Audiobooks 9.11.2015

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I’ve been doing a lot of listening to audio books lately. #dayrebookclub

I love to listen when I’m working on my crochet. I feel like I can’t sit down and read a book because it means I can’t be doing anything else but if I listen, I can do so while crocheting, getting dinner ready, driving, just feels like I’m getting so much done while enjoying it more.

And its become so convenient now, I can just check out a title straight onto my phone,

I don’t even have to visit my local library.

This recent reading/listening frenzy started when I read Amy Tan’s “the opposite of Fate”, it’s a collection of her essays and reading it made me think of her novels in a new way.

So I started listening to “the Kitchen Gods Wife”, ” Bonesetter’s Daughter ” and “Joy Luck Club”. ” A Hundred Secret Senses ” is still on my waiting list. I love her stories, I can relate to them, the mother daughter relationships,

Being Chinese in a non Asian country. Finding yourself as you age. And she writes so engagingly.

After that I listened to Elizabeth Berg’s “Home Safe”. I thought I had read all her books but was pleasantly surprised to find this one. What I like about her books is how they feel like chatting with a good old friend. That feeling you get after you’ve had a really good talk and it made you think and understand new things about life and yourself.

Her stories are about simple everyday things. Seemingly very mundane and yet very comforting.

Today I have to take my youngest for her 4 year old vaccination ­čś».

I’m dreading it. She really fights her vaccinations. So much so that the needle gets pushed out. That was when she was much younger though. I hope it will be better today. Promise of ice cream after will hopefully help.

My eldest was the complete opposite when it came to vaccinations. Even as a baby she never cried, just had a shocked look. She has never cried through all her many vaccinations, such a trooper.

Funny how a kids personality can be revealed over such reactions.

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Breastfeeding 22.10.2015

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Just read┬á@lynnnnn┬ápost about her thoughts on breast feeding #mybfjourney and I thought I’d pen down my thoughts here, just as another persons view on the whole experience.

So my daughters are now 4 and 7 year old, and I breast fed them till they were about a year old. I think my eldest was breast fed mostly exclusively for about 6 months.
With my second, when she was about 3 months I had an emergency one night stay at the hospital due to pneumonia and that really disrupted my supply.

To the point that I had to rely on formula from then on to top her up. In addition, I also returned to work and this time round there was a new mix of colleagues which made the environment not as bf friendly so after awhile I stopped expressing at work.

In terms of the actual physical experience, I didn’t find it too bad. The first few weeks when baby and I were learning the how tos were hard but not unbearably so. I was very lucky because I never had any complications like blocked ducts

Or mastitis. My flow was never very impressive but was sufficient. My eldest was smallish even from the start, even when she was born she was quite small despite being almost two weeks overdue and even today she is slight but healthy and strong.

My second was supplemented with formula from about 3 months on, and I weaned her when she was just short of a year old, at which point she was not really missing it much anyway.

Weaning my eldest was a bit more difficult because I used to feed her to sleep and then when she woke up in the middle of the night, let her feed some more so that we could all go back to sleep. It was a convenience for me and became a habit for her.

I had been trying to wean her slowly but progress was slow and frustrating so one night I just let her go cold turkey. She was 1.5 years old and cried for a good one hour, and then finally fell asleep.

And from that day on never asked for the breast again.

 Thoughts on how I felt about breast feeding

Things I liked,
Well it is convenient and free, I know some would say that the pumping paraphernalia etc is expensive and makes the whole exercise actually quite expensive. But for me, I only used a hand pump and buying formula, cleaning the bottles etc took a lot more time and money than direct latching ever did.

I liked that it was the perfect food for baby, never had to second guess the ingredients of the formula, or be worried about allergies or contaminants or sterilisation of bottle.

Things I didn’t like,
The time it takes.

Sometimes the inconvenience, having to find somewhere discreet to feed baby when I was in the flow of doing something else.

Mostly though, the true reason I don’t like breast feeding, is that it made me feel like a cow. It made me take a step back and be faced with the reality that no matter how far humans have come, we are still essentially animals.

I guess a small part of me is angry that because I am a woman I am stuck with my biological functions.

Some would say that our female bodies should be celebrated. It’s life giving, life nourishing, and to a large degree I do feel this way.

But another part of me feels that having babies forced me to face my primal self and it was disconcerting and frankly unwelcome.

The hormones, the changing body, the sleepless nights, the constant raised temperature.

And sometimes I feel angry when I hear men criticise a woman for not being a better mother. Now these men are not bad men, they are just clueless to the changes a woman goes through and struggles daily with when they become a mother.

When we are pregnant, mostly, the people around us are warm and positive and caring, revelling in the new life and hope we carry, and so we often also become lulled into this beautiful, dreamy lovely feeling.

When the baby finally arrives, it feels like a cold bucket of water has been thrown on the mother. Suddenly reality sets in. Your life changes completely.

There are no more sleep ins, leisurely baths, relaxing window shopping, lovely meals.

Whatever you do, at the back of your mind you feel you should be with your baby.

You have the many nightly feedings, the constant nappy changes, the feeding and cleaning up, the getting them to sleep, and then them waking up after fifteen minutes. The horrible doubt and worry when they are sick. The unexplainable grumpiness!

Well at least until your child is about two. It does get better as they get older, I have even started to sleep in again during the weekends!

