Friday, June 30, 2006

I have 2 girls

I was lined up at the Chinese take-out place, waiting for my order to come out when the cashier leaned over and asked if I was pregnant. I answered "yes." She then asked me if it was my first. I told her this was my second. And of course, the follow-up, "boy or girl?" I said that this was going to be another girl. I don't know if it was my imagination, but her face fell. She began busying herself with carefully folding down the foil lip of the take-out tray. She then proceeded to say that it's really going to be okay. That she herself has 2 boys but girls are "better" (her quotes, not mine) The tone of her voice though is apologetic and almost embarrassed. It was like she had inadvertently brought up some previously undiscovered handicap (a third eye or an eleventh finger) and that she was desperately trying to make it better ....for her. She was so clearly uncomfortable and I was there just to watch the spectacle.

The oddity of that event did make me think of my own bias for boys. I come from a family of boys. I have grown up with a subtle message that having boys was better. Family name and all that, I suppose. As far as I have come in my own thinking (or so I thought), when I found out that we were having another girl a couple of days ago I have to admit that I was disappointed. Overtly, I had wanted a boy so that I could have "that" experience. Now I think I had the same knee jerk reaction that the cashier did. Somehow having "too many" girls is something to apologize for. There are still much evidence of this inexcusable attitude of many in the world where girls are considered less than boys. Sudan, India, Congo, etc. And my "innocent" little bias is a remnant of that thought process that sees girls/women as chattel and a drain on resources. There are bigger global issues that I do not have the power to change, but I can change my own thinking. I can raise my daughters so that they will never know this "bias".

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Gratuitous picture of the day

No real reason to post this picture except that g looked really cute trying to hold up an umbrella that is larger than she is.

The Grandma & g outfit

I have never thought that I would ever try to do this, but I guess I really didn't have to do it myself. Grandma is a seamstress and can often whip something up in a few hours. In this case, she came over one day with a matching top-and-pant combo. It's hilarious in a scary kind of way and should be documented diligently for this is an item that can be put into g's future wedding video (if they have such things in the far future.

On the plus side, the outfit is nice and light. So it is perfect for the summer.

Here's g in her new outfit. We were distracting her with her new block set, so that we can get her to stay in one place. It worked for quite a while. She really loved the block set which is a surprise since I tried other blocks before.

Here's grandma trying to fix a minor wardrobe malfunction. The first iterration of the outfit was too small to fit around g's head, so grandma did the adjustment over the weekend. Now it's a little too loose. Nothing that a safety pin can't fix though.

This is the official shot....

Another one...this time outdoors with a phone camera.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I submit my nomination for Father of the Year......

This is a picture of G and our friends after a wonderful dinner at Wonjo. You might notice the conspicuous splatter pattern on G's shirt. No, the sink in the bathroom did not malfunction. g had a major "malfunction". She was happily eating her 700th slice of orange when she must have swallowed before she fully chewed. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, it all came rushing out. She was in G's arms when the rain came. G took it like only a true daddy can.

On a side note, I must admire my baby's impressive regurgitative ability. Too bad that the only real world application would be bulimia.

Thanks for the picture, Sonia.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The BIG ultrasound

I had the big ultrasound today. For those who have not experienced pregnancy before, the big ultrasound refers to the screening that determines the gender of the baby.

Drum roll, please......

The new member of theFamilyC is a GIRL.

I have to say that I was secretly hoping for a boy, so I would be the proud momma of a boy-and-girl set. When I told G this, he said, "well, we can try for another one." The memory of the nausea, extreme exhaustion and aches of the first trimester just came rushing back to me. I promptly said, "Ah...thanks, but no thanks!" I may not have one of each but I will be so thrilled that I get to play dress-up with two girls instead of one. Of course G is feeling a little overwhelmed with estrogen right now.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


It is not often I talk about G. I am sending him a belated happy father's day greeting - an occasion that he does not celebrate by the way. I would also like to put it here, so that someday maybe g will read about how much of a dad her papa is. I am sure that this writing will not be necessary because she will just know.

