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Houston, we have a heartbeat! Estimated due date: March 22.
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Potty training Joanna this weekend. Wish us luck!
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The most important family event of the year, of course, was the March 11 earthquake & tsunami, that thankfully spared our loved ones in Yokohama.

Work-wise, I started the year teaching OChem labs at UTTyler. John was teaching Special Ed at GW Carver ES. Around March he got the word that his position would be eliminated due to budget cuts and tendered his resignation. In late April-early May I got the word that my contract would not be renewed. So, at the beginning of June, we were both without work and with a 2 year-old to support. Not good. Immediately we started pounding the electronic pavement, and the first weekend of August I flew to Charleston for a face-to-face interview that turned into a job offer. For a job that started orientation 6 days later!

Three weeks later, I was teaching at Ashley Hall, where Joanna was enrolled, our stuff had finally shown up at our new apartment, and John was about to start teaching Special Ed at North Charleston HS. Talk about a whirlwind! Since then, life has been nothing but busy.

Joanna has grown so much this year, especially developmentally. She is so articulate for a 2 1/2 year-old. Her teachers love her, and vice-versa. She can be exhausting and aggravating, and her tantrums are, well, tantrums, but most of the time she tries to act like a "big girl". I couldn't be prouder of her, especially after the last road trip we went on. We were originally supposed to drive 2 days from Charleston back to TX for Christmas, and then back home. We ended up taking a detour by way of Boston when we heard that John's grandmother's health is fading. So, instead of 4 days on the road, we ended up spending 7!

On that last note, it is pretty evident that Baba will probably not last too much longer, and I am very glad we got a chance to see her, and she got a chance to see Joanna.

My four New Year's Resolutions:

1) Help John through what is probably going to be Baba's last year
2) Stay at AH more than one year, so that I can (finally!) spend a year perfecting a course, rather than running full-pace to catch up
3) Potty train Joanna
4) Try to conceive Baby #2
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Today, at approximately 5:30 pm CDT, Joanna took her first steps!
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One year ago she was born. How short a time has passed and yet how profound the changes. Happy 1st Birthday, Joanna! I love you.
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Today I went into Joanna's room for something, and as is typical, she started crawling after me down the hallway. Before she got to me, I turned around and went back. She passed me and crawled into her room, then swung the door closed between us (without latching it) and started to cry. I called [profile] hoya99 and explained the situation. He gently opened the door and asked her "Was that really a good idea, sweetie pie?" Joanna smiled up at him, then crawled over to the door, swung it closed (this time latching it in the process) and *immediately* burst into tears again! We couldn't help but laugh. What a silly girl!
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Just wanted to wish all the Dads out there a Happy Father's Day, with special love going out to my own Dad and, of course, to [profile] hoya99, who celebrates his first Father's Day today!!!


Jun. 7th, 2010 08:45 am
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Hubby: Home from school and ecstatically happy to be so.

Baby: Starting to stand on her own. Pointing at things and saying "Cha?" (Which I translate as "What's that?"). First official word: Dada. Generally getting into trouble whenever she can. 11 months old!!!! WTF?

Me: Interview today (4 pm) including 15 min mini-lesson. Working frantically.

Couldn't be happier.

Edit: Update on the update:

Interview over. Thought it went well. Should hear from them by the end of the week.
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I don't particularly remember what I was doing on this day. I was about seven and a half months pregnant, finishing up my teaching duties for the semester, and I do remember wanting them to be over as soon as possible. I remember starting to feel the energy drain and I wanted to be able to spend my time getting ready for the baby. I was looking forward to the baby shower and, after that, wanted to get the remaining furniture and items ordered, shipped, and assembled asap.

I remember Carinos was having a Mother's Day special and the waiter let us take advantage of it even though the little one was still on her way.

I do remember thinking something along the lines of "Holy crap, by this time next year I'll be a mom!" It all seemed so dim and far away; I couldn't picture it at all. I didn't even know if we were having a boy or girl, much less all the rest of it.

A little over a month later, Joanna came out from her hiding spot.

Today she's a fast-moving 10-month-old whose goal in life seems to be to get into anything and everything she shouldn't and look cute while doing it. A vocal infant who either babbles happily while she's exploring or protests vehemently (and loudly!) when she's told "No". A status-climber, driven to pull herself up and onto every piece of furniture in reach.

