A few weeks ago, I wrote about my son Okra’s weight gain. At that time, he had gained a pound in a week. I was ecstatic and hoped that he would continue to gain. Last Wednesday was his follow up visit with his gastrointestinal specialist. I was anxious to see if he had gained more weight. Truth be told, I knew he must have been heavier because it had gotten harder to lift him and carry him in the last week or two. He just felt like a load to me. Fast forward to the visit, first thing he had to do was to check his weight and height. I was so pleased to learn that his weight went from 28 lbs to 30.8 lbs. He had gained almost 3 lbs in 6 weeks! Considering that he hadn’t gained any weight for 6 whole months (he had been 28 lbs for 6 months), this is such a shocker. What was more shocking was his height. When the nurse announced that he was 38.5 inches, I thought that she measured wrong and didn’t believe her. I told her that at the visit 6 weeks ago as well as the well check with his pediatrician 5 weeks ago, he was 37.125 inches. I told her to check the previous records and remeasure his height. She did both, and showed me that he is indeed 38.5 inches. Wow! I didn’t even think about the possibility of a height increase for him because I was so focused on putting weight on him. I just marvel at the power of food on his body. Not only did his body absorb all the nutrients to make weight gain possible, the food also made his body grow more than 1.25 inches in 6 weeks. When his GI specialist came in, we were both grinning like crazy people about his progress. She was so pleased that the appetite medication in combination with the Miralax have been so effective in helping him gain weight, and that she and I were on the same page in regards to the same approach and same goals. His weight went from 13th percentile to 30 something percentile for his sex and age. I told her that I was surprised at his height. She said that you could often see kids’ pants getting shorter. I told her that my quirky boy always pulls his pant legs up at home so there is no way for me to know how long his pants look on him. Hahaha. When she examined his stomach, she noted that his ribcage area was filling out unlike the last time when he was bonier. His stomach was also not distended anymore, which indicated that his constipation issue has gotten better. I told her that I did notice his increase in appetite, although he is still picky. But you know, Okra never really told me that he was hungry before, but he started telling me that he is hungry a few weeks ago sometime mid morning. I take it as a good sign. His water intake has become a power struggle. The frozen fruit strategy that I talked about last time doesn’t work anymore. In order to reach his daily fluid goal of 40 oz, I had to do a lot of different things to make him drink his water. Dr. GI Specialist said that life is too short and lowered his daily fluid goal to 32 oz. To me, that is much more manageable. As for his stool formation being mushy (he rarely has good formation), she told me to take photos of his stool a few days prior to returning for a follow up visit in two months, and we will discuss about it then. In the mean time, we will continue the treatment and see how he does. I walked away from the appointment with Okra so happy that he is doing so well. He told me that he was hungry and I gave him the muffins that he refused to eat at home. He happily ate all of that and then some other snacks on the way home. I know my son is still picky and changes his mind about foods that he once liked. It has always been a challenge to come up with new foods to entice him in order for him to eat more. For example, he had loved his “ice cream balls” (frozen balls of peanut butter, cream cheese, and honey), homemade chocolate pumpkin donuts, or raisin cookies. Last couple of days, he rejected all of these items. He recently stopped eating all carbs including his beloved bread and rice. He only eats this paratha from TJs so I slather on some butter and give it to him at dinner. Pickiness has made feeding him really difficult. But seeing his tremendous progress has spurred me on to continue to cook and bake and look up new recipes so that he will continue gaining and growing. That’s all I can do right? To help him the best way I know how.
My 3-year-old daughter asks me many questions. The other day she was listening to When You Feel Jealous by Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood in the car and asked me what jealous means. I tried my best to explain it to her, saying that it is when you feel sad or unhappy when someone has what you don’t have. She asked me several more times the following week. Fast forward to this past weekend. After learning about this ranch about 30 minutes away that offered Halloween activities and a pumpkin patch, we decided to take the kids there trusting that we would be safe enough with the COVID measures that were implemented. There were quite a few activities there. When we were waiting in line for the petting zoo, the lady behind me was pregnant with a kid that looked about three years old. She was probably 7 or 8 months pregnant. I started noticing her and telling Bob that there was a pregnant lady behind us. He said, “Yeah I saw a few of them, and was trying to tell you that there was one in front of us at the entrance but you didn’t pay attention to me.” I was too busy with what I was doing and didn’t even pay attention. Even when I do pay attention, I find that I don’t feel anything about the pregnant ladies. In the past, I would have noticed how many kids they already have, how far along they might have been, and felt a little sorry for myself that they were working on their number two or three or four and I was still trying to have the first baby. It is no longer the case. I make a mental note of pregnant ladies just like how I make mental note of everything else around me. I don’t pay particular attention to them anymore. Just like that, they have what I also have, and that feeing of jealous, or the negative feeling that you have when someone possesses something that you don’t have, is not there anymore even when I know that I didn’t get to carry my kids. I know that some of my friends who have been trying for a baby for a long time definitely feel jealous of people around them who are pregnant or have kids. It is hard to watch them go through a difficult time after trying for so long. Sometimes I just hope for a resolution for them so they don’t have to feel jealous anymore. I am sure that my 3-year-old will feel jealous about many things in her life in the future, but I sincerely hope that she (and her brother) will never experience the kind of jealousy one has when everyone else around him/her can make a baby easily except for her.
