Love, Languages, and Learning

When I was younger, I had always related to people of different cultures. My closest friends (except for my hanai sister) were born in different countries ranging from Syria to Japan to Iceland. As a child, I learned Japanese and Spanish. When I went to high school, I took (but don’t remember much) French, Chinese, and Sign Language. In college, I continued to take Japanese and Spanish and added in Russian.

When I met my husband, we immediately bonded over our love of learning. We had connected over eHarmony and he had been impressed with the fact that I had been studying many of the languages he had studied (Japanese, Spanish, Chinese). He was also impressed that I had taken Russian. We talked a lot about this in the early days. On February 14, he told me he was reading the book,”Kafka on the Shore”. Because I love to read, I decided to read it also. I finished it in a day. I immediately texted him and told him that I had finished the book. He was really impressed because he hadn’t finished it yet. Intrigued by a man who loved international novels and math (we chatted a lot about math problems), I called him the very next day and told him I’d be coming up to Seattle for a visit and would love to meet him.

We set a date and I drove up with my family. When we met, I was really nervous and I chattered away about the book, transgender issues (I was studying this in law school and it related to the book), and my love of languages. He listened intently and was happy to listen to me talk. Then, we switched and I listened to him talk about where he grew up and how he had immigrated to America. The immigrant experience had always been really interesting to me, and I listened intently. He was so articulate and interesting that I decided then and there he was the “one”.

We laughed a lot during that first date and learned a lot about each other. I found out he loved poetry. So, every Friday after our date I sent him a new poem that I wrote. Although I don’t write him poems much anymore, and he doesn’t have time to read as much, I continue to love to listen and learn from him. We are very different in the way we do things and, sometimes, this causes a problem for us. But, on the days where we are taking the time to listen to each other, I see what it was that made me fall in love with him on the first day. There is so much I can learn from him and so much that he can learn from me.

I still love listening to him talk about how he grew up in Russia and how things were so much different there. I enjoy listening to him tell me about his first experiences in American and the struggles he and his family overcame.

Although the main language of our house is English, and my Japanese and Spanish have become a little (okay, very) rusty, I love eavesdropping on his phone calls and challenging myself to translate what he’s saying. When he’s done, I ask him if my translation was about right. Usually, it’s not bad.

Sometimes, when you have a child, it’s easy to take your spouse or significant other for granted. I try not to and, when we fight, I look to the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place — that he is strong willed, intelligent, and from a different culture than me. I remind myself that I love him because I learn from him every day. Just as I hope he learns from me.

On February 16, we celebrated our 6 year anniversary.

Meeting the Love of My Life

A photo from when we first met.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Baby Girl!

My husband woke me up as he does every morning and kissed me and our baby on the forehead before he headed off to work. He whispered,”Happy Valentine’s Day,” before heading out.

We thought my daughter didn’t hear him because she had her eyes closed, but 5 minutes later she rolled over and grinned at me,”Happy Valentine’s Day!” she yelled as she kissed me on the forehead.

I laughed and pulled her into a big bear hug and kissed her smiling, happy face. I know she was just copying my husband (and doesn’t know what it means), but it was the cutest thing ever.

I think she had a good day. We went to the mall and walked around for a while. We visited grandma and went to the Disney Store where I picked up her present, a Doc McStuffin’s Doctor Kit, and she picked out my husband and Mom’s presents, a Cheshire Cat and White Horse from Tangled.

Then, we went home and played for a while as she giggled and snuggled with me. Valentine’s Day has changed for us. Before it was about me and my husband celebrating being a couple. Now it’s about us as a family — getting together and having a wonderful meal and day together.

Here is our day in pictures:

Getting a checkup

Getting a checkup

Daddy's Valentine's Day Present: A Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland

Daddy’s Valentine’s Day Present: A Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland

Playing Doctor in a tutu

Playing Doctor in a tutu

Making White Chocolate Covered Oreos

Making White Chocolate Covered Oreos

What To Do with a Toddler When You Are Sick

I woke up yesterday with a full blown flu. I caught something two weeks before, and I thought that, after a week, that would be the end of the flu bug. I have been sick for almost 13 days. I’m not sure if it is two bugs (I’m suspecting it is) or just one nasty bug, but I’m leaning towards the latter. Two weeks ago my daughter caught a stomach bug. She started throwing up and had really runny poo. Naturally, I caught it and was sick for about 6 days. We got better, started leaving the house, and went to a place with other kids. Some of those other kids were coughing and I should have run, but I didn’t.  She caught the flu.

