Sunday, September 29, 2013

And...We are DONE!

It has been awhile since I mentioned anything about breastfeeding. I am still a big advocate of breastfeeding, and think it is one of the best things you can offer to your baby. Also, I am super supportive of those who choose to formula feed. This is not about anti-this or pro-that as long as your baby is being fed, and taken care of! Anyway, nursing Forrest is one of the best...and worst thing I have ever done. Contradictory, I know! I am glad I preserved, and made it work, and met my goal of making it until a year! The reason why I did not like breastfeeding is because it was hard, painful, and frustrating at times.

I never developed that fuzz feeling with nursing that some mothers reported having with their babies. I viewed breastfeeding as a way to nourish my baby, and that was it. It was hard to be tied down to breastfeeding when I just wanted to get up, and do something else. At the same time, I got a huge sense of accomplishment of watching Forrest grow healthy, and getting through huge obstacles that could have caused me to give up on nursing. I definitely had a love-and-hate relationship with nursing.

While pregnant, I knew I wanted to nurse, and wanted to make it work. It was very important to me. This will I had helped me to keep going in face of multiple duct clogs, keeping up the milk supply, Mastitis, and dealing with a distracted nurser. I also knew that I did not want to do extended breastfeeding beyond a year. I had no beef with mamas who wanted to nurse beyond the first year of their children's lives. After all, WHO (World Health Organization) recommends breastfeeding until up to age of two. But, it was not my thing to deal with nursing a toddler. I've always felt that once a baby was able to consume solids, and drink cow's milk then there was no real purpose to continue breastfeeding because the baby was getting the needs met somewhere else. 

When Forrest was around ten months old, I started asking around about weaning. I had no idea where to start. The idea of weaning was intimidating because I never had done this before. So many mothers I talked with did not breastfeed, and had no idea how to advise me about weaning from nursing. Some mamas I talked with did nurse, and they all had different methods. I felt very overwhelmed by which approach to use, how to deal with my feelings especially guilt, and hoping I was making the right decision to start weaning Forrest. The only thing I really knew was that the process was going to take me all summer. It was not an overnight thing. It required gradual adjustment for both Forrest, and I. After all, I did not want to end up with another bout of infection!

I started entertaining the idea of weaning in early spring because I was dealing with a baby wanting to nurse frequently through the night. Whoever said that you'll be dealing with sleep deprivation in first three months failed to mentioned that you could also be potentially have to deal with sleep deprivation for much longer than just first three months! I nursed Forrest on demand since birth. When he wanted to be nursed, I obliged, and that meant getting up multiple times during the night. This continued until Forrest was around 10.5 months old. I was told by our pediatrician that there was no reason for me to continue to night-nurse Forrest at that age, and he should be sleeping through the night. I felt like a failure for some odd reason.

As a first time parent, I was supposed to make sure that Forrest was having his needs to be met, and nursed him around the clock. At the same time, I struggled with my emotions of guilt, fatigue, and frustration. I felt I was doing something wrong if Forrest was not sleeping through the night at that age. I became desperate for decent night of sleep. I struggled with staying awake through the day. I envied other mamas with babies that slept through the night. I especially so envied Stu for sleeping through the night for the longest time while I was getting up every 2-3 hours around the clock. I worried that Forrest was not getting enough solids, and was starving. Just the idea of Forrest going hungry stressed me out more than nursing itself. 

I came to a conclusion that Forrest was more likely comfort-nursing rather than eating because he was hungry. I started night-weaning Forrest, and it was a hard process. I had to cut Forrest off from nursing, and he did not like it. He continued to wake up multiple times in the night, crying, and protesting sleep until he got what he wanted...or he thought. I did not give in. I rocked him back to sleep without nursing. Eventually, Forrest learned that he had to rely on his pacifier, and self-soothing to go back to sleep without needing to nurse.

By the end of June, Forrest was sleeping from 7 pm until 3:30-4:00 am. I felt like a new woman with sleeping longer hours..uninterrupted at that too! However, waking up at 4 am was not the right wake-up time for him! I wanted him to be able to wake up at his wake-up time to nurse. For the longest time, we struggled with this. This part was the last to be finally corrected, and it took me all summer to finally figure out the answer! In the meanwhile....

I decided to wean Forrest from his nursing sessions before his naps. His morning nap weaning was awful!  It almost made me second-guess whether I was doing the right thing by having a goal to get Forrest weaned by his first birthday. Forrest screamed for good forty minutes before he fell asleep. I had to keep myself busy from giving in and running to Forrest because I felt so guilty for putting him through that. By the second day, Forrest was ready to go down for his morning nap without needing to be nursed! It confirmed my decision that I was doing the right thing by weaning him.

A week passed then I dropped our afternoon nursing session. There was no problem at all. All I did was give him a lunch with milk sippy. After lunch, he went down for a nap with a belly full of food. It was a perfect substitute for nursing. We were down to just two nursing sessions a day, and I loved it! I had more freedom during the day, and Forrest also loved it because he liked being able to watch everything while drinking out of his sippy. He liked to be independent, and expressed no desire to want to be nursed.