Between the blood, pain, and exhaustion of the early days and the harried, taxing, and never-ending chase of the now, you might well say I've become a mom.

Not that that means I can rest on my laurels. How well I know it's always going to be a process.

But if being a mom means knowing that a rustling in a certain part of the room means the baby has gotten into the books (again!) or that her sudden cessation of ear-piercing screams means that she's found something interesting (and probably prohibited) to play with, I'm a mom. If being a mom means breastfeeding at all hours, home-made purees and carefully diced finger foods, I'm a mom. If being a mom means changing the umpteenth diaper and being more concerned about the state of the poop (softer, more mushy, means she's not constipated anymore compared to last week's pellets) than its smell (usually awful), I'm a mom. If being a mom means saying "No" for the millionth time and pulling her away from the books, or DVDs, or shoes, or...., I'm a mom. If being a mom means cleaning the bug she somehow managed to find on my otherwise clean carpet out of her mouth and then later, allowing her to nurse with that same mouth, I'm a mom.

Just the first year. Not even the first year. I would love to have my free time, energy, and sanity back again (not to mention my hearing!). But I can't imagine life without her. I couldn't give her up.

When she is sweet, she is so very sweet and loveable. And still so fragile and vulnerable, despite all her accomplishments. And so very by-God cute.

Let the race continue. Onward and upward!
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What's been happening the past month or so:

Week #1: Husband seriously sick with the flu.
Week #2: Husband recovering from the flu. Attempting to clean the apartment for impending in-law visit.
Week #3: Husband seriously sick with pneumonia, including an overnight ER visit. Still cleaning the apartment.
Week #4: Spring Break. Husband recovering from pneumonia. In-laws visiting. Baby crawls for the first time.

It is now the end of week #5, both of us back at work. Baby is now teething for the first time (two teeth at once, no less!).

For some strange reason, I have not been sleeping well and been very, very tired lately. I wonder why.

In the good news department, at least Joanna didn't get sick.

Back to work.
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2009: A mixture of delight, annoyance, joy, anxiety, wonder and terror by the name of Joanna Megumi took over my life.

Prediction for 2010: Ibid, but getting bigger, louder, and more interesting on a daily basis.

Happy New Year, y'all.
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Joanna was remarkably calm during the trip over. She slept through the first, 45 minute flight. She did get antsy about two-thirds of the way through the second, 13 1/2 hr flight, but that was because she had to sit in the same seat from so long.

The first day here she was okay at first, but had several small meltdowns towards the end of the day (understandable given how unfamiliar everything is + the jetlag). The night was rough--she woke up at 2:30 am and cried on and off until almost 5. However, she seems to have adjusted now and is delighting her grandparents and great-grandmother.

I've finally found time to write poetry for the first time since she was born:

hungry baby at
the breast--NOM NOM NOM--dozes,
dreams--and sweet peace reigns
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A revelation:

There comes a time in a person's life when there is the realization that that person has "grown up". "Growing up" is, of course, a process, a continuum, and there isn't a single moment, per se, but at some point in everyone's inner monologue, there is a shift from "girl" or "boy" to "woman" or "man" when referring to the self. For me, this happened probably sometime in my mid-twenties.

The primary trigger for this conversion is probably the societal "coming of age" at 18 and 21, but everyone has other, more personal triggers as well. In my case, the most prominent trigger was, oddly enough, my mother. My dad, being the controlling (caring) person he was, would routinely try to tell me what to do/give me advice/push me in the direction he thought I should go. Increasingly through the latter part of my teenage years and well into college, my mom would counter him by reminding him "She's an adult now; she has to make these decisions for herself."

It only occurred to me tonight how very clever she was. By repeating that phrase, in various iterations, over and over, she gently and inexorably altered my inner voice until I inevitably came to consider myself an adult. She also neatly countered and conquered my rebellion. Adolescence, after all, is one long rebellion against one's parents, aka "the enemy", a necessary step towards adulthood. By "capitulating" and putting the decisions squarely on my shoulders, she was changing her category. If the decisions were mine, I had nothing to rebel against, and no enemy to confront. And since she was no longer the enemy, there was nothing to prevent me from coming back to her and asking for advice.

Ironically enough, by refusing to make me listen to her advice, she made me more willing to ask for and accept it. Pride was no longer at issue; I had achieved the respect I had striven for; I was being treated as an adult, which, of course, made me act like one.

