Posted February 17, 2011on:
Feb 2nd of this year, local reports indicated that the groundhog stepped out and didn’t see his shadow anywhere, so we are going to have an early spring. By the look of things this week, I’m hopeful, with emphasis on S-P-R-I-N-G. NOT summer. Last year was crazy. We had heatwave in March, that was not fun at all. Let’s hope good weather last long into June, like 2009. So far we have had 2 days of above 50 degrees weather, and Friday is supposed to reach 65. Most of the snow on the ground has melted today. It’s a very gradual process so far, it wasn’t mad snow one day and then suddenly warm rainy 50’s the next, rendering all roads into one ugly muddy mess. I took May out for her first official evening stroll at the neighborhood playground today. She still loves the slides and climbing up and down the steps. Sometimes she tries to move in her bulky layers, and then tells me “I’m afraid of falling down.” I would then give her a hand or tell her what she can do. She’s pretty good at telling me what scares her, what worries her, what amuses her.
I used to sing random songs for her in the car, and May used to tell me to change song. I comments used to be along the line of “This song is depressing huh? OK let’s find a more uplifting one…” That would have been me singing Vietnamese ballads, many of which are Depressing, deserving of that capital letter. It’s Sy Phu’s fault, and Khanh Ly’s fault. Chau and Tram used to listen to these 2 singers almost exclusively, and man they are depressing. (A funny side story: Vi (4T at the time of story) was in the car with her mom and aunt one day. They had a long drive and there was one Sy Phu CD after another, hours on end. After a while, Vi grabbed her head and sunk into her seat, whimpering “I have a headache…” Tram (mom) asked if it was because she might be hungry. Vi covered her face in despair and pointed at the CD player in the car, “No, it’s that music…”) So now, the many songs I know the lyrics to, not surprisingly, are depressing songs. The happy ballads that I’d rather sing, well, I didn’t listen to them on repeat often enough, and I can’t remember half of the words. That’s why I sung depressing songs to May sometimes. Only sometimes. Because I do sing a lot of children songs and nursery rhymes. And i recite poetry too. But these days, whenever May wants me to change song/poems, she would say “Mommy sing another song please, this song is depressing.” Even if the contents of my songs are actually bursting with patriotism / communist sympathy / revolutionary urges. Sometimes she says the national anthems are depressing, lol.
Spring. We are 2 weeks away from California, where spring is actually happening. Here, I just spotted some daffodils protruding from the ground. They have not made significant progress, so I’m guessing if they are to bloom, it will be after we are gone. No forsythia neither. Nada. It’s just this great amount of energy of all things pregnant in the ground. When we drive through hills and valleys and fields, the colors are still predominantly gray, but with reddish fuzzy tinge around the edges of everything. It’s those buds. I’m trying to locate a sighting report, to see if anything is blooming locally. So far no luck. Maybe I’ll contact the forestry department at the university or something…
Potty success story continues. No accidents for days now. Today we went out for more than 3 hours without a diaper. May has successfully used the big public potty 4 times since Saturday. I just hold her tight and tell her stories of make funny comments. Today was another milestone reached: she was running around in the store and then suddenly she grabbed her crotch. I asked her if she wanted to go to the potty with me, and she said yes! Times spent around the potty has been cut down significantly too. Many times I just plop May onto the toilet and go about with my business. I got her pattern figured out, so when I know for sure she’s well due, I just let her sit while I clean the bathroom or brush my teeth/hair. I only read stories to her when i think she doesn’t really need to go, but she will go on queue. We are going to California with just 14 diapers, much better than 100. May still uses her diaper at night, which is fine with me.
Night-weaning success story continues. Last week May slept through the night 2 times. Last night she woke up while I was downstairs chasing the cat around (argh), but I didn’t know until Son told me later. She found Son and he rubbed her back, so she went back to sleep. That’s a biggie, because Son has never done night time parenting, simply because she didn’t want to have him if she could ask for boobies. Last week I sang a bit to her when she woke up in the middle of the night, but the last 5 nights or so, I just simply set her back down on her pillow, handed her the little bear, and let her snuggle up with me. She would then close her eyes and fall back to sleep. Whew, no more story telling at 3am, what a relief.