I kept the morning and bedtime nursing sessions for a longest time because I was trying to correct the problem with Forrest waking up at 4 am. I had hoped that once I found a solution, and have Forrest sleep until 6 am then we would work on weaning last two nursing sessions. Nothing worked. I kept putting off bed-time nursing because I was not ready to let go of that final connection I had with him. It became more about me than him. All this became evident by the fact that one night I had to put Forrest in the crib at bedtime to wash his poopy diaper, and planned on nursing him after I cleaned his cloth diaper, by the time I returned, Forrest was already snuggling in for the night. It became clear to me that he really did not need to be nursed before bed anymore. I started putting him down for bed without nursing at the night, and we had no issue at all.

However, we still dealt with 4 am wake up call to nurse! I asked around, and a mom suggested me to do something. It was a solution. It was kind of like "why didn't I think of this before" duh type of thing! 

All Forrest needed was a bedtime snack with a sippy of milk fifteen minutes before his bedtime routine.  He also had his sippy with fresh water in it in case if he woke up in the middle of night, and wanted a quick drink. He no longer asked for us to come to bed to check on him unless if teething started bothering him, and he needed medicine. That's it. It helped him to stay full all night!

Nursing was replaced by reading a bedtime story. After the bedtime story, Forrest went down for bed with his sippy with water, and his pacifier. I did notice that he needed a longer time to relax, and fall asleep whereas with nursing, he fell asleep faster. After a week of this, I felt Forrest was more than adjusted. 

Originally, I planned on keeping morning nursing session a bit longer. After a few nights (about a week, really) of not needing to be nursed before bed, we woke up late one morning, and had to hurry for an appointment with Forrest's allergist. In the midst of hurrying around, I forgot to nurse Forrest, and had him eat breakfast with milk sippy. Later that day, I realized we didn't have our morning nursing session, and it came to me as a surprise. Forrest did not ask. I did not offer. 

There was that. 

The end of our nursing relationship.

Did I feel sad that it was over? No. There were many ways for me to bond with Forrest; bedtime story reading, cuddling, walking, playing, and spending time together. My favorite thing to do with him was cuddling! For some reason, when I was nursing Forrest, we were unable to really cuddle because then Forrest would want to nurse! Cuddling was limited to Daddy, and Forrest or Forrest with other family members. Once nursing was done, I was happy to be able to participate in this activity as well! 

Also, I was relieved to be DONE. Nursing for a year was a lot of work especially with so many problems. Did it jade me from wanting to breastfeed again? Absolutely not--I planned on doing exactly the same for my future kids. I met my goal of a year nursing. How awesome was that, really. Not many mothers were able to do it for a year or more. So for me to be able to do this made me felt really good. 

I was happy with how easy the whole process was for both of us. Ironically, weaning was easier than breastfeeding! If Forrest needed to be nursed a bit longer then I would have done it in a heartbeat. It was just that I had many signs that pointed to Forrest being ready, and it happened to be compatible with my goals. I knew that weaning was not going to be an overnight thing, and was in no hurry the whole time. My ultimate goal was to have Forrest completely weaned off before Christmas. It did surprise me that we finished it three months early! 

I do notice that Forrest eats MORE now that he is not nursing anymore. He eats like a teenage boy! It is funny, he eats more, and I eat less. I don't have ravenous appetite anymore now that my body does not produce what Forrest needs from me. My appetite is back to normal, and my weight is being maintained. Some women do worry that they will suddenly gain weight once they are done nursing. I can't speak for everybody because all women are so different. In my case, I have noticed that I am now eating for just one instead of "two" therefore, my metabolism is back to working just for one person (me).

Forrest does have his occasional cranky days in the mornings when his gums are bugging him, and he wants to be nursed out of comfort. This grumpiness often passes by quickly because he is soothed in other ways by playing, listening to music, cuddling, and teething toys. I do not regret having him to be weaned shortly after his first birthday.

Weaning is definitely a long process. I did not want to cut it cold-turkey, and end up with mastitis again. I wanted Forrest to be ready instead of forcing him to give up on nursing if he was not ready. Fortunately, he was ready, and the whole weaning process showed that. I did not regret weaning Forrest at all. The only challenge I faced was modifying how much Forrest needs to drink, and eat during the day to make sure he was getting all of his needs to be met.  My only advice with weaning is to be PATIENT, and follow your baby's suit.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Feeling Disillusioned By Humanity

There is times when I feel absolutely inspired by humanity; their kindness, their love, and resilience in time of tragedy, and sorrow. However, there is also times when I feel disillusioned, uninspired, and disgusted by humanity. Sadly, this is one of those times. 

Ordinarily, I pay no mind to Miss America pageants. It is not really my thing. However, this recent uproar over Nina Davuluri winning Miss America, and causing a spark in causing racist tweets. Don't believe me? Here's an example: 

This pissed me off, people, enough to the point where I felt I really had to say something. Yeah, my blog post is just one post of many, and it may not cause any impact yet it ate up inside of me. Now, I was the type not to let things fester on the inside. I needed to write. I needed to articulate my feelings into words. I had to process what was on my mind in order to get through my internal conflict. 

First of all, Nina Davuluri is GORGEOUS. She won this fair and square. Secondly, racism is not cool. Not cool at all. Racism is rooted in ignorance, hate, and fear. Let me correct some assumptions that those racists have about Nina:

1) Nina is not an of an Arab descent. She is of Indian descent. Okay. That's two separate thing. Nina hails from the Midwest (Oklahoma, Michigan), and is currently living in New York City. She is an AMERICAN. 

