Thursday, January 31, 2013

Becoming a Tiger Mom?

I just read the book, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.  My husband and I have been eagerly waiting to read this together with a few other parenting books we'd read about in the Wall Street Journal with the baby coming, and I finally picked up a copy.

Well, I have to admit that I was disappointed in the book.  Not because it was poorly written.  On the contrary - it was very well written.  I finished Amy Chua's captivating memoir almost overnight.  I was disappointed because I thought it was going to be less of a memoir of her personal journey and more of an anthropological look into the differences between Chinese and American parenting philosophies... with antic dotes from her personal life. 

There were parts of the book where I cringed at Ms. Chua's behavior toward her kids, but at no time did I think, "this is the worst mother on the planet."  I was actually impressed that she kept on course with her plan.  She also achieved great results with her two girls - despite some of the battles.  I find it fascinating that so many Americans were so intensely offended by her parenting.  Yes, she took things to the extreme at times, but I don't know any parent who hasn't lost it with their kids from time to time.  Although I don't yet have my own kids, I was a live-in nanny for quite a few different families and I can remember one time in particular... well, let's just say, buttons were pushed... and I completely lost it.

I was not raised by "tiger parents."  However, I have always found myself very impressed by people with such a strong work ethic like Amy Chua and her kids.  Ms. Chua most definitely has a point about laziness in parenting... the effort she put in was exhausting to read about... I know most parents would have given up early on... and I wondered how I will be as a parent.  I believe that diligence is something that needs to be taught.  That humans, myself included, like to take the path of least resistance, and that our culture is breaking down in many ways because of this lack of effort.

That said, I am the first to question authority and take the easy way out so there is definitely no judgement here!  I identified much more with the younger more rebellious daughter than the older more focused one.  However, I also tend to be like Ms. Chua - I am always saying things I see as "helpful" to other which I'm told come across as completely rude or unkind.  My husband is always letting me know how rude something I said has come off - completely unintentionally of course... thankfully most people I know, including my husband, know I have a good heart, I guess.  And like Ms. Chua, I am self aware enough to know I am the way I am... such is life.

Have you read it?  It's an interesting book... definitely worth reading.  And I'd love to know what you think of it!

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I know I promised to blog more now that I had something very tangible to blog about on at least a weekly basis, but between pregnancy and my incredibly busy work schedule, I have been completely lazy when its comes to doing anything other than vegging when I get home at night.  In fact, most nights I've been going to bed by 8:30pm.  Here is my update for the past few weeks:

Weeks 11-12

12 Weeks
This week and last week have been rough.  I caught a horrible cold and was really struggling to even function.  This week I am struggling with the spins.  I'll be fine one minute and the next minute the room is spinning and it feels like I drank too much.

I googled it, and then called the doctor having self diagnosed with low blood pressure... only to find out, no,  I actually have acute vertigo of some sort.  Apparently its fairly common in pregnancy in the first and third trimesters as your body is trying to catch up with the new life inside you, but its the worst!  At one point I told David that if he didn't stop moving, "I will literally stab you."

I also told my boss about my pregnancy this week, and he was surprisingly supportive.  I was worried because I did just start in September.  He was great though, and he told me that I could even bring the baby to work with me until it was starting to move around too much.  It was such a weight off my shoulders!  Plus, now all my weird bathroom behavior and exhaustion all throughout the day are more understandable to everyone in the office.

The doctor says everything is on track and he had both me and David press on my tummy to feel the top of my uterus.  Every time we go to the doctor's office things start to feel more real.

Week 13
13 Weeks
Week 13 has been extra special.  My workload has been crazy lately, and I'm realizing that I really can't just work through lunch like would during busy times before pregnancy.  I did that without thinking on a couple of different occasions this week, and it didn't go over too well.  I get the shakes or start to vomit or both.  Yuck!

Actually, one day, I didn't eat enough, plus I worked through lunch, and then went to the grocery store.  As I packed the groceries into the car, I thought to myself, "I'm really hungry."  But I dismissed it right away  thinking, "You are two miles from home... just wait."  So I climbed into the car and pulled into rush hour traffic.  Right as I pulled into the center lane of five lanes of traffic, I realized my mistake.  With no where to pull off to, and too many cars flying by me to safely open my car door, I searched my interior for something to vomit into.

