Sunday, December 19, 2010

Let me eat cake!

This is a post of contentment. I am, at the moment, sitting with what might count as my fourth piece of cake.* Across the room, Meng and his friend Percy are playing video games (not the same one, ironically enough), and Emma is sleeping peacefully in her crib in the next room. We wanted cake, and though it's not the best since it's been sitting under a glass counter all day, it fills the craving.

This evening we will probably stay up much later than we aught to. The guys will play video games and I'll do my puzzle and we won't go to bed until well after 1 a.m. for no particular reason at all. Then we'll get up way too early and drive way too far to Milwaukee to visit more friends, and possibly eat more cake.

I've been having a hard time feeling good about my appearance lately. I'm at least two dress sizes larger than I was before, and I've been trying to exercise and diet. But tonight is a different kind of night. Tonight we make all the wrong decisions for all the wrong reasons. Tonight we pretend that we're naturally invincible like James Bond and Batman. Tonight we eat cake.

*I have yet to actually finish a piece of cake. The chocolate was too heavy, the tiramisu was mostly eaten by Meng and the red velvet was too rich. Right now I'm eating strawberry cheesecake.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Don't be moldy.

I took a lot of roles out of necessity when I was a kid. I lived on a mission-center, so I was mom's back up line server, an office envelope-stuffer, and an on-call (world class) floor sweeper. Before I was a teen, I was mom's assistant chef, I could clean the whole house just like mom would do it, I could pack half the family for a PR trip, and I was a BCMC poster kid. I never minded it. That's how my life was, and it was great.

I don't want there to be a "but" at the end of that sentence. I've tried to figure out how I can word it, because "but" makes it sound like I have regrets. I don't have regrets. But...

My parents have never pressured me to pursue a particular profession. Often, when coming from a mission, or even a church, background, people around you will expect you to follow in your parents footsteps. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the question, never from my parents, but from the people around me, "So, do you want to be a teacher when you grow up?" Back then it was cute that I wanted to be an Astronaut. "Oh, the things that kids say!" It got more annoying in high school when I decided to be an art history major. Then it became, "So you're going to be a teacher like your mom." (Actually, I wanted to get my masters in library science and become a curator.) You'll note that the question mark disappeared.

When I switched to theatre, the question became, "So what are you going to do? Teach?" You should see the look on their faces when I say I want to do theatre in Chicago. They say, "Oh. That's interesting," with a subtext of, "So you're not going to be furthering the Kingdom of God." (Upon reflection, when they ask me if I'm going to teach, maybe I should just say, "Sure.")

I could write a whole post on my college choice alone. "Go to Chicago? Are you sure?"

Maybe it's because of this pressure I've resisted to become a teacher that I am so reluctant to discuss what Emma will be when she grows up. People might make off-handed comments, and I usually say "Ballerina." That is only because when I was pregnant with her, Meng and I went to see a Joffrey matinée, and she danced through the whole first performance. The truth is, I want to give Emma every opportunity she wants to be whatever it is that she wants to be when she grows up. (Within reason. Obviously if she decides to be the next Hitler, I'll take issue.)

Needless to say, when the in-laws were discussing Emma's future career choices with me, the conversation didn't last long.

I've seen a lot of people from my childhood grow up to be exactly what they were expected to be. There's nothing wrong with that, if that's what you want, but don't let the world around you try and punch you into a mold. Reach as far as you possibly can. When it comes down to it, the only resource we're short on is self-confidence. Go change the world. Not the other way around.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lord, save me from saying something sarcastic!

They ask, "Who is the father?"

I think, "You know, I'm not actually sure. It might have been the sailor I met at Navy Pier. Or maybe it was one of the guys I met at that party. Or the bartender, or the milkman, or the traveling salesman, but you know what? My fiancée is the only one I've slept with, so odds are it's him."

I need to give people the benefit of the doubt. But when they use that one tone of voice, it sounds like they just might picture me as a frolicking whore.

I think, "It's people like you that make me understand why thousands of women have abortions every year. It's people like you that make young girls so afraid of social scorn, they go to great lengths to make sure nobody finds out. And you know what? I have moments when I don't blame them. At least they don't have to deal with people like you asking who the father is!"

But I never say those things that I think. I wonder why?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ah-roo-oo-oo, too

Emma is growing so fast, it's difficult for her wardrobe to keep up with her. She just turned three months last week, and we're already packing up the 3-6 month clothes in favor of the 6-9 month. Now the red dress that Meng and I thought she might be able to wear for Christmas might be too small for Thanksgiving!

Also in recent developments, Emma is talking in full sentences. Of course, we have no idea what she is actually saying, but she is very articulate in her "ang-woo-roo-roo's" and "ha-ah-la-ha's."

In all seriousness, we really did spend the better part of our interaction today simply talking. I would tell her what I was doing, what we were going to do, or what someone else was doing. She would watch me, or the other person involved, smile, and say something similar to, "ah-wa-loo." I realize that they aren't actually words, but it is definitely the first step to communication, and I'm excited. I mean, she understands that we take turns making noises, and she seems to get rather frustrated when she can't get her point across. She is also catching on to that her name is Emma, that I am "Mommy" and that Meng is "Daddy."

The best part is when we look at her and say, "I love you." I almost think in her own way she understands, because she always smiles really big and says, "ah-roo-oo-oo."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Looking at my Watch

This morning Meng had to come in and tell me to hurry up while I was taking a shower (shocking, I know). He reminded me of when we need to leave and without even thinking I looked at my watch and said, "Okay. I'll be out in five minutes."

What's even more strange? I don't ever wear a watch.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Still Sniffley

Greetings from Chicago! Emma and I are slowly working on moving in with Meng and his parents. We alternate weeks in Chicago and Michigan. Hopefully we'll be here to stay week after next.

Whatever it was that Emma got last week, she has given it to all of us. Either that or Meng has given it to all of us. It's really quite difficult to tell who infected who at this point. Symptoms include a runny nose, which turns into a sore throat, which becomes blocked sinuses, then finally clears up and turns into a hacking cough. As far as we can tell, it's over once you lose your voice. We're hoping Emma is spared the better part of these symptoms, but my mom and I are both suffering from the cycle right now.

Emma is still has the sniffles, but we've been using a saline spray called Little Noses, which can be found at any pharmacy, and a ball aspirator, which makes me cry every time we use it on her. It flushes the sinuses pretty well, and she's pretty content for most of the day. If she has the pounding sinus headache, she hasn't told us yet.

We're quite the lot, the three of us. Meng with his hacking cough, me with the headaches and Emma with the sniffles. This morning we all crowded into the bathroom, turned the shower on as hot as it would go and took a family steam.

I discovered a brilliant product (actually, my mom discovered a brilliant product) that I think is the best thing since sliced bread. Remember when you were little, and your mom would put you to bed with Vicks Vaporub on a tissue for you hold next to your nose? Introducing Puffs Plus with the scent of Vicks, the innovative tissue that combines the two products your mom loved. I'm a huge fan, if you can't tell. If you're stuffy this season, I recommend you go and get some, cause it's amazing.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I found this site through my aunt, who posted it on her Facebook wall. Birth or Not is a blog on which a married couple is letting the public decide whether or not they will get an abortion. On the site there is a polling box where you can cast your vote. They've set the poll ending to two days prior to the last possible day they can abort.

From what I can tell, these people are serious. A reference can be made to their post titled "We Meant What We Said," where Pete and Aisha state that they are not going to devalue the power of the vote, even though some people are voting for them to abort simply because they think it's funny.

I didn't find this all that disturbing at first. Even though I chose not to get an abortion, and I would never advise someone to get an abortion, I have no right to dictate how they make their decisions. Of course I cast my vote, and then started looking around. That's when I saw...

She's sixteen weeks pregnant. I know that doesn't sound like it's very far into the pregnancy but it's enough to get a good ultra-sound picture. They even gave it a tentative name! I just can't imagine leaving a baby's fate to the public after you've seen it. It's like casually agreeing that a perfectly healthy puppy should be shot while you're scratching it's ears, only there's more at stake.

I can't say I was happy when I found out I was pregnant. I can't say that pregnancy was a joy that I'll never forget, or that getting pregnant was the best thing that ever happened to me, and there were a lot of mornings where I'd wake up and hope it had all been some terribly long, drawn out nightmare. But when I went to have my 20 week ultrasound and I saw a little head and arms and legs, I knew that this was my baby and that I'd never want to give her up.

I just can't imagine...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sniffle-y Baby

Emma has had the sniffles for almost a week now. Of course, she cannot communicate to me the extent of her symptoms, so I don't know if she has a sore throat like I or a headache like Meng has, but she doesn't have a fever, so I haven't taken her in to see the doctor. We talked to an RN at the pediatrician's office who told us to use saline spray and a nasal aspirator in that order every two hours. I can't tell how much it is helping, but she sure does cry a lot when we do it.

It might be just as hard on her as it is on me, though I don't cry as much. The thing is that somewhere in the recesses of my mind I have logged away the memory of my mom using that on me... As I recall, it is a shocking experience every time it happens. My eyes are watering thinking about it.

