Weekend without Nanny, 8/26th-28th

Sometimes I look forward to the weekends when nanny goes home.  Those weekends are generally more difficult ones for me to get through, but I use these experiences to gauge my capabilities as a sole caregiver to both of my sons (as is the case when it is a school night/day for my husband).  I hope by documenting my experiences during these weekends will help me see any improvements.  On this weekend, Max just turned 4 months old.

For those that are not famililar with Chinese nannies, the way it works is they stay with the family 24 hrs a day and only goes home two days out of two weeks period.  Last weekend was nanny’s weekend off.  She left right after dinner on Friday 8/26th, and came back Sunday 9/28th around the same time.  As usually, my mother-in-law (MIL) was able to come and help us while my parents take off for the weekend.  

Ever since one weekend when Max screamed his lungs out while my MIL was with him, she now refuse to take care of him longer than a few hours at a stretch.  I was lucky enough to get her to watch him till 11PM on Friday night while I went to sleep an hour or so early.  Once she handed Max back to me, Max was able to sleep one 2 hour stretch and woke for a feeding.  Afterwards, I was able to put him back down to bed after ten minutes of rocking.  From that point on, he woke nearly every hour and I got up to feed and/or rock him until he fell back asleep.  By 6:30AM, he refused to be put down to bed, so I held him to sleep in the rocking chair till he woke up at 9AM in the morning.  During the day, he took two naps, 1.5 hours and 1 hour respectively, both time he refused to be put down to bed so I held him through out his naps. 

Saturday was pretty much repeat of Friday night, with exception of MIL handed Max back to me around 12AM.  During the day on Sunday, I was able to put Max down twice, but each time, he only slept 20 minutes and 5 minutes till he started screamin again.  However, whenever Max is awake, he’s a lot of fun to play with.  He giggles and smiles, facinated with toys and sounds. 

It makes me wonder why Max wakes so often with me when nanny tells me that he wakes only once in two to three hours with her.  Mario suggested that it may be because he’s not used to sleeping with me, and it would get better the more I sleep with him.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I can take care of Max every night if he sleeps as badly as he did this weekend.  My brain will simply cease to function with so little sleep.  Also, taking care of Max is a full time job.  It would be very difficult for me to take care of Ravi at the same time.  So minimum of two pairs of hands are still needed in this household. 

Unfortunately, I got to admit that I am not ready yet to take over Max from nanny.  But time is on my side.  The older he becomes the better he will sleep, than night time will not be such a big issue.  I wonder how he would be like in two weeks.

-Flo.

Max’s 4 Months Check Up

Max turned 4 months old a while back.  Last week, Mario and I took Max to his 4 months check up.  We have all been very curious as to what the doctor would say since Max has changed so much compared to his last check up, and we are all so impressed with how capable he has become. 

We saw the first major difference compared to the 2 months checkup on the drive over to the hospital.  During the entire 30 minutes drive, Max didn’t cry like he did last time.  Most of the way, he was curious of things outside of the window.  His eyes darted back and forth, left and right, just quietly observing his surroundings.  Even though he started to get a little bit upset at the end, all it took was a toy to calm him down again.

We didn’t have to wait too long before the doctor came in.  Max weighted 13lbs and 7 oz, approximately at 19 percentile compared to his peers.  Max measured 25 inches long, approximately 48.5 percentile compared to his peers.  Compared to the two months check up, Max got a little thinner (~10%) and taller (~10%), but the numbers are close enough that the doctor was not alarmed.  Since I am still breast feeding, the doctor suggested that we start Max on some rice cereal.  This is because the breast milk does not contain enough iron to fully support a growing baby passed 4 months of age, and that iron can be picked up from rice cereals which is one food that can be easily digested by a four months old.  The doctor also suggest that we try other solids a few weeks after we have successfully start on rice cereal.  Both Mario and I were very excited to hear this news, since we know we’ll have so much fun introducing all kinds of good food to Max, like we did with Ravi. 

After the doctor left, Max received his usual four immunization shots.  He didn’t cry nearly as much as last time.  He was again very quiet and alert on the way home.  Mario and I were both wow’ed as how much difference two months made.  We can’t wait to see how wonderful Max will turn out for the 6 months check up.

