The Swing

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do…

By Robert Louise Stevenson

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Never interrupted a contented baby (play time)

Playing with favorite car toys

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When we communicate, we understand each other better….

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I have been reading RIE philosophy on Janet Lansbury’s blog for a while. I truly believe my 23 months old son born to raised by RIE philosophy. Let me give you some examples of their philosophy such as

-Don’t interrupt babies while they are playing. Every time we do that, we discourage their concentration and long attention span.
-Communicate with them directly and honestly even youngest babies, respect and acknowledge babies feelings.

Every time we shouted at him to get him listen and cooperate to us, it never worked!

I was sitting back and thinking about how I should talk to him to get him listen to me and believe me it takes a lot of patient before calming down myself and be able to speak with him with respect, honest voice again.

The other day he was refused to eat his lunch and ran back to his room to play with his toy cars. He kept saying bye bye mommy and turned himself away from me. I said it is lunch time, you gotta eat. He still kept saying bye bye mommy with his sobbing voice. I decided to say to him with much more calmer and respect voice that “I am hungry and I will go to the kitchen and if you hungry, come to the kitchen I will be waiting for you”

Literally 10 seconds later, I saw him walking back to the kitchen. He sat down and ate his meal again. After eating for 3 bites, he started not eating again. He just wanted to eat bread despite I cooked some fish with brown rice and broccoli for him. I said and explained to him why he needs to eat his meal in long sentences “Connor, you just can’t eat bread for your meal, your body needs all kind if nutrition to get bigger and taller, you need to eat all variety of foods to balance your diet, like fish, brown rice, broccoli. Fish also is high in DHA helping to grow your developing brain” He stared at me with his wonder eyes then slowly opened his mouth to eat fish. I can’t tell you enough times how many times I explain things logically to him whether fussy bedtimes routines or being outdoor too long when too dark. It works like a charm as long as I am being patient to explain things to him, reasonably and understanding his feelings.

We have been cooperating RIE philosophy with our son for a while. Though some works and some don’t, we are thankful. Our son has been in happier behavior definitely when we follow his leads with respects.

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For Our Dear Life, Connor

Connor is turning ONE next week! We are so thankful for him being born to both of us. We just want you to know mommy and daddy love you more than anything in the whole wide world!! Connor turning ONE

We love you higher than the highest bird ever flow.

We love you taller than the tallest tree eve grew.

We love you longer than the longest path ever wound.

We love you mightier than the mightiest wind ever blew.

We love you fuller than the fullest moon you ever knew.

We love you brighter than the brightest star ever shone.

We love you more so much more than you’ve ever known….

credit: Michelle Branch for the beautiful song “for dear life” and “I love you more” book by Laura Duksta and Karen Keesler.

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Connor’s homemade baby food

Since Connor turned 6 months of age, I have been cooking for him passionately! I was waiting and thinking way before that how much I wanted to cook for him and what exact food I was going to prepare and cook nutritiously homemade healthy baby food for him. I was fed by freshly prepared healthy food home cooking meals from my mom every day when I was growing up. My family background is Chinese living in Thailand so all of my meals were strongly influenced by Chinese and Thai cuisines. Fortunately we live in the US where is quite a multicultural country we live in. It is not hard to find all kinds of ethnic foods in typical American supermarkets anymore. We are so thankful for this country.

When I first started feeding him solid food, I followed advices from my homemade baby food book to try one food at a time for 3-4 days  in case he is allergy to anything. I started him first with brown rice porridge. Fast forward, Connor is almost a year now and typical Connor’s food for each day changed dramatically in the last 6 months! I use a lot of mother’s sense when cooking for him plus my growing up eating healthy background is always beneficial to make sure I feed my baby properly.

For me, cooking baby food comes naturally besides lots of love already put it in every meal. I don’t feed Connor baby jar food from the store nor I cook tons of fresh food and freeze it and warm later to feed him. I just simply cook fresh every day or two. I feed him the same food for lunch and dinner and usually he finishes it in 2 days anyway. My thoughts baby needs to have 5 nutritional groups from Protein, Carbohydrate, fruits and vegetables, minerals, fats so I always make sure he always gets complete nutrients every day.

