Friday, July 1, 2016

Surviving My First Week

I survived my first week at work! It was good to feel productive and have adult conversations with some friendly faces. Surprisingly, I had no emotional breakdowns about being away from my baby. I think the easy transition was due to:
  • knowing that Lucas is in good hands with Daddy (I shudder to think of how much I'll freak out when he's in daycare!)
  • Nap training starting this week, which means there's a lot of crying going on during the day - can't say I'm sad to be missing that (big kudos to Jeff for taking this on!)
  • my boss and team taking it easy on me because it was my first week
  • returning the week before July 4th weekend - many people were out on vacation so work was slow
  • Lucas bottle feeding well when I'm not around
  • having enough downtime and milk supply to consistently pump more than Lucas needs while I'm gone (I worry about my milk supply when work picks up and I can't step away three times a day to pump)
  • Lucas sleeping much better at night, usually waking up only once to feed (for the first time in his life, he's managed to sleep through the night this week - twice!)
Given that some of these are temporary (Jeff staying at home with Lucas, the light workload before the holiday weekend, etc.), I do anticipate this whole working mom thing will get harder. And even with all these different factors to make it easier on me, there are still challenges. It sucks to come home and know that I have only 30-60 minutes to spend with my baby before he goes to sleep for the night. But I won't compromise his sleep and force him to stay up just so I have more time with him. He tends to wake up at 6am so I try to cherish those early hours with him (even if I am half asleep!). 

Breastfeeding also makes work challenging, even though I'm determined to go keep going for now. I can't rely on too much caffeine to keep my energy levels up. It also sucks to have to rearrange my schedule every time a meeting, lunch, or happy hour invite comes up that conflicts with pumping. I skipped a pumping to attend a colleague's going away happy hour and I'm already paranoid, thinking about how that could possibly affect my supply longterm. I also got a clogged duct on Sunday night, making my first day back pretty painful. I wasn't able to tend to it during the day, since it would make my coworkers quite uncomfortable if I was massaging my chest all day. Luckily, I managed to get two last minute appointments for ultrasound therapy and milk blister treatment so I'm on the mend. 

In the meantime, I'm feeling energized and refreshed even though I still wake up every 2-3 hours, as Lucas slumbers away through the night. Here's to an even better week 2! If I'm being greedy, I'd also love to throw in better naps and more sleeping through the night. :)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Getting Help As A New Mom

Warning: ranty post ahead!

As a new mom, I have had so many wonderful loved ones offer invaluable help. Many have been awesome enough to go out of their way to pick up my favorite meals and desserts. They have come over and entertained Lucas for me so that I can take a break, eat something, and take care of some household chores. I even had a friend offer to help out with some of those chores. While I couldn't possibly take her up on her offer to be my maid, I fully recognize just how lucky I am to be surrounded by amazing people! They often know exactly how to help - and when they don't, they just ask.

However there are tricky offers I don't know how to politely refuse. For example, when I'm at church, people offer to take my baby into the chapel and hold him through the service. But I don't actually want my baby to sit away from me for a whole hour! Especially since people then start passing him around and I have no control over where he is and who's touching him. I've seen well-meaning grandmas wipe his mouth with used napkins and offer him chocolate. I've seen a sniffly cougher touch him with unwashed hands. Ugh. Furthermore, Lucas can only sit still for 90 seconds before he starts fussing - if you try to force him to sit quietly in your lap for any longer, he's going to get upset and be harder to calm down. Quite simply, this kind of help is not helpful at all.

I also have a family member who's constantly asking why I won't go out so that she can "help" me babysit. The honest truth is that she has no idea how to take care of an infant and I would never let her be alone with mine. I've tactfully turned her down by telling her that I need to feed Lucas every 3 hours so it's challenging to be away from him for too long - which is true. She's countered by asking why I don't just pump and leave her milk. First of all, if I choose to pump instead of feed, I still have to pump every 3 hours if I want to keep my supply up so that saves me no time at all. In fact, it wastes much more time because now I have to take the time to pump, someone has to take the time to feed Lucas, and then I have a pile of pump parts and bottles to wash at the end. Second of all, after all the hard work I put into pumping, I'm not looking to use the precious ounces I pump out haphazardly. Why would I go through all this unnecessary trouble? Again, this kind of help is not helpful at all.

Maybe I would feel differently if I intended to be a stay at home mom. But as a working mom, I actually have very limited time with my baby. Is it wrong that I feel so possessive of Lucas? Whenever people ask to "help", I keep feeling like they're just trying to take away my precious time with him. I am very aware of how quickly time passes and I want to savor every bit of it that I can - even when it's not all giggles and sunshine. I'm sure all too soon, Lucas will be all grown and I'll wish that I spent more time with him as a baby. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Thoughts on Going Back to Work

I still have no profound revelations to share on the topic but the sadness hit me hard today on my last official day of leave. As Jeff and I were having lunch, I started tearing up thinking about how this time has flown by. Part of me feels like a failure because my kid is a terrible sleeper and has no regular schedule. I feel like I could have done better, like I should have made more progress by now. Instead I'm barely surviving and I feel like my only accomplishment has been keeping him alive.

I'm also sad to leave my baby because if he needs me, I won't be there for him. And if it turns out he doesn't need me, then that might just make me feel even sadder. 😔 

I know it's not all doom and gloom all the time but today just feels a little cloudier than usual so I'm going to snuggle my baby tighter today and try not to think about how much I'll miss him starting next week.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Last Week of Maternity Leave

I'm sad to realize that I've entered my last week of maternity leave. While I crave the freedom of being able to leave the house and have regular adult interaction, I'm certainly going to miss spending so much time with my baby. It's a good thing that he will be in Jeff's capable hands so I don't have to worry about him for the next two and a half months. I'm sure I'll be a wreck once we start daycare though!

I feel like this is when I should be making some profound statement regarding working women having it all - something along the lines of "as much as I love my child, I also love the fulfillment I get from my career". But honestly, I'm scared that I may not feel that way. I worry that the pull to stay home with my child in his formative years will be too strong to keep me in the working world, despite my expensive education telling me that I need to keep working for many more years to justify the hefty tuition bills. On the other hand, I also worry that my career ambitions will keep me from my child longer than I would like. I might miss bedtimes and spend more time with my breast pump than with Lucas.

