Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I don't know if I posted pictures from our opulent photo-shoot in China, but I'm about to. If you'd like to see a larger collection, go here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Re-Post: Understanding Your Body

This is for the barista at Starbucks tonight who was interested in "translating cravings." Or if you weren't a follower before, go to the old post, "Food and Sanity: Understanding Your Body," with a chart explaining what supplements you need when you crave certain foods and the foods you can eat to get it.



Happy Chinese New Year!

"Different Parenting Styles" my foot!*

Are you a helicopter when it comes to your partner's parenting style, always hovering to make sure he's doing everything "right"? A much better approach is to ditch the mom vs. dad mind-set and pick up a few parenting pointers from each other.... 

That is how the tagline of an article I found yesterday started out, and it seemed promising. I advocate for teamwork parenting, so I clicked the link and read on. 

...After all, sometimes Father really does know best.

Now, I can be overly sensitive and easily read into things, but it seems to me that this sentence contradicts its predecessor. Let's review:

...ditch the mom vs. dad mind-set... 


...Father really does know best....

Translation: "Stop competing. Shut up and listen to your husband."

And that's not chauvinist. 

I'm sure that I'm taking this way too seriously, I was just perturbed by the angle of the article. 

"...let your partner discover his own parenting style. Better yet, steal these tips from the typical papa’s playbook and find ways to make them work for you." 

Sounds great, right? And it was full of pointers like, "Turn Work To Play," "Get Your Goof On," and "Pick Your Battles."

"What you may view as drudgery — diaper changing, spoon-feeding, overseeing toothbrushing — your partner may approach as playtime. "

"With all the chores that need to get done you might not feel there’s time to monkey around, but your partner is likely to fit in some foolery."

"...once in a while take a cue from your partner’s parenting style and be flexible when battles begin to bubble up."

I was not okay with the presentation of each tip. Every single one had this formula. "This is probably how you are because you are a woman. Try doing it like a man would." Nevermind the assumptions of gender roles. The whole article portrayed mommies as stressed, controlling, non-entities who don't know how to have fun, and daddies as carefree, easy-going diplomats who show children how to be independent.

As a reader, I was upset about the assumptions made about me because...

I do turn work into play, as can be attested to anyone who hears me sing the baby-scrubbing song to the tune of "Deck the Halls," or joins in our tooth-brushing parties. 

I am not the fixer, and was the one who instituted the "Good Job!" response when Emma trips or falls, because I want her to be able to stand up by herself. 

I use my grown-up words, and in fact once took my husband aside when I heard him say, "poo poo."

I'm open to risky business, as my nervous mother will tell you when Emma climbs the stairs for fun, unsupervised.

I trust my gut. You'll have to talk to Emma about that one. Let's just say that Vick's Vapor Rub, raw diced tomatoes, and the Mr Clean Magic Eraser were all good ideas. 

I get my goof on and don't you ever tell me that I don't. If you don't think I can be goofy, you've obviously had little exposure to me around my daughter and therefore should really have nothing to say on the matter.

I pick my battles. Electrical outlets, sharp/pointy things, coloring on the wall, and hitting people: these are non-negotiable. Bed-time, play-time, what she eats for lunch: these I'm very flexible on, in fact I usually ask Emma if she wants to go to bed or read a book. And she can have all the fruits and veggies she wants or doesn't want, as long as she eats enough. (The veggies thing is becoming a battle, actually. We pick our days. If we know she's hungry, we hold out and she'll eat the veggies eventually. If she's not really hungry and she eats all her fruit but not her veggies, she doesn't have to finish them, though she will probably receive the refused veggies at the next meal or snack.) 

Incidentally, Emma doesn't have tantrums often. When she does, we go into another room until she's done, and move on with our lives. Picking battles your is easier when you don't give your child ammunition. 

I do not harp on the details, at least not the frivolous ones. So Emma wants Ariel to have green hair. So she wants to eat the cheerio she just dropped on the kitchen floor. So she doesn't want to wear socks. That's fine. My floors are (reasonably) clean. As long as she's healthy and safe and warm, who cares? I usually let her pick her own outfits in the morning, or at least give her a few options. 