I need to learn how she did it. I have a strong feeling that I'll need that trick where Joanna is concerned. Knowing when to step aside, knowing that she will eventually finish flailing about looking for a foe that has vanished, hoping that she realizes that her "enemies" have become friends. And hoping at that point she'll come back.

Day off

Sep. 27th, 2009 03:36 pm
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Today for the first time in a while I didn't have a day full of stuff to do.

I got the diapers washed and hung to dry, did some reorganization, and shredded some papers. I don't have to cook supper, since it's leftover mac & cheese.

And Joanna has been good so there's not much stress there. We have our daily routine down pretty well by now.

The only downside to all this time off is that my sweetie happens to be in Washington, D.C. Pooh.

He has his FSOT Oral Assessment tomorrow. Tomorrow evening I will get a call around 4:30 or 5:30 my time. If I get the earlier call it means that he was weeded out (as 80% of applicants are at this stage). If I get the later call it means he was offered a position and spent an extra hour at the State Department filling out paperwork. *crosses fingers*

He comes home tomorrow.

I am missing him.

And I am bored.

Entertain me? Please?
ladynox25: (sad)
There is so much I understand about my parents now that I didn't before Joanna was born:

Like how my mom always told me that if I came home from school hurt and upset because of being teased, it hurt her too.

I held Joanna while she got her first set of shots. While I didn't literally feel the needle prick, I did wish I could bear the pain for her while she screamed and screamed.

Like how my parents weren't really able to tell me what it was like when JFK was assassinated.

I don't know how I'm going to explain 9-11 to Joanna later on. Without having a frame of reference, it's just a bare recital of the facts. Here's what happened. Here's where I was/what I was doing. Here's what I felt: shock, pain, hopelessness, sorrow. I can tell her all that but she'll never understand the impact of it, especially emotionally.

Like how I would do absolutely anything to keep her alive, and healthy, and safe. Knowing, especially today, how fragile that last truly is.

Motherhood is not about giving birth; motherhood is about the feeding and caring for and cleaning up after that happens later.

The same goes for fatherhood.

And this is just the beginning. What else will I learn in the next 18 years?

Four Liters

Sep. 9th, 2009 08:35 am
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I did these calculations the other day.

We estimate that Joanna is taking in about 70.0 mL per bottle feeding atm. Of course we can't determine how much she takes from the breast, but it seems likely that it's about the same.

She takes about 8 feedings per day.

That's 560 mL per day, just over half a liter.

That's 3.92 L per week.

That's 16.8 L per month (assuming 30 days).

Right now, we're using formula for maybe two feedings a week. The rest is all breastmilk, either expressed or direct.

No wonder I'm so hungry and (especially) thirsty all the time! And no wonder she wets diapers like a little fire hydrant!

Nearly 4 L of fluid a week. Holy crap!
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This afternoon, Joanna started to fuss. I checked her diaper--yep, wet. So I take her into the office to change her. Turns out the diaper was not just wet--it was soiled. As I was cleaning her up, I asked her "Are you quite finished?" Her response? She shot a stream of poop over 1) her new clean diaper, 2) the diaper changing table pad, and 3) a pile of clean baby clothes stacked on the other end of the table.

We figure we were lucky they were there. If they hadn't been left there the poop would have gone onto the floor/wall/etc.

Projectile vomiting? Don't make me laugh. Projectile *pooping*, now there's something scary.
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Joanna is two months old today. She is really starting to develop a personality. She looks us in the eye and smiles (along with other funny facial expressions). She coos, gurgles, "talks". She sticks her tongue out at things (and has a propensity to lick our shirts if we're carrying her around in her harness). She sucks on her hands and has discovered that she has feet. She loves looking at her mobile and in the mirror we have in her crib. She's sleeping longer at night, staying up more during the day.

She's probably no more or less than your typical two-month-old baby. But for us, she is a delightful set of new surprises developing into one interesting (and sometimes slightly weird) child.

The fatigue is gradually coming under control as she has developed a pattern. The stress of trying to react to her crying is ameliorated by now being able to anticipate some of her needs. And now we're experiencing the wonder of watching her take in her world and enjoying every minute of her attention when it's focussed on us.

Really, at this point I don't think we could be happier.

I love this little girl.
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Joanna's baptism will be Monday, August 17, at 2 pm.


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