all the time, doing different things, putting on god-knows-what awful accouterments on my body that I would not particularly choose for myself, such as these booties?*

If babies could talk, this is what they’d say about us moms & dads (mainly moms) who are living a life through social media.

The baby who hates being photographed:
Moommm get that thing out of my face! I’m currently being busy being a baby…can I just crawl once without you putting a camera in my face? Oh, by the way, I also just pooped. It’s kinda big. Sorry. Can you put that camera down and change me please?

The baby who loves being photographed:
Mom, I know you love these stupid bonnets, and I love getting my picture taken, but seriously!?!  I can’t believe you spent like almost $40 for a stupid freakin’ bonnet that I’m only use (let you put it on me) once…okay, maybe twice in church so I can show people that we live as peasants or Amish folks. This is not the 19th century, for goodness sakes! Buy me a REAL hat. Like a sun hat or something.

The baby who doesn’t care (but is also bothered by something):
Okay, so I have to sleep in a crib. Big deal. I don’t see the point since I can’t walk anyway. But do you really have to take a picture of me laying there wrapped up in a Muslin blanket like a prisoner looking through the slats of the crib like I’m some sort of jailed individual? Come on! I was like, whatever to the baby wrap, but hey – you’re kind of stepping into strange territory here by taking a picture of me that looks like I’m bounded in prison.

The needy baby:
Hey, I don’t appreciate you showing off your boob on social media as I’m busy sucking away here. Isn’t this our private time together?? So what, you’re only showing like half of your face, and I know that showing breastfeeding pictures online is like a total trend right now, but for real – I need my milk. I’m hungry! So drop that phone down and FEED ME.

If you were a baby active on social media, what would you say?

*By the way, $40-60 on baby moccasins is ridiculous. You’re better off just spending that on baby formula…or heaven forbid, diapers!!

When Your Toddler Knows A Little Too Much (and other news)

Hi guys,

Welcome to a new edition of “Kids Say the Darnest Things” where I co-host with “TMI (Too Much Information)” and this time, I’ll share with you things I’ve recently discovered that my daughter knows, also known as “Things a toddler should not know YET (until he/she reaches high school).” Now, I consider Lily to be a very normal, average kid. She weighs about 33-34 lbs (the exact number I’ve forgotten), and is about 39″ tall, with brown hair and brown eyes. She’s this adorable little chub chub.

However, what is abnormal about her is her proclivity towards learning of adult things. When I say “adult things” I don’t mean adult entertainment, porn movies, or sexual positions. I mean, things that adults typically talk about, but not children. For example, childbirth. My daughter is obsessed with childbirth, so much that she’ll take some of her toy pieces and “pretend” to give birth to it by putting it down her shirt, then letting it drop out of her shirt, all the while proclaiming that she’s pooping out babies.

Yep, that’s right. Pooping out babies. All because she witnessed her mom giving birth to her little brother. Mind you, this was not planned at all. Home births are not my thing. I prefer to be in a hospital, with a staff that is trained on childbirth and is there to assist me in all aspects in case something goes wrong. However, my little boy decided he could not wait even 30 minutes, and popped out before we even made it to the car. Before her dad got home and delivered him, Lily saw me on my (almost) knees, leaning over the railing of the staircase and screaming at the top of my lungs. Then she saw what happened afterwards…which was her brother coming out of a spot that is usually reserved for closed door activities.

(And while we’re on the subject of babies, one time she declared that she was going to live to a hundred and have babies when she’s 25… which technically isn’t a bad age to have children, and the babies will come out of her just as easily as toy pieces. I resisted the urge to say to her, “Oh honey when it’s your turn you’ll be screaming a hell of a lot before the baby actually comes out. But I spared her the drama).

This is a story that is made for history books… the history of our family, that is.

Do I want my daughter to know about body parts and how they work at such a young age? Not exactly. I was planning on telling her about childbirth when she gets older, or whenever she asked me about it and is old enough to understand. As with many typical parents would prefer to shield their child’s eyes and minds, I thought that wouldn’t happen for at least another 5 years.

