MicroblogMondays: Eating Sand

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!



MicroblogMondays: Single Girlfriends

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.

MicroblogMondays: Pet Peeve

This is not fertility or kid-related, but I have made this observation that really bugs me, and I wanted to write about it.

Ever since the kids were born, I started to join groups on Fac.ebook for women/mothers on specific topics, such as feeding, local mom groups, parents of multiples group, or moms over 40 group.  As I began to consider starting a business for when the twins go to preschool, I also joined a bunch of groups focusing on women in business and speech language pathology.  I scroll up and down to read posts, and see one thing that is quite common, and it bothers me.

Many posts I have read start with one of these:

  • This may be a stupid question but…
  • This may be a silly question but…
  • I am sorry if this has already been asked, but…
  • I am sorry if this is not the right group to ask this questions, but…
  • I apologize if this is a silly/stupid question, but…
  • I apologize in advance if this is too long…

These drive me nuts!

I don’t know if men do this because I am not in groups with men.  The limited posts by the men in the groups I am in do not seem to start with any of the above.  Maybe some do?  I don’t see enough to notice.  But I see this so often in posts by women in the numerous groups I am in, and I get more and more annoyed by them.

Women, ask your questions or make your statement without calling it silly or stupid or apologizing!  No questions are stupid, or silly, or need an apology.  Why do some women feel a need to say sorry about something? Why feel so apologetic?  There is no need.

Move past feeling like you are bothering someone.  Simply ask the question or make your statement.  This is sufficient.

End rant.

MicroblogMondays: Words

My babies are going to turn 18 months in a few days.  (So not babies anymore……)

I always thought that Bunny would start using real words early because she was babbling and imitating sounds so early on.  Well, things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped.  In fact, it was Okra who started producing and imitating words since 13 months.  Bunny understood many words and followed directions, but didn’t start producing words or imitating words at that time.

Needless to say, as a speech-language pathologist who used to work with this particular age group, I have been worried.  I assess my children quietly on a daily basis.  I spoke to quite a few speech language pathologists including my former coworkers.  Everybody was telling me to give it time to see if her language would take off.  One person suggested that I could always self-refer to early intervention if Bunny’s expressive vocabulary repertoire doesn’t take off by 18 months.  As I watched my friends’ singleton kids 50, 60, 70 words by this age, my concern grew.  Interestingly, my twins’ twin friends seem to be also stuck in their expressive language development.  I began to wonder if it is a twin thing to have delays in talking.

I have been consistently communicating and speaking to my kids the way I educate parents at work.  I model a word relevant to what we are doing, and wait expectantly for a few seconds to see if the kids would imitate.  I describe situations, name objects, and tell an action word during an action, such as saying “kick” when we kick a ball.  I don’t tell or force them to say words.  I ask them questions, wait, and provide an answer if there is no response.  I tempt them to use language by doing unexpected things such as taking off their socks half way.  When I mentioned to my mom that Bunny might need language therapy in the future, my mom said, “Aren’t you doing therapy with her everyday?”  At a baby shower, I told this friend of the expectant mom that I was a speech therapist, and this lady, who is an elementary teacher herself, exclaimed and said, “No wonder you talk to your kids differently than other moms I see.  You say a word slowly and wait patiently for their responses.  I thought you must be a speech therapist or a teacher.”  Obviously I am trying to do something myself to boost my children’s expressive communication, and it is apparent to the outside world.

What I observed reminds me that kids’ development is unpredictable and non-linear.  After gaining many words and imitating words from me consistently, Okra seems to have quieted down a lot.  At the same time,  Bunny began to be much more verbal with more spontaneous words and imitation.  She has been requesting things by saying Cantonese words such as “Sue” for book and “Sui” for water.  I have been jotting down the new words that she says everyday.  Interestingly, she has been saying words that have later developing sounds such as “sh” and /s/, but remains silent when I model words that have earlier developing sounds, such as /p/, /j/ (“y”), and /b/.  When the word begins with /b/, she may substitute it with /d/, such as “day” for “bay”.  The cutest thing that she does these days is to fill in the last word of a line of a familiar nursery rhyme.  We listen to the nursery rhymes by “Super Simple Songs” a lot.  For example, she can fill in “day” in “Five little ducks went out one day”, and the “quack” in “Mother duck says quack quack quack quack”.  I tested many songs on her and to my surprise, although her articulation is not the most accurate, she fills in for many many of the last words of a line.  It tells you that when kids learn things, they don’t show what they know right away, but they take things to heart.  In comparison to Bunny, Okra seems to be the quiet one now, although his articulation is clearer on many words than Bunny.  He seems to pick up English faster and says words such as “truck”, “car”, “this”, “yes”.  Even though his growth has seemed to slow down, I know that he may surprise me by picking up words again suddenly.

I would have liked my kids to have over 50 words each and started combining words spontaneously.  But I have learned to be patient and will wait to speak with their pediatrician about their development before taking any actions.  I know Bob thinks that I am crazy to worry about them.  Especially that I know so much about this area, my sensitivity is heightened.  It would be great if I can relax a bit, enjoy my kids and not worry about their development.  It’s a mom thing, isn’t it? Always worrying.  It probably never stops.