-Flo.

Brothers Getting Along

If my life is a series of Pinky and the Brain episodes, then instead of trying to take over the world, I would be obsessed with trying to live my life nanny-free.  Not that our nanny isn’t as nice as one can be, I just long for the days when I don’t need to have her anymore as my crutch.  These same thoughts go through my mind when I wake up every morning, and they lull me to sleep every night.

I plot and plot everyday; I assess my ability to take care of both of my kids myself against the current difficulty of doing so. I envision such happiness when the day finally comes that my ability is much greater than the inherent difficulty. There wouldn’t be any jealousy or crying; just two boys hanging out together and me cooking the family’s favorite meals in the back…

-Flo.

Max, You Are 4 Months Old Today!

Dear Max,

You are four months old today!  Mommy is so proud that we’ve made another month together.  You have become noticeably bigger and more capable.

Your neck has become much stiffer.  We no longer have to hold you with both arms, even though I still do in case you arch your head and back, and fall off to the side, like you still do every once in a while.  This means you can now sit in the new baby seat mommy got you.  Now you can view the world like we do, instead of always looking up.  

You are able to turn over half way.  When we play on the bed together, you love to turn your body around.  In the last few days, you are able to turn very quickly from on your back or tummy to your side.  This means we will have to watch out for you and never leave you in a unsafe position by yourself.  As a precaution, we have also stopped swaddling you, in case you turned to your tummy and unable to get back.

You are now eating at a more regular interval.  Since mommy has gone back to work, I am relying on nanny to feed you on a more regular time interval so I can come back and feed you once a day.  Last month you needed to be fed every 2 hours, this month that has increased to 3 to 3.5 hours!  That means less feeding during mommy’s working hours. 

You now get bored easily and clearly express your bordom by crying.  You are no longer content to stay in your room and lay on the bed with nanny waving your toys in front of you, you want to get out to see other people in the house or go outside.  In the passed few weeks, you got nanny trained to take you to new places.  You would give her a particular cry and won’t stop unless you get your way!  I often come home and hear stories of you wanting to stay outside and cry when she tries to bring you inside.

You’ve taken a interest in the kitty cats and hand eating.  Your eyes track the cats when them pass by and you try to grab onto them as much as you could, but most of the time you just get a handful of cat hair.  Then you would precede to eat your hands.  This is why I’ve asked nanny to wash your hands on regular basis so you don’t end up eating cat hair all the time.

Max, you still don’t sleep well when it is mommy’s turn to take care of you at night.  Mommy can’t understand why you would sleep for hours in a stretch with nanny, but wake up every hour with mommy.  Mommy hopes that your sleeping habits would improve further during the coming month, because mommy could really use a break. 😉

Love,

Mommy.

 

Max’s First Hair Cut

I love the feel of a baby’s hair.  I love to run my fingers through it, feel the softness of its texture; I love the smell of it, a baby’s hair can never be stinky even it goes days without a wash.  I short, I believe there’s something magical about a baby’s hair, and I held onto my babies’ hair for as long as I could.  Ravi had curly hair when he was an infant.  I absolutely adored it!  I thought it was the most precious thing, and fought off Mario from cutting it even when it got really long and nasty looking.  Eventually I lost the battle and it did get cut, but for months afterwards I refused to admit that Ravi looked better.  Fast forward to today, Max’s hair was getting pretty long and unruly.  One day, the nanny asked me if she could trim his hair a little bit.  You know, just so we can see his ear without lifting his hair up.  I thought, why not!  So I gave her an extremely small pair of scissors that probaby lost its edges years ago.  I thought, how much harm could those scissors do.  Boy, was I surprise when I came home that day. 

This is what Max looked like before his hair cut.  Notice the soft and shaggy long curls that fall perfectly onto his beautiful face, highlighting his sensitive big eyes.  Dare I say that he looks absolutely like an angle!  He’s so gorgeous! 

