MicroblogMondays: Strangers

Because of the wildfires, the air quality has been horrible.  The air inside the house made me feel sick.  We decided to take the kids to the mall on the weekend so at least I could breathe better in a bigger indoor space.  While sitting in in their double stroller in the food court having lunch, the babies attracted attention from a couple of groups of older ladies.  This one particular group of older Chinese ladies stopped right next to us and were oohing and aahing over the kids.  They said the usual things that we would usually hear from strangers when they find out that we have boy girl twins, especially Chinese old ladies.  Things like:

  • One boy one girl?  You are so blessed!
  • It’s so perfect.  You don’t have to try for another one.  You are done.
  • You have such a good life to have such gorgeous twins.

They gave me a thumb up as if I had a choice of what kind of kids I would get.  I usually just smile and nod.  My husband like usual was soaking it all in.  He’s super proud of his twins and often strikes up a conversation with Chinese old ladies.  Chinese old ladies continued talking and asking questions, and commenting on the kids’ looks.  One of them pointed at Bunny and said, “This is daddy’s girl.  She looks exactly like you” to Bob.   She went onto examine my looks and Bob’s looks and said, “The kids have daddy’s eyes and mommy’s nose.”  I was laughing inside of me because her statement could not be farther from the reality.  The kids definitely do not have my nose.  But you know, people want to believe in what they see.  So I still continued to nod and smile.  Then she said, “Daddy is good looking, mommy is good looking, and the babies are good looking!”  That made me laugh.  But the next thing she did made me cringe.  She thought that Okra was a girl because of his curly hair.  She told me that they were two pretty girls.  When she learned that he was actually a boy, she put her hand on his head and rubbed his hair back and forth a few times.  I am extremely uncomfortable with strangers touching my babies, and I thought that I’d be a brave mom to speak up about it.  But because these were little old Chinese ladies, I kept my opinion to myself hoping that they’d just walk away within the next few seconds.  Afterwards, I beat myself up for not saying anything, but you know, it felt much harder for me to do so in Chinese than in English. You’d think that it’d be easy to speak up but no, it wasn’t.  I will need to practice more so I’d feel more comfortable speaking up next time.

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MicroblogMondays: College Friend

Recently a college friend of mine who lives in Asia traveled to the Bay Area for a work-related trip.  Since her schedule was so tight, the only time that worked for us to meet up was during my twins’ afternoon nap time 40 minutes away at a coffee shop.  During our phone call to plan for a meet up, she asked, sort of innocently, “Do you have to bring the babies?” This kind of made me laugh.  I have known my friend since we were 18.  She and her sister were both very good friends with me in college.  Their divorced parents had a volatile relationship so my friend never believed in marriage.  She herself was married for a brief period of time (which was done secretly and was shocking to friends in our circle) and is now in a relationship with a woman.  Her sister, on the other hand, got married early and now has two kids in elementary school.  My mom found it super odd that my friend preferred to meet with me without the babies.  She asked, “Won’t she want to see your babies?” Being familiar with my friend, I knew that she wouldn’t mind not meeting my babies at all since she has never been a baby/kid person and never would want offsprings of her own.  On the other hand, her sister would have wanted to come and meet with my babies.  We had such a great time chatting for about hour and a half.  Our conversation naturally turned to our journey making these babies and the cost of it.  She asked, “Is it worth it?”  Her attitude was genuine without judgment.  She really wanted to know as she’d never understand the desperation and emotions behind our decisions in the 5.5 years of waiting for these babies.  To her, she has never remotely wanted to be a mother let alone in our 40s.  She found it amazing that we were willing to raise little babies at this age and devote our time, energy, and our hard earned dollars on them for the next 18 to 20 years. She found it even more amazing that I didn’t get to share genes with these babies or carry them.  I told her that it really doesn’t matter as I am no doubt their mother.  She asked, “How about travels, comforts, and career?” I told her, “See, this is the beauty of the world.”  There are so many different kinds of people wanting to do many different kinds of things.  She can feel free to enjoy her time and freedom without offsprings.  I had the freedom all of my life to do whatever she is doing now so I can feel free to spend all my resources on the babies that I had longed for all my life.  Just like I don’t see anything wrong with her wanting to be childfree, I don’t see anything wrong with us trying so hard and devoting so many of our resources in having children.  What’s the use of having a nice car or a bigger house without these kids?  To each their own, yeah?  It was a genuine and deep conversation and I am glad we had it.  The funny thing was, when she messaged her sister the photo that we took together at the cafe, her sister’s first question was, “Where are the babies?”  It really shows how some people care about kids and some don’t.  And there is nothing wrong with it.  Like I said, this is the beauty of the world.

