Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thirty Before 30

Turning 30 sucks, I don't care what anyone says about it - I don't care how positive you are about it, the truth of the matter is - it's that big milestone to remind you that your 20's, as miserable or as wonderful as they were, are OVER. Turning 16 was fun. Turning 18 was fun. Turning 21 was fun. Heck, turning 25 and having the right to rent a car was fun. But turning 30? Highly doubtful.

The only highlight of turning 30 is somewhere, I had a "Thirty Before 30" list. I can't seem to find it anymore so in the interest of turning 30 without a list, I've recreated one to hold myself accountable towards for the next year (I'm not 30 yet - thank goodness). So I thought to myself.. how do I construct a list that truly represents what I wanted to accomplish at 30 before I was a year away? In order to do that, I have to go back to the future (love the movie) and think of what I hoped to accomplish by 30 when I was oh - say 20. So here's my list along with commentary and what will shock you are the things that are on there, indicating what I hadn't done by the age of 20.

1. Get married - done!
2. Have kid(s)- done! one counts!
3. Buy a house - On hold after I married a student.
4. Decorate the newly purchased home - see 3 above
5. Go camping - Andy took me for the first time last year and we're going again this weekend!
6. Go to Europe, specifically Greece - cuz it's amazing and I really love Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (don't lie, you do too!)
7. Go skinny dipping - not sure if this will ever happen.. too risky for my likes but somehow I thought by 30 I might have the guts.
8. Learn how to sew - done, not well... but it just says learn.
9. Get my CPA - done after a brutal number of tries
10. Go on a cruise - pending
11. Go sailing - done
12. Go hiking - done
13. Go on a real vacation (Vegas does not count nor do training weekends before or after, nor do wedding weekends) - done...the honeymoon was my first real vacation (sad huh?)
14. Write a book - pending
15. Learn to cook - I'll say accomplished, it doesn't say learn to cook WELL, just learn to cook
16. Read Fountainhead - my college roommate did and I was so impressed... but never go around to it, the longest bookz I've ever read are A Prayer for Owen Meany (Simon Birch) and Harry Potter!
17. Stop biting my nails - not sure if this will happen
18. Go to a concert - (the Super Korean concert in tenth grade and the college concerts I got to go to for free as a resident assistant don't feel like they really count)
19. Get a six pack ... or a four pack, heck just a line down my stomach indicating I am somewhat ripped - don't think I'll ever accomplish this one
20. Go surfing - done, didn't get up on the board but trying counts
21. Get published - done page 46 anyone?
22. Learn to play the guitar - yeah, some things won't get crossed off my list
23. Run a 5k - done
24. Run a 10k - done
25. Run a half marathon - again, some things won't get crossed off my list cuz I'm over running
26. Do a pull-up - again, some things probably won't get crossed off my list... EVER!
27. Go to the Oscars - I thought I could go as a seat filler after two years with the Firm, but I only made it to the Emmys three times (and we left early the third time because we were a bit bored), guess it's a lost cause unless my brother makes it in the industry!
28. Do some meaningful philanthropic work - done through the Ronald McDonald Camp for Good Times and Philanthro and the Church
29. Learn to french braid - still trying
30. Do the splits - probably never going to happen

And there you have it - in no particular order. 15/30 .... 50% ain't half bad.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Secret Sigh of Relief

I got invited to my first "adult only" wedding ceremony (though to be fair, I'm sure there were ones in the past but being "single" or "plus one" only, I never really gave it much thought). At first, I was a bit taken back, thinking, how sophisticated of them to not want any cute kids at the ceremony and reception (like my own). But after giving it some thought, I let out a secret sigh of relief.

Given the timing, Jordan will be old enough to eat solids and we can get a reliable sitter to put him to bed and go off into the night, dancing, drinking (Shirley Temples and Apple Cider anyone?), and dining. It will be a devine adult date with just Andy and myself. Yes, the photos of Jordan in a tie grabbing at the dinnerware would have been cute. Yes, the photos of Jordan with his dressed up parents would also been adorable and one for the memory books. But the reality is, if the kids are unwanted at the ceremony and reception, then it's actually terrific and applaudable that they said so and made it clear (the groom has a super cute nephew, so it's really sadder for them than it is for us).