2) Nina is not a Muslim. And even if she is, so what! She's more likely to be a Christian, or a Hindu. Or maybe she's an Atheist. Who knows, and honestly, who gives a flying rat crap what she believes in. 

3) India is nowhere close to Saudi Arabia. Check your geography, people! India is 3,000 miles away from Saudi Arabia. 

4) Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, is also gorgeous. Just because she hunts, is in military, sports tattoos, and is blonde does not mean she is a true American. Let me tell you something. America is not founded on hunting. Only 12.5 million people hunt and fish out of 300,000 million people living in US. That's 7% (Wildlife and Fish Game). Only 7% people hunt and fish!!! Then there is only 36% of adults have tattoos. I'm one of them, by the way. Only 9% of Americans are enlisted in military (26.4 million people). The last time I checked, not every of us is a blonde, and fair-skinned! 

5) The last, but not the least....49.9% children enrolled in today's schools are not white. That's almost half of us white people! There will be a drastic shift in next 30 years with people of color, and white people. Soon us white folks will be in the "minority". 

Nina Davuluri, the first Indian-American to win Miss America 2013

I take a very small comfort in knowing that racists are basically bunch of idiots that are uneducated (not necessarily academically educated), and did not do their homework prior vomiting their thoughts out into the social media world. I don't care if they are a republican, conservative, liberal, democrat, socialist, or apathetic. I don't care if they are Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, or an Atheist. What they did is terrible. It is sad to spew hatred like that. It makes me so ashamed of being white at times.

Johnathan A. Ferrell 
To make the whole matter worse in me feeling disillusioned about humanity, I also read an article: Instead of Getting Help, He Was Shot to Death. A long story short, Johnathan was involved in a serious car wreck, and was obviously in a shock. He went around the neighborhood, knocking on the doors, to get help. No one helped, and police was called. A police officer showed up, and did your old "Shoot first, ask later" gig. The cop shot Johnathan multiple times, and unfortunately, Johnathan passed away from his extensive gunshot wounds. This young man with a promising future was shot and killed. Why? He was black. One could argue that it was not about skin color, but think about it, if it was a white man, then would have this cop hesitated to shoot? Probably.

Those two examples I just mentioned are ever-pressing issue that we have with racism. I don't believe that we have really made a dent in reaching to the position of healing, and true tolerance. When I say the word, tolerance, I don't mean putting up with someone you don't feel comfortable with, and keeping your distance away from them in order to maintain conflict-free environment. Tolerance, at least to me, means being able to interact with people you don't feel entirely comfortable with, showing love to them, and respecting them for who they are.

Some people may argue with me that racism is dead because people are more aware, more "tolerant", and more understanding now than ever. Some even go as far as saying, "Oh I have a black friend", or "I have a friend, who happens to be (insert ethnicity, or race)". Once in while, I even get that phrase from people, "I am not a racist, but...."  This reminds me of a movie based on a book by Grisham, Time to Kill, and there is a scene that stood out the most in my mind about racism.

Carl Lee Hailey: Well, you are white and I'm black. See Jake, you think just like them, that's why I picked you; you are one of them , don't you see?. Oh, you think you ain't because you eat in Claude's and you are out there trying to get me off on TV talking about black and white, but the fact is you are just like all the rest of them. When you look at me, you don't see a man, you see a black man.
Jake Tyler Brigance: Carl Lee, I'm your friend.
Carl Lee Hailey: We ain't no friends, Jake. We are on different sides of the line, I ain't never seen you in my part of town. I bet you don't even know where I live. Our daughters, Jake; they ain't never gonna play together.
Jake Tyler Brigance: What are you talking about?
Carl Lee Hailey: America is a war and you are on the other side. How's a black man ever going to get a fair trial with the enemy on the bench and in the jury box? My life in white hands? You Jake, that's how. You are my secret weapon because you are one of the bad guys. You don't mean to be but you are. It's how you was raised. Nigger, negro, black, African-american, no matter how you see me, you see me different, you see me like that jury sees me, you are them. Now throw out your points of law Jake. If you was on that jury, what would it take to convince you to set me free? That's how you save my ass. That's how you save us both.

The point of the whole dialogue between Carl, and Jake was that one can't afford to be color-blinded. Too many of us, especially us white folks, choose not to see people for who they are. We try not to see their skin color. We try not to see their religion. We try not to look at their age. We try not to look at their gender. We try to ignore their sexual orientation. We pretend not to see disabilities. We really need to understand that we have to stop ignoring what is there. Yes, we see colors, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, and disabilities. 

When I walk into the room, the first thing people notice is that I am a woman based on obvious physical attributes that I have. The second thing people do notice is my hands moving, and that I must be Deaf. The third thing people do is either feel intimidated, or apathetic so they withdraw, and pretend that none of those attributes about me exists. Every day in, and every day out; I'm painfully aware that I am a woman, and especially so, Deaf. The Deaf thing stands out the most. I'm consciously knowing that my Deafness intimidates people. It makes people feel uncomfortable even if they try not to be, and sincerely want to get know me. The wall is always there between me and the hearing people. I'd imagine it is how a person of color feels especially if he/she is the only person in the room full of white people. Without meaning it to be, we are automatically different. Just like that. 

