Happy Thanksgiving From A Younger Me

I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering, “Man, Theek sure knows how to dish out these Internet memes! However does she do it?” Well, loyal listener, it turns out I have been dabbling in the world of image macro before Instagram, twitter, and Facebook. I discovered a long lost gem from my since-deleted MySpace archive.

I thought I was so clever. So creative. So cool with my Microsoft Paint. For the resources and lack of creative confidence at that time, I must say it’s alright for what it is. I think I finally deleted my account in 2008-09 after a good few years being friends with ‘Tom.’ Thankfully, I was wise enough to save a few MySpace photos.

I have been handy with Microsoft Paint for years!
An embarrassing yet awesome meme circa 2007

Did you have a MySpace?

Cycle of Cultural Sleep: 5 Real Reasons for Co-Sleeping

Huh, who woulda thunk it? Co-sleeping isn’t just a thing for new-age parents to hop on the crunch wagon but actually cyclical practice of my Laotian blood because you know my grandmothers did not register for a 4-in-1 cherry mahogany crib. My lovely Asian friends Noony, Ping, and Mommasnugz really brought it back to the days of growing up poor in a Southeast Asian family: you share room space because you kinda have to. Between four kids all born within a decade of each other (one with special needs), I had either slept in a room with my parents or at least another sibling. Funny how I went from necessity to pseudo-choice but still necessity.

Co-sleeping was not an automatic choice from the start. We were gifted a crib with full intention on sticking the kid in there. Newborn Humnoy was in a bassinet next to our bed because you can kill your baby, don’t cha know? One night, I was so frustrated with a constantly starving infant and just put him between my boob and Gym Hottie. When I did this with both of the kids, I was doing what was normal in my culture while living in a society demonizing it. I co-sleep because:

  1. I get more sleep Enough said
  2. It helped with breastfeeding success  What better way to calm a roused baby other than adjacent boob?
  3. I can immediately monitor my children’s safety Co-sleeping doesn’t scare me as much as if this would.
  4. The emotional and psychological benefits are nice too, I guess I’m just all ’bout this sleep I’m getting
  5. It works for us and working well See 1-4

co sleepers be like

Why do you co-sleep?

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Co-Sleeping With The Enemy: 6 Reasons Why I Don’t Sleep With My Husband

No one ever tells you the saddest memory about an apartment home birth. Just nine months after Lanoy was born in our first apartment home as a family of four, we left lots of memories behind when we moved out of our first home into another apartment with more space and cool perks. This new place is ground floor beneath what seems to be a family of elephants but we get a little back yard that Humnoy loves to explore after breakfast and more space that we thought we desperately needed but have not filled yet.

The most impressive perk was the extra bedroom, where Gym Hottie inhabits. Co-sleeping has been a constant struggle for our family. It affected my marriage but (calm down) not in the sex department. We have enough sex to where I’m constantly paranoid about a baby #3 but that’s not why sharing a bed has been a problem. I am finally glad to not have to share a room with my husband anymore.

Gas Hottie I tell everyone the story about how I was this close to breaking up with GH because I couldn’t stomach his farts. A kinda escape-while-I-could rationale. As you can then imagine, my divorce-happy fires up during pregnancy as my Spidey senses amplifies it and rage.

Play Bed Maybe their sense of smell hasn’t kicked in but they get very hyper when he’s in the room. They adore their daddy so you can imagine the horrific ordeal it is when I’m trying to nurse a mobile Lanoy and trick a ready-to-wrestle Humnoy bedtime is fun. Mama’s no fun because when it comes to her, er, everyone’s sleep.

The Dorm We have dubbed GH’s room the “Dorm Room” because it’s got enough boy stink to be eligible for financial aid. Unlike his farts, this space and time apart makes my shitty wife heart grow fonder. I must say it has been exciting to accept an invitation to “watch movies” and then sneak back across the hall.

Sleepover Humnoy has some history with scary co-sleeping issues like when he wakes up screaming and runs to GH’s room. It is nice to have the option to give him a choice of Mom or Dad. Per good taste, Hum chooses me out of habit, out of favoritism. Whichever.