The smart soon to be newlyweds have openly avoided the kid who has a meltdown during the ceremony and in essence ruining their vows, the cliche Bible verses (but still very heartwarming), and beauty that goes with marriage.... the kids crying out loud (kids and timing, you know what I'm saying?) or the ones running around on the dance floor and in between the adult conversations happening.

So I guess it isn't so bad, and I'll be much happier when Jordan's first wedding is one where he is welcomed at - cries, tantrums, smiles, cooing, drooling and everything in between.

Friday, September 23, 2011

They Sure Grow Up Fast!

It's cliche to say this when my son is only four (almost five months - one more week!) months old, but I think it's especially apparent these first few years that my baby boy is growing up so fast.

The other day (Sept 14th), he sprouted a little white nub of a tooth in his gums. He had been drooling before then, more than usual, so we knew it was coming and yet we had not a clue what exactly that meant. Since then, we have quickly learned it means everything shoved directly into his mouth, exasperated and cute cries of frustration when the hand-eye coordination does not help him get whatever toy of the moment is in his hands into his mouth, immediate red marks on his face from toys that have hit him in the face instead of lodging itself into his mouth (he doesn't cry about this, but he also face planted quite a bit when he was beginning tummy time, years ago when he was oh, say two or three months old), and lots of random cries of pure pain only calmed by a bit of Baby Orajel and some immediate cuddling action paired with Wheels on the Bus singing (this part I love).
We attempted to get him acquainted with a bottle nipple during his teething .... I think we failed, notice his grimace.

The days of sleeping through the night are long gone since his teeth now consistently bother him. I figure he wakes up crying from the my teeth are growing aches and pains and subsequently realizes, oh, wait - I could eat! I've been there myself, sometimes waking up at 10 AM, missing breakfast and just moving onto brunch, and this has helped me to be understanding and patient. This plus the fact that his nighttime feedings are fairly quick these days, maybe 5-10 minutes (or so it feels) and I have stopped checking the phone to see what time it is.

He has also been testing this thing we call "sitting." He can sit on his own for a good 5 seconds before falling over, but he is enamored with it and will give you a cheesy gummy grin if you lift him up from lying on his back to sitting. The view is different and he seems just as amused as Mommy and Daddy by how long he can sit before falling over either directly on his face, on his side, or a combination of the two. That said, his time in the Bumbo is a lot more appreciated since he sits straight up in it (I have found that it helps if he is wearing something fitted and long so that the tightness of the restrictive clothing keeps him upright in the Bumbo, call me a cheat but it is better than straightening him every other minute).
On his way down...
Dog Gone Cute!

Lastly, though the back of his head has a prominent bald spot from his habit of turning his head right, then left, then right, then left again when he falls asleep, and though his eyebrows are just barely there, he has somehow managed to follow in yieyie's footsteps (my dad is one of few Asian men who can grow a full beard, mustache, and some...) and grown a mustache of his own! Babies these days, they sure grow up fast!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hello, I am ESL

So I technically passed the assessment for ESL (English second language) in elementary school even though English was indeed my second language. I can still vividly remember going to Montessori when I was five for my first day at American school. Like a distant dream, I can see a cloud of white with two distinct figures as the camera focuses in... me pointing to my fuzzy Sanrio stickers on my 80's neon pink Jem lunchbox (I don't remember, so I made it up cuz Jem was so cool) while some round eyed little Caucasian girl with yellow hair pointed back at it. When she opened her mouth to speak, out came jibberish to which I nodded and thought in Mandarin, huh?

I would walk back home with my yeye who came to pick me up everyday after school, telling him about my day in my native tongue, Mandarin. I didn't realize I was different. I didn't realize I didn't speak the language. I was oblivious. Saturday morning cartoons (I wasn't allowed to watch TV from Monday - Friday after school) were recorded and re-watched over and over and somewhere along the way, I must have started speaking English. Broken English, tainted with bad grammar, incorrect tenses and made up words. It didn't matter. I was speaking Engrish.