Yes, I do insist that she sleep with her worn-out, formerly-white stuffed kitty. Trust me, it's better that way. 

I guess the message is that, yes I am stressed, tired and often depressed at how much my life is the same every day, but I know for a fact that I am somebody, and maybe I don't have all the answers but I can take a good whack at it and still be a pretty rad mommy who knows how important the purple crayon is and how fun brushing your teeth can be. Every day I get to see a new discovery or revelation or way to extract giggles. Don't you dare pigeon-hole me a into dull, one size fits all, nothing-suit. 

Ditch the Mom vs. Dad mindset. Dare I suggest working as a team?

*Do people still say "my foot!"? It does actually mean something. I promise.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Parenthood is...

...picking up your bowl of oranges to discover that each slice has one bite missing.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Parenthood is...

..not minding when you're congested because your toddler had beans at breakfast.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Different Kind of Waste

What with the start of 2012, being done with school for as long as I wish, and having way more time in general than I am accustomed to having, I am doing my best to assert my efforts full force into housekeeping and organization. Of course, I am an easily side-tracked person, which means that while I'm folding towels, I'm likely to discover a knitting needle or bag of beads sitting on the coffee table, go to put it away, and a half hour later find myself re-organizing all of my craft supplies.

This happened Tuesday, as I was dusting. I found a hair clip, started to toss it into a bathroom drawer, and realized that if I dropped the clip into the drawer I would never find it again. This started a great renovation of my bathroom drawers, which have gradually fallen into neglect over the past three months.

While cleaning those drawers, I found 7 lip glosses that I'd forgotten existed (2 of which were unopened), 4 half used sticks of deodorant, a not quite used up bottle of StriVectin, at least 3 hair styling products, 2 empty containers, 2 empty makeup bags, and a myriad of small shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion bottles that I've accumulated over the past year from holiday gifts and nice hotels.

The lip gloss was easy to take care of. I searched the house over for other lip products I leave lying around and put them all in one of the empty makeup bags. I used the other makeup bag for my nail polish, which had once been in a zip-lock bag, but had broken through the plastic and lay scattered like hurricane victims. I chose one of the deodorants to use for the time being. (To my credit on this one, my body becomes immune to whatever deodorant I am using about half-way through the stick. I have several different brands, and I alternate them.) I put the rest of them together in the back of a drawer with the StriVectin. I used one empty container to put hair accessories in, and the other for eye-shadow.

After all of that work, I was still left with the hair products, lotion, shampoo, etc, that had been sitting in my drawer since I moved into this apartment.

I was considering just putting them all in a bag and stuffing them into the bottom drawer when a little voice (creepy!) suddenly asked me,
"Why don't you use them?" 
What? Use them! But they're so little! 
But, I was saving them for when I need to pamper myself. 
"...Aaaand the last time you needed pampering, did you know where they were?" 
"Well, then."
And that was the gist of the conversation. I put all of the shampoo, conditioner and body wash in the shower rack. All of the lotion is sitting out on the shelf. The next day I used the Tea-Tree shampoo and conditioner and left it in so that my scalp would tingle. Today I used bamboo creme and my hair is so soft. I've been finishing my showers with eucalyptus spearmint lotion, but will probably switch to lavender tomorrow.

I guess there is a moral to the story. I had been hoarding all these products because I didn't want to waste them on the every-day showers. But instead of using them for special moments, I wasn't using them at all. That is just as wasteful as dumping it down the drain. This last week, all of my showers have been special, because I got to decide which luxurious product to use.

I think this post should be categorized under health and wellness.

I know one thing, I won't be buying lotion or lip gloss for at least a year.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Good Morning, Mommy!

Last night Emma woke up five times before 4:45, and I went to bed at midnight. When my (understanding and sensitive) husband realized that he had only woken up for one or two of those times, he told me to sleep in as long as I wanted this morning. Nice man. Very sexy.

