Thursday, May 21, 2009

That's one way to work on Kegels . . . I am choosing to see the glass is half full

Hey, I am giving lots of warning at the start here. This definitely qualifies as a TMI posting. Guys, don't read this. Gals, don't read this unless you're interested in the educational aspect of post-partum life or you want to laugh with me (or at me).

Thought I'd offer you a distraction to let you decide before proceeding.

If you're reading this sentence, guess you decided to stay.

I've been intentionally adding activities to my life lately to keep morale from dropping further. For instance, took the girls on a walk to Starbucks. And, no, I don't walk just to get coffee. The exercise gets the positive juices flowing in my brain. Today was one of those splurge on coffee days (thank you Troy for refilling my Starbucks card for Mother's Day). The walk helped tremendously, the coffee, well, I'm beginning to wonder whether I have an unhealthy attitude about it. Man, it totally makes me feel on top of the world, at least temporarily.

Anyways, I was on the home stretch with the girls, not even a quarter of a mile to go, when I really had to go to the bathroom. At first, I was like, dude, this is not even funny. Not sure whether I can make it home before, before, before leaking. Great. Had Victoria strapped to me in the Ergo and Isabella in the stroller. I could feel the urge inching towards the front. Oh my. Then, I had a sudden change in attitude. The glass is half full, the glass is half full, I kept saying to myself. Yes, that very last step of my most recent delivery, pushing Victoria into the world vaginally, made me incontinent for awhile after delivery. Though I haven't been incontinent for awhile now, my ability to hold the pee in for awhile definitely has been diminished by the vaginal delivery. They encourage working on Kegel exercises. Well, I thought of this as a motivational opportunity for working on Kegel exercises, until I could get to the bathroom. Arrived just at the right moment, I did; victory!

Now that's worth applauding

Alright, alright, you must forgive me in advance, but I want to share (which may come off as bragging) some fun stuff about Victoria. Even before she turned one recently, I would say pai pai shou (which means "clap your hands" in Chinese), and she would follow that by actually clapping her hands. What fun! She has done that again and again. Also a lot of fun, since she has been practicing standing, every time I cheer her on with "yayyyy!" and she copies me by uttering "yayyyy!!"


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Doing stuff in pairs

From time to time, I get a question about how Isabella is getting along with Victoria. That's always a hard question to ask. It goes alongside with the difficulty of answering the question of how they play together. There seems to be some indication that they play together a bit, but they do a lot of parallel playing still. As to the former, I don't think Isabella has much recollection of life before Victoria. One is always interested in what the other is doing, and vice versa.

By the way, Victoria is sporting a lovely outfit that Grandma (Karen) gave her for her birthday.





Sunday, May 17, 2009

Happy First Birthday, Victoria!

Warning, people: this post has TMI. Proceed with caution.

I don't have a lot to say, these days. Got way too much going on. Call it "mommy brains" or whatever you like - insert whatever makes you feel better. But, I haven't forgotten you out there.

Yesterday was kind of a huge deal for me. It marked the one year anniversary of the time Victoria has spent with us in the world. I do not know how people do not remember the details of their labor and deliveries, but I've got to tell you, I have pretty good recollections of what happened with both of my children. Prior to Victoria's birth, up until she was delivered into this world, there was plenty of hustling and bustling, monitoring the baby's health, since my first child was born by emergency C-section and this one was going to be an attempted VBAC. By the time all was said and done, I felt like the hospital would have been a great place for me had something gone wrong, but it was a terrible place to be in the laboring process. For legal purposes, I had to be laying on a bed, on my back, the whole time. Not only was it counterproductive in speeding along the laboring process, but being on my pain was MUCH MORE PAINFUL.

A lot of you already know, especially those of you who follow me closely, are aware that when I arrived at the hospital for the last time, I arrived there in barely enough time to deliver her. There was no time for an epidural. I was complete. In fact they put an IV in my arm and drew my blood as I was pushing. Why they felt the need to put an IV in my arm when the baby was already coming, I don't know.

The details I don't remember, for which I want to totally kick myself, is exactly what she looked like when she first entered the world. I only remember thinking, woah, this munchkin looks nothing like me. If I hadn't witnessed her coming out of me, I wouldn't believe she's mine. Oh, and she had a full head of dark hair! What I remember vividly was being so tired and extremely sore. I desperately wanted to curl up and go to sleep. That isn't what they had planned. They kept my feet in stirrups until I delivered the placenta, some forty or so minutes later.

Sunday, Victoria and I went home. That night, as we were getting ready to leave the hospital, I remember thinking that no matter what I did, I couldn't get her to stop crying. Not a good start, so I thought. Wrong. When people told us newborns slept around the clock for the most part and Isabella was a newborn, I thought they were liars. Isabella slept maybe 6 to 8 hours the entire day! With Victoria, I experiencced the truth of what they said! Initially, she slept most of the time. Heck, thanks to Troy watching Isabella, both Victoria and I spent a large chunk of the day sleeping. If we weren't eating, we were sleeping. Doesn't matter how the child is delivered into the world, via C-section or vaginally, the body needs time to recuperate.