Baltimore Zoo’s admission for Jan & Feb is 40% off, kids under 2 get in for free, so if Friday is anywhere above 50, we are going.
I really do have more things to do besides baby watching. Except these things hurt my brain to think about them when I decompress. I’d rather talk about May, because at least I find talking about her fun and rewarding. Since my switch from being an employee to SAHM, I feel like I’m becoming dull. It’s not just because of the identity switch. It’s the time constraint. I used to have so much time to do things for myself – eat out, try new recipes, testing different tools, start a crafty project, read tons of books, hang out and observe people/things. Now I don’t really do those things anymore. I can find time to do those things, but my mind would be else where. Maybe it’ll take me another year or two to regain some kind of equilibrium. In the meantime, I still do things I used to do before: editing resume, reading online, reading books, reading newspaper if I get my hands on them, thinking about things/people, testing recipes, looking up arts, listening to music… I’m just more distracted nowadays, so I don’t hold things as long in my mind to contemplate on them with pleasure. I prefer to just experience them and then be done with. So I can go chase after a toddler. I don’t mind remembering my mom saying “she looks best when she’s asleep” to her friends about me as a kid. I knew then and know now full well I was an “oops,” one of the least wanted oops on that scale too. I remember how her days use to be, lethargic and resentful and sticky under the heat. Her belly ripening with yet even more babies after me. Even with the children well spaced out due to the war and aftermath, so that when Tin was born, An used to empty his potty, Chau used to bathe and feed him, Tram used to do all his washings, I swung his hammock hours on end during his naps – my mom was still overwhelmed. With all these children she didn’t want to have in the first place, with all the noises and chaos around her, the meals that she had to make decisions about preparing, the tattle tales she had to tend to, the punishments she had to dispense. My memory of mom in those days were of a soul less mass of …something. Something I desperately wanted to get close to, but at the same time, I something I pitied. It was never respect and fully developed love that I had for her. It was always a mixture of sympathy, pity, fear, distrust and emotional dissonance. It’s what happens when life washes over someone like her, I think.
I have always wanted May, and her little siblings that I see in my mind’s eye down the road, and never ever in the past 3 years had I wished for something different. But as easy of a child as May has been – sure, sleep habit was so difficult for me to handle initially, but it works itself out – I was still feeling like I’m not really me at times. As May is getting older, and I’m thinking about what to do with my career and when I want to start trying for the next kid, I can’t help but think about my mom. I am not worrying about becoming her, no, not that. I always have my plans and I feel confident that I can come up with a solution as long as no one is dying… I just feel sad for mom, I guess. I compare what I have to what she had. What I experience to what she experienced. These days, I can always google to find an answer to something day to day. Or I can pop up online and rant to my friends/sibblings/husband. My mom’s days were filled with isolation in a brick house, teaming with kids crying and arguing and fighting. She prayed so much and it seemed as if her prayers went unanswered, because she continues to be so unhappy, even to this day. She may say she is happy and content, but in many ways, she isn’t. She’s traumatized by life. If I have had a life that was so LIVED, lived not in terms of fulfillment, but lived in terms of feeling spent, feeling so helpless and out of control, the way hers had been, I’d probably be on medications right now. I think mom might benefit from some antidepressant. But such idea offends her.
As much as I hate working, I hate not having an income more. I’m very sure that if not this year, maybe next year I will be at least employed part-time to some capacity. Working is how I grow the most. Interacting with people is what helps me learn. And learning is how I grow in dimension. Earning an income is what makes me feel secure. I have decided that housework is not for me a long time ago. I think even if my income is only enough to cover maid service twice a month, I’d rather have that. I think my goal for 2011 is to
1. figure out the timeline for the next baby
2. look into a part time job, possibly work-from-home.
3. take math classes to prepare for the GRE.
I would prefer to get all 3 of these things done, but with all the uncertainties in the air regarding where we will be this summer, I getting 2 items done off that list would be a smashing success.
Always, in the back of my mind, is the thought “don’t grow old like mom.” Poor mom. She’s helping me, but not in the way mothers hope to inspire their children… Her birthday is in spring – early spring.