Bugs Love

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three Years, Four Months, and 20+ Days!

Oh, gosh! That's a long time. What can happen with this time span? Let me tell you:

  • Three years, four months, and 20+ days after I was born, James was born in another continent

  • Three years, four months, and 20+ days after Chubby was born in San Francisco, Chubbina was born in Chicago on Chicago's birthday

  • And three years, four months, and 20+ days since my last entry here, I'm back with a lot of stories to share
As I said many times here, I'm a lazy person per se. I couldn't stick with any long-term commitment except that I'm committed for my marriage and motherhood forever. :) For the past three years, four months, and 20+ days, I have been wanting to come back again and again. But it has been delayed always by this or that reason. So many things have happened for such a long time. First, James graduated from the medical school and was matched to an orthopedic program in Chicago. Second, it took our family six days to have a cross-country move here to Chicago. That was probably the most unforgettable trip we've ever had together with all the national park visits; driving a truck and a car with all of our belongings; and taking care of Chubby who injured his finger nail the day before our move and had to go through a surgery the night before. Third and the most important, our family is growing. Our lovely daughter, Chubbina, was conceived right after we moved here and was born on Chicago's 174th birthday and became a real Chicagoan.

I, officially, become a Mom of two, one San Franciscan and one Chicagoan, one boy and one girl; and a wife of a busy orthopod in the second city. Stay tuned. I will be back to share our stories in this lovely city.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Countdown: the last days as a "single Mom"

Landus is taking the long-awaited afternoon nap in his bear-hug outfit. I can finally sit on the couch and relax a little bit. Drinking the chrysanthemum tea and eating the almondina cookie from Trader Joe's, I feel life is just treating me well. We were planning to go down to the campus to see Daddy and maybe have the dinner together in the hospital cafe. But as soon as I put some cute outfit on him, he was sleepy. The plan is scrapped, and I am waiting for his next feeding time.

James is studying at school library for his upcoming board exam, which is only five days away. He has been living in his "second home" since early March and only comes home when the library closes.

It's not easy to have an infant to take care while working full time 40 miles away from home. James is not having an easy time either. If I were him, I wouldn't have the patience to study hours and hours, away from my family. I know he is missing us and he would rather spend time with us. But we chose this career and this life path, we have to endure it. I've never seen him this seriously for any academic business. I know he would pass even without any studying. But he is trying the best to get a very good score. He said he was doing this for Landus and he wanted to provide a bright future for our family and our son. I miss him greatly during the daytime, and always count the hours at night for him to come home. In five more days, he will be around a lot. I will enjoy my favorite pastime: watching James play with Landus. Until then, I will continue to play my super single Mom role.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Can I really leave my heart in San Francisco?

Yesterday James went to the library to prepare for an upcoming midterm. I felt bored at home and wanted to take Chubby to Union Square to do some shopping.

Last time when I went there with Chubby alone, Chubby was not even two months old and I was still on my disability (from pregnancy and child birth) leave. I buckled him in the infant car seat and locked the car seat in the matching stroller. When I got downhill to the campus, I took the disability ramp and waited for N-Judah there. When the muni car approached, the bus driver was complaining "This is not meant for you. This is for disable people to use. You should take off the infant car seat and fold the stroller and get on the bus as other passengers". But "nicely" he did a "favor" to me and I got on the bus using the disability ramp. I tried to explain that I just delivered a baby and I was not able to hold a more than 10 lb baby in a 10 lb car seat, while the other hand holding a 15 lb stroller. Which hand can I use to pay the fare? During the whole trip, the bus driver stopped at every single disability ramp and asked me to read the sign and told me this would be the last time he stopped the muni for me on the disability ramp. I got angry and argued back because I didn't think I did anything wrong. Hello, is he a father? Does he feel the pain of his wife while traveling alone with an infant baby?

So this time I decided to drive to the Forrest Hill station and park around there and then take the train there. After all, there is elevator and I don't need to use a disability ramp any more. As soon as I got on the muni, the bus driver opened his window and talked to me. But I didn't understand his English. It took me a while to understand that he asked me to un-buckle my baby from the infant car seat and hold him during the trip. What? Are you insane? Do you know the trip on muni was never smooth and the jerkiness could get my baby fly out of my arms? Another passenger told me that it was state law for babies' safety concern that I had to hold my baby on the bus. I didn't understand. Are they parents? Have they held an infant baby? Do they know an infant car seat locked into a stroller is the safest harbor for a baby traveling on the train? Other Moms on the muni with toddlers told me not to worry about the stupid rule. I couldn't believe this was indeed the state law. So when I came home, James and I found Muni was notorious about their hostility to Moms and babies. They require Moms fold the stroller and hold their babies in their laps to make space for other passengers. They claimed this was also for the safety concern of other riders.

