Mom Life

A New Chapter

We finally closed on our Forest Hills apartment today, yay!

Many lessons learned, and we are lucky to be able to afford the tuition. It’s inspired us to be more proactive with our personal finances, and not make the mistake of being stuck in comfort.

As they say, the comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.

Next week I’ll be going back to work, and I am so thankful that my mom is here to help with Chloe. Olivia also enjoys playing with my mom, so it’s definitely nice for her to have grandma around. Childcare is such a big stressor for parents- really cannot express enough how grateful I am that my mom agreed to try to help us.

Finally, I’m currently engrossed by The Premonition by Michael Lewis. It’s such an incredible (true) story about the efforts of some seriously smart people in the medical field who understood pandemics and tried to prevent uncontrollable spread of the virus in our country. Sadly, their efforts were hampered by the CDC and politics. The book is like a beacon of hope for me, as it’ reminds me’s a reminder that there are great, brilliant people out there who genuinely care, but it’s also a little depressing to know that these people are too far and few between. Too many people, especially young kids, spend way too much time and energy on social media and TikTok nowadays. There’s nothing worst than wasting a person’s mind, potential, and time. In 2023, I hope to lead a “do better” life and keep growing in all aspects of life. Can’t wait!


How to Cope When Things Are Not So Rosy

So far, my blog posts have been mostly about gratitude, having fun with my family, and being happy, because most of the time, that’s what my life is about. However, I’m currently dealing with a not so happy situation that we are still trying to work out. Due to my superstitions, I won’t talk about the sitch until it’s resolved, but I got up at 4:30AM this morning to work on some personal projects and now feel too dejected to be productive as I woke up to an email notifying me of an unexpected setback. Sigh.

Whenever something bad happens in life- and admittedly, I am grateful that there are really only a handful of times I can count where I feel like this – my instinct is to question why. I believe there is a reason for everything and a lesson or lessons to be learned from all challenges. Everything works out for the better after it’s over.

When I got rejected from colleges I wanted to get into simply for its prestige, I ended up spending my first year at Cooper Union, which was great because I had a full scholarship, and this led me to apply to USC for a transfer, and USC turned out to be an excellent experience for my personal development and growth.

When I graduated in 2010 without a job lined up, I ended up being able to take advantage of the time to join a free Chinese immersion program in Taiwan, and that was one of the most fun things I did in my 20s. I left the program early by one or two days to interview with Turner Construction, a job where I would go on to meet the best coworkers who I’d share so many good times with, and I was able to go into the interviews with jokes about jet lag as I’d just flown back from Taiwan the night before.

When I went through a family breakup over money (my mom’s siblings decided the cost of their relationship with us was only worth $125,000), I learned how money can really change people and I was able to remove a lot of negativity from my life. I also vowed not to let myself be such a slave to money that I’d screw over family members like that.

When I got rejected from out of state MBA programs, I ended up at Columbia, which turned out to be the perfect fit as I didn’t want to do another round of long distance with Daniel. The commute was also not bad because there was a bus two blocks away that took me straight to the Morningside campus.

When we were trying for Chloe it took much longer than expected, and each month was a wave of disappointment, but ultimately we were blessed with the perfect baby and her timing was impeccable in terms of where I was at work and also so we could hibernate in the winter time while she’s so little.

That brings me to the current issue. I tried to think of more examples where I’d felt this way before, but really the ones I’ve listed are more or less it. Right now I’m still in the thick of a terrible situation, so I have absolutely no clarity on why it’s happening and what I can learn from it other than the immediate lessons of not making the same mistake again. I hate feeling so helpless and at the mercy of some authority figure. At least it’s just money. As a friend from Columbia once taught me, if it’s a problem that money can solve, it’s not a real problem. I should be grateful for that, and I am. It’s just been so long since we’ve been stuck in this situation and I am tired. I want this to be over already so I can move on.

