Today is the second day of our second road trip with our twins. Yesterday we drove 275 miles down south from home. This is the farthest that the kids have gone from home. They did relatively well. Other than whimpering once in a while, Bunny did not cry at all. Okra napped twice and finally had a full meltdown 30 minutes before arrival. I’d consider that a win. We have rented a hotel suite with a living room and kitchen. The hotel provided two pack n’ plays. The kids were probably confused about what was going on despite me trying to explain to them that we were going on a road trip. They explored all the rooms and tried to open doors, drawers, and cabinets. We tried to contain Bunny by putting her in her pack n play. At the end of the night, she figured out how to climb out of it. Three times. You could see her brain work. Haha. But once the sleep sack went on, it was a lot harder for her to try. Plus that acted as a cue for sleep time. Okra had a much harder time settling down. Poor guy was confused. He finally went down for bed. And despite my best effort with a packing list, we forgot one of the most important things: sound machine. Fortunately the iPad has white noise on it. Those who say that with little kids you take trips, not vacations are absolutely right. I was exhausted last night from the driving, chasing kids, taking care of their needs, and outwitting them. Hopefully we will have some fun today.
Here is our packed car. Doesn’t look too bad!
A person posted a question on a parenting group I am a part of on Fac.ebook. It said, “If you could/do get to do pregnancy again what would you do differently?”
Scrolling down, I saw someone’s response, and immediately felt almost revolted by it. She wrote, “Hire a surrogate!” Many people liked or even clicked on the laughing emoji on that response. My negative reaction probably came from my assumption of the the commenter being flippant and insensitive to those who truly need help with carrying a pregnancy. I was offended by how easily people think surrogacy would be. If I had a chance to experience pregnancy, I would.
While brushing my teeth that morning, I was thinking about that response, and it really bugged me. Afterwards, I decided to respond to that. I reworded and revised my response several times, but ultimately chose to say this: “For those who were/are infertile and need/needed to have a gestational carrier to build their families (like myself), it is often a long, expensive, and painful process. I hope others don’t take it lightly.”
I went on my day. Then that commenter responded: “I do not, and did not mean to be glib. But were I, at (very nearly) 40 addressing having another child, I would very seriously be considering surrogacy because we all understand the rigors of bringing a human into the world and even if I could (unknown), I’m not for putting my body through that again.”
I don’t know what she went through with her pregnancy, but it sounded traumatic. I am glad I responded to get clarity on her initial short answer. If I had not, then I would have carried this grudge secretly against this stranger just because I assumed that she was thoughtless in her answer. I am also glad that I took this chance to speak up about this topic. It doesn’t hurt to educate the public and share our points of view from the perspective of parents who have children via gestational surrogacy, even if it’s just one person at a time.
I hate getting my hands and clothes dirty. Hence I am not quite a beach person, and never really wanted to have water play or other sensory kind of activities for the kids I worked with. Now that I have my own kids, I am still kind of averse to dirt. My mom and I constantly wipe the kids’ hands during meal time and wipe the floor whenever food drops. When I take the kids to a playground, I often steer them away from the sand area. I would hate to have to clean up their clothes, their hair, and their socks and shoes from sand. The thought of it just made me shudder. My effort is proven to be futile because the kids are naturally drawn to dirt and sand. They see other kids there and just walk over, sit down, and start playing. They take other kids’ shovels and pails and start digging. They pick up sand and put some in their mouth. They pick up twigs and barks and taste them. At first I was quite grossed out by sand going into my shoes and kids having dirt and sand in their mouths. I have to say now that I am quite proud of myself because I have evolved to a point where I sit in the sand area with the kids and let them do whatever they want with the sand including tasting some. I do tell them that it is not for eating and it probably doesn’t taste good, but I have let go a lot more than I thought I would when it comes to dirt and sand. I clean out all the sand from their clothes and shoes/socks before loading them back in the car. When I told my mom that the kids played in the sand and tasted some, the horrified look on her face was priceless. Haha. I know that playing in the sand is good for their play skills and their sensory development, so I am going to continue to let go. I even bought them a whole set of sand toys and vehicles for our beach vacation in a few weeks!
