Friday, August 27, 2010

My Latest Existential Crisis

I'm a big reality tv junkie, and one of my favorites is The Rachel Zoe Project. Yes, she is unhealthily obssessed with fashion, to the detriment of her family time, but I find myself jealous of her passion. That she has found something that rocks her world this much, and is successful at it. This concept fascinates me, and I want some of it to rub off on me.

Reading what I just wrote, it kinda weirded me out - I do not want that crazy life, and I am very happy raising my daughter, thank you very much. It's not that I'd rather work than do what I do. It's that, at the same time that I feel so fulfilled and accomplished in my mommy life, I don't feel that way so much in my career life (or lack thereof). I've never had a "big" job (just a bunch of assistant this, assistant that), and, 5 years after graduating college, I think that's kind of embarrassing. I know it's honorable to live for your daughter, and I am satisfied, but I just wonder if I'll feel empty once she starts school. Like, when they ask her, "what does your mom do?" What will she say? That I feed her, do squats in front of her, pretend-clean the house and then watch tv?

I know I'm minimizing the work of a stay at home mom, and we do do A LOT. I'm wiped out at the end of every day. But it's not about the worth of this that I'm talking about - it's about me as a person. If I'll feel like I haven't invested anything in myself when my kids all go to college. Then what? Will I redirect my focus on demanding grandchildren?

I'm sorry for the existential crisis, I just felt like blogging and this is what's been on my mind the last couple of minutes (after watching a Rachel Zoe episode on demand). The next couple minutes might bring a whole new set of neurosis, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Random Mommy & Baby News

Random Mommy News:

I'm happy to report that, after almost 10 months of motherhood, I've FINALLY had my first (successful) pants purchase. I mean regular pants, that aren't even maternity ones!! WOOHOOO!!!

I've tried a few since Melissa was born, but they always felt funny, and/or killed me at the waist everytime I sat, or breathed. But I couldn't believe how comfortable these felt! I got them at New York & Company (and should probably charge them for the advertising):

I wish I looked this fabulous on them, but they did look MUCH better than my worn out pregnancy jeans. I'm SO happy I won't be wearing them at Melissa's 1st birthday!! I'm 2 sizes bigger than I used to be though, but they fit, so I'm not complaining!

Random Baby News:

If you've been reading my blog, you know that Melissa's picky self will NOT tolerate any formula. Not even an ounce in like a million ounces of breastmilk; nada. And this has been making me nervous about transitioning her to cow milk when she's 1, wondering if she'd ever take that. BUT I found this wonderful new formula for older babies:Which doesn't smell gross like the other ones! I mean, not as gross, but it looks and tastes exactly like Leite Ninho - the brazilian powdered milk my sisters and I drank when we were little. So true to her mom's genes, Melissa drank it! I was SO, SO excited, thinking I'd start my boob-freedom even sooner, until she threw the whole thing up. WHYYYYYYY????? It was too good to be true. I called her doctor (not because of that, but because she'd been puking on us often - sorry if TMI), but I mentioned that and they told me to try again in a week, that maybe her stomach just isn't used to it. Wouldn't that be wonderful?? So please send your prayers and happy thoughts!

The random news are now done. I could have other random stuff to talk about, but I must save material for other posts. Leave a comment if you read this far!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

God's Guide to Having a Fit

NOT that I'm claiming to be God's voice or anything like that - and as I mentioned on this post, I don't usually talk about my faith on this blog. But every once in awhile I'm just in the mood, so you'll have to bear with me.

I was thinking that many people (including Christians) can have the impression that Christians aren't allowed to be angry. Or upset. Or just plain frustrated. We're supposed to endure everything quietly, just like Jesus endured the cross. But we forget that Jesus himself caused a revolution right before that, becoming very frustrated several times in the process. And he wasn't afraid to let people know!

I think there is a difference, though, in being rightfully frustrated, or being just a pain. Like I heard someone say, "don't be a porcupine - someone with a lot of very good points, but no one wants to be around them" :). Isn't it genious?? What good is it to be right, when you're so annoying that no one wants to listen to you anyway?