Well, at least I’ve learned one thing- it’s nice to have somewhere to write this all out. Unlike a private physical diary, which might get displaced, I’m glad that my children might one day come across this post and I hope they’ll be able to learn something from it. The other day Olivia came home from school seeming very much unlike usual happy self. At age 3, her world is mostly rainbows, sunshine, and butterflies, and I’m proud of the happy childhood Daniel and I have been able to provide her with so far. So it was jarring to see her seemingly hiding some sort of sadness from us. We prodded her to see if we could learn if something was wrong, but ultimately perhaps she was just tired and she was fine as the night went on. Seeing her that way brought a sad thought to my mind that Daniel and I cannot protect her from sadness and disappointment forever. All we can do is help her build a good foundation to deal with the things life will throw at her. I’ve no doubt Olivia will be grow up with the mental strength to handle whatever comes, and I hope we are also able to teach her how to prevent some of these things, but however sad I’m feeling right now, it hurts 10x more to think of one of my children feeling this way. So kids, if you’re reading this, know that if you ever feel super down, you are still very, very much loved and I would do anything I can to help you feel better!

Remember- it’s not a real problem if it can be solved with money.

Events Life

A Belated 100 Day Celebration for Chloe

Since Covid-19 started nearly three years ago, it’s been difficult to plan events more than two weeks in advance, especially now with a vulnerable 3 month old baby. We’d originally planned to celebrate Chloe’s 100 days on the actual day, but had to push it back due to a family member contracting the virus.

Two weeks later, we were finally able to host Chloe’s party, but it really is like we’re in a whole new world since we hosted Olivia’s 100 days three years ago. For Olivia, we were able to have a party at Maiella, a waterfront restaurant in LIC. We were able to invite extended family, friends, and Daniel’s mom’s friends. It barely crossed our minds to wonder if guests were sick, both because we assumed they would know better than to come to a baby celebration if they were, and because it was just not a thing we thought about too much. The only thing on my mind was not wanting people to kiss my baby because I’ve heard horror stories about babies contracting herpes that way.

This time around, we were only comfortable inviting family. We were originally going to host the party at a local upscale sushi restaurant, but due to the recent uptick in covid cases, and the “tridemic” of covid, RSV, and flu that the media keeps talking about, we decided to scale back and have the party at Daniel’s mom’s place. It was still a good time of course, and I think it worked out better since I was more comfortable feeding Chloe there than at a restaurant bathroom, but it’s a little wild to me how different the world is now.

Anyhow, we had some awesome sushi, sashimi, noodles, and a delicious but expensive cake. My adorable moment of the day was when we had Olivia and Chloe take pictures with their great-grandparents, and Olivia held Chloe’s hand without anyone telling her to. She’s naturally so protective of her baby sis and it makes me so happy to see it. Got some nice pictures too, so happy 100 days Chloe love!

Cake by Taste Crème, Topper by CakingAtHome via Etsy

Life Thankful

Husband Appreciation Post

I met my future husband at 15 through an after school work readiness program. We became good friends while working at a summer job and stayed in touch throughout high school, despite attending different schools. I wasn’t ready for a relationship so we didn’t get together until the summer before I left for college…across the country in California. That was a pretty eventful summer, but I’ll save that story for another time.

Daniel was my first boyfriend, my first relationship, my first 3hr (LA to NYC) long distance relationship, and my first 12hr (Hong Kong to NYC) LDR during a semester abroad. Thank goodness we had a solid foundation rooted in friendship, because I don’t know if we could’ve survived long distance otherwise. As a first time girlfriend, I put him through countless emotional rollercoasters. I had very much bought into the storybook and Hollywood ideals of romance, so I thought I was supposed to be treated like a Queen (not wrong there) and Daniel was supposed to fight for me/us and “prove” himself this way (quite ridiculous…but he did pass all the tests!). We’ve been through so many fights in so many places…if it wasn’t for the ground rules set very early in our relationship that Daniel doesn’t curse (which influenced me to curb my sailor mouth) and not to say anything we didn’t mean during fights, our relationship could’ve been considered toxic. However, we mostly fought about wanting to be together but not being able to (family obligations and the long distance thing), and we always found a way to make up and get stronger. With the short time we were actually able to spend physically together the first three years of our relationship, I guess fighting was kind of one way to express our passion and also get to know each other very efficiently. After all, nothing grows in comfort.

