“How was your weekend?” “Awful, thanks for asking”

I had a call with a colleague of mine on a separate team. He knew I was out sick the last two days. He asked me what had happened and how the weekend was, so I point blank just told him everything. We also had some annoying topics to discuss regarding customers, so all in all, it wasn’t the most uplifting conversation ever. But we both joked about it and he said, “well, I’m not used to seeing this animated version of Yvonne, but I can take it!”

Even when things really suck, and when all you can see is that dog meme, the one of the dog with the house burning around him, saying “This is fine,” I still try to inject humor into it all. Because at the end of the day, your disposition is a choice. You don’t really always get to choose your circumstances, but you do choose your attitude about it at the end of the day. And if you can’t laugh about dumb things that happen, then what are you going to laugh about?

When the nanny calls out sick and your entire family is either sick or exhausted

Our nanny texted me last night to let me know that she likely ate something bad at the wedding she attended on Saturday and felt terrible. Her entire body hurt and she couldn’t keep any food down, so she would likely be taking a sick day today.

That’s just great, Chris and I both thought. This is exactly what we needed after a hellish weekend. But it is what it is, and we’d have to suck it up. I took the day off to care for Kaia Pookie while Chris went to have a back left molar extracted and chiseled away. It was an exhausting day of childcare, cooking, more childcare, and cleaning. At least Kaia ate better today and wasn’t as upset. I went to buy some things to make Chris some jook since he needed soft food, and I figured it would be good, simple, comforting food for all of us to have now. And when I checked my work email and Slack, I felt so overwhelmed looking at all the things I had to follow up on. I was NOT looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, already feeling behind, and knowing I also had an 8am presentation to do, likely with some challenging characters.

This is why being a working mom can really suck. There is literally always something to do, always something that you forgot to do or are behind on, and always someone or something waiting for you to do something else. And you really cannot have it all, all at once, ever. And when you have external childcare, it doesn’t always work out, and there’s really nothing you can do about it but just take a deep breath and try your best to power through it all. That’s why we just have to take it day by day.

And when it rains, it pours: the jelly bean that fractured Chris’s tooth

And as though things could not have gotten worse this weekend…

At some point on Friday night, Chris was rummaging through our pantry, trying to find something sweet to eat that was not part of the Australian stash he hauled back from Melbourne. He found a small bag of jelly beans that a friend had gifted me last spring and started eating them. Lo and behold, one of the jelly beans manages to hurt one of his back molars. He told me about the pain on Friday, but he didn’t make too much of it. I knew it was bad when on Saturday morning, he asked me to text our dentist to see if he could come in to see them today: the pain had gotten really severe, and he wasn’t feeling well. The dentists said they wouldn’t be in Manhattan this weekend, but if he wanted, he could come up to see them in Yonkers. Chris ended up getting a Zipcar to drive up there to see them. They took an x-ray of his tooth to find that the stupid jelly bean had actually fractured his tooth, and the fracture was so severe that the entire tooth needed to be extracted.


So, they made a call to an oral surgeon to see if they could fit Chris in for a consultation Monday morning. All I could think when he came back from the dentist with his painkillers and antibiotics was… seriously? All because of a stupid little jelly bean….

And if you aren’t familiar with adult tooth extractions, especially molars… let me tell you something. It’s not just a little visit going to a dentist where they give you anesthesia and pull the damn thing out. Nope: it’s full on anesthesia where they pull out your entire tooth and have to hammer away and break and pull out roots and everything — disgusting, painful, miserable, with plenty of lingering pain and after effects for days on end afterwards. It’s considered real oral surgery. The only reason I am even aware of this stuff is because my mom had to go through it, and she told me all the gory details that happened.

My poor baby…. well, my poor big baby Chris.

When your baby’s teething is so bad that she won’t eat anything

“When a child refuses to eat, it can destabilize the whole family,” Solid Starts writes on their site.

Yep. That is so damn true.

I really enjoyed those weekend mornings throughout the summer and fall when I would sit with Kaia and introduce endless new foods to her. She was so curious, always willing to try and eat pretty much everything. Even the things she wasn’t a huge fan of then, like sweet potato, potato, avocado, banana, she happily eats now. I took endless videos of her eating and was so proud when again and again, she’d gobble up all her green vegetables and eat spicy chicken curry, dal, and everything else with lots of fervor. I thought I was doing all the right things to prevent picky eating. I was going to be the Super Mommy, the one whose baby loved to eat EVERYTHING. I HAD this, I thought to myself each day, preparing her a mini “tasting menu” for each meal as Chris called them.

And so, yes, it felt very destabilizing, if you want to call it that, to watch her suddenly, out of nowhere, start rejecting foods she always loved in December back in Australia. And it felt even more frustrating to watch it continue to happen after we got home this month. I just didn’t understand it: what the hell snapped in her in those weeks in Australia to suddenly have her turn on all the foods she once embraced? Was it really just the fact that she turned one year old, and thus overnight, developed opinions and preferences on what she wanted to eat or not…?! And now, coupled with endless teeth all seeming to pop up at once, she’s in pain, which makes her refuse even more food. Today at dinner, she didn’t eat a single thing and cried endlessly in her high chair. She even refused her favorite things, like rice noodles and blueberries. That’s when we REALLY knew it was teething and not just a preference for certain foods.

