It's all about family and home right here.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

There's No Easy Way Out

Life before children was a breeze. We did whatever we wanted, when we wanted, and had plenty of money to do it. And now that we have children we can only look back fondly at a time when life seemed too idyllic to be real. Real life now is scheduled around our kids' schedules and routines. 

As I'm in the final stretch of pregnancy with Jellybean's sister I am trying to recall a lot of things, from what the hospital check-in process was like to the sleeplessness and overwhelmed feelings  of the first few weeks. 

I can't help but laugh at certain memories, like how I didn't realize that labor pains only increase in strength until the baby is expelled from the body (or a miraculous epidural).  Or that the pushing stage is considered separate from actual labor. I had gone online to read (big mistake) about labor and delivery from real women and all I retained were the horror stories of a multi-day delivery process. 

Eventually, the reality that every labor is different sank in. In reality I was in labor for 20 or so hours but half of it was menstrual cramp level pain, which was totally and voluntarily bearable (the other half, I had no choice but to bear it).  In reality I pushed three times in 15 minutes to birth Jellybean and change our lives forever from that moment on. 

So, going into the home stretch I wanted to recall some memories that will make me laugh this time around. 

There is no easy way out #1
The pain of labor will only increase in intensity and frequency over time until the baby is ready to be delivered. Do not expect the two dinky pills you get from the nurses to do anything for the pain. Do not expect the nurses to be completely sympathetic to your pain because this is their business and they've seen it thousands of times and they have more faith in you than you have in you at the moment. 

There is no easy way out #2
Glorious, glorious epidural!  It comes with a catheter to catch your pee because you will no longer be in control of your bladder. 

There is no easy way out #3
An elective C-section can spare your lady parts from stretching and tearing but recovery time will be one or more weeks. What no one bothers to tell you is that you still need stool softeners because that first poop is going to hurt, and you still need a lot of thick maxi pads for all that blood and lochia after birth. 

There is no easy way out #4
Vaginal birth is the old fashioned way to go. Some ladies will experience tearing of the perineum and will need stitches down there. The first poop is still a fearful and painful process no matter how many stool softeners you take, so eat fiber rich foods now! There is no getting around afterbirth bleeding and lochia. But you do recover so much faster, yay!

There is no easy way out #5
Having a baby is a freight train. There is no slowing it and no stopping it. I am blessed to be a woman who can experience childbirth. Nothing inspired as much confidence in myself as becoming the mother of my husband's children. Don't mind the next few years of lost sleep. Just enjoy these nights when all you do is kiss them and blog. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Empties: March

It's very slow going in the skincare department in my house. I'm still struggling with finding enough time to get my face done between all the things that need to happen to stick to Jellybean's routines. 

At least there is still progress!

Stila Lip Glaze in Grapefruit
At first I didn't like the brush feature of the pen. Then it grew on me. I really enjoyed how long the glaze lasted and kept my lips moisturized. But then I realized the immensely sticky texture of the glaze was awful for kissing babies, husbands, and drinking from travel cups. 

Koh Gen Do Moisture Spa Gel
I really liked using this product. It's not greasy at all. It's perfect for summer for my skin type (combo/oily). It needs reinforcements in the winter. 

Kate Lorraine Eye Cream
I used it all over my face as a moisturizer. It was really nice to use. It's something between a cream and a lotion. It's hydrating yet doesn't feel greasy. It feels heavier than the KGD Moisture Spa Gel but it absorbs and dries just the same. 

That's it for now!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mommy Confessions: What message will my skincare send to my daughters?

This might be a temporary thing or it might change once our second daughter arrives.  I've been trolling Sephora and Sasa for whitening skincare products. This isn't my first brush with whitening products and this isn't any sort of subconscious or conscious wish to be white/Caucasian. I have dark spots on my face brought about by age and a very lax sun care regimen. A more deeply rooted reason is that I've been under the influence of Taiwanese beauty culture for several years (since 2003), that paler is more desirable. 

Luckily, I'm married to a man who loves me for me and will be ok with my skincare choices. 

But now that I'm a mother to a beautiful tri-racial daughter and her soon-to-arrive sister, I've been having these thoughts that maybe I should ease up on the whitening aspect of skincare.

My toddler's skin tone is between my husband's and my skin tone. She leans more towards my husband's side, actually. If I continue on this path of using whitening skincare products for my own sense of vanity I need to ask myself what message I'm sending to my children. If the message is the same as what I've internalized, that paler is more beautiful, then we have a problem. I don't want my girls thinking they need to change the color of their skin in order to feel beautiful to other people, or that they aren't beautiful in my eyes. This "paler" thing is Mommy's issue, not their's. 