 

This is the after.  In fact, this is the cutest one I found out of dozens.  Somehow the magic is gone.  He looks like a boy, not a baby.  There’s no more mystery in his eyes.  My baby doesn’t look cute anymore.

 

Needless to say I regret ever given nanny the scissors and told her to never cut my baby’s hair again.  For days afterwards, it made me sad everytime I looked at Max.  I surely hope both me and him would recover from this disaster soon.

-Flo.

Max’s 100 Day Photos

When Ravi was an infant, we had his pictures taken at a professional photographer’s studio nearly every month.  As for Max, even though I have never taken him to a professional photographer, I took pictures of him everyday during my maternity leave.  But no matter how much I tried, I could never get his cuteness exactly right through my lenses.  So I always wanted to see how professional pictures would turn out.  My last day before going back to work coincided with Max’s 100th day after birth.  I finally got off my ass and booked an appointment at the local Picture People, and arranged with Mario to take the afternoon off.  I wanted to make sure everything’s done right to make this photo session just perfect.  To me, it required careful planning and execution.  I wanted to time the photo session exactly to when Max is awake and happy, because a cranky baby makes an ugly baby on film.  The whole day’s eating, feeding, and sleeping schedules revolved around this appointment.  By the time we finally got there, Max was at the peak of his happiness.  As the result, the pictures turned out really well.  I loved these pictures, and I hope you will too.

-Flo.

 

 

 

 

Ravi, You Are 29 Months Old Today!

Dear Ravi,

You are 29 months old today!  Seems like you are so capable already, sometimes it is hard to put a finger on new things you’ve learned each month.  Me and your dad considered for a moment to change writing this monthly post series to every other month, but so far I am still able to find so many things to write about.

You make angry faces.  In order to show your dismay when we deny your requests, you used to throw yourself onto the floor and cry.  If that didn’t work, you would call out to your grandpa (A-Pa) and grandma (Mom) to rescue you.  But in the last couple of weeks, your new strategy is to make angry faces by pouting your lips, half shutting your eyes, and looking at us from sideways.  When we finally relent and you get your way, you would be so happy but still tries your hardest to hide the smile on your face.

You frequently request to sit on potty.  Your teachers at school told us that you go to potty there at least three times a day and we should try to put you on potty at home as well.  We were surprised that you regularly request to be put onto the potty yourself!  Sometimes you make the wrong judgement call and nothing comes out, but you are always proud to sit on the potty.  You even wanted to assist us in the clean up process, which makes mommy very nervous. 

You know the words in the book that we read to you regularly.  When mommy reads to you your favorite books before bedtime, you now “help out” by prompting mommy the first couple of words on some pages!  Even though you can only do this in handful of books, mommy is still surprised that you are able to memorize those words.  Mommy questions if you actually understand those words, most likely you only remember their sounding and not their meaning.  Either way, mommy is so proud of you.

You now love the swing.  Everytime we take you to the park, the first thing you want to try is the swing!  Even though sometimes you fall down and get scared midway, you always wanted to try and try again, and go higher and higher.  We now spend bulk our time at park on the swing.  Mommy loves your “never give up” spirit and hope that someday soon you will be able to swing yourself.

Ravi, mommy loves you so much.  You never cease to amaze me.  I am always looking forward to see what new things you can do every and everyday.

Love,

Mommy.

 

 

 

Ravi vs. Swing

As an infant, Ravi disliked the swing.  We realized this when we first put him in a hand-me-down, and not even a minute later he started to cry furiously.  So we didn’t bother openning the brand new super-duper swing with multiple modes of functions that I received from my baby shower.  We thought we would save that for our next kid, who may appreciate cool gadgets more.  During the first four months of his life, Ravi’s swing sat sadly in the corner of his room gathering dust. 