I gotta admit – I don’t feel ashamed about her knowing the female reproductive parts. I don’t want to be one of those parents who shun their child away from talking about what our bodies can do. I want her to feel comfortable talking about it, and learning about it…just not so young. Regardless, she does know now, and that is that. I don’t claim to show her my parts all the time, but I do take her into public restrooms with me whenever I have to go, so before this “incident” ever happened, she had already seen me (partially) naked. She is no stranger to body parts.

Speaking of body parts and what it does, not only does this girl know that boys and girls have different parts, but she also knows that it makes them do the same things differently. For example, the other day, she stood up on her bed, put her hands to her privates, held it there, and said, “This is how Daddy goes peepee.” Then she sat down and said, “This is how Daddy goes poopoo.” I was like HUH?!?! how the heck does she know that??? I grilled her further, asking her how does she know how daddy goes potty and she let on that she had peeked in before. Say waahhhhhtttt!!!!

a real conversation between her dad and I

We are not purposely telling her any of these things, I SWEAR.

In other news, this morning she said, “Mom, will you marry me?” I don’t know if I should be flattered or weirded out by this. After all, is it the fact that women can get married to women or the fact that she wants to “marry” me because she loves me? Either way, I’m a little baffled.

It’s a good thing she doesn’t know how babies are made…yet.

What everyone’s doing at the playground: A parent’s perspective

If you’re like me (a parent) you know that the one place you should be familiar with is the park/playground. Gone are the days of $40 entrees at upscale restaurants and $5 cocktails at happy hour – you’ve traded that life for a new lifestyle, the one that involves free play, activities, clear blue skies and a lot of non-spending.

It just so happens that last summer I was VERY pregnant, and on those sunny days when my husband was off doing his internship, Lily and I tagged along and while we waited for him to be done, we’d go to a park nearby, this one that’s full of big trees, nice breezes and shades. I loved that park. It’s a shame we don’t live near it. If you’re like me, this is what your days there looked like:

1. Arrive at destination with a kid in good behavior.

2. Respond to their question about feeding the ducks with a “no” and a question about going on the slides with a “yes.”

3. Let them run to their chosen spot. Tell them to slow down, because gosh darn mama is 8 1/2 months pregnant and she can’t keep up for the life of her.

4. Watch them play. Bask in the glory of their beauty and innocence.

5. Take out your phone to take a picture…because they’re so cute! You can’t help yourself.

6. Continue browsing on your phone after sending the above-mentioned picture to your spouse/partner with the caption of, “Isn’t she cute?!?”

7. Look up after five minutes and see other parents on their phones as well. Continue looking at your phone. At least you belong in the club now.

8. Your kid starts calling out to you. “Mom! Come here!” You drop your phone in your pocket, walks over to their spot only to discover that they don’t really need anything. They just want you to watch them. You tell them that you’re going back to your spot now “because mommy is tired…”

9. Continue browsing on your phone, oblivious to the fact that you’re draining your data allowance for the month. Oh well. You gotta check Instagram. And maybe post that cute picture that you just took of your daughter.

Now I love the park as much as the next parent, but at the time I was not in any shape to run around and actually engage in activities with my toddler. Hence, I was on my phone a lot. This, I realize now, was a fatal flaw. I should’ve been more present. I should’ve stood there and provided my daughter with words of encouragement that I actually meant, not just mumbled out of my mouth.

Once or twice, I’d look up from my phone to make sure she was still around. I remember looking around at other parents at this park – a lot of them were on their phones. And I thought to myself, “Maybe I shouldn’t do that. Maybe I should just enjoy the day as it is.” Beautiful sunny skies, 70+ degrees and I’m in the shade with my daughter at the playground. That should be good enough.

But the thought came and went quickly, for I was tired of working late night shifts while being pregnant that I didn’t think about the time I had with my daughter was something to treasure. All I wanted was to have a moment to myself to browse the internet, check up on things…things, at this point, that didn’t really matter.

You see, I just kind of stumbled upon several things lately. First was a headline on the news that talked about how using your smart phones can increase your stress/anxiety level. Second, this blog post from a mom that I follow on Instagram in conjunction with a post about how she felt pressured to put the “right” pictures on social media and how she didn’t take the time to actually just BE and enjoy her newborn. It made me realize that time on earth is valuable, and although having a smartphone has really improved everybody’s lives in the past decade, it sure has had its drawbacks.