MicroblogMondays: A Night Out

A bunch of my former coworkers get together for dinner once in a while.  I became a part of their group after I quit my job, but hadn’t had the chance to join them for a meal yet.  When they were trying to arrange for a dinner date for February/March, I immediately texted my sister-in-law to see if she could watch the kids with my mom from 5pm until Bob comes home at around 7pm.  She promptly responded YES to me.  I was so excited!  Even though I love my kids and am grateful to spend a lot of time with them, some down time away from them is so needed.  Last Friday was the day.  My SIL showed up before 5pm.  When I left, the twins were so fascinated by the activity that she was doing that nobody paid much attention to my departure.  Bunny did come to the window when I waved bye, but Okra did not even turn his head.  Haha.  I wasn’t sad but was actually feeling fortunate that auntie is so much fun and the kids love her.  Let me just say I savored every moment at the dinner.  I got to eat ramen, something that I had been craving for a long time, without little hands touching me.

Most important of all, I got to spend precious time with girlfriends chatting and catching up.  My mouth hurt from so much laughing.  My husband took care of the bedtime routine so I knew that the kids were in good hands.  My SIL sent me a video of the kids pretending to be riding on a train that was drawn by my SIL on a cardboard box cut out.  They were rocking and laughing.  It seemed like they had such a great time with their super fun and loving aunt.  The little time away made me miss my kids and I hugged them extra hard the next morning.  For a stay-at-home parent, a little self-care such as a night out with friends is essential to my wellbeing.  I feel so fortunate that I have the support to do that.


MicroblogMondays: Naps

When I was in my 20s, I used to think that taking a nap was a waste of time.  Life changed a bit in my 30s and my opinion also changed as I would occasionally enjoy an afternoon siesta with my husband when there was time.  It was a luxurious choice and not a necessity.  Fast forward to my 40s, with twins.  The need of a nap has definitely shifted.  In the infant stage I napped whenever they napped because of the lack of sleep at night.  When the twins started to sleep through the night, I enjoyed using their nap time to do whatever I wanted to do.  Once they have become mobile, the physical demand of chasing and handling them has increased drastically.  Often times when they finally go down for a nap, I would not be able to function the rest of the day if I don’t lie down for a bit myself.  When Bunny and Okra transitioned to two naps, I found myself needing to sometimes take a nap both times in order to have enough energy to take care of them when they were up.  Their naps were from 9:30 to 11, and 2:30 to 4 or so.  To me it was a bit ridiculous that I needed to nap when they napped in the morning, but the time between their wake up time and nap time was so challenging at times that a little shut-eye was really necessary for me to remain sane.  My afternoon nap was almost a must, as I found myself automatically walking to my bedroom, shutting the door, closing the shades, and lying down almost every single afternoon after the kids lay down.  I used to feel a bit guilty about napping because some other moms of twins don’t need to.  Then I worked to get myself over feeling bad because in reality my rest and my naps help me to be a better mom and gain more patience and calmness with my kids.  The last few days we started to transition the kids to one nap because Bunny had been rolling in her crib for a long time (talking about 1.5 hours) before she would finally fall asleep for her naps.  To let them nap only once, we have to keep the kids occupied and awake until noonish.  I get so tired for being awake with them and chasing after them all morning I need to go shut my eyes as well.  I am thankful that their one nap usually lasts 2.5 hours.  I shudder to think about the day when they drop their naps entirely.  I hope that it doesn’t come any time soon.  How do parents function when that happens???

MicroblogMondays: Midlife Changes?

If you know me well in real life, you would know that I don’t have any piercings on my body.  Wearing earrings had never appealed to me.  People used to tell me that I’d for sure change my mind for my wedding because I’d want to wear studs on that day.  My wedding day was almost eight years ago and I still don’t have any piercings.  My mother-in-law has been sad because she can’t give me earrings as gifts and I won’t let my baby girl get her ears pierced. After having zero desire of wearing any earrings for 44 year, I suddenly have had this itch to get my ears pierced.  This idea came into my head one day a couple of months ago and I haven’t been able to shake it out of my head.  Small studs on my ears suddenly sounds inviting to me.  I don’t know what changed.  It just came so suddenly.  And then, more recently, in the last few days, I have had this urge to get a tiny tattoo maybe on my wrist or on the back of my neck.  Again, if you know me well like my husband does, you’d be surprised that this even crossed my mind.  But it did.  And it surprises me.  I have been browsing online for ideas of tiny tattoos, and I am drawn to simple designs and lines that are delicate and subtle.  Maybe a few simple strokes that represent my twins and me.  I don’t know what I’d get, but the desire has grown stronger and stronger.  I really don’t know where all these changes come from.  Maybe approaching 45 is creating some sort of emotional currents in me that need to be manifested physically?  The human mind is so peculiar.  I don’t know where this will lead, but I have a feeling that these urges will result in studs on my ears and permanent ink on my body. If/when that happens, I will for sure show you all.