Usually in the morning, I start him off with oatmeal cooked with organic whole milk added sliced bananas. I used to feed him avocado mixing with bananas for a while but I think he was getting bored and didn’t care much about avocado. Followed up by a lightly wholegrain toast with nothing on it and Yobaby yogurt. He simply loves yogurt! He gets excited every time I say yogurt and see I get it out of the fridge.

Typical lunch menu (and have it for dinner) are:

  • Wonton soup which I make my own soup stock from carrot, celery and ground meat (seasoning pork or chicken with soy sauce, starch)I also add broccoli or spinach for extra greens!
  • Steamed beaten eggs added ground meat and eat with brown rice.
  • Stuffed cucumber with ground meat added carrots.
  • Miso soup with tofu and seaweed (or spinach), I add an egg for extra protein.

Lately I try to incorporate what we (adults) have it and Connor will have it too but in his baby version. For example, we fry catfish for dinner and eat with brown rice and broccoli. He will have the same dish we have but smaller portion and softer broccoli. The other day I made minestrone soup in a crock pot and he had the same soup like us. This way you don’t have to cook extra for him, save your time and money as well.

After the meal, I always give him Yobaby and some fresh fruits. I am so happy to know Connor just simply loves fruits so much! His favorites are mango, kiwi, watermelon, pineapple, clementine oranges. Sometimes I make fruit smoothie for him too and he just is crazy and excited to drink it especially when I give him straw to suck:)

Nothing makes me happier to see my baby enjoying my home cooking meals so much! Connor definitely can tell how much I put love into cooking fresh food for him every day. It is all over his smiley face and feet kicking through the roof with excitement….

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Connor’s self directed play

I got Connor on video 10 mins late because I was in the kitchen cooking. To my surprise he had been playing by himself for 10 mins or so already before I could grab my phone to record the video. Connor had occupied and entertained himself for almost 30 minutes just playing, flipping Peter Rabbit book and all without any kinds of electronics stimulation whatsoever!  Despite my phone-camera right on his face, he was still very engaging and concentrating with his book flipping and toys exploring. Look at how long attention span he’s got! Connor’s self-directed play

Respecting these important personal moments when infant is engaged in thought – and not interrupting – will encourage longer periods of play that can extend to hours as a baby grows, through toddlerhood and beyond. According to Infant Play-Great Minds At Work  ”Play time for a young infant may look pretty boring to an untrained adult eye. We feel compelled to entertain a baby (as I did), or believe that she needs to be kept stimulated by continually moving with us through our daily affairs in a carrier or infant seat.  Truthfully, we waste our energy ‘occupying’ a baby’s time. And keeping a baby busy undermines her natural desire to be an initiator of her own activities and absorb the world on her terms.”

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when words are not necessary…

Previously written on Facebook Notes on September 24, 2012

Last night my son woke up in the middle of the night crying and crying….I immediately went to his crib after seeing him from the baby monitor. I just knew tonight he’s not going back to sleep as usual easily after recovering from fever and having not much milk earlier in the evening.

I fed him a bottle and he took it right away and finished in one around… After that, he still could not sleep, kept crying here and there. I put him in his crib 3 times and had to pick him up 3 times. I was just thinking he really wanted me right now after being sick for 2-3 days so I am going to just be with him as long as I can.

I really wanted to calm him or fix the issue whatever he had but when the person you are helping doesn’t have the words yet to express himself? Only tears and grunts and giggles. what I am going to do?….So all I can do is be there for him – open my arms and allow him to feel the feelings. I picked him up and rocked him singing ” you are my sunshine” and “twinkle twinkle little star” like I’ve done so many times before. Slowly, his body relaxed, his head fell to my shoulder, and he drifted back to sleep. His tears stopped falling right as mine began. There we were, two people who just needed a shoulder to cry on. We didn’t need a reason. There were no answers or problems to solve. We just needed someone to be there for us. And this is how I know that all of us just want to be held. Words are not necessary. Just a soft touch and a warm embrace.