It made me feel so sad to see my baby not eat a single thing I had prepared for her, not to mention cry and yell nonstop. No parent wants to see their child go hungry, but for me, it was especially brutal because of how much I love food. And my stomach still wasn’t 100 percent today, so even I barely ate. It has not been a great start to the weekend — that’s for sure.

The mysterious stomach bug

I woke up this morning at around 2am from stomach pain. I wasn’t sure what was causing it. I just knew it bothered me enough to wake me up. I tried going back to sleep, but I never did. Around 6:30am, I got out of bed to use the bathroom, and I realized that my entire body was aching. And 30 minutes later, it erupted into a full on, pounding headache.


I decided to skip the gym and see if I could still get through the workday and sleep a bit. I still never fell back asleep but laid there on the bed, resting. When 9:30am rolled around, I still felt miserable. The pain in my stomach and body weren’t going away, so I took the day off.

I tried to think about what was new that I ate yesterday, and I thought… was it really the crispy pork that Chris brought back from Chinatown? We’d gotten roasted meats from this restaurant countless times, and it was extremely popular with high turnover. It was the only new thing I ate the previous day. Either way, I still felt awful. I managed to go out for my scheduled eye appointment and to buy a few things at Whole Foods, but it was a huge struggle. I felt super heavy, extremely lethargic, and pretty useless.

Woe was definitely me today. And then because I forgot that if I eat less, I pump less milk… I barely pumped any milk today. Or, maybe it was just because my body knew I was sick. Either way, I was screwed.

Impending recession and potential layoffs

Even when we haven’t been in a recession, my dad has always complained that we’ve been in a recession for as long as I can remember, as far back as I can remember, So, you can imagine what it is like when there actually IS a recession happening, and what the general negativity and tone is like from my parents. My mom has been calling me the last several days, but I haven’t been calling her back because by the time I remember to, it’s either too late and I’m tired, and the last person I want to talk to when I’m really exhausted is my mom because she will probably say something to annoy me, and then I’ll just have to cut her off. So I waited until I finished work yesterday afternoon to call her back. Of course, she asked how my job was going and if I thought any layoffs were going to happen. She’s nervous we’re all going to lose our jobs. But then again, it’s my mom: she needs to be nervous and worry about SOMETHING, anything. She will just grab anything that could be a potential scare. But to be fair, the news has been endless when it comes to all the tech and financial companies laying off now. Most of these companies do not even need to lay people off; they’re just doing it preemptively or because other big wigs are doing it, which is even more fun for employees.

The truth is.. I’ve gotten laid off so many times now that I generally have become numb to it. I no longer take it personally. Sure, it sucks in the moment and in the 24 hours after that. But then, you get over it and move on. I realize it’s just a game of chances and luck. Sometimes, sure, I could have probably played the politics game more at work, but because I don’t care to, I realize that anything could happen to me. I’m just another employee, another number, and when people finally come to terms with this and realize that they aren’t “special,” they won’t be so hard on themselves when they lose their job in a layoff. Some people have been lucky and have never experienced what it’s like to get laid off in their career. That’s great for them. But once it’s happened to you, and has happened a number of times, you just kind of get jaded. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, and sometimes even how little you work — it’ll probably happen to you sooner or later. So because of this, there’s really little reason to worry. It’s perhaps too logical, but we should not worry about things totally out of our control. And given all my past experiences, I know that if I were to get laid off, I’d eventually find something else and just continue life. Life moves on. Pretty much no one stays at one company their entire career anymore.

Baby Bjorn, take 2

One of the items I had put on our baby registry when expecting Kaia was a Baby Bjorn bouncer. Based on all the types of baby seats/baby activity centers out there, this seemed to have had the best reviews, and on top of that, it also seemed to last the longest. Based on the description, it is supposed to last until your baby is about 30 lb, which is approximately 2 years of age. So I added it, and lucky me, some good friends were generous enough to get it for us.

Well, by the time she was 8-9 months of age, we had already lessened our use of it. She didn’t like to be sitting in one place for too long, as she far preferred crawling and climbing on everything. I had forgotten that I hadn’t put it on the highest (toddler seat) setting, so when we got back from Australia, her weight was really pushing it to floor level, which didn’t seem good or safe at all. She definitely was not comfortable sitting in it. So Chris decided to post it for sale on Facebook Marketplace.

He told me this morning that someone was coming to buy it from us today. So I went to the Amazon site to review the description one last time, when I saw a photo of a toddler age child sitting on the chair, in a higher position. I realized we hadn’t increased the setting, so I did it after he told me and put Kaia in it. And I realized… weee, this actually looks like it’s fine again! She was giggling a bit as she bounced in it, though at this time, she has a hard time understanding how to get out given the way the seat is positioned. But I insisted to Chris that we keep it for at least one more week to see if she enjoys sitting in it. We already have it, so why rush to get rid of what we already have if the Pookster can still get use out of it? It’s further ROI on our friend’s investment, so why not?