Here are my kids at the petting zoo:
It has been ten years since the day Bob and I got engaged.
Bob proposed on October 10, 2010. It was a Sunday. We had gone to Angel Island to watch the Blue Angels. He didn’t propose there when the Blue Angels were making hearts with their smoke trails. He proposed later that evening in his apartment which was surprising to me. So much happened in the last ten years. From our beautiful wedding to the disapproval of Bob’s parents for our marriage. From preventing pregnancy to requiring a uterine surgery. From high FSH to IVF. From multiple IVF cycles with my own eggs (talking about eight of them) to a few different donors. From frozen DE cycles to fresh DE cycles. From my own uterus to our gestational carrier’s selfless sacrifice. All that long history of ups and downs resulted in the birth of our beautiful twins three years ago. If you asked me ten years ago on the day of our engagement how I would imagine my life would be ten years from then, I would probably say I would have a kid or two that are about 7 and 5 years old and I would be working part-time as a speech language pathologist. My life is nothing like what I thought it would turn out to be. I would laugh at you if you told me that I would have twins that I take care of full time at home. Me? Twins? Stay at home mom? Whether I expected it or not, this is my life, which is at times chaotic, but it is also full and beautiful despite being in the middle of a pandemic. Even when this is nothing like I imagined, it is what God has given me and I wouldn’t want it any other way. It is just funny (to me) that nowadays I know way more about calorie-rich food than I do speech and language therapy techniques. Ultimately, it is about what is the most important at that particular stage of your life.
Normally we don’t celebrate our engagement anniversary. However, ten years seems like a good milestone for an excuse to eat good food and we hadn’t done much in the last six months. Every chance we get we would like to make our ordinary life a little bit special. The previous time we had sashimi was on the day of Bob’s birthday in February sitting at the sushi bar at a crowded Japanese restaurant. Sitting inside a restaurant with many many patrons in a close quarter seems like a lifetime away. We found a new sushi restaurant in our neighborhood with great ratings. We phoned in the order and Bob picked up. I made the kids and my mom pizza for dinner. After we fed the kids and put them down for the night, the two of us got to thoroughly enjoy our anniversary dinner together without one single interruption. The sashimi did not disappoint. The fish was the kind that melted in your mouth. It hit all the spots that it was supposed to hit. Tasty wine and lovely conversation. It was the perfect way to celebrate a little milestone during this pandemic.
I have these former coworkers that I have been friends with for 23 plus years. From my 20s to my 30s, these ladies were an integral part of my life. They were the ones that celebrated my birthday year after year after year when I was single. We had so many great memories together. There were also some fallouts between a few of us. We drifted apart in our late 30s when life circumstances changed, but they continue to be near and dear to my heart. One of them moved away to another state the year we got married. Every time she is in town we’d get together. Otherwise we would very occasionally talk to one another or get together. When COVID hit, this group of friends started to video chat once a week. The pandemic is a horrible thing but its existence has helped to bring this group of friends together closer than any other time in the past ten years. We now know how everybody is doing. We commiserate about the state of our country and share about our lives. When one of them lost her mother, we were able to be there for her for emotional support. Four of us are married with kids, and one of them is single. She is my age and has been dating on and off but has not found a life partner yet. She happens to also be quiet and often sits back to listen to others and rarely volunteers information. I wasn’t the closest to her throughout the years but I have grown very fond of her in the last few years. Ever since COVID hits, I have made sure that I spend some time to talk to her since she lives alone. A couple of weeks ago, everybody appeared to be quite busy so the video chat was short. I made sure I stayed behind to chat with my single friend. I asked her how she was doing and what was new. To my surprise, instead of talking about her work or her dad, she paused a little and then told me that she was in love! OH MY! I was so surprised! Of course I tried to get as many details as possible. She met this guy online. After dating for a couple of months, she decided to welcome him into her pod and they have been dating in person for a couple of months. She really really really likes him, which makes me so happy for her! I couldn’t believe that she had kept it a secret from all of us for so long, and chose not to disclose to others during our group chat. I am so proud of her for putting herself out there during a pandemic and met someone and was brave enough to embark on a new dating relationship. It takes so much courage to do that. And she is happy and in love! I can go on and on about it as I have been so excited for her. I couldn’t wait for her to tell the others the following week. Then the next week came, and I got on the call a little late. At the end of the call, I asked if single friend had given others an update. I gave her a smile and a knowing look. She started laughing saying that Isabelle was trying to give me a hint to tell you all what has been going on. So she again told our other friends that she was in love. Everybody was so so so psyched for her! In these dark times, the news of a dear friend falling in love just brings so much joy in my life. You cannot underestimate the power of positive news. There is hope that this relationship will come to fruition and my dear friend gets to spend the rest of her life with someone that she loves. Wouldn’t that be a lovely thing that comes out of a horrible pandemic?