Six months!

So first off, these past couple of weeks have been insanely busy at work. They’ve been the type of weeks where I’ve only managed to scratch of an item or two from my to-do list, while simultaneously adding three or four more items. They’ve been the type of weeks when I’ve been insanely busy each day, yet at the end of the week I can’t really pinpoint appreciable progress on my current tasks. In other words, screw these past couple of weeks.

On a much higher note, the dumpling officially turned six months old this past Tuesday! He had his six month check-up and the pediatrician was satisfied by his growth and progress. He weighs 14.5lbs (5th percentile!) and measures 26.75in (56th percentile – holy cats!!!). He doesn’t roll except when he’s in his crib, but he’s sitting almost perfectly unassisted. He doesn’t have much interest in toys, which was starting to alarm me because he doesn’t really grab for things. He has though, in just the last couple of weeks, started to really analyze what he’s holding. He still doesn’t reach for things much, but he’ll take it from you if you give it to him. He loves fabric though (and paper it seems – the paper liner on the pediatrician’s scale, for instance, he had to bring that with us back to the examination room). He’s officially tried sweet potatoes, peas, squash, egg, and avocado. Although, the egg and avocado, I’m fairly certain he didn’t actually swallow either of those.

It’s amazing watching him grow. His hair is coming in. His little legs are getting longer and hammier. He’s long and lean and adorable.


If I may though, can I relate to you the night of hilarity that occurred at my house this past week? Yes? Oh thanks.

So Luffy had to travel for business Wednesday and Thursday. No biggie. I was preparing the dumpling’s bath when I heard what every homeowner dreads – three chirps from a smoke detector. Le crap. I carried the peanut with me as I tried to track down the chirping unit. Unfortunately, after three rounds of chirping, the unit was ominously silent and I STILL hadn’t found the culprit. Well, I thought, might as well get the dumpling off to bed first. The only good thing in this scenario was that I had happened to be standing directly under the unit in the dumpling’s room as the last set of chirps went off, so I knew it wasn’t his.

So I continued with bedtime and got the dumpling off to bed, his bottles washed, his milk made, my pump parts cleaned, all without another peep from the detector. I naively hoped that it was a fluke and that it wouldn’t sound again. I knew it wasn’t a low battery signal and none of the other units had gone off, so it wasn’t an alarm state. All of the units showed steady green lights, so no issues to note there (also no help in determining which of the units was chirping). Around 10:30, I was about to head to bed when the chirping started again. Le double crap. I hurried around the house, but still couldn’t determine which unit it was because the thing still only chirped three times. When the house was silent again, I sat back to think about what to do. I figured three rounds of chirps every two hours or so wasn’t bad – I might even be able to sleep through it and it didn’t seem to bother the dumpling. I headed to bed with the hope that it would be a smooth night.

HAHAHA – I foresee much fail.

I got ready for bed and climbed in, settling down into my pillow right as the chirps started going off again. I ran through the house to figure out which one it was – again with no luck. I finally decided that maybe it was the hallway one and went to get a new battery and a chair.

Now let’s pause here. I knew, KNEW, that it wasn’t the typical battery dead chirp, but I, for some reason, did not consider that information. That’s basically all I know how to do with smoke detectors. Hear chirping – change battery. These are all of the things I know. Secondly, I should have just pulled them down to disable them (ours have A/C power as well as the battery back-up). I was worried that if I did that, it would set them all off with some sort of malfunction alarm as they sensed a fallen brother (not too crazy, ours are interconnected).

But I didn’t do any of that. At 11pm, I drug a chair into the hallway and replaced the battery in the hallway unit and then somehow managed to set off a test phase which meant that all of the units in our house suddenly blared their alarms. I prayed to ALL OF THE GODS AND LANDS AND EVERYTHING THAT IS HOLY that the dumpling would sleep through the racket. And he did! Praise be! I climbed off the chair, ready to head to bed when – CHIRPCHIRPCHIRP. (F&*%)

So at 11:15, I drug the ladder in from the garage and climbed atop it to change the battery in the office unit (again, see above and all of the things I know regarding smoke detectors). The damn thing kept chirping, even with the new battery. So at 11:30, I frantically looked up the manual to try to figure out what the freaking beeping meant and how to shut it the hell up. (My language was getting worse through this ordeal, so glad the dumpling wasn’t awake to witness it.) I discovered that this specific beeping pattern meant the unit was malfunctioning – FANTASTIC – and decided to disable it for the evening. So at midnight, I climbed up the ladder again and pulled the entire thing down. Since I still wasn’t 100% sure that the office unit was at fault and the thought of getting out of bed AGAIN for chirping AGAIN made me want to murder someone, I decided to pull down a couple of others for good measure.