(Note for my girls if you are reading this- I am in no way advocating for always fighting with your partner as a sign of a healthy relationship. Your father and I had very specific circumstances and like I said, our fights were not nasty, there were no name calling. It was mostly me testing the limits of the Hollywood romance. I legit once got mad because your dad made a joke about not knowing my birthday. He spent so much time trying to make me feel better about that, poor guy.)

All is to say I know I was a crazy girlfriend and I appreciate my husband for never even suggesting we break up, even though I did because that’s what they do in the movies before they made up. But even though we put all that work into our relationship and made it through three years of long distance, there was really no way to know that we were going to end up together together. In your 20s, so many things change as you evolve individually, but I feel very lucky and blessed that we both changed together instead of drifting apart.

I don’t subscribe to opposites attract in the Hollywood sense anymore. In real life, I think what’s worked for me and Daniel is that we have opposite/complementary skills, but we very much started off sharing common interests (cuisines, humor, and in true Asian form, we both enjoyed advanced math) and we have grown together to share even more (tv shows, travel, Japanese culture, and so much more based on experiences together). He’s great at cooking, I enjoy doing the dishes. I excel at navigation and remember how to get to places, he definitely needs Google Maps or me. I manage big picture ideas and strategy for bobagreen, he executes.

So off we went getting married, and life as a twosome was great. But then came the next life event- having kids, and this is where Daniel has really surprised me with his awesomeness.

After everything that I put him through in our boyfriend-girlfriend years, I knew that Daniel’s patience is one of his strong suites. But seeing how he handles Olivia’s tantrums really shines a whole new light on how patient and understanding he can be. To Olivia’s credit, she doesn’t throw a lot of fits (I like to think it’s because we’ve taught her well, to express her feelings in words, and we model rational behavior as we are now grown adult parents who talk through disagreements), but she is a toddler and sometimes toddlers have big emotions. It’s ok. Sometimes Olivia would just whine and throw herself on the floor because something didn’t go the way she wanted it to, and Daniel would get down to her level, ask her what is bothering her, talk through it as many times as necessary with her, and figure out a solution to her problem. I get impressed because that’s exactly what I would do for our children too, but I didn’t have to tell him. Daniel just does it as if he’s reading my mind and I love how aligned we are on parenting styles. Sometimes Olivia’s tantrums would really push my buttons, so he is able to take over, and I do the same for him. Complementary skills.

When Olivia was still in my belly, I started reading about Montessori and how to raise a child using the Montessori way. The philosophy – letting children lead, respecting the child, encouraging their independence and curiosity – fit perfectly with how I’d envision my parenting style. I was really excited about it, so after reading some books I summed up the important parts for Daniel (I love to read, he really does not) and to my surprise, he didn’t need much convincing to get on board. He agreed that he liked the Montessori way as well as it also spoke to his natural parenting style. Whereas I need to read to get ideas and learn, I was amazed that Daniel knew how to use Montessori principles without much research. I can’t express how important it has become that we are both on the same page when it comes to child rearing. This wasn’t something I was able to plan for when we were just getting to know each other, but it’s another example of us growing together, sprinkled in with a bit of luck, and it makes parenting so much easier and more fun for me because we are truly doing it together.

In our household, I manage planning (finances, kids’ education, weekend activities), and Daniel takes care of physical needs (trash, cleaning, yard work, heavy lifting). We enjoy sharing with each other the things we have in common (movies, shows, restaurants, places to go, things to do). It’s a balanced life and relationship. I don’t question whether he’s doing more or if I’m doing more – I assume we are both trying our best and have the best intentions for our family, and being Daniel’s partner is just natural and easy to me. I am so grateful to call Daniel my husband and I am endlessly thankful for the life and family we’ve built and continue to work on every day.

Mom Life Sleep

Worry if they do, worry if they don’t

Me: Dear baby when will you be able to go to sleep on your own? Why are you fighting sleep so much when you’re tired? Are you hot? Are you cold? Pleaaaase go to sleep!

Also Me: Omg this morning she did not fight or cry when I put her down in bed, she fell asleep on her own, and now she’s been asleep for 1.5+ hours. Is she ok?? Should I wake her?!