She just isn't catching on to the nose blowing idea.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


What is it about a Sunday that is inherently lazy? I'm sitting in the living room in the midst of clutter, wishing it would somehow clean itself, and yet I cannot bring myself to disturb the serene silence of the house. Even the houseflies (why are there so many of them in the house?) have silenced themselves and are no where to be fou-- I take that back. One is staring at me from his perch on the table lamp.

These flies are remarkable, in the older sense of the word, that they are interesting enough to warrant a remark. You know how flies usually are so fast that when you swat at them, no matter how quick you are they always end up staring at you from the other side of the room? These are not that kind of fly. They're bigger, for one. And they don't usually fly around the center of the room. They spend all their time near the ceiling, and are so slow, that yesterday I was actually able to vacuum up about twenty of them. That's the other remarkable thing. There are so many!!! I'm tempted to wonder if there's a body hidden in the house. But if that were the case, surely I'd smell the decay before the flies showed up.

Also, they've avoided the trash can completely, and the baby's room. Interesting. Very interesting.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I met myself at the grocery store

I've been in a slump lately. Actually, I've been in a slump for the last three or four months. What with major life changes happening in short amounts of time, and things not quite turning out the way I expected, and the future being uncertain, I suppose it is quite normal that I should be in a slump, but it's been taking over and my life has been rather on the miserable side.

That was the last three or four months. This is Today.

Today, I got (sorry mom) royally pissed off. I got pissed off at the government, for sending me repeated notices that I needed to contact someone, and then sending me to voicemail. I got pissed off at the grant programs, who only offer school money to single moms who have never started secondary education. I got really pissed off at cultural differences that I don't understand and the people who are trying to make me just accept them. But mostly, I got pissed off at myself for putting up with it all.

Let's take a break.

I've been entertaining myself lately by reading comic strips, mostly 9 Chickweed Lane and Rose is Rose. Something I've noticed that these two strips have in common is that the main character women have alter-egos; it's a stronger, idealistic and fantastic version of themselves that they summon from within when faced with a difficult or frustrating situation.

Both strips have mentioned that every woman has an alter-ego. That would certainly explain the sudden urges I've had in the past to pull a non-existent switchblade out of my pocket, throw an imaginary hand grenade, and pretend to have laser eyes. All this time I've thought that it was just me wanting to be someone else. But this is Today.

Today someone else started calling the shots. It started when I caught a guy not-very-discreetly checking me out at the dollar store. I've been known to have effective glares in the past, but when I'd passed this guy bye, you'd have thought I shot him. Somehow I ended up in the cosmetic department where there was a sale on lipstick... red lipstick. Then there was the incredible urge to punch the gas at the green light. It wasn't till I got to the grocery store that I actually saw her.

It was in the produce section. I was putting sweet potatoes in a bag when it split down the side and sent the vegetable everywhere. She came out of no where, opened up a new bag and collected the sweet potatoes using her telekinetic powers, and moved on. I followed her through the store as she picked out (among other things) a steak for dinner and a bottle of Cabernet, until we got to the toiletries aisle. She looked me right in the eye and pointed at the bottom shelf, and there, with a thin layer of dust, was the red hair dye.

We didn't talk a whole lot on the way home. She likes Black Eyed Peas, Sean Kingston and Pink, wears all black and a mardi gra mask with gold scrolling on the left, no matter the occasion. When we got home she pointed out to me the pencil skirt that's been hiding in the back of my closet, and the earrings I never wear because I think they're too nice. She's going to be around, I think. Have I mentioned she's a red-head?

I've been feeling pretty useless lately. I've been feeling like a blob, a non-person, a shadow. But today I met myself at the grocery store. I'm not a super-woman, but my alter-ego is, and I'm going to let her drive for a while.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Got Blues?

I've been rather depressed lately. That's one of the reasons why I haven't been posting. Actually, from what the people around me have been telling me, I've been a bear to deal with and it needs to stop. I think it has. This weekend will tell for certain.

Emma's family life has gotten off to a good, albeit interesting, start. With her father in Illinois and us in Michigan, the three of us are only together for a few days a week. However, they are good days and Meng has turned out (as I suspected) to be a natural at the daddy thing. He comes on Thursday or Friday and then takes off Sunday or Monday so he can attend meetings, do research, and all of those things that a responsible student should do.

I get sad when he leaves. That might be why I'm depressed.

In a future blog post, I plan to talk about my decision to pump instead of nurse. I am sticking to my decision 100%, but lately I've felt like a house appliance. I get up in the morning and spend a half hour pumping. Then I feed Emma, often for an hour. Then I eat and take a shower, and then I pump again. Usually by that time, Emma needs fed again. I've got a lot of people helping me, but I get jealous if someone else gets to feed her more often than I.

It's easy to feel inadequate or dehumanized. Maybe that's why I'm depressed.

Certain things just haven't been getting done. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm just over 3 weeks postpartum, and considering that fact, I'm doing quite well. Still, yesterday I cleaned my room for the first time since coming home from the hospital. I have at least 100 thank you's to write, I've promised myself I'd update the House Management notebook, help keep the house in order, knit a stuffed sheep and make a scrap book. So far, none of those things have happened.

I'm finding it difficult to find motivation. I find that depressing, but the truth is...

School started without me this semester. I thought I was ready, but every time I see someone post pictures of their apartment or dorm room, I get this little pang of resentment. I'm going to graduate a year behind most of my friends, and even when I start classes again, it's never going to be the same. I will never have that life that I had before. I'm saying goodbye to going out with a group at midnight just because, sitting behind a residence hall desk for hours with a friend, and sharing a too-small apartment with a group of girls. No more 2 a.m. study parties, or camping out in the library till they kick us out, or watching movie after movie until we all fall asleep. I have to act like a grown up now. I have to take responsibility for someone else. I can't just say, "I'll do it later," because there's an actual being at stake.

Someone now knows me as "Mommy," and she'll be my charge for the next 18 years. Spell it out. Eighteen years! That's daunting, and terrifying, and something that I really didn't want for at least another 5. But it's happened now. Don't get me wrong; I wouldn't trade Emma for anything, let alone the life I'm leaving behind. That doesn't mean it's any easier to say goodbye.

I just wasn't ready for this. I'm pretty sure that's why I'm depressed.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Color Confusion

If you know me, and most of you do, you know that there are things I don't prefer.

I don't prefer Harry Potter. I don't have anything against him, or Rowling, it's just not what I choose to read.

I don't prefer Twilight. I have quite a few things against that series, not the least of which is I think it is poor writing, not to mention how creepy Edward is. I prefer traditional vampires.

While we're on the subject of heart-throbs, I don't find Johnny Depp attractive at all. Nor am I attracted to Orlando Bloom. I'm also not attracted to any of the Jonas Brothers, Christian Bale, the late Heath Ledger, Zac Efron, I could go on but I think you get the idea.

I really really really don't like Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift.

It took me a long time to like the latest Star Trek movie. I finally saw it on accident when I walked into the livingroom to find my dad watching it. Honestly, I was sucked in before I realized what it was. Admittedly, I enjoyed it.

If I were to continue this tangent, you'd get bored and stop reading, so let's take it from here. If you review all of these do-not-prefer's and dislikes, you'll find that they all have one thing in common: they're everywhere.

I don't know if I dislike them because they're popular, or if because they're popular it was easier to discover that I dislike them, but I just assume that I'm a non-conformist by nature (here is where Mom makes her "non-conformists are all alike" comment).

All of this is leading up to a fact that will come as absolutely no surprise to you. I don't prefer pink. To say I dislike it would be false. I don't mind pink, I'll wear pink, and in fact I own a fair amount of pink things. I also own a fair amount of blue, purple, orange, red, black, brown....

Being a college student and therefore, of course, much more informed than the rest of the world, I disapprove of assigning colors to a gender. Having said this, there is entirely too much pastel pink in the world.

As I was walking through Target on Tuesday, pram-shaped gift card clutched in my hot little hand, I found three of the most adorable newborn outfits. Each was a tunic/legging set, the first a mauve butterfly pattern with brown leggings, the second a light blue with bright striped leggings, and the third a white flowered with turquoise leggings. I was so excited about the last outfit, I washed it that night and dressed Emma in it yesterday. I didn't manage to bring out my camera, but here is a picture of the outfit.
The picture does not really do it justice. The colors are much brighter. Now, it's not pink. But I think we can all agree that it is quite feminine. Even so, three times today I was asked, "How old is he?" He? I thought to myself? Maybe it's just a tongue slip. So I'd casually say "she," which all three times received the response, "Oh, I assumed it was a boy."


Now, an infant looks pretty gender ambiguous. Naturally, a person will assume the sex of the baby by what he or she is wearing. One of the three people said, "Well, I didn't see any pink."

Why is it that girls must wear pink and boys wear blue? It's not even blue. It's turquoise. Did they not see the flowers? (Not that it's relevant to the situation, but why must girls like flowers and boys like dinosaurs? That's just messed up.)

So people are unobservant and assume boy when they see no pink. I don't prefer those people.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Stick out your tongue and say "Red!"

I know, I know. It's after 1 a.m. and I should be sleeping. Well, for your information, I am pumping. Emma just inhaled 4 oz of breast milk and probably would have had more had there been any. Its the most she's ever eaten in one sitting.