Deep Sleep Once the last pair of little eyeballs are shut, I get to have my (uninterrupted) “me” time. I’m obsessed with twitter and Instagram so I get to dim my phone to stalk browse those apps for the next 19 hours without GH whining about my snort-laughing in bed. He can get ready for work in the morning without interrupting my children’s gift of sleeping in when they choose to.

Space-Saver Even with the side car crib, space on our bed was limited. Humnoy wants to sleep here, there, between, on top of somebody usually so we were constantly dodging drop kicks and round-house sweeps. Now that the largest person out of the bunch has since been removed, I mean we appreciate all this room.

Dass me.

How is your partner involved in co-sleeping arrangements?

You can find me tweeting my hatred for pants on twitter, filtering the shit outta mom lyfe on Instagram, pinning food I’ll never make on Pinterest, and being a SEO creep on Google+. Check out our family Youtube channel.

Not Pictured: Most Memorable Moments Of Home Birth

From start to finish of my almost precipitous home birth, there are so many things I had to think of like trying not to poop, breathing, and pooping anyway. Thank Buddha for my doula of MamaEarth Doula for not only writing out the details but also capturing my birth story in photos. Apart from pixels and filters, I was constantly reminded about the day we became a family of four in other details.

The best memories about #homebirth | TheLaotianCommotion.com

Tub Every time I grudgingly stick two dirty, cranky kids into the bath, I relive that day. We went without a birth pool and kicked ass with our bathtub. When I get mad that Humnoy squirted his bath toys spouts at me, I remember how he came to greet me in the first stage of labor. I remember how the littlest soon-to-be-big brother was so concerned and sweet and curious all at once. Seeing the littler of the sibling pair now trying to climb over the ledge of the same vessel she arrived into the world just nine months prior is more scary than sentimental but still emotional.

Towels Funny story: I’m the worst home birth prepper evar. I had the birth kit, sure, but missing things like extra-extra linens for the massive postpartum bleeding that I repeat every time I pop out a child or completely necessary things like a warm receiving blanket for newborn Lanoy. I had only a few of each. My awesome midwife made do and handed me a brand new chub all wrapped up in our bathroom hand towel. When this very towel comes into rotation at our sink, I remember how she nursed for the first time wrapped up in TJ Maxx discount fluffiness.

Bed Lanoy didn’t take to the breast right away though– newborns assumedly still amniotic drunk. She eventually nursed after I hobbled my ass over to the bed with cord still attached, pulsing (duh). I love to sleep so you know all the feels come flooding back when my little brood and I take cosleeping naps or read bedtime books in the same spot where she was weighed in at seven pounds and four ounces just at the foot of the bed. We rarely do but when we get a chance, we get to relive a family nap much like the day she was born. I have the hemorrhoids but everyone else was tired. Ok.

Freezer Every time I reach in the freezer (uh, daily), I’m reminded of a postpartum savior clank with inertia. My bottle of placenta pills are happily stored in the freezer next to ice packs, forgotten bottle of vodka, and homemade chicken stock. Birth of the baby is one thing but lest us not forget the afterbirth, where you have to deliver the placenta. My doula did her doula-ing and presented me with a bottle of my own happy pills! I pop a placenta on days where I go to the freezer with intention for that vodka.

It’s everywhere; I can’t really escape the fact that I had my birth in my home with my home’s resources. It is easy to forget that memories aren’t just in pictures and made-for-event things but the random, everyday items. When the toddler mom tantrums at the same spot where he kissed his baby sister for the first time trigger popping all the placenta pills, I just stop and try to remember by just looking at myself, at my kids, at living. These memories trigger that day’s unique moments so much more than all the detailed photos would.

What is a unique detail do you remember from your birthing day?

You can find me tweeting my hatred for pants on twitter, filtering the shit outta mom lyfe on Instagram, pinning food I’ll never make on Pinterest, and being a SEO creep on Google+. Check out our family Youtube channel.

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Don’t Feed The Breastfeeding Trolls

Trolling the #lactivist hashtag as one would, I enjoy lending my support by “liking” photos posted by other breastfeeding supporters. Mind you that not all posts are by mothers or supporters of feeding babies so you’ll get a few stragglers, haters, and sometimes perverts. There is always one person, who will troll with their unsolicited opinion about breastfeeding (in public, especially) and I have zero qualms about sharing how their opinion is unwarranted.