Mom Life Sleep

No Swaddle, No Pacifier (!)

The one thing Daniel and I “screwed up” on with Olivia was her sleep. We were never able to nail down a routine with her when she was a baby, so as a toddler she still needed one of us to sleep with her. Sometimes it took up to an hour for her to sleep and back when I was doing it, I often ended up falling asleep with her instead of working on one of my many business ideas. I don’t necessarily regret this, as it was actually quite sweet to fall asleep with her after a nice end of day chat. Instead of being upset, I just figured we’ll make money later; there’s no rush. Nonetheless, we need some time at the end of the night to work on various tasks, so we knew we would need to work on Chloe’s sleep.

The last four months with Chloe have been such a great learning experience. She was a great sleeper early on in the newborn phase, which I recall Olivia was as well. It was a whole different experience though, because now we knew not to wake Chloe up, whereas with Olivia we were frazzled first time parents who worried she was sleeping too much and always woke her up to eat at the 3 hour mark. Around the 8 week mark, when sleep didn’t come as easily to Chloe, I took the Taking Cara Babies sleep course and learned so much. I bought the Ollie swaddle and it made such a difference because with Olivia, if she protested a nap, we assumed she didn’t want to sleep and gave up trying. Now that I learned to swaddle Chloe and read her sleepy cues, I realized her protest was just her fighting falling asleep, but not sleeping itself. It’s fascinating to learn that all babies know how to fall asleep, but need to feel safe enough to do so because back in our hunter-gatherer days, babies got eaten if they were left alone to sleep. The swaddle, pacifier, and Cara’s advice were super helpful for the next month and a half, but since last week Chloe’s been going through a sleep regression (from eating once a night to twice to three times last night!). She’s been showing interest in rolling as well, so I figured it was time to ditch the swaddle.

Since Olivia was not a swaddle baby, I didn’t really know how to transition out of the swaddle, but I had occasionally practiced putting Chloe down for naps without it, so I knew she was capable. I officially transitioned her to her sleep sack two nights ago and she has been fine with it. She had been very squirmy in her swaddle in the last days so I’m sure she’s happy to be out of it too. What surprised me tonight was that Chloe didn’t even need her pacifier tonight to go to sleep.

Last week I ready a book called The Happy Sleeper and it taught me the sleep wave method. I was planning to do that with Chloe when she turns 5 months, but if she’s able to keep up her current sleeping skills, I might not have to! For tonight, we just did our typical bedtime routine of eat, change diapers, change into PJs, warm towel wipe down, a song, and then put on the sleep sack. I put Chloe down in her crib and tried to give her the pacifier, but she didn’t want it. I left the room after saying good night and hung out in my office next door. Usually I have to go in once, twice, or a couple of times before she falls asleep to replace the pacifier. Tonight I just listened for an actual cry (she was whining a bit) but it never came. I learned from the book to trust my baby can self soothe and to give her time and space to learn to do it, and I’m really glad it worked, at least for tonight.

Being a second time mom is really interesting because I have perspective from my experience with Olivia. I’ve learned to discern my baby’s cries instead of being anti- any type of crying at all. I feel terrible for messing up Olivia’s sleep, but she has been doing so much better this week too, after I told my husband about the reverse sleep wave method the book suggested to help mitigate sleep issues with a toddler. As of this week Olivia no longer needs him to lay next to her to sleep (!) and it takes her about 20 minutes of alone time to fall asleep. I am so proud of her, so grateful for The Happy Sleeper book, so grateful for the newsletter that recommended that book to me, and thankful for Chloe as well, because we never would have been pushed to improve our sleep game if not for the necessity as a family of four.

Mom Life

The Sweetest Morning

Chloe has started to consistently wake up by 7AM. Olivia usually wakes up between 7:30-8AM. This morning I was in the bathroom getting a towel ready for Chloe when Olivia came out of her bedroom, came in to hug me, flashed a big smile, said good morning, then proceeded to turn around and run down the hallway to greet her baby sister who was sitting in her bouncer. Olivia plopped down next to the bouncer and started chatting away to the baby. Chloe looked at her sister and kept smiling. I melted.