MicroblogMondays: Binky Moongee

I was a bit misty eyed when the idea of this blog post first popped into my head.

We started trying for a baby prior to the birth of this blog.  Bob was the one who suggested “binky moongee” as part of the blog’s name.  As I wrote in “What is a binky moongee?“, Bob’s dream had always been for his baby to press his/her face (“moongee” in Tamil, Bob’s mother tongue) on the glass of the window waiting for him to come home from work.  This dream was not fulfilled for quite many years.  Until now.

Every single day when Bob’s car pulls into the driveway or the spot in front of our house, I put Bunny and Okra right in front of the window.  They would press their noses on the glass while excitedly pounding their hands on the window.  They would spot Bob and start smiling and then laughing.  Bob would then come stand in front of them outside of the window calling their names and putting his big hands on the window where the babies’ small hands are.  It is such a joyful moment that concludes a very long work day for him.

The only thing is we can’t call these babies “binky moongee” because they had stopped using their binkies months ago.  Despite that, it is still so heartwarming to witness my dear husband’s dream being fulfilled on a daily basis after our long struggles.  We know that this blessing is not a given.  This realization makes it even more precious to see the kids’ reunion with their dad every single day.  We don’t have to hope and dream for a binky moongee anymore.  We are blessed with two.

MicroblogMondays: Four-Month-Old Is so Much Fun – Okra

Okra

I love our boy.  His personality has really emerged in the last month or so.

When Okra was born, he was this itty bitty thing that was 6 lbs only.  His features were more prominent back then because his face was skinny.  Fast forward four months.  At his most recent check up, he weighed 14 lbs 6 oz and measured 26 inches.  He has grown over 8 lbs and 6 inches since birth.  Lifting him and carrying him around has been harder and harder.  But he has the most kissable cheeks ever.  So juicy and so soft.  Whenever I lift him up or carry him, I can’t help but kiss his cheeks all the time.  Just like his sister, Okra is also a very good looking baby.  He has the softest hair (much softer than Bunny’s) that is wavy in the front and curly in the back.  There is a little curly strand on top of his head that has earned him the nickname “onion” by my mom.  After he lost his baby hair early on, he was bald for a while, so the hair on top of his head is here to stay. I love stroking his hair.  He has a very round face, nice thick brows, big and round eyes, extra long eyelashes, and a straight tall nose.  His double chin is super adorable.  He looks a lot like Bob but with Asian features.  He actually does not remind me of our donor at all as he is Bob’s mini-me.  Okra has chunky arms, body, thighs, and toes.  His toes are super cute.  He is just one chubby baby that has all the juice that I want in a baby.

Okra drools constantly.  He wets his bib quickly and needs to change into another.  It’s interesting that his gums, upon examination by our pediatrician, were not as swollen as Bunny’s, although Bunny doesn’t drool at all.  He bites on his clothes, his hands, my hand, or the burp cloth.  Basically whatever comes into contact with his mouth.

Okra is the needier baby out of the two.  He loves to be held and used to cry a lot.  His crying is very loud.  His mouth is wide open and his lips and uvula vibrate.  He still cries more often than Bunny but is more easily consolable these days.  I think he is getting more mature and can regulate his emotions a little bit more easily.  Okra is definitely a mama’s boy.  About a month ago, he started to develop a preference for me.  Whenever I walk by, his face lights up and his smile grows big.  He tracks my every move.  Even when he is crying, he would stop once I lifts him up.  It warms my heart to know that he loves seeing me so much.  My mom jokes that when he sees me, it’s like him seeing honey.  Okra’s smiles are very sweet.  He laughs loudly just like his sister. When he is not crying, he is a super sweet baby who loves to look at people with his big eyes and looks happy.

Okra naps much better than Bunny.  He cries at first.  Then his crying turns into this mumble that sounds a lot like complaints.  When I hear that, I know that he is about to fall asleep.  He would then yawn, and continue to whimper a little.  Then he’d be out.  He would usually stay asleep for about an hour to two hours.  He sometimes cries very loudly during his nap but would snap out of it himself and goes back to sleep on his own.  Unlike Bunny, Okra had a more difficult time going down for the night.  For a while, I found myself rocking him for 10 to 20 minutes before he would calm down enough to sleep.  I realized that this pattern was not productive for him or me as he was relying on me as his crutch to fall asleep.  I felt that he was ready for some sleep training.  I consulted with my friend who used a modified crying it out method.  We started with letting him cry for gradual intervals before going in the room to console him for about 30 seconds without picking him up.  The intervals went from 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 9 minutes, to 10 minutes for the first night.  It took him 25 minutes to fall asleep.  The second night started with 7 minutes, 9 minutes, and 10 minutes.  We didn’t even have to go to the 10-minute interval and Okra fell asleep after 14 minutes.  Ever since then, the subsequent days were on and off with a few minutes of crying.  After working at it for a couple of weeks, Okra has gotten the routine down.  After our 7ish feed, Bob comes home to play with them for a little bit.  We read a couple of books, sing a few songs, and pray together as a family.  I first put down Bunny who just falls asleep on her own.  Then I put down Okra by swaddling him, holding him, and telling him that I love him and I will see him in the morning.  He would go down calmly.  I go to turn off the lamp, turn on the sound machine and the night light, and exit the room.  He has been going down for the past many nights without even a whimper.  I am so proud of him for being able to fall asleep without my help.  Routine is powerful.

