A Snapshot of the Last Days

The last week of my time off was not perfect. The hives continued to be horrible, and also appeared on my arms and hands, though with less ferocity, so I decided I would just stay in bed all day and do nothing for a couple of days. This was the best decision ever, and bed was a magical place where I enjoyed holding Vale in bed while different versions of La Vie En Rose played on my Billie Holiday Pandora station (Louie Armstrong and Edith Piaf), and watching her sleep while I ate breakfast (cooked by Dad) in bed.

 

 

I propped my laptop on my breakfast-in-bed table from Ikea, answered some emails, surfed the web, blogged, cuddled with Vale, and took it easy for two full days. Fiona, my faithful feline friend, joined the party and insisted on crowding up against Vale in my lap, or hovering underneath the table like she did when I was in law school. I was reminded of how she’d accompany me for hours while I read law school assignments and studied for the bar. She (and Ophelia) were our babies first, and turned 10 years old in a flash.

While in bed, I contemplated the importance of family, slow moments, and the little pleasures in life. I texted my mother frequently, and thought of how difficult it must have been for her and my dad to be half a world away from their family for decades.

Dirty Hippie

I had visions of being a carefree glam-hippie mom, clad in boho skirts, big sun glasses, with a happy, naked baby in tow, whisking about braless in the warm glow of the California sun.

It has not quite worked out that way.

I wake up every morning harried and confused, wishing I had 4 hands instead of 2, a kangaroo pouch – or alternatively, and more realistically, some kind of mom utility belt to avoid three trips up and down the stairs to transport this mish mash of stuff – bottles, glasses, phone, baby, receiving blankets, ice packs, and pump accessories.

I have not worn any boho skirts in a couple of weeks, though I own many, because it has been an extremely hot October, and my body is doing something weird post-pregnancy, possibly because of breastfeeding. I used to be cold constantly; I was the person who turned her space heater on in the middle of July once the air conditioning started running in the office. People would start sweating when they entered my office; my boss regularly referred to my work space as a sauna.

Now, I am constantly hot: I sweat in my sleep the first two weeks after Little V was born. I first noticed it in the hospital, and it rather took me by surprise, especially since there is always a nice flow of air conditioning in the hospital. Literally, this night sweating thing has never happened to me unless it was over 90 degrees or I was seriously ill. However, even after that horribleness has ceased, I continue to run hot. Last weekend, I actually sweat a little bit walking around in 80 degree weather. I’m Asian. I don’t usually sweat noticeably unless it’s 90 degrees or I’m exercising, and this new phenomenon irritates me to no end. I pray it is not permanent.

I don’t tow her anywhere for long as of yet, because she is a fatty little baby, gaining a bit more than the normal 1 ounce a day, and while I have decent arm and upper body strength, I get uncomfortable after holding her for just five minutes. I also have not mastered use of the ring sling, so that baby-wearing thing isn’t working out for me yet. As soon as the doctor clears me, I’ve got to get back on those pushups and ab roller exercises.

As for going braless, I’ve got that part down, but not quite in the way I imagined. I got sick of fussing around with clasps, pads, and straps. I also read that milk stains can be hard to get out, and I don’t want to ruin any of my nice clothes. I have thus resorted to wearing shitty ass tank tops I bought from Walmart for $4, without a bra. If I drip milk, so be it, as long as it’s not getting on furniture or the floor.  If I end up with some amount of milk on me after the 8-10 feeding sessions a day anyway, so what’s the point? No one is going to shower or rinse 8-10 times a day.

I’ve also got the naked baby part down, even though people think it’s weird. As I write this, I’m about to take her to Daddy’s soccer game wearing only a diaper. It will get cold, but she has a really nice hot pink fleece blanket. In this stage of our lives, neither of us like clothes, and I am convinced clothing on babies in warm weather is more for other people than it is for the baby.

To my credit, I have not entirely abandoned my boundaries, and begrudgingly put on a bra when going out to meet with people, or attend doctor’s appointments. I also have not degenerated to the point where I neglect showers, although that would be quite in line with the hippie theme. Do I get a gold star for this?

Puke

In February of 2012, I took a 72 hour trip to Taipei (including the approximately 26 hours of flying) to attend my cousin’s funeral after her unexpected death. Of the dozen or so times I’d been to Taipei, this was the first time I was going in the wintertime. Coincidentally, Little V’s name constitutes the first four letters of my cousin’s name; I did not realize this until she was born and an old friend pointed it out to me. That’s what childhood friends are for; they remember details, facts, and stories about yourself, your family, your friends, and are able to have insights and see connections where others may not.

Surprisingly, EVA tickets were cheaper than China Airlines, and I took a window spot on a forest-green colored seat next to a three-year-old child and her mother. Throughout the flight, the three-year-old girl was quiet, pleasant, and drank from a bottle. About 5 hours into the flight, she projectile vomited all the milk in an impressive spray, all over the seats (fortunately missing me), and her mother literally tried to catch her puke in her cupped hands as she frantically called for assistance from a flight attendant.