G has been the father I had envisioned for my kids and yet it has been more than I have expected. Parenthood has been a partnership as been our marriage, the home construction, everything. He has participated in every aspect of raising little g. He has spent many a wakeful early morning changing and feeding. He changes poopy diapers with great efficiency. He sings her to sleep although he is more adept with the lyrics to "on the boardwalk" than he is with "twinkle, twinkle." He can cup g's whole face in his hand. His is the first name g says when I pick her up in the morning. It almost seems like the morning is not quite complete until she sees him. All this is what I have expected or come to expect in the last few months.

The unexpected...G is strangely protective of g. Not in a baby-in-a-bubble kind of way, but in a very sweet papa way. I have always thought that since he was never an open-the-door kind of guy that he would treat his daughter with the same independent sense of detachment. No! He hovers like a papa duck whose duckling is trying to make a break for the water before it's ready.

He gushes. G is not usually a gusher, but he has been oohing and aahing for months now(admittedly, g is kind of amazing.) This was unexpected.

G continues to amaze me.

On a lighter note, I am sure G appreciated not getting this for Father's Day. I am just thinking to myself, "someone greenlight-ed this production."

and just in case this becomes too hard on the knees, they also offer supplemental knee pads.

Really, what will they think of next???

Friday, June 16, 2006

g with G on her first tricycle


I love this picture. We bought her a radio flyer tricycle. Of course, we also bought her a helmet. She looked adorable. I didn't think it was possible but I think her head looks even bigger. G took her out for the first time. She didn't mind the helmet and was interested in the tricycle. We bought this trike because of the pushbar, a feature that allowed the adult to push the kid along when the concept of peddling. I also loved the fact that it was foldable making it easy to transport in our little civic.

Well, she was a hit being the cutie in the helmet. But it is most definitely a thumbs-down for the trike. The pushbar was so unwieldy. It took all of G's strength to steer and make a turn. I had also thought that you could lock the pedals so that when g is not peddling, the pedals wouldn't move. It didn't do that. So really it was a basic trike with not that many features at a more expensive price. We decided to return the trike.

I think I am going to hold out for a Kettler. Much more money though. If we do get it, you'll see it here. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Gotta let it go

I think I am close to accepting that the new g is a picky eater. Odd though, at daycare they told us that she ate everything that they offered. Maybe at school she sees other people eat and just wants to follow the crowd. I am at least thankful for the few meals a week when her tummy will be full of healthy treats and snacks. Although the daycare provides food, I always give them lunch and snacks to give her. I know I am being "that mother", but I just wanted to be assured that they are giving her 100% juice rather than fruit punch.....blech. I want to make sure that her snacks are mainly fruit, whole grain cereal and crackers rather than ritz bits and whatever else they have on hand. To be fair, the only real information I have is that they do give ritz crackers. Low on the nutrition scale but not that horrible. Anyway, I digress....

All the books and websites outline tips and tricks on how to deal with a picky eater albeit most of them contradict each other to some degree (more snacks vs less snack, more variety vs less variety, scheduled routine vs grazing, supplemental vitamin vs child will eat enough, etc.) But one thing that most of them do have in common is the advice to never make eating/food a battle of wills. And although I have known this for quite some time, it is very hard for me to accept. For the most part in her little life, I have been in charge of her nutrition, her education and her wardrobe (and what a wardrobe it is...again, I digress). Now I will have to accept that she is going to start asserting her own wants and desires. From my readings, this is just one of the first battles. Soon there'll be wardrobe battles and many others leading up to my untimely death.

So what is a control freak to do when she becomes a mother of an opinionated little girl? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Breathe and let go.

Now to convince G and grandma...hmmmm

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

It's over

Maybe it's a phase. Maybe it's the cold that she has been nursing for the last few days. My mini-trash compactor is gone and I miss her so much. Her name is g. She used to eat so much that her grandma was worried about her not being able to stop eating. Maybe I had an inkling even then that this massive appetite would be fleeting. I have always told her (through G) that she will eat what she wants when she wants. She knows when to stop.

And now she has stopped. Starting Saturday, she has really been eating at half capacity. I didn't really notice then. She had a cold so I let her sleep a little more during the day. She awoke from her nap after not having anything for lunch not wanting to eat anything. She ate a couple bites of her lunch at 3:00 pm. That night we went to a wedding and she ate every single thing that we ate. She must have been starved by then.

The next day we went hiking and she ate nothing but cheese and cranberries all day. We were out and about, so I didn't notice it much either. She has a couple of odd days in the past when she ate little one day but she always came back to her former eating self the next day.

