Sun protection awareness for babies and young children

This afternoon, I took Kaia to the playground to get some energy out. She said she wanted to take her scooter, so I put her helmet on and took the scooter out with her. Unfortunately (or fortunately for her…), the fountain was on given it was such a hot day, and she immediately made a beeline for the fountain and completely abandoned her scooter. She still had her helmet on, so it provided a little sun protection, but I was getting a bit concerned with how much sun exposure she’d get given she was soaking.

A neighbor came and met me with her husband and six-month-old daughter. Her daughter turned six months just a few days ago and had gotten her six-month vaccinations. The baby is extremely fair-skinned, and her face, neck, arms, and legs were completely exposed to the sun. I asked her if she had any sunscreen or a hat for the baby. She said she thought it was in the stroller but needed to go check. Her husband was pretty indifferent and responded, “Does she really need sunscreen? I don’t think so.”

I couldn’t believe how much he didn’t seem to know; it was borderline embarrassing for me to hear this. I lightly nudged them that they should get a hat on her and put some sunscreen on. She went to grab the hat and sunscreen and started spraying her baby with it. Before six months of age, it’s strongly recommended to keep babies out of direct sunlight and to keep a hat on them to protect their face and eyes. And from six months onward, sunscreen is highly recommended, along with a face/eye cover. They’re so young — they’re just babies. And the sun can be so damaging for them at such an early age. It’s not even just about serious concerns like skin cancer or sunburn, but just keeping their skin looking young, supple, and healthy. I’m in my late 30s now, and even though I am obsessive about sunscreen application, I’m already seen sun damage on my skin in the form of these stupid freckles, which I hate. Now, I always wear a hat to protect my face. I used to resist it because my head would get hot, but now my vanity has overtaken my distaste for a hot head.

I look at my Kaia Pookie’s face, and I just want her to look sweet, cute, and pore-less forever. I love that she’s been more tolerant with my applying sunblock on her. She still doesn’t love it on her face, especially the rubbing in part, but she doesn’t resist me anymore when I apply it on her arms and legs. It’s all progress in the right direction!

Vegan lemon olive oil cake

Vegan baking is not something I ever imagined really getting into while I was in high school or college. I did bake a few vegan brownie recipes while in college because someone I worked with one summer inspired me with her own veganism. But I always thought of vegan baking as annoying because of all the substitutions that have to be made, and how not intuitive it all is. Eggs are typically used as a binder for cakes, cookies, and pancakes, so what do you use in place of them? The two major options in the realm of vegan baking seem to be a) flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flaxseed to 3 Tbsp water), and 2) aquafaba, which is a term for the bean liquid left in a can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas). How do you get buttery or creamy richness without butter or cream? You can use a rich oil like coconut oil or olive oil, or you can make cashew cream with soaked cashews blended with some water.

Once I started reading about all the alternatives, I realized it actually wasn’t that hard after all. But you can’t really just tweak a recipe and make 1:1 substitutes to make it vegan. You really have to start from scratch. And so I had this vegan lemon olive oil cake bookmarked for ages, but I never made it until today. I got inspired to make it after the non-vegan orange olive oil cake was such a hit at Chris’s mom’s cousin’s place a couple months ago, and I wanted to see how I could make a version of that cake but a) not use as much olive oil and b) not use as many eggs, or any eggs at all, as that recipe I originally used calls for a LOT!). All these ingredients can get really expensive. Plus, we’re living in high inflation times. And for baking, I rarely have heavy cream or cream cheese on hand, so it would be nice to get substitutes that are more pantry-based. This recipe had no egg substitute. I wondered if it would really bind together well or if it would totally fall apart. But I had been following this vegan baking blogger for ages, and she had over 68 5-star reviews, so I figured it had to be a pretty good recipe. I also thought it would turn out well when I saw metric measurements noted on her site. Ever since I got my cheap $10 digital kitchen scale, I don’t think I can go back to regular measuring cups for baking anymore. It’s so exact, and it’s just fun!