I guess the only way I can take the muni with my baby is to use a baby carrier. There are more and more things we just don't like about the city. No wonder there are more dogs than babies in the city. Living cost is one thing. But the city didn't really try hard to accommodate a growing family. Can we really call this place our permanent home?

I survived the first week!

Geez, it has been more than two months since I post here. No, no, no, it's not because that Chubby is a fussy baby so that I have to dedicate all my time to his service. Instead, he is a super good baby with nice temper. It is just because I am a lazy person, period. Before I move to the next paragraph, let me give you a few examples how good and considerate my little boy was to me. I was able to dine out with James, our friends, and our family. He was quiet the whole time and patiently waited for me to finish before asking for some feeding. James and I have been back to gym together to play ping-pong and he sat in the stroller, dozing off. He is able to sleep through the night and James and I can spend time together alone again at night.

The last week was hectic for me. I went back to work on Monday and Chubby started to go to a family day care in Sunset. Every morning, he gets up around 7am. After feeding on one side, I change his diaper, put him back in the crib, turn on the mobile, get me ready for work, see if there is any simple breakfast to make (or just take a banana with me). Then I will hold him up and offer the other side to feed. If he eats well, lucky me, that means I don't need to pump immediately when I get to work. Then I will get the bottles fill with my expressed milk from the previous day, take out the ice packs, prepare two ice bags, one for Chubby's daytime feedings, and the other for storing my expressed milk at work. Now I have to do two trips to load everything in the car. The first trip involves my computer bag, the pump bag, and Chubby's meal bag. The second trip I take him down in the infant car seat. Phew, then I will fight with city commuters to drive towards the opposite direction to my work and drop him off first. It was extremely hard for me on the first day. I stayed for about an hour in Mrs. Yau's place and held Chubby in my arm. I didn't leave until he fell asleep and I gently put him in the Graco playpen. For the past three months, Chubby and I have been together 24/7. I felt I got separation anxiety. I started to worry the whole day, wondering if he ate well and slept well. Did he cry when he woke up and found Mama was not around. Would he refuse the bottle feeding? Would Mrs. Yau change his diaper on time and burp him during and after each feeding? I guess every new Mom will have such uneasy transition. But by the end of the week, I felt much better and now I am enjoying this long weekend with my son once again. :0)

On the other note of our life, James can always find a new way to amuse our son and make him laugh loud. He is sure busy, as usual, if not busier. He just scheduled his USMLE Step 1 exam and told me he would study non-stop starting in early March. :-( Chubby has developed quite a lot recently. He is able to lift his head about 90 degree and holds for long time. With our assistance, he could roll over from front to back occasionally. But he eats less than other babies at his age and still poops a lot. The consequence is that he hasn't gained much weight for the past few weeks.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

For Carmel and Josh and Amina

A couple of pictures of longtime friends. It was a nice day to catch up on pastimes and the bright future ahead. It was also Chubby's first dim sum.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Bonus post!

A new video, of me in scrubs during our class play...

Merry Christmas

Hola amigos. It's been more than a month since we've updated. But we have a slew of new photos and albums on our picasaweb site. Go to link. To whet your appetite, here's a cute one:

Don't worry, that dot is not a mole. Landus has a predilection for self-mutilation by fingernail. Yu tries to cut his nails frequently, but he still manages to do this. If we put mittens on his hands, they start to smell. Plus, he also is starting to suck his fingers, bared or clothed. We don't really want him sucking on smelly, dirty fingers. So, it's a work in progress.

Landus is quite a happy baby. He must know he is largely of Chinese descent, because when we move his legs in a bicycle motion, he'll raise both of his arms as if riding on the streets of Beijing. He laughs a lot while doing this. Unfortunately, we have been rather sloven when it comes to taking videos.

Today, he was able to hold up his head for quite a while, although I had to prop up his arms just so in order for him to learn the posture. But I think his muscular development is coming along fine.