When I started elementary school at Camino Grove in the middle of first grade, the other Asian Chinese kids I met would inform me of my horrible English, make fun of my use of "funner" (it's not a word Daisy!) and bully me into showing them my report card full of checkmarks for needs improvement as it related to sentence structure, grammar, use of words, use of the English language, etc. What little self-esteem I had plummeted and I wished so badly that I got it, but man was English hard. Just so hard.

The leader of the Asian pack , Jade Chien, had thick pink rimmed glasses and a matching string to keep 'em close by and an obnoxious know-it-all voice that made me shiver with extreme fear. She was just awful. After getting my green grapes (the ones my mum packed for me in ziploc bag) and other snacks (I somehow only remember the green grapes, my mum took 'em off of the stems) taken from a daily game of "Do what I say Slave!" from Jade and her entourage (yes, even at the age of eight, it is possible), I hungered for something to munch on, ravenous for anything before dinner when my parents picked me up at 6 everyday (I was enrolled in this after school Chinese school program from 3 - 6 PM). My mum soon noticed and wondered why the snacks she prepared for me were not sufficient. I quickly fibbed and told her I was sharing with my friends (cuz sharing is caring, right?). She gently told me that was fine but since these snacks were a token of her love for me, I should be careful not to share it all and eat some myself. I attempted this logic with Jade but got lost in her rebuttal and ended up without grapes and my other snacks once more.

To make a long story short (and because the long version is in the form of my creative college thesis entitled Growing Up ABC), I got bullied some more to the point where my mum eventually quit her job and opted for something part time so she could pick me up from school at 3 PM and take me home, where I got all the snacks I wanted, a lot more free time for extracurricular activities like piano, dance, various crafty art classes, and trips to the library for a lot of books to read. As for Chinese school, I was part of the lucky crew of Asian kiddos who went on Saturday morning from 9 - 12 (yes, I sacrificed my Saturday morning cartoons, Saved by the Bell and California Dreams).

Since we lived three blocks from a tiny library about 1000 sq feet since I was six, trips to the library were once every 2-3 days and I poured myself into the reality found in these books, finding myself reading books until 2 or 3 AM for most of my elementary school existence. A good book (by my standards) had to be finished ASAP! I could not wait to come home from school the next day to finish it!

And then, in the fourth grade, I miraculously got it. English that is (I mean, to the extent that I got it today...which is not to say fully, but a huge improvement compared to my ESL days). And I attribute "getting it" to all the books I read.

I have been thinking about all of this because 1) I recently went to the library for the first time since college (which doesn't really count since you go there to study and look for studious cute guys), 2) I want to teach my son Chinese - be it Mandarin or Cantonese and 3) I need to start making some parental changes to my routine with Jordan to incorporate both 1 and 2.

Okay, so I know the cards are against me in terms of raising Jordan with trilingual capabilities considering I don't speak a lick of Cantonese, Andy speaks some Mandarin and both of us are fairly proficient in English (again, read above, maybe not so much on my part). But as I was walking around the library this last weekend, looking for some books, I got to thinking....

This is an environment I feel very comfortable in. Even with a different library, in a different town, with different catalogue and check-out tools (technology these days is insane!), it's the same quiet and safe comfort of the library that I felt so many years ago. And even when I was a smidgen away from being "ESL," the books I read, or poured over (be it not exactly literary masterpieces, more like lots of Sweet Valley High, Babysitter's Club, R.L.Stine, V.C. Andrews, Mary Higgins Clark, Judy Blume and Roald Dahl) helped me. Who would have thought, right?

So I really should try to take Jordan to the library more, give him a sanctuary like I had growing up and also, these recipe books and craft books are something worth checking out! This then got me thinking about opportunities with learning a language. Yes, being trilingual or even bilingual are very difficult tasks to accomplish, but if I don't even try... I won't have done my parents any justice.