But I can't tell the future - I don't know what will happen and I don't know how I will feel. So I have no profound proclamations for how I intend to reconcile all these thoughts in my head right now. Instead, I'm going to focus on savoring my last week at home with my beautiful chubby little boy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The First Three Months

It's hard to believe our baby boy is already 3 months old! I truly am living the cliche of days being long but years being short. My days are made longer by the fact that lovely little Lucas sleeps fairly inconsistently through the night, sometimes waking hourly, and then requires being held for all naps during the day. I often spend up to 6-7 hours a day just holding him, which means I don't get to eat, drink, or use the restroom when I want to. But when I look down at his peaceful, (seemingly) angelic sleeping face, I'm overwhelmed with a sense of love and gratitude. Then I get sad thinking about how the first three months have flown by - how much faster will the rest of my maternity leave go! I read a sad statistic about how there are only 936 weekends from the time he's born to the time he turns 18 and he leaves for college - I've already used up 13 of them. His childhood is going to fly by in the blink of an eye...I miss him already. :(

Being a mom is truly an emotional roller coaster. There are so many highs and low:

  • tears of frustration because my screaming baby is overtired and nothing I do calms him down
  • the sheer relief that I'm overcome with when he finally falls asleep, along with the trepidation of never knowing if he'll wake up in 3 hours or 3 minutes
  • moments of pure joy when he giggles and coos at you
  • the quiet peace and bonding of nursing him and providing comfort
  • anguish of seeing him experience any kind of sadness or pain and wishing you could suffer in his place (I am soooo dreading sleep training and hoping that his sleep magically gets better on its own so that sleep training isn't necessary!)
The highs truly do outweigh the lows, even in those moments of fatigue and frustration. For my own sanity, I've had to stop comparing notes with moms who have kids that do (insert baby activity) better than mine - my big one is sleep and my baby's lack of it. I've read the books and I'm following the rules as best as I can but they don't seem to work for Lucas. In the end, I just have to do what works for my baby. A few of the Facebook mommy groups I've joined are focused specifically on baby sleep, and when I post about Lucas' poor sleep habits, one of the moms always comments "it's time to sleep train him!" She means well but it makes me ashamed to participate further in any of the conversations. At the same time, she chooses to let her 5 week old baby cry for hours. I don't know why in these Facebook groups, there's so much focus on being respectful of those who choose to let their babies cry it out very young but then it's absolutely okay to shame the mom that practices poor sleeping habits (out of desperation mind you, not because I enjoy waking up hourly). It's sad that we can't just be respectful of one another. I guess this is what they mean by the mommy wars. 

Luckily, my real life mom friends are a pretty great group. Those that have babies who sleep poorly like Lucas commiserate with me while those with babies who are great sleepers are still very supportive and non-judgmental. I'm so grateful they are a part of our village! 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Embracing Parenthood

Being a first time parent to a newborn baby is hard. Here's some of the challenges we've dealt with thus far:

  • He didn't have enough wet diapers by day 3 so we had to supplement with formula for 5 days.
  • We both had to take antifungal medication for 2 weeks for a suspected case of thrush (which I still don't think he actually had).
  • He's still dealing with jaundice - the levels are relatively low but it still hasn't gone away completely.
  • He got a diaper rash.
  • He's a pretty poor napper and has gone 6-7 hours without sleep.
  • He spent much of the first 3 weeks cluster feeding.
  • He started rejecting the bottle this week after 4 weeks of getting at least one bottle a day.
  • It takes at least 1-2 hours to put him down for the night.
  • He still wakes up 4 times a night.
  • He wakes up at 5-6am fussing but not hungry, so it's very challenging to know how to soothe him. Sometimes he just wants to be held but often times he'll continue to whine as he's being held. 
But it hasn't been all doom and gloom. Here are some of the positives:
  • After my milk came in, we've been able to exclusively breastfeed.
  • His latch is great (no more pain for me!) and he's gaining plenty of weight. He gained almost a pound a week for the first 5 weeks! He's now 12 lbs 10 oz at 6 weeks.
  • I managed to feed him 2 oz from a bottle last night during a dream feed - while that's not a full feeding, I'm starting to feel hope that he won't starve when I go back to work. 
  • He naps well while being held - this isn't an ideal or sustainable long-term solution but there's nothing like a newborn cuddle so I'm trying to enjoy them for as long as I can. Plus, I just successfully put him down for a nap drowsy but awake for the first time ever! He's been napping for over 40 minutes after 15 minutes of fussing. Let's see how much longer he can go.
  • We have some amazing friends who have been bringing us tons of food and help us hold him so we can have a free moment to eat with two hands.
  • All my diaper stockpiling has been working out well! It's been great not having to stress about running out of diapers on top of everything else we worry about.
Most importantly, Jeff and I love him more than anything else. Even with all the poopy diapers, night wakings, spit up, and fussing, we love and cherish being his parents. This time goes by so fast - we already miss his early newborn days because with all the weight he's gained, he looks like a completely different baby now! Dare I say, God willing, we already know we want another one?

Finally enjoying a Geisha's Kiss from Sushiritto! Although I just found out breastfeeding moms should avoid tuna. :(

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Post Labor & Recovery

Two Nights in the Hospital

All the nurses at the hospital were fantastic in providing assistance with swaddling, diaper changes, breastfeeding, and general infant care. They were also very generous in providing additional supplies to take home such as diapers, pads, wipes, post-partum underwear, etc. The hospital gowns were actually quite comfy and convenient for breastfeeding - while they weren't fashionable, it's not like I was going anywhere (although I did end up wearing it for a few pictures in the first day photoshoot...luckily the photog used good lighting and the baby to cover up how unfashionable it was..hehe). I only left the room once to see Lucas get weighed. I almost wished I had one to take home! None of my pajamas or nightgowns are as convenient or comfy for breastfeeding. The food was also pretty good. There was a huge selection of Indian foods to choose from. I always chose the congee option, since I wanted something warm and comforting.

The only thing about our hospital stay that I would complain about is that everything was so poorly and haphazardly scheduled that we never got any kind of rest. Within the two night stay, there were multiple pediatrician, OB, and nurse visits, a circumcision, a lactation consultant visit, jaundice test, hearing test, first day photography shoot, baby bath, scheduled skin-to-skin...I'm sure there are more things I'm forgetting! Because none of these were scheduled, they would just barge in whenever, so we never ended up getting any sleep. I wish there was a way to schedule these things so that we could get blocks of uninterrupted rest. It definitely left me feeling very frazzled and exhausted when we arrived home!

