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So, if you’re a mommy blogger, or baby expert, or child behavior expert, or any other developmental specialist, please do not come for me. My little bean was born 2+ years ago, & I have barely “baby-proofed” my house. Of course (I mean, obviously…) the basic guidelines are in place. For example, prescription medications are on the highest shelf of a hard-to-reach cabinet, sharp objects are mostly out of reach of fast toddler hands, etcetera. However, I haven’t quite done ALL of the baby-proofing that parenting books & other guides tell you to do.

My house looks pretty much exactly the same as it did pre-child; still got tons of my mom’s meaningless crap random knickknacks strewn all over the place. We still have a lot of fragile decor displayed everywhere. I haven’t put any stick-on safety bumpers on any hard furniture corners. I also haven’t put up any baby gates (luckily, I live in a single level home with no indoor stairs) or safety latches on any cabinets or drawers. The most “baby-proofing” I’ve done so far is put a top-of-the-line (most popular on the market) baby monitor over my child’s crib-now-a-toddler-bed & plastic safety covers on the wall outlets/sockets.

I know that I still have time to “child-proof” my house, but whenever I look for things to make my house safer for my kid, I either end up getting the wrong product (wrong size, wrong fit), or Jian has some long-winded debate about its non-practicality & waste of money, & then there’s my mom chirping in the background that she doesn’t want our house to get overrun by too many children’s things. She also likes to argue that she won’t know how to use any of that stuff (like the safety latches on cabinets) & it’s all too complicated, so we might as well not incumber her life with all these newfangled (stupid, as she calls it) gadgets, therefore why bother? Besides, in her words, we never had these kinds of baby-proofing things when we were growing up in the 80s & 90s & we still turned out okay. I guess there will always be an excuse to justify not baby-proofing the house, which is mostly us parents being lazy & also giving in to grandma’s reasons for keeping things the way they are.

So far, we’ve had success in our child not harming herself in any way. We are extremely lucky to be in a position where one adult or another is able to keep an eye on her at all times. Jian works from home 4 out of 5 days per week, & my mom lives with us, so there is always a pair of adult eyes on our little bean. Right now our little bean is in her explorative phase, & like every other child she wants to go through all the drawers & cabinets. We have been lucky, so far, that when we tell her to put something down or to not touch something, she will do as we say, but we also follow up with a brief explanation as to why we gave her such a command. We try to explain…I guess you could call it child-splaining…to our little bean what things are & why they are not meant for her to touch or play with. We use simple terms, & talk to her in a calm, clear voice.

For me especially, I try not to use the phrase “because I said so” or other blanket phrases because that doesn’t really let her know that she’s not supposed to touch or play with the thing(s) you don’t want her to grab. I take the time to show her the item (just out of her reach, of course) & explain to my little bean what it is & why it’s not meant to be touched by little hands or played with…things like scissors, chopsticks, tools, etcetera. The little bean still gets to look at the item she’s so laser focused on, but then she also learns what it’s meant for & learns that it’s not a toy. So far this method has worked for our little family unit. Our little bean walks by the laundry closet full of spray bottles & detergent pods, but she has never once opened the sliding closet door & grabbed anything she wasn’t supposed to. I’ve shown her the closet a few times & explained that we keep soaps in there to wash clothes, & she hasn’t ever given it a second thought to grab anything.

One major thing that I was very concerned about when our little bean became more mobile was our fireplace. Everyone in our little household has been teaching our little bean about what is hot/cold & to not touch hot things (like coffee cups & the stove), but our little bean likes to play near the fireplace, especially on cold days. We live in an area where we regularly have to turn on our gas-powered fireplace on full blast during the winter season, & I’m the forever-worrier. So, I bought a good fireplace screen. It keeps a nice little barrier between our bean & the fire & teaches her about boundaries. So far it has worked, & has kept our little bean from getting too close to the heat. This was one of the best baby-proofing investments I’ve made.

Of course, all of this teaching our little bean about what are grown-up things & what are kids toys could easily fly right out the window, & she could end up trashing the entire house one day, but for now, I will continue to educate my child on what things she can & cannot touch. You know, I still have recurring thoughts about “baby-proofing” my house. I go back-&-forth in my own head about what items I can still buy to keep my child safe at home. I think about these things, & I become very indecisive about which things are still worth getting, or I think about Jian complaining about me spending too much money again…even though I am buying things for our child & not frivolous things for myself. For now, I suppose we are okay with not really baby-proofing our house. We live in a single-level Eichler home built in the 1960s. The house is very sturdy & already child-friendly. We should be fine…I guess. We’ll see. Until the next post, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

I’m so excited to learn that Japan has opened up its borders & eased its COVID-19 guidelines (for those who have been completely vaccinated AND boosted). I haven’t properly been back to Japan in over 6 years, & even during my last trip, I didn’t get a chance to spend time with my relatives. A lot has changed since the last time we all got together, especially since a lot of our next generation have gotten married & are having children (myself included). I would love for my cousins (& all) to meet my little bean & get to know her.