She was a little under the weather, but not too bad. I think it’s because she has been breastfeeding which can help immunity.  I, on the other hand, woke up with flu yesterday morning and had a 101.8 fever last night. After my mom got home from work, she watched my daughter as I sat here sneezing, coughing, and blowing my nose, but I needed to find a way to entertain her while I was sick before she got home.

What to do with a toddler when you are sick

Here are the 3 activities that are (and were) working for me while I’m sick:

1. Play Doctor

My daughter loves to play doctor. In fact, she once yelled,” Tell Grandpa I’m a doctor!” When I told her mommy was sick, my daughter grabbed her “doctor bag” where she keeps her little “doctor tools” and poked around my face. I asked her,”Baby, what type of doctor are you?” and she smiled wide and said,”Baby Doctor!”

2. Turn on Disney Junior or Netflix

Watch Doc McStuffins When You Are Sick

Yup. Guilty. My daughter watches more than 2 hours a day of TV when I’m sick. Unfortunately, when my energy is waning, I can’t play with her, and no one else is in the house to help me, my daughter watches Disney Junior or Carebears on Netflix. Yesterday, I had her watch Doc McStuffins, and asked her if she could help me get better. She eagerly agreed. We turned off the TV and played doctor (see activity #1).

3. Have fun with toddler crafts

DSC_0505

Do you remember that pipe cleaner, straw and colander post I wrote? Yup. Extremely helpful while I was sick. We also had big and small pom poms and a bucket on hand. In order to teach my daughter the difference between “big” and “small” I asked her to place the big pom poms in the bucket first and then the small pom poms — this kept her busy for a while. When this got old, we got crayons and drew pictures and made a “card” for daddy.

BONUS: NAP

if you can get your toddler to nap, this would be the best activity of all. After all the crafting, TV, and playing doctor, my little one was really tired. So, she curled up next to me and fell asleep until everyone got home.

Note: In case you were wondering, this post was written during Hapa Baby’s nap ;)

The Pursuit of Supermom is a Deadly Slope

Recently I read “Being a Mom Doesn’t 100% Fulfill Me” on Motherhood Unadorned. Sometimes, when I’m feeling down, I read this blog because it helps me to realize that I’m not alone in my frustrations as a “modern mom”. The blog is Cristi’s “true labor of love for [herself]” and is an inspiration for me. After reading this post, I examined my own feelings of fulfillment. What fulfills me? My family, my job, and my own self-worth. These are the three priorities in my life.

The Pursuit of Supermom is a Deadly Slope

It’s only been recently that I’ve been able to establish my priorities — and I’m still working on it. See, for a while, I’ve been feeling the “Supermom” Syndrome and, whenever it takes over, it leaves me feeling overwhelmed, under appreciated, and upset. Supermom Syndrome is the position where not only do moms “think they should be able to do it all, but they think it shouldn’t be too hard.” (Read more: Researchers Say “Supermom Syndrome” to Blame For Depression – Redbook ).  There are a lot of bloggers who write about the problems the Supermom Syndrome creates, and I will try not to re-hash what’s already been said other than to say, for me, it’s been a problem.

I have a part-time job I absolutely adore. Every day I interact with bloggers who are both inspirational and intelligent — I am lucky because this job is both fulfilling, helps a little with our bills, and I’m able to stay at home with my daughter.

However, working from home creates a small problem. Because I work from home sometimes there is the assumption that my house should be clean, dinner should be cooked, my daughter should be intellectually engaged, and I should be happy. It’s not true. At the height of my feeling overwhelmed, a well-meaning person called me “lazy” — an accusation that is further than the truth, and that hurt more than that person could ever know. It hurt because sometimes I feel like I’m doing enough coupled with the guilt of watching other moms who seem to be able to do it all — have a blog, keep their house immaculately clean, have a job, stay in shape, create educational crafts, and have boundless amounts of energy.

It was in that moment that that word was said I gave up. I left for a period of time — walked straight out of the house without shoes, my wallet, or my phone and sat in the car crying for an hour. I cried and cried and asked why can’t it be easier?

And then I realized, it’s not easy. It never was. And the only person who was at fault was me. It was my fault because I didn’t live up to my own expectations. In the moment between tears, I realized that pursuit of supermom is a deadly slope, and I felt better. I left the car (walking barefoot in 30 degree weather back to the house) and, though still upset, felt better because I let my own expectations go.

I’m working on my priorities. Right now, my priorities are my daughter, my job, and then a clean house. As long as my daughter is fed, clean, safe and learning new things, I’m doing excellent work for my job, and I’m taking care of my own mental health,  I’m okay if my house isn’t clean. I’ll pick up here and there, but I’m not chasing supermom.

I’m letting her fly away.

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