Friday, April 18, 2014

My Half-Asian Boy.

My Half-Asian Baby Boy.

Truthfully, I’m not allowed to call Lucan “my baby.” If I call him a “baby” within hearing distance, he balks. “No mommy, I’m big boy. I’ve got my big boys on (aka: underwear). I’m not a baby.” But in my head, he’s my beautiful baby boy with my same dark brown, Asian eyes. He has my nose and ears. He’s half me, half Asian. 

Lance and I discuss what box Lucan will check when he’s filling out forms and applications – Caucasian? Asian/Pacific Islander? Other? If you ask Jessie the teacher to weigh in, Lu’s going to be better off circling Asian. Especially if he’s inherited his dad’s math skills (not my non-Asian, non-extraordinary math skills. Subtracting 15-8 causes me to pause for a moment.)

I recently finished reading the YA book “Eleanor and Park.” It was precious, angsty and really reflective of teenage love.  As much as I enjoyed the book for all of its ability to hit the nail exactly on the head of unrequited teenage love, it made me a little sad too. 

Park is half-Korean, his parents met when his dad was fighting in the Korean War and brought his mom back to Omaha. Being half-Asian depresses Park. In his mind, he’s not cute, he’s not the average white American kid who is good-looking and popular. 

“Nobody thinks Asian guys are hot, “Park said finally. He had to look away from her when he said it – way away, he had to turn his head completely. “Not here, anyway. I assume Asian guys do okay in Asia.”  
“That’s not true,” Eleanor argued. “Look at your mom and dad …”
“Asian girls are different. White guys think they’re exotic.”
“But …”
“Are you trying to come up with a super-hot Asian guy, so you can prove me wrong? Because there aren’t any. I’ve had my whole life to think about this.” 

This book is set in 1984, so maybe at that time there were no hot Asian guys. It breaks my heart that Park feels un-lovely because he's half-Korean. It is my hope that Lucan never feels the same way as Park does. That he sees how gorgeous he is and never feels inferior because he’s half- Asian.

Lucan is pretending he's a robot. Because robots scoot around on the floor with a wooden stool, right?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Maintaining Friendships after Kiddos

I look back at the pre-kiddo days and chuckle a bit. I used to have a co-worker who would really irritate me when he would say “You think you’re busy now? Just wait until you have kids!” And while he was absolutely right, life is busier with a toddler and will only get busier once we start having activities, my co-worker was wrong too. Because when were childless I spent more of my time deciding what “I wanted” to do. I was busy, just in a different way. Friendships were easier to maintain because we all had more free time. My girlfriends used to go out for dinner for every single one of our birthdays. I saw a lot more movies at theaters. There were more parties. But now there are children involved and we are even busier, I need my girlfriends even more. There is a lot of isolation in parenting and being a mom and that’s where I find I need my friends, their encouragement and their sage wisdom. So how we do stay sane by adding “one more thing” to our schedules and still keep in touch? 

See the rest of my post here at Des Moines Parent.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