For, if you think about it, not paying attention to your kids at playgrounds is like opening a can of worms to pedophiles and kidnappers. I’m not trying to be a pessimist, but in my worst nightmare, I’d look up and see that my daughter is nowhere to be found. Luckily, she is not one of those kids who runs away, and she’ll always respond when I ask her where she is. But for whatever reason, one day she might not be there when I call her and the fault would be all mine. I realize that a parent, we are ultimately responsible for our children’s safety. Being on your phone decreases your attention span on your child and ultimately increases the opportunities for others of less good intentions to focus on your child.

The park and the library may be nice, safe places in theory, but they are still public places, hence anybody can frequent the spot if they choose to. It’s the kind of places that nobody would imagine anyone taking their child. I never once imagined that myself, until recently. While we’re at the library, I usually let my daughter play by herself while I go browse books for us, and this action, I realize, should be decreased.

All bad things aside, the fact of the matter is – just being there, being present with your kid can have some monumental effects. I recall several times when I was at the park with my daughter and I kept my phone away, sat on a bench and just watched her play. And it was nice. I enjoyed watching her play, and I’m not draining my data. Once their childhood is over, you really can’t get those moments back (unless you have another kid). I’ve decided that when I’m out with my daughter, I need to give her my full, undivided attention from now on. Sometimes she’d get upset with me because I’m either taking pictures of her or using my phone, and I don’t want her to grow up thinking that mommy is always too engrossed on her phone to be paying attention to her. Lily is a really fun person to be around, and I want to keep our mother-daughter relationship on a good level for years to come. After all, she will be there but my smartphone won’t – it will be replaced eventually.

I’m glad we went

GREETINGS from the land of hibernation (it’s been awhile), where I report to you my biggest status update yet: We went to Disneyland! with two kids!

[pant. pant. breathe. deep breaths.]

What words can I say to describe our trip?

Scary. Tearful. Anxious. Excited. Memorable. And I’ve got the Mickey Mouse ears to prove it.

Yes, it was nerve-wracking, but this vacation was much needed, for we hadn’t taken one since before the kids arrived. That was 2012. The past five years have been a blur, starting with the discovery that I was pregnant several months after we came back from Hawaii. Then Lily came along in 2013, and we settled into the baby-slash-school-slash-work lifestyle that vacation planning went to the bottom of the list of priorities. Mentally, we were new parents and just learning how to handle a baby, then a toddler, then another baby. Financially, we were a bit strained at times, but a vacation was always dreamed about. Physically, we were exhausted. My husband has been going to school full time since before our daughter was born and continues to go even after our son was born. Thankfully, this spring he will be done with his Bachelor’s degree – another major accomplishment to add to our list of “taking kids to Disneyland” adventures.

Our kids did well, given the change of environment. Lily was very excited about being on an airplane for the first time and didn’t seem to exhibit any signs of airsickness, thankfully. James did as well as he could on the trip while perched on our laps, save for a small freak out on the flight home – because he was hungry. I realized that there is such a stigma associated with taking small kids on an airplane. Both my husband and I experienced a sort of grimace/uneasy look from others when we told them that we were taking two kids on an airplane to Disneyland, for a vacation! It didn’t make any sense to me because I knew people took kids on planes all the time. We even had a nice lady came over and asked us if we needed anything. I realized that people are very understanding of parents with children. The man who sat next to my husband on the plane ride back said he didn’t mind kids at all, because he had kids of his own.

Just chillin’ in our hotel room

So, I’m glad we went. It was a weekend of many firsts – the first time the kids went on an airplane, the first vacation we took in five years, the first time we got stuck in LA rush hour traffic (no joke – the worst I’ve ever been in!), the first time we kind of got lost and drove through some rough neighborhoods in LA, the first time we spent more than $40 on meals for 3 people (even if one of those meals involved people dressed up in Disney characters and walked around while you ate), the first time we had “authentic” SoCal Mexican food, the first (and probably the last) time we did some cliche things such as getting matching Mickey/Minnie Mouse hats for all four of us, the first time we rode the teacup ride, Dumbo, Ariel, Small land just to name a few famous rides at Disneyland. Our time there was short, but we made the most of it and boy was it fun.