Mom Life

The Three-Year Age Gap

When Olivia was a baby, I remember well-intentioned family members asking us when we were going to have another one. There’s no way they could’ve known, but I was actually pretty surprised that we were lucky enough to conceive Olivia in just one cycle on Clomid. Growing up, all the Chinese fortune tellers told my mom and I that I would have trouble conceiving because my uterus was too cold. I never truly believed them, but I did harbor uneasy thoughts about my fertility in the back of my mind.

“Not anytime soon,” I’d respond. “I want to wait until Olivia is at least 3 years old so she can help take care of the baby!” Although I absolutely meant the part about wanting Olivia to help out with her sibling, we started trying for #2 when Olivia was about a year and a half. Good thing we did, because we ended up taking a year and many rounds of Letrozole to conceive Chloe.

Initially, I was worried about the age gap between Olivia and Chloe. However, now that Chloe is actually here and I’ve been able to see the two interact, I have to say that this 3 year gap is pretty perfect for our family. As Daniel and I like to (and have to) handle most of the childcare ourselves, we are not built to be a 2 under 2 family. Olivia has always been a big helper- we joke that her motto is “我幫你, 我幫你 (I help you, I help you)” because she always want to help, whether it’s cooking, helping her daddy make coffee, or helping pack orders for bobagreen. I am so happy and relieved that she is the same, if not more so due to her being a protective big sister, with Chloe.

At three years old, Olivia loves to do what she can on her own (getting dressed, eating, even brushing her teeth), she can express her feelings with words and be reasoned with through tantrums, and has her own life going on at Montessori school. She has not expressed any jealousy towards Chloe, something I was once quite worried about because Olivia had our undivided attention for three full years, and I think that has a lot to do with Chloe not really changing Olivia’s routines, along with us telling Olivia she was going to get a sibling when I was very early in my pregnancy. She had been expecting Chloe, and it truly warms my heart to see Olivia be so welcoming to the new addition to our family. Olivia loves to help with Chloe’s diaper changes by setting up the wee wee pad and grabbing the diapers and wipes. She loves to help us watch her baby sister. She loves to just sit near Chloe and talk to her. It’s really adorable to see her have full (one-sided) conversations with Chloe. She loves to tell her sister all the things she’ll share with her in the future- clothes, snacks, games, toys, etc. Olivia as a big sister is everything I could’ve asked for and more.

Had we had Chloe earlier, Olivia most likely would still be as awesome of a big sis as she is today, but it might have been a bumpier transition. I feel like Olivia has matured a lot in the last 6 months, starting just shortly before Chloe arrived. I love how we have been able to add Chloe to our family without upending Olivia’s schedule and routine. She still goes to Montessori five days a week, so she really only sees Chloe for a short while when she comes home during the week, and then we hang out on the weekends and usually go out to do activities as a family. To her credit, Chloe has also been doing her part in being an awesome addition to our clan- so far she’s been a really good sleeper. After hanging out with me and Daniel during the day, I am able to put Chloe down at 7PM and then go downstairs to chill with Olivia and catch up on her day. Now that Chloe’s almost exiting the fourth trimester, she’s more alert and into her surroundings. She lights up when she sees me, Daniel, and especially Olivia. I think she can sense how much her big sister loves her so she reciprocates. It will definitely be interesting to see these two grow up together, bond, and share countless memories together. I feel so lucky to have been able to gift my daughters each a best friend in each other. I know a lot of people wanted us to have a boy after having Olivia so we could have the “perfect” nuclear family, but I honestly would not change a thing. Chloe makes our family feel more full, and she has made our family better in so many ways, particularly in the sleep department. I can’t thank her enough for being here and being our daughter and Olivia’s sister. ❤️

Mom Life

A Random Awesome Saturday

TL;DR – Daniel and I didn’t have a plan for today until around 10AM, but everything turned out really well and I’m all for fun happenstances.

This week went by really fast, and it certainly feels like the final stretch of my maternity leave as my to do list keeps growing and Daniel and I have to finalize a “plan” for child care once I am back at work. “Plan” is in quotation marks because we’re going to try to have my mom help, but she’s a bit rusty and unsure of herself, which makes me a little nervous for my 4-month old- though it certainly helps that both Daniel and I will not be too far away.