So I mixed the batter, added it to my greased, parchment-lined loaf pan, and baked it in the oven for 60 minutes. I let it cool and then unmolded it. Then I took it out and had a small slice, and wow – the edge piece was really crunchy, and the lemon and olive oil flavor really came out beautifully. The crumb was very moist and tight — not even a remote sign of falling apart. I used 10 grams less sugar because it just seemed like a lot of sugar, and the cake was just sweet enough to be called dessert.

I’m planning to share this cake with some neighbors, one of whom just had her second baby. I can’t wait to tell them that this cake is vegan!

Today, I learned that regular granulated white sugar in the U.S. is not vegan.

I recently got off the library wait list for the cookbook The Vegan Chinese Kitchen: Recipes and Modern Stories from a Thousand-Year-Old Tradition, by Hannah Che. It recently won the James Beard Award for cookbooks and has been designated one of the best cookbooks of 2022. After just reading the introduction of the book on my Kindle, I found that it wasn’t surprising at all that she won a James Beard award for her writing: she is clearly passionate and obsessed with food in all its most minute details. When she decided to become a vegan, she worried that it would separate her from the traditions and food that her Chinese family celebrated. But then, she learned about zhai cai, the plant-based Chinese cuisine that emphasizes umami-rich ingredients that can be traced back over centuries to Buddhist temple kitchens.

Within just the first chapter, I found that I was not only loving her writing style, but I was learning so much about Chinese terms for food, flavor, and cooking, as well as… things that you’d think I should know about our own food supply, but I definitely do not (and you probably do not, either). Take this, for example: Hannah says she only cooks and bakes with organic white sugar because regular granulated cane sugar in the U.S. is actually processed with bone char. That’s right: animal ingredients are used in the processing of white (and even brown!) sugar in the U.S.! Specific brands like C&H don’t use bone char, which is often known and labeled as “natural carbon), and organic sugars completely ban the use of it. Granted, I’m not sure how other countries bleach their cane sugar to ensure it is white, but this is sadly what the U.S. does that few people are aware of. And if you doubt it, feel free to visit this PETA page that details more about this terrible process. It’s truly a shame and an embarrassment that the most basic processes are kept a secret in our food industry.

Today, at age 38, I learned that regular granulated white sugar in the United States is not vegan. That is absolutely bonkers.


Since my middle school years, I’ve been a cuticle and nail picker. No matter what I do, I just can’t seem to stop the habit. I especially do it a lot when I’m annoyed, bored, or frustrated. There is only one thing that historically has worked to prevent me from doing this, and that is having regular manicures. Back in my digital agency days when I used to get taken out by Google all the time, there was a group of female Google reps who loved to get their nails done, so they used to take me and my female teammates out for regular mani-pedis (in other words, they treated us with their massive T&E budgets to treat themselves, which in the end, benefited both parties). And that gave birth to my own spending, as I would research Groupon deals and the equivalent for cheap mani-pedis. When I see that my nails look perfect and pretty, I have zero urge to pick them. Now that I am a mother, though, I don’t want Kaia exposed to those fumes, nor do I want my nail polish flaking off into food I prepare for her. Plus, I’m too cheap to get my nails done at a salon regularly. And I’m also too lazy and impatient to do my own fingernails, though I do paint my own toenails during warmer months.

I also tried using cuticle oil, but that is a very short-lasting remedy for me because once the oil dries out (which is often since I use my hands for everything, and cooking does not help this), the urge to pick comes back again!