Today has been a day of milestones. A trip to the WIC office revealed that Emma is now 6 lb 7 oz, quite the development considering her hospital discharge weight was only 5 lb 12 oz. I told Emma how proud of her I was, but she just stuck her tongue out at me. That's something she's been doing for the last few days. She sticks it out, moves it from side to side, licks her hand, and makes little smacking noises during feedings. I guess for a two-week old squirt like her, a tongue is a new and fascinating thing.

Emma also had her first restaurant experience today when Mom and I stopped at Bob Evan's. We happened to get our favorite waiter (sweet kid named Alexx, has performance art major written all over him in bold cursive), which was nice. I had the spinach tomato breakfast bowl. Emma had formula.

When we got home, Emma had another feeding. But instead of going to sleep like she usually does, her eyes were wide open. She wasn't fussy at all. She just sat, looking at the purple curtains. I started telling her about the curtains, but she wasn't really interested in knowing where they came from, so I got out some stroller cards and we looked at colors. She really liked the red cards, and the mirror. After a half hour, I grabbed a book and took her down to her grandma so I could do a few things. I'm told she was fascinated with the green pages, and the white page with the black and white penguin. All told, she was wide awake for about an hour. That, my friends, is a record.

Now let's see how long she can sleep...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Baby Happened: The Story

"Good grief, kid," I think to myself at 3 a.m. as Emma sucks down a third ounce of breast milk. It's pretty hard to believe that almost two weeks ago I was feeding her five milliliters at a time with a hospital syringe.

To really start this story, we'll have to rewind to Sunday, August 15th. It was a hot day, but my two cousins and I had planned this trip to the zoo a good month in advance, and there was no way we were backing out because of a little sun. I was smart, packing baby carrots and plenty of bottled water in a cooler (which my cousin Justin graciously carried for me through the entire trip). We got to Toledo about a half hour after they opened and stayed until well after 3. Several offers were made to push me in a wheel chair, but I was determined to stay on my own two feet. We toured the entire zoo, visiting the elephants, the penguins, and, finally, the gift shop. It was a great day that I wouldn't have traded for anything.

Needless to say, I slept in the next morning. I got up around 11:30, feeling fantastic. Now, (guys might want to skip a few sentences) as a woman, but especially as a pregnant woman, I am used to fluids and such in the nether areas. So when I found a teeny bit of clear fluid, I didn't think anything of it. I'd heard that pregnancy can make you a little incontinent. Then a teeny bit became a teeny bit more. I made a mental note, but still didn't think much of it. I put on a pad, figuring I'd check in an hour to see if there was more, and then walked down stairs to let my mom know, just in case. The words that came out of my mouth sounded rather like this:

"Hey, Mom, just to let you know, my underwear was a little wet this morning. I put a pad on, just in case, but I don't think-- Oh my." My pants were soaked.

No doubt about it. My water had broken. I still felt fantastic, though, so I called Meng to let him know, hopped in the shower and got myself around before heading to the hospital. At 1:30, when I checked in, I still hadn't felt a contraction.

Around 4 p.m., the doctor decided to give me pitocin to help the contractions along. I was still pretty comfortable when Meng arrived an hour later.

After that point, my sense of time gets a little hazy. I know that by 6 p.m., I was doing my best to sleep between contractions, and that by 8 p.m., I had asked the nurses to stop chatting in my room and rather rudely told my (abused but understanding) boyfriend to stop munching his carrots. I'm told that I started asking to push around 10, and that I was given the go-ahead an hour later. I must have succeeded in resting a little because for me, the two hours between 10 and midnight felt like a half hour.

After what seemed like 10 minutes of pushing (but they tell me was an hour), and quite the episiotomy (they cut some tissue "down there" and had to sew me up later), Emma made her entrance into the world.

Sometime I'll tell you about how my concept of the 1 to 10 pain scale has been altered forever.

She passed all the necessary tests, but from the start, she wouldn't nurse. I found out later that this is a common problem for newborns, particularly preemies, but at the time I just felt like a failure. A talk with the lactation consultant didn't help. Even using the breast pump they brought me, my supply was going out, and we had to switch her to formula. We used a syringe to feed her, in hopes of keeping her from getting too used to a bottle nipple.

The problems continued all night and into the next day. She was completely lethargic, and wasn't waking up even to eat. She wouldn't even cry. The lactation consultant had told us to strip her down to her diaper to wake her up each time we fed her. This might have been good for a full-term baby, but it wasn't effective for Emma. When the nurse came to take her temperature the next morning, she didn't even register on the thermometer.

After an hour under a heat lamp, and a better controlled environment, her temperature stabilized. She still wasn't eating well, but we were given a regimen to follow and they sent us home. Now, thanks to an amazing Medela hospital-grade breast pump (turns out my supply was going out because the pump at the hospital sucked, or rather didn't suck), and the diligent help of Meng and my mom, Emma is the most ravenous of kiddos, and more than willing to wake everyone up when she's hungry.

After those first two nights, though, I really don't mind hearing her cry.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baby Happened: An Outline

Water broke at 11:45 am, 8/16. No contractions.

Checked into hospital 1:30 pm. Still no contractions.

Given pitocin around 4 pm because there were still no contractions.

Meng arrived a little after 5. Some contractions by this point, but nothing serious.

Contractions became noticeably uncomfortable between 8 and 9.

Contractions caused serious discomfort by 10.

Around 11, I started pushing.

Emma Yuan Liang was born at 11:53 pm, weighing exactly 6 pounds and measuring 19.5 inches long.

More descriptive details, along with the story of the last two days will come tomorrow. Until then, see these pictures taken by the hospital photographer. If I may say so myself, I bake a cute baby. Meng might have helped.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

fake contractions

My impatience for this baby's arrival is not at all being aided by the Braxton-Hicks contractions that have been happening nightly. Braxton-Hicks contractions are basically erratic, harmless, (supposedly painless) contractions designed to gear up the uterus for labor and freak out unsuspecting and uninformed first-time moms who then lie awake, either trying to time them without any success, or writhing in pain. (How many times has someone told you, "This won't hurt"?)

The major difference between BH contractions and "real" contractions is that BH contractions eventually go away. Luckily, this little blogger did her research beforehand, so I didn't actually freak out. I did try to time them the first time it happened, but once I realized that they were getting further apart in time, and that the intensity wasn't gradually increasing, I gave up. They must have gone away, because I eventually fell asleep.

Since then, I've been averaging one or two every night. If I have any more than that, they usually taper off into nothing-ness. It's disappointing. At the same time, it's also a relief. Funny how that works. It just so happens that my mom is out of town until tomorrow or the day after, and my (very intelligent and studious) boyfriend has a test on Monday. I've been told I'm not allowed to go into labor until at least next Tuesday.

Honestly, I'd prefer it that way, too. I have a movie night scheduled for tomorrow and a trip to the zoo on Sunday. Not to mention the condition of the nursery... You know how, when you're organizing a room, it's got to get worse before it gets better? Well, I think it's going to look great when I'm done cause it looks pretty bad at the moment.

Anyway, what do contractions feel like? Well, for me, they feel like period cramps. I remember, when I was a freshman in high school, having terrible cramps that left me lying on the bed crying for a half hour. These aren't quite that bad, but then again, these aren't "real" contractions. It's different for everyone. Other women have described it as a stabbing feeling, a pulling feeling, just about any feeling you can imagine, actually.

So yes. Period cramps. The kind that radiates into the small of your back. Really, since I've been dealing with this kind of pain for (goodness) almost 10 years now, I'm rather encouraged. Again, it just makes me want to go into labor. I've held my own against some mighty cramps in my day. How bad will the pain actually be?

Does anyone know how to launch this thing?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Let's do this thing, already!

Last week I started Lamaze classes. Class #1 was really quite uneventful, which is why you didn't hear about it. Highlights included a basic introduction to what makes babies and the stages of pregnancy, resisting the temptation to put a quarter down the butt crack in front of me (the guy needed a belt; it was more like a cavern than a crack), and watching the dads-to-be on my left shoot hoops with a grape and a trash can.

This week was much more interesting. We started out with a short video documenting three "natural births," (watching the men's faces during that was entertaining) talked about technical terms like dilation and effacing, did some relaxation exercises and had some valuable Q & A time.

The woman conducting the class was different from last week, and I think I liked her better. She kept making side comments such as, "And husbands, after transition, your wife doesn't mean anything that she says," and, "You'll think you have a bowling ball resting on your rectum, but you can do it." I appreciate blatant honesty like that. I'd rather hear about what it's going to feel like than how wonderful I'll feel afterward.

But now I'm depressed. Can't I just have this baby already? It's not that I'm apprehensive of or excited for labor, it's just that after seeing three other women do it, I can't help but think to myself, "I can do that!" So let's do it! I'm ready to go. The nursery isn't exactly ready, but a few hours of organizing can take care of that. (I should post a picture or two... I'll see what I can do once I've got everything set.) The only essential thing I'm missing is a changing pad. I've packed my overnight bag, made a playlist on my iPod for the hospital, and discussed a contact plan with my (almost 200 miles away) boyfriend. I'm at 36 weeks, the baby has dropped, so what's with the wait?