Lily’s favorite thing : the bubble wand

On Why I Quit Facebook

Recently I stumbled upon a New York Times article about social media. But instead of glorifying it, this article – written by a computer science professor and blog writer – stressed the reasons why you should quit social media: because it can hurt your career.

As an avid fan of reading the New York Times, I’ve been waiting for an article like this for the past few years! It feels like decades ago, but approximately two years ago, I decided to quit Facebook cold turkey.  By that, I meant that I disappeared off Planet FB – I stopped posting (except for the automatic posts that transferred over from Instagram) and checking Facebook altogether. I reached a point in my life where I was busy with a little kid – a 1 1/2 year old who demanded a lot of my attention, plus I felt that I was misusing my time, and I could do better things than check Facebook every 20 minutes (or less if there was a red indicator of someone responding to one of my posts). As I’m writing, I feel a little bit of shame at having to admit that.

I’ve had a long relationship with Facebook, starting approximately in 2001 when i was still in college and continued on until well after I graduated from college. While being employed at a local financial institution, I worked at an office that wasn’t very busy. I also had coworkers that were very much into social media. Thus, what does one do when those two ingredients are combined? One checks Facebook during breaks & quiet times on one’s phone. Luckily this company blocked FB on their computers.

This went on for several years, until I decided to leave the company to stay at home with my daughter. This fact alone wasn’t boasted on social media, because I wasn’t too sure as to how people would respond and I didn’t want to go into detail as to how we were able to do that. Lastly I didn’t want to be known as “the mom who has nothing to do but post on Facebook all day because she’s not working” type of thing.

This went on for several years, until I decided to leave the company to stay at home with my daughter. This fact alone wasn’t boasted on social media, because I wasn’t too sure as to how people would respond and I didn’t want to go into detail as to how we were able to do that. Lastly I didn’t want to be known as “the mom who has nothing to do but post on Facebook all day because she’s not working” type of thing.

 

 

Now I know these were unwarranted anxieties that arose from unrealistic fears about being judged by your peers. After all, the people you’re friends with on Facebook is a combination of your family, friends and colleagues, all of which have an opinion about you. Hell, I had an opinion about what people were posting as well! Then, it dawned on me that what used to be a thing that connects people together and gives updates is now a thing that involves MAJOR boasts about everything from how much better their job is, what kind of cool things their kids/pets do, or how much fun they’re having on vacation. (I admit, I’ve been guilty of doing all of this). What once was a channel for communication and maintaining relationships became a boat for everyone as young as 14 (possibly younger because everyone can lie about their age) to post a ridiculous amount of selfies, blurry unattractive photos and rants about all the things that’s going wrong with their lives.

In short, I was tired of the bragging and the negativity I was seeing on Facebook. Even those who knew me would comment on my posts and although I know the person means differently I realize they are not aware that their thoughts should be filtered online, that comments can be seen by people who aren’t your friends, and especially by people you have no connection with and doesn’t care to have one. Thoughts typed out loud can be misunderstood especially when you don’t think about what you’re going to say before you say it. Last but not least, we’ve evolved into creatures of oversharing. I’m not going to say that I’ve never done this because I have, but I will say that on one end of the spectrum I know that there are certain things I’d rather not know about a person. Besides sharing too much about oneself, many of us are oversharing in the forwarding department – reposting a meme or a graphic with a witty message is NOT original, and it makes me wonder what kind of value you are giving to the online world by posting something that someone else has already thought of.

So I decided I didn’t want to be like everyone else – I didn’t want other people to view me as I view certain people. I didn’t want to be so connected to the online world that I forget to have a real life. It’s sad to think that the preferred method of sharing your life nowadays is through Facebook / Instagram / twitter / snapchat. It’s time to start thinking more about what you can contribute to the world, go out and do actual work.

 
What the NYT article mentioned was that as you become more valuable more opportunities will find you and you will gain more connections that way. I absolutely agree. In the other realm of social media- the professional side called LinkedIn I have also decided to be absent. It’s a decision that may have hurt me or it may not. One thing I do know for sure is that LinkedIn has never helped me get a job. In fact, the only thing it has done is send me regular updates about what my past classmates and colleagues are doing – things like promotions, new skills, new degrees – all of which made me feel as insecure and under qualified as the next person standing in line to audition for a comedy show. I felt like I wanted to go hide underneath a table at my high school reunion, because in the world of updates (“what are you doing now!?!?”) I didn’t want my former peers to know that I haven’t yet succeeded to the title of manager or assistant manager, or anything that involved the possibility of making more than $30,000/year.
 