Of course, the EVA attendant was gracious and helpful; she brought towels and changed out the puke seats (it had not occurred to me that airlines keep extra seat cushions around for such occasions). My feeling at the time was simultaneously of horror and humor. I horrified because it was gross and I felt terrible for the mother, but part of me also wanted to laugh (a little) at the unfortunate occurrence.

Five and a half years later, now that I am a mother myself, and am pretty much constantly wiping and cleaning spit-up and puke, and frequently getting spit-up all over my body, my clothes, my sheets, and my furniture, the EVA air experience in retrospect seems a little less funny, and also a little less gross.

Is Your Daughter Going to Be a Slut? Take this Quiz To Find Out!

Desperate to know whether your little princess has a future as a ho-bag or slut in store for her? Take this simple quiz to find out. Keep track of your score for each question. At the end, give yourself 5 points for each “yes” answer, and 0 points for each “no” answer.

  1. Did your wife eat enough kale while pregnant?
  2. Did your wife consume too much sugar while pregnant?
  3. On a scale of 1-10, how good looking are you?
  4. On a scale of 1-10, how hot is your wife?
  5. Is your wife a hoochie?

Just kidding. This is not a real quiz. And the answer for anyone taking it is, “Who fucking cares?”

Men in their late twenties and thirties everywhere who slutted it up in their youth and find themselves expecting, or father to, a young daughter have this bizarre concern their precious princess is going to grow up to be a loose woman. I do not know where this fear comes from, as it takes two people to have sex, and if these men enjoyed slutting it up so much in their youth, they should view slutty women as a boon and source of great joy to men everywhere, not something to be feared. I love drinking beer, traveling, and eating. Therefore, I would not have any irrational fear of raising a son who becomes a lover of beer, traveling, or eating. See how that works?

Oh, wait. Sex is different. Women aren’t supposed to enjoy sex, so all those slooties these men slept with in their youth were defective, broken, or immoral. This mentality strains logic to the breaking point, yet is shockingly common. Men somehow want to constantly fuck different people, but cannot bear the idea the women on the receiving end might do the same and enjoy it. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because they are rapists at heart. I think it entirely fair to characterize it as such, if these men truly enjoy going around feeling like they’ve conquered a bunch of unwilling, unhappy, and begrudging participants, who obviously cannot possibly be moral, normal, or healthy individuals if they actually want the sex. There is no way around this logic. Every time a guy fucks a woman, hopefully, that woman is consenting to it and enjoying it. If a guy has consensual sex, there is presumably a woman on the other end who wanted to have it with him. This isn’t fucking rocket science.

Or maybe the real fear is just that – these men come to a realization that they were predating upon women they believed to be emotionally unbalanced, weak, not in the right mind, and/or semi-retarded, and fear their daughters may face similar predators. In that event, the men with these concerns should reflect upon their lifetime of asshole behavior, rather than project their fears into a sick need to obsess over their daughters’ sexuality. Additionally, maybe the focus should be on raising a happy, well-balanced, non-retarded daughter instead of fretting over the number of dicks that might go inside her vagina. The order of priorities could not possibly be more absurd here.

Even in 2017, some men are unable to grasp the concept that individual women own their own sexuality; men – whether husbands, boyfriends, fathers, or brothers – do not. A woman is like, a human being and stuff. Women have sexual desires just like the other 50 percent of humanity. Men fail to understand they sound like total neanderthals when they talk about using guns to threaten their daughter’s boyfriends. They do realize this is the acceptable, westernized version of certain fundamentalist Muslims who treat their daughters and wives like property and guard their sexuality with head-to-toe covering, right?

Making violent threats of murder no less, against innocent young boys trying to date your daughter is not funny. It is not cute or merely being “overprotective.” It is fucking disturbed and psychotic. I have a nice brother, about 5 1/2 years younger than me, who is a good person, and whom I love. I was probably a gun-hating liberal in his early days of high school, but if I learned some deranged dad of some princess threatened him with a gun, I would have been on Google searching the fastest way to get my own fucking gun to threaten to blow that dad’s head off myself. If you think threatening to stone or beat women to protect their chastity is lunacy, you should find violent threats against innocent, young, male suitors for the purpose of protecting your daughter’s virginity equally insane.

It is literally the same concept. Male relatives who think they have a right to use violence to enforce their female family members’ chastity – whether against the woman herself, or against perceived violators of that chastity – do so because they feel entitled to control female sexuality, “purity,” and ultimately, reproduction. They likely can articulate no reasonable explanations as to why they feel compelled to control sexuality or reproduction, but it’s certainly traced back to the base and patriarchal construct that emphasizes the need for women to be virgins. This is 2017, people. Your daughter is not a piece of property; she owns herself, and by extension, she also owns her personality, her desires, her actions, and her sexuality. There are few things in existence in the United States in 2017 that are more embarrassingly unprogressive and backwards than this.