I also wished that I could have stayed in the hospital long enough for my milk to come in. The day we came home from the hospital, Lucas didn't have enough pee diapers so we ended up having to supplement with formula to ensure that he was hydrated. Unfortunately, the nurses didn't warn us that this could happen and what we should do if it does - I heard they actually do have extra formula they provide for situations like this, but because they are so keen on having moms exclusively breastfeed, they won't give it to you unless you ask for it. I had no idea to ask for it and they never brought it up. In fact, I had never met our pediatrician at that point so I wasn't even sure who to contact after hours that night. Luckily I was able to get connected with an after hours nurse hotline that gave us instructions on what to do. Since then, my milk has come in and Lucas has been gaining weight well with just breastfeeding!

Recovery from Labor

The epidural took awhile to wear off so I didn't start feeling pain until the day after delivery. But I knew it must be pretty serious since nurses and doctors kept checking in on my bleeding and putting ice packs down there to minimize swelling. The nurses were especially diligent about my first two trips to the bathroom - I had two nurses help me to the bathroom just to make sure I was steady and to make sure I was peeing enough. It helped that everyone was female, as the recovery ward is no place to be modest! They never gave me anything stronger than an ibuprofen, which was mostly sufficient for the pain. The only times I really felt pain down there was when I had to sneeze or cough. I thought about buying a Sitz bath beforehand but I never got around to it. Now I'm glad I didn't end up buying it! There's so much random crap to buy post-pregnancy, I'm dealing with enough Amazon deliveries and returns as it is. Plus, what new mom has time to sit around in a Sitz bath after every bathroom trip? I did feel a little bit of pain in my abdomen area starting the second day - the doctor said that was a good thing, because it meant my uterus was contracting back to its normal size thanks to all the breastfeeding Lucas was demanding for those two days in the hospital. It definitely didn't feel like my uterus was contracting at the time, since I still looked and felt 5 months pregnant.

I didn't weigh myself at the hospital, which is probably for the better because I might have been disappointed with the lack of weight loss. After 2 weeks, my uterus definitely shrank down a lot more, so I only looked like I was 3 months pregnant. I'd probably attribute this weight loss to my Chinese post-partum diet, as low salt is a key factor to the diet to ensure new moms don't retain excess water. I've also been eating a lot of traditionally "hot" foods, which are probably making me sweat out excess fluids. I'm still not sure how much I weigh though - I don't see my doctor until 6 weeks after delivery for a checkup. Here's hoping everything will be okay by then! Not that I'm looking to do any intense workouts but it's very impractical for me not to lift anything heavier than Lucas. When I go out with him, I still need to carry the car seat and stroller too!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lucas' Birth Story

The Night Before (Week 39)

Jeff and I had joked for several weeks that we hoped I would go into labor in the morning after one last night of good rest. Little did we know that this would be exactly what happened! The night before I went into labor, we watched Bridge of Spies at home. During the movie, my stomach would get really tight but not in a painful way - it wasn't very regular and after awhile the tightness went away, so we chalked it up to Braxton Hicks contractions and went to bed.

The Morning Of

Between 7:30-8:00 the next morning, I started to feel a little funny. I wasn't sure what was happening but this was a different feeling from the painless tightening I felt the night before. The birth class we attended warned us not to go to the hospital too early, as first time moms tend to be in early labor for a really long time, so I was preparing for a leisurely breakfast and a nice hot shower before heading out. Jeff had a meeting at 9:00 and I had encouraged him to go, thinking that he'd have plenty of time to come back and take me to the hospital when my contractions were 5 minutes apart. Thank goodness he had the good sense not to leave me!

By 8:15, the pain made me realize that I was having contractions and they were only 3 minutes apart! I was also peeing a lot with bright red blood - in hindsight, this was probably my water trickling out but I couldn't really tell. I called the doctor on call, who seemed dubious that I was in labor but said that I should come into the hospital if I was feeling worried. Jeff got all our bags ready while I clung to the side of a chair, a table, the bathroom wall, etc. during the pain. The car ride to the hospital was only a few minutes but the contractions made it feel so much longer!

At the Hospital: Checking In

Once we got to the hospital, I hobbled over to the reception desk to check in. They took their sweet time getting my information, ignoring how I had to hunch over the desk to manage through contraction pains as they kept asking for forms, insurance cards, ID, etc. I was going to ask the receptionist if I could have the seat next to her if she was going to take much longer with the check-in process!

Luckily, a nurse checked me into a delivery room soon after and the doctor I had spoken with earlier came to check on me. She was surprised to see that my water was already gone and I was 6-7 cm dilated! She told me that I sounded so calm on the phone, she didn't think there was any way I could be in labor, since women can't usually talk through contractions. I had progressed so quickly everyone was surprised to find out this was my first birth. Meanwhile, different nurses came into ask the same questions over and over about medication allergies, relevant medical history, pain management plans, and had me sign forms. They even apologized for asking the same questions over and over but for some reason, couldn't just share the information with each other. I could barely breathe, much less answer all their questions coherently! I wanted them to just ask Jeff the questions and leave me alone but apparently it doesn't work that way.

Antibiotics, Fentanyl, and Epidural

I had to get hooked up to an IV right away so I could get antibiotics, since I tested positive for Group B Strep. They also had to do one more platelet level check to confirm that I could get an epidural, as my levels had been lower than average in my last few blood tests. In the meantime, they gave me fentanyl, which made the contractions bearable but I could still feel some pain. I was willing to take whatever they could give me, since I was terrified that I might actually have to go through labor without an epidural. I didn't realize it at the time but by this point, I had experienced the worst of my labor pains. From here on out, it only got better.

My platelet levels came in a little while later and I was approved for an epidural. Jeff was allowed to stay in the room as long as he faced me so that he couldn't see the needles going into my back. I've heard lots of moms describe this process as very difficult but I thought it was fine. My anesthesiologist was pretty good - I felt a few pokes but nothing crazy. She was good about making sure she administered the epidural in between contractions so that it wouldn't be hard for me to stay still.

Once the epidural kicked in, everything felt great. The nurse made sure the dosage was high enough so that I wasn't feeling any pain. Her plan was to have me nap for a few hours until it was time to push. She even pulled out the cot and some extra sheets for Jeff so he could sleep too. We were way too wired to actually sleep but it was nice to have some time to relax, even though we were excited to think that today would be the day we would finally meet baby Lucas!

Time to Push

By 3pm, the nurse confirmed that I was 10 cm dilated and it was time to start pushing! This was the part of labor I had dreaded the most but surprisingly, it was really relaxing. Jeff had some classical music on to really help promote a really nice ambiance, and between him and the nurse coaching me through the pushes, I felt really supported and encouraged. I used to think that when people said that pushed for x number of minutes or hours, they were pushing the entire time. Silly me! Even though I pushed for 90 minutes, it was only during contractions, which were a minute long.