Now we are on day 4 of her pecking at food. I am not quite sure what to make of it. I was talking to a friend last week whose baby is the same age as g. She had told me about how picky of an eater her baby was. I was so thankful that g wasn't like that. With all her various weekly illness, the last thing I need was for her to be picky about eating. After hearing this from her, I went to research online and found that toddlers can become picky around 18-22 months. g is a few days shy of 20 and I think she has found picky and embraced it.

G is still in denial and to a some extent I am also. I am still holding out hope that once the cold resolves itself that she will be back to her easy going little self. However this has helped me see the passing of time and how g has gone from the total dependence of babyhood to the burgeoning independence of toddlerhood. For what it's worth, I was glad to have a baby who loved tomatoes and green beans raw, chomping on sugar snap peas and a bite of anything we are having. But whatever she is becoming, she is still my baby.

Friday, June 09, 2006

To be or not to be....

I read this article today from the Village Voice about a 5 year old boy who feels that he should be a girl and would like to live/go to school as a girl . It is inevitable for my mommy brain to start swirling around this. What if's abound. The mom in the story complained about how lost she sometimes feels when it comes to trying to parent a transgender child. It is true that despite all the new information that is out there about parenting from sleep, diet, environment, milestone, toys, there really isn't much information about raising a child that is different from the mainstream. I feel for this mother who despite living in the age of information has to fly blind. I don't think I would know what to do if thrust into this situation. g is just shy of her 2nd birthday. What would I do if she starts wanting to be boy in another year or so, which is when little "Nicole" began to emerge? I had hoped that I would have at least 10 years (hell, 30 years) before I have to deal with questions of orientation and sexuality.

I have always seen myself to be a very open person. Honestly though I can't help but want my daughter to be "normal". I think growing up in this society is difficult enough. Navigating through bullies, underachieving schools, teachers looking for a date is challenging enough. To add to this madness would be coping with homophobia.


Given the age of the little kid though, would I really allow him/her to do as he/she wants? Is he/she able to make this kind of a life-choice? Nicole might not be aware of what's ahead of her, but I have to give props to her parents for being aware of the consequences of letting her be the person she thinks she is and are brave enough to stand against the tide that is coming. Oh and it is coming.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The unspoken "secret" of parenthood

I read this post with tears in my eyes. I remember the many days when I felt this, when I felt trapped by the craziness, when I needed to lock myself in a bathroom and sob...ok, bawl. I have sat in darkness once while my then 2 week old baby was still crying after hours of soothing, breastfeeding, singing and rocking. I sat in the darkness and felt the same darkness that must have overcome many new parents when the crying and the screaming did not ever seem to stop. It was a darkness that felt so isolating. I felt alone, ungrateful, selfish and incompetent.

I guess I felt a great reasonance with this post because no other parent has told me any of this. No one had told me that I will have days when I would literally want to smash my head against the wall to drown the wailing. That I will have days when her crying will only be rivaled by my own. I wish someone had. I might not have listened at that time but the morsel of fact would have sat in the back of my mind. I would have remembered and in those many sad days, nights and early morning hours I would have not felt so alone.

The Prospect of Raising a Girly Girl

I think it has begun to dawn on G that he is indeed the father of a girl. Though we have tried (not as religiously as some people) to raise our baby in a manner that is not gender specific (giving her toys that suit boys and girls, dressing her in yellow, green, red, blue, etc) I guess that no matter the nurture, the nature will have its say. Case in point - for the first birthday, her ninang (godmother) bought her twin baby dolls and a stroller. Well, before I could even remove the wire twist-ties that held the twins to the packaging, g took one of the little ones (packaging and all) and gave it a kiss on the head. After I have finally released one child, she took the baby, cradled it in her arms, moaned (I think this is her version of singing) and rocked it. When I gave her the little baby bottle that came with the set, she "fed" the baby. Nature?!!

Before this, we have never given her any dolls to play with not even stuffed animals (mainly because we thought that they were dust magnets.) Even in toy stores, she had never showed interest in the dolls on the stands. I was pretty impressed that she knew instinctively what to do with this little doll.

Recently she had begun to ask for her hair to be done. One can construe this as a mere practical measure. Up until recently she never had much hair, so clips and barrettes were impractical and fussy. Now that she has had some hair growth and some of this ends up in near her eyes, it would seem reasonable that she asked that the hair be pulled up into a ponytail.