And please don’t insult anyone’s intelligence by arguing the “biology” card. While there are obvious biological differences between men and women, these are far too minor to justify society’s drastically disparate treatment of men versus women’s sexuality. Further, even assuming your bullshit biological “argument” is correct, biology does not dictate morality. Biology explains why children are more likely to be murdered by their stepfathers than biological fathers, but this says absolutely nothing about the morality of murdering stepchildren. Stepfathers don’t want to waste resources on children who do not pass on their genetic material, and are more likely to kill unrelated children. But even though biology explains this phenomenon, the explanation is nevertheless irrelevant to the ethics involving murdering children. Similarly, whether biology explains how women behave sexually is irrelevant to the ethics or morality of telling women how they should behave sexually.

If you want to dwell on biology, arguably, men invented this patriarchal idea that women love being virgins, hate sex, and only want it with one person because evolutionarily speaking, men want to pass on their own DNA (and no one else’s), and therefore wanted to guarantee they did not spend energy and resources being cuckolded and raising a child who biologically belonged to another man. But again, irrespective of what accurate or inaccurate biological explanations may exist, this is entirely irrelevant to ethics and morality. Also, newsflash: paternity tests were invented in the 1960’s, and there is no longer any excuse for a creepy obsession with seeking unmarred virgins under the guise of wanting to preserve your DNA. You can always find out with an extremely high degree of accuracy whether a woman is carrying your DNA or not. See e.g. Various episodes of Maury and Jerry Springer. It seems the classy, educated gentlemen featured on those shows are capable of grasping the benefits of a paternity test. Men who haven’t caught onto this nifty invention are a good 60 years behind the times. Let me emphasize that part about being “backwards” once more.

Then, there’s the crowd favoring the “emotional problem” argument alongside the “biology” argument. This group couches the thinly-veiled criticism of women who love sex in falsely sympathetic terms, in that they pretend they only shun or dislike sluts because they claim it is evidence of some kind of emotional or mental illness in women. Again, I fail to see how a man who loves having sex is normal, but a woman in the same situation is mentally or emotionally ill; regardless, this sentiment is nonsense for other reasons. Don’t think you can bullshit me with this kind of false concern about the emotional well-being of women, because I know the men pulling this lame excuse aren’t also irrationally and inexplicably concerned about their female fetus or 4-year old princess becoming an alcoholic, drug abuser, manic-depressive, narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath, which are equally if not more common, and much more serious and destructive emotional problems. Read: “I don’t care if my daughter is a half-retarded heroin junkie sociopath – just please don’t let it be the case that she loves sex!”

I thought I was slightly neurotic because I daydream of animal costumes for my fetus (cat ears! leopard print!) and have detailed mental debates on which classical instrument she should play (piano if we choose a traditional lifestyle, violin or cello if we decide to live a nomadic one), but I’m pretty sure being scared of how many dicks will one day see her vagina encompasses a crazy of epic proportions.

My parents basically never had any discussions about sex with me, and left that task up to public schooling and my friends. However, I recall one time in high school, when my friend joked in front of my mother that her mother thought she was a big whore. My mother raised her eyebrows and said something to the effect of, “Don’t worry about being a whore. Just don’t get AIDS and don’t get pregnant.” I probably laughed hysterically at the time, but in retrospect, this is practical and reasonable advice for a 15 year-old girl.

My husband and I are concerned about whether our future daughter will be intelligent, healthy, and happy. We do not give two donkey shits about whether one day many years down the road she might have sex with more men than the acceptable number set by society. If you do, your priorities might be in the wrong place.

Can’t I Just Let Her Run Around Naked?

My mother Line’d me multiple pictures of cute baby girl clothing she had purchased recently, noting she was accumulating a collection.

 

I was digging the forest animal print (rabbits, squirrels, owls), and the onesie featuring multi-colored pineapples, and of course, an outfit with cats (not pictured). I told my mother these were adorable, but also said Fetus Watson would be born in the summer and would not need a ton of clothes. Further, I indicated I would eventually be open to letting her run around mostly naked as a baby. My rationale for this is there aren’t too many opportunities in a person’s life to be clothing-free without judgment, and I do not want my daughter introduced to a life of scratchy lace and restrictive ribbons at too early an age. Girl, let it all hang out while you can!

 

Art Class

I have taken classes intermittently (for a few months when I was 10, and then briefly when I was 23), but never learned to draw well, and was excited to get art classes from husband for my birthday. It’s about time for some improvement, since my mother is an art history professor, and my father has been painting for some 3 decades.

Take 1:

Take 2:

Next up, painting.