100 Happy Days

Day 1

Today, I called a student who had some questions on how to approach an assignment in class. After I had finished answering her questions, she mentioned that her dad wanted to speak with me and handed him the phone. Now, my student is at least 40 years old and I would imagine her dad will be at least 60..The gentleman spoke to me about how he is thankful for me being his daughter’s instructor and that he blesses me and wishes me health and happiness. If that doesn’t make me glow with happiness, what will?

It is probably these things that make my heart do the happy dance. Even if it means that I don’t hold a traditional job, it makes me feel blessed to have an impact on another person’s life in my own little way.


Product Review: Infantino Square Twist and Fold Activity Gym

Sorry for being MIA for the last several months. The year has been a hectic one. In between being a mommy to our beautiful daughter and a month-long international trip with a 10-month old (a separate post on that later), I have been working as adjunct faculty for a graduate-level program. I want to play catch up and hopefully do a series of posts on products we love and discuss the fantastic time we had organizing baby A’s first birthday party!! (YES! Where did the year go?!)


What on earth is a baby gym?! I often wondered that while looking for items to list on my baby registry. I finally succumbed to public opinion and searched far and beyond for one that wasn’t just an electronic maze. I was looking for a gym that was easy on the eye, mechanical for most parts, and quick to assemble. I chanced upon this on Amazon (Color: Vintage Boy, the girly version was too pink for our taste) and instantly fell in love. I was still not sure how much tummy time this would offer my baby, but I put it into my baby registry anyway. A dear friend (with equally no clue) purchased this product for my shower.

When baby A was born, we were advised to give our little girl tummy time to strengthen her neck muscles, get her more active and alert. Initially when we put her on the gym play mat, she looked super tiny and fragile and she would stare up in fascination at all the dangling objects with her big eyes. When she turned 4 months old, her feet started peeking outside the edges of the mat and we packed this piece up into a corner thinking she was done with this “toy”. We bought her one of those puzzle foam mats that she could do tummy time in. It had more space for her and her toys (and for our maltipoo, Max). But really other than the space and color it did not really offer much other visual stimuli.

One day, while transferring all her outgrown baby products on to the attic for future use, we chanced upon her gym and plopped it on top of her puzzle mat. What we rediscovered was completely surprising! Not only did the colorful quilted padding of the gym provide her a soft space to lounge, it offered countless minutes of entertainment (to her and the family) as she gaped at all the animals, the baby mirror, the teething toys and the singing elephant. Here, she turned back and forth on her tummy, rotated a full 360 deg. and reached out to yank the toys to her mouth. Even when she was strong enough to yank the poles in her attempt to sit up, the ultra light and padded poles fell to the side, away from the baby. The best part about this gym perhaps it that with a twist-and-fold motion it converts to the size of an umbrella fit for any tiny corner in the home!! There, we have one less baby item to display around the home! Score! 


  • Simple (No hard assembly required)
  • Colorful quilt design
  • Only the elephant needs batteries and plays cute music! (When you count all their toys that need batteries and in multiples of them, saving batteries is a plus!)
  • Compact fold
  • Cute toys
  • Not too many plastic parts
  • Machine washable

Misses: Could be larger? I don’t know. We love this product!

You can buy this product from Amazon here.


How Much Can I Love Thee?

Elizabeth Browning in her poem describes the ways in which one can love another. I did not truly understand the depth of these words until I gave birth to my daughter. Every time I see her beautiful face, I think how is it possible to love someone so much? 

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

My sweet precious one, thank you for being a part of my life. You have made it every bit richer than it was and I see a new meaning to my existence. I feel with every ounce of my being that you were the reason I was put on this earth and being your mother is the most important job I will ever do.

This thought is what gives me a great deal of peace as I debate endlessly about going back to work after my maternity leave ends this month. When I return, I hope you will look back at this someday and remember how torn I was and despite whatever happens, you will always be the reason “I am”.


The Woes and Behold of Breastfeeding

So I never imagined I will be one of those new age super moms with deep-rooted beliefs in breastfeeding. I always said, I’ll try my best to breastfeed when the baby is born, and I will not hesitate to adopt (ahem) alternative methods aka the big F(ormula) if I did not have enough “supply”.

A few of my friends had c-section births right before mine, and they all complained about how their supply did not come in until after a few days of their babies’ birth. They talked of “latching issues”, “nipple confusion”, “bottle regimen”, “pumping”, yada yada. When the LO arrived, my motherhood instinct arrived as well.. AND with such major force that breastfeeding not only became my goal, it became my challenge. I swore off the formula and had every single nurse and lactation consultant in my maternity ward help me with proper “latching” and get working on my supply. Sure enough my colostrum arrived along with wincing pain from cracked and bleeding nipples that my daughter delightedly ravaged every hour. With gusto, I accepted the pain as a part of my new motherhood journey and smilingly offered the other breast in peace.

All my bravado came crashing down when my LO lost first 6% of her birth weight by day 3 and 9% by day 4. Of course, being well-read and all that I knew it was normal for most breastfed infants to lose 7-10% of their birth weight and regain it by week 2. But the sheer panic with which my lactation nurse complained of the “seriousness” of the situation (they will not discharge the baby unless she is on track) and to work on increasing my supply by pumping after every feeding, I succumbed to my first nemesis — the breast pump. The pediatric nurse warned they will not discharge my daughter unless I can convince them, I could feed her at least 30 ml (~1 oz.) a feed. That afternoon, I pumped an exact 30 ml and heaven knows my husband and I were so excited we brought the whole hospital floor down to witness the “miracle”! We were then sent home.

When I had my first lactation appointment that week, the amazing Debbie (and I will always refer to her that way), RN weighed my little girl, said she was on a positive trend with the weight gain and that I was to STOP pumping IMMEDIATELY! I was happy that the only equipment she needed was mommy and actually went back home feeling pretty smug. And then, I got home, and my daughter who latched beautifully at my lactation appointment, refused to have anything to do with my breast for two full days. The more I pumped the more engorged I got, the more my boobs hurt and the more latching issues I had.

I called..and called (the amazing) Debbie in sheer desperation, almost in tears, that her plan had gone horribly wrong and that I cannot get out of the cycle of pumping and that my LO will have nothing to do with my breast! Debbie instructed me to keep the pump out of my sight, “the pump is your enemy!” and went on to explain that my problem was that I was too full and possibly smothering my daughter, which is possibly why she was refusing to latch on. She suggested that I use a wet towel to hand express first, and when my breasts were a little less fuller, offer it to her mouth while leaning back a little so too much did not flow into her mouth at once. This little tip saved me from writing off breastfeeding forever.

I do not deny, there are times already in the three short (yet monumental) weeks that I have had her in my life, I have questioned my choice to breastfeed exclusively. After my first pediatric visit two days ago, I gave myself a little break, as our pediatrician assured us