Luckily, about a year, maybe more ago after an ER visit, I had kept one of the hospital distributed vomit bags and tucked it in my glove compartment.  David had argued that we should throw it away many times, but I always said, "No - it doesn't take up any space and it will come in handy one day, I swear!"  Well, that day was today.  Thank God for that barf bag because as I pulled up to the red light, I puked my guts out... which, because I hadn't really eaten anything was mostly just stomach acid.  I did the same at the next light and then I was finally able to pull out of the traffic and to the side of the road to collect myself.

After that incident, I've been careful to stop what I'm doing and take the time out to get some good food, or even a 15 minute break to breath.  Taking walks on the greenbelt has helped too.

Week 14
14 Weeks
Apart from making the stupid mistake of taking my vitamins on an empty stomach so that I wouldn't be late to work, and then getting to work and puking my guts (and the vitamins) out because I didn't get food in my belly fast enough, I've had a great week!  My energy levels are coming back up, and now if the weather would please cooperate, I'd like to get out and get some fresh air and exercise.

We've had the coldest winter on record in something like 30 or 40 years and its been gray and icy.  It's actually been colder here than in North Dakota!  I hate it.  I've always loved Boise because of how mild the climate has been... well, this year has made me change my mind (but that's all for another blog post).  In fact one day this week I went out to my car to find a half inch layer of ice covering the entire thing.  The walk out to the car was treacherous as well, but David had prepared me for icy roads and walkways before I left the house... but I hadn't thought about the car.  It took me 45 minutes to get it cleaned up to a point where I could safely see out of it and drive.  While the car was warming up I got some rock salt and salted the icy pathway and steps and then worked on chipping the ice off the window.

I should have taken the salt with me in the car to help spread around town because the walk ways were so iced over it was scary to go anywhere.  It finally warmed up today, but the warm air brought thick fog and rain... hopefully it melts the snow and ice on the ground in the valley.  I'm all for snow in the mountains, but I hate snow in the valley... Boise has no infrastructure to take care of it properly.  In WI and NY, if it snows or ices, the business owners are responsible for getting the sidewalk safe immediately - same with the home owners.  If they don't, they get a ticket.  And that means the entire section of sidewalk your building or property that your home or business covers... if you're on a corner you have to do both, not just your entry way.  They also have an alternating street parking, emergency snow removal plan to make the streets safe if it snows 3 inches or more in NY and WI, but here in Boise it just sits everywhere... turning black and making iced ruts in the streets.  I hate it when it snows in the valley.  Its completely unsafe but the bureaucracy here when streets and sidewalks are concerned is thick... I fax them a plan to fix the problem every time it snows... they know me at ACHD by name when I call... but it does nothing.  Can you tell that I'm upset about this?!

Week 15
15 weeks
Today, I am 15 weeks along.  I am constantly surprised that my pants still fit everywhere except my belly.  I feel huge and when I see myself next to other pregnant women, I realize I still have a long ways to go.  My obsession with oranges/citrus and salty foods is still in full force.  And I still don't like bananas (so sad) and overly sweet things like caramel, which I used to love.

My mom kindly bought me some cute maternity clothes from ASOS, so I have something other than the incredibly comfy PJs my best girl Blake bought me at Christmas (Thanks again Doll!).  Although, I have still been living in the PJs anytime I'm in my house... and even with the new maternity clothes, I still like the PJs best for comfort.  They are AMAZING!

My energy level is coming back fast and I actually have interest in doing things like exercise and getting out of the house.  And thank God its sunny today!  Hopefully some of this ice and snow will melt!  I still get tired relatively quickly, but just the fact that I was able to go out to dinner with David after work on Friday and be fully alert on Friday night was a big step forward.  I've been quite the self-centered recluse for the past month or so... my friends are all thinking I'm so weird.  And really I am weird.  I just haven't wanted to be around anyone.

Yesterday and today I did prenatal yoga.  I might even go for a walk with the dog in the foothills later -  mud permitting.  Now to just get through the big fundraiser for work on February 9th, and I think I'm home free!  Wish me luck!

I just have to finish this post by saying that I have the most beautiful, loving husband that I am so grateful for every day.  Today, when I asked him to take my belly photos, I asked him if I looked okay... he replied without looking up "You look beautiful."  I said, "You didn't even look at me."  To which he looked me straight in the eyes, and said, "You always look beautiful to me."  What can you say to that?!