Recently I told my husband that he needed to beef up his resume and profile on LinkedIn. He created an account many years ago and never updated it, and I thought since he’s going to be out of school soon and he’ll need to network to get the “right” job and LinkedIn can help him do that. Now, I realize just how ridiculous that sounds. He doesn’t need LinkedIn to help him get a job! Possibly to get him an email address or telephone to someone who he can solicit, yes, but not to be directly involved in finding employment. My husband is outgoing, social and possess a strong work ethic with solid recommendations from previous & current bosses. Everyone who’s ever worked with him likes him. So if you are that type of person, you don’t need to hunt down that job on LinkedIn. You go out there and use your skills to get that job on your own. 
 

 

About six months after I quit Facebook, I broke down and went back in to see what was going on. I wanted to be sure that what I missed was worth missing. Turns out, I was right – nothing of what I missed was actually big news. No one had a baby. Nobody got pregnant or married. Nobody graduated from college. Nobody paid off their student loans. Nobody bought a house. Nothing of positive value was posted in those six months that I was away. So I decided that it was indeed the right thing to do – and since then I’ve only checked it once or twice in the past three months and currently have no interest in ever checking it again. 

Look, I’m not saying that Facebook or LinkedIn isn’t valuable. It is for some people, just not for me. I’m a person who values face-to-face interactions. I’d rather have coffee with you at Starbucks than get a Like on my post, because I know you already like me. If we are far apart and can’t see each other, then I’d rather that you text me and/or send me an email rather than a Facebook message. If you actually read this far, that means you actually care about what I have to say so THANK YOU! Know that I do not have a “I don’t care” attitude about social media, rather I have a “I don’t need it” attitude about social media. I have many other ways to fill up my time, people who care about me, and things I’d rather devote my attention to (my kids, for one).

 

What’s different the second time around

About 3 1/2 years ago, when I had my first kid, I didn’t know much about having kids. All I knew was that after the birth, I thought, “I don’t want to do this again for at least 5 more years.” Little did I know that I would be doing it again 3 years later.

So, my son came a little earlier than expected…which is fine, really, because after having been a parent for a few years, I feel equipped with a little bit more wisdom, although some days I feel like I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. Looking back on it now, I remember being SO excited about becoming a parent for the first time. Not that I’m not excited to be a parent for the second time, because I was… but James did come about two years early…I feel like this time, as many parents do, I know a few things I didn’t know before. Take, for example:

-You don’t need to buy an entire year’s supply of clothing & accessories for your kid. Seriously – this is the most important thing I’ve learned from having my daughter. Having a girl induces you (no pun intended) to buy cute little flowery headbands, because gosh darn it, you want her to have the BEST newborn picture so you can do those birth announcements, right? In addition to cute, flowery headbands that sells for the cost of a new perfume that you want to get for yourself (because being a new parent means you don’t have time to shower so you need to cover up your stink), there are also thousands of products in the baby industry that sounds like it’s so necessary to get at the time, like wipe warmers…because gosh darn it if your baby’s butt isn’t warm when you wipe her stinky, poopy parts in the middle of the night! (Psstt: here’s the secret: the baby doesn’t care). It is incredible how much new parents feel obligated to buy – from cribs that cost as much as your plane ticket to see your mom to strollers that are in the $300-400 range, you would need to stop going out to dinner for 5 months before you can actually afford all this stuff!

Luckily, you have generous parents, grandparents, friends and family members who is going to shower you with gifts for the baby. Suddenly that baby monitor is yours. Plus 50 new outfits, all with cute little sayings like “The cutest baby on the block” or “Man of the house.” And did I mention that there is a much bigger selection of girl’s clothing than boys’ clothing? So, you can’t help yourself – you end up buying a million outfits for your baby, and then you realize that by 2 months, they no longer fit in the 0-3 month clothing, and you’ll shed several tears as you sort out the brand new clothes that they never got a chance to wear into the “Donate” pile.