Finger nail/cuticle picking unfortunately runs in my family: it all stems from my dad, who has this gross habit of picking the skin on his fingers and his cuticles. When Ed was still alive, he also struggled with the habit, though it wasn’t as conspicuous or disgusting as my dad’s. My dad used to leave massive amounts of his dead skin in the computer keyboard we all shared. I used to have to constantly clean the desk from all his dead skin and shake out the keyboard, and it was really making me mad (plus, it just wasn’t sanitary!). So one day as a teenager, I made the ballsy move to confront my dad and tell him to stop picking his nails over the keyboard because it was messy. Predictably, he erupted into a roar and screamed at me, telling me he never did that. Instead, he insisted that it was actually MY skin that was all over the keyboard every day. That was a truly fun exchange. That same day he exploded at me, my mom’s friend had come over for a less-than-fun visit. During her short stay at our house that day, she got to hear my dad talk to himself loudly in the kitchen about how his daughter was a bitch as he rummaged through bags and cabinets and did a bunch of nothing. My mom got so embarrassed by her husband’s behavior that she told her friend that she’d be back in a moment. She went into the kitchen, closed the door, and quietly yelled at my dad to stop talking to himself. My dad loudly whispered back, “She accused me of picking my nails over the computer, and I never did it!” It sounded like a child retorting back to his mother and was even more embarrassing for me to overhear as the child of this man child.

Anyway, so during our trip to El Salvador, I had a weird hang nail on the side of my left thumb. We didn’t travel with a nail clipper, and because it bothered me so much, I ended up ripping it out, leading to the side of my finger bleeding. I didn’t think it was a big deal and figured it would heal after I washed it. Well, days later, while I can see that my nail is slowly but surely growing back, a pain had appeared every time I touched or pressed the side of my left thumbnail. It started to turn red, and I realized the pain wasn’t subsiding after a few days. So I then went down the Google rabbit hole, which led me to the term “paronychia.” Paronychia refers to an infection of the skin around a finger or toenail. When the infected areas can get swollen, red, and painful, and a pus-filled blister can even form. Most of the time, it’s not serious and can go away on its own. In rare cases, it can spread to the rest of the finger or toe and lead to a deeper infection that may need antibiotics or a doctor’s help.

Luckily, I started doing the home remedy recommended, which is to soak your finger in warm salt water for 15-20 minutes a few times a day to help the nail heal on its own. After a day of doing this, the pain has definitely lessened, but it still persists when pressure is applied to my nail. Now, I also see a tiny white spot that’s developed right around the area where the hangnail used to be.

This is probably a good sign for me to find a real remedy to fix my nail/cuticle picking habits because the last thing I want is a real infection due to my own nasty picking habit.

Weight loss: suggestions and inaction

Chris’s brother had always been self-conscious about his appearance and weight. A number of years ago, he had a traumatic incident at work, which left him wounded and wanting to seek change. So he sought therapy, changed his diet abruptly, and started an intense workout regimen that resulted in him slimming down so much to the point where people didn’t even recognize him. We were all very proud of him and his journey, and it’s made me happy to see how dedicated he is to exercise and how he’s made it a daily habit.

He said he hoped, as I did, that his journey would have encouraged and even inspired his mother to do something similar, or at least, finally get to a gym and exercise regularly. His mom, for as long as I have known her, never stops talking about her weight; she’s always been extremely insecure about being “fat” and constantly complaining about how much food she eats with us. While she does go on leisurely walks, she’s never committed herself to a real workout regimen that is that rigorous. And unfortunately, Ben’s journey was not inspiration enough. So this year, Ben did research and found his mom a nearby gym that fit her general criteria, and she finally committed to going about 2-3 times per week in February. Though she’s said she can feel herself getting more tone, she has complained daily since they arrived about her weight, once again.

This morning, Chris served his parents breakfast made of foods that were leftover from previous meals that I had made, and his mom complained, saying she didn’t understand why he was feeding them so much food. “I just have to stop eating!” she exclaimed a number of times. “Eating just makes me gain weight!”

I lightly suggested to her that since she now has a gym membership, perhaps she can increase her gym sessions to meet a weight loss goal. She insisted back that exercise didn’t work for her, and she didn’t have time to go to the gym more often (I refrained from responding to that last bit, especially given she barely works part-time. And I doubt Chris heard her say this when she said it). “Exercise just doesn’t help me. I’ve been active my whole life and I lose no weight!”