31 Things in March

  1. Lincoln finding health and I quote his loquacious (good vocab word Jessie!) mommy “no detectable disease here!”
  2. Having five good friends with birthdays in March (Josh, Katie, Gina, Rachael and Nicole)
  3. Finally spring weather. Seriously thankful for that.
  4. After a 14 month search and A LOT of money spent on a search firm, finding the perfect fit for a new senior pastor for our church. I’m so excited about our future.
  5. There were nine little boys in church nursery one Sunday. And nary a girlie in sight. They’re going to have to fight each other for girls to date :)
  6. Trivia night at church. Our team, with three doctors, three masters’ degrees and two folks who are super smart with just their bachelors’ degrees, came in second place. By three stinkin’ points. There’s always next year.
  7. Scratch cupcakes for birthdays.
  8. National cereal day coinciding with my birthday this year.
  9. Target dates with friends.
  10. Birthday love in the form of cards, texts, phone calls and FB messages
  11. Reconnecting with a friend over frozen yogurt and crazy kiddos.
  12. Evening story time at the library. Lucan asks every other day if we can go to the library. If there’s one thing I do miss about working, it’s being able to take Lucan to more daytime outings.
  13. Paying off my grad school loans!! HOLLA! Now it’s time to pay off that study abroad semester in London.
  14. Seeing Lance’s Kansas relatives, even though it was for a sad occasion.
  15. Birthday coffee at Caribou.
  16. New Hunter rain boots. I’ve gotten so many compliments on them!
  17. Cheering on the ISU Men’s basketball team
  18. Beating Lance’s bracket.
  19. Park playtime
  20. Maxi skirts
  21. Potty training. We are close people. So close I can feel it.
  22. And in the same breath, I’m thankful for having a little boy who has zero reservations about peeing behind a tree.
  23. Walk-in clinics with evening hours. Lucan told us over supper one night that his “ear was angry” meaning it hurt. Lu doesn’t complain about his ears until they’re full-blown, full-on inflamed. We were able to go to a Doctor’s Now clinic and be seen immediately and get him started on meds.
  24. Lu’s favorite books from the library: “Daisy Gets Lost”, “A Ball for Daisy” and “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site.” As they are library books, I’m going to have to buy copies for our family because we read them every single day and Lu’s going to be devastated when they have to be returned.
  25. One year work anniversary for me
  26. Finishing the books: “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald,” “Still Life with Breadcrumbs,” “The Aviator’s Wife,” and “The Rosie Project.”
  27. Haircuts for the boys.
  28. A fabulous new Pioneer Woman recipe – Thai Chicken Pizza!
  29. Having my parents visit for a weekend.
  30. Learning to love God for God and not his gifts (small group lesson).
  31. Lance’s cousin’s lost their baby son to a heart defect. While it ranks up there on saddest funerals I’ve ever been to, his beautiful cousin reminded me to love on Lu. Each day is a gift and we aren’t promised a certain number. It’s a hard reminder that God, in all of his goodness, still is sovereign.

One Thing I’m NOT Thankful For:
1. The return of daylight savings time. Sheesh. I’m not sure if it feels harder each year because I’m old or because of the toddler in the next room who stays up an hour past his bedtime sitting in his bed “reading.” As Lance likes to remind me, this is all the doing of my genes.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Daycare Update

I’ve had many sweet people ask me how our new daycare center is going. And without a moment of hesitation I can answer: good. It’s going really, really well. The night and day difference in Lucan’s demeanor and personality is astounding. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still my precious little toddler terrorist, but some of the sad things we had seen going on have diminished. He no longer cries every morning at drop-off. Lucan would stand at the door and wrap his arms around my legs and beg me not to go. This was most every day. He no longer says “Miss X screamin” or “Miss X is mean.”

We don’t get reports every day stating how naughty Lucan was or how he didn’t listen. At the end of our time at our old daycare, there was a chart on the wall with a daily goal for each child and Lucan’s goal was to “be nice.” If a child was good in the morning, they would get a morning sticker and if they were good in the afternoon, they would get an afternoon sticker. Lucan rarely had any stickers. I’ve had 5 or 6 daycare teachers come up to me and make a point to tell me how sweet Lucan is, how he helps pick-up and how nice of a boy he is. I’ve wanted to have a notarized note sent to my old daycare provider showing not everyone hates my child. 

We used to drive by the turn-off to go to Miss X’s house and Lucan would cry out in distress saying “don’t wanna go to Miss X’s. No Miss X.” He would do this on weekends and on evenings.
We’ve been off and on potty training for six+ months now. I’m fairly certain that Lucan would have been potty trained at Christmas if we hadn’t had such an unfortunate time at daycare. I had pretty firmly decided that we were not going to buy pull-ups. One day I went to pick him up and Lucan was in a pull-up. From that day on, Lucan wanted pull-ups and was entirely unconcerned if he had an accident in one. We regressed because he would refuse to go to the bathroom anymore – anywhere. Miss X had been setting a timer and every time the timer went off, Lucan had to try the bathroom. Then he started getting really upset by all timers and would start crying anytime one went off. But a couple of weeks ago, Lu’s new daycare teacher said she thought that he was ready to wear underwear. So we really worked on it over the weekend and sent him on Monday in underwear. No accidents. He’s slowly learning to be able to tell when he has to use the bathroom and we do a lot of reminding that it’s time to try. We still put him in a diaper or a pull-up for naps and at bedtime, but he’s potty trained for the most part. We have an occasional opps, but potty training has gone really well.