Like in Jonah's story - God told him to go tell some horrible people that if they didn't repent, they'd die. So they did, and then Jonah was all upset because he didn't want them to be forgiven. It was when God told him, "Have you any right to be angry?" (Jonah 4:4) In other words, "hey, you're not thinking straight here. I know you don't want them to get away with it, but this is people who can't tell their right hand from their left [not paraphrasing this part]. They don't know what they're doing, and I don't want them to die, as much as I don't want you to die. So nope, you don't get to throw a fit."

I think that God's "fit" is the kind that prompts positive change, and is for the good of everybody, not just for your need to vent. I don't think it's a sin to be frustrated, it's a human emotion, but what we do with it is what counts. It might be that we just didn't get our chocolate of the day, or it might be a sign that something bigger needs to change.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Bucket List ('Til The Next Kid)

**Took image away because I wasn't sure if I could use it :(. Will try to replace it soon!**

Okay, it does sound a little too tragic to call this a "bucket list" - as if, by the time I have my next kid, my life will be over. Well, but life as I know it will. Currently, when I finally get Melissa to take a nap (which is harder and harder these days), I get to go check my email, eat chocolate or stare at nothing in blissful silence. I'm REALLY afraid of what it will be like when I have one more kid.

As I've already mentioned here, we've "scheduled" our next pregnancy for next year (because we don't want them to be too far apart in age), so I don't have much more time left. These are the things that I wish to accomplish before my next labor (oy, it hurts me just to think about it):

I have no unrealistic expectations of returning to my pre-pregnancy body - I have complete conscience that some parts have changed forever. And it's not all bad, it's just different. Takes some getting used to. But my goal is to "de-puff" as much as possible and feel comfortable in clothes again (hence latest post).

It would be nice to stop milking myself for a solid year before another baby's attached to my boob. I REALLY want to wean Melissa off when she turns one, but still kinda clueless about how... She is eating more solids, though - and sometimes I can distract her with food before she wants to nurse - but to go to sleep, she's pretty much dependent on me. I know you shouldn't stop all of a sudden, but how do you do it gradually??

By then Melissa will be a little older, and I'm afraid I'm not setting up an example of cleanliness so far...

I hereby promise, promise, promise that I'll be a less stressed out preggo next time. Or at least less stressed out about being stressed out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Couch Potato Work Out

I admit: I'm a couch potato mom. Which is a mom that loves to play with her daughter, but as soon as she's done (or said daughter is entertained by something else), is back at her beloved couch.

At this post, I had wrongfully assumed that working out was harmful to my motherhood (or wifehood). Indeed, panting on a treadmill does not do any good for my ability to hold Melissa or communicate with my husband afterwards. But I realized that, amazingly, there is a way for me to exercise at my own rythm, leaving me more energized than worn out.

Oh gosh, I can't believe I just wrote those words. I sound like some work out video person, which I'm SO not. But I have noticed a pattern in my life that I function MUCH better if I do things in my own rythm/way. Like pushing Melissa out, for example. The "cheerleader" nurses counting on my ear drove me crazy. I tried their way for almost 3 hours, and nothing. Then I decided to ignore them, pushing and breathing whenever felt right (whether they told me to or not), and Melissa was born in 15 minutes. See, I might look clueless, but I know what I'm doing!

Now back to exercising. It's hard to believe, but before I got pregnant, I actually did go to the gym for a couple of months. I still kinda remembered the exercises the instructor had me do outside of the machines, so I decide to just do them on the floor while Melissa played. I was amazed at how easy it was! This was SO much better to do without having killed myself in the treadmill beforehand. And Melissa loved having mommy close doing crazy movements.

I'm not going to try to explain these exercises to you, because I'm not a gym instructor, and if I tried you'd all send me your chiropractor bills. But I do abs, squats, and couple others that I don't know the name. It takes me 15 minutes tops to finish the whole thing (that's counting on Melissa climbing me/making me chase her half the time), but I have been doing this EVERY SINGLE DAY since last Tuesday. And amazingly, it does give me more energy! Imagine that - exercise had always been a cause of weariness for me, not of energy. The strech afterwards also helps my sore baby-carrying muscles.

