I Can Still Be Surprised


Hello friends! Thank you so much for your patience and forebearance with my spotty posting these past few months. The last trimester with Baby4 was rough. I pretty much put myself on self-imposed bedrest because being physically upright was painful and hard and awful.

Thank goodness Hapa Papa has a flexible work schedule and job because otherwise, my children would have been orphaned. Or I would have been even more miserable.

But it was all worth it (already, the pain and discomfort and ooze of pregnancy are fading into my typical post-partum amnesia) because now, Baby4 aka Sasquatch is here!

I must confess, though. I thought since Sasquatch was my 4th child, I would be prepared for most things. Certainly I wouldn’t be surprised by anything, right?

Oh, how lovely it is to be wrong in only the most delightful of ways.

Here then, are a few of the ways I have been surprised by the arrival of baby number four. (Or as Hapa Papa occasionally calls him, “The New One.”)

1) All new babies are the same. 

No, I am serious. At first I just thought all my babies were the same. But then I realized that all babies are the same.

They all are squishy and lovable and new and have that smell! That glorious smell! And they all mewl and mutter and burble and snarfle and their sounds are perfect.

And they all scrunch up their faces and do moose hands and have funny expressions and get milk drunk (or formula drunk) and are fantastically new.

2) I never get sick of judgmental babies. 


Few things are as hilarious as angry nursing and angry babies. I mean, they are so dramatic. But I guess everything is new to them so yes, being hungry is the worst thing that has ever happened to them because hey! They have never been hungry before! Or wet. Or tired. Or hot. Or cold. Or out.

Everything is new.

3) It is possible to call a brand new baby the wrong name before they have even heard their actual name. 

I may or may not have called Sasquatch by Glow Worm’s name within seconds of holding him in my arms. And also, perhaps for the first 2-3 weeks of his life.

I am only finally now getting used to his name. Until very recently, when people asked me how Sasquatch was doing, I would be confused momentarily and go, “Who?” before I realized who they were talking about.

Yes. I know.

Worst mother ever.

To be fair, I do have a lot of children and he is brand new.

Thank goodness I am Chinese so when in doubt, I just call him 弟弟 (di4 di5/little brother).

4) Who knew that some of the best parts of having a new baby was watching your older kids fall in love?

Cookie Monster and Gamera were a little too young to process or understand what was going on when Glow Worm was born, but they certainly are old enough now.

They adore Sasquatch.

I wasn’t expecting just how much they would love him or want to be near him or hold him.

I mean, I wasn’t expecting them to be indifferent, I just wasn’t prepared for the outpouring of love and devotion.

Glow Worm isn’t in love with Sasquatch but he isn’t jealous, either. He has been surprisingly good about the whole thing (though I know he misses me).

5) I never realized I would be tandem breastfeeding. 

This is how I know Glow Worm misses me: he started nursing again.

That’s right. Glow Worm has decided to restart the boob.

He only nurses briefly when he wakes up and right before he goes to sleep. It doesn’t really bother me because I know it’s his way of claiming me and reassuring himself that he is still my baby. I find it rather sweet, actually.

But wow. I did not see it coming.

6) I am likely jinxing the whole thing but I am shocked at how easy things have been. 

I don’t know if it’s been easy for Hapa Papa since he’s the single father of three kids while I’m the single mother of a newborn, but I thought it would be more difficult.

Quite possibly, it is because we are both deaf to crying and screaming so it just doesn’t phase us – no matter who is doing the crying or screaming.

Don’t be too mad at us. Sasquatch is still new. I am sure he’ll knock our smugness out of the park with something soon.

7) As soon as I gave birth to a small sized turkey from my vagina (did I mention he was 9lbs 6oz?!?), my shitty mood for the last 39 weeks and 5 days disappeared. 

I guess being in constant pain and discomfort can really wear on a person.

Again, I really hope I’m not jinxing this, but I haven’t been in this good of a mood in a really long time. And trust me when I say that I am pretty tired still and feel overwhelmed on occasion but ultimately, STILL BETTER THAN BEING PREGNANT.