My maid-of-honor, about whom I have written a couple of times before (here and here), just moved into her newly purchased condo as a first-time homeowner. I carved out a couple of hours on her moving day to hang out at her new home. Another girlfriend of ours who has moved to a nearby city recently was also there to support her. We had a great time celebrating and rejoicing with her for the fulfillment of one of her dreams: owning a home. We enjoyed some desserts, champagne, strawberries, and discussed the most optimal placement of her furniture. It was fun. One thing that I did notice though, was that, my life and my kids didn’t come up as a topic of conversation. We talked about my friend’s move, the other girlfriend’s life, work, and church life in the new city, and some other topics. In those 1.5 hours, they did not ask me about me or my kids. Except for when my mom called me to let me know about the kids’ tantrums, it was time for me to go, and at that time, my girlfriends did say something about my kids being big and fun at this age. On my drive home, I pondered about this. Was the lack of interest due to my girlfriends being single? Was it because they truly did not care about how I was and how the kids were? Or was it because it reminds them of what they don’t have and they don’t want to bring it up? This reminds me of the previous week’s Sunday service. We went to church a little earlier so the kids could walk on the sidewalks to church instead of being carried in a rush to service like usual. I was holding Bunny’s hand walking towards church when my maid-of-honor walked behind us. She did not interact with the kids much. I asked her questions about her move, and we chatted a little about it. That was it. I guess… as someone who was so supportive of us emotionally and prayerfully during those five years of infertility trials, I did expect her to show a little bit more interest in my life as a mom and my kids’ life. To give her credit, when she and I get together once every few months, we do talk about my life and the kids. So it is not like we don’t ever talk about me. I guess I just expect a little bit more interest in interacting with the kids and getting to know them. She did mention on her moving day that she had been feeling lonely in the last couple of years living in San Francisco. She is approaching 40, not meeting anyone, and doesn’t want to start a family until she gets married. I know it has been hard for her, so a while ago I have decided to be understanding of her situation and her emotional wellbeing and not to take things personally. But still, I do want to be cared for, and when my single girlfriends don’t show much interest in my kids, I do notice and feel a little sad about it at the moment.
My dad has been in town for over a week now, and it’s been wonderful.
Ever since the kids have switched to one nap a day, I always try to take them somewhere in the morning because we run out of things to do at home. Even though my mom lives with us and helps take care of the kids, she usually stays home to rest when the kids and I have an outing. So when my dad told me that he was going to come visit for two months, I was super excited and couldn’t wait for him to show up so he could help with the kids when we go out.
Grandpa has proven to be the best play partner. He has only been in town for a little bit, and he has gone out with us every single day. We have been to the zoo, on hikes, Golden Gate Park, lunch, and dinner. I’ve got to say that we have struck gold with grandpa. He’s over 70 years old but he is healthy and has energy. When we go to the zoo or on hikes, grandpa has the energy to chase the kids and the patience to wait when the kids don’t want to go where we ask them to go. It is soooooo much easier when another grownup is there to take care of one of the twins so I don’t have to run in two directions all the time. When the kids want to stop somewhere, grandpa patiently stands there to wait instead of rushing them to places. He tells them about the trees and birds and flowers and cars and bikes and airplanes. He gently reminds them not to pick up stuff to eat from the ground over and over again. Being out and about with them has become so much more leisurely instead of being stressful because of grandpa’s help. The best part? The kids really enjoy their time with grandpa. My dad really enjoys them as well. I think the best part for him is that the kids understand his language unlike my niece and nephew who never learned to understand or speak Cantonese. He finally has grandchildren who know what he is talking about when he speaks his native language.
Here is a photo of them visiting a tiger together:
I am tremendously blessed with a dad so helpful and loving toward my children. It is such a bummer that he doesn’t live in the same country with us. It makes his time in the States even more precious.