So at 12:30 in the morning, I finally settled into my bed, completely on edge, waiting for more chirping. Which didn’t happen. Whew. But then my night fell apart farther as an unholy trinity of leaky diaper and gas and uncomfortableness got the dumpling up at 1:30 and kept him up until 4. Fun times. At least I didn’t have to call the fire department again. So win?

Voyeur

A week and a half ago, the dumpling woke me up at 6:30 in the morning, howling. He usually wakes up happy in the morning, so this was odd. When I went in to get him, I immediately noticed he’d made a 180 degree turn, with his head on the opposite side of the crib from where I’d laid him down. As I squinted down at him in the darkness, I suddenly realized I was also looking at the back of his head. Great.

He was clearly less than pleased to find himself on his belly, with no way to get back to his back. For the record, this was the first time he’d EVER rolled back to tummy (or even tummy to back, for that matter – first roll ever). He’s always stopped at his side when laying on his back and he’s never, ever attempted rolling out of the tummy position.

Alas, it was time to purchase a video monitor.

Back when I was pregnant (or even shortly after birth), as I scrolled through the recommendations for monitors, I couldn’t fathom getting a video monitor. Why do I need to watch my baby all the time? Ugh. So many crazy, helicopter parents out there that NEED to watch their child 24/7. All I could think about was the casual stories from moms on my birth board who carried their video monitor around the house and couldn’t do anything during nap time except watch the baby sleep – checking again and again to see if they were breathing and wondering if they were too hot or cold and was that a cough?! RELAX – is what I wanted to tell them. When I bought a monitor at two months (when we moved the dumpling into his room), I purchased a fairly inexpensive unit with sound capabilities only. I liked it a lot and figured we’d be all set.

As is (always?) the case with parenting, I’m eating my words now. As the dumpling becomes more mobile, I realized that I wanted the ability to check on him without disturbing him. Plus, when he wakes up in the morning, he’s usually so quiet that we’re often left wondering exactly how long he’s been awake in there. So, back to the monitor recommendations I went, hunting for a well-reviewed video monitor.

(Side note – I really like Baby Gear Lab for this sort of stuff. We bought our high chair based on their recommendations and I LOVE it. The monitor has been a great buy as well. Plus I just really like reading through their reviews on everything from strollers to diapers (both cloth and disposable) to breast pumps. Very entertaining, if you’re me and easily entertained.)

I hemmed and hawed for a while weighing the pros and cons of each, as is my nature. I finally settled on the iBaby Monitor, even though the Amazon reviews weren’t as stellar as Baby Gear Lab’s. It came in last week and I LOVE it. It doesn’t have a dedicated receiver; you use an app on your phone or iPad. I chose to use our iPad because I had read that it can be a resource hog (for obvious reasons). I love being able to bring up the app to make sure he gets to sleep. When he’s fussing, we’re able to tell if his eyes are open (he’s probably actually annoyed and we should go in) or closed (he’s basically just talking to himself, let him be). When I wake up in the morning, I bring the app up to make sure he’s still asleep and check on  him periodically until he wakes up. (He’s seriously super quiet in the mornings and it’s very hard to tell over the sound monitor alone that he’s awake.) It was a godsend over the weekend when the dumpling suddenly decided to add his newly acquired screeching skillz to his protest cries and the sounds we heard over the monitor seemed unearthly yet the video feed revealed him to be mostly calm.

I did pause though, our first night using it. A slightly creepy feeling washed over me as I watched my son drift off to sleep. I felt like a voyeur, peering in on a private moment. I turned the app off as soon as he was asleep and I kept it off through the night, only bringing it up to check on him when he stirred. I wondered if every parent felt that way, peeking at their children through video monitors. I definitely like having it and can see myself using it for years to come (especially when the dumpling’s transitioned into a toddler bed – oh lordy), but I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those parents glued to the monitor. The kid needs some space, you know?