We’ve settled on somewhat of a routine as a family of four (which I fully expect to change as Chloe keeps growing and we adjust to her developments)- Monday to Friday, Olivia goes to school, I’m with Chloe, and Daniel helps out with the baby when he can. Unlike our experience with Olivia at this age, where we couldn’t stick to a routine and every day felt different because we didn’t really know what we were doing, I do feel like we’re in a good groove with Chloe. I follow EASY – eat, activity, sleep, and your time – for each 3 hour cycle during the day. Per The Happy Sleeper, I try to put Chloe down to sleep at the 75-minute mark so she could be asleep at the end of her 90-minute wake window. Sometimes it doesn’t work, and if she wakes up early from a nap we usually have to wear her, but I feel a lot more confident about being able to recognize sleepy cues, how to put baby to sleep, and how to work through her protests. Chloe and I stay in a lot because I like being able to put her down in bed for her naps as opposed to having her fall asleep in the stroller. The one time we went out this week was to the library, which was nice because it was 55 degrees out that day, but generally it’s too chilly in New York in December. So on weekdays, my day is usually to wake up at 7AM, go through four 3hr cycles with Chloe, and in between I try to get some work done, read, and check in on Olivia through the photos and videos her school sends. My husband and I check in with each other whenever he’s not in a meeting, talk about Olivia’s school pictures, and he plays with Chloe, mostly by making her laugh. Towards the end of the day, my husband picks up Olivia from school, and Olivia gets about an hour of overlap time with her sister before I have to put Chloe to bed. During that hour, Daniel cooks. Then I do my bedtime routine with Chloe, put her to down in her crib, and join Daniel and Olivia to eat dinner, though they’re usually finished by then. We have a little bit of family time and then Daniel takes Olivia upstairs to sleep while I do dishes and have some alone time (like right now, where I get to type out this blog post). Finally, I try to sleep by 10PM and then the next day we do it all again.

Weekends are much more unstructured in terms of activities we do with Olivia, but it’s truly so nice to have full family time on the weekends since Olivia spends a lot of time at school. I love how mature Olivia has become- even though I initially wanted a smaller age gap between Olivia and Chloe, what we have now is absolutely perfect because there’s no jealousy, Olivia kind of has her own life with her school friends and teachers, Olivia understands and follows instructions really well, and she loves to help out with her baby sister. On weekends we like to go out because we love sharing experiences with Olivia and making new memories together that way. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or fancy, and it’s even better when it’s free. Last week, we went to a tree lighting at a local plant nursery and then had the most amazing home-cooked dinner at my mother-in-law’s house. This weekend, one of Olivia’s classmates’ mom invited us to join them at a children’s museum that just reopened, but the tickets were free and sold out before I got to it. So as of Friday night we did not have a clear idea of what we would be doing, but I ended up finding a Winter Festival happening nearby and I sent it to Daniel before I went to bed.

This morning, we decided we would take advantage of a Seamless promotion to order takeout for lunch, then head to the Winter Festival. Unfortunately, we were unable to find parking at the event, so we decided to skip it as Olivia said she wanted to go to the library, and I found a library nearby. I stayed with Olivia at the library while Daniel took a sleeping Chloe on a stroll. Olivia and I found a puzzle at the library so we started working on it when I heard a very familiar voice. Lois, who ran the daycare center where Daniel and I met, just happened to be looking for books at her local library, and I was able to catch up with her. Olivia’s first school experience was actually at Lois’s school when she was 2 years old, but Olivia was so shy and totally seems to have forgotten her time there already (so crazy! That was just last year!). It was really nice to chat with Lois, then Daniel came back with Chloe and she was able to meet the baby. We had an interesting conversation with Lois about school options for Olivia, because we are looking to get Olivia into a dual language program, and she warned us about needing to be able to help her out with homework. We hadn’t consider that before, and it doesn’t change our minds about the program, but it’s very good to know that we will also need to work on English with her so she doesn’t fall behind.

