Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 56: Snow in April

I know everyone in Ottawa is going to hate me for saying this but I find today's snow beautiful.
There's a type of silence that only snow can bring. Everything get muted. Any noise that does occur gets muffled by the snow.

It's quiet.

Day 57: Sit back, open your heart and read

The last two weeks for me have been really tough (and not just because Rosie is crying all the time). It’s been hard because Rosie’s father finally came and saw her. He came over to “visit”, which turned out to be just an excuse to get a paternity test done. He said to me beforehand, “I feel like such a failure... I want to spend every free day I can with her”.

He stayed for an hour, just long enough to swab Rosie’s mouth, and strode out the house. It took him almost 2 months to finally take the initiative to meet his daughter... and he treats it as if were nothing. I didn’t hear a peep from him for almost 2 weeks afterwards.

I can not even describe how angry I was. Every time I closed my eyes, it was all I could think about. I was consumed with so much hate, anger and resentment. Everyday was a constant struggle to subdue my rage and force myself to feel happy.

By the time my cousins came over, I could barely keep it together. I kept saying to them over and over, “How do I get rid of these feelings? I want to stop being so angry. I want this to stop”. They could not think of anything.

My mom gave Rosie the middle name Thuan-An (pronounced twunn-aane). It means “harmony and inner peace”. She purposely chose this name to remind me that no anger is worth it. With anger in my heart, I would never find peace.

I was meditating for the first time last night after reading Eat, Pray, Love and suddenly one of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “realizations” hit me.

Don’t blame the people who make you mad. Realize that it is you letting them hurt you.

My solution seemed so blatantly simple after that. Stop letting him hurt me. Deep down, I’ve always known the truth but I never really accepted it. He is not ready to be a father... and I can’t hold it against him anymore. Just because Rosie became a reality doesn’t mean he will suddenly change. Things are far from perfect, but I need to accept his true feelings and make the best out of them. I need to truly let him walk away and love him despite it.

This was my big epiphany. Love.

Love him for who he is. Love him FOR his actions. Love him and he can not hurt you because you already knew the truth and accepted it. All the “transcended” people of history have tried to teach the same message. Love. Gandhi loved. Mother Teresa loved. Jesus loved. I’m going to love too.

Gilbert went through a horrible divorce and I couldn’t help but empathize. Suddenly the person who you loved so much is a stranger in front of you. You could never fathom the things that they are doing and the anger behind it all. Two years after the separation, Gilbert still held the guilt for leaving her husband. She was in India, meditating her heart out when she realized that all she wanted to do was talk to him. Talk to him just like she used to.
So, she did. Right there in a desert in India, Gilbert invited her husband to join her in her mind for a talk. She waited until she felt his soul join her. Souls are not tainted. Souls are pure and in that moment, in remote India, Gilbert apologized to her husband’s pure soul and he accepted it. She came out of her meditation resolved. Her guilt gone...

...and last night, I did the same. It doesn’t really matter if the experience was real. Maybe it was all my imagination, but I woke this morning feeling happy in every inch of my body. I hold no anger.

Next time I see Rosie’s dad, I’m going to take the physical and legal steps needed to ensure he doesn’t hurt us anymore; but I’m going to approach the situation with love in my heart. I want him to be happy just as much as I want to be happy.

You can not change people. You can only change how you perceive and interact with them.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 55: Nursery

I finally put the cousins to work today.... at least more physical labour than just carrying around Rosie.
I took advantage of the quiet day to optimize Rosie’s room. We removed the big bed, leaving only the crib, change table and now a lazy boy.

Highlight of the day: My cousin and I were carrying up the bottom half of the lazy boy up the basement stairs when it accidentally opened and threw my cousin into the stair rail. Funny enough but tear-wrenching when she started screaming that her ass was jammed up against the corner of the railing. It’s a miracle I was able to keep a hold on the chair while I was bent over laughing.

One of the favorite moments in life has been with my two cousins. There’s a type of laughter that only they can evoke from me.

Will upload before & after pictures when nursery is finished (hopefully by this weekend).

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 52: No go crib

My favorite cousins are down for the weekend from Toronto. They came to rescue me and my mom from Rosie’s relentless crying. They’re taking turns doing the night shift with me. Caroline volunteered to do last night’s shift.