At some point, I had to wear an oxygen mask because Lucas' oxygen levels were low. Also, after 90 minutes, I still couldn't get enough of Lucas' head through and his heart rate dropped significantly so the OB had to perform an episiotomy. I had mentioned my preference to avoid one so I have to admit, I was disappointed to find out I couldn't make it to the finish line on my own. But I'm glad we did it for Lucas' safety and health.

He's Here!

Seconds after she made the cut, Lucas came out so I didn't have time to  dwell on the disappointment of the episiotomy. He was 7 lbs and 10 oz, which explains why he wasn't that easy for me to deliver! Considering that Jeff and I both have relatively small frames, that's a big baby for us. I heard crying, quickly followed by a greyish-blue baby that was immediately placed on top of me for skin to skin contact. Jeff and I were so filled with emotion we both immediately started crying. This was definitely one of the most emotional moments of my life - up there with Jeff's proposal, where we both had the same flood of emotions knowing that our lives were about to change significantly! Luckily, he didn't stay greyish-blue for very long. His cries also dissipated pretty quickly, as the skin to skin contact calmed him down. We also tried breastfeeding for the first time.

During this time, the doctor was busy delivering the placenta and stitching me up. Kudos to the anesthesiologist and the nurse because I didn't feel a thing. I didn't even realize the placenta had been delivered until I heard a gush of blood like a waterfall. The doctor checked to see if Jeff was going to pass out. Luckily, he stayed strong. :) Apparently a bunch of blood flowed out with my placenta - enough to fill half a basin. Yikes!

From Labor to Recovery

As they took Lucas to get weighed and cleaned up, I realized that I was starving since I never ended up eating breakfast that day! I took a few sips of Jeff's bubble tea, as I desperately needed a quick boost of calories and energy. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that weaning off all the pain meds would make me nauseous so I promptly threw it back up. Jeff says that was my body's way of rejecting unhealthy food! In fact, as they wheeled me over to the recovery ward, I threw up again. Sigh...definitely not something I knew before I gave birth or I definitely would have avoided the bubble tea at all costs.

Al in all, I was extremely grateful for a relatively short labor and a healthy baby boy! More on recovery for the next 2 days in the hospital in a future post.

Roses from Jeff for Valentine's Day 2016

Friday, March 11, 2016

He's Here!

It's been a hectic few weeks since he arrived! I'll have to write out my birth story at some point - for now, I'm just going to enjoy the newborn cuddles. As much as I miss glorious hours of continuous sleep, I wouldn't trade him for anything in this world.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Week 38: Valentine's Day, A New First Month Nanny, and Dilation

Valentine's Day

We celebrated our last Valentine's Day as a couple of two at Fleming's Steakhouse (and ran into some friends there, who are also expecting!). I keep getting told that we need to savor our last days by eating at nice restaurants and watching movies in theaters so we were more than happy to indulge in that advice from our more seasoned parent friends. Jeff enjoyed a tasty rib eye steak while I had a delightful Chilean sea bass. I am always the weirdo that gets seafood at a steakhouse. Of course, I never say no to a chocolate lava cake. :)

A New First Month Nanny

We found a new nanny for the first month! She was fully willing to share all her medical records with us and get vaccinated, so I'm feeling much better about her. This whole situation has made me feel so vulnerable and makes me wonder how anyone is ever able to find reliable care that they can trust. At least with this first month nanny, she will never be completely alone with our baby so I feel okay that I can supervise and make sure things are getting done the right way.


I found out during my checkup this week that I'm 3 cm dilated! My doctor says that she would be very surprised if I went past my due date at this point. I'm excited that I managed to get to 3 cm without having to suffer through any contractions and I'm only 2 cm away from justifying the need for an epidural. We're this much closer to meeting Lucas face to face! :)

Feeling "Ready" to be Parents

Everyone always says that you'll never feel 100% ready to be a parent, which makes a lot of sense. Nothing can truly prepare you for the highs, lows, sleep deprivation, and more. No parenting book or babysitting job is going to simulate the real experience that your own child is going to give you. Heck, even having a kid already doesn't guarantee that you'll be prepared for another one, since every kid can be really different. So on this front, all I can think is...bring it on! The sooner baby Lucas comes, the sooner we'll learn how to take care of him.

Jeff and I definitely feel like we'll never be more emotionally ready than we are now. We no longer think of kids and wistfully reminisce about all the freedom we'll be giving up. While there are certainly places we'd still love to travel to and nice restaurants we'd love to eat at, we don't feel like we're missing out. In fact, we're now thinking of the new and fun experiences we can explore and discover with our kids. I really hope they are into Harry Potter - I can't wait to check out the Harry Potter Amusement Park with them one day! I'm sure there will be countless Disney trips as well.

We used to feel like we'd be missing out because most of our friends don't have kids. That balance is slowly starting to shift so that now there are more parents than non-parents among our friends. Pretty soon, we're actually going to feel left out for not being parents. Not that FOMO should be the reason for having kids - but at least now we know that we're not going to lose all our friendships because we can't relate to being parents. We can even try and schedule play dates so that hopefully we'll still see our friends once in awhile! I love how in these early years, it's much easier to dictate who your kids are friends with and who they can see.

Of course, I may eat all my words once baby Lucas is really here! It'll be funny to re-read this after birth and see how much of this still rings true. The fun part of having it down here in writing is the accountability I'd held to. :)

Cherry blossoms in the Bay, February 2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Week 37: Monkey Baby, Group B Strep, Platelet Count, and MLOA

Monkey Baby

We made it through week 37, which means that baby Lucas will be born in the Year of the Monkey. Good thing because we bought some monkey themed items so it would feel a little silly if he ended up being a sheep baby instead of a monkey baby! Jeff and I are not particularly traditional when it comes to New Year's customs - mostly because a lot of the traditions are superstitions rooted in religious beliefs that conflict with our Christian beliefs. But when we can, we try to incorporate our Chinese heritage in a way that doesn't conflict with what we believe.