It’s been too long

Sorry folks, but it’s March 31, which means year end 2016 reports are due out today…. which means my life has been hectic and busy, even without the five-month-old peanut.

Momentous occasion though! We gave the dumpling his first taste of solid food this past weekend. It was a sweet potato puree. I honestly can’t say what he thought of it because … well, he did this thing where he’d lean towards the spoon, get some off, furl his eyebrows like ewe, smack his lips some, and then start the whole process over. So. Not really sure what that means. He kept taking bites! And furling his eyebrows? And sort of eating! Yay? Luffy’s parents are over the moon that he’s started eating solids and are chomping at the bit to make food for him this weekend. Luckily, they’ve decided to start with an egg dish which is infant friendly, although I’ll be taking some sweet potatoes along in case the dumpling has no interest in the egg. At least then we can all laugh at his perplexing reaction.

But yeah, this week has been a little crazy. And busy. I feel like I’m running in a million directions, but not really accomplishing anything. Hopefully I’ll get better at this working mom and wife business soon.

Baby’s First Laugh

SQUEEEEE!!!!

The dumpling laughed for the first time on Saturday!!

I knew he had to be close. He’s been doing this thing where he’ll tilt his chin up and open his mouth into a wide, hammy grin. Each diaper change, I’d been taking the opportunity to tickle him and blow raspberries on his tummy. It finally worked on Saturday.

I squealed to Luffy, who was taking a nap, poor thing. But he laughed! Such a beautiful little sound.

I managed to get him to laugh one more time that evening (which I captured on video and have managed to share with everyone – seriously, it’s coming to a theater near you), but he hasn’t laughed since. Serious baby is serious.

And that’s about all the news I have. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a video to watch.

Four month check-up

The dumpling will be exactly four months old this Saturday, but he had his four month check-up this past Tuesday. He got another round of vaccines, which he wasn’t happy about, but other than that he did wonderfully.

Our pediatrician actually had him weighed and measured twice, just to be sure they had accurate measurements, because he’s measuring quite small. He weighs 12 lbs, 5 oz which puts him in the 3rd percentile for weight. That’s dropped from the 10th percentile at his two month appointment. He’s 24.2 inches long, which puts him in the 15th percentile for height. She was quite concerned about the weight percentile when she walked into the room (after reviewing his stats outside), but when she saw him, her worry eased a bit.

“He certainly doesn’t look skinny!” she said as we headed to the scale again. She was sure the weight had been off the first time around, but the scale read 12 lbs, 5oz again. Ultimately, she decided he’s perhaps just a late bloomer – or he might take after me instead of his dad. (I’m 5’1″, Luffy is 6’5″ – if I haven’t mentioned this anywhere.)

I think he’s just skinny, that’s all. Asian babies are smaller. Luffy is long and skinny; I’m short and skinny. Little dumpling has tiny thigh rolls and wrist rolls and elbow dimples (so cute!), but I certainly wouldn’t call him chunky. He’s happy though and he eats well, so whatever.

When I spoke to my mom about it, she told me that I was the exact same way as a baby. She said I never really chubbed up until I could feed myself and even then I was never a roly-poly baby. She told me that my doctors hounded her, wanting to run test after test to figure out what was wrong with me. At 7 months, I only weighed 11 pounds – completely off their percentile charts and not in a good way. After several rounds of testing, with no results to show, my granddad stepped in and asked her – is the baby happy? is she growing? is she playing? ok good, then leave my granddaughter alone. Of course, nothing ended up being “wrong” with me, I was just small and hated the texture of baby food.

My point is that I’m hoping he’s fine. It is worrisome to see him slip down the growth curves (even his own), but I’m staying optimistic that he’s just taking his time. He’ll get there.

In other news, our pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to start solid foods when we’re ready. New research shows that starting solids earlier than 6 months may lessen the likelihood of food allergies, so she wants us to start before then. I agree, but don’t think he’s quite ready yet. I’m excited to try some purees with him and introduce him to something other than breastmilk. If he’s anything like his parents, he’s gonna love eating.