After 2 broken hours of crying from 11-2:45 am, Caroline handed me Rosie saying, “Um. Can I just lie down? Just for a little bit.... I just need to lie down”. She collapsed in my bed looking like she had just wrestled an elephant. Probably would’ve been easier to do than shut Rosie up.

ha ha ha! I couldn’t stop laughing. Rosie really is a torturer.

Project crib was no go last night.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Happiness project

I’ve been thinking about happiness a lot lately. Probably because I started reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin and “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Both books describe two women’s journey to find happiness.

Last year, while I was pregnant, I wrote a bit about happiness but didn’t really pursue anything.

Still, the idea is playing in my head again. I’m not unhappy. Quite the opposite. I’m, surprisingly, loving being a mom to Rosie. My favourite times of the day are when I see Rosie learning. She just opens her eyes so wide as she rushes to see as may things as possible. Yesterday, she was able to find the source of the music coming from her swing. What a genius!

I’m reading these books and I’m thinking, “That kind of happiness sounds cool. I want that”.

So, I’ve been brainstorming for 3 days to see what I can do to bring me more happiness. Gretchen Rubin suggested tackling the big problems first.

Things that are making me unhappy:
  • No time for myself and exercising
  • Can’t sleep (I’m not talking about the lack of sleep due to baby but just my insomnia in general)
  • Rosie’s irresponsible father
  • My ugly room

Now that I’ve written it out, these problems seem really juvenile and easily remedied but really, it’s the small things in life that bring happiness. Or at least that’s what people always say.

Since I don’t have much me-time to tackle my happiness project, I think it’s best to start small. Rosie will eventually let me sleep through the night. Then I can focus more.

So... here’s what my “happy” goal for this remaining month is:
  • Meditate- hopefully this will help me sleep better and rejuvenate my energy. Plus, in Eat, Pray, Love, all she talks about is meditation and it sounds amazing. Quieting my brain chatter would be a nice. I always have TOO many ideas running through my mind all the time. It’s exhausting.
  • Watch the sunrise- I’m up anyways and, I guess, instead of staring at my ugly room, I should take some quiet time for myself and enjoy the sunrise.

Day 51: Wow... project crib only lasted 3 days

Rosie sleeping and probably pooping by the looks of it.

I’m amazed. That didn’t take long at all.

I had it all laid out that I’d put Rosie down in mini-time intervals and even was going to fill up a glove with sand or something to mimc my hand and lay it on her tummy. Turns out the only thing she needed was to have the heat turned up in her room. A constant 25 degrees put her to sleep for hours. I get paranoid though and think she’ll overheat and die so I always turn down the heat after the 4 hour snooze. But then she only sleeps for 1-2 hours.

Mistakes along the way...

Night 1 of project crib:
I swaddled her really tightly to keep her sleeping longer. She, still, was able to wriggle her arms free of the hold... BUT not the blanket! I come in to check on her after I haven’t heard a peep in 2 hours. The child has pulled the blanket completely over her head!

“Gahhh!” I slightly scream as I rush to pull the blanket back.

She’s snoring away. Her arms were also covering her face. I move those only to discover that the sleeve is empty and her arms are curled in her chest.
Thank god the blanket is a light weight sheet that she can breathe through.

Night 2 of project crib:
Everything runs smoothly minus the monumental amount of pee that was coming out of her.

Night 3:
Rosie discover leg power so strong that she manages to kick out her swaddle, kick off her blankets and then cry because the 25 degree atmosphere has disappeared. I can’t wait until she grasps the logic of “cause and effect”.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 48: I just want to announce...

... that Rosie slept for 4 hours in her crib! FOUR HOURS!!!! 3:20-7:10 am!

I am ecstatic.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 47: Project Crib

Rosie getting burped- 2 days old

So, like every stupid parent, I succumbed to co-sleeping with my baby for a few days. Two weeks to be exact. It was my last few weeks of school and I had major assignments and exams to complete. I figured that I need the sleep more and would have time to pay the price after school was done. Little did I realize how big of a price I would end up paying.

All doctors say to make sure your baby sleeps on their back. This is to reduce the likelihood of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). No one knows what causes SIDS; there are only speculations.

Despite my heavy research in “What to Expect the First Year” (which, by the way, is thicker than the bible and I read it all), nothing prepared me for sight of my baby shocking herself awake every few minutes due to her flailing arms. If it didn’t lead to crying the situation would be hilarious.