Here are some of the monkey items we bought for Lucas:

Group B Strep and Platelet Count

While everything has gone relatively well in my pregnancy, there have been a few hiccups. Unfortunately I tested positive for Group B strep - my doctor says it's no big deal, I just need to be on antibiotics when I get to the hospital for delivery. My platelet count is also on the low side of normal, although not low enough to need to see the hematologist to make sure I can get an epidural (which I definitely anticipate needing!) or a c-section (which I hope I don't need, but would like to have the option of in case of a medical emergency!). These are all supposed to be common conditions for pregnant women so I'm trying to stay relaxed about it. The most important thing is for Lucas and I to stay as healthy as possible.


My leave is finally coming up! Since I've completed most of my baby prep, I don't have too much planned. I do have a box of hand-me-down baby clothes from our generous friend Joy to launder but most of those are 6+ months so there's no urgency to wash those. Assuming I don't go into labor early, I'm hoping that means I have a little bit of time to relax, attend prenatal yoga, catch up with friends, and potentially blog more about my last few pre-mom days. But I won't count on having that time because obviously, time doesn't belong to me now. Ready or not, he's coming whenever he's ready!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Diaper Stockpiling: Pros, Cons, and How-To's

Why I've Been Stockpiling

One of the first things I bought for baby Lucas was a pack of size 3 overnight diapers while I was still early on in my second trimester. Yes, definitely overkill but Donna sent me a link to a 50% off diaper promotion and that was one of the few sizes left by the time I got to it! But that got me thinking about stockpiling diapers since I'm such a planner. Just like I'm never short of toilet paper or feminine products in the house, I don't intend to be out of diapers. Imagine being with a newborn and no diapers in the house - trying to wrangle the newborn to the store with me to pick up some diapers definitely does not sound like a  good time!

Cons of Stockpiling

Unfortunately, now that I have nearly 1,000 diapers in Lucas' closet, I have read some arguments against stockpiling diapers:
  • You can never be sure which brand will work best for your baby until you actually try them on him.
  • Stockpiling often involves buying the jumbo box to get the best unit price - but if it's a brand you've never used before, you may only use one pack and find out the brand doesn't work for your baby and now you can't return the half used jumbo box.
  • Amazon makes it pretty easy to get relatively cheap diapers within a day or two so you don't really have to obsess that much beforehand.
How to Mitigate Against Stockpiling Risks

So...973 diapers later, I've given my stockpiling a rest. I still don't think it's a bad idea to stockpile diapers (assuming these diapers work for Lucas!). I doubt new moms have the time to be exploring brands, clipping coupons, and calculating unit cost the way I have been. I just think there are a few key ideas to keep in mind while stockpiling diapers:
  • Buy a variety of brands, sizes, and types of diapers. 
  • Buy smaller packs versus jumbo boxes to prevent waste (this one is hard to do though - the best deal tends to involve the largest boxes!).
  • Keep receipts taped to boxes so that you can exchange for a different brand or size if needed.
How Many Diapers Do I Need?

This one is really tough, since the answers vary so widely across the internet. This is expected since every baby is so different. All my real-life mommy friends told me to avoid premie and newborn sizes so I focused most of my buying efforts on buying sizes 1-3. I do have one pack of newborn diapers thanks to a free sample but otherwise, I didn't go out of my way to buy newborn diapers. I was pretty deliberate about trying to buy less than the recommended amounts, just in case. 

Here are some of the guidelines I found across the interwebz versus what I've currently bought:

SizeToys R Us GuideThrifty Frugal Mom 1Thrifty Frugal Mom 2Moola Savings QuantitySouthern Savers QuanityMy Current StockpileSouthern Savers Price/Unit
NB16021625210003613 - 16 cents
1160160280120084031111 - 14 cents
287064056060056040214 - 16 cents
387068413681200151222416 - 19 cents

I've been using the price/unit from Southern Savers blog as a guide but that was posted a few years ago and prices tend to be higher in the Bay Area so I don't beat myself up if I can't meet it. For example, I have found newborn diapers to be the most expensive size to purchase. But otherwise, it helps me understand if I'm getting a relatively good deal or totally ripped off - I'm looking at you, Jessica Alba! Your diapers may be honest but they're very expensive, even with 50% off coupons.

Stockpiling on Wipes

On the other hand, Jeff has let me go nuts with stockpiling on wipes, since there is no dependency on size and they are so much more versatile in usage. I don't think I'll be obsessing as much about what kind of materials are cleaning Lucas' hands or tables before eating. So far, I have almost 3,000 wipes of different brands. I find that a unit cost of $0.01 - $0.03 is relatively reasonable (although I'd expect wipes on the higher end of that range be specially formulated to be gentle, sensitive, etc.).

I don't think I'll be able to be as diligent about documenting my diaper purchase prices and usage going forward but hopefully this has saved me some time and money so that I won't be as frantic and desperate to buy diapers at any price for as quickly as possible once I have a crying, stinky baby. That has been my ultimate goal of stockpiling diapers (versus thinking that I'll never have to buy another diaper again). Although I did see an ad for infant potty training lessons yesterday...I had to force myself to walk away from that! I am definitely way too much of a planner sometimes. :)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Week 36: Maternity Belts & Looking for a First Month Nanny (Again)

Maternity Belt

My hip pain got so bad that I finally caved in and got a maternity belt, which both my yoga instructor and doctor recommended. I wanted to try it on to make sure I got the right size so I ended up paying significantly more by purchasing it in a brick and mortar maternity store versus online (it pains me to see how much cheaper it is on Amazon!). After a few days of wearing it, along with taking warm baths and yoga stretches, I wasn't really feeling much better. If anything, I was feeling worse because the pain had spread to my lower back! Strangely enough, after a hellish day with way too much walking and standing around at Super Bowl City, I started feeling better. So I'm not sure if it's the belt or the forced strain and activity but I'm glad to be feeling more like myself. If that's the extent of what I have to suffer through while pregnant, I'll consider myself lucky!

Looking for a First Month Nanny Again

Unfortunately, the original first month nanny we hired isn't going to work out because she won't get the flu and TDAP vaccines. I know that some may think it's unnecessary to be such a stickler about vaccines - it's unlikely anything will happen. But I don't wish to take chances with my baby! Being sick is hard enough - being sick as a newborn is infinitely worse. Plus, whooping cough is potentially fatal for a baby.

I just wish we'd known this earlier but I'm glad we found out before I let her near our baby and put him in danger. Now we're scrambling to figure out what our options are. If we can't find another nanny who's already vaccinated (or willing to be vaccinated), we may just opt for a meal delivery service that specializes in making the traditional Chinese post-partum meals for new moms in the first month so that at least I won't have to worry about food. There's only two of these in the Bay Area and I've heard I-San House is the better of the two. Jeff might also try to rearrange his work assignments to take part of his paternity leave during my first month so I won't be all alone. The good thing is that after taking all those classes, we feel more confident about taking care of a baby so we feel like we could manage if we didn't have a first month nanny. We would be extremely exhausted though!