On Nursing and Pumping

I have a confession for you guys: breastfeeding is wonderful for us.

I had so many worries during pregnancy about breastfeeding because you hear of so many horror stories (bleeding nipples! low supply! no supply! thrush! mastitis! poor latch! lip tie! tongue tie! I COULD GO ON). My standard quip to anyone’s inquiries on if I was going to breastfeed was always that that was my plan and I’d see how it went.

And then baby boy came along and I thought my fears were being realized. He wasn’t so patient at the breast and would sometimes scream and cry and give up before my milk would ever let down. We had to use a nipple shield for one breast because he just didn’t seem to like that side. I was really nervous about our one and only lactation consultation because I thought we’d get there and nothing would happen – he’d just refuse to nurse – and the LC would send me off with some failure to nurse diagnosis of shame (note – that’s not a thing, that’s only a thing in Belle’s neurotic mind).

Of course, all of this “trouble” happened in the first couple of weeks. We just needed some time to practice nursing, that’s all. Little boy quickly realized my milk would let down soon and got a little more patient. We weaned off of the nipple shield within the first two weeks or so. Ever since then, we’ve been trucking along beautifully.

I’m so grateful for the nursing relationship that we’ve enjoyed so far. It truly has been wonderful and while the middle-of-the-night feedings are certainly draining (when you’re the only one who can feed the baby), there’s part of me that enjoys those dark quiet moments with my son. I know I’ll miss them when they’re gone.

So nursing – yay!

But pumping, you guys. Ugh.

Pumping is not so fun. And I’m one of the lucky ones who has a pretty great set up.

At work, I utilize our only conference room without windows (it’s literally the only place in our office without windows). My boss had the building put a lock on the door for privacy. I have no restrictions on pumping “breaks” (I usually take my computer into the room with me). My coworker even brought in a mini fridge for my exclusive use. And remember – I’m only at the office for two days a week! The rest of the time I’m working from home which means I have complete freedom to pump.

And yet, I still put it off. I still find the pumping breaks intrusive to my day. I’m constantly at odds with pushing the sessions back, but not too far back lest I throw off my entire schedule. And just this morning I got thrown another loop. The dumpling’s daycare teachers suggested increasing his bottle sizes. He’s gulping down the 4oz bottles he gets right now and it’s increasingly clear that he’s still hungry afterwards. My problem is that I produce just enough to cover the three 4oz bottles he consumes while he’s at daycare. Upping those bottles to 5oz means that I don’t currently produce enough, so I’m pumping every hour on the hour today, trying to increase my output.

I blame part of the problem on the fact that I can now specifically measure how much milk the dumpling gets and how much milk I can pump (notice – not produce, I produce enough milk for him just fine while he’s nursing). Being able to measure things just adds a whole layer of complexity and worrying though. Especially on days when I don’t pump enough to meet his needs as it’s so much clearer now. I can no longer say, man! He’s eating so frequently today – growth spurt! Now it’s more like so he had his usual 12 ounces at daycare and I only managed to pump 10.5 ounces… guess I’m pumping before bed tonight. Because that’s the other thing – technically if I don’t produce enough during my daytime pumping sessions, I could always add extra pumpings at night, either before I go to bed or in the middle of the night between his nursing sessions. It all depends on how much I value my sleep and sanity versus how much I really want to make sure he continues to get breast milk. And cue mom guilt, because it’s always just around the corner.

And – oh look at the time! – it’s time to pump again.

Baby’s First Flight!

Last Tuesday, exactly a week ago, we got a postcard in the mail. My mom had recently finished renovating her newly acquired office building and she was having an open house. This was a huge milestone for her. She’s been in business for over 11 years, but she’s rented her space the entire time. She had outgrown her original space long ago and had slowly leased additional suites in the same building. These suites were not all together though, so she and her employees were constantly running through common area to get back and forth. Plus there was a lack of security, given she had to rely on other tenants to lock the exterior doors. Then there was also the fact that the entire building shared a bathroom. Etc. Etc. Lots of reasons why this new building is going to be such a huge step up for her and her employees. Plus her own building! With her name on it!

When we got the postcard invitation to her open house, Luffy asked me if I was going to attend. It was on Friday though, middle of the day, in my hometown (5+ hours away by car) and Luffy also happened to be out of town that day.