I'm tired of wondering what it's going to be like, if I'll go to the hospital because my water breaks or because contractions are 5 minutes apart, how well I'll handle the pain, and if I'll need an epidural. I keep finding myself putting my stuff by the door (then thinking, "this is silly," and putting it back), stopping to pay attention to every kick and twinge, and hoping that each little back pain will radiate and worsen. Really, baby, this is quite nerve racking.

So someone show me where the eject button is on this thing before I go nuts!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Inform the Masses!

Yesterday I complained to you all about feeling mis/uninformed. I've been thinking about it, and the problem is really much worse than we think. There are so many things I've learned by experience that I had no idea about before. (Disclaimer: Very informative. Men might want to skip this post entirely.) For instance:

Did you know that after a woman delivers, she has what is basically a month-long period afterwards? I learned that from WebMD about two weeks before my mom thought to tell me about it.

I'm hungry all the time. People keep on saying that I'm eating for two, implying that I should take double portions, but the fact is that right now I'm lucky if I have room for half of what I could eat in one sitting before I was pregnant. This is because there is a tiny little person where part of my stomach was. As a result, I have to take smaller portions, but get hungry faster. By the way, if I don't eat when I'm hungry, I usually get sick.

Almost everyone knows that during the first two trimesters of pregnancy, the upper real estate looks amazing. What nobody tells you is that the girls hurt like crazy! I think the best adjective I could use is "engorged," and I'm not even breast-feeding yet. It would make sense that when the body is figuring out how much milk it needs to make, things would be a bit tender. But I had no idea it would be a problem before the little squirt arrived.

Muscle pain is (sorry, Mom) a bitch. Again, it makes sense that because the uterus is expanding, bones get moved around, but did you know that when a woman is pregnant, her spine is actually moved out of alignment? Okay, maybe you knew that, but it doesn't just cause back pain. I have a very difficult time putting on pants in the morning, because I have to lift my feet. I've resorted to sitting on something and then standing to pull them all the way up, or lifting my legs one at a time with my hands. Also, any movement that has to do with lying down, or getting up from lying down, requires strategic planning. I primarily use my arms to roll over.

These are just four examples of things that I feel women should be made more aware of. Not just in pre-natal classes or doctors appointments, but starting as early as sex education classes.

I hear a lot of criticism of schools who emphasize abstinence so much, they neglect to educate children on effective birth control. The argument is that teens will have sex no matter what you tell them, so you should emphasize more the necessity of safe sex. The argument has some merit, and I believe we can all agree there are many shortcomings in the education system. (I don't know if I've ever discussed on this blog the circumstances of this child's conception, but the point I would like to make is that no birth control method is 100% effective.) I think if girls knew exactly what kind of hell pregnancy can be, they'd be much more apt to take the safe road and skip the sex. Even with that one incident in the Bible, abstinence still has the highest pregnancy prevention rate.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Doctor Says

I've hit 35 weeks. For those who have trouble counting, this means that I'm just starting my last month of preggo-ness. It also means that I start going to see an actual doctor (since I moved to Michigan I've been seeing the RN instead) weekly. The visits have been gradually getting more and more frequent and uneventful, which is why you rarely hear about them. Results from these visits are usually the same: The baby is healthy. It's normal to feel crappy. It's going to get worse before it gets better.

For the past couple of days something has felt a little... different. There's been pressure "down there," along with some sharp twinges and having to use the bathroom even more than usual. Luckily, today I had a doctor's appointment so I mentioned it to the nurse when she came in. The doctor did a cervical exam and to quote him exactly, "Okay, the baby is low. Oh my, the baby is very low."

He wasn't able to tell if I was dilated or not because his poking around was hurting me quite a bit, but his basic response was, "You could go into labor any day now. See you next week!" And then he walked out the door to the next victi-- I mean, patient.

So that's what the doctor said. I'm more interested in the things he didn't say.

Were it not for my (informative and well-informed) boyfriend, I would have been freaking out. According to Meng the med student, the baby is ready to go into labor at any time but probably won't for another couple of weeks. This is reassuring, kind of. It would have been more reassuring if the doctor had thought to tell me that himself.

After a short walk in the park, we went home for some dinner and relaxation. We'd been lounging for a while when I went on one of my many trips to the bathroom. (Disclaimer: about to get a bit graphic. Men might want to skip to the next paragraph.) The trace amounts of blood on my toilet paper didn't worry me too much. It had happened at the clinic and no one had said anything, so I figured a little more was okay. It was the fleshy looking bit resting in the bottom of the toilet that made way for concern. After a half hour of googling things, we found out that it was my "mucus plug," which I had heard about but had never seen. That would also be where the blood came from.

Of course I freaked out because this is on the list of early signs of labor. More research showed that it's quite common for this sort of thing to happen after a cervical exam, and that it does not necessarily mean that labor is eminent. This is just one more example of something that has been frustrating me. Why didn't the doctor tell me it might happen? I'm sure if I'd asked him, "Later today, if I find something strange in the toilet, what is it?" he could have told me. But he didn't. Even though, had I not had Meng with me, it would have completely freaked me out, the doctor did not say anything.

It just seems like common occurrences like this should be mentioned when someone sticks their fingers up your hooha.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

49 Days and Counting....

I made a startling discovery today when I logged on to my iGoogle homepage. A few months ago I started a countdown to my due date, which I then promptly forgot about until today when I got a little notification:
Congratulations! Less than 50 days until Your Little Asian Baby is Born!!!
It took me a minute to remember that I had set up the countdown, and to figure out how Google knew that I was pregnant. I was worried for a moment there.

So blow a kazoo, throw some confetti or eat a piece of cake today if you have the chance, because we passed the 50 day mark, and life just got a little more real.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Snoogle Schmoogle

I had no idea how much displacement a baby-filled uterus could cause. Lately I've been suffering from back pain at night. Not wanting to rely on pain killers, I went in search of alternate relief. Enter The Snoogle!

After a little research, I discovered this seemingly amazing gem, which aligns your neck and knees to reduce pressure on your spine. So the next day, off I went to town to find me a Snoogle! Unfortunately, I did not do quite enough research to discover that an average Snoogle (while fun to say to unsuspecting customer service personel) costs somewhere between $45 and $60. To quote my dear friend, Maddie, "That's too much to pay for some funky pillow."

So for $9.99 I bought myself a body pillow. (It was a cheaper one. I could have gotten a firmer body pillow for $10 more.) While it isn't cool and curvy, it does the trick, and when coupled with a normal pillow for under one's head, it can do anything a Snoogle can.

The moral of the story is this: don't waste your cash on the gimmick of the week. Just because it has a fancy name, doesn't mean it's the only option out there.

The Search for Snacks

The last few routine pre-natal check-ups have been exactly that: routine. The only thing that has really surfaced as a problem is my weight gain. I'm not going to tell you how much I weigh right now because, frankly, it's embarrassing. I'll tell you in six months, when I hopefully don't weigh as much as I do now.

The first time it came up, I shrugged it off. "I'll eat right, give up soda and go walking." Right.

The second time it came up, I had just gone to Culver's and was trying to hurry through the appointment so that I could get back to my chicken strips and deep-fried cheese curds. (I did get bottled water with my chicken basket... just sayin.)

Today I am making a change. Just to make myself feel better, it should be noted that I made (some rocking amazing) kielbasa and sauerkraut for dinner last night, and am probably retaining a lot of water as a result. But what I saw on the scale today definitely made my jaw drop, and something must be done.

I was pretty hungry when I left the doctor's office. So I started looking around for some healthy snack options. Fast food restaurants were completely out of the question. Even the salads aren't that good for you, and who ever heard of eating a salad while driving? That left pretty much... nothing. Amazing what happens to variety when you rule out fast food. (It's better that way, really. The last few times I've gone to a "grease station," as my friend likes to call it, the food hasn't sat well with me later.)

Rule #1 of shopping is never go into a grocery aisle on an empty stomach, but I had no choice. I needed to pick up a few items anyway, so off I went to Meijer to find a healthy snack. After doing my more important shopping (a pirate-ship inflatable pool, will blog about it later), I walked past the soda to the refrigerated area where I picked up a single-serve bottle of Tropicana. It was a start. Then I walked the snack areas. I had to constantly keep myself in check, reminding myself that the goal is to cut down on the sugary and the salty, but really, what does that leave?

My answer came in the produce section. Buying a whole bag of baby carrots or an apple or banana didn't appeal to me, but I came across a teeny-tiny spot in the very back where the "miscellaneous vegetables" hide. (Miscellaneous, by the way, is code for "vegetables we have to stock but hardly anyone buys.") There, next to the bok choy and giant mushroom stalks were the "Take-a-longs." There were a variety of these indevidual snack trays, including but not limited too, apple slices and yogurt, bruschetta and toasted baguette toast, and cherry tomatoes with ranch dip and cheese cubes. After much consideration, I landed on a tray with grapes, snap peas with ranch dip, and a mini Babybel cheese round.

I admit, it was still difficult walking past the soda in the check-out lane, but having my Tropicana staring at me as we walked past helped a lot. And honestly, I was so excited about the tiny cheese round, I didn't even realize I walked past the candy bars! So I feel successful. Not because I ate a healthy snack, but because I found a healthy snack.