I know I may face defeat, that my son may refuse to speak Mandarin or Cantonese in fear of being "weird" and not American (much of us Asian kids went through this identity crisis growing up), or that he may not have enough examples or native speakers around to learn from, but if I don't even try.... I have given up without a fight. And if I am ESL and can learn to love reading and feel completely comfortable immersed in an American library full of English books.... well the sky's the limit right?

Hello, I'm ESL... hopefully it will come in handy when I try to help my son be CSL.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Narcissistic Me

Every parent thinks their child is the cutest thing ever. I am different, or so I'd like to think. At times, I think - what a funny smirk Jordan. Or, hmmm - that is an interesting glance. And by funny, I mean "funny looking" and by interesting I mean "interestingly appalling."

Like most parents though, I also have my moments of ... dang, that is one cute kid. Did I really create that? Did you really come from me and Andy? I cannot help but feel egotistical as my thoughts wander this way, ashamed of the pride I feel at something that is fleeting and materialistic (because shouldn't it be personality and temperament, not deliciously chunky legs and a convincingly heartbreaking smile?!) Like it or not, the narcissism I once acknowledged in my own mother as she boasted of my brother and me (as I rolled my eyes in scorn) is now apparent in myself as I pridefully enjoy my son's better moments.

His gummy smile. The bald spot on the back of his head (because as he falls asleep, he wavers between turning his head left and right and ends up going back and forth no less than ten times, rubbing what little hair he was born with). The rolls on his legs. The giggles that OGO has labeled as literate in whale. The open mouth kisses (he doesn't know how to kiss but he will open his mouth and touch your cheek with his open slobbery mouth) he loves giving. His tiny baby fingers that now open up and mesh with yours if you so let him. His edible toes that clap together and have recently found their way into his mouth and hands. His soft cheeks. His tiny butt. His big single lid eyes (if you're not Asian and confused, I'll explain this in another post, if you're Asian and don't understand, you probably have double eye-lids) that burrow his forehead every time he stretches them wide open.

And to make matters worse, I think he got it from me because little homeboy loves staring at himself in the mirror. I know they say it's because babies love facial expressions, but hey, I have facial expressions that do not make him as happy as his own.

Case in point, this photo was taken with him looking at himself in the bathroom mirror.

And this photo is him with me, using the i-phone functionality to take a photo we see. Yes, he has my nose... for now.

Hey...no matter how narcissistic we are, there's always worse. Like Will and Jada Smith who named their son and daughter, Jaden and Willa, respectively. I think that's even worse than naming your child after you. It's like you wanted to, but you thought, well if I alter it a bit, it's only a metamorphosis of me and is therefore, not so bad but just as great. HAHA! Most recently, I heard a joke on KROQ that the reason they were having marital problems (though the rumors have since been dismissed and I am glad because I think they're awesome besides the naming thing) must be because of their daughter's annoying song, Whip My Hair. Now if you have not heard of this song, you must listen to it because it is the most annoying song you will ever encounter and Kevin and Bean were spot on. She whips her hair back and forth. On repeat. There is even a music video. Really now?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Internet Footprints...

As the world of blogging turns, many of my friends have opted to go private. They control who sees their blogs through an invite only option that most blogs allow. I have often weighed the option of going private, but have instead resorted to placing self-imposed limits on what I will and won't share via our blog. I'm not a huge photo blogging person but as my post about Orlando demonstrates, as difficult as it may seem, people are capable of change.

While most bloggers like to share stories complete with photo depictions and others just like the lure of having your blog made into a blog book (it's all the rage!) for keepsake and for your future posterity to have, I'm more of a therapeutic blogger. Yes, I do it for selfish reasons. I like to write, re-read my own writings, and laugh at myself in the future.

