My kids are now 21 months old. I started reading to them pretty much since they were born. Bunny in particular has developed a love for books. We currently have about 45 library books in our house, with 44 of them being children’s books. Bunny reads some of the books over and over again herself and also asks me to read them to her. Okra also likes to read and does flip the books on his own, but his level of interest is not nearly as intense as Bunny’s. In the morning when we change Okra’s diaper first, Bunny is satisfied with waiting for her turn as long as we hand her a book. She memorizes words from some of these library books and fills in the blank whenever she remembers. Since the summer began, we have joined our library’s Summer Learning Challenge. We are to log every 20 minutes of reading or listening by coloring one of the 36 wheels on a piece of paper. When we are done with that, plus trying 6 activities that are new to us, then each kid gets a new book and a raffle ticket to have a chance to win $1000 scholarship. Some days we get to color 3 wheels. That is an hour of reading. Bunny can sit there and read to herself for 30 minutes sometimes. Here is a picture of them hiding in the corner reading before church yesterday:
Isn’t this adorable? I just love that the kids are so into reading. I hope that their love for books will never end.
Last year my annual check up was the day after my in-laws left. My blood pressure was exceedingly high on that day. I chalked it up to eating extra salty Indian homemade food and being nervous in front of my doctor. I went back to see my doctor for a check up exactly one year after last year’s. The initial reading of my blood pressure was a little high but not too high. When my doctor remeasured my blood pressure, the number shot up. It didn’t help for him to tell me to relax. I was thinking, whenever someone tells me to relax, I get even more nervous. The interesting thing was, a couple of days prior to that, my mom asked me to take my blood pressure on her home machine and it came out totally normal. So I still don’t know if my extra high reading was truly due to white coat syndrome. But one thing that I did confess to the doctor was that I hadn’t gone back to consistently exercising since my kids were born. I am always tired and would rather take a nap when the kids take a nap. My weight has been steadily climbing up. Now with the potential high blood pressure, I am determined to take care of my health better. After considering my day and my fatigue level during the day, the best time that I could come up with for exercising is early in the morning. I am NOT a morning person by any definition, but I did attend fitness bootcamp for 5 years straight in the past for a 6:15am class, so it is doable. Getting up early for fitness bootcamp took a lot of willpower, so I know that it will be a challenge to get myself up. But again, I am determined to get myself in better health. I know that mental and physical preparation would be important for my success. The day after my doctor’s visit, I lay out my workout clothes on my dresser. I also downloaded a walking app to track my progress. My biggest strategy for maintaining my progress is to listen to a fascinating podcast that is a series. I chose Serial because each episode is a continuation of the last. Plus, who doesn’t love a murder mystery? I went to bed a bit earlier that night to ensure enough sleep for the night. The alarm went off at 6am the next morning. I got up, washed my face, changed into my workout clothes, and headed out the door. My goal was half an hour and to return by 7am to make breakfast for the kids. I put on my headphones, turned on Serial, started my walking app, and started my first workout in many many months. I walked uphill, downhill, and turned the corner briskly. The show was gripping and kept me going. The app reminds you of your pace every mile, which is motivating to me. I chose routes that go uphill for a long stretch. When I got home, surprisingly and amazingly, the route that I took was 2.01 miles. I would call that exactly two miles. My average pace was 16:10 min/mi, which took 32 minutes 38 seconds. I felt so good after the walk! I did that again the next day in the drizzle and was a bit faster. Average pace was 15:40 min/ml, and the total time was 31:29 min. Yesterday was my 3rd walk. This time, I was wearing the Airpods that Bob bought me, so it was a bit more convenient for me not to have cords attached to my phone. But I was tired. I lingered in bed for an extra 8 minutes and decided to get myself out there. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. I could feel that my body and my steps were heavy. The murder mystery really kept me going. The longer I was out there, the smoother my walk was. By the time I was done, my pace was 16:11 min/mi, which was similar to day one. I am so glad that my initial effort to take good care of my health was off to a good start. I just hope that as the days get shorter and sunrise gets later, I am still going to be motivated to get myself out there for a good workout. I really need to maintain my health for my own sake and for the sake of my family. If anyone has any recommendation on an excellent podcast that will have me hooked for my future walks, please send them my way! I would love to keep my workout interesting for a long time to come.
This past weekend I attended my nephew’s high school graduation. Coincidentally, the day before the graduation, I was re-reading my old blog posts and came across the one that I wrote about his 8th grade graduation in June 2015. I was going through a very difficult period of time with having to have a surgery inside my uterine cavity and having to find a donor in addition to some family drama. Watching the mother of a graduate reading a card from her son and tearing up from his words was such a trigger for me. I was tearing up a bit wondering about my future: if I would ever get to attend my kid’s graduation. This past Saturday, sitting in the theater witnessing another milestone of my nephew’s life, life surely felt very different from four years ago at his previous graduation. I no longer have to wonder if I’d ever have a chance to attend my kids’ graduation. I mean, we don’t know about the future, but since my children are here on this earth, the chances of me being able to be at their graduation are exponentially higher than when I was still hoping to make a baby. Instead of a sense of loss, unfairness, envy, jealousy, fear that I experienced four years ago, I was a happy mother checking on my phone’s baby monitor app periodically to see if my daughter was still napping in her crib and messaging my husband to see if our boy was still sleeping in his pack n play. I am forever grateful that at this graduation my pursuit of a child was no longer an uncertainty. Being able to celebrate my kids at their middle school, high school, and even college graduation is not a far-fetched dream anymore.
I continue to read my old blog posts.
Now that Bob and I have our boy/girl twins, it has been quite surreal to read the posts I had written about the possibility of pursuing egg donation. Even when we were banking day two embryos with my own eggs, we were already mentally, emotionally, and financially preparing for future potential donor egg cycles. There were quite a few posts back then about my thoughts and feelings regarding egg donation. This particular post stands out to me. My friend who struggled to get pregnant had just given birth to a baby boy. I signed up to deliver a meal to her. When I arrived, I was overwhelmed by the sight of everything new mom and newborn. This was what I wrote:
“I commented on the abundance of his dark hair. Anna exclaimed at her surprise of his dark hair because both she and her husband were born bald and later on grew blonde hair. I couldn’t help but wonder if I would feel the loss of the privilege of making such a comment in the future if my children are conceived with donor gametes. Maybe by then I’ll just feel so lucky to have a baby that it doesn’t matter anymore.”
Now that I am mom to my babies who were conceived with donor gametes, I don’t have to wonder anymore. I can tell you exactly how I feel. There is still a sense of loss of not being able to make such a comment about my own children’s hair, or skin color, or nose, or other physical parts of them. During the weekdays when I am by myself with the kids out and about, I get asked many times by strangers where my boy’s curly hair comes from. That whole head of curly hair definitely comes from my husband, which is usually how I answer it, but it does serve as a reminder that the kids and I are not biologically related. Is this sense of loss constant? Not at all. I’d say it is not a part of my everyday life. I love them so much and only want them and not other kids, so this sense of loss comes occasionally and goes away quickly. Most of the time the last statement of that blog post was true. I feel so so so lucky to have (these) bab(ies) that it doesn’t matter anymore. The fact that I can come back here in this space 4.5 years later to address a question I had prior to becoming mom of kids made with donor eggs? Now THAT is a privilege that I won’t/don’t take it lightly.
(By the way, yesterday, June 2nd, was my 6th blogoversary, and this is my 520th post. I sure hope to be able to keep this blog up for many years to come. Thanks for stopping by!)