“Active” her whole life… according to whom?

I didn’t want to let this go, though, without a response. As someone who has been exercising regularly her entire adult life and had an interesting journey to figure out what works and what doesn’t, I know what I am saying is correct. In general, I just don’t think her relationship with exercise is fully rooted in facts, nor does she recognize that exercise can actually be fun, as she keeps insisting she wants to “get it out of the way” first thing in the morning… which then means she misses out on classes, which she has always said she enjoys most. You can’t be that committed to something like exercise unless you enjoy it, so you can have it one way or the other: look at it as yet another “chore” and “get it out of the way,” or actually look forward to it like a class, which she claims to like. I told her that I didn’t think that her exercise was rigorous enough in that her heart rate was unlikely going up to a point where her body could burn fat properly. Heart rate matters, especially as you get older, and you need to be challenged. Rest times between exercises matter. Making sure things aren’t “too easy” matters. It is pretty much impossible for someone doing regular, rigorous exercise to see zero results.

She wasn’t thrilled with my response, as she insisted that even without the gym, she walked regularly; some people just can’t lose weight while others do very easily (well, this changes as we age. But I could tell she thinks that I lose weight just by clicking my fingers, but she has no idea how much work it actually takes every day, plus the willpower to get up so early every morning to make this a daily habit). But I pushed back and said that if walking doesn’t do anything for her from a weight loss standpoint, then it’s clear she’s not walking fast enough (power walking) to burn fat. I sent her a calculator to figure out what her heart rate has to be to be in the “fat burning” zone. I hope she takes a look at it and considers it.

She continued to say that Chris made them eat too much while here. And I suggested seriously that she go to the gym with me each morning while here if she was really that concerned about eating too much. She hesitated and said she only had leggings and no t-shirt. I suggested she borrow a t-shirt from Chris, which would be easy. And she said, “We’ll see.” I don’t want to push her, but I do want her to recognize, even a little, how impossible her attitude is towards weight and exercise.

The truth is that she can’t have it both ways: she can’t complain about all the food she’s eating, then when given the opportunity to exercise, refuse. She’s basically saying she wants to take no accountability for her actions, blame Chris and food, do no exercise, but still wants to lose weight, which makes no sense. It’s hard to have empathy when all suggestions and offers are rejected repeatedly. Everyone has to take their health into their own hands; no one is going to give you a magic pill to solve all your health woes. Eating relatively well and exercising regularly are an investment in your health, and it’s odd that so many people don’t seem to understand this.

Women are bearing children older – age 35 is the new normal

I think if my mom had it her way, I would have graduated from college at age 22 (done), gotten married between ages 24-26 (that was never going to happen), then have at least one kid by age 30 (yeah, right!). She always said that you should have one child before age 30; if you want a second kid, then it’s okay to wait until a little after 30 if you need to. Having children after 35 was a definite no-no in her book. But when I got married at age 30, she changed her tune: have kids ASAP — it’s okay. You could hear the desperation in her voice for grandchildren as soon as possible.

When we couldn’t get pregnant after trying for a while, she predictably blamed me, even after I told her that all my tests came back normal. It’s almost as though she couldn’t imagine it wasn’t her daughter’s “fault.” The truth is that my mom and a lot of other mothers in her generation don’t seem to understand is that having kids… is not necessarily easy (as in conception) to do, nor are the costs that we’re looking at similar to what they faced when they were in their child-bearing years. So it’s no wonder that when I went to see my OB-GYN yesterday, she told me that the averages they are seeing at her practice is that women in New York City are having their first kid at age 35 (hey, that includes me!). Childcare is too expensive; not everyone has the luxury of nearby grandparents who are not only able and willing to help, but actually able-bodied… and able-minded.