Ever since my mom gave me my very own "My Diary," around ten, I have been scribbling nothings of my life. I still have notebooks from grade, middle and high school of my day to day accounts, complete with drawn photos of where we all sat when we went to the mall food court. Most of the writings are rather mundane and here's a fun one from high school, "Dear God, Today I went to the mall with Grace, Jennifer, and Yolanda. We had a lot of fun. We saw some cute boys. We did not talk to them. Do you think I will ever get a boyfriend?" And in my own defense, there are some other entries about wanting straight A's and where I will go for college. Oh and yes, I wrote to God instead of a "diary." I felt like that was better than an inanimate object and despite not being religious, I was always spiritual, and I wanted Him (if He existed) to know what was going on in my life. Regardless of how pointless my diaries used to be, it is amusing to refresh myself on the hardships of life back then As I grew older, the diary turned into man hating journals where I would write about relationships and often look back and laugh at how hopelessly "in love" I thought I was with every guy who broke my heart. I joined xanga in 2002 and ever since, have been a part of the world wide web and that is where my first internet footprint started.

My old diaries and man hating journals are stashed away at my parents' house somewhere, my xanga no longer exists, my blog has now merged in with Andy's as our family blog and I still have my own public blog and I journal via a private blog (today I did this... and this... and then this... kind of blog, it's not interesting but it's for me). But today was the first time I stopped and thought about what all my blogging would do for my future posterity. How weird to be in a generation where one can google friends and find what is out there, be it blog entries about their birth, naked photos of them, or embarrassing stories? I kind of feel sorry for my kids. They will have no way to stop me until it's too late.. but should I be more careful about the internet footprints I'm leaving for my children? Or maybe I should go private? Thoughts?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Time Flies Like an Arrow, Fruit Flies Like a Banana

I do this thing where I will say to myself.. a week ago, we were here. Big events, fun events, memorable events.... I'm not sure why, but I've been doing it ever since I was a kid.

So naturally, I began thinking just a week ago... we were getting ready for Harry Potter world tomorrow!

The last week was indeed a whirlwind of family fun time, relaxation in beautiful Hilton resort pools, wet slathering humidity sometimes interrupted by rainstorms (which left me stomping through the puddles in my Rainbow flip flops which are really gross when the dirt particles float into your shoe and refuse to leave), childlike shrieks from grown adults nearing 30 and above at the onset reality of being face to face with Hogsmeade and Hogwarts castle (that is Harry Potter world in case you did not know), occasional nausea from the 3-D rides ignored by the adrenaline of wanting to ride more rides before the day is over, and a lot of failed but some successful attempts to feed Jordan in the midst of all the chaotic and extreme delight of a week we had. For one week, Andy, Jordan and I joined Andy's family for his mom and dad's 30 year anniversary in beautiful, touristy and severely humid Orlando, Florida (Thank you May and Dennis!!)

To begin, we arrived last Thursday at 10 PM east coast time. Refusing to admit our bodies were capable of adjusting to the three hour time change in just a day, we (well mostly our brother in law Jeff, but we followed along) constantly referred to the fact that our California internal time clocks had not rectified itself and we needed more sleep or more food. So after following a pizza delivery truck back to its home base, our aunt and uncle, Jan and Ike, arrived with two pizzas, lots of water and diet coke for us to devour in mere minutes around 12 AM (but remember, that's only 9 PM California time).

The next couple of days were filled with errands and pool time. We began by stocking up at Costco where we briefly entertained the idea of truly putting Costco's return policy to the test with say a purchase of a 60" plasma television, some bikes, surfboards, and high quality SLR cameras; alas our integrity stopped us from ever going farther than putting some boxes of merchandise into our cart and subsequently removing it. Back in our 12 passenger van (I'm sure you were already wondering how we got around), we ventured off to the Hilton resort pools where our Jan and Ike are long time timeshare members, and they have been members for so long that their photos are hanging in the Corporate Hilton Timeshare office (probably helps that they are the token Asian representatives).
Jan with Jordan at Costco
Violet and Sophie eyeing the free samples
Ike with Jordan
Fun in the pool!