Do you recognize me now?? I'm so proud of myself!! Even if I'm sure I'm NOT doing them right - you know, the posture, and all - but who cares. I'm moving for 15 minutes everyday, so that's gotta count to something, right? RIGHT??

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How Not To Plan Your Baby's 1st Birthday

<- Melissa's head on her birthday bee costume :)

When I'd read other moms blog about their kid's first birthday, I'd think, "Ha! I'm NEVER going to get this carried away." I bet I'd never feel like a needed a special outfit, or invite over 40 people. "So silly", I'd think. "The child won't remember it. It's all for the vain, silly mommy."

Well, today, I am this vain silly mommy. This has even kept me up at night. I mean, how?? Couldn't I just get a cake from Safeway and call it a day? Absolutely not. This isn't just a birthday - it's a celebration that we've survived one full year of baby caring. And considering we live far from our families, it's HUGE accomplishment.

So while this whole party planning is kicking my butt, I'm here to share with you what has NOT worked for me so far... So that you, my several pregnant friends, can avoid these in the future (though of course, if any actually works for you, rock on :).

Inviting the ENTIRE World
I was surprised my initial list was well over 40 people - and I'd thought it was funny when I read some other mom saying she'd invited this many. Now, I don't know what to do with all the friends we care about (thank goodness, there's a lot of them). You know those cases - if you invite one, then you need to invite this other, and the list goes on... So, if you happen not to get an invitation, PLEASE don't take it personally - take it as a testimony of how tiny our apartment is.

Spending Too Much
No, I did not spend too much, yet. But I thought about it. Oh yes, I did. If I was rich, I'd go all out decorating every space of our walls, maybe even hire entertainment for the kids, and for sure really nice favors for everyone. Unfortunately, that's not the case. I was tempted to get annoyed at this, but remembered that if we filled our small apartment too much, we'd all have to come out.

Forgetting How You Function
Worried about my long list of potential invitees, I wondered if we should do this somewhere else. Like the park (bugs), or the Little Gym (expensive), or even ChuckeCheese (would completely ruin my bee-vision for the party). Then I had an epiphany - even if we could fit more people, I don't want it to be a humongous event. I don't want to spend the entire party trying to make everybody comfortable when I'm not. I'm an introvert who just happens to talk a lot when given the opportunity, but an introvert neverthless. Too many people can drive me crazy, even if I love them all. So again, if I don't invite you, please don't doubt my love. And pray that we have a house with a huge yard one day.

Growing Joy

It's happening. Our family is growing. No, I'm not pregnant - that's for next year. But David and I are growing as parents, and our little Melissa Joy is becoming more of a little girl and less of a baby.

When I was pregnant, I dreamed more of the interaction with her than with holding a baby. From the first moment, I couldn't wait till she'd grow so we could chat. I hear some moms get sad about their kid's 1st birthday, a little nostalgic of when they were smaller, but not me. I'm SO excited she's growing. I've even laughed out of joy by myself because of it. That is in the midst of sleep deprivation and back pain for chasing a crawler. Yes, my body suffers, but I'm so ecstatic that her head looks bigger than it did yesterday that it seriously makes up for everything.

Maybe it's the fact that she understands me more, and vice versa. Or that now she can eat whatever I'm eating, and that means I don't have to splatter baby food all over both of us. Or maybe that we're closer to getting pedicures together. I try to reason my sudden giddiness when I'm by myself, but I still can't pinpoint why. But then again, it might also be that I'm finally by myself.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Baby Stole My Brain

A child takes a lot from you - your time, your patience, or your right to meditate in the bathroom. But one thing you may not expect your baby to take is your brain. Sometimes I feel like Melissa stole my intelligence; like she needed my ability to finish a sentence so she could learn how to speak. Don't despair though, oh you future parents - the main reason for this is that you're too in love with your child to function. Or, you're too tired to remember how the outside world functions.