My parents and in-laws observed how terrified Lucan was of being scolded. Of how he would run and try to hide from you if he thought he did something wrong. Slowly, Lucan is becoming less fearful and trusting of adults again. So when he does something naughty instead of crumbling, he stares me down and does it again (such a toddler). I attended a Cat in the Hat birthday party at daycare and witnessed Lucan and several other children run up to an older daycare worker and give her a big hug. Just because she’s a sweet lady who loves kids.

The thing about a bad daycare situation is that even though your child might not directly tell you something is wrong, there are a multitude of other things he is telling you. In the way he acts around you, how he acts at daycare and their body language around the provider. But most of all, if you spend quiet time with your little one, you start noticing fear in their eyes. Because many times if they are acting out it’s their way of asking for help out of a bad situation. I’m sorry to say, but we let it go on too long out of our own prideful ways. Since Lucan has been born, we have bopped around at several daycare providers and we didn’t want to talk about switching again. Because of our own pride, we left Lucan in a harmful situation and I blame myself. It would be easy to place all of the blame on our old daycare provider, but that wouldn’t be fair. I think it’s quite possible she’s a little bit post-partum depressed and is overwhelmed by all of the kiddos and being stuck inside all winter. But I don’t think she handled things the right way and I’m not sure that doing daycare is the right thing for her. 

So the long and the short of it, if you ask me how our new daycare is going, I will tell you without missing a beat, putting Lucan in a daycare center is the best thing we’ve done for him. You were right all along Erika. I don’t know why I ever doubted you :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

That time I did something bad to my face: oil cleansing.

Have you noticed the oil cleansing movement popping up in the face wash aisle? Or read about it on different blogs? Trust me, it’s out there (here’s one example). I had read about it a couple of different times and was intrigued. It’s cheap, it’s all natural and it sounded reasonable. The basic premise of the idea is that by using soap and normal face washes, you are stripping your face of oils and then making it produce more oil to replace what’s been taken away. In my head, it sort of made sense, I could get behind their rationale. And from what I can see, it works really well for some people. I am not some people.

Holy crap, did my face hate oil cleansing. My oil cleansing mixture consisted of two parts jojoba oil from Trader Joes and one part castor oil (this can be found in the laxative section of most of your standard Targets or Wal-Marts).  It’s all-natural and removes makeup and all other junk. You just smooth onto your dry face at night and then put a hot, steamy washcloth over to steam out all the impurities and rinse. Easy peasy. Your face is clean and moisturized. I had read there is an initial like one to two week adjustment period where your face gets used to non-soap face washing. I fully expected things to go a little wonky which they did at first. I know it’s really important to get all of the oil off with your wash cloth and not to get cold feet in the transition period and start using soap again. Then as time wore on, I started noticing that I was getting pimples not only in my problem zones but also on other parts of my face that have never been acne prone. After two months of having some of the worse breakouts since I had been pregnant (which I’m not pregnant BTW Jessie) and thinking maybe I need to see a dermatologist, I quit oil cleansing. And then my massive breakouts stopped all at once. I went back to my beloved Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser. Oil cleansing was my nemesis.  

If you look at castor oil, it’s really think and gooey. I was spreading layer upon layer of thick and gooey stuff all over my pores and wondering why my face was suddenly so problematic. Castor oil was not my friend. Oil cleansing is not my friend. 

And that’s the tale of the time I did something really bad to my face.