Once upon a time, the medical industry would label any pregnancy of a woman age 35 or above as a “geriatric pregnancy” (frankly, I’m sure that in many parts of this country and world, they are still labeled the same way). I poked fun at this and told her that I heard the cutoff for this derogatory label had increased to 40+, and I asked her if this was really true. She sheepishly admitted that yes, the label has changed to 40+, but insisted that they do not use that term in their practice. She has said that for women who want to bear children that her own recommended cutoff had changed with the times: finish having children by age 45, latest, she advises.

I told my friend this, who had his child at age 44 when his wife was 40. He responded, “Just because it is physically possible to be healthy definitely does not mean it’s easy!”

Well, if you want what you want and get it…

Secrets to less tightness in your hip: sleeping with straight legs

For months, I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of the tightness in my hip after running. It all started last autumn when I started running more rigorously. I’d feel fine after the run, but the next morning upon waking, I’d immediately notice a tightness in my right hip when I’d get out of bed. It would linger for a few days, and then eventually fade away. I started decreasing my running and instead, increasing my elliptical workouts for cardio. The trainer at the gym advised me to do specific “pre-conditioning” or “pre-exercise” moves to strengthen my glutes, stretch out my hips, and strengthen my core, before any run. I looked up some videos online for stretches and exercises to help with hip tightness. I did all of these things regularly, but to no avail. I was continually tight in that same right hip after runs. Sometimes, even after elliptical workouts, my right hip would be tight. And for this year, it’s pretty much been consistently tight. I had no idea how to resolve this.

I kept up my Google searches, hopeful that I’d run into some new article suggesting the magic exercise or stretch that would ultimately find me. And then I stumbled upon something totally new that I’d never thought of before: an article suggested that because we spend most of our day with our legs bent (walking, sitting down), that we could give our hips a “rest” by simply keeping our legs straight while sleeping. So for the last two nights, I tried my best to sleep with both legs straight. Well, I woke up this morning, and for the first time in months, my right hip was NO LONGER TIGHT. I couldn’t believe it. It was almost as though I had a new hip!

Chris blamed it on my “fetaling,” the fetal position I usually like to sleep in. Whatever it was, if sleeping with my legs straight is the cure to my tight right hip, then that’s fine by me!

“Reclaiming mental health as Asian Americans”

After I got the advice from a friend to re-join a second library system, I used my Manhattan address to confirm access to the Queens Library last week, which I hadn’t accessed since 2012, when I lived in the borough. I always had Queens Library access and New York Public Library access since I first moved here, as it was one of the very first things I did once I got set up in this new city; Queens covers just the borough of Queens (since it’s so freaking huge!), while New York PL provides access for Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island. As an avid reader, I figured it would be wise to continue getting access to books that my tax payer dollars were covering. Until 2018, I was borrowing hard copies and picking them up/dropping them off at the nearest library. But since then, I access the library fully electronically via the Libby app. This then allows me to either listen to audio books directly from the app, or send the electronic book from the library directly to my Kindle. It’s been amazing: I cannot even count how many books I’ve read this way, and I’m obsessed.

The first book I got off the wait list for in Queens Library that NYPL did not even have in its catalog was Permission to Come Home: Reclaiming Mental Health as Asian Americans, which is written by psychologist Jenny T. Wang (who I actually started following on Instagram during the pandemic!). I already knew by page 2 that this was going to be a good book after I read this line:

“Our suffering and well-being do not exist solely in overcoming major crises or managing diagnoses, but also within the conversations held behind closed doors, in the tears we shed alone in the shower, and in the deep emotions that we cannot ignore despite our best efforts.”

I think when the average person thinks about mental health, they do define it based on crises and diagnoses; they don’t think about the everyday interactions and how they have such an impact on us. I think that is especially lost on older Asian generations like my parents, who think of “mental health” being a concern just for people who are “psychotic,” “crazy,” or “mental.”

