Sunday, July 31, 2005

Love your mothers 

Isabella had a bad asthma attack today and we had to take her to the ER. It sucked. All I can say is that motherhood is hard. With the deep love you have for your child, the flip side is a nauseating worry that you have if they are sick. I try not to worry, and Rich always tells me to relax and does what he can to take care of me. But I can’t help it! So much has happened this first year of motherhood: ambulance, hospitalization (at Kaiser Hayward – bleah!), urinary tract infection, ongoing intense separation anxiety, low weight, sensitive personality, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), 911, clinical pneumonia, potentially fatal peanut allergy requiring carrying Epipen at all times, eczema from other food allergies (to a long list: egg whites, garlic, peas, wheat, oat, soy, sesame seed), asthma attacks, emergency room – oy! I’ve had many things to worry about! And it has only been 18 months. I don’t know if I have the constitution to be a parent! I can feel my hairs turning white!

Tell your mothers that you love them – NOW!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Notes from "Spirited Child" class 

Isabella has been my third arm, and now leg, ever since she was 2 ½ months old. She never liked strangers holding her, and even if she’s seen you many times, she really needs to spend a lot of time with you before she’s willing to let you hold her. Even when her Daddy is around, she generally prefers to follow her Mommy around.

So staying home, I get very few breaks. I was going bonkers with how clingy this girl is. I go to the bathroom, and she is knocking on the door screaming and crying; or I leave the door open, and she comes into the bathroom to watch me pee. Man, I’ve had needy clients before, but never like this!

I took a Spirited Child class at Bananas to learn how to better deal with Isabella’s clinginess. Much of this class talked about inborn infant temperament, i.e. babies are born with tendancies. The most important thing this class taught me was to understand and accept Isabella's temperament traits, and view them as areas of strength instead of trying to change her out of them. I felt good that I could understand her emotions so well, and it gave me confidence to ignore those many naive people giving advice. For example, a person with her strong-will will grown up to be a strong, assertive leader who will fight for what she believes in. Also, her reserved nature makes her a keen observer of people and situations.

I also learned how to appreciate her sensitivities, with ideas on how to manage her personality. The results of a Temperament Quiz indicated that compared to other kids her age, she adapts slower than 90% of her peers to new situations, and has a low tolerance for frustration.

Isabella’s clinginess is attributed partly to development, and partly to temperament. At 18 months old now, Isabella is supposed to be at the peak of her separation anxiety. (I really hope this is true!)

A combined temperament of slowly adapting with low frustration tolerance creates a person who can be attached to what she feels comfortable with. Think about if you’re planning a trip to Mongolia. Are you the kind of person who would hire a guide, make all hotel reservations, and plan the itinerary in advance? Or, would you just show up and go explore on your own? If you are slow to adapt to a new situation and you get frustrated easily, you are more likely to depend on a “trusted guide”. You plan everything in advance so there are few surprises.

This Mongolian trip example can be paralleled to a child’s perception of her new world that she is exploring. Everything is new to her. With low frustration tolerance, kids need their trusted guide, i.e. parents, to help them. So they may find it harder to separate from them.

A solution to minimize the frustration for a child is to talk a lot in advance about what is going to happen. You need to prepare the child as much as possible for what is going to happen so there are no surprises. No surprises are good because this kind of person does not like surprises. Tell your kids what the schedule for the day is; give them information ahead, routines, so that they don’t get anxious by not knowing what’s going to happen. And pick your battles. You can indulge the little stuff like taking a certain route to school if your kid is being particular.

Other solutions are to break tasks into smaller more manageable parts. You practice parts little by little and give the child more time to adjust. If it is a party, you can start slow away from the crowd, and then gradually work up to one person, then another, etc.

When they're older, you can tell the child to ask for help, or take a break from the activity if they get frustrated. At 3 years old, you can introduce a picture chart with the child’s routine.

I also learned about myself too and why I’ve felt so challenged having such a clingy baby. I am introverted, i.e. I seek time alone when I need to replenish my energy. (Extroverts seek being around other people to replenish their energy.) Therefore, introverts may find it draining when their kid wants to be with them 24/7 because you never get time to decompress. So, it is important for the introvert to figure out how to get quiet time away.

The good news is that 50% of kids who are encouraged but not overwhelmed by new things will get better and outgrow it by age 7. Hmm, does that mean that I have another 5 ½ years to go???!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

What the... 

It is weird what you can find on the internet if you look. Check out our picture randomly attached to this Polish website about - *ahem* - sperm banking in China!?

Says my friend from Poland... "It says that although the number of legal places is increasing, you still find a lot of illegal places"

This confirms that we look like FOBs in this photo.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

First day date 

On our first day date since the baby was born, Rich and I drove up to Napa in our new car for lunch at Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen. (great recommendation, Roehl!) It was a great meal, and eventhough the Turley zin made us so sleepy that Isabella was running circles around us after we picked her up, it was worth it!

Notice the "Speed Limit 55" in the side mirror, while Rich is going ??

Sunday, July 03, 2005

My first weekend away 

I went to Miami solo for Amanda's wedding. It was my very first weekend without the baby. I got emotional every time I saw any child, plus I cried during the first 2 minutes of the movie "Robots" (they were having a baby boy Robot). Nonetheless, I have to admit that I had a blast. I enjoyed the leisurely long meals, real adult conversation, being able to sit and read, taking my time shopping, shopping with girlfriends in general, trying new restaurants, wearing cute clothes without worrying about them being thrown up on, and the hours of girl talk. Despite all the fun I had exploring the qualities of Hogan purses or going on a shopping spree at Neiman's, the joy still does not come close to comparing to the complete every-single-cell-in-your-body happiness you get when you see the squealing smiling glee on your little girl's face.

Here are some pics from Amanda's wedding. See more pictures from the weekend here.

On the right - Moms by the Biltmore Hotel's pool