Saturday began with an early morning 5k run that Andy's dad, Dennis, had somehow coaxed us into before we arrived in Florida and felt the heat and humidity and as Jeff reminded us, we were getting up at 3:30 AM California time to do a run at 4:30 AM! I finished last with a time of 38 minutes but considered it quite an accomplishment considering I have not run more a quarter of a lap in the last year (and because in seventh grade, I could not even run a mile and took home a C in PE which got me in big trouble with my mom as I cried about how unfair it was because I was just not physically capable of running a mile! Take that Mr. DiGiacamo you big calved monster of a teacher). But mind you, my prideful self kept thinking, I am totally going to beat Jeff, this is great! (because I never saw him run pass me.... failure was met when I crossed the finish line, only to see everyone watching me, the last place among the family) Following the run, we loaded up on free protein shakes and snacks at the finish line, watched our niece Sophie and Aunt Jan do a kid run and stayed in anticipation of what Andy would receive for taking 1st in his age group (it was a bit anticlimactic, just a string drawn bag).


Saturday afternoon was filled with BYU football's first game of the year. I watched as Andy, his dad and his brother in law focused in on the non-HD television (a bit of a bummer, but nevertheless having the channel itself made us quite grateful), clenching their fists, biting their nails, repositioning themselves on the floor and couches, pacing the room, and yelling as if the players could hear them. To say they are fans is an understatement. It was a great game against Ole Miss and Jordan woke up just in time to make his debut in his BYU football jersey as the winning touchdown was made (he may have been the lucky charm BYU was waiting for).

We made our way to the local LDS Church on Sunday morning where I spent most of Sacrament in the maternity lounge. It always amazes me how the organization of the Church is the same yet different, everywhere we go. I quickly noticed we were the only Asians in the congregation yet the testimonies invited the same Spirit despite how obvious it was that we were in the South. That afternoon, we ventured around Orlando in matching white tops and blue jeans for family photos and Jordan got his first pair of jeans!
(no photos as they will be revealed later, but here's a cute one of the cousins trying to hang out with immobile Jordan)
Monday, we went to look for gators and boy was it scorching. I got quit dark from the thirty minute unsuccessful boat ride due to the heat and timing of our visit coinciding with hunting season.
I don't like getting dark and this is the only hat I brought... I KNOW it does not match.
A gator eating Jordan's head! Ahhh!

Funny how I meant to blog about our time at Universal Studios and Harry Potter world but I am now too tired to continue.. so as cliche as it sounds, sometimes pictures speak louder than words. HAHA.
Jordan managed to sleep while waiting in line and ps Universal Studio's "child swap" system is really nice and easy, similar to Disneyland's "stroller passes," except you get to wait inside the ride while the first group goes and take not just one, but multiple people back to re-ride the second time around!

End of Day 1 Universal Studios... Day 2 = Harry Potter world (and other unimportant stuff)
Butterbeer is so delicious.
We forgot to bring Jordan a hat so the washcloth worked for a bit....yes, that's a moving poster of Sirius Black!
A Gryffindor closet!
The Greenroom (forgot to get a photo of the mandrakes)
going into the Castle for the SECOND time around (beat the lines at 9 AM the first time)
saw the Pensieve the second time around!
HoneyDukes from Harry Potter, so many sweets!
I love the employees' outfits!

Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes Joke Shop!

Hedwig... I was so tempted to bring him home for Jordan.
Hogwarts Express!

Monday, September 12, 2011

What Would You Have Done?

Jordan's sleeping schedule has been rather erratic for the last two nights in Salt Lake (we're here for two weeks for one of Andy's rotations at the University of Utah or the "U") with two feedings in the middle of the night. Though it seems normal, I much prefer when I get to make the call that it's time to eat. The bags under my eyes have not quite resurfaced, but I often struggle to stay awake during the day, hoping for a bit of shut eye here and there to catch up. And I wonder, how did I wake up every 2-3 hours when he was first born? Who knows.

So last night when Jordan woke up at 3 AM for his second feeding (the first was at 12 AM), I wondered if maybe he was crying because his diaper was uncomfortably wet. I took initiative to change his diaper (I normally wait until the AM and he usually has a very heavy wet diaper that has been on all night) because I wanted to be a good, nurturing mother who was well aware of her son's needs. Within two seconds of unwrapping his diaper, my groggy attempt to go above and beyond was thwarted with the swish of his pee which not only attacked me but our bedsheets (in the absence of a diaper changing station, I lay a towel on the bed to change him).