As a Deaf person, I would love to have a hearing person come up to me, and apologize. Not for what he/she did as a person, but for what hearing people have done to my people, my language, and my culture. I bore no ill will to hearing people. It is a first step toward healing, and forming bridge between the Deaf and the hearing world. I wonder if people of color feels the same way. Do they want a white person to apologize to them for what white people have done to them; the history of oppression, rejection, intolerance, hate, and violence that was maimed on them? I would imagine the answer would be a yes. 

In order to really address that yes, we do have a problem with racism, we have to remove our rose-colored glasses, and see the country for what it is. If we have such a problem with Nina winning Miss America crown, or having a cop shoot a black man before asking questions, then it is quite obvious that racism is still an issue. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Why Does "TELL HER' Phrase Irritates Me?

You are standing with two people in the room, and one of them starts signing exactly at the same time when you start speaking. You realize that the third person in the room is Deaf, and rely on the signer, who happens to be an interpreter. You continue to speak. Then you stop. The person, who is Deaf, starts signing at the interpreter, and the interpreter translates the signing into a spoken language. You catch on the process pretty quick. It is fairly no-brainer. Suddenly, you turn to the interpreter, and start speaking directly to the interpreter, and say, "tell her...."

What a Faux Pas. A mistake. A blunder. Oops. A snafu. A misapplication. A slip-up. You messed up! Why? 

The interpreter is essentially just a voice and ears for a Deaf person. When there is an interpreter with a Deaf person, you are expected to speak directly to a Deaf person, and "pretend" that the interpreter is not in the room. It does not offend the interpreter to be "ignored". It is a job for the interpreter. The interpreter understands how the process works. Matter of fact, when you turn to the interpreter, and not address the Deaf person directly then you are making an offense. Usually, if it is your first time working with an interpreter, and a Deaf person then it is okay to make a blunder seeing you never had an experience with this before. Once you are corrected, then make sure you don't slip up again.

Unfortunately, this has happened to me so many times when people seem NOT to get it the first time. 

I had recently given birth to my son, Forrest, at a hospital. C, the interpreter that was working with me, stood by the edge of my bed when an older nurse walked in the room, and started interpreting when the nurse started speaking. Suddenly, C signed, "Make sure YOU TELL HER that I am here to check on her.......TELL her to turn over so I can listen to her heart.....TELL HER please that she needs to bend over a bit more." 

C looked at me, and widened her eyes. Her message silently conveyed to me, I can't do this anymore. I have to interrupt this to educate the nurse how to speak directly to you. C stopped interpreting then turned to the nurse, and began explaining to the nurse to pretend that C was not in the room, and that she was simply my ears. All the nurse had to do was to say  my name or speak to me directly and ignore C. The nurse gave C a very strange look then mumbled, alright. Not a minute later, the nurse said, TELL HER.....

C and I looked at each other in exasperation.

Of course, this is nothing new in a life of a Deaf person. I have had to deal with this on a very frequent basis. Either my interpreter, or I will gently correct the hearing person, and explain the role of interpreting then ask the person to speak directly to me instead of to the interpreter. 9 times out of 10, the person picks up quickly on it, and talks directly to me. I understand that it is a bit strange to be speaking directly to me especially if I am not looking at him/her, but at an interpreter next to the speaker. I get it. Unfortunately, that one person, the #10 out of 9 people, does not seem to get 

In my experience, it is usually an older person. Why? I have no idea. Now, I am not saying ALL older people ignore the correction. I have had plenty of older people, whom I have worked with, picked up on the correction, and go from there without any problem. But once in every while, the older person just does not get it. Let me tell you another example.

I was pregnant, and showed up for an appointment. The ultrasound room was still being used so a nurse put me in another waiting room with C. No problem. The nurse decided to go ahead and start the quick routine physical exam while waiting for the ultrasound room to be freed up. The nurse was talking then all of the sudden, she went, TELL HER.....

C stopped interpreting, and turned to the nurse, and gently corrected the nurse to speak directly to me. It was a quick correction within a minute timetable frame. The nurse must either have not heard C or idea...but the nurse said, TELL HER once again. C sighed, and corrected the nurse quickly once again. The nurse opted to ignore C, and did it again by not addressing me directly.

C continued to sign literally signed exact word to word, and in every beginning of sentence, the nurse said TELL HER....

I could not take it.

I addressed the nurse, and said, "look, I'm here. Can you please not say TELL HER, and address me directly?"

Nope. Didn't solve anything. The nurse STILL said TELL HER....C and I gave up at that point, and rendered the nurse to be a massive idiot. Oh Why...........why!!

How irritating.......I have no clue why people don't just get it. I wish I have an answer. I don't. If you do have an answer then feel free to share......