8) I missed Glow Worm the most during my time spent with Sasquatch. 

I am not sure why it doesn’t seem as if I am not spending less time with Cookie Monster or Gamera. Maybe it’s because they are older and better communicators. But whatever the reason, I miss Glow Worm the most.

Perhaps because he was the baby for three years and is still so small and cuddly and needy (though he sure doesn’t act like it). And perhaps because though he recently finally started talking (and talking a lot), he still babbles like a toddler and I feel as if we do not connect as much unless it’s us spending actual time together.

Whatever the reason, I am grateful for our cozying at night when Sasquatch is asleep and I can hug and kiss Glow Worm to my heart’s content (or at least until he’s had his fill of my affection, pushes me away, turns his back on me, and falls asleep).

Alright. This is probably all the coherent thought I can string together at one time. Mostly because I am starving and don’t want to get hangry.

See you Wednesday!

Scattershot

My mind is totally everywhere right now and while I’m sure each individual thought is snowflake-esque and definitely brilliant material enough to generate a post of its own because I am a font of hilarity, alas, it is not to be.

And so you, Dear Reader, are forced to read only half germinated thoughts and be satisfied with being genius adjacent versus actual witnesses.

Anyway…

Here then is another one of my lists of random thoughts. You’re welcome.

1) I have been super cranky with the kids lately. So much so that even Hapa Papa thinks I’ve gone a bit nuts. (He particularly thinks it’s bad that I’ve stopped caring about swearing in front of the kids. My thinking is, that ship has long sailed away.)

2) I’m really enjoying my “looser” schedule for this homeschooling year. Still a lot of crap and driving – but much easier than last year and I better remember to keep all that “empty” space open. Easier to homeschool when there is actually time to do so.

3) I’m about 6 weeks out from Induction Wednesday.

I thought it was going to be Induction Tuesday. I am beyond sad that Induction Day has been pushed back an entire 24 hours.

Look. Obviously, I know that babies are better growing on the inside of my uterus. No lectures about any prenatal health, etc. This is my FOURTH kid. Keep your scintillating knowledge to yourself. I likely have read it at least a hundred million times.

HOWEVER.

I’m at that point where I really no longer wish to be pregnant.

I am constantly in a state of discomfort. (In fact, I think I’ve been uncomfortable almost every single day of this pregnancy.) And truthfully, I have had a very easy and uneventful pregnancy (as were my other three).

Obviously, super grateful for healthy babies and pregnancies and all this healthy stuff.

AND STILL.

I look like I swallowed a basketball.

Everything hurts.

I am ALWAYS uncomfortable.

I want to be unpregnant.

4) Of course, then I remember that to be unpregnant, I will have a newly minted NEWBORN in my life again. Which, although lovely and wonderful and yay for new baby smell and potential new fat baby snarfing, OMG WHAT HAVE WE DONE WE ARE THE STUPIDEST OF HUMANS WE HAVE RUINED EVERYTHING.

I mean, um, YAY BABIES!

5) Seriously. WTF HAVE WE DONE?

6) Oh, and remember when I mentioned that my vagina constantly feels like it has something stuck in it? According to my OB/GYN, that is totally normal because my vaginal tissues are swollen and full of blood because of this pregnancy – and each pregnancy increases the swelling. So, the reason my vagina feels full? IT IS. FULL OF THE BLOODS.

You’re welcome for that fun factoid.

7) When my mom comes by and takes all three kids out to dinner and they come back fed and happy and tired and slightly wired from froyo?

AWESOME.

8) Even better when I’m not home when they come back and Hapa Papa bathes them and puts them into bed and I come home after consuming unholy amounts of boba and beef stroganoff (I was on a mission today to get some and get some I did) and hanging out with a friend and all I have to do is look at their angelic sleeping faces.

That is the only time they are still, angelic, or silent.

9) Baby4 better be an extrovert or they’re going to have a rough go in this family. Because for realz, there is NEVER silence. They will NEVER be alone. It seems cruel to bring an introvert into the house.