Want a snap pea?

* * * * *

Addendum: Today, 7/25/2010, I went to the Country Buffet and ate a very large and amazing salad, immediately followed by a bowl of ice cream, half a cupcake, half a cinnamon roll, a large piece of fudge and a bite of cheesecake... Needless to say, I don't have the hang of this yet.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bad baby! No more coffee!

I am officially requesting an intervention. You may recall in the last post, I boasted of how I've not touched a french fry in months. Well...

I'm having a horrible time in the caffeine department. I've been trying to be good, but lately...

As far as I can tell, the only real complication caffeine really causes is a hyper baby. It's true, studies have shown that babies exposed to large amounts of caffeine will have such-and-such problem, but in order for the baby to absorb enough caffeine to be affected, I would first have to drink myself into a coma.

This is what I told myself yesterday when I drank my coca-cola after having two cups of coffee in the morning.

I'm accustomed to one cup of coffee. What I overlooked yesterday is that we are out of half-caf. So when I had two cups of coffee, I actually had four times my regular dose of caffeine. Plus the soda. I was no better behaved the day before, and single-handedly drank an entire Dr. Pepper.

Needless to say, I've not slept well in several days due the little energizer bunny within the womb. And last night, I was downright punchy.

I repeat my opening statement: I am officially requesting an intervention. Besides my one cup of morning coffee (if you take that away from me it will not go over well for you), do not let me drink caffeinated beverages. This does mean that you might have to take it out of my hands. I will probably be miffed, but if you say something to the effect of, "Remember, you asked me to," I'll give in.

Soda has a ridiculous amount of sugar in it anyway.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I, Pregnant Lady, do so solemnly swear...

I realize that, not actually having a child yet, I am not really in a position to judge the mothers I see in passing, at a restaurant or at the mall. I do it anyway. From things that I have seen in the last few weeks, I have made myself these five promises:

1. I will never spank my children in public.
I realize I might recieve some flak from my readers when I say that I firmly believe in spanking. It's something that Meng and I have discussed at length and we have rather strict rules that we plan to follow. "Never spank a child out of anger," "Once spanking stops working, find a new consequence,*" and, "Do not spank a child in a public place."

There are some very specific reasons for this third rule. First of all, spanking a child in public can humiliate the child, causing psychological pain in addition to the sting of a spanking. Humiliation should never be a punishment. Also, and this is what I'd love to tell the woman I saw at Meijer last week, it makes you look like a tactless and ignorant person, and everyone around you sees you as the woman who got angry and spanked her child in the canned goods section.

2. I will actually count to three when I start counting.
Another thing that is important is that a child knows that you mean what you say you mean. When I was a kid, I never let my parents get to three because I knew that it would go over poorly for me if I did. This must mean that at some point (though I do not remember it) my parents counted all the way to three before I changed my attitude/obeyed, and I was punished for not following instructions.

On Tuesday I watched as a woman yelled at her son in a restaurant to sit back down at the table. She watched him as he threw down a napkin on the floor and ordered him to pick it up. When the little boy didn't, she started to count. My back was to them, so I heard "1..." There was silence. I thought the kid had picked up the napkin. I was wrong. "2..." Another silence. I stole a glance almost 30 seconds later, only to see that the mother had picked up the napkin and (of course) spanked her son... without ever reaching three.

It was a double mistake, actually. Not only did she fulfill her own order before counting three, but the spanking was ineffective.

3. I will not bargain with my children.
I'm not referring to a reward system, "If you will do this chore that is not usually assigned to you, I will give you extra allowance." That's great. I condone that. Reward away. But don't reward poor behavior. A child is misbehaving in the check-out lane. "If you settle down and be quiet, you can go on the pony ride." No. Don't do that.

I guess to me the whole approach is wrong. What should be said, before the trip to the store begins is, "If you behave while we're at the store, you can go on the pony ride." If you say this and follow through, you're rewarding good behavior. But trying to coerce your child into behaving by offering a reward they do not deserve is an automatic fail. Especially if the child does not behave when you offer the bargain and you still let them ride the pony."

4. I will follow through with warnings.
This one kind of goes a long with the last two. How often do you hear a mother in the store telling her child what will happen if they don't stop misbehaving? "If you don't stop I'm going to take you out to the car and spank you." An hour later, you see the pair, child still wailing or whatever, mother still threatening. And please, don't give them a cookie at this point. They don't deserve it.

5. I will not give my child a sippy cup of soda.
This is actually just the front statement for an entire list of things I have seen other parents do, but the one that always comes to mind first is soda in the sippy cup.**

I see it with unfortunate frequency. In fact, last week I saw a woman giving pop to her infant by holding it in the straw and doling it out in drops. Where is the logic here? This was topped only by the young (quite skinny) mother I saw only moments later, who unwrapped an entire Three Musketeers bar and handed it to her (chunky-monkey) daughter. The kid barely had teeth to chew it!

I think that this is something most seen in America. I read an article in American Baby over the weekend that said over a third of children eat no vegetables besides french fries. This is horrifying! Give the toddler green beans! Carrots! Cucumber! One of my favorite foods when I was small was lima beans!

My comforting thought is that my daughter will never have the chance to be a poor eater. I am proud to say that it has been months since I've touched a french fry. Besides, the way Meng in all his Chinese-ness loves his veggies (some of which I don't even like), this baby (like me) will have to either learn to like mushrooms and asparagus, or starve.

*Meaning, when the child is old enough to rationalize whether or not the crime is worth the punishment, a new punishment should be found. Many resort to spanking harder, longer, etc. This is not acceptable to me. When a child is old enough that spanking is ineffective, discipline should come in the form of the loss of privileges or something similar.

**Incidentally, when I was little I had these hard plastic sippy cups with snap-on lids. The cups came in various sizes and the lids fit them all. It was easy for me to transition between a sippy cup and a normal cup using these because 1) they were my own special grown-up cups and 2) if drinking without a lid was going poorly for me, all Mom had to do was reach in the drawer and snap on a lid for me. These days, all I can find are the cups with lids that screw on. Does anyone know where you can get the snap-on ones? Or are they a thing of the past? I can only find the disposable kind.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Parenting Fail

My dear friend Natalie got me hooked on this website that has lists of things. Today I came across 15 Worst Parenting Fails. Amongst car seats in trunks, children playing with plastic bags and toddlers at strip clubs came this lovely shot:

*face palm*

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Psychic Traveling Baby

This child is going to be so well traveled by the time she's born! Last Friday I took the late train to see my (studious and very responsible) boyfriend, along with lots of friends for the 4th of July! We had a great time with barbecuing and beer (*downcast* no beer for me) and fireworks! What's amazing is that you don't need to go anywhere for fireworks in Chicago. They come to you! We had three or four displays going on around us, and it was really quite spectacular. The best part was definitely when a larger rocket hit a street lamp and shot yellow and blue sparks in our direction. By the end of the night, Meng's deck was covered with ash and shrapnel, but it was an amazing time.

People kept on asking how the baby was doing with the fireworks, but she really didn't have much of a reaction. I think she jumped a few times, but I think those were the few times that a rocket went off unexpectedly, in which case she could have just been startled by my being startled.

I took the early Monday train back to Michigan, only to re-pack my bags on Wednesday and head to Kentucky with my mom. We're here for the next week or so and my goodness is it ever hot! I lived down here for 13 years, but you just never get used to the deadly heat/humidity combo. All I have to do is walk down the sidewalk to develop a sweat. The fact that I'm gestating probably doesn't help.

I've been noticing an interesting phenomenon in the last couple of weeks. I've mentioned it before, and people tell me it's just my imagination, or that it's coincidence. I really do think that the baby knows when I'm around or talking to her father. I'm officially in my third trimester (31 weeks, to be exact), so her movement is very observable. When he is around, she doesn't kick. She might move, stretch, turn, but she doesn't kick.

During the entire train ride to Chicago, she didn't kick. Barely moved at all, actually. I think she likes train rides. Meng picked me up from the station after 11 at night. Needless to say we didn't stay up late. I got settled in my room (Actually his room. Very sweet of him to take the couch. There's a spare room but it's upstairs and the basement is cooler.), Meng kissed me goodnight, and as soon as he was out the door, the baby started kicking. It was like that every night I was there.

I'm rather accustomed to feeling the baby move early in the morning. Each morning in Chicago, not the case. I had to get up very early on Monday to catch the train (early for me, not so early for Meng or the baby). We got around, packed up the last few things, and then Meng drove me to Union Station. I settled down into a good seat (facing forward, very important), and waited. The instant the train started moving, the baby kicked. It wasn't just a, "Hi! I'm here," kick, either. It was a kick of discomfort.

I find this pattern to be true when we talk on the phone with him, too. As soon as I hang up, she gets fussy. And it's not like I move around a lot. Often, talking to Mengyao is the last thing I do after brushing my teeth and climbing under the covers. How could she possibly know?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I'm about 5' 8.5". When I tell people that, they always look at me and say, "Oh, that's not that tall," and then I give them this short lecture:

About ten years ago, the National Center for Health Statistics conducted a survey, finding that the average height for an adult woman between the ages of 20 and 29 was 5' 3.8". (I looked up the survey info just for this blog post. Feel special.) This makes me about 5 inches taller than the average woman, which, if you think about it, is almost half a foot. Therefore, I am that tall.