I had a few options at this point:

a) wake up husband and change sheets
b) use a wet nap to minimize the damage
c) murmur at self for stupid plan of action that led self to current predicament
d) go back to sleep and pretend nothing happened
e) all but A

I chose e) and I again went above and beyond by obtaining an unused pillow and laying it over the soiled area, creating a safe cushioned haven to return to sleep on. Hey, if there's one thing I've learned about parenthood, it's improvisation. And sleeping on pee. At least it wasn't poop right? Though I'm not sure if that would have changed the outcome much.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

If Only I'd Taken a Photo

I like observing people at the airport. So while at the airport Thursday, I did a lot of people watching while Andy and I waited for an hour long layover in the Denver airport.

I had made fun of Andy earlier for wearing his running shoes as his regular patent Nikes were still drying from the downpour in Orlando on Wednesday afternoon but little did we know, his completed outfit - a baby blue polo, plaid khaki based shorts and running shoes (I thought it looked a bit funny) would replicate itself in the form of an older gentleman at the airport. Andy didn't notice him until I pointed him out, and as we walked away, Andy said, "Dang, I am getting old... at least I didn't have a gut like that guy." But who knows what time will bring?

If only I'd taken a photo. It was quite spectacular. And a little horrific. And a bit of a blow to Andy who probably thought he was young, hip and trendy.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Traveling With Child

I always wonder to myself what is worse when traveling in a plane... the crying baby, obesity, or static cling. Having the ability to selectively sleep through anything, the crying baby has never been an issue for me. Instead, I have thought the same thing every person thinks before they become parents ... my kids won't be like that to which I now can safely retort, JUST YOU WAIT! As for the obesity, it's one of those glaring issues that nobody wants to confront in case feelings are hurt, but everyone secretly crosses their fingers that what little room they already have on the plane is not taken by a larger stranger. And as for static cling, men are oblivious to it (or Andy was and is) and it creeps on you and then sticks up out of nowhere (literally).

I found myself pondering on all three as we flew with Jordan for the first time ever. I had done some premature research by glimpsing at some friends' blogs, skimming over some internet suggestions, and even spoken with some more seasoned traveling parents. Looking back, we missed some pretty obvious things.

I knew we were allowed to gate check a car seat and stroller - I did not know where exactly the "gate" was that we were to do so - neither did Andy as he carried the car seat up the plane's staircase. I know now - you get your tags for both at the gate and then leave it outside of the plane entrance - if there's a tunnel, you take it into the tunnel, if you board the plane by walking up stairs, you leave it at the base of the stairs. I felt beyond novice as I advised all the flight attendants that this was my child's first flight ever, hoping that tid bit of information would justify our ignorance.

I knew Jordan could fly free on one of our laps until he was 2 - I did not know I should bring documentation of such in the form of a birth certificate. I have since scoured the FAA website (it's not a friendly one) for exact regulations because one of the Southwest representatives told me the FAA fine is $10,000 if I do not have adequate documentation on a flight. I'm not sure whether to believe her since I can't easily navigate the FAA.gov website but I quickly obtained a copy of his immunization records from his pediatrician via fax (love technology at times like this) which suffice as evidence of his birth date for now. Being that the birth certificate does not have a photo of him, it seems like a rather useless regulation that can easily be manipulated but that's just the auditor in me thinking outloud.

I knew feeding him during take-off would help reduce the change in air pressure by distracting him - I did not know the sights all around him at 4 months would make it hard for him to focus or that the tiny seats make it hard to feed (if the elbow rest is on the right, it's hard to feed him on the left and vice versa and I always had one elbow rest up since Andy and I had two seats between us).