It has been interesting to see her in the bouncer on the toddler seat position because it makes it more obvious and apparent to me how much she has grown in the last year. It was literally around this time last year, at the end of January, when I first took the bouncer out of its box and strapped her in it. She was once so tiny in this bouncer, wondering what the hell kind of contraption she was placed in. And now, she’s sitting in it almost like a tiny adult. The weeks have passed way too quickly with my sweet Pookie Pie.

Farewell, glass coffee table

When we first moved into this building about 6.5 years ago, we had to buy all the furniture in our old unit for a lump sum to take the apartment, and since we had no attachment to our old furniture, and we also hate shopping for furniture, it seemed like a good idea. One of the items that I really liked that we got was our glass coffee table. It’s a bit asymmetrical. It’s not a design that you see that often. And I’ve always loved glass coffee tables. But once Kaia arrived, it wasn’t really the smartest thing for us to own a glass coffee table anymore, especially once she started crawling and becoming more mobile. Plus, when I was under the age of 4, I smashed my parents’ glass coffee table top with Ed’s bat, so… I know karma has it in for me, and if we were to keep this coffee table, Kaia would remind me how mischievous I was when I was her age. And I’d prefer not to let that moment, in that form, come.

So Chris posted our coffee table on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, and a serious buyer came today to pick it up and take it off our hands. I dusted it off and we moved it out from behind the sectional couch to our front entrance. And Chris helped him carry it downstairs into the station wagon he apparently borrowed from a friend. I gave a short little speech to the table, letting it know how much I appreciated it, how I enjoyed it the last 6.5 years we had it, how we got great use out of it. But now, it was time to go. Because now, we had actively made a choice: we were choosing our baby over this glass coffee table, and the decision was made, final, done. Goodbye, glass coffee table. We enjoyed you and got great use out of you the last 6.5 years, and now, you will go off to another person’s home, where hopefully you will be loved and appreciated just as much, if not more. We hope you have a good, long life, and get lots of good use. Goodbye, old friend.

Doing things for oneself

I think I may end up pumping until the 14-month mark, so about February 10 now. I’m only producing about 30ml/day…ish, but somehow, it still gives me purpose. I was telling a friend of mine today how ridiculous this was. You would think I would feel so free, so liberated, to be near my last pump, but I actually just feel sad. It’s like one of my biggest life’s purposes, to provide sustenance for my baby, is being taken away, and that feels hard and emotional to me. I always thought I’d feel free… but instead, now I feel sad and like I don’t want to let go of it. So for now, the moving target is to pump once a day before bed until February 10. It’s not like I have much else to do before bed anyway, so why not?

But I have done little things for myself since I’ve come back. I’ve already read two books this year, and we’re not even in February yet. I want to start reading more often again, and not just long-form articles from The New Yorker like in the second half of last year. I want to read books, fiction and non fiction. I’ve lit candles to enjoy. I’m masking more frequently, and I got new clay masks as a way to treat myself (even though my husband just mocks me and calls me “big spender”….). I want to start cooking “project” dishes again. I’ve also been doing slightly longer workouts at the gym and focusing on stretching and strengthening again. And it feels good. I hope to get back into yoga again and toning my core, as in the last year, I mostly focused on cardio. It’s important to remember what makes you “you” outside of being a parent… because that can easily take over your life if you allow it to. Being a parent is important, but it’s not everything.

Back to taro and turnip cakes for Lunar New Year

Last year, I took a hiatus from making traditional savory Chinese New Year cakes. I had made taro cake year after year, and in recent years, started experimenting with the turnip cake since it’s a bit lighter and adds more variety. Last year, I was just too tired, with Kaia being a newborn, my own postpartum recovery, plus my insane pumping schedule. This year at this time, I’m pumping just once a day before bed, and I have a lot more “balance,” so I figured it would be a good time to start making these laborious cakes again. We went to Chinatown to pick up ingredients earlier this week, and I finished making these cakes on Friday afternoon. When I finished steaming them, I felt so accomplished, like I had done my grandma’s memory good, and I would also be exposing our daughter to our family traditions, to bits of her culture. No, she doesn’t get the full Lunar New Year experience as she would if my family actually were together and actually celebrated it, since they don’t and have not since my grandma passed away when I was 9. Plus, with my mom and aunt as Jehovah’s Witnesses, they’re not supposed to “believe in” Lunar New Year anymore. She did try both cakes and seemed to enjoy both, but seemed to initially prefer the turnip version. Watching her eat these foods of my childhood really made me happy. I hope she embraces these, plus other Lunar New Year foods, as much as I do today. Maybe, just maybe when she’s a little older, she can even help make them with me as a family activity around Lunar New Year.