(Incidentally, the survey found the average height for an adult man of the same age group to be 5' 9.2", which makes wearing high heeled shoes on dates highly awkward and impractical for me. It's unfortunate because, as a friend in high school who went on to become third runner-up for Miss Hawaii once told me, I actually have really nice legs.)

These are the facts that I must face when I go shopping for pants. The problems don't stop there, though. I've often surmised when shopping in stores, that designers must think women who are tall have 50% more leg fat than the rest of the population. I can't tell you how often I've tried on a pair of 12 Long pants in the dressing room, only to find that while they fit perfectly around the waist, there is enough room in the butt and thigh to fit another one of me!

My solution came two years ago when I went into the Old Navy on State and Washington in Chicago. Not wanting to waste my time looking for something that wasn't there, I walked straight up to the tallest employee I could find and said, "My kingdom for a pair of Long pants that fit!" She didn't miss a beat.

"Here's what you do," she said. "We don't consistently carry our products in Long, but besides length, there's no difference in how our Long pants and Average pants fit. Shop around the store and find some pants that you like, try them on to find your best size and style, and then go to and order them with the right inseam."

I could have hugged her. I did what she suggested, and when I got online, discovered that in addition to carrying Long inseams, they have a Tall section, where you can get longer shirts, skirts and dresses as well! (Just a heads up, there's a huge difference between "Long" and "Tall." If you order the Tall inseam, order a size up.) Ever since then, when I want a new pair of pants, I just go online! I find something that looks cute, order it, and it fits perfectly! And that's how the story ends, or so I thought...

College makes you gain weight. No question about that. So before my first trimester of pregnancy was over, I needed new jeans, desperately. I made due for several months just wearing lounge pants (also from Old Navy) and skirts most of the time, but I really needed a new pair of jeans. I looked everywhere, but not only were Long maternity pants lacking, so were the maternity sections themselves. I stopped looking for it when I went into a store. I'd just find an employee and ask if they had one.

I did find an excellent maternity section at Kohl's, and made out like a bandit thanks to my Aunt Marie, who had Kohl's Bucks and various coupons she wasn't going to use but, still no Long pants. Finally, it dawned on me. I hadn't checked Old Navy.

Old Navy has an entire maternity section online. The clothes run a bit too big, but knowing that has made shopping for new clothes a piece of cake. I just order a size down. I now have two pair of Long maternity jeans, not to mention some adorable shirts and a pair of comfy burmudas. I've also discovered the Roll-Over Jersey Skirts, which have no elastic and are nice and stretchy to accomodate the ever-growing me.

So in summary, Old Navy rocks!

Friday, June 25, 2010

It Has Begun (doom!)

Yesterday and today were good days. I got up at a reasonable hour (quite early for me, actually, before 8), got around and going, and spent almost the entire day out doing things. But today, sometime between washing windows at Grandma's and the Relay for Life team meeting (my aunt heads up Team Zebra, ironically enough), I hit a mood bump.

I was pulling up my pants in the bathroom when I noticed in the mirror, the first of the fresh purple stripes. (I wish there were a good word to describe it. "Blossoming" sounds like something so pleasant and delightful, but "eruption" or "outbreak" would be too strong.) An hour later I discovered another stretch mark forming, going right up the side of my stomach. Maybe it's because I went from doing very little to doing very much in a short period of time that it happened so suddenly. I must admit, ever since these discoveries, I've been just a little depressed.

I blame my mother. She blames her father. I never got to find out who he blamed. I've been using so much lotion since I've become pregnant, knowing that it would be coming, hoping maybe I could be spared. I've mentioned before that I have a lot of stretch marks already just from growing too fast for my skin. Now that it's started again, I feel very unpretty.

(This is not a time for you to get all touchy-feeley, "Oh, but you ARE pretty," trying to make me feel better by telling me all sorts of nice things. My emotions have nothing to do with what everyone else thinks. It's how I feel, and I'll get over it shortly.)

Hundreds of thoughts are buzzing around my head. "I need to find a stretch mark cream that doesn't feel oily." "All the scars I got in middle-school are still visible. These will take so long to go away." "Now I'll never look great in a bikini." "What if he no longer finds me attractive?"

The bikini one might be the most depressing, honestly. I grew up on a mission center, and a one piece was the only option up until college. By that time, I was too self-conscious to actually wear a two-piece. Not to mention the fact that I have a hard time finding bathing tops that fit me.** I finally found one that suited me, but never wore it because I couldn't find a bottom I liked. So I've never actually worn a two-piece in public. And now... (I refuse to wear a two-piece to the beach now. Lots of things happen on the beach that shouldn't. I will not be one of them.) When I'm back to normal size again, I'll be the sexiest purple-striped zebra-fish in the sea. *slump*

I fully intend to wallow in my depression for the rest of the night, possibly in the morning also, depending on how many more marks I find when I get up. You can't stop me. Then I plan on getting over it, buying stretch-mark cream (we all remember the Bio-Oil was a fail), and moving on with my life. As long as no one tries to interfere with the coping process, everyone will be fine.

**That could be a rant in itself. Why don't bathing suits come in cup sizes, instead of "small, medium, and large?" Also, I've overwhelmed every halter top I've ever tried on. I can't wait for the halter fad to die so that I can buy a new bathing suit. Before my maternity suit (remarkably similar to my "normal" suit, found at Target), I've used the same suit since I was a freshman in high school, because it's the only one that's ever "held me in." The world is unkind to busty women.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


It was time to update the background. I tried the new blogger template designer thingy and I like the results. The only problem I have is that there are a lot of options, so I'll probably be changing it again (and again and again) over the next few days. "Where she stops? Nobody knows!"

I actually wish I could upload a picture that I've taken into the background, but no such luck yet. At least, I've not figured out how.

I considered for a brief time, changing the name of my blog, since I'm actually no longer in college. But I started this thing in college, and I plan on auditing a class next semester (Mandarin 101!), so it's staying.

Really nothing about this blog looks collegiate or adolescent, but hey! Pregnancy is supposed to be a transitional phase, right?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Every day I am astonished at the number of young, unwed mothers around me. The last time I went to Meijer, I saw at least five. Six, if you count when I went down that aisle with all the mirrors. I guess I just never noticed them before.

It reminds me of when my parents and I were traveling through Pennsylvania when I was in middle school. There was a gas station robbery one town over from where our hotel was. The offenders were last seen exiting the scene in a white, unmarked van. You would be amazed at how many white, unmarked vans are on the highway! It was kind of creepy, actually...

Not that seeing young mothers around me is creepy, but you know what I mean.

You know what? As the song says, "Pregnant Women are Smug," (Garfunkel and Oats). Particularly, young unwed ones. This came to my attention last week when I went for another 1 hour glucose test. (I've not heard from the doctor's office, so another 3 hour test is not in order as far as I know.) I'd been waiting for about 15 minutes when an extremely pregnant girl and her friend came in. They couldn't have been much older than 12 or 13. My first impulse was to be protective of this girl, who must be so terrified and confused, from the little old ladies across the room who were looking at her like fresh gossip meat. Within five minutes, that impulse completely disappeared. She kept on looking at her belly and sighing, waiting to see if someone would notice. When someone did notice, she did her best to look as uncomfortable as possible, at which point her friend would say something like, "Are you having a contraction?" (she wasn't) or "I just can't believe there's a life inside of you!"

(I'm not putting down people who like to discuss the miracle of life, but saying the same phrase 20 times in a short period of time does not qualify as deep thought.)

From what I've observed in the last few weeks, four out of five young, unwed mothers are melodramatic. From the busty blonde buying hair-dye to the bursting-at-the-seams teen in pajama pants, all display airs as if their lives are just so much nobler than everyone else's and no one could possibly understand.

I have no problem admitting the fact that I'm judgmental. But if you ever see me put on airs like that, feel free to hit me.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Baby Says Jump

Lately I’ve been observing, with increasing curiosity, the miraculous little being inside of me. I wake up in the morning to the indescribable sensation of her little body stretching, growing, and dancing... on my bladder. Every day she gets stronger, and in the mornings she’s difficult to ignore. The problem isn’t just that I’ll wake up to her kicking my insides. After I get up to relieve myself, she keeps kicking. I have a feeling that early mornings are about to be a regular thing for me. What I don’t understand, what is truly miraculous about this child, is how she knows that it’s 6:00 in the morning without having windows...

God is up there smirking right now, and if you’ve ever tried to wake me in the morning, you know why.

I’m beginning to see little tendencies here and there. I can tell the difference between a kick and a hiccup, a “hello” kick and an “I’m not happy” kick (it’s rather like the difference between a pat on the back and a dope slap, just in the lower abdomen and from the inside), and a dance and a squirm. Dances are the best, and usually happen when I’m playing music for her (I put an earbud in my belly button—genius). Squirms amuse me, are usually accompanied by annoyed kicks, and happen most often when I play Mozart. (Irony?)

Baby also has this curious tendency to be completely quiet and behaved whenever her (very dutiful and responsible) father is around. Maybe it’s just me, but it really seems like, no matter how hard she is kicking beforehand, the instant I say, “Mengyao, want to feel the baby?” she stops. Meng thinks this behavioral trait is going to continue post-partum.