Super Bowl City, San Francisco, February 2016

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Week 35: Getting to the Finish Line, Hand Me Downs, & Strangers

Getting to the Finish Line

While we're still 5 weeks away, we've been busy checking items off the to-do list!
  • We're so close to finishing all our home improvement projects, the last of which was installing recessed lighting in our family room, office, and nursery. Our contractor finished that yesterday so Jeff just needs to patch up the two holes in our family room and we are done! 
  • The crib is built with the mattress set up and covered in a protective waterproof cover and sheets. 
  • The pack and play is set up in the family room. Not sure if I need to buy a special sheet for the pack and play though.
  • Baby clothes are washed and ready to go in the dresser. It turns out we have so much newborn clothing and very little of anything else, so I bought a few things on clearance from to make sure we have a few things that can extend beyond the first month.
  • We're done with all our baby classes! We took all the classes our doctor recommended - Infant and Child CPR, Breastfeeding, Infant Care, and Childbirth Preparation. While some of my expert parenting friends thought it was excessive to sit through almost 20 hours of classes, I found it extremely helpful as a first time parent with no idea what to expect at each stage. This is where you can ask all the questions you need and get information that helps you feel more prepared and less anxious for birth, parenting, breastfeeding, emergencies, etc.
  • I'm hoping to make more time for prenatal yoga in the last few months. Given my joint pain, it's not that feasible to do as much walking as I would like so yoga is basically the only other type of physical activity I can manage. I'm only now discovering that the poses and techniques from yoga are meant to help alleviate and distract from pain during the early stages of labor. It only took me 20+ weeks to figure that out!
  • While we've locked down a daycare, I don't want to put all our eggs into one basket. We're currently on three other daycare waitlists so just in case something happens with our current one, we hopefully still have a plan B.
  • I'm trying to be more diligent about applying stretch mark cream these days, as the stretch marks are starting to come in. I'm trying not to freak out about it but I am a little bummed that I lasted this long, only to fall prey to them towards the last month. At least my belly button is still an innie right now. But in the meantime, onwards and upwards - there will be plenty of time to obsess about body image postpartum. 
Hand Me Downs

I am not opposed to hand me downs at all, since kids outgrow things so quickly it doesn't make sense to buy everything brand new. However, I find it awkward that so many parent friends have been saying that they have hand me downs to pass onto us since they found out we were expecting...and then radio silence. It's not that anyone owes us anything - it is wonderfully gracious and kind of them to think of us at all! But now I'm not sure if I should continue to wait for their items or just buy them myself. I'm not the type to expect or feel entitled to these hand-me-downs so I'm inclined to just prep my own way. Jeff believes people wouldn't offer if they didn't really mean it so he thinks we should wait and remind politely, which makes me cringe. I know that some are just busy parents that may have forgotten but I think others may have found other people to give these items to or sold them online for a pretty penny - which they have every right to do! I just wish they would say so. In the meantime, I hope swings, high chairs, toys, tummy time play gyms aren't really necessary because I don't have any of those things...yet.


While my family, friends, and colleagues have been awesome, I wouldn't say that strangers have been any nicer to me since I got pregnant. People have no problem taking the last seat while leaving me to stand on buses, waiting for tables at a restaurant, etc. One man almost sat in my lap trying to swipe the last seat on a Hertz rental shuttle in Hawaii! Another mom saw me coming for the last seat while we were all waiting for a table at a crowded restaurant and called her daughter over to claim the last seat. No one offered to help me with my bags when I was traveling alone. A lot of this occurred while while I was in my third trimester so it's highly unlikely they couldn't tell I was pregnant! I'm really grateful that I've been pretty mobile and active throughout most of this pregnancy so I've been able to manage through the blatant rudeness and oblivion. And what a great reminder to be mindful of others that aren't as mobile and could use our help getting around!

Prague, Czech Republic, March 2011

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Week 34: Last Ultrasound, Car Seats, & Physical Symptoms

Last Ultrasound

Our latest (and likely last) ultrasound shows that baby Lucas is already over 5 pounds! In our families, babies don't come that big so to be over 5 pounds at a mere 34 weeks sounds humongous to us, even if that's just average for this stage. But more importantly, he's healthy and tracking to his due date. He's been super active and squirmy so we didn't get a good look at him.

Car Seats

I made an appointment with our local AAA office to have our car seats checked out next week. I definitely want to make sure Lucas is safe so I'm glad there are car seat checks available! I already have both the infant and toddler car seat because they were 25% off during Black Friday and I figured it would be easiest to have one car seat for each car and the toddler car seat capacity starts at 5 pounds. But most parents seem to tell me I have jumped the gun with buying it too early and I should have just bought another infant car seat base. I'm not sure why that is the case though? I'm not sure what I'm missing here...hmm. I guess I'll ask AAA about this.

Physical Symptoms

I am starting to feel soreness and aches in my hips - now I know why pregnant women waddle! All that pressure on the pelvis makes it hard to walk normally. This particularly sucks since I need to get up and go to the bathroom all the time. He's also running out of room to move so instead of those cute kicks I felt in the second trimester, his movements now make me feel like an alien is trying to bust out of my body.

While I haven't felt any contractions yet, I have a feeling that given my impatient personality and my family history (my mom gave birth to my brother, her firstborn, at 37 weeks), I will be delivering on the early side as well. So this is the weekend to launder all the baby clothes and accessories and pack my hospital bag! Jeff read about how expectant mothers start nesting feverishly towards the end - he says he can't imagine how much more nesting I can do. I told him I am certainly capable of much more nesting. The baby room isn't even set up yet - it's just piles of clutter and boxes at this point! It's funny how we have such different perspectives. :)

Hobbiton, New Zealand, November 2014

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Exploring Childcare Options

While I touched on childcare in this earlier post, this topic seemed meaty enough to warrant more follow-up! Since one of my New Year's goals is to try my hand at being a working mom (and Jeff has no plans to stay at home), childcare has been something we've been thinking about since we got pregnant. We started off open to both nanny and daycare options, understanding that both come with pros and cons. While we have a plan for what we are going to do, we know that things could always change so all we can do now is cross our fingers and hope for the best! Please note, this post only reflects our personal situation (and neuroses!) so it may not apply to you or your preferences. :)


A lot of parents I know choose to keep their infants at home with a nanny until their babies were at least 1-2 years old. Afterwards, they transition their children over to some kind of daycare or preschool. Many of them told me how much easier it was to have a nanny - you don't have to worry about daycare germs and you don't have to worry about the hassle of getting your baby ready and out the door every morning.