A full flight makes for very difficult feeding, especially since larger passengers tended to pick the empty seat next to Andy (maybe because he doesn't take up much space so there's room for them to overfill and because we have a baby in our aisle, so it's a mutual agreement that neither will be too irritated?.. not sure but we are 2 for 2) but it's smart to ask ahead of time, say while you're boarding to the ticket attendant or the flight attendant who greets you as you enter the plane.

One thing that never crossed my mind in preparing for Jordan's first flight was the possibility of a diaper change. I figured he has slept through 9 hours in a diaper, so what was 3.5 hours? He figured he'd poop while in the plane, not once or twice, but three times would do just fine. What I have since learned is there are usually diaper changing tables in front of the plane but lucky for me, we had our own pad and room on the flight he chose to poop multiple times. We went into super speed diaper changing mode but the airplane air mystified him as he marked his territory on the empty seat between us which we quickly cleaned with a wipe and hand sanitizer (but makes you think twice about how clean airplane seats are, eh?). Note - make sure your husband does not laugh and happily exclaim to your baby, "Marked your territory eh son?!" outloud on the plane for nearby passengers to hear. An announcement is not necessary and this is unlike the announcement that it is his first flight to score some empathy points.

As for the crying, it's inevitable - it will happen even if for a bit and I felt quite prepared as I planned for the worst and hoped for the best. I thought Jordan did quite well as he was easily calmed if we held him close and whispered his favorite song into his ear - The Wheels on the Bus go round and round.... round and round. I'm not sure why that's his favorite, but he absolutely loves it. Works every time! The other thing you can hope for (which I didn't but I may going forward now) is that someone else's child is worse than your own so yours will always seem great in comparison. We had a couple screamers on the flights that Jordan was not too happy on, but everyone near us seemed amused by his short spouts of crying while many concocted their faces into big goofy smiles in an attempt to get a smile out of him. Thus far, Jordan does not like to smile for strangers (except at Church). Stranger danger!

But all in all, traveling with Jordan was really not as bad as I anticipated. And, as I sat there yesterday with him asleep in my arms, a bit nauseous (you can't take Dramamine when you're nursing), munching on the in flight peanuts, lost in my gaze at his adorable sleeping face, I couldn't help but wonder, Is he enjoying this flight? He looks so peaceful and so--dang it, this freaking static is SO ANNOYING I wonder if Andy - nope, no static on that short hair. UGH!!!!!!!!!! Where's my hair tie? UGH!!!!

So there you have it. Static cling wins as the worst.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Yet Another Post-Partum Thing

With the unwelcome return of something in our restroom lately, it's become increasingly more evident that there is a distinct difference between male and female in our household. No, it's not that time of the month.

For the brief time that it disappeared, I remember the pure joy the absence of it brought me as I glanced around my restroom, noticing the clean floors, counter top, and shower. Noticing my clean towel on the sink after I used the blow drier. Free. Fresh. Clean. Clear. Not covered by it. Not mauled by it. Not contaminated by it. Such is my bathroom when my hair is not constantly falling out.

Apparently, one of the hormonal side effects of being pregnant is that your hair stops falling out. So while pregnant, for the first time in my existence, my hair stopped falling out when I washed it. If you are a male who grew up without sisters, the reality of how much hair a female can shed escapes you. Much like if you are a female growing up without brothers, the reality of how upfront males are about number two in the restroom also escapes you. The reality quickly disintegrated into a memory after getting pregnant, and though I knew it would come back a few months post partum, I secretly hoped I would be the exception. Unfortunately, I was and am not.

Sadly, the hair loss has returned only this time it has multiplied to make up for the lack of hair loss for thirty eight weeks. To prevent it from getting everywhere or from destroying our drains, I usually try to collect my hair and throw it away. On rare occasions, I loop it together and leave it on the shower walls, always intending to throw it away but sometimes forgetting. Well, this morning... my forgetful hair loss stayed on the bathroom walls as our brother-in-law, Jeff, went into our bathroom (we're all in one house on vacation) to retrieve the shampoo and conditioner for Andy's sister, Tammy and with that, my little secret was leaked.

Welcome to post-partum. It's just oodles of fun.