Besides the little one’s constant growing, there is really not a whole lot going on. My main source of income is being a professional granddaughter (they pay me to take them places), I‘ve managed to keep my room tidy on a daily basis, the nursery is more like a room where things are getting shoved, and last Monday we shaved the dog. Not much excitement… except for the dog.

Well, I just saw the mailwoman leave a box on our doorstep (my new room’s location has it’s advantages), which means that my package is here! (There’s something exciting. I cashed in some banking points for an Old Navy gift card and bought some more maternity stuff. My next post will probably be about pants.) I’m going to go see what the magic mailwoman has brought me!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Name Game

Greetings from a cool and comfortable basement! I'm in Chicago hanging out with my (handsome and much missed) boyfriend for the weekend. It's been nice to relax, see some friends, and generally chill out without worrying about having to do the laundry or let the dog outside. Mengyao's parents have been in and out with work, but I've spent the better part of today with them and have enjoyed getting to know them a lot better. After some (long awaited) meaningful discussion, I have determined that the Liang's are normal people who live pretty normal lives and want what's best for everyone.

(This is a discovery I've made with great relief. I can be honest and say I was afraid that the more they got to know me, the less they would be open to me. While most people will say that I am a great person and very easy to get along with, they will also tell you that I chose one of the least profitable careers in the country, that I am not a stellar cook or housekeeper, and that I am decidedly not Asian.)

The name discussion is being tackled head on at the moment. Top picks are (in alphabetical order): Alexis, Bridget, and Emma. The middle name (Chinese name) will be chosen by Mengyao's parents. For a while we thought we had all of this sorted out. Alexis and Emma both go very well with Liang, but I have to say that Bridget is a name close to my heart that I've always loved it. Alexis is a name that my (willing to compromise) boyfriend prefers over Bridget, but we find that both of us really like the name Emma. My parents prefer the name Emma also.

When the topic was breached with Meng's parents, we hit a snag. When Meng and I left the house to go see Shrek 3 (it was pretty good; I cried), Emma was the top pick. When we returned however, it had been discovered in our absence that the name "Emma" sounds rather like the Chinese phrase for, "Oh my gosh!" The name, therefore, has fallen slightly out of favor in the eyes of Meng's parents. Mengyao says it doesn't matter because in Chinese company we will call her by her Chinese name. I now want to call her Emma more than ever.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Piranha Conversation Outtakes

I tend to see things in a rather satirical light. There are those among you who have been there when my edit button slipped...

I tend to not say all the things that I’m thinking. It’s better that way because half of my thoughts are along the lines of “your face” and “your mom.” (The truth is, actually, that most people don’t say all the things they’re thinking. Imagine, if you will, the President of the United States in the middle of his speech suddenly announcing to the press room how he desperately needs to pee. The funny thing is that everyone always says “I don’t say all the things I think,” as if it’s some great revelation or that they’re different from everyone else.) The problem is that I’m an external processor, and when I’m thinking something really powerful, it swims around inside of me like a piranha, eating up all the useful thoughts and dominating my tank of existence.

It’s funny what people will accidently say to a pregnant woman. Many of you know me as rather unforgiving with speech, and the fact is that until I have published this somewhere, it’s going to destroy my inner being. So here, arranged according to the amount of reaction I’ve had to suppress, are the things that people have accidently said, and the things that I haven’t said back.

7. "You just don't look pregnant to me."
This is usually said by people who see me on a day to day basis. It’s funny because, I feel pregnant. I remember once someone said this to me right after I pulled a round ligament as I was hobbling to class and clutching my side. Additionally, my clothes don’t fit, so every time someone says this to me (like the former co-worker I ran into yesterday) all I hear is, “Haven’t you always been that fat?"

6. "Are you sure it’s not twins?"
This one gets a blank stare. Between a three sonograms and two ultrasounds, I’m fairly certain there is only one bun in the oven. Thank you for your concern.

5. "Do you know who the father is?"
This is usually said by people who don’t know me very well, but it still makes me feel a little disappointed. I mean, I understand that being an unwed mother-to-be does not exactly spell out “pillar of virtue,” but most people have seen me walking around holding hands with this (charming and courteous) Asian guy, so it would follow that the (before mentioned charming and courteous) Asian guy would be the father… unless of course all Asians look alike to you, which may lead you to believe that I sleep around with a lot of Asians. If that’s the case, then I’d say you are the one with the problem.

4. "You know, so-and-so got pregnant in college, and…"
I think that this is an effort to make me feel like the speaker identifies with my situation. It’s a very nice gesture, but it really just makes them sound like a bad conversationalist. I really don’t care to hear how your friend/acquaintance/distant relative was left by her boyfriend/ostracized by her family/later arrested for drug use… unless of course you have some sage piece of wisdom to share in relation to this experience. No? Okay then. Stop talking.

3. "I'm not judging you."
Oh, yes you are. This statement is usually coupled with a very concerned and “understanding” look, and is often followed by…

2. "I just want you to know that Jesus loves you.”
I genuinely get annoyed at this one. I try not to, but here’s the thing: I grew up at a mission center. I attended Christian schools from kindergarten to my senior year, and I spent the majority of my summers visiting holiness camp meetings and going to a minimum of two church services a day. Now, I am not the first to pick up on things, but you’d think somewhere in my childhood I would have gathered that Jesus loves me. I actually had someone sit me down last month (literally led me to a bench and sat me down) and give me a formulaic five minute salvation sermon complete with a personal life story and an analogy—all because I told them I was pregnant. I guess the annoying thing is that each person says it like they’re the only person in the world who’s ever said it to me, or that people who know about Christ’s love don’t sin. Pfft.

And taking the place of number one (drum roll, please)…

1. "Does the father know?"
Okie dokie… “I think that you’re a great person and all, and I have no problem sharing this information with you, mostly because I’m not keeping it a secret, but you don’t seem to even know my boyfriend’s name. What makes you think I’d tell you before I told him?” Of course, that would be terrible and I’d never say that, but I think it, (usually) as I talk to two or more acquaintances without hushed tones in a public place. No, I just smile and tell them, “He knew before I did.” That opens up the opportunity for me to say all sorts of wonderful things about my (incredibly intuitive and level-headed) boyfriend, and the people leave feeling great about the (apparently very close) friendship we share because I’ve confided in them.

Now that I've sufficiently purged my mind of these thought consuming rampage-etts, perhaps I can put down Pratchett's Discworld series and dive into something a little more intellectual. Doubtful, but we'll give it a shot.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Driven out of Solitude

Well, folks, I'm back. I suppose I should apologize for the long lasting silence, the unanswered messages and emails, and my tendency to ignore things that are not in front of me, but I simply just don't feel like it. Besides, I'm told I apologize too much.

Many of you, I'm sure, have thought that I've fallen off the face of the planet, or that I'm ignoring you. I have been ignoring you. In fact, I've been ignoring almost everyone, so don't take it personally. You know that comatose state that happens after finals? Before finals week was officially over, I packed up my entire apartment and put it in my parent's mini van, left behind the majority of my friends that I won't be seeing for a rather long time, said goodbye to my (dashing and incredibly sensitive) boyfriend, and plopped my self down in Springport, Michigan.

There's nothing much wrong with Springport. It's a very... small town. I remember when I lived in Kentucky thinking that Campton was small. Campton at least had a grocery store and a downtown. Springport has... an ice cream stand.

I really shouldn't complain. My parents are letting me turn their house completely upside down and they're not making me pay rent for it.

Anyway, given that finals week was also moving week and good-bye week, I decided to be sick for a while and have spent a good portion of the last few weeks sleeping. It's been nice.

"So, Samantha," you ask, "What is it that you have come out of the crypt to tell us about? Why are you finally breaking the silence?"

Well, I'll tell you.


Not that it was ever on the forefront of my mind until I began dating a (handsome and wonderful) Chinese man, but do you realize that there are almost no Asian Barbies? I suppose if I'd thought about it before, it would have registered that I'd never seen one, but after almost three hours of research on the internet, I have come up with only five Barbies of vaguely Asian persuasion since 1990. This includes the Mulan doll, which, to my utter dismay, now only comes in a princess outfit!

"But, Samantha," you tell me, "We've always known that Mattel Inc wants our children to believe they're not beautiful unless they're a bodacious blonde! You can't expect racial sensitivity."

Have you walked down the doll aisle lately? On all sides, not only can you see the buxom blonde trollop, you can also see her African American and Latina friends. I did see a picture of an Asian doll on a display case earlier this year. By hand-searching the collector's website, I found her online. The three others I found were basically dressed as Geishas (though a discerning eye pointed out to me, the dolls marketed as Chinese were all sporting Japanese footwear).

I look back to my early days when my Barbies were my favorite pastime. I had names for all of them, family backgrounds and plot lines. My favorite was Teresa, who had straight brown hair like mine. I loved my dolls, and when I found out I was going to have a girl, it was one of the first things that came to mind. I was so excited at the thought of being able to share part of my childhood with my daughter. But what kind of message will she get if the only dolls that look like her are strange and exotic?