I was a little worried about nannies for two reasons. One, the cost is obviously much higher for the individual 1:1 attention. Two, having a nanny requires a huge leap of faith and I'm not sure what it would take for me to feel comfortable having a stranger alone in our home taking care of our only child. You can't possibly have a nanny cam everywhere and who has time to sit around watching anyway?! The only way to get over number two is to get a really solid recommendation from someone you trust but this one is tough, given the short supply and high demand of great nannies. I even half-jokingly asked friends with parents in the area if any of them would want to be our full-time nanny.

Short of having a nanny recommendation from someone I trust, I was beholden to trusting internet sites like mommy groups on Facebook, Next Door, and The nanny recommendation posts online are always flooded with dozens of follow-up messages from anxious moms desperate to find good help!

With, I received almost a dozen messages from nannies looking to start working right away within 12 hours of signing up. So while seems to be a great resource for finding a nanny, it seems better for just-in-time searches. Not sure that would work for a planner like me! I'm trying to do as much as I can now pre-baby, as this is probably the most free time I'll have in a long time.


For the reasons listed above, I have been a bit biased towards daycares. I like that there are more regulations and processes governing daycares. I also like the fact that there are more caregivers, even if they are spread out among more children. Plus, when Lucas gets older, he will hopefully benefit from the interaction with other children. There is a risk of him getting sick more but I figure baby illness is inevitable and I really can't keep him in a bubble!

I started with looking at the larger facility daycares in our neighborhood. Many of them had great online reputations and neighbors on Next Door raved about a lot of them. I naively assumed that since they were large, they should have plenty of open spots so I didn't start my search in earnest until 3rd trimester. Big mistake - these large daycares have long waitlists, often with waitlist fees, and it's not uncommon to wait years for a spot! I started to get very discouraged and berated my inner planner for not getting started on this process sooner. It seems like I should have put my name on the waiting list as soon as I was even thinking about being pregnant.

My friend Sara had recommended looking into a home daycare. As the name suggests, these facilities are run out of people's homes and tend to be smaller, since the state will regulate how many kids they can have at a time, given the space and number of caregivers. Sara's daughter spent her first four years in a home daycare and has enjoyed the cozy family feel of it.

Through Next Door and Nurture List, I found quite a few smaller home daycares with open spots. It was pretty hit and miss though. While I don't expect daycares to have a formalized teaching environment, I do want to see caretakers proactively interacting with all the children. One home daycare seemed to keep the babies by themselves in high chairs or pack and plays for most of the day, which made me incredibly sad. I understand that this helps to keep babies safe, but how will my baby learn if no one talks to him or engages with him regularly? Luckily, we found a hidden gem last week, thanks to some enthusiastic neighbor recommendations on Next Door. The owner was friendly and knowledgeable about child rearing, her house was clean and well-designated for children, and her interactions with the children seemed interactive, gentle, and caring. She also scored major brownie points for speaking to the kids in Mandarin. As soon as we left, Jeff and I knew that this was the one. I just paid the deposit to reserve our spot yesterday and checked a major item off our to do list! I am so excited to have childcare nailed down before baby Lucas is out - it's times like this that Jeff really appreciates how neurotic I am about planning ahead. :)


As I mentioned in my post, there are a few invaluable resources I turned to while exploring our childcare options.

  • Friends / family: As soon as we started telling people we were pregnant, we also started telling them we were looking for childcare options - friends, colleagues, church members, etc. We did get some good recommendations but unfortunately all the daycares and nanny suggestions were too far from us to be feasible for our situation.
  • My prenatal class recommended this route and I could not be more grateful! This is how we ended up finding our home daycare. They also had a ton of good recommendations and insights for the larger daycares too.
  • I actually found this site from a parent's recommendation on Next Door. Is there anything that site can't do? :) Nurture List has a concierge service that lets you put in your desired services and dates and daycares can respond to you based on how their availability matches up with your needs. I connected with a lot of home daycares that I otherwise wouldn't have heard about this way, but none of those ended up being a great fit for us. 
  • Mommy groups: I'm only part of one mommy group on Facebook, and since it covers the entire Bay Area, many of the posts don't apply to my area. It's really my fault though - I should really go find a group more specific to my area so that I can get more relevant information.
Maui, Hawaii, November 2015

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Week 33: Baby Classes, Cord Blood Banking, & Childcare Options

Baby Classes

We opted to take most of our doctor recommended baby classes in our 8th month so that we wouldn't forget anything. Of course, it means we're cramming a lot in a short amount of time. If I had to do it all over again, I would probably spread it out a little more! We scheduled the last of our classes to be 4 weeks before our due date so we should be okay but it would be nice to have a little more buffer, just in case.

So far, I have found the classes really useful - particularly the infant and child CPR class. I can't believe I've survived this long without some of these basic survival skills! I think everyone should know basic CPR, not just parents.

Cord Blood Banking

I blogged about some of my cord blood banking research earlier on in my pregnancy. While I still think it's expensive and unlikely to be helpful, we decided to bite the bullet and get the minimum package. In the end, I felt like in the off-chance my kid could potentially benefit from it, I wanted to have it just in case. I guess this is how these companies get you! Since we have to pay for the storage each year, we can always re-evaluate this decision on an annual basis.

Childcare Options

I started looking into daycares last month and already I wish I started earlier. The good ones have limited open spots - it can take years for one to open up! So in the meantime, you pay to be on a waitlist and follow up diligently (because some of them won't follow up with you to let you know when a spot opens up, even though you paid a waiting list fee!). While most parents don't feel comfortable with their young infants in daycare, I like the idea of having more caretakers around, even if that means more kids. I also like the idea of a more structured program run by (hopefully) experienced teachers.

On the other hand, it's been too early for the nanny search to start. Most nannies are searching for a job immediately, not months down the line. While I'd prefer the 1:1 attention a nanny provides, I would have to feel exceptionally comfortable to leave her alone in our home with our precious child! I'm not sure if a random nanny I met off would cut it - I would prefer referrals from parents that had great experiences with their nannies. Hopefully we'll figure this all out when the time comes!