Look at this face!

Everything about her is beautiful. All she knows is that she's loved and safe with Mommy and Daddy. Why would I want to be the person to introduce self doubt to her through my own actions?

Or, I could be wrong on this whole thing!  Maybe she won't even care because we've done our best to raise a self confident person. 

But now that I've come face-to-face with this concern of mine, maybe it's time to revise my own way of thinking. Maybe the message I should be sending to my daughters is to be conscious about their beauty regimen (when they finally develop one). "Protect your skin from the sun's UVA/UVB rays and choose from brands that don't do animal testing."  That's a better message in my opinion and needs to start with me. 

So, I'm now making the following statements and want to be held accountable for them:

1) I'm going to use up what I currently have in my stash, which might take a while, but...

2) When I replenish any skincare or makeup item, I will choose from brands that do not do animal testing. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Jellybean's Daycare Update: One Month In

Jellybean has been going to daycare for a month now and she's doing great!  Here's a list of all the things daycare has had a positive effect on:

1.  Her napping and sleeping schedule is now predictable. It makes me wonder what the heck was I doing for the first 16 months!

2.  Her eating schedule is solidified!  She eats so much for dinner that I can be confident she's not waking up in the middle of the night because she's hungry. And she drinks milk now!!

3.  She talking more and using words purposefully. So far she can purposefully say "ba ba" for ball, "mama" for me, and she can answer yes or no when we ask if she would like a food or not. 

4.  She's becoming more independent and willful. She's still a pretty easy going kid but she will definitely let us know when she doesn't want to be taken away from something that interests her. 

5. She can wave bye bye to people now, especially to us, her nanny, and her teachers.

6.  She's started playing with kids of her own age and enjoys it!

The one negative thing about daycare is that Jellybean got her first diaper rash while attending daycare. I'm not sure if it was inevitable or if it is the nature of daycare (1 teacher to 3-4 kids and therefore a lack of individual attention) but we've been battling her first bout of diaper rash. 

The first day of daycare went as expected. She was so excited by her new environment that she ignored me when I dropped her off and tried to say bye. 

The second day she realized daycare is a place where she has time to make new friends and play WITHOUT mommy. She cried during drop offs for the next 8 school days. 

By the middle of the second week, she was ok at drop off. She didn't cry but she clung on to us tighter before letting a teacher take her. 

By the beginning of the third week she was good at drop off. She recognized her teachers and was happy to play with her buddies at school. 

If we had to do this again we'd still put Jellybean in daycare. The positive effects of daycare made me realize that some of the things I considered challenges were not permanent. They only required a more solid and structured routine. Jellybean is learning so much that I know this was the right decision 10 times over. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

FOTD: Getting back into the groove

Pigs can fly or hell froze over!  I've actually managed to apply makeup for 4 days straight. What's even more amazing is that I've actually managed and succeeded in taking my makeup off for 4 nights straight, like, in a proper wash-my-face-with-cleanser-and-water way!

Ok. My FOTD may not be glamorous but it's what I can do in 10 minutes and it's a little more polished than how I've been presenting myself for the past year (no makeup at all).  After all, small steps. 

On my face I have Bare Minerals mineral foundation in fairly light.  It's medium sheer coverage on me. I think you can build it up but I don't have time to be perfect about it. 

On my eyes I have my Lancôme travel palette shadows (also blush on the cheeks). I tried using a sponge one day and a brush the next day for my eyes. I've found the best eyeshadow applicator is my finger. My finger gets the e/s right up to where I can see it when I open my eyes. 

On my brows are Maybelline brow pencil in brown. I never gave brow pencils much of a chance before (before Jellybean was born, that is) but I'm really liking how simple it is to apply. It definitely takes less tools than powder and brush. 

One day I will get around to doing my hair. Until then, I'm just a wash and go type of person. 

Lips: nothing but petroleum jelly. All the better to kiss Jellybean with. 

That's it for now!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Cough-pee and the Sneeze-pee

You know what that is. It's the pee that comes out when you cough or sneeze. You can't hold it in even if you stopped walking and stood with your legs crossed. 

For the first time in a long time my husband and I are both sick at the same time and at the same rate. We're comparing notes on how we feel.  "My throat is scratchy and hurts when I swallow."  "Me too!"  "I cough because I feel a tickle in my throat that won't go away."  "Oh my god, you too?!"

And that leads me to the main point. Im fed up with having a cold during pregnancy. I can't do my usual thing of jumping into a sauna to cook the virus out of me. Nor can I take meds for the cold without my doctor's approval. So I'm toughing it out. Every cough and sneeze is an accident that happened. 