10) Speaking of boba, I was at my local boba place and clearly, I wandered back in time to when every single asshole Asian dude I remember hating in college was in the parking lot showing off their shitty sports cars.

Sorry. Just because your Kia Rio has fancy lights on the outside does not make it cool. Or hot. Or sexy. It makes you sad.

11) That said, I suppose it’s rude to judge people by their outward appearances. And prejudiced. And really, why can’t I let them live? Who cares if they like to show off sub-par cars or the cars their parents bought them? What’s it to me?

Nothing. Nothing at all.

But I still judge. Because FFS.

12) I take an inordinate amount of pleasure in denying people membership to Facebook groups when they do not follow the very simple and specific directions I post as an admin.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before.

It bears repeating.

I know. I’m petty. No one is surprised.

13) I’ve been MIA from blogging because I have been busy working on my ebook that I want to get out before Baby4 shows up (at which point, everything will grind to a halt). I’m at the 90% point but definitely at the point where all the low hanging fruit has been picked and everything left is either hard or tedious.

I WILL FINISH THIS OR DIE TRYING.

14) Ok. Maybe not die.

15) When I start online shopping, I shop like I’m trying to win an award or something for most things purchased in short order and without much consideration.

I really should stop doing that.

16) My awesome Black & Decker handheld vacuum that I got for $25 years and years ago died today. I felt my soul cry. Then I had a soul cry that I had a soul cry about it.

17) What’s that you say? Just replace it?

I am. But it is no longer $25. It is considerably more.

This just compounds the soul cry.

18) Ever since I’ve cut down on my kids’ screen time, they play together a lot more and play with our toys a lot more. I know it’s obvious but why do I always forget?

19) I am always thirsty.

20) Corollary: I am always peeing.

21) According to Hapa PapaGlow Worm has seen lots of zombie related videos because he is often pretending to be a zombie. He also pretends to EAT YOUR INTESTINES.

Glow Worm is three.

We win at parenting.

22) When I was showering with Gamera the other day, she pointed to my nipples and asked why they were like the nipples on the goats they milked the other day. She said mine were the same color just not as long.

I blathered something about mammals and milk.

I tried not to laugh and despair simultaneously.

23) Then, Glow Worm decided he wanted milk from my breasts. I thought he would nurse so I said, go ahead. He said he was scared. I told him there was nothing to be scared about.

He came to me and squeezed really hard on my breast. Then, he said, “Not working!” when no milk came out.

He nursed for over 2.5 years and clearly has no memory whatsoever of the experience.

Apparently mammary glands (mine, specifically) were the educational topic of the day. Homeschooling WIN.

24) I really want to see every Daniel Wu movie ever made because he is so hot and even more so now that he is in his 40s.

Oh, who am I kidding? I rarely watch films because I am so lazy. (You have to be a special type of lazy to be too lazy to WATCH a MOVIE.)

I will just stare at pics of him on the internetz instead.

25) I currently sound like a person who smokes two packs a day. I’ve been fighting a sore throat on and off for about a week. Nothing terrible and the essential oils have been helping. But I still sound like Selma on The Simpsons.

26) I always have the most fun with these types of posts because I indulge in pretty much every non sequitur comment that passes through my brain because I find it funny.

Yeah, I said it. I’m my own biggest fan.

Alright. I think I have burbled on enough and will let you lovely people carry on with your Mondays. Have a great day.

Runaway Brain


So, my third trimester insomnia has hit full on (likely aided by jetlag and shitty kids who are so jetlagged that they’ve gone insane) and even though I’m exhausted and sleep-deprived, I still don’t go to sleep because I’m stupid.

I know there are essential oils I could be using, but frankly, I kinda like the extra time it gives me to do things I want to get done but it’s somewhat impossible with three horrible (I mean, lovely) children competing for my attention.

So, I have a bunch of things on my mind (both to do and to think about) and I guess that means it’s time for another mental flotsam post wherein I just list a bunch of crap that’s running through my restless mind.