In the meanwhile for the love of god, please do address a Deaf person directly while working with an interpreter!!! We always appreciate that when you don't ignore us Deaf folks, and make us feel invisible.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


this crispy fall weather.
my pumpkin spice latte coffee.
that crisp nip in the air during our walk.
messy hair bun.
plethora of discussions that keeps me intellectually stimulated.
my little guy's attempt at walking 
cats lounging in the sun; their eyes blinking close, and open.
fall decorations in my neighborhood.
college kids sporting hoodies, and skinny jeans.
videos that prompts love and equality.
a fall outfit I'm wearing. 



bloom: finding beauty in the unexpected by kelle hampton

oh my gosh, i need a box of tissue for this book.
can't absolutely wait to discuss this book in the reading club 
that i am a member of! 



buffy the vampire slayer. 
i absolutely love this show; such a strong female role model
and she kicks ass! & there's more strong female characters
on the show, which i absolutely appreciate, like hello: willow, tara, dawn, name a few..... 
joss whedon rocked for making a show with such strong female
characters, and this response from him just confirmed everything:

Q: So, why do you write these strong female characters?
Whedon: Because you are still asking me that question. 


our dinner tonight with amazing hubs of mine.
fall decorations that i wanna to put up.
needing to buy pets food.
watching another episode of buffy.
painting my toe and finger nails in autumn color.
plans in the upcoming month.
praying for my friends who are going through iffy times.
cutting bangs for my hair. i'm itching for bangs again.
how happy i am.


painting my nails. 
maybe cutting my bangs.
fall, duh! 
holidays just around the corner means more time with FAMILY!!
more fall outfits to be worn.
my friends visiting. 
more pumpkins.
even more pumpkins.
watching forrest enjoy the holidays. he's at such fun age!


everything that i just wrote about.
my child.
my hubs.

Monday, September 9, 2013

What We Have Been Up To These Days

A full moon shining bright/ Edge of water, we were feelin alright/ Back a down country road....lyrics sang out from the speakers at the bottom of our computer desk, and Forrest is happily a-bouncing to the music. That boy sure likes his music. 

I have been in a bit of blogging slump lately. It is not that I do not want to blog. Life is pretty good, and we are just enjoying each moment as it comes. The weather is still being weird; it goes from being super hot to it being chilly with warm autumn sun shining down. I am anxiously awaiting for it to STAY chilly. I am anxious to see the colored leaves falling to the ground. I am anxious to start decking our porch with autumn decoration. I am already debating what costume I should dress up Forrest as. I am brain-storming meal plans for October, prepping for arrival of wonderful friends, and standing in front of my autumn outfits in the closet while wishing I could wear them like right now. I'm soothing my fall fix with dunking donut pumpkin spice coffee until fall actually arrive to stay. 

I'm finally back in meal-planning regime. For a while there, I stopped because life got too crazy with a little baby, and I definitely saw a drastic difference. I have been making same old boring dishes over, over, and over again. Also, our wallet has been suffering a bit by me not budgeting closely for food shopping. Oh boy. Fortunately, I started getting back into the habit of meal-planning again this month. So far, I have made pretty awesome yummy dishes such as Stuffed Chicken Casserole, Turkey Sloppy Joes, Thai chicken wraps, and home-made pizza. So good! Today menu: Stuffed Jumbo Pasta Shells with marinated chicken breasts. Let's see how good this one will turn out, will we? 

I'm starting to scavenger for ideas to make toddler meals. Forrest is eating like a teenage boy. Really! Ever since we have cut down greatly on nursing, and am actually working on the bedtime weaning; Forrest has been replacing the lost nutrient from breastfeeding with solids. It is fun to be able to eat meals with him, and see him enjoy the food I am making for him. I hope that weaning him from bedtime nursing will go easily as it is for him to wean away from daytime nursing sessions. The morning nursing session is still all over the place (sometimes 4:45 am, 5:30 am, or even 6 am) so I don't feel 100% ready to wean Forrest from it just quite yet. 

Forrest is a walking machine! He just started walking yesterday without needing to rely on cruising. It came to me as a surprise because I did not expect Forrest to start walking anytime soon. Boom! He walked a distance of the living room by himself, with his chest all puffed out, and head high. Forrest was pretty proud of his accomplishment (as he should be)! Unfortunately, a lot of cuts, and bumps have come with walking. Ever since yesterday, he has acquired at least 2 bumps, and one cut on his eye. Poor kid! 

He is also signing more these days--he can sign mama, daddy, more, change, done, and is learning more signs as time goes by. I try to spend at least 15 minutes a day teaching him signs because 15 minutes is all he really can handle at this age. We are still cloth diapering Forrest. We use only pocket diapers because it is what we prefer, and love to use. We have a system set up with cloth diapering. It's really easy now. Forrest is testing boundaries a lot more now. He will do things that are naughty, and sometimes, he will repeat the naughty behavior more than once because he wants to see how far he can get. Good thing he has a patient mama that does not give in easily. It is just this age, you know? A little scientist, constantly curious, and very logical by seeing the world in black and white without really understanding the context in it. I look forward to Forrest learning in years yet to come. 

Stu has been getting into a routine of teaching AP US History, and working through a new Charter program in school. It keeps him from emailing me during the day to check on us. It doesn't stop me from shooting him an email or two of pictures with Forrest--it helps him to get through tough days, and put on a smile on his face to see his kid. Stu is also coaching Ripon Red Hawks Linebackers. I'm so grateful for the decision to live here because we are able to have a quick visits between work, and coaching otherwise we wouldn't be able to see him between 7 am to 10 pm. Stu is having a bit of tough time to be away from Forrest, and missing out on milestones. So I try to record his milestones with pictures, and videos as much as possible to keep Stu in the loophole. Anyway, Red Hawks just won their first game on this recent Saturday against a pretty tough team...awesome! 