“No,” I chuckled, “I’ll just send her some flowers to let her know we’re thinking of her.”


Last Thursday, around 2pm, I got a call that registered with my hometown’s area code. I answered, instantly recognizing my mom’s business partner’s voice. He and my mom’s best friend (who also happens to be her employee) wanted to surprise my mom by having me there for her open house. They’d cover the flight, they’d pick me up, they’d even purchase a car seat if that made things easier for me. My mom always planned surprises for everyone else and they wanted the chance to surprise her.

What could I do but agree?


Thursday night, as I lay in bed contemplating the next day – flying with the dumpling all by myself – I dissolved into a ball of nerves. What on earth was I thinking?! Flying home, with no one to help me with the dumpling?! I’m crazy! I’m insane! I should be committed!

As 11pm and then midnight and then 1am rolled around, I tried frantically to adjust my plans. I even got on the phone with the airlines to try to take a different flight (that actually didn’t exist – turns out I tend to misread things when it’s 12:30 in the morning and I’m freaking out). I tried desperately to come up with a solution that would allow me leave the dumpling at daycare and be home in time to pick him up. (To be clear, we have plenty of friends and family in the area who would have been here for the dumpling in case he needed it. I wasn’t just going to abandon my young to daycare and go jet-setting.)

Finally, probably around 1:30 in the morning or so, a mere four and a half hours before I needed to get up, I calmed myself. I could handle this. I was flying with the dumpling, not some stranger’s squalling infant. We would be fine. Worst case scenario, the flight is only 45 minutes long, I’m pretty sure I (and my seatmates) would be able to survive anything for just 45 minutes. And with that thought, I finally managed to get to sleep.


I awoke with a start at 5:45 because omg the baby! He hadn’t made a peep all night. Of course, the one night I’m riddled with nerves and can’t sleep is the one night he sleeps all the way through. Because of course. I tried to roll over and go back to sleep, but I was wide awake. Which was probably ok because the dumpling ruined my plans to get ready before getting him up for the day by waking up at 6:15 and nursing for half an hour. But even with the curve ball, I got him fed, myself showered, breakfast eaten, Jas got her medicine, and we were out the door by 7:30!

And then I got to laugh at my anxious self as the dumpling did beautifully in the airport. He peaked out from his carrier as we went through security and made our way to the gate. He slept while we waited to board and woke up to be delighted by the airplane. A kind couple behind me shifted seats so that I could have a row to myself. I nursed him as soon as we took off and he nodded off for his first nap of the day. He slept the whole flight and woke up just as we were touching down. We made our way through my hometown’s small airport to find my mom’s best friend. As promised, she had a newly purchased car seat in the back. She had, adorably, given up YouTubing for installation help and had taken it to the local fire station. We chatted excitedly as we made our way to my mom’s business. With her business partner keeping her distracted from the security camera feeds, we made our way inside.

When I rounded the corner into my mom’s office, she stared at me, completely shocked and not really putting the pieces together – to see the dumpling and I standing in her office on a Friday morning. But the second passed and she burst into happy tears and came around her desk to envelope us both in a hug. She took the dumpling from me, hugged me again and again, and then proceeded to direct the set-up for her open house one-handed as she carried the dumpling everywhere – her mood notably lifted.

It was so much fun getting to surprise her like that! She was so shocked to see us and we made her day. We also got to surprise many of my extended family (including my own granddad who got the opportunity to meet his great-grandson!). Of course, with only two people in-the-know, we surprised nearly everyone who came out to support my mom. My mom had a blast showing her grandson off to all of her friends.

Since I was travelling alone and I needed to be back home to teach my first class the next day (which – SPOILER ALERT – didn’t end up happening because of a stomach bug I picked up along the way), our flight home was at 4:30 that afternoon. Mom drove us to the airport, sad to see us go but ever so happy that we came.

The dumpling did well on the flight home, although he was much more tired and therefore a touch more cranky. We made it home in time to get him into bed on time. Then I took a hot shower, had some dinner delivered, chatted with Luffy, and climbed into bed myself, exhausted from our busy day.

And then I got back up and puked, but let’s just pretend the story ended on my happier note, shall we?