On this trolling night, I spotted a user arguing that breastfeeding in public makes him uncomfortable because he can’t “piss in public” therefore a breastfeeding woman shouldn’t have her breasts out in public. Well, that just is illogical and irrelevant to how breastfeeding actually works or sanctioned. Many states have laws in place where a breastfeeding mother is exempt from public indecency laws. In short, breastfeeding is protected in places where the mother is allowed to be there so pretty much anywhere.

Forget the laws and screw the “warrants” I would need in public: My Baby is Hungry And My Baby Will Eat. It is of my high opinion that anybody bothered or uncomfortable by a hungry baby eating is either staring too long or have personal issues not related to owner or child(ren) latched on said breasts. Any argument against breastfeeding in public is another classic example of “this is not a me-problem but a you-problem.” My hungry baby feeding does not affect, harm, change, thwart, or confuse anybody else’s immediate environment for the worse unless that uncomfortable person chooses to let it. It’s a baby eating just like if we were at home, in the parked car, at the park, anytime, anywhere.

I now regret playing into his little game because I vengefully put him on blast when he attacked me and now he verbally confessed a very explicit act on children so I really feel sorry for such an unhappy life. I hope he gets the help he needs and I should have just left it at my first argument: nursing in public breastfeeding meme Have you ever regrettably fed the breastfeeding trolls?

One Home Birth and Zero Social Security Card Later

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“Your. Wait. Will. Be. Fifty. Five. Minutes,” said Social Security Robocop over the phone. So, I waited 55 minutes and then some and finally the elevator music stopped. I put on my phone voice to hide my annoyance for waiting that long then “SUMBITCH!” because those fools hung up on me. It was Friday afternoon. See, the baby does not have a social security card, which I had applied for when she was born and never received.

Now, I wonder if her card has been stolen and someone’s running around with a n 8-month-old’s identity or if it has something to do with her home birth. Humnoy was born in the hospital and we received his card in a timely manner. I finally get around to speaking to an actual Social Security person and they tell me the following things I need to do in order to get her one:

  1. Application – fill out a simple form and turn it in
  2. Medical records – prove that she is in the medical system (i.e., doctor’s note)
  3. Identification – prove that she was born (i.e., birth certificate)
  4. BRING ALL THIS SHIT IN TO THE OFFICE

In addition to the time being spent filling out and gathering this information, there are fees to even get it. To obtain a birth certificate in King County, it is $20. For any other payment method beside mailing it in or waiting in line, it would be $32.50. Yes, for almost $13 more, I could do it online but I won’t because that is stupid. The next thing is filling out the order form because it is a bit awkward when the form asks which hospital she was born. The office assistant at the midwives office made a remark that this has occurred before and they don’t really have any answers. Okay… that’s annoying.

How have you solved annoying document issues?

You can find me tweeting my hatred for pants on twitter, filtering the shit outta mom lyfe on Instagram, pinning food I’ll never make on Pinterest, and being a SEO creep on Google+

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Now This Is My Kinda Parent Foreplay, I Mean, Date Night

After one date night gone wrong, I put far too much thought into arranging a night for myself just for the sake of a night to myself. Just me and my ballroom dance shoes. Too much thought usually means overhype and letdown. The time wasn’t right and we (I mean, Stage Five Clinger) all weren’t ready to be in 100% GH’s care so I blew my plans for the dance studio. A little butthurt pissed that I can’t do much of anything on a whim like GH, I sulk a bit but go on the rest of our night like I hadn’t planned otherwise to even be there for it.

My other high point of this night was that my favorite Wednesday drama, Nashville, was on. You don’t know me. 10 – 11 pm is do-whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-the-house time for the kids as long as they let me watch it in peace. GH then had this genius idea to go on a store run and asked for requests. It felt like Christmas when your cranky old relative asks what you want and just hands it to you. I said chips and dip (duh) and off he went. I finished my show and it was the kids’ bedtime. If I hadn’t gotten giddy enough about the chips soon to be en route to my mouf, I wouldn’t have cared that the kids fell asleep. DID YOU HEAR ME? The kids had no trouble falling asleep. Seriously, is it really Christmas?