One of my biggest fears is that the connection/communication between my immediate family & my extended family based in Japan will end after my generation. My mother has made it crystal clear that she has absolutely no desire whatsoever to stay connected to her in-laws after my father’s passing. It’s been something she has been asserting even before my father had passed, that she has no interest in maintaining any sort of relationship with that side of the family. It’s so sad because everybody on that side of the family genuinely loves my mom, but she claims the language barrier is something she cannot get past. So, it’s now up to my eldest brother & me to keep the family together, language barrier be damned.

Of course the pandemic has given me severe cabin fever, & seeing the accounts I follow on social media freely traveling with their little ones in tow has given me a major case of FOMO. I have also been thinking long & hard about traveling ever since I got pregnant. I have been dreaming about jet setting (economy class, of course) with Jian & our little bean, & showing her the world…or at least what’s outside of our hometown bubble. Also having traveled multiple times already with my little bean on road trips has shown me that it is possible to go on more elaborate vacations with her. I know she would absolutely enjoy traveling with her parents. I mean, she already loves staying in hotels.

Speaking of hotels, we are leaving tomorrow & heading on another road trip to Los Angeles (*YAWN*). We will be staying at the same Culver City hotel that we previously booked on our last trip down south, The Shay. Oh man, considering we are collectively going through major economic downturns & a recession, the inflation spike has really punched hotel prices smack dab in the gut. Even with our super special friends-&-family-of-employees discounted rate, staying at our favorite hotel chain this time around won’t provide any cost-saving benefits for us, so we’re opting to stay at the hotel close to Jian’s office to use his corporate discount. We are trying to save money wherever we can, so we can save up for our big trip to Japan next year (& possibly splurge a little more while we’re there).

As you can probably tell, the three of us are going to Los Angeles to celebrate Thanksgiving with my extended family who all live down south. Every year we do the same thing, go to the same relative’s house, cook/eat the same food; the older generation play mahjong until all hours of the night, the younger generation get together to play trivia games & get shit-faced drunk.You know, I’m tired of doing the same shite every Thanksgiving holiday. My little 3-person tribe pack up & make the tedious trek down to Los Angeles to spend a few short, whirlwind days eating & watching TV. For my over 75-year old mother, as tiring as it is for her to travel to & from Los Angeles, she actually enjoys it. She loves spending quality time with her younger siblings & being spoiled by them.

If we’re being completely honest, I would rather be spending my Thanksgiving holiday somewhere else; it’s not just me, but Jian feels the same way as well. We really want to do some serious traveling, but Jian hasn’t accumulated much vacation days at the moment, so it’s not really feasible for us to go anywhere more than just a weekend jaunt somewhere close by. We are already feeling the burnout of traveling to & from Los Angeles, & we haven’t even left our house yet. It would be great if we had others driving up to see us every once in a while, but that’s a whole other subject that I will not get into.

Suffice it to say, the three of us (Jian & myself especially) are extremely ready to go on a proper vacation, perhaps somewhere overseas like Japan. We are also aiming to travel to New York City sometime in the near future, but for now, we are projecting our first big travel plans will be to Japan. We are already planning & mapping out all of the details with our best friends (who have an infant baby of their own), with spreadsheets, group chats, & all. I am more excited than you could ever know to be planning such a big trip. I was sort of hoping that Jian & I could take our little bean to London, but logistically, it would be more advantageous if we took our bean to Japan first…you know, because of family & all that jazz. Either way, I am beyond grateful & thankful to be able to travel at all, especially during these harsh economic times. I will forever be grateful for all of the privileges & blessings in my life, no matter what. No matter what or how I feel about Los Angeles & spending yet another Thanksgiving holiday there…

I. AM. THANKFUL.

So on that note, I am going back to ticking off the last little details on my To-Do list, finishing up the last bits of suitcase packing, & making sure all the windows, doors & gates are properly closed & locked. Jian is calling me to dinner for the 10th time, & I’m ready to go to bed. Until the next one, cheers & HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all who celebrate.