I just had to vent.  

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Second Trimester Second Time Around

We're in the home stretch of the 2nd trimester with Baby #2 and I have a couple of words:

I feel everything earlier!

When I was pregnant with Jellybean, I didn't really feel aches and pains until the 3rd trimester.  With this pregnancy I started feeling every ache and pain in the 2nd trimester.

Pelvic / Round ligament pain
This is the pain that occurs in and around the pubic bone.  It feels like there is no muscular support for the weight of the baby and uterus.  For me, the pain brings to mind of my body starting to stretch out before it should.  When the pain is particularly sharp, it conjures images of my body splitting apart from the groin.

Back pain
Extra weight, extra strain.  Also sometimes I get a pinched nerve and can't straighten out.

Swelling feet
My feet are retaining a bit of water and have been a tad swollen for a couple of weeks.  But I never regained my pre-pregnancy feet size after Jellybean was born.  So I need to wear shoes that are wider than normal.

Like with Jellybean's, I show early.  My tummy was normal one week and the next week it just seemed to balloon out with Baby #2.  But the difference was that when I was 20 weeks pregnant with Jellybean, it was a smaller baby bump than when I was 20 weeks pregnant with Baby #2.

Feeling the baby move
Hands down this is the best part of being pregnant.  I started feeling Baby #2 move at 18 weeks (Jellybean was at 24 weeks). Every time our daughter moves I feel assured that everything is progressing fine.

I really can't wait to meet our daughter.  I hope that our hospital will let us take Jellybean into the delivery and recovery rooms so she can be present for the birth of her sister.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

End of a breastfeeding era

Today is April 1, 2015 and it marks 1 week since Jellybean last nursed. I feel a bit sad that she and I don't have that special time together to bond anymore, but I also feel happy at the same time. She's growing up beautifully and my boobs are now my own. It's a win-win!

My original plan had been to exclusively breastfeed her for 6 months then wean her off at 12 months. But, as I have learned, the best plans don't always work out the way you want. 

Jellybean's weaning was a long and gradual process.  I gave up on the plan to wean her at 12 months because I thought it was a pretty sucky birthday gift to take away the one source of pure and complete comfort to an infant. So our weaning journey took a bit longer and was a collaboration between mother and child. 

The first weaning
A natural weaning begins around 6-8 months, after the introduction of solid foods. Jellybean started showing interest in solid foods at around 4-5 months. At the time, solids were just an appetizer to the main course of boob juice. But by 6-8 months, we were substituting a nursing session or two with solids. At the time, we were probably nursing about 6-8 times during the day and 6-8 times at night. 

The second weaning
The 2nd stage of our weaning process happened around 7-10 months when I went back to work. Going back to work was another weaning opportunity just by schedule and location alone. I didn't bother pumping at work because I wanted my milk supply to lessen gradually. During this stage, I was nursing her 4-5 times a day and an average of 4-5 times a night. A mother can tell when her child is nursing for nourishment and comfort. At this time, I started sensing that Jellybean was night nursing more for comfort than nourishment. 

The third weaning
From about 10-13 months, Jellybean really started getting into solid foods. This was a natural weaning opportunity so we encouraged her to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner and rely less on breastfeeding. It worked!  During this time, we were down to 1-2 nursing sessions in the day and 3-4 night nursing sessions. 

The fourth weaning
From 13 months on and for this attempt, I took the lead on weaning her. We were down to one day nursing and one night nursing. During the day, we'd eat enough solid foods so I knew she wasn't asking to nurse because she was hungry. I'd tell her that Mommy's "nana" were going to sleep. During the night, I offered her water and her pacifier, which she took most of the time. If she didn't, she'd throw a sleepy tantrum for a minute or two, then realize she wasn't getting her way, then would reach for her paci and settle back down to sleep. I'd let her nurse after the 2am hour. At this point, I knew that any nursing a before 2 am were just for comfort but the nursing a after 2 am were because she was hungry. 

The fifth weaning
This stage is the final stage and happened at around 14.5 months and onwards to present. We were down to one nursing session in a 24-hour period, which was between the 3 am - 5 am hour. To substitute that nursing session, I'd offer her water, her paci, or just help her go back to sleep. And it worked!

I'm really proud of Jeallybean. During this whole weaning process I always tried to let her tell me when she was ready to take the next step. She'd let me know if I was moving too fast with the weaning process and I'd slow down. I think this worked really well for us. I do have to add that I'm a proponent of the path of least resistance. I'm always interested in hearing about how other mothers handled everything and what techniques they used. 

Mmm!! Bananas are her favorite fruit!