Hakone Gardens, January 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week 32: Unsolicited Advice & Our Maternity Shoot

Unsolicited Advice

Ahh...the joys of unsolicited advice. So free and yet, so unwanted! Some of the advice I find most frustrating is around SIDS precautions (and how I should ignore them). Many of my friends have told me that it is perfectly fine to use loose blankets, stuffed animals, and crib bumpers with our baby because their children used them as infants and they're "just fine". Nothing maddens me more than that phrase. Yes, your baby was fine but what happens if my baby is not fine because I listened to your advice? Are you going to bring my baby to life? Are you guaranteeing the health and safety of my baby? Why don't we just rewind 30 years and forget about carseats because we didn't use them back them and we're all "just fine" now?

Yes, we may be overly cautious these days. But we also know better and we have more advanced technologies and education to protect us. Why would we knowingly ignore easy precautions that many parenting books and reputable health organizations strongly advocate for?

Maternity Shoot

As I mentioned earlier, we did a maternity shoot at the Hakone Gardens in Saratoga this week. While it pained me to pay a photography fee when we have so much natural outdoors beauty in the Bay Area, most of it is barren and un-photogenic at this time the year. Hakone Gardens is one of the few places that's well-maintained with some greenery and foliage in January so it was worth the $80/hour fee. I love how the pictures turned out! I don't know if I'll have the opportunity to be pregnant again so I'm glad we are documenting this special time in our lives.

Hakone Gardens, January 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happy 2016!

Looking back on 2015:
  • TTC: We got pregnant! While it didn't happen right away, it still happened relatively quickly and we are so excited and grateful for what's to come.
  • Housing: Housing in the Bay Area is just too crazy $$ so we decided to stay put and remodel to make our house more comfortable and kid-friendly. Two new bathrooms, a fireplace, a fan, and living room recessed lights have made a big difference! We loved the new recessed lights so much we are looking to add them to a few more rooms. Hopefully we can get that done before baby Lucas arrives.
  • Career: The new position I started with last year didn't exactly turn out as planned. I embraced leaning in and landed a job at a completely new company with a ton of growth potential and opportunity. So while I didn't end up where I thought I would, I did learn and grow in a new job, so I think this one worked out okay. 
  • Life: I'm continually striving to live a life that is worthy of all the goodness and blessings I've received. It's a journey, not a destination, so hopefully I'll never feel "done" with this goal!
  • Travel: While this was not a specific 2015 goal, I feel the need to add it in because I don't think we'll be doing too much travel for awhile! This year, I managed to hit up LABoston, Maui, Santa Barbara, New York, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Kyoto, and Taipei.  
Looking ahead to 2016 Goals:
  • Appreciate Baby Lucas, even when it's really hard. Remember that this is what we desperately wanted and hoped for, even when we're tired, cranky, and upset.
  • Appreciate what a great husband and father Jeff is. I know that almost all couples fight more during the first year of parenthood. I want to continually remind myself of how much I love him for who he is and everything he does for our family.
  • Get in shape after giving birth. Hopefully I can get back to running regularly afterwards. Strangely enough, I kind of miss it!
  • Make it to my first anniversary at my new company. Even if my maternity leave is amazing and I love staying at home, I want to at least try the working mom gig for awhile to make sure that it's what I want to do. Luckily, Jeff's company has a great paternity leave policy that will give me peace of mind that Lucas is in good hands for 12 weeks while I get my first experience as a working mom.
  • Trying to take a trip with baby Lucas. I'm hoping we can manage a road trip or a plane ride down to LA at the very least. The stretch goal here would be to fly to Taiwan so that he can meet his extended family there. The in-between goal would be to take a few days off to somewhere just a few time zones away, like Honolulu. Let's see how this pans out!
  • Document his first year. I want to try and have a professional photo shoot once a year. Our photog got some amazing shots of the 2.5 of us during our maternity shoot so we're very much convinced that the experience is very much worth repeating for our growing family each year.
  • Have a plan for baby #2. I'm not getting any younger so by next year, I need to at least be thinking about this...and as a stretch goal maybe even trying for this if my body is ready? One of my good doctor friends Christina specializes in this field and said that realistically at our age (early/mid 30's), we don't have the luxury of waiting 1-2 years between babies. Gulp.
Hakone Gardens, January 2016

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Week 31: Lalaland, Toddlerhood, & The Good Dinosaur


I took the last flight of my pregnancy (and 2015) to visit family down in LA this past week. This is likely my last flight for a really long time! The trip was great but definitely too short. Luckily there was enough time to hit up all my favorites:
  • Half and Half Tea House: I like their caramel iced milk with 25% sugar.
  • Porto's Bakery: A few of my favorites are pictured in this post from earlier this year here (guava pastries, potato balls, and the caprese sandwich). The lines are long but they tend to move relatively quickly - the longer wait is really for the food.
  • 101 Noodle Express - The best chicken noodle soup and juicy potstickers (see here)!
  • Chang's Garden - All the food here is really solid; I especially like their minced shrimp in lettuce cups.
  • Banh Mi My Tho - Love their meatball banh mi - this is my favorite banh mi place by far! There is always a wait but it's worth it.

My darling nephew is now 3 and a half and currently going through a very sweet and adorable phase. While I will definitely try to savor each phase leading up to, I really hope baby Lucas gets to such a great phase in toddlerhood too! Here are some new developments I've noticed:
  • Independence: He's learning to do more things by himself so his mantra is "I can do it!" I was worried it would get annoying and bratty but it's actually just hilariously cute. Getting dressed does take a lot longer as he insists on doing it himself but then ends up getting stuck in his sweaters for awhile. Rather than getting frustrated or cranky, he just perseveres on until he gets it right.
  • Affection: He will reciprocate I love you's and I miss you's. He also initiates hugs more. It broke my heart each time I had to turn down his request to hold him, with my ginormous belly and all.
  • Emotional control: Even though there were times that he was clearly upset, he did a good job of not throwing tantrums in public. He didn't get fussy or loud when we didn't buy him any toys at the store or when it was time to leave the museum.
  • Speech and conversation: Even though most conversations involve a lot of "why?" and "why not?" questions, it's still fun to talk to him and get an understanding of how his mind works. It's also funny (and dangerous!) when he imitates us, so we try to be a lot more careful of our speech around him.
The Good Dinosaur

It pains me to say this, since I love Pixar movies but this is not one of those Pixar movies that's good for adults. The plot is unoriginal and the story is slow - but that didn't stop me from crying at the end anyway. Oh pregnancy hormones! Still, it's a good movie for young kids that love dinosaurs. Some parts may be a bit scary though, depending on the age of the child.