YMMV in terms of how useful or interesting these thoughts are, but my long time readers are used to these posts by now so I’m not really too concerned about it.

OKOKOKOK, here we go:

1) So You Think You Can Dance: Next Generation is making me miss their regular show. On the one hand, the kids are really good. On the other, I feel weird watching kids dance in sometimes adult ways.

However, I am appreciating the hotness of several of the allstars. (I’m looking at you, Marko! RAWR! Especially after that hip hop number and his swag/old man shuffle at the end. *drools*)

2) In a related note, I really want a moto jacket.

But let’s be real. I don’t really ever wear jackets (even in winter) because I’m rarely outside long enough to require it.

Also, I think I’m overestimating my coolness factor.

Ah well. A girl can dream.

3) I love writing things in my planner that I’ve already done and then crossing them out.

4) Finally cleared out and cleaned my kitchen table. It’s beautiful.

It won’t last, of course. Because LIFE.

But for now, I love it.

4) I accidentally left the lights on in my minivan all day and completely drained the battery. Thank goodness for AAA who can come to our house and replace it for approximately the same price that it would cost for me to go out and buy a battery and install it.

This was way easier.

5) My kids are still really jetlagged and it makes the normal awful bedtime even worse. Like a bjillion times worse.

Nothing like putting my children to bed with the dulcet sounds of my screaming invectives and threats and their loud weeping.

6) Speaking of weeping, Gamera is driving me insane.

All this girl does is cry and whine and cry.

She literally cries over EVERYTHING.

I find myself unsympathetic – which likely just makes things worse.

It doesn’t help that she is the slowest human alive and perhaps it’s a super power of hers because maybe she’s actually trapped in a time bubble and everyone else is going at normal speed and she’s at 1/20th speed and thus will age at 1/20th the rate and will end up being immortal.

Her powers are lost on me because it just makes me erupt in a rage. I’m a very task-oriented person and when I want shit done, that shit better get done instantaneously.

Instantaneous is not a term Gamera is at all familiar with. Unless it refers to how quickly she will cry.

7) My poor mother ended up taking out all three of my kids to dinner because Glow Worm absolutely refused to get out of her car with the other kids because he really really really wanted to be big and hang out with his older brother and sister.

I didn’t mind, but I’m sure my mother did.

Glow Worm had a deliriously happy time.

8) Guavarama came by and organized my Chinese library into a cohesive unit (vs the random pile/shoved bookshelves/floor upon which they were stacked). They are arranged by levels and size and prettiness and quite frankly, it’s a beauty to behold.

It has made me 10x happier.

I am now researching library labels. It’s a sickness, people.

9) I can’t believe I’m home. It’s both wonderful and sad.

When I first got home, I was kinda pissed and shocked at how incredibly dirty and disgusting my house was. After all, didn’t I leave it in pristine condition because I spent all week prior to our trip cleaning it?

How did Hapa Papa fuck up my house in just four weeks?

I was especially mad because before I left, I was frantically cleaning the house and vacuuming – which is really much more than vacuuming because you have to clean up the floor enough for you to have something to vacuum.

Anyhow, Hapa Papa told me to stop and leave all the vacuuming to him because it was exhausting me and he had nothing but time. He talked a good game and it was the ONLY thing I asked him to do when I was gone.

So, imagine my surprise (and complete fury) when a week before we were about to head home from Taiwan, I asked Hapa Papa if he vacuumed and he just had a blank look on his face because he had no clue what I was talking about.

I asked him to do ONE THING! FFS!!

Sigh.

But anyway, when I got home, I initially blamed Hapa Papa for the gross state of our house. Then, I remembered that despite my cleaning, it’s not as if our house was immaculate before I left.

I mean, it was relatively less grimy, but by no means was it tidy or neat or bereft of clutter and dirt.

It was just hard to go from a modern, clean, minimalist 800 sqft apartment where each person has max five changes of clothes and we barely own anything except the stuff I bought in Taiwan to our 2,300 sqft home that practically bursts at the seams with stuff and toys and books and the usual suburban vomit.