At 10:30, I was awakened to a chipper and dressed toddler in the doorway. I stretched and (in my deep, just-woke-up voice) asked her, "Emma, come snuggle with Mommy?" She smiled and did a dance, which made me think the answer was yes. Then she ran away down the hall and I thought, Oh. No love for Mommy.

She returned with a book! Excellent. Mother-daughter storytime!

Then I saw the book.

I know that she is too young to read, but somehow, I think she was trying to tell me something.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Online Shopping Bliss

Am I a terrible mother for taking so much pleasure out of dressing my child? I wonder sometimes. I really hope that when she is older, and she looks at baby pictures she'll say, "Wow, Mom, you put me in really cute clothes!" But I also hope that I don't squelch her sense of style. We'll see how that goes.

My mom was a big influence on how I dressed up until to high school. At least she taught me not to wear clothes that were too small for me. That is something I thank her for on a regular basis, when I see full-figured women on the street who wear leggings with nothing over them, and I can see their cellulite through the fabric. Thank you, Mom, for teaching me to wear clothes that fit.

Anyway, Christmas is over, but the gift cards are still here! So last night I did a little online shopping and got Emma some pj's, some leggings (to wear under her dresses), and this hoodie:

It has a baby seal.

The best thing about shopping for toddlers is that they are toddlers, and you don't need to try clothes on to know they'll look cute in it because a baby's body is perfect.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pre-Period Paranoia

I go through this process every month.

For those who are not familiar, most oral birth control regimens (fancy talk for pills) have three weeks of effective pills, and one last week of "placebo" pills or very low dose pills to take while you're on your period. I take the first placebo on a Tuesday. On Wednesday, I make sure I have pads. On Thursday, I expect my period to start. On Friday, I start to worry. On Saturday morning, I panic. This is the process.

Every month, I look up early pregnancy symptoms and begin to scrutinize the last week and go through a checklist.

Nausea with or without vomiting?
Well...there was that one time last Saturday...when I ate that burrito...and I felt kind of nauseated...and I thought it was the burrito...but what if it WASN'T the burrito?

Tender, swollen breasts?
Not swollen, but remember yesterday when I was watching Emma instead of where I was going and I crushed my boob against the door frame? That hurt.

Increased urination?
I have been drinking much more tea than usual, but that probably has nothing to do with it.

That couldn't possibly be attributed to Emma not sleeping through the night. It's definitely pregnancy.

Food aversions or cravings?
Now that you mention it, I have been obsessed with oranges lately...

Slight bleeding or cramping?
OMGracious, yes! Not my usual awful cramps, just slight ones! And I've been spotting. And it's light in color instead of dark like a normal period! Implantation bleeding!

Mood swings?
"Honey? Have I had mood swings lately?" "...Um...not too much. I mean, not more than usual. Yes, you have." And that couldn't be a normal period symptom either.

I'm feeling dizzy just thinking about it!

Today and yesterday, definitely. Is that a normal period symptom? I think it is. Maybe. Maybe not.

Just to make this week more interesting, I have had the weirdest dreams this week, which is an unofficial symptom of pregnancy. Dreams like, all of my teeth are falling out at once and I'm upset because I'm going to need dentures and my grandmother doesn't even wear dentures. Or, I'm so angry because I missed the last day of class, so I lock myself in the bathroom and start screaming. (I actually woke everyone up the other night because of that dream. I was screaming in my sleep.) Or, most commonly, I'm looking for something, like my clothes or my room, and I'm so pissed off that someone took my clothes or moved my room that I don't even care that I'm only wearing a bra and underwear. (To give myself some credit, I don't think I have stretch marks in those dreams.)

This is how I torture myself each month. And so on the last Saturday morning of each month, I panic and wonder if it's a good time to have another kid and how would that effect Meng's career, and what would my in-laws think if I can't even keep from getting pregnant in their own home, as if that mattered somehow and everything gets blown into this big disproportionate monstrosity of emotion and THEN--

My period starts.