GH was racking up all the cool points for making a food run but really spiced things up with this:
A tired mom's idea of foreplay | TheLaotianCommotion.com

I got my date night. In my house pants, with my boo, and no babysitter fee, I got the best date night I (haven’t) had in a very long time.

P.S. Yeah, we had da #parentsex.

What is your favorite date night idea?

You can find me tweeting my hatred for pants on twitter, filtering the shit outta mom lyfe on Instagram, pinning food I’ll never make on Pinterest, and being a SEO creep on Google+. Check out my YouTube channel.

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Date Night Mama Trauma

Unlike toiling away in the rice fields in Laos, I was away from my infant for fun. Lao mothers are a part of the manual labor force in the family. Me? I left my baby and went to go drink and grind on my husband at a kid-free wedding. My original RSVP was “No” for exclusively breastfeeding and a “Hell No” as I’d have to find actual hygienic clothes to wear. Alas, GH convinced me of this golden opportunity for a date night and I still hesitantly checked “Yes.” Peaceful Parenting Prep went into action: I pumped breastmilk for three different types of bottles, a sippy cup, and an Ergo baby carrier lesson plan geared to my modern-struck parents. Nothing still prepared for a date night gone to shit.

date night from hell

Planning on being on the road for only four hours, four turned into six. Lanoy only stopped crying when the car was stopped and she was out of the car seat. No boob, no pacifier, just out of the car seat and in my lap. A million hours later, we arrived at my parents’ as the kids would be staying with my family, including my siblings. I couldn’t pee, eat, walk, get up, or get ready without Lanoy wailing like I’m walking to the snack cupboard and forever out of her little life.

Finally, with a fighting nap baby strapped on my back, I prepare my face with makeup and quickly heat damage my hair before she decides to rip it out. I hold her all day as much as I capably can and nurse her right before we are about to drive off. She wails as I remove her death grip on my dress and just turn and walk away. GH and I “enjoyed” our time out but I wanted to go. I wanted to be with my baby because she needed me. We arrived home and finally her crying bout ended after four hours. She cried the entire time we were at the wedding. She also cried the entire car trip, there and back. Let’s also add in the in-between crying when I needed to go to the bathroom so I estimate it was 14 hours of crying the entire weekend. 14 hours of traumatic absence. 14 hours of an angry soft spot. 14 hours mommy guilt. “Never. Again,” I vow.

How did your first baby-free outing go?

You can find me tweeting my hatred for pants on twitter, filtering the shit outta mom lyfe on Instagram, pinning food I’ll never make on Pinterest, and being a SEO creep on Google+

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This Babywearing Photo Carries Many Emotions About Life In Laos

As much as I tout Lao culture being the best thing about my identity and how Lao food is an underrated ethnic scene, I actually have never stepped foot into my motherland. My mother hasn’t either since 1979, the year she escaped war-torn Laos with her younger siblings and parents to seek refuge in the United States. My grandfather, my mom’s father, was a farmer in Laos as are most poor families in the land-locked country in Southeast Asia sustaining their own food system to survive. As the oldest female child in each of our families, my mother and I do share one thing: a burden only an older child has.

In honor of International Babywearing Week (yup, totally a thing), I started out looking for images to highlight the ancient and cultural practice of babywearing, the act of wearing a child in a cloth carrier of some sort. I mean, Laos is the home of one of the original “crunchy moms.” Sorry, you’re not that crunchy. Not sorry. I found plenty of beautiful images of fresh-faced moms and sleep-drunk babies on their backs but the photo pool shifted my focus to a more specific theme: children and babywearing. Yes, actually babies wearing babies. Why is a child wearing a baby almost the same size?