Okra has very good lower body strength.  Our pediatrician told us at the four-month visit that Okra has the muscle strength of a 6-month-old.  When he was about 2.5 months old, he would hold onto our hands and stand up on us without needing support for his neck.  Since turning four months, I let the babies play in a hand-me-down jumperoo with books underneath it.  Okra can sit in it and bounce on the books while using his hands to manipulate the knobs and buttons for 15 minutes.  He looks very tall when he plays in that thing.  His hands, on the other hand, are not as nimble as Bunny’s.  For the longest time, he would hold a fist with his thumbs pointing up when we offered him something.  It wasn’t until these past couple of weeks when he started to take things from us with his hands. Unlike Bunny, he loves tummy time, and can be flipped on his tummy for an extended period of time.  Okra also chats a lot with us.  He sees us and starts talking.  He loves to be tickled.  He also likes reading and songs.  He can focus on a few books and look at every single page with me.  He likes “When Cows Get Up in the Morning” and laughs hysterically when I sing “Moo-oo”.  This is such a fun age.

Other than his reflux and congestion, Okra is healthy for the most part, although he just caught a cold last week and has been coughing and more congested than usual.  It’s heartbreaking to hear a little baby cough.  He is definitely feeling sick, but he is still a happy baby.  We clear his nose with saline drops and Nose Frida constantly.  He cries like a crazy person when we lay him down and show him the saline drops bottle.  Sorry but we have to be mean to him because that’s the only way he can breathe better.  Since he has gotten sick, his appetite has tanked.  I just hope that he doesn’t lose weight and Bunny doesn’t catch the cold from him.

Okra is such a fun baby at four months.  I can’t wait to see what his and his sister’s next tricks will be.

MicroblogMondays: Four-Month-Old Is so Much Fun – Bunny

Bunny

Bunny was a beauty when she was born.  Now at four months old, she continues to be gorgeous with a full head of black hair, bright and big dark eyes, a tall and straight nose, beautiful lips, and a delicate chin.  She looks like a mixture of Bob and our donor.  Even her fingers, legs, and feet are dainty.  She is such a good looking baby.

This girl truly loves to smile, laugh, and chatter.  She is definitely the social butterfly who would forego a nap to hang out with people.  One time a very good friend of mine came to visit for the first time.  The two of them had such a good time that Bunny missed her nap and my friend missed most of the basketball game that she was supposed to watch with her husband.  Although she doesn’t nap well, Bunny is a very good sleeper.  She goes down by herself at night after her 7pm feed and doesn’t need any help with falling asleep.  You give her a binky and she is fine.  She wakes up in the morning chattering and laughing in the crib to herself.  You go in to look at her and she would give you the biggest smile that would brighten anyone’s day.  My mom often jokes that Bunny would be the best person to see on Chinese New Year’s Day because her happiness would bring fortune for the upcoming year.  Bunny rarely cries.  When she does, you know that something is up with her.  The good thing is she is easily consolable, which makes it a lot easier for me.  When you talk to her, she responds with her baby coos.  She is very alert and tracks people and things with her eyes.  She notices her brother Okra more often and always reaches her hand out to him.  Whether or not he takes her hand is hit or miss.  When Okra cries, she has a concerned look on her face and sometimes would also pout and start crying.

Baby girl seems to love reading.  Whenever I read her a book, she looks at all the pages I show her with such concentration she seems a lot older than 4 months old.  She can read through a book like Llama Llama Red Pajama with me.  She also loves it when I sings “Slippery Fish” to her.  This is a song I learned from our library’s “Bouncing Babies” program.  Whenever I sing “Gulp gulp gulp” and “Oh No!”, she laughs.  Bunny doesn’t quite play with the soft blocks that we bought for them for Christmas yet.  Her hands are still too tiny for the size of the blocks.  She does squeeze and grab a firefly toy and seems to enjoy it for a few minutes.