Our pets are great. I know I don't blog much about my cats, or Turkey these days. It is not that they are no longer a priority on my list. They still are very much a part of our family. The cats are great. They get along with Forrest great. They are currently living in the basement--not as bad as it sounds, I promise, seeing that there is a furnished area for cats to play and relax with a wide open patio doors to let in air, and sun, and they do have access to upstairs if they need some TLC. Turkey is Turkey. She has some of her issues--there are good and bad days with Turkey. Fortunately, her issues are very manageable, and she is not as nippy as she used to be. I don't allow her to guard the sofa. She does have a love-hate relationship with Forrest. She loves him when Forrest has food, but dislikes to have him crawl all over her. They're a great brood of animals, and we absolutely love them. I definitely need to post pictures of them from time to time! 

Life without TV cable has not impacted us much. I actually prefer this way. It is nice to get rid of all the trash on TV. I do miss some channels or TV shows, but obviously, not that bad. We do have Netflix, and HuluPlus. I'm still doing a marathon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which has been taking me several months (harder when you have a toddler that only naps once a day), and I'm enjoying the series because Buffy is a strong female role model that doesn't wimp out in the face of adversity. It is something I would like my daughter to watch someday instead of those trash reality TV shows with doe-eyed girls that can't even do anything for themselves. 

Stu, and I are on our new TV show marathon series, Sons of Anarchy, and I absolutely LOVE it. Initially, I was kind of nervous that it would be too much of bravado without substance, but I was proven wrong. It helps there are several of actors/actresses that I really like, such as Ron Perlman, Kate Seelgy, and Charlie Hunnam, on the show. I would suggest you to watch SOA. It's not all about motorcycle, bravado, and violence. There's drama, romance, and tons of suspense. Good stuff! 

A good thing about not having TV is that it does wonder for our marriage. It is not that we were not doing well before or anything like that! In the past, we would just plant our butts on sofa in front of TV, and have little quality time with each other because we are tired by end of the day, and want to chill then we realize that we have spent several hours watching TV when it could have been spent by doing something else. Now, with no TV, it forces us to find other ways to spend time together, and talk about life. It's really nice. I think it is a smart move especially when you have a little kid, a job, and other responsibilities in life that can take your time left with each other. 

I have been reading a lot more lately as well, and got back into the habit of sewing. It's nice to reclaim a bit of myself back to me with Forrest being predictable with bedtime schedule, and staying down for rest of the night. He finally sleeps through the night so I feel recharged, and refreshed instead of a walking zombie from lack of sleep for so, so, so long. 

That is what we have been up to these days. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Developing Friendships Behind the Computer Screen

Something has been weighing heavily on my mind these days. It is how life often works though. You are thrown into situations that forces you to do some introspective work. Sometimes, you get answers, and sometimes, you don't get an answer at all. You have to figure out what is the best for yourself, and go from there. It is all part of having a human experience; to allow emotions untangle themselves in order to find answers, and go through it. I am not the to shy away from my internal turmoil. I journal. I write. I talk. I find it easier to allow feelings come through, process them, and brush my hands off in order to move on to the next situation. Of course, one of the biggest things that helps one to get through uncertainty, the turmoil, and struggles is friends. Friends have a way of keeping you anchored, to propel you through the obstacles, and force you to face your own blockages that you have set up for yourself. Yes, friendships are wonderful especially when you find people that you trust.

In today's time and age, we have social networking; blogging, twitter, instagram, & Facebook, to name a few, that allows an ease of access to connect with different people from all parts of the country, and even the world. The definition of a friendship has changed, and evolved from twenty years ago when social networking did not exist yet. 

I am a member of several online mommy groups; women come from different corners of the country or even the world come together to discuss life, motherhood, and raising children. Then there's also blogging. I have been blogging for several years, and met so many amazing people in the community. It is comforting to relate to someone else who knows exactly what you are going through. It is even better when you finally meet someone, and says, "You too?!" Despite not knowing some of my friends in person, I have forged friendships with other mothers. We talk outside the mommy groups; texting, emails, and instant messaging. I have come to know them as well as they know me. I am comfortable enough to call them my friends.


Recently, in one of the groups; a situation revealed that having an online friendship comes with its risks, and people got hurt. It made me think. How far would you really trust an online friend, whom you have never met in person? 

Is an internet friend any different than a real life friend? Honestly, I don't think so. People can hide things as much as an internet friend can. An argument can be made that internet is not always a forthright place, and it is easier to come across as someone that you are not. I digress. It is easy to pluck dishonest ones among the honest ones given time, and patience. More often than not, it is not very common that you come across to someone, forged a friendship, and to learn later that the person has created a fake persona (just think Catfish TV show on MTV channel). Perhaps it is because I'm older now, and I run in concrete circles. It is not saying that there is without drama involved. It is more likely to come across bickering, and "mommy wars" based on disagreements, and what was said than discovering that someone is hiding behind a fake persona. Those type of people often got outed pretty quick. This type of BS is not tolerated very well with administrative staff. It is good to have this screening in the place to weed out shady folks.