Fast forward, two months post-partum, we moved to Colorado. Her first year of life just flew by. When Isabella was teeny tiny, I remember believing it to be a miracle if I was able to nurse her 3 months. Once I passed 3 months by the skin of chiminey chin chin, I thought nursing for 6 months would be amazing. Nursing was not one of those easy things for me. I resumed teaching part-time, I had to pump, nursing itself was difficult, yadda, yadda, yadda. Nursed Isabella for a total of 15 months. With Victoria, nursing seemed so much easier. Yes, it took my nipples a few weeks or more to get used to the pressure and constant demand (I know, I know, TMI), but on the whole, I found the whole experience so much easier. She's never had a bottle of anything. Different from our first kid.

But this isn't just about breastfeeding observations, everything seemed easier this time around. Some say that children's dispositions are completely influenced by the parents behavior (relaxed, up tight and nervous, or whatever). I'll say that that has some influence, perhaps, but so explain it ENTIRELY in terms of the parents' responses? Nah. Anyways, things like comparison charts at the pediatricians' offices don't phase me this time around. I'm not bothered that Victoria's not walking, yet. It's not even remotely a concern for me. I wrote down when she hit various milestones - flipping from back to stomach, turning both ways, sitting on her own, etc. - but feeling better about where she was or is by comparing her changes with the Jones's did not make me worry about her in any way.

What else? Before I had Victoria, I wasn't sure how much love I'd have left to give another child. Turns out there's plenty of love to go around. Victoria's been really easy to take care of, and I am super thankful for that. She exhibits such a colorful and amuzing personality, with loads of different facial expressions (you'll see some of those in the pictures included here).

Moving on to other things. We had a little get together, party, in honor of Victoria's birthday yesterday. I wanted to kick myself for NOT having taken ANY pictures. Seriously people, I don't know what's wrong with me. The gathering was at 3 o'clock, and I was insanely behind. First of all, I think it's absurd to spend any large monetary amounts on a birthday party (can you imagine me saying, "sorry hon, I threw your college savings to give you a party"). Second, it's more about spending time together, less about being flashy. But, I still wanted our friends to feel like they were special and that I was taking care of them. It was a pot-luck sort of snack thingy. I made rice krispy treats, and I cooked fried rice. Lots of things that could go wrong did, thanks to my not being prepared (can we chalk all this up to my being busy with two little girls?!). I had way too much marshmellows and butter and not enough Rice Krispies cereal. Had to get Troy to run out and get more cereal, as the stuff I already had was simmering in a pan on the stove. Our first guests arrived when I was barely fixing that problem. Hadn't gotten dressed yet and hadn't started cooking the fried rice.

Oh add on top of all this a minor cold and really bad allergies. We had eight adults and five children (ages two and a half and under). Got around to making sure everyone had stuff to eat and drink, chatted with company, and that was about it. We had a 6:40 PM appointment with the Picture People. I had a coupon for a free 8x10 or 10x13 and 25% off a purchase. We got to the appointment almost 15 minutes late. When he finished taking pictures of us, I realized that I had taken absolutely no pictures at all. I was so mad at myself. My only solution was damage control. Once the pictures were ready for viewing, we'd take a quick look and hurry home. Since, my flash is still kaput, I would have to use whatever sunlight was still remaining to take any pictures of the birthday girl.

Back to the Picture People. I was VERY DISAPPOINTED in the pictures they took. Very disappointed. Sear's has been disappointing and now, the Picture People needs to be added to that list. What's the point of getting terrible pictures of the girls with a good background? I'd rather have good pictures of the girls. Who cares what the background looks like?! On top of that, the dude was trying to charge us $15 per sheet; that's WITH the 25% off! So? We took a free 8x10 of the four of us and scurried home.

Too late for any decent shots of Victoria with the remaining sunlight. This was the best I could get. Too little sunlight and too much movement from Victoria. Plus, it was the end of the night, and she didn't want to sit in the grass, on the pavement, or on rocks.

To make up for it, I shot a bunch of pictures this morning, as soon as there was enough light coming into our apartment. Not all of the pictures I have chosen to include here are what I would call studio portrait quality, even when focusing just on the girls and ignoring the background. Instead, I thought I would include pictures that show the birthday girl's personality a bit. That means, she's not necessarily making that posed, smiling face, okay?

The picture below, this was worlds better than the multitude of attempts the Picture People made. Seriously. The guy couldn't think of any original poses (he used only standard poses), and even then, Victoria wouldn't smile for him. He was also not the most patient. Told me to stop giving her Cheerios so she wouldn't stick her hand in her mouth. For one, she was sticking her hand in her mouth before I brought Cheerios into the picture. For another, I was trying to get her into a better mood.

The guy at the Picture People, like I said, couldn't think of any creative, fun poses, like the one below. I love this shot of her foot!

Yes, yes, I am aware that the picture below is out of focus. Sometimes in the artsy fartsy world, out of focus is intentional and beautiful. There is something about this picture that I really like.

Victoria scrunches up her nose like this ALL THE TIME. In fact, often times, it is more exaggerated than what you see in the picture below. It's really funny. And? When I laugh, she laughs, too.

People who meet her in person say they see me in her. What? Are they on crack? Or is that the sort of comment that comes from people who assume that all Asians in a room must be relatives. Snort. Seriously, I do not see the resemblance. Will someone please specify how she looks like me?

Happy, happy birthday, dear Victoria. I am blessed to have you as a child. We are blessed to have two healthy, very engaging children.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The fun table

Grandma (Karen) got this table for Isabella way back when, when she was barely standing and not really walking. And now, her sister is walking (or standing) in her foot steps.