A Grand Mummum’s Day

Mom, 

I would have to imagine that the last 32 years of Mother’s Days for you looked something like this:

The most recent decade or so was floral deliveries or cards or maybe a spa treatment if, while we were busy with class and work and life, one of the four of us remembered to send something nice. College kids and 20-somethings have impeccable taste, you know. Unfortunately, I think my brother got the “favorite” award this year because he sent a real card. In the mail. That got there before today. Well played, broseph!

Before that dad maybe helped coordinate a relatively relaxing Sunday for you…. Or atleast hopefully loaded the dishwasher after dinner. And made sure your brood of teenagers signed the card. 

The most thoughtful of years thus far, though, had to have been right before that; where we made macaroni cards at school or were excited to (and insistent on) helping prepare breakfast in bed. Sorry about the egg shells that dad may have missed. I’m sure you smiled through a few of those crunchy suprises without our even realizing it.

But that first year… Before my three siblings showed up… When you were only a few months into this “mom” thing… I want you to know that I get it now. 

Well… Starting to get it now. Not saying I get the whole entire mom thing. No way. (Rumor has it we actually never do.) But I’m now 5 weeks in and getting to experience my first Mother’s Day. So I’m now starting to understand what “mom” means. 

And the first Mother’s Day isn’t about me. It’s about you. 

It’s about realizing how drastically different this last 32 years must have been from your perspective. And how much you sacrificed for us without a second thought. And without our even realizing it. 

In these first weeks I’ve learned…

…What they truly mean by “breast feeding is hard”. That shit hurts and is frustrating as hell when it’s not going well. 

…How depressing it can be when dad gets the fun and flirting time with the baby, while I get looked at as simply the food truck. 

…How exhausting growth spurts can be. Just. Go. To. Sleep. Child. 

…And that my body is no longer my own.

But you’ve always reminded me that I can do anything for a little while. And those reminders have helped me through the hard parts these last few weeks. 

“Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.” ~Linda Wooten

So I want you to realize that when I look back on the last 5 weeks, what actually stands out is …

…How gratifying it is to finally get the hang of feeding; and how bad ass you feel knowing you’re the sole provider for your kid’s nutrition. ‘Meals to go’ is open for business!

…That some days, I’m the only one (not even dad) that can calm the crying baby just by picking her up. She only wants me!

…How much I can accomplish on just a few short hours of sleep. Chest naps with the kiddo are a new favorite. 

…That it’s pretty miraculously amazing that my body made this unbelievable little person!

And because while she sleeps in my lap, this part never gets old….

 

So thanks for the advice. Thanks for reminding me that I can do anything. And thanks for setting the bar so high. I can only hope she can look at me someday and feel exactly like I do today. 

Happy (Grand)Mummum’s Day! 

ILY.

 

“Call your mother. Tell her you love her. Remember, you’re the only person who knows what her heart sounds like from the inside.” ~Rachel Wolchin



Confiiiiii….don’t think so.

Everyone knows that once you preggo your eggo there are certain new rules you get to live by. Like the obvious no smoking. Be stingy with caffeine and the occasional glass of house red. Or don’t start any new crazy exercise regimen!

But skip across the pond and the whole mess gets……. Messy!

All of the western rules still apply. And then some!

  • First of all – everyone will touch your belly.
  • All Chinese Aunties know that it will be a boy/girl. Don’t bother telling them that you’re not finding out. (btw – all y’all who said boy were wrong!)
  • No cooly foods whatsoever before baby. And only heaty foods after. I’m not sure what makes dates heaty or cheese and eggs cooly…. But they are.
  • Pineapple is for sure cooly and isn’t allowed *at all* as it will bring on labor, even at only 30 wks.
  • Your typical ‘work out’ will get you whispered about by most locals before, during, and after baby. Especially a 10k at 36 wks, CrossFit until 39 wks, or lunges during labor.

But what I wasn’t ready for was that period after delivery, and the mere illusion that the “rules” would go back to normal.

Baby girl showed up bright and early. So after polishing off a good nap and a shower, and having gone 8 months with no coffee, I was ready to walk downstairs (slooowly) and grab a latte and some fresh air. And since she was healthy and the hospital had a nice little outdoor garden, we brought our new favourite person with us.

Whoa.

At first I thought it was so cute that everyone loved staring at my new bundle of awesome. I mean, I did, so obviously they did, right? Nope. Turns out I was breaking some serious Confinement Period rules of the first 30 days.

  • Rule 1: No showering (or for sure at least washing your hair).
  • Rule 2: There will be no going outside the house/room for Mom.
  • Rule 3: Rule 2 applies to baby as well.
  • Rule 4: Though shalt drink confinement tea (made from dates). Not lattes.
  • Rule 5: Confinement tea is meant for her, not him. (he thought it was just really bad coffee…. Whoops?)

Yeah – it was pretty casual to hear that people can’t [come out to play or visit or insert other pretty normal social things] because ‘I’m still in my confinement period.’ It is also pretty standard to hire a confinement nanny or your favourite mother/mother-in-law/aunt/sister/sucker-of-a-best-friend to be on baby duty for the first month. Her job is to bring you the baby for feeds, and then handle all of the other burping, changing, rocking, napping in between. For an entire month! Which seems all well and good until you realise that this other person will be basically living with you. The. Entire. Time.

We decided to go without despite strong suggestion otherwise because… frankly… I already had that person. He is half the reason I’m in this sleepless mess in the first place and sleeps soundly right on the other side of the bed…. He’s hired!

And he nailed it. Best confinement helper ever!

One of the last rules, though, we managed to do. Almost. As any replica child of mine, she showed up basically bald, so I didn’t have to worry about shaving her head at the end of it all! Yes… Final confinement “graduation” ritual is taking a razor to a baby’s head. I am still not entirely sure how you go about shaving a baby’s head. Just seems like an injury waiting to happen. Or at least it would be if I did it!

So while I don’t know that I could personally entertain all of the facets of confinement, it was pretty fascinating to hear about it from my other Mum friends. And it’s ten kinds of endearing to have my Malay-Singaporean cleaner deliver E’s first red packet for her 30 day birthday … and then make sure we bundle up (jacket for me, extra blankes for babe) before heading downstairs for a quick lunch.

“You don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same tune.” ~Doug Floyd