So, the solution to flailing arms is swaddling (my new most hated word). Swaddling involves burrito wrapping your newborn so tight that they can’t move their arms. It’s supposed to mimic the womb but Rosie never liked the confinement of the womb and that trait has extended into reality. She HATES swaddling. Yet, it’s the only way to let her sleep peacefully... at least until she suddenly realizes she’s swaddled and screams bloody murder. I have to trick her into the swaddle by wrapping my arms tightly around her after I’ve speed-wrapped her. That way, she thinks she can’t move because of my arms and that’s okay because she likes mommy’s arms.

She’s getting smarter though and has learned that mommy is a shitty swaddler and if she moves her arms like so, she can release them from the burrito wrap and shock herself to life’s content.

To get back to my story, I let Rosie not only co-sleep with me but let her sleep on her side which reduced the shocks by 80%. Now, not only will she not sleep in her crib, but won’t sleep on her back. FML.

This is how project crib got started. I have concocted an elaborate scheme to get Rosie out of my bed. Details to continue next post.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 0: The birthing story (but not the gross part)

Rosie- 4 days old

My goal of the month was to start blogging again but for some reason, I could never build the effort. There were so much more fascinating stuff to learn and read about on the internet. I guess I've been in more of the learning mindset than talking mindset.

So, I had my beautiful baby. Isn't she precious? Can't believe she decided to come out the day after my last post.

I was lying in bed at 1 am when I got a sudden backache. My first thought was, 'god dammit, what did I do to hurt my back? I bet it's the mattress. Stupid baby forcing me to lie sleep on my side'. Five minutes later, another shot of backache. When the third one hit, it suddenly occurred to me that the pain was coming in intervals.... intervals = contractions.

Holy shit.

I jumped out of bed, grabbed my "What to Expect When You're Expecting", and started scanning the "Symptoms of Labor" section. First on the list: lower backache. Gahhhh.

Flip the page to "Symptoms of Fake Labor". Backache.

Great. So I spent the next 3 hours timing the frequency of my contractions. They were all over the place; some coming every 2 minutes, some with breaks of 30. After 3 am, I was so cranky that I decided I was too tired to go into labor and it would just have to wait. So I went to sleep. I have no idea how I did it.

I woke up to a huge shot of pain at 7 and thought, "Okkkaayyy. Maybe I should call the hospital just in case. Not quite sure whether I'm supposed to let myself go into actual labour if I'm due for a c-section". So I call the hospital. The nurse said that if I was able to fall asleep through my contractions, I had plenty of time left. She said to wait it out and try calling my doctor. Lucky for me, my OB/GYN refused to take phone calls before 9 am. So I took another nap figuring I would need the energy later.

When I did get a hold of my doctor she told me to come in immediately.

"Good news of bad news first?" she asked in her thick European accent.

"I don't care".

"I'll let you choose".

"Fine. Bad news".

"You're having a baby".

"Yes.... yes, I'm aware of that".

"Today", she says.


By then, the contractions were pretty much making me debate whether to throw myself in front of a car and see what hurt more.

"Good news is I think I feel a head".

She dives back in and says, "Yes. Yes! I think it's a head".

She orders me to go get an ultrasound at the hospital. Six hours later, in which I think I died (not literally but I wish I had) a slimy baby gets thrown into my arms. It was total karma. I didn't bother taking any birthing classes because I figured I was having the c-section, why spend the money! And then I made fun of two women I could hear screaming in the halls because they chose not to get an epidural. (Advice of year: get the epidural). Karma got me back by giving a stuck baby. Not fun.

Rosie, my daughter's name after 4 days of dragging my feet, is a comedian. She keeps everyone in the family entertained with her weird noises, massive lungs (she came out 6 lbs and is now 9 lbs), and crossed-eyes when she tries to focus on stuff.
Oh, and she lost all her front hair and now has a massive receding hairline.

Surprisingly, I'm loving being her mom. Not much sleep, slightly deaf in one ear and always smelling like spit up, but actually really happy.

Against all odds, despite everything that has been thrown my way, and the unconventionality of my situation, I've managed to pull through with a genuine smile on my face and now a little girl who I'm going to spend the rest of my life with. If I can do it, anyone can.