After the library, we stopped by Bibble & Sip, which just opened an outpost in the area last month. Bibble & Sip is a bakery that makes delicious cream puffs and other goodies with Asian inspired flavors. I used to work around the block from the one in the city, and I once met my friend Cindy there as she was telling me how great it’d be for me to work at her company, Juniper Square. Random fun fact- my sister-in-law was going to purchase the house that Bibble & Sip’s owners lived in (she surmised it was their house from the company products she saw in the basement). I bought a matcha chocolate chip scone, matcha white chocolate cream puff, and earl grey cream puff, and we took a quick drive to my mother-in-law’s house to snack, and also for me to feed Chloe. No one was home so we just chilled for a bit. Chloe started getting restless an hour after she woke up, so I held her to sleep in the family room and Daniel hung out with Olivia in the living room. They found a Netflix show based on one of Olivia’s favorite books lately- Go, Dog. Go! which was a fun coincidence. I felt really good about being able to put Chloe to sleep rather quickly and without too much drama. Even though I was holding her to sleep (since it was her last nap of the day and I knew it wouldn’t be long, plus we were not home), I felt like we did the sleep dance really well as Chloe only had to “tell” me she was tired (by crying) once, I knew what she wanted, and when I held her with the pacifier she closed her eyes very quickly and fell asleep. Definitely patting myself on the back here for being in sync on communication with my baby.

Before we left, my mother-in-law actually came home, so it was nice to say hi and let her know we were coming back the next day. At the library I learned there was a (free) craft event happening 2 minutes away from my MIL’s house tomorrow, so we are going to do that, and we wanted to discuss our upcoming cooking channel with her as well.

We got home at a good time as I like to have Chloe in bed by 7PM. I fed her, we did our bedtime routine, and I put her down in her crib. I know they say babies love routines, but I had no idea how much I would enjoy it too. Just so nice not to have to think much and still have the outcome happen as expected. Tonight was actually really interesting because typically I put Chloe down and then have to go back into her room to replace the pacifier a couple of times before she falls asleep, but tonight, she actually put herself to sleep without the pacifier (!!). I paid attention to the type of noises she was making, as I’ve learned not to help unless she was actually crying, and even though the pacifier had fallen out, Chloe was only whining and talking, so I left her alone and viola – she ended up sleeping without my intervention. I am so happy about this as it’s very in line with what I was reading in The Happy Sleeper. It’s almost like Chloe read my mind about what I was reading and then decided to show me she could do it. I have no idea if it’s second time mom experience, Chloe just being a good sleeper, or both, but absolutely no complaints from me!

When I came back downstairs, I let Daniel know that Chloe was very good, and he said that Olivia was very good too with her dinner. Olivia is definitely going through something where her taste buds are opening up again. We introduced solids to her by following baby led weaning, and she used to be a great eater, but as she got older she ended up only wanting rice, noodles, and chicken. She typically doesn’t eat what we eat and Daniel has to make special meals for her every night for dinner, but lately Olivia has been so receptive to different foods. After she helped me make my salad for dinner tonight, I offered her some and she actually had spinach(!). It was served with cherry tomatoes and croutons, which she likes, but I was so surprised she liked the spinach too. Again, no complaints and I hope she keeps it up!

While Olivia has been very close to being a dream child (she is thoughtful, funny, kind, smart, helpful, and listens to us for the most part; we can reason with her through her tantrums), the two things Daniel and I wish she could improve upon are her eating and sleeping habits. Sure, Daniel and I screwed up her sleep by co-sleeping and laying with her to sleep, but we thought we could talk her through better sleep habits as she got older. Last year she did have a week or so where she slept on her own, but then she got sick from school and we didn’t go back to trying to improve her sleep habits as I got pregnant and Daniel started sharing Olivia’s room because it was quite comfortable for me to get the bed to myself. Daniel’s starting to try to teach her better sleep habits now, so here’s to hoping Olivia can be influenced by Chloe’s good sleep patterns and learn to sleep on her own. My goodness, how much time we’d back!