I asked around about the topic regarding having internet friends, and how they know it is okay to trust their friends especially those that they have not met yet. The answers I have gotten is pretty much the standard; it is okay to have internet friends, and yes, they are trustworthy. Interestingly enough, a lot of people have said to me that internet friends are more reliable, trustworthy, and they feel closer to their internet friends than their real life friends.

It appears that internet helps you to weed out good from the bad, to quickly find those who falls in the same area of interests that you have, and observes a person based on how she/he acted in the forums. For example, I often frequent cloth diaper mama groups, motherhood-based type of groups, and blogging. Naturally, I meet, and find friends that enjoys the same thing. It is easy to forge friendships because there already exists same interests. Also, there is a bit of comfort having an anonymity behind the computer screen. You are not being judged by how you dress, how you talk, what you look like, and how you carry yourself. You are simply being observed based on what you say through your words, by what you post, and how you carry yourself on your profile through social networking sites. It is also easy for someone like me, who is Deaf, because this does not require a third party to communicate, such as an interpreter or someone who know sign language, and by typing, you are already carrying on a direct conversation.

In the real life, it is not easily done. You are judged automatically in person. First impression is everything. In my case, a lot of people find me intimidating because we do not speak in the same language. I am interpreted as cold at times due to my introvert nature. I am aware of this, and know it is not what defines me. Unfortunately, sometimes an opportunity to become friends falls through the cracks because of this. You often have to "wait", and allow things unfolds itself in order to really know someone by hanging out on a frequent basis. Sometimes, you end up realizing that the person you have been hanging out is not someone you would want to continue your friendship with. It takes more work in real life than it does on the internet.

To gain an internet friend, the person has to prove himself/herself to be trustworthy. How do you know that it is okay to trust the person especially behind the computer screen? It takes time, observation, and conversations to find that the person is who he/she says he/she is. In my experience, blogging often requires one to be open, brutally honest about their lives, and words come out stumbling onto these pages. I am who I write. People can conclude that I am a deep-thinker, an introvert, passionate about life, and carries values that I cherish. Of course, it is only an example. When readers reach out to me to talk with me, we develop rapport by talking, and some of the fellow bloggers/readers have become my friends. Do I trust them? Absolutely. It does take time. I don't necessarily open up and lay everything on the table. It takes many conversations, where things are being exchanged, shared, and spoken about.

For example, I recently gained a really wonderful friend because of my son's peanut allergy. If it is not for internet then I would have never met this person. Over the course of weeks of talking, we have come to an ease of being friends. I do consider her my friend even though I have yet to meet her in person.

I do think it is worth the risk. Just like real life, you meet someone, he/she is perceived as a honest person, and over the time, you find that it is not the case. It is unavoidable such as the recent event that had occurred in one of those mommy groups I am part of. It does happen both on internet and in real life.

When you do find someone you click with regardless over the internet or in real life, and share a trust then do make sure that person is being held on because true friends are hard to come by.

Calvin & Hobbes

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Your First Letter of Many Birthdays Yet to Come

Dear Forrest, 

As I watch you take your tentative steps away from the safety of holding on the edge of our sofa, your body swaying perilously, and your little chub arms up in the air to maintain balance, I cherish this very moment because within a blink, you'll be running toward me with your arms outstretched, and within a sigh, you'll be signing good-bye as you walk away with your friends.  You are, and always will be number one. You've brought so much joy in our lives just by being you. Being a mother leaves me so vulnerable in ways that I can't imagine. This vulnerability frightens me yet it empowers me to instill all the values I hope you'll gain as you grow. Here is what I would love you to know:

Fail as much as you can. We place so much emphasis on success, and doing things perfectly the first time around, but we fail to remember that making mistakes is also what makes us grow wiser. By failing, you may surprise yourself by finding another way to make it work. By failing, you find that core strength inside you that you have had all along. By failing, you are teaching others that it is okay to be imperfect. Do not be afraid of failures. They are neither bad or good. They simply are there to teach you that it is better to get up, brush yourself off, and do it again. Don't give up just because of one obstacle that gets in your way. Face it. Fix it. Move on.

Be kind. In life, you will meet some people that will not nice to you. I have learned from life that people who are perceived to be less than nice tends to be simply lonely, and lacking in social niceties. Lonely people do things to fit in, and sometimes, they make wrong choices by trying to fit in. Do not add more trouble on their shoulders by reacting in the same way. Show them the right way by being kind. It may surprise you how they change the way they treat you.

Do not judge. If you are too busy judging them then you will have no time to love. We don't know what always goes in others' lives behind the closed doors. Reserve your judgment to yourself, and listen to your guts. When a situation calls for an opinion, be wise with who you share your opinions with, and make sure you word it correctly for a right reason. Don't judge just because you can.

Forgive. Lose your scoreboard with all the wrongs people have done to you. It does not fix anything to hold scores over others' heads. All it does is make your heart harder, and bitter. It will build the walls between you, and the world. By forgiving does not mean you condone what others have done wrong to you. It just means that you have let go of all the wrongs, hurt, anger, and disappointments. It is FOR you than it is for them.

Stand up for yourself. If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair. You're fooling yourself. That's like expecting a lion not to eat you. This does not mean you should NOT be fair. Do be fair. At the same time, do understand that not everybody will uphold this value.