Of course my brain went into shock.

My house is a disaster. It just took being away from it for six weeks to have the impact be that jarring.

10) At least this time, I remembered that all the unpacking of clothes and suitcases and books and the thousands of tiny details I have to take care of don’t have to be ALL DONE AND ALL DONE NOW AND BY NOW I MEAN YESTERDAY.

I realize that my natural tendency to get overwhelmed by all the details and hugeness of a multitude of projects doesn’t actually help and likely makes things worse because then I’m incredibly cranky and the kids are already thrown and were so happy to be home that they dragged out every toy we have ever owned in order to re-acquaint themselves with our stuff.

But I told myself to chill out and break everything down into discrete steps and take one chunk at a time.

Even if the chunk is as little as: put clothes back; put away currency; move books from suitcases and boxes and stack them by the wall; clean up family room and vacuum; go to Costco and buy food; plan curriculum (again) for homeschooling, etc.

I am nowhere near done (and the list quite frankly, seems to be growing), but I don’t feel overwhelmed or panicky about it.

It helps that I write down the things that I did manage to do (and then cross out) so I feel as if I’m actually doing things.

11) I’m trying very hard not to fill up every empty space.

So, all the space I cleared in my pantry and fridge and cabinets and toy sections before I left? I tell myself that the world will not end if I try to keep those clear (or as clear as possible).

12) I really enjoy the clickety clack of typing. It’s both soothing and makes me feel as if I’m a Writer with a capital W.

I don’t care if it’s just writing some asinine comment on Facebook. The sound pleases me.

13) A friend has been asking me a lot of questions about building a blog and writing and all sorts of details and I forgot how much I know about marketing and writing and stuff and it’s been fun to be helpful.

I still have a brain, people, and it works on occasion!

WIN.

It also has me re-evaluating my blog goals for the year. Haven’t dedicated too much brain space to it yet because IMPENDING BABY will ruin everything anyway, but it’s nice to stop and re-evaluate, right?

14) How do I still have bug bites that itch?

15) And how is it that the only child of mine who doesn’t need a diaper at night is my almost 3 year old?

16) And how do I manage to go to Costco and spend hundreds of dollars only to find that I didn’t buy any actual food and only bought snacks and fruit?

I mean, I know this is what I do. But STILL. How can I fail at grocery shopping so utterly and for so long?

17) I can’t believe that I’m starting homeschooling my kids today. Although my charter officially started this past Wednesday, that’s the beauty of homeschooling. You always have perfect attendance and you can start whenever you want.

But I’m easing into it these past few days and let’s just say that I am always shocked at how quickly I forget things that I learned about my kids and educating them and my own crappy character less than 2-3 months ago.

So, when I’m annoyed at my kids for not grasping a concept quickly enough (or for not grasping it after multiple attempts), that I can’t even remember stuff that is vital to my teaching my children – and that I have to relearn it every time we come back from a break.

18) I still have to go through stacks of mail (it’s always the medical bills that get me) and do our yearly benefits and attend to all sorts of FSA crap and deal with health insurance EOBs and I REALLY HATE dealing with medical stuff but BLARGH.

Sigh.

What was I saying about not being overwhelmed and breaking things down into discrete steps?

Yeah. I should do that.

19) I really need to go to sleep at a normal and decent hour.

It would make me feel better and happier and I suspect, everyone in my family will benefit.

20) It was very satisfying to re-draw my homeschooling schedule to accurately reflect the changes that have occurred since I made the original tentative schedule in June.

It is very pretty.

Also? It was very satisfying to set all these repeating alarms to remind me when to leave to drop off/pick up my children at/from their classes.

Hey. Those alarms are vital because I have exactly ZERO brain cells left to remember the time.

Alright. I better shuffle off to bed. (Although listening to Britney Spears is making it difficult for me to leave because um, BRITNEY.)

Also, just to re-assert my coolness factor, I was listening to Eminem and Sia before that… so, um… yeah.

Have a great Monday, friends!