In closing, I am glad I could breast feed my girls because of all the benefits related to bfeeding and that it was relatively uneventful especially compared to the horrors some other moms faced.

But I didn’t really enjoy it and looking back now, years after my breast feeding experience, I don’t think my impressions have changed.

Before I started breast feeding, my expectations were that it would be an incredible bonding experience with my baby.

It was a bonding experience, yes, but so were a lot of other experiences we shared and are still sharing.

On a completely different note, I’ve been reading this book by Amy Tan, The Opposite of Fate #dayrebookclub.

It’s a collection of her thoughts and essays. I have loved her other books (with the exception of the Bonesetter’s Daughter which I couldn’t really get, maybe I should pick it up again) but I especially love this collection because a lot of it describes why she is the way she is and its mostly because of her mother and there are so many instances where I can identify with her.

My sisters and I have been a journey of discovery which started about a year ago which made us see our mother in a completely different light. It’s nice to see that we are not the only ones with a mother who is constantly filling us with worry and paranoia, that in fact it may be more common than we thought.

Race, self identity and becoming me 9.8.2015

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A few years ago one of my sisters asked me what I aspired to be when I was little, and without thinking too much, I told her I wanted to be Chinese.

It’s funny, but I had forgotten this longing I had as a girl to be Chinese, with beautiful thick black hair, being able to speak mandarin, having almond eyes, being part of that culture.

I grew up watching martial arts series with my step dad. We watched together almost every night. And I so longed to be a Chinese princess, or a lady healer, or a female martial artist. I used to reenact some of my favourite scenes during my play time.

In those days I didn’t look that Chinese, or maybe I did, but because I was living in an Asian country, my German side was more apparent. Now that I’m living in a predominately white country, I look more Asian.

Now I don’t have this longing to be Chinese anymore, although I am half Chinese and even though I don’t speak the language, I certainly feel Chinese, more than German anyway.

When I was a teenager and later on in my twenties, I really felt out of place, I couldn’t really identify with anybody else. I guess that is part of growing up.

Now I feel more settled, I know that part of me is Chinese, and I accept that, but I also am very aware that many many people feel they don’t fit in, especially in an immigrant country like NZ, and that’s just fine. That is a normal way of being.

Moreover, I now recognise that I am an introvert. I used to feel disappointed with myself because I could not socialise better, connect with others better, feel more at ease in social settings.

That I craved solitude so desperately and felt such relieve when I was on my own. I thought that I was inadequate and it was something I had to work on to overcome.

I think with marriage and motherhood I have found a new level of quiet strength in just being, and not trying so hard to fit in anymore. I don’t think it was a conscious choice to become this way, rather, that life was already busy and tough enough, I really didn’t have the time or the inclination to try so hard anymore.

My Sewing Cabinet in Progress

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Dearest Sultana,

We celebrated my husband’s birthday last week. In his family, whenever there is a birthday, red eggs will be prepared. These are simply hen eggs that have their shells dyed. My mother in law tells me that when we eat these eggs we wish the birthday person health, happiness and a long life, it also means that we love them. Unfortunately I forgot to do this in the morning! If I made them for the afternoon, everybody would be too full from the eggs to enjoy their dinner, so in the end I got some small chocolate eggs in foil. Believe it or not they were even more popular than the regular hen eggs.

Red Birthday Eggs

I have been working on my Sewing Cabinet for a little bit. It isn’t quite done yet but here are a few pictures Read the rest of this entry

My Decluttering Story

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Dearest Sultana,

While I had to wait for my perfect computer/tv cabinet to become available on trademe, I was preoccupied with all the possibilities. I looked daily on pinterest for inspiration, surprisingly, there were not that many pins on computer/tv cabinets turned into sewing cabinets. So I started looking at books from the library catalogue to order some and frankly there were even less, but I got some books ordered anyway, hoping to get ideas on storage solutions and just general inspiration. I also got a few books on organising, thinking that they would help me start off on the right foot with my cabinet.

8minute_3d

One of these books is “The 8-Minute Organizer” by Regina Leeds. While waiting for May’s ballet lesson to finish, and I started to browse through it and then, liking what I was reading, began to read in earnest. She had a nice way of writing, very unintimidating and empowering.

My biggest downfall when trying to organise my home is that I always think that I have to get everything out on the floor so that I know where to put everything, but by the time I have everything out, Read the rest of this entry

My Sewing Cabinet

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Dearest Sultana,

Months back, I came across this book, “Weekend Sewing”┬á by Heather Ross

weekendsewingj_web

It’s a really lovely books, with interesting projects, it finally convinced me to try shirring, and I’ve made two shirred dresses for my girls so far. But what really inspired me in this book is her idea of turning a tv cabinet into a sewing workstation/cabinet. Read the rest of this entry

Christmas & New Year’s Recap… two months late

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Dearest Sultana,

I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long, it’s been about 4 months!!! and I have thought of this blog often during that time and yet couldn’t muster the energy, inspiration, courage to come back to my blog. But a few nights ago I put today into my diary as the day I would return, even if it’s just for a quick “hello, I’m still here!”

What have I been doing? Well there was Christmas, the kids went to visit Santa at his Bach (that’s a kiwi holiday home by the beach) and Santa was in his shorts and t-shirt, it was lots of fun for the kids, we put up the tree, opened presents and spend time with Grandma, Grandpa and the girls’ two aunts. Read the rest of this entry