I’m about halfway through the book now. It’s an easy to digest read, but it’s definitely extremely triggering, especially once we got into the section called “Boundaries.” So I can’t read too much of it at once and need to give myself breaks, which is what the author actually suggests, along with questions to stop and ask yourself. Other than the sexual and physical boundaries subtitles, my parents have basically violated every other boundary of mine:

They regularly would go through my belongings, from reading letters addressed to me without my permission to my school binders and notebooks to my closet/drawers; my dad has even gone into my electronic files on the shared computer, which resulted in quite the family drama.

They eavesdrop on my conversations and then would gossip about it later/yell at me for what I discussed with others.

Whenever I come home, I’m constantly being asked to do this, do that, with zero regard for what I might be in the middle of doing. I get yelled at if I don’t come right away.

When I come home, I’m expected to drop any plans I had made with any friend/relative so that I can spend time with them… most of the time doing nothing, just being under the same roof. She used to insist that, “(Insert name) is not that important… tell them you are sick and can’t make it,” or, “You already saw (insert name) a couple days ago. Why do you need to see them again? WHAT IS SO IMPORTANT OVER YOUR FAMILY?” And, if I don’t cancel the plans, then I’m “disobedient and against my parents, which means you’re against Jehovah!”

When I was in middle and high school, my mom used to regularly call my friends and ask them to be spies, to “report back” anything “inappropriate” I might have been doing. A friend I used to go hang out with after school at her house was one of these people. She told me my mom would regularly call her to “make sure” I really did go to her house.

Once I started working, I knew something was very, very wrong with my mom’s demand that I only take time off to come home and see her. If I took time off for a trip, it had to be with them. I was not permitted to take time off for myself, to take a trip with friends, or god forbid, a trip with a boyfriend/partner. So when I did take small trips to hang out with friends or travel to new places with them, I just didn’t tell her. The first time I finally admitted to taking a week off to go to Mexico with my then-boyfriend, the fireworks went on for two days. All she did was scream and yell. She said I was betraying her; I was not to supposed to take trips with a man I wasn’t married to; I wasn’t supposed to take time off unless it was to see her. How could I be so selfish…?

My mom has “tested” me by asking to me to write her checks for thousands of dollars… for dental and health procedures that she didn’t even need or follow through with. It was all a test to see how “loyal” I was to her. After sending her one of the checks (and after she cashed it), she told me she ended up not proceeding with that dental procedure. You can imagine how annoyed I was (and how infuriated my husband was…). She just wanted the money and likely had zero intention of ever getting the procedure done from the beginning.

My mom used to say to me regularly, “I control you until you get married, and then when you get married, your husband controls you.” That was fun to hear. I guess it’s no wonder why I made a goal during my senior year of college to get a job out on the East Coast, far out of her control and constant spying. And once I moved to New York, I vowed to never live anywhere close to my parents ever again.

She also used to tell me regularly that Ed and I “have no right to get angry at your parents! You have NO right! We do everything for you, and you get angry with us?!”

It took me a while to figure out that being angry at one’s parents, or at anyone, is completely fine and healthy. All feelings – happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, whatever – they are what they are. There is no such thing as a right or wrong feeling. It’s just a matter of how you deal with them and move forward with them that matters. To tell someone they aren’t allowed to feel is pretty inhumane… and quite sad, when you think about it.

My first therapist once asked me, “Do you think you will ever move back to San Francisco?” I paused for a bit, and then responded, “I’m not sure. I don’t think so? Maybe I could. But only after they’re both dead.” It sounds like a very harsh thing to say, but I really meant it. The truth hurts. I don’t think my mental health could handle being that close to them. They have no concept of boundaries or how to treat me (or really, anyone else) respectfully and with true kindness. And like any other human being, I deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. I’m not asking for that much.

It’s hard to think about the fact that I will never have a good relationship with either of my parents. In an ideal world, we’d get along and be much closer. But it’s not meant to be. Ed was the same way. But his life has already ended. Mine hasn’t… not yet, anyway.