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What no one told me about motherhood

No one told me breastfeeding would be this hard! Despite my best effort and intention. I was prepared to breastfeed Connor since I knew I was pregnant in early months. Connor had a tongue-tied so it made harder for him to get my breastmilk but we managed to get his tongue fixed easily. Still we had to supply him with formula at that time for a week with tube feeding until he could manage to suck it efficiently. Of course from a few days turned to a week and then a few months and now I don’t produce my milk anymore. And Connor is just turning 6 months! I was quite angry I didn’t know enough to guard myself from being so fearful my baby was going to lose some weight  in the first week and it is NORMAL! Being a first time mom without my experienced mom and sister beside me made me lack of ability to encourage myself that I can do it. I was very angry to people to put stress/threaten on me how my baby was not getting enough. I am well-aware of how important my  breastmilk to my baby caused me to be even more angry I couldn’t give it to him much at all.

Now Connor is 6 months old. He is extraordinary healthy and happy boy! I could not ask for more. Thanks to Connor for being such a good baby, I made peace with myself and the situation. I am so glad I didn’t waste any more time judging myself.

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All about family

The Rowans, photo taken in 2009 in Naples, FL

I know, my friends and family know I have the best husband ever! But how can you have the best guy in your hands without mentioning his parents! I also have the best in-laws ever period. How fortunate I am:) We have been married since year 2000, my first welcome to the family was the warmest and nicest as you ever can imagine.

Abundance of love in the family to go around from grandparents to both of us as well. This year when we start the family and expect a baby boy named Connor coming, they couldn’t be much happier and thrill for us. My in-laws have always been spoiled me in so many ways but never rotten just like how they raised my husband. They are so graciously nice, warm, generous and wonderful people as you ever want. As I can see in my husband why he has such a golden heart so I look through his parents. This week, they came to visit and help us preparing a nursery room and of course showering us with a lot of baby gifts. When Connor grows up, I would love to be there and be as nice as I can be to him like my in-laws has done to me. Thank you and thank you and I am so proud to be part of the Rowans!!

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My Ideal Sunscreen!

Feeling a little bit pretty lately despite my pregnancy hormone is half way high now so I thought I’d better take advantage to write review about my skincare haul before my babymoon is over! Today I have 2 sunscreen products I ‘d like to review.

The first one is Kiss Me SUNKILLER clear water SPF 50 PA+++ ($US9 for 27ml). I bought it from sasa Their website based in Hong Kong and sell all kind of beauty goodies from over the world but specialize in Asian beauty care. I love them! It is a product from Japan. Personally I prefer any skincare/cosmetics from Japan or Korea. They have such a high quality products. Like the name, it is clear water texture with milk color. It is not sticky at all on my face like other sunscreen I used before and definitely not making my (fair Asian skin) face white pasty. It is blendable very well to my skin without stickiness all day. Hours later after applying, my face still looked very fresh, not oily or dry, quite impressive! My face is still not red and burnt after out with the hot and dry sun in Texas for several hours. Only one complaint is I can smell alcohol distinctively! Though it seems to disappear quite fast but it bothers me quite a bit especially I am pregnant right now. I love this sunscreen but I have to put it away for now until I don’t have strong pregnancy hormone scent anymore.

The second one is LAVANILLA sunscreen SPF 40 face cream (1.8 oz for $US28) I bought this from Sephora store after looking and examining for a while on their ingredients. It looked like an ideal sunscreen for me in everything despite the price a bit steep. I gave it a try anyway. I thought all those goodies stuff but I might not like it on my face and might have to turn it to use on my body later. The texture and color is light and white creamy looking and absorb instantly. To my surprise after applying, I don’t see white cast film on my face nor feel sticky at all. It dries up instantly and I still feel and look fresh all day. It is very effective sunscreen for dry hot weather 100+ degrees in Texas. My face never feels burning or hot at the end of the day. Love it!I would love to repurchase it but this time going to get from Sephora on-line shop. You’ve got a better deal with all free sample and free shipping if you buy it on their on-line shop.

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