Physical strength wise, baby girl is very good with her hands and fingers.  She holds on to a toy for a long time.  She drops the toy and picks it right up without difficulty.  She loves to grab my hair with a grip so tight that sometimes it’s hard to pry her hand open.  Her fingers are also very nimble.  She takes off her binky and puts it back in her mouth.   Recently when she lies on the play gym, she gets frustrated that she can touch the dangling rings above her but can’t get them down.  She would yell for attention and eventually cry for help.  Bunny hates tummy time; she cries within a few minutes into it.  I still make her do it.  She recently started to want to stand on her feet while sitting on my lap.  It seems that her lower body strength is finally catching up with her brother’s.  She rolls to one side all the time.  She kicks her legs up and towards her face while lying down.  When you lay her in her crib one direction, you’d often find her facing the other direction in a few minutes just by kicking her legs, rolling to one side, and moving her bum.  Swaddling has been harder because Bunny Houdini’s arms escape quite easily.  But we will continue to swaddle during sleep until we absolutely can’t.  She can sit up with support with a strong and straight neck.  After the babies turned four months, we let them play in a hand-me-down jumperoo.  Although Bunny’s legs can’t touch the floor, she sits in it well and manipulates a bunch of the knobs and dials on the jumperoo with ease.

Bunny’s recent feeding pattern has been a bit worrisome.  She had been taking 3.5 to 5 or even 6 oz per meal for a while.  The day after our trip, she returned home and began to lose interest in her bottles.  Sometimes she’d take a whole bottle.  Other times she only takes an ounce or two.  When she is done, she sticks out her tongue, turns her head, and blocks her bottle with both hands.  I started to feed her in the nursery with the curtain drawn, lights out, and sound machine on to reduce distractions.  The situation has improved a little bit with this strategy.  But her daily intake has been variable.  One morning after having not eaten for eight hours, she only took a couple of ounces.  I was literally in tears sitting in the dark worrying that she’d lose weight.  I never thought that my child’s feeding pattern would make me so emotional.  I had many speculations of what might have caused this problem: Reflux meds not working?  Reflux meds dosage not correct? Formula not appropriate?  etc etc.  She still vomits at times and spits up at times, but she seems happy before and after.  My friend A who has twin girls is always the wise one.  She also experienced a period of time when one of her twins was also eating variably.  She said she’d spent too much time worrying about her daughter.  Instead, she wishes that she had enjoyed her baby more.  She advised me to call the nurse line if I wanted a peace of mind.  The nurse basically said that Bunny’s behavior is quite normal for this age, and I have been doing everything I can to make sure she enjoys her meals.  Babies at this age are curious and highly distractible so minimizing distractions in the environment would really help.  I have since learned to let her enjoy her meal as much as she wants without looking or acting worried.  If I try a few more times and she doesn’t take the bottle anymore, I won’t force the case.  We have been trying to stretch the babies’ sleep til 7am.  But because Bunny eats more when drowsy, I have been having myself and the night nanny feed her at 6am.  At our four-month check up, our pediatrician reassured me that at this age, some babies have what he calls “appetite slump”.  Maybe Bunny is one of those babies that doesn’t need to eat as much to still have enough calorie-intake.  He kindly suggested for us to let her wake up naturally then feed her.  We will take his advice and let the babies sleep until whenever they wake up.

At our four-month check up, our pediatrician said that Bunny is very healthy.  She now weighs 12 lbs 15 oz, which is 21st percentile.  Her birth weight was 6 lb 9 oz, so her current weight is almost double of her birth weight.  Her height is 25.5 inches, which is 87th percentile.  She wears 3 to 6 month and 6 to 9 month clothes.  She still wears size 1 diapers.  Doctor said that her growth is fantastic.  However, if I am concerned about her eating pattern and her weight gain, I can always bring her back for another check up in two weeks.

Bunny brings so much joy to my life.  I am so fortunate to call myself her mother.  It’s so fun to watch her grow and reach milestones.  I am so lucky to be able to stay home to witness her and her brother’s growth during these first few months of their lives.

MicroblogMondays: Choked Up

This Christmas was obviously different from the many Christmases in the past now that our twins are here with us.  We had a low key Christmas still.  One manmade but fully decorated Christmas tree, four stockings, and one present from us for the babies (and other presents from friends and family).  Regardless of how low key it was, I felt tremendously blessed that the babies have helped make this season extra special.  Christmas day was not unlike other days.  Other than opening presents in the morning, we had the same routines as usual.  Well, except for one moment when I was particularly reminded of the blessings that our life has become.  While feeding Bunny, there was a sweet moment that I noticed.  She was quietly eating while holding my fingers.  I was choking up a little while enjoying this tender moment with my daughter knowing that it took such a long time and tremendous effort to get to this point.  Once again, I am reminded to not take these little precious moments in life for granted.