This time, when I had my son, I was smart enough to only look for gently used clothing and discount items. Thinking that I’m so clever, I bought a lot of $3* onesies for him…turns out, he grew even faster than my daughter, so I still shed a tear every time I think about getting rid of those cute little outfits that he never wore several weeks ago.

Courtesy of: The Ugly Volvo

You’re not a terrible parent if you let your kid falls off the bed/sofa/chair/whatever they’re laying on at the moment. I recently started reading a parenting book called “Welcome to the Club” by Racquel D’Apice and she mentioned having done this, and I felt a huge sigh of relief. It’s not just me. My husband has done it. I’ve done it. I bet thousands of other parents have done it – your baby is a few months old, they just started rolling over, and you leave them on a surface for five seconds and during those five seconds, they managed to roll over and fall off the bed, or sofa, or chair, or table. You wonder if your child maybe has developed some sort of magical grasp with gravity, because even YOU can’t roll off a surface that quickly. You then hear a blood-curdling scream of an infant, and with horror, you think your child is dead. You rush to their side only to discover they are *whew* NOT dead, just a little traumatized, because they’ve never bungee-jumped off the bed before. And you’ve never let them do it before. Then you feel so terrible that you vow to never let that happen again…and in my case, never mention it to my husband (unless he confesses to having done it first – which he did).

-You don’t need to come to their beck and call every time they cry. Look, babies’ needs are very basic: 1) they have a dirty diaper 2) they’re hungry 3) they’re hungry and tired, and in my son’s case 4) they need companionship. (Don’t leave me alone, Mom!) You shouldn’t have to feel terrible if you don’t. When Lily came into our lives, my husband and I would be so worried that we’d often come to her call every time she cries. After awhile, you start to learn what their cries mean. Nowadays, whenever my son cries, we let him have his moment for about 5-10 minutes before we come check on him. Honestly, I don’t feel terrible about doing this, because I know he’s not seriously injured, so he can wait another minute for me to drink my coffee before he gets his morning breakfast.


You don’t need to wait for them to fall asleep in your arms. For f**k’s sake, just put the baby down even when he’s not fully asleep! Babies need to learn to fall asleep on their own. Just like they need to learn how to use a fork and a spoon, how to use the bathroom, how to spend money…but let’s take it one at a time, ok? Nuff said.

-You don’t need to be worried about taking the baby out. So, for god’s sakes – take your baby out! It may be a surprise (or not to those who know us) but we didn’t go out very much when Lily was a baby. (Proudly wearing “The Most Boring Parent On the Planet” hat)…as in, we didn’t take trips, or take her out on any outings besides to family member’s houses, on a walk in the stroller, or to the grocery store. Then we had James, and we’re like, “Why the hell not?!?” In his first two months of life, he’s already gone on more road trips than Lily ever did in her first two months of life. (Sorry kiddo).

I believe that the fear lies in the fact that you think you’re going to forget something if you take your baby out on a longer-than-30-minutes trip. Let me tell you: if you forget something, it’s going to be okay. All three of you will cry a little bit, but then the world will continue, and you will forget about that incident. Unless you want to record it in the baby book**

*Speaking of money, a baby costs a lot.

**Who has time to write in baby books anymore?? the unofficial “baby book” is now called Facebook.

Hi my name is…

This is Lily. She likes to remind people that she’s three.

“I’M THREE!!”

“WHEE!!”

Technically, she’s 3 1/2…but who’s counting?

Some days she’s full of attitude, other days she’s full of cuteness.  

Some memorable words that have come out of her mouth includes:

How she describes her brother James:

“He’s so cute!”

“His peepee kinda look like a macaroni”

How I describe James:

“He’s big and he likes to eat and smile a lot.”

I’m not sure if she got her sense of humor from me or from her dad…perhaps it’s a combination of the two of us. Once in awhile, she’ll pinch the sides of her stomach and say, “Look at my boobs!” then giggles like a crazy person.Or she’ll flop her arms back and forth and say, “I got octopus arms!” Whenever she wants to be cute, she’ll say “Mom, you know what?” To which I’d respond, “What?”

“I love you and then you love me?”