When Ravi started day care at four months of age, the care lady often put him in a swing even though I have told her repeatly that Ravi disliks it.  She probably didn’t care, especially after I walked out of the door each morning.  She kept putting Ravi in it.  In her mind, she was probably thinking: “I’ll use this swing like a chair, because I am too cheap to put batteries in it.  This little kid can just sit in it and be happy that he’s ignored.”  It was a miracle that Ravi didn’t cry himself hoarse each day.  I think Ravi was just too happy to watch older kids playing around him and quickly forgotten he was in a swing.  One night when I walked in to pick up Ravi, he was happily swinging back and forth in that batteryless swing by shifting his weight back and forth!  When he saw me, he was so proud and gave me a big smile and a giggle.  It was just the most hillarious thing I saw and I wish I had recorded it on video.  I had hope, maybe this kid will grow up to like swing.

When Ravi was old enough to go to the park, we often ask him if he would like to try the swing.  The answer was always no.  We thought, maybe the image of him swinging himself on that batteryless swing endlessly has caused semi-permanent damage to his head.  So we didn’t push him and let him be.  When we moved to our new home and enrolled Ravi to a new school, his classroom’s play yard has a long row of swings.  Each morning when we drop Ravi off, it was always fully occupied with couple of kids waiting to get on.  We’ve always hoped that Ravi would be interested in trying again, but he never did.  We thought, what a waste, he is such a natural when it comes swinging himself.

So these days when we visit the neighborhood park, we don’t bother asking him again about the swing anymore.  Untill last weekend… As we walked by the swings, Ravi wanted to get on.  I first pointed to the little kiddie ones that’s in the shape of a bucket with holes cut out for legs.  But no, he wanted to try the big kid swing!  He got on happily like he has done it dozens of times before, and kept asking me to push him higher.  Cautiously, I pushed him, while watched him closely in case he changes his mind.  A few minutes later, he was still going strong.  He even started to chat with the little girl on the next swing, and checking out if he was swinging higher.  He kept telling me to push him harder till he was finally going higher.  Ten minutes later, he didn’t want to stop. Twenty minutes later, still going strong.  Thirty minutes later, still giggling… He was on that swing for over fourty minutes before he finally got off!  My poor back was hurting form bending while pushing him.  Could you belive he went from zero to fourty minutes on something he disliked for the last two years?  Go figure, that’s Ravi for you.

So I wonder what’s going to happen now.  Is he now a fan of the swing?  Or was that day an isolated incident?  Only time will tell. 

-Flo.

Back to Work

Last Friday was my first day back to work.  It was the beginning of a new chapter in my life, and to be honest, I am scared.

In the last three months, I have been hiding behind a vail of lies.  I lie to myself that I can do it, that I can hack this life.  I can work, take care of a two year old and a three months old, and support my husband’s ambition in working full time while working toward FEMBA.  But the truth is, I can’t.  Not today, likely not tomorrow, maybe not for a long time.  And I am scared.

Knowing Max was going to be a difficult baby like Ravi (topic for another post), we hired a nanny to take care of him within a week of his birth.  Last weekend was the nanny’s days off and Max was sick.  I took care of Max since he refused to have anybody else come near him.  The first night I slept 3.5 hours, and the second night I slept 4.5 hours, all in at most one hour long stretches.  The rest of the nights, I held him to sleep in my arms because within minutes after I put him down he would awake.  I also held him for his naps and awake times during the day.  My feet and legs hurt from rocking and shaking him when he cried through out the day.  I spent very little time away from him.  I didn’t brush my teeth, wash my face, or take a shower, let along spend anytime with Ravi.  I was lucky that my mother-in-law helped us cook and clean and watched Max while I had my meals, while Mario took care of Ravi.  In my most desperate moments, I conceded.  No, I couldn’t handle this life.  And I was scared.

Before this day, I refused to be honest with myself.  I occupied myself daily on planning on how I can get ride of the nanny and live this life on my own.  I lie to myself that I can hack this, that I can do it all on my own.  Other people have done it, why can’t I?!  But now I know it isn’t so simple.  Day by day, the mountain of obsticles ahead is getting higher and higher, as Mario’s school demand begin to take shape.  I realize that I am far away from able to doing this all alone, and I am scared.

Now I am back to work and facing a new beginning.  I will be more truthful to myself.  I will bide my time and become stronger, plotting and hoping that someday soon I will be capable enough to take back my family, and I won’t rest till that day comes.  Only thenwill I be scared no more.

-Flo.