In the last several weeks, the world got the news about the British royal family that they’d all guessed, but weren’t 100 percent sure of: The Princess of Wales was diagnosed with cancer. She’s only 42 years old, so of course, this was met with much shock and sadness. Even I felt sad when I read the news. If someone who likely has access to the best food, nutrition, wellness, and healthcare, amongst other resources, can get a cancer diagnosis so young, then the rest of us are definitely screwed. My next thought was: yep, the rest of us… we’re all going to get cancer and die.

As I was checking in with a friend over text tonight about how her recent trip to Japan went with her parents and brother, I was shocked to learn of some health news about her dad: he just got diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called chordoma. Over the last several months, he’d had some lower back pain that kept getting worse. Initially, they just thought it was arthritis, so they had him see a physical therapist, but it didn’t help. He went in for a scan which showed nothing, but they failed to scan the part of the back where he felt the pain, so my friend pushed for an MRI of his lower back… which ended up revealing a malignant mass on his sacrum. Chordoma can occur anywhere along the spine and it’s extremely rare: only 1 in one million people get diagnosed with chordoma per year. He’s scheduled for an appointment later this week to determine the best course for his case, which may be surgery to remove the mass.

This made me so sad. When my friend was in high school, her mom got diagnosed with breast cancer. They all suspected that it might be related to her work, as she was a nail technician at a nail salon (we all know that nail salon workers are at a high risk of getting cancer due to all the fumes they inhale all day long). Luckily, she got chemo and the cancer disappeared. Then, at age 27 while my friend was in medical school, she got diagnosed with a rare lymphoma, and thus medical school got put on hold. Her type of lymphoma was even rarer: only 0.4 people per million per year are diagnosed with it each year. That would mean that in her family of five, 60 percent of her family had experienced cancer. There’s no way this diagnosis could have been easy to hear.

We can only hope for the best since we’re living in a toxic, chemical-laden world. I just hope her dad makes his way out alive in this for their family’s sake.

2-year doctor’s visit

I took Kaia to her 2-year doctor’s visit this afternoon. She always seems to know what’s happening. As soon as we entered the little office, she grew suspicious. As I was filling out some forms on her development and had the stroller facing away from me, she started silently crying. Another mom in the waiting room turned to me and said, “Is this your baby? She’s crying!”

I turned to look at her silently cry and then start moaning. She knew she was here to see the doctor, and she was NOT happy.

When we were cleared for an exam room, she got extremely fussy through the weight, length, and head circumference measurements, and then proceeded to repeat over and over, “wanna go home! Wanna go home!” She told me she wanted to get off the table, so I let her walk around the room barefoot, just in her diaper, as she gathered her clothes and futilely attempted to put them on. Then she said, “Help me! Help me!” I relented and let her put on her socks but nothing else so that the doctor could fully take a look at her. When the doctor finally came in, she tried to hide behind me and a chair so that the doctor couldn’t see her. But surprisingly, she cried the least during this visit in all her appointments in the last year. The only times she really melted down was when the doctor tried to open her mouth to see her teeth and throat, and of course, during the vaccine. And after her routine vaccination, she actually started waving bye to the medical assistants and the doctor. It was actually kind of cute.

The doctor had shared that at this stage, she’d actually be a little worried if Kaia were too welcoming and happy about being at the office. Kids her age are supposed to be suspicious of strangers, especially ones who poke and prod at them. And the fact that she gets the bad vibe as soon as we entered the office shows that she definitely remembers that the doctor’s office does NOT equal a fun place for her.

The good news is that Kaia’s head is still huge: she’s still in the 91st percentile for head circumference for her age; we do love her big head. She’s definitely getting taller, too, and is above average for height. But her weight gain dropped off, though they said it was normal for weight to slow down around 1.5-2 years, and it should pick back up again at her 2.5 year appointment. I should hope so; this child is ALWAYS eating! Where is the food even going…?!