Yu made a delicious meal tonight as we celebrated Christmas by ourselves. We had lamb, salmon salad, cornbread and cherries by candlelight. We hope everyone out there that reads this is safe and happy tonight. We love you all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's a peaceful night

Landus is sleeping in our new bed soundly. Well, occasionally he squirms around to exercise his legs/arms muscles. James is studying at the dining table quietly. I am waiting in our Son's room, waiting for his wake-up so that I can give him the last breast feeding before both he and I can go to our respective bed.

Landus has been a super good boy to us. Last night he fell to sleep around 10:45pm and didn't wake up until 4:45am. Almost 6 hours. Can you believe it from a one-month old baby. Well, he is much demanding during the daytime. He needs cluster feeding and attention/holding all the time. We just went to his one month check up on Thursday and everything went well. He has been growing quite fast:

Length: 24 inches (95 percentile)
Weight: 10 lb 9.4 oz (75 percentile)

This is the biggest reward for my occasional painful breastfeeding. I developed mastitis last week and the pain was not less than child birth. But now it's getting better and the breast feeding is much easier. Now I am doing exclusive breast feeding. I am wondering whether I should start to store some breast milk, to be ready for my return to work in a couple of months.

I enjoy taking care of Landus most time, but sometimes I do feel I am stuck here, at home. From time to time, I use baby carrier to take him down hill to visit James in the library, or do some grocery in a small farmer's market near campus. But it will be great if I can take him to the mall, to the city library, or somewhere else that requires more than 1 hour. But I worry he will need to be fed and I don't know how to handle breastfeeding in the public.

From last Saturday, we formally started our life of three after my parents' departure. It's not too bad. I managed my lunch to be simple and easy to cook. James always takes the last shuttle back home to cook or watch Landus so that I can cook. Every night, after Landus has the last feeding, James needs to comfort him before putting him back to the crib. Then we can spend some time in our room, talking while holding each other, which reminds me of our wonderful twosome life. Afterwards, James goes back to study and I try to get some sleep before being waken up by the monitor. Just like one of Landus's favorite song "Beautiful Boy" said, "every day in every way, it's getting better and better".

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day

Wow, it's crazy how fast time flies. It's already been two weeks since our last entry. Well, I hope you will excuse our busy schedules. This past week, UCSF threw its annual class play, hosted by second year med students. The whole play was very funny, even for non-med students. I took part in it; my job was to sing the Tony Bennett standard, "I left my heart in San Francisco"...

...Changed slightly to "I left YOUR heart in San Francisco". (I play a transplant surgeon who mistakes the organ run box for his lunch. Oops.) Singing in a crowded, packed, standing-room only hall, you just have to assume you don't sound too foolish, and hope that you don't get thrown off by all the noise. Actually, with all the spotlights, it was quite easy to imagine that I was singing in an empty room, since I couldn't see a single thing in all the white light. Overall, it went pretty well. Can't wait for the DVD, so I can show Yu, since she wasn't able to make it.

On Friday, we celebrated our last night that we could feasibly go out on our own for a long while, because Yu's parents were still around to babysit Landus(they left on Saturday). We went to Aziza in the Richmond District. The chef and owner describes his own cuisine as "upscale moroccan with californian influences." It was listed as one of the top restaurants in the Bay Area, and I would definitely have to agree -- really well done moroccan dishes blended with a light californian flair; a hint of Chinese greens here, a beet reduction there, and everything done organic and sustainably. But the coolest thing about Aziza was the setting; it's not often that high-class food is served in a laid-back lounge setting, replete with comfy couches and extra-thick pillows. It's enough to make us feel like Moroccan royalty. Check out their webpage and tell me you're not interested in going there!
I particularly like this part: "after receiving his master’s degree in economics (and a great deal of positive input on his cuisine), lahlou had intended to continue his work towards a ph.d. however, recognizing that his potential in the kitchen was not to be taken lightly, lahlou postponed his academic career in order to supervise the kitchen at kasbah." Excellent decision, mate!

Yesterday, Veteran's Day, was Landus's 1-month old date. It makes me wonder about all the soldiers serving this country, and how many of them are unable to see their wives and children. What a damn shame to die in the desert, thousands of miles from home and no end in sight. God bless them all, I hope they come home safely.

Today, we took Landus on his first journey using the stroller to Spreckels Lake in GGP.
More pics can be found on our Picasa site.