Mom Life

An Ideal Day as a Mom to a New Baby

I love my two girls and am so grateful to have a life where I can have babies, get to keep my job, and get four months of paid family leave to bond with my newborn. One thing I do miss though, is being productive and getting things done, as I like to (and kind of have to) dedicate the first couple of months to my baby and make sure I set us up for success with breastfeeding and sleeping.

At 3.5 months into this journey with Chloe, I had my first ideal day yesterday, which consisted of:

  • Enough sleep for me – fell asleep before 10PM, woke up maybe once to give Chloe the pacifier around 2AM, actually woke up to start my day at 5:20AM
  • Enough sleep for Chloe- we deviated from her usual routine as we stayed for dinner at my mother in law’s house the night before, but Chloe still managed nearly 8 hours in her crib before waking up to eat around 5:20AM, fell right back asleep for another 2 hours, had four decent naps during the day (40 minutes, 2 hours, 40 minutes, 55 minutes), and then started her night sleep at 7:30PM
  • Getting back on track with nursing – Chloe is teething already and the last couple of days she was going through her version of a nursing strike. I didn’t have this experience with Olivia, so I was initially freaking out about my supply and I didn’t want to have to pump, but Daniel somehow figured out that I should try standing up to feed and this worked for Chloe, though the time she spent nursing was still kind of off. Yesterday, she seemed back on track and did not fight me anymore when I sat down to feed her. Phew!
  • A massage(!) – I’ve been talking about getting one for so long to loosen up my neck and shoulders area. Had to be able to fit it in within Chloe’s 3hr window, so I couldn’t even make an appointment as I have no control over when Chloe decides to wake up each day to start the cycles. Luckily we have a highly rated and affordable spa near us and they were able to take me in as a walk-in
  • Bonding time and play time with Chloe – now that she’s a little more alert and interested in toys, I pulled out a playmat we had been gifted for Olivia but did not get to use. I enjoyed playing with Chloe on the mat and she seemed to like it too
  • Time to send and answer emails – it’s the holiday season, so bobagreen is quite busy. We are also in the middle of coordinating a real estate transaction, so it was really nice to have time to take care of some things that needed to get done
  • Receiving and unboxing some Black Friday orders – the one order I was most excited about was my YoBaby package- books and educational tools to help my kids learn Chinese. I didn’t get a chance to look through everything in detail, but oh man the books are so cute and I can’t wait to show them to Olivia. As a little girl I remember I wished I could buy new books but we couldn’t afford it, so the YoBaby purchase a gift for both the girls and me
  • Dealing with some family drama – maybe I’ll have another post to expand more on this, but basically I came up with a diplomatic way to address my brother-in-law instead of shaking him vigorously to get him to mentally wake up. Patting myself on the back for being graceful and anti-toxic
  • Spending time with Olivia after dinner and being wowed by her Chinese skills – even though I’m building my Chinese educational tools library, I haven’t had too much success trying to teach Olivia Chinese myself. Luckily, she attends a Mandarin Montessori school and they are apparently doing a great job, because we were working on a Chinese worksheet and Olivia was able to recognize 紅、橙、黃、藍、綠 on her own (that’s red, orange, yellow, blue, green). I was genuinely impressed as those are not easy characters. So, so proud of my little girl. She’s way more advance that I was at age 3 for sure!
  • Discussing a new project with Daniel and Jonathan – my mother-in-law is such a great self-taught home cook. The dinner we had at her place the night before was ridiculously delicious. I’d mentioned before that we should start a cooking YouTube channel for her, so Daniel and Jonathan talked about it when Jonathan came over for the gym. Daniel has already figured out the roles for each of us, and we started brainstorming names. I don’t care much for the views, but I do want to preserve my MIL’s recipes and pass on her cooking to our family, so I think this YouTube thing will be such a treasure for us. I do feel bad for Daniel that I can’t cook like his mom right now, so maybe one day I will, or at least I’ll have some videos to learn from
  • Finally, I had a good day because my husband had a good day too. He was able to get his haircut in the morning after dropping off Olivia at school. He bathed Chloe, got to gym during the day, cooked us a yummy Blue Apron steak dinner, and then ended his day by working on some bobagreen orders. Okay the last item was more for me/us, but all in all, a productive day for us both.