Today’s song of the day:

I have a love-hate relationship with bubble baths, with taking baths in general. Yes, I love to take long, hot baths; watching an entire movie while sous vide-ing myself in the murky bathwater. However, every time I draw a bath, I feel a sense of guilt for using so much precious water, especially since I live in a state that year-after-year continues to exacerbate our already extreme water shortage. That’s one of the reasons why I stopped taking baths…to conserve water, but also because once I became pregnant, my fertility doctor advised me not to soak in the bath tub as it could potentially cause issues during my pregnancy.

Nowadays, I no longer take baths not only to conserve water, but to also conserve time. I used to love taking long leisurely soaking baths, but now I don’t have the time (or the energy) to take baths. I have also lost any motivation for my once favorite self-care pastime. On top of all that, do you really think my ‘nearly a toddler’ child would even let me have five minutes to myself, let alone take a private bath? The only time I’d ever get any alone time to take a bath would be in the dead of night while everyone else in the house is sleeping, but by then, I’m also passed out asleep myself.

Okay, so I did mention bubble baths at the very start of this post. I have always envied people who were able to take bubble baths. I cannot bear to take them myself, but to those who do, I applaud you & moderately envy you. Bubble baths are good, in theory, but I myself cannot find any reason to partake & indulge in them whatsoever. It’s just not for me & I’ll explain why.

First of all, I can never seem to get it right. I follow the instructions on the bottle exactly how it says. However, I always end up with a lackluster smattering of flat bubbles floating aimlessly around my tub. I would pour nearly the entire bottle of bubble solution into the bath, & the bubbles just fizzle & foam away.

As the photo above accurately depicts my poor attempts to create a bubbly bath; this is the end result every time I try to make up a bubble bath. I follow the instructions on the bottle down to the last letter, but it never quite comes out right. Sure, I get a big mound of bubbles at the start, right as the drawing of the bath begins, but towards the finish of drawing said bath…the bubbles flatten, & all I get is a murky frothy tub of water that smells mildly soapy.

Why can’t I get thick foamy bubbles like this? What am I doing wrong? Am I destined to live out my bathing career with unfulfilled dreams of thick foamy whipped bubbles? Probably, but it’s not a big deal.

For a long time I have had this romanticized fantastical image in my head that bubble baths were sexy, or more importantly, for sexy times. I’ve built up this idea in my mind that I’d draw a hot bath filled with the most foamy frothy bubbles. Then I’d dim the lights (I have dimmable lights in my bathroom), adjust my iPad just so, & put on one of my favorite movies with my favorite steamy scenes in it. Well, then you know what happens next, right? Yep, I wake from my rosy-colored stupor only to find myself sitting in a tepid bath with filmy flat suds floating all around me, the movie only halfway through it’s main plot. My sexy bath time fantasy will never be fulfilled.

Here comes my compulsive anxiety, rearing its ugly head yet again. While I do think bubble baths are fun, if you’re anyone under the age of 10, or a magical wizard able to get the bubbles to stay afloat, I also think that bubble baths are just a whole mess of trouble…& just a plain old mess by itself. I have tried many different brands of bubble bath solution, & they always end up leaving a ring of film around my bath tub basin at the end of my bathing session. Also, the bath tub feels simultaneously sticky & slippery if you can believe it.

On top of all that, I myself, feel like my skin has a layer of film from the bubble solution. So I end up having to rinse myself off with a simple shower afterwards, which I feel is totally redundant. I mean wasn’t the whole point of the bubble bath being to bathe myself & then luxuriate in a basin full of thick rich bubbles? No! I’m all sticky & filmy from the bubble solution, & then having to think about rinsing my bath tub basin afterward… Ugh! Why am I putting more stress on myself? I thought bubble baths were supposed to be relaxing, but just thinking about cleaning up afterwards tires me out, & discourages me from wanting to take these types of baths. I’ll just stick to my regular hot baths & be happy with that.

Well, Halloween is almost upon us. I would love for my little bean to dress up in a costume, preferably a cute, non-baby-ish looking one, but I know my little bean & she will hate anything I put her in. She hates wearing hats, or headbands, or anything covering her head &/or face (i.e. sunglasses, masks). I will have to get creative & choose something relatively simple. I know Jia would much rather prefer that I not spend any money at all, but I feel like now would be a good stage in our little bean’s childhood to start making these special memories. She’s already starting to remember things & making lasting memories. This Halloween season would be a good start to having her dress up in costumes. For now, I’m going to continue prepping the final details to my little bean’s 2nd birthday party. Cheers everyone!

Today’s song of the day:

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