As any able-bodied adult may be equipped to pitch in, both parents in Laos tend to the now-yellow fields of rice to prepare for harvesting. *Many farm fields are actually far, far from home in behind mudslides and atop mountains. As a Laotian-American, I cannot recall the age of my earliest babysitting of my three younger siblings because I was that young. Young as in my parents trusted me to have a responsibility to make sure these kids were safe, if that can be appropriate for a child in elementary school. In Laos, this isn’t shocking, it’s necessary for burdens to bear on the entire family, no matter the age, in order to survive. A child wears a burden and keeps a younger sibling safe, warm, secure. All the things every child needs. Ironically the very thing the care-giving child desperately yearns for but suppresses for family duty.

babywearing in Laos

“A young pub thawj girl takes good care of her baby brother while Mum and Dad are out on the farm in the mountains near Luang Prabang, Laos.” – Paul Wager Photography from Facebook

*This scenario is actually very rare as many mountainous peoples’ homes are near the farmlands, even in the mountains. It is unlikely that nursing mothers were that far away from their infants this young. The children were nearby for this reason but out of the actual fields where the others would tend to the fields.

About Paul Wager: “Paul Wager gave up his life of photo journalism in Australia to venture into the ethnic diversity of Laos.” You can see more beautiful and haunting photos from Laos at Paul Wager’s website and Facebook.

How did you celebrate babywearing this week?

You can find me tweeting my hatred for pants on twitter, filtering the shit outta mom lyfe on Instagram, pinning food I’ll never make on Pinterest, and being a SEO creep on Google+

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How To Win A Practical Woman’s Heart

the real way to a woman's heart

I briefly pawed at them and then awkwardly stuffed the otherwise beautiful bouquet of flowers on the floorboard of my new boyfriend’s car. Poor guy thought I would like flowers but instead was in a car (and subsequent 3-year relationship) with a girl, who hates flowers. My current man knows me more than to pass off a vase of flowers as love for me. Gym Hottie knows the practical way to my heart and it doesn’t involve cut flower food.

Flowers Flowers die. They cost money and they eventually die. What kinda warped idea of love you tryin’ to sell me with flowers? From there, I’m also to preserve it. Flowers are kinda like puppies and puppies are, like, the worst thing to have. I have two little humans taunting me for sustenance so please don’t add flowers to that list.

Gifts I tell you what: turn around in the opposite direction of the flower shop and go down the candy aisle. Something, anything from this aisle will make me excited and not hate you for wasting it on (eventually) dead flowers. You really can’t go wrong with Rolos. To be clear, anything dark chocolate because that shit’s healthy. You know we’re always on a diet.

Dinner Nothing gets me all hot and bothered like not having to bother with a hot stove. GH surprised me to delivery pizza the other night so dinner was taken care of for once. It wasn’t Olive Garden fancy but it was dinner nonetheless. After that dinner rescue, he just seriously earned himself a “dessert” coupon, ifyouknowwhatimean.

Alone time Sometimes you don’t want to be chased or interrogated about your feelings or what the kids did to piss you off. Alone time means actually being alone without a child crying at your feet or that 5-minute bathroom venture. GH let me take a nap right before he surprised me with that ultra fancy pizza dinner while he stayed up with the no-nap toddler and cranky baby. I woke up refreshed, dinner, and didn’t want to choke anyone. We all win.

Sweet-nothings Complimenting a lady-gal goes a long way. Specific and genuine compliments are nice. I kinda like nice. Other times, I just wanna be told how good my ass looks in the second-day yoga pants I’m wearing. Tell me my hair looks good even with all the baby drool and toddler peanut butter offerings. GH is quite up to par with this and he makes me feel very special. My ass. I mean, my ass feels special.

If you have gotten this far then you really should seek alternate advice for relationships because I am the shitty wife. I’m practically immune to the romantic comedy idea of love and courtship. I was never sold on diamonds or boxed candy (except anything caramel/chocolate combo). If it doesn’t feed or energize me, I’m just not that into it.

Honorable mentions:
- Don’t forget her birthday. EVER.
- Don’t gift anything exercise- or-beauty-related. EVER.
- Don’t ask about her hygiene or lack thereof.
- Realize not all women are the same.

How did your partner win your heart?

You can find me tweeting my hatred for pants on twitter, filtering the shit outta mom lyfe on Instagram, pinning food I’ll never make on Pinterest, and being a SEO creep on Google+

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