“Aww, of course I love you.” And the trend continues…

If you make her walk more than 2 blocks, she’ll start whining and say, “I don’t wanna walk! Carry me!” If I carry her, then she’ll lean in and kiss my cheek. Ha ha. What a suck up.

One of her favorite activities is going to the park. The last time we went there, she met a little girl about her age and her mom. They both played together…and using her people skills, Lily proceeded to tell the mom about her brother’s birth story. It was something like this:

LILY: I have a baby.

OTHER MOM: You have a baby?

LILY: Yeah, he came out of mommy’s peepee. Then daddy came.

OTHER MOM: Ohhh….[I can tell she doesn’t know how to respond to this].

LILY: Because I’m a big sister!

Yeahhh….

She considers her daddy a princess sometimes. Once, she jumped on her bed and declared, “I’m King Lily!” Her dad says, “Then what am I?” She said, “You’re a princess.” Finally, her potty skills are really similar to a 25-year-old dude still living with his parents. Take, for example:

She sits down on her kiddie toilet, and I asked her, “Do you have to go pee or poo?”

She responds by holding up two fingers.

The result: she peed.

Or that one time I came into her room and catch her in the act – holding her iPad while sitting on the toilet. She said, “I’m going potty with my iPad” so swiftly like it’s a new fashion trend.

I love this kid.


On (No Longer) Being Pregnant

This year, it seems, has brought upon quite a few pregnancies, some of which are old coworkers of mine, one a current coworker – heck, I was even one of them. Every woman announces her pregnancy on social media differently. From little bump pictures to smiley faces holding baby onesies, I’ve seen them all. For me, it involved a picture of my daughter holding an ultrasound photo strip declaring that she’s going to be a big sister on Instagram. Basically, I had disappeared off Facebook for quite some time, so there was no official FB post, in which I eagerly awaited many “Likes” and “Congratulations!” Because this wasn’t my first pregnancy.

This time, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about being pregnant again. Don’t get me wrong – being pregnant, is for many women, a wonderful experience. Growing a little human inside your body takes a lot out of you. It’s life-changing, especially if you’ve been trying for awhile and you’re finally successful. And especially, if it’s your first kid.

I’ll be the first to admit that my first pregnancy brought on many wonderful, foreign feelings that I had never experienced before, and being that I didn’t know what to expect, I was on cloud nine with regards to the fact that soon I’ll have to push a baby out of my vagina (how does one even stretch that far?? I wondered during pregnancy) and then raise her for the next 18+ years. It’s daunting to think about the responsibility you take on when you become a parent. But like most women, I just wanted to live in the moment, so there were a few more belly shots than with my son – one of which I posted online when I was about 18 weeks and somebody commented that I looked like I just ate a giant burrito, that it didn’t look like I had a baby in there.

 

The first two trimesters of a pregnancy you are literally consumed with your growing baby (and belly), and while many women I know posted regular updates I was the opposite. The second time around, it was a little different. Perhaps it’s because I was carrying a boy, or perhaps because I was working late nights at the time, but I was consumed with how tired I was. Some days I could barely function – yet, while my husband was at work, I had a toddler with me who has a lot of energy and demanded attention (i.e. do stuff with her), and although I tried, the phrase “Mommy is too tired to even get up to go poop” doesn’t really resonate with her. My fatigue seemed to last throughout the whole 9 months. There were days when I let her play the iPad for hours because all I could do was sleep.

And then there’s the hemorrhoids…as a pregnant woman, you either get them after you give birth or before. With my daughter, I got them after I gave birth – imagine trying to sit and nurse a baby for an hour while your butt feels like it’s burning and you’re being poked at by a stick. When you get them doesn’t matter – it’s inevitable – you’re going to get them.

Not to mention, there’s the frequent bathroom breaks. I recall taking my daughter to the park during my last trimester, and during the course of an hour, I had to go pee about 20 times. A bad parent would say, “Stay here while Mommy goes peepee” I wasn’t one of them. A paranoid parent that I am, I feared that someone would kidnap her while I was gone for 3 minutes, so each time I felt the urge to go, I took her to the bathroom with me. She was understanding in the fact that I had to interrupt her play every 5 minutes go to the bathroom. A pregnant woman should stay hydrated right? For me, drinking half a glass of water was equivalent to 30 trips to the bathroom in under 2 hours. Hence, I avoided drinking liquids. I must’ve been the most dehydrated-but-still-functioning pregnant woman out there.