She is developing the common female fascination with shoes. Not just adult shoes, but any shoe. She loves trying them on and walking around in them. She has already been successful in putting on her sandals. Yesterday I bought her a pair of party shoes. She was taking a walk outside when I returned home from the store. When she saw the shoes, she promptly dropped to a seating position (on the sidewalk) to put them on. Again, this could be construed as a move towards independence rather than a tendency to be girly.

What is the disappointment for G? I think he had thought that this little one was going to take after him, be a little adventurer, play softball and run around. He has thus far resisted her entreaties to get him to do her hair (I think though it is his inability to do a simple ponytail.) He shakes his head quietly when she has shown devotion to her little dolls.

I think it is difficult for any parent to realize that this small being that you have nurtured since 7 lbs has decided to be different from what you have expected. Although I still believe little g might surprise us yet. Her new favorite toy is her backpack and once the backpack is in position, she heads for the door. Now that sounds like a chung to me.

Monday, June 05, 2006

She's back

I was walking home last Friday with dread. g has been sick all week with a virus that left sores all over her lips, mouth and throat. She was too much in pain to eat anything. To prevent dehydration, we had to put oragel on the nipple of her bottle. This numbs her mouth enough to allow her to at least drink something. Two days into the sickness, she had already lost 2 lbs. Now for me, that's just a glass of water, but for her that's almost 10% of her body weight. So I was getting worried. By Friday, although she had begun to feel better, she still didn't want to eat much. I was also afraid that with all the pain that she had felt from eating, that she will turned off from eating her favorite foods (ie bananas, grapes, etc).

g dispelled that fear the minute I walked in the door. Within minutes of settling down inside, she marched herself over to the refrigerator and kept pointing at this. At some point, she got so desperate that I didn't quite understand what she was getting at that she started scaling the sink cabinet (which had her spoons, forks and is right beside the refrigerator). That night she ate 2 slices of cheese, yogurt and an egg. Nice and almost normal.

Saturday and Sunday brought increasing amounts and much needed relief. Although she is not at her usual level, she is fairly close to it already.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Grandma's birthday

We celebrated grandma's birthday recently. Here are some of the pictures:

  Posted by Picasa

Sickness du jour

Once again, I am sad to report that little g has taken ill. This time it is a variant of an old foe. Months ago, she had the coxsackie virus in a very mild form. She had little spots on her hands and feet that was neither itchy or irritating except for g's parents. Now the virus is back packing a lot more punch.

Trouble was brewing the day before when we were at grandma's house in Brooklyln. g was running a fever but she seemed ok. We thought that maybe she was just hot and dehydrated. She ate, drank and slept well (except for when the subway trains go by) The real trouble began the day after. It started with breakfast when I had mistakenly thought that g was being bratty about eating her yogurt which incidentally has never happened before. She cried when I tried to feed her more than the two bites that she took, leading her to lose the two bites that she took. "Oh well....," I thought. She will get hungry later and I will give her something else to eat.

So we took G (aka Papa) to work and decided to go to the deli for breakfast while we waited for the mall to open (side note - this is a continuation of the quest to find little g some shoes) g refused to eat a muffin or drink juice. Odd but not too out of the ordinary. As the day progressed (and we weren't able to find her a pair of shoes), she kept on refusing food, or more accurately she refused a banana after one bite. WHAT?!!! WHO ARE YOU and what have you done to my child? That was it. Off to the doctor with you!

The doctor took one look into her mouth and found sores on the inside of her cheeks, her tongue and her throat. Since it's a virus, there is no medicine to take.

For the last 2 days, g has barely had a thing to eat. She would try some of her favorite foods, but she would take one bite, cry and spit it out. Yesterday she barely had 16 oz of liquid (her daily average is about 40-50 oz/day). Dehydration is a real fear.

Thank God, her grandma is staying with her. I couldn't really expect daycare to follow her around with liquids all day, which is what her grandma did all day. Bribed her with trips to the corner, the backyard, the front hall just to get her to drink a sip or two.

The drama continues to unfold for this little g.

To illustrate how sad this all is. One of g's favorite food is banana. We offered her a banana for breakfast. She took it but because of the pain in her mouth she would only lick it.