Like this past Friday, when I went to see a movie with my super fun mommy friend Nancy. We both felt like fugitives, and were so stoked to have a break from our babies and diaper bags that we got into the wrong movie. It was my fault: I read the 13 on "PG13" and thought it was the number where we were supposed to go. So we watched a few minutes of an Indian movie with subtitles, wondering when Angelina Jolie (as "Salt") was going to come and kill everybody.

I'm sure I could mention many other mommy-brain moments, if my mommy brain functioned enough to remember. I only have flashes of memory of nodding to what someone said that I wasn't supposed to nod to, or stopping mid-sentence without any idea of how I started it (this is a recurring one). Thankfully, being socially witty is not on the top of my priorities right now. I know that as soon as the world sees Melissa's cuteness, all will be forgotten.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

All The Pregnant Ladies

I think I kinda have an obssession with posting advice for future mothers. I can't help it - my sister's pregnant, as well as 3 dear friends of mine (and there might be more that I don't remember, they seem to be multiplying). And maybe it's my secret desire to go back in time and shake myself out of my clueslessness (or let myself know such clueslessness is ok).

So this is what I'd say to old pregnant me:

You Are NOT Huge
I know you feel like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float, but it's all baby. Ok, maybe it's not all baby, but the people that see you can't tell that easily. I know it's hard to believe, but they just see the "miracle of life" when they look at you. The baby took over your whole body (including arms and butt), as far as they're concerned. And anyway, you'll be amazed of how much water weight you'll lose once he/she's out.

You ARE Ready
I remember when I was about to walk down the aisle to get married, I panicked 'cause I couldn't believe I could've possibly planned enough. It just seemed impossible there was nothing left to do, except get married. I think we experience this kind of feeling all over again with motherhood - like there's nothing we can do that can be ever enough for your child. And that's true, there isn't. But it's not about things - YOU are enough.

Yes, You WILL Have a Pretty Baby
Am I the only one who secretly wondered if I was going to like the way my baby looked? I knew I'd love her even if she had 4 ears, but seeing her inherit mommy's stick-out ears made me feel like tearing up. Of course the rest of her is beyond gorgeous too, but what I mean is that it's so amazing to see a little person that is a piece of you that trust me, you'll fall in love with your baby. It's like the same thrill of falling in love with your significant other, only motherly.

DON'T Expect the Worst
My crazy pregnant brain thought that if I assumed the worst, then I'd be pleasantly surprised when something good happened, and not disappointed if it didn't. What's wrong with this thinking is that you never ever enjoy where you're at. You're constantly worried, in a "pre-partum" depression. And then you miss out on what I think is the most fun part of being pregnant - the thrill of anticipation. So go ahead, expect thet best - you already have something really good going on right now.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hello... Is It Me You're Looking For?

When God sings you a song from the 80's

Not too sound cheesy, but everybody is looking for something, aren't we? It's like we're always under the impression that if we get more - success, acceptance, things, or in my case, sleep - we'll be happier. And then, when it doesn't work, we wonder if that means we're supposed to get even more than what we thought.

I confess I'm an eager mother. I have to remind myself to just enjoy the way Melissa is right now, and not just dream of when she grows, or how much cooler it would be if I could buy her more toys. Why is it so hard for us to just chill and be happy?

Aside from the "Life Motto" on the right of this page, I haven't said anything about my faith. But now, I thought it would be the time to change that. I want to tell you why I believe those verses - and what keeps me sane through the craziness of motherhood.

A lot of people go to church or call themselves Christians for different reasons. For many it's a matter of tradition; they're looking for that nice family time, for a chance to stop and think happy thoughts before they start their week. For others, it's a guilt issue. They think that, if they don't go to church and pray and all that, they'll go to hell. Maybe they're looking for acceptance, or security.

But it made me laugh inside when I thought that God might be singing to all of us: "Hello, is it Me you're looking for? / I can see it in your eyes / I can see it in your smile [or lack thereof] / You're all I've ever wanted / And my arms are open wide / 'Cause [I] know just what to say / And [I] know just what to do / And I want to tell you so much / I love you."