Finally, any pregnant woman knows that your body changes dramatically between the second and third trimester. With Lily, I had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I could no longer wear regular jeans – at 5 1/2 months, I broke down and bought pregnancy ones. Later on, when the weather got colder, I stuck to tights (which are amazingly comfortable even when you’re not pregnant!). Same goes with my second pregnancy. I was also really annoyed with the fact that my midwives’ kept asking me if I had a birth plan. After having one kid, I knew that birth plans never work out. Therefore, my plan was, “Go to the hospital, bring home a baby.” Even that didn’t work out.

So, as you can see, I do not miss pregnancy at all. As wonderful as it may be to carry a baby in your belly, I do not miss the hemorrhoids, the frequent bathroom trips, the restless sleep (a prequel to parenting), the fatigue, the swollen feet, the cramps, the god-awful glucose test (having ten pints of blood drained out of you after drinking a big glass of Fanta and not eating for 12 hours was no fun), being poked at by your OB/GYN/Midwife’s nurse every time you go to your appointment, and many other things out there. I am, however, glad that I was given the opportunity to be pregnant, because it gives me the wisdom of experience to tell my daughter someday if she ever gets pregnant. I can say, “I know what it feels like,” but if given the choice, I’d let someone else be pregnant with my kids. Like my husband. Or Phoebe on Friends.

Welcome to parenthood

One of my coworkers is expecting a baby any day now – her first one, I think. As a seasoned pro of a parent that I am (ha ha) I’m tempted to give her all these tips and wisdom that I’ve accumulated after having two kids of my own… BUT after much deliberation, I decided to keep my mouth shut. Because if I were to give her a guidebook about parenting, it would sound something like this:

“Heeeyyyyy welcome to parenthood! Welcome to this journey where you’ll be giving up your sleep for the next 3 months minimum (possibly longer depending on the baby). Welcome to chores that will accumulate no matter what you do (or don’t do), and for some godforsaken reason, laundry that you managed to do but it’s still sitting there three days later waiting to be folded. It’s screaming “FOLD ME YOU LAZY BUMS!!” It sounds like your whiny cat who doesn’t understand that you just had a fucking baby and the last thing you care about is folding a mountain of laundry. (Can you tell I hate folding laundry?)

Welcome to the wonderful world of nursing, or as comedian Ali Wong like to call it, “a savage ritual that reminds you that you ain’t nothing but a mammal.” You’re going to produce the best kind of food that any mammal can make to feed your baby so damn it if anybody even dare say that you should use formula…especially after the first few days of nursing you discover that your boobs cannot take it anymore, and you start to question your sanity and whether or not you’re actually capable of doing this, and why the hell didn’t you just use birth control in the first place. Your body is sore all over from giving birth and you’re sensitive, both physically and mentally so the though of having to feed your baby every two hours is absolutely exhausting and painful.

What about sex? You’re going to be thinking, “What sex?” Let’s just stop right here.

Remember – you’re on a trial period for this new job. The only difference between parenting and a real, professional job is that after 90 days, even if you do a really bad job, your baby can’t fire you. You’re in it for LIFE (read: “prison sentence” for some, “love & devotion” to others). So take it seriously buddy! Set your priorities and go put a boob in that baby’s face. Anything to keep him quiet, right?

Brought to you by an overly exhausted and wonderfully in love mother of two.


XOXO
Hoang

Oh Happy Day!

I bought a domain name!

I’m up past 10 p.m. writing! And searching for domain names! This is quite an endeavor.

My body is tired – it’s telling me to go to bed. Actually, the voice came from my husband – I’ve already received about 8 text messages from him, all with the same GO TO BED, GO TO BED message, but I’m so excited I can’t. Why? Because I’ve bought a domain name and I’m going to dedicate this upcoming season (and year) to doing two things I really like doing – taking pictures and writing. I can’t say I’m an expert at either, but one thing I am sure about is that I really, really really like my kids. And that’s why I’ve dedicated the title of this ‘online journal’ (I hate the word “blog” it sounds too much like “blob”) to them.

More about them later. Now, I’m off to bed. HOORAY HOORAY!!!!