Stand up for others. When you see someone being victimized, then stand up for them. Do not stand back because you are embarrassed for them or afraid of the bully. By standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, you are teaching others what is the right thing to do, and why it is right to do this. You may not change the bully by doing this, but doing so, you are changing the world one person at time.

Work hard. Do well in school. Earn good grades. Turn in your homework on time. Do your best on the exams. Respect your teachers, and classmates. You will not always get what you want at first. You may not get your dream job right away. It takes steps. You may have to work odd jobs here and there to reach your ultimate goal. Build your work ethic. Show up on time. Be courteous. Do what you are told. You'll be able to build connections with your coworkers, and bosses. You will get there. It may take time, and you will get there.

Play harder. All work with no play makes you a dull person. You need some kind of outlet. If sports aren't your thing. That's okay! Find your niche. Let it be art, drama, or music. Make sure it is something that you enjoy, and have fun with!

Keep the environment clean. Make sure that you recycle, and disperse of trash properly. Make the right choices for mother nature, and for those who shares the space with us. Yes, that means animals, trees, plants, and water. Do not mistreat mother nature, and those who are a part of her. You will be leaving the world to your children, if you choose to have any, and others' children. Please do not leave the world a broken place for them.

Be patient. It will come.

Treat people with respect especially women, children, elderly, and the vulnerable. They are someone's child, sibling, relative, a friend, and means the world to someone else. Hold the door open. Allow them to go ahead of you to be first. Help if it is needed. Do not turn your eyes away, and pretend that they are not there. Treat women properly seeing that they have a such special gift of having an ability to carry a child. Treat children with nothing but kindness. They will grow up, and become representatives of our society. Treat the elderly with respect because they have seen so much from the world, and have so much to offer yet. Treat the vulnerable with dignity. Just because they are disabled does not mean they are sub-humans. If you see anyone, I mean anyone, treat them with indecency, disrespect, and cruelty then stand up for them. You are one of their voices.

Learn. Learn. Learn! Never stop learning whether it is through academics, or using your hands. It is so critical for you to show what you know whether it is by trade or degree. If you have no desire to further education through a college, then it is okay as long as you have a plan for your future. If army is something that interests you, then you will become one of those people who have fought for our country, and make sure you are doing it for a right reason. We will support you. And yes, you will still have to enter some kind of program with being in Army to earn a degree or certification. We would like you to at least enter a technical school to earn a certification of some trade that you are passionate about. It is a proof that you are able to absorb what you've known, and apply it to work. Make sure you understand what you've learned, and apply it to life because it will help you become a better citizen of our society.

Beware of becoming too arrogant. Nobody appreciates a smart aleck.

Be prudent when it comes to sex. Do not have sex just because it is "what everybody else is doing". Sex comes with a great responsibility. Do not force yourself upon anyone if they do not want it. Do not pressure, or abuse love in order to gain sex. It is not the right way. Use protection. Sex is a very intimate thing. By having sex with someone, you are essentially taking a part of them with you for rest of your life.

Love. When the time comes, you will find that you fall in love with someone wonderful, and you have our blessing. We hope to have shown you what a healthy relationship looks like while you were growing up. We hope that you know it is okay not always be perfect in a relationship, that there will some arguments followed with a lot of kisses, and hugs, and that it is important to have each other backs especially if you have children together.

A serious relationship is a work. We don't care who you end up loving as long as this person treats you right, and that the person you love is also a decent person. A relationship is not always easy. It is going to require work.Please remember that you are also handling their heart in your hand. Treat them right. Love is a very powerful thing, and can be overwhelming, scary, and confusing at times. With that, it is also a beautiful, and worthwhile thing to have. Once you find someone you love, and know it is going to work out, then don't let go that person just because "going" got hard. Even hard times is worth the love you have with that person.

Always be the first to apologize. It shows that you value your relationship more than your ego.

You will meet people from many different paths in life. You are already off to a great start with having a mom that happens to be Deaf! The people you meet, they will come to you with different sets of values, and opinions. Do not force them to change the way they think as much as not letting them to change yours.  Share, mingle, and discuss all of your thoughts without putting them down. If what they know is inaccurate, and do gentle correct them, but do not expect them to change what they know. If what you know is inaccurate, and they try to correct you, then embrace it, and it is up to you to either keep or discharge this new information. They are them. You are YOU. It is what makes the world an interesting place.

You are a role model. Because you will be the oldest kid in the family, the responsibility falls upon your shoulders to portray the values that we want to instill in our family to your brothers/sisters. When you are going to make a choice, it won't just reflect you, but also your family, and make sure it is a choice that you want your siblings to follow. We hope you will be close to your brothers/sisters enough for them to approach, and talk to you about life stuff that they may not always want to share with us. We aren't naive to think that kids will always want to tell us stuff. Being the oldest of the bunch in my family, I have had a share of my brothers/sisters telling me things that they did not want the parents to know. So I know how it goes! Also, because you are the oldest; your brothers/sisters will look up to you. You'll be the first to do things (which is pretty awesome, I think)! Make sure you keep the siblings in your mind when you make the choices because heck, they will try to copy you!

Most importantly of all, be yourself. Take care of yourself, and don't be afraid to be who you are. There is no need for you to try to be like someone else. After all, there is only one of you in the world.

Mama & Daddy