Barbie has brought on the appearance of progression. The new "Career Barbie" series has the dolls in TV chef settings and doctor's white coats. You can find these dolls in several ethnicities... but not Asian.

Thinking that perhaps it was something that the department had overlooked, I searched some of Mattel's other sites. They also own the franchise for Polly Pocket and American Girl, so I scoured those sites as well. There was no sign of Asian-ness anywhere to be found on the Polly Pocket site, but the site itself is so confusing and unhelpful, it wasn't astonishing.

What took me by surprise was American Girl, who I've always felt represented American history in a (somewhat biased but otherwise) all-inclusive manner. So imagine my chagrin when an hour of searching came up with one Asian doll, "Julie's Chinese friend, Ivy."

Take a good look, if you will... See, the thing that strikes me is that, besides her red outfit... she doesn't look Chinese!

(Wouldn't now be an interesting time to bring up World War II? Of course that chapter of our history would be too dark for American Girl. No wonder there's no Japanese doll.)

I just don't understand. Asian-Americans make up the third largest minority in the country! Is it because Mattel Inc. has been unsuccessful at marketing to Asian groups in the past? Or is it simply because they've decided adding a fourth ethnicity their collections would be too difficult? As the leading toy company of the decade, you'd think they'd have gone the extra mile.

So, tomorrow I think I'll make a few phone calls.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Now that the secret is out...

Sorry I haven't been posting. It's pre-finals week, and I'm moving next weekend. As soon as things are more settled, I promise I'll be a better blogger.

I should also apologize to all the people I'm not going to be able to see before I leave. I want to see you all... there's just not enough free time in a semester.

I'm off to dream about baby shoes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Random thoughts collected about frivolity

I posted this on my Facebook page last December, but I've been thinking a lot about the same topic, and decided I wanted to re-post it here

Friday, December 18th, 2009

I've been thinking a lot lately about the frivolity of life. Today I went into town with $52 dollars. I put gas in my car. $10. I got coffee. $3. I bought two books. $22. I got a bowl of soup at Panera. $5. These are rounded up of course because who uses change? (How much would I save if I saved my change?) When I got home, I counted my cash and asked myself, "Why do I only have $12 left in my purse?" It's all accounted for in numbers, but for some reason it doesn't make sense in my head.

I could have gone without the gas. I had half a tank. But the fact is that the gas will get used no matter what. And the prices will eventually go up, most likely. And it had gone down from yesterday. So I guess it's accounted for.

I didn't need coffee. I got it because I needed an excuse to walk into my old workplace and talk to the manager who blew me off for a month when I wanted holiday employment. For some reason I couldn't just go in and talk to her. "I was in the area... thought I'd get a cup of coffee." She did give me the old employee discount, though. So I guess it's accounted for.

I really didn't need the books. I'm right in the middle of reading Good Omens, and still have Stranger in a Strange Land and The Clocks yet to read. But it is my goal to read a total of five books while I'm home. And then I would have all five. So I would spend the money anyway. Besides, the gentleman who recommended Three Cups of Tea gave me free chocolate. So that's accounted for also.

I didn't really need the bowl of soup, either. But at 4:30, I was out of things to do. I know someone who works at Panera (or at least used to) so I figured I might bump into them. I didn't. But I was very hungry. and had to stay in town till at least 5 so I could pick up a prescription at Walgreen's. And I hadn't eaten anything all day, besides two cups of coffee for breakfast, a cookie, and another cup of coffee previously mentioned. And I might be hypoglycemic. So it could have been bad if I hadn't eaten. And it was broccoli cheese! So that is accounted for, too.

Funny what reason can do.

We spend our lives working for, scraping together, and spending money. We put ourselves in debt for education so that we can make more later. We do our best to live well on a low budget, and if we fail, society looks down us for either being cheap or in debt.

Funny what society can do.

At the end of our lives the size of our gravestone is decided by our wealth (or family's wealth). This seems twisted to me. Why are gravestones even necessary? A small ground stone should suffice. When I die, please make sure that my organs are harvested for transplants. Any part of my body that can help someone else should be taken. Tissues, blood, take it all! Not like I'll need it. Have whatever's left cremated. If I die from some strange and terrible disease, see if researchers want it. At least then if I'm being frivolous, It won't be my fault. If you really can't stand to have no remnant of me left to cling to, buy yourself a cuddly stuffed animal that plays "I'm Too Sexy" at inopportune moments. It should suffice.

Frugality is nearly impossible in the life I've created for myself. I mean, If I could get myself to eat rice and celery soup every day for the next year and a half, college would be easy! But I'm so unsatisfiable. I crave things like bagels, chocolate, shwarama and deli meat and I indulge. Toast, carrots, and chicken would be better for my health AND my wallet. Did you know that deli meat is packed with salt? I mean, I guess I knew that, but it didn't occur to me. Did it occur to you? Gr. Frivolity battles frugality at every turn and at the end of every day I find that somehow it has won. And when i get a little extra in my paycheck, I automatically think, "Oh, I can afford to buy this now instead of the cheaper option!"

I blame society because I'm an American and nothing is my fault.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Food, Theatre, and Nesting Instincts

Yesterday, my world tossed me something new to juggle. I've been the House Manager at my college for several years now. My plan for this semester was to take my leave of absence from the spring production and rest up a bit. This was a difficult decision, mostly because I'm a control freak and really love doing what I do. At the very last minute, the girl who was going to replace me became a cast member (kudos for her!). So here I am, the HM again. Luckily most everything is already in place for me. I'm going to be so tired at the end of this run, but I'm excited to be involved again!

This would be a good place to tell you all that if you are in the Chicago area, you need to check out Legitimate Geniuses, written by Stephanie Weber and directed by Chad Eric Bergman. Show dates are April 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17 at 7:30, and April 11th at 2pm. The performance is at the Neo Futurarium on the Southeast corner of Foster and Ashland. Make a reservation at! Ask me at the Box Office if I'm pregnant and get a dollar off your ticket (limit one per person).

As a side note to that, there's an awesome crepe place a block away called the Icosium Cafe. It's on the Northwest corner of Foster and Clark, and if I took the time to describe it to you... okay fine I will. Imagine a savory crepe stuffed with fresh spinach, caramelized onions, goat cheese, pine nuts, need I go on? And it's only a dollar to add chicken, beef or lamb to that. Or you can get sweet crepes... strawberries, kiwis and Nutella with a scoop of ice cream on the side! Why are you even still reading? Go now!

Okay, that's out of my system. But speaking of foods, what can there not be enough of?

1. Mac N Cheese. Seriously, if it's in the apartment, it is gone before the day is over. For some reason it just sings to my soul.
2. Watermelon. If you're very familiar with the movie "Lady and the Tramp," you'll remember the scene where Jim Dear puts on his overcoat at an ungodly time of night. He calls up the stairs, "Darling, are you sure you want watermelon?" Poor Mengyao.
3. Chocolate. The only reason it's this far down on the list is that it's not as filling as the first two. Remember how last weekend was Easter? Yesterday I ate an entire chocolate bunny in two sittings. Earlier today I tried to write the "10 reasons to keep chocolate in the house," but somewhere around #4 I realized that each reason could be simplified down to "it makes me happy."
4. Milk. I don't know why but I've really been guzzling it down lately. I'm trying not to drink too much every day, but when I went home for spring break, I downed a whole gallon by myself (over the course of a week, but still).
5. Pickles. It must be the salt content, or the satisfying crunch. My roommates and I are currently taking turns buying jars of Vlasic dills. No, I've not eaten any with ice cream.
6. Eggs. This mild and unoffensive protein source can be cooked so many different ways. All you need is a little incentive. I made egg salad yesterday using some of the eggs I colored for Easter... the blue egg turned my salad green.
7. Crackers. Again, mild and unoffensive. I've been eating a few before I go to bed every night so that I don't wake up at 3 a.m. ravenous and cranky. I usually wake up anyway, and crackers are a good snack then, too.
8. Peanut butter. Enough said.
9. Pasta. When I just need some carbs I'll cook some pasta (angel hair is my favorite, and it's the fastest) and eat it with a little butter and salt.
10. Vernors. If you don't know what it is, go to Michigan and buy it. It's the perfect ginger ale for settling an upset stomach, or just making yourself happy.

Moving on to developments in my life... Nesting Instincts!

Last night I became possessed by a cleaning demon. It started out with the simple desire to take a bath. I try to clean out the tub weekly, so I grabbed the comet and a rag and headed to the bathroom. When I got there... it was as if I had never seen dirt before. Now really, our bathroom isn't that bad, it just gets dusty and covered with hairspray, but...but... I attacked it! Before I knew it, I was scrubbing the sink with a vengeance not even the super-nanny could equal. Things were getting cleaned so fast, I wasn't even letting the clouds of comet settle. It wasn't until I had actually crawled inside the empty tub to get a better view of the offending soap scum that I realized exactly what was happening. And THEN, oh yes, I cleared off the floor, poured water all over the place, covered it with cleaner and scrubbed on my hands and knees. IN-credible. Fifteen minutes later I was doing laundry, emptying the dishwasher and sending out emails I'd neglected for weeks. I was just about to take out the garbage when I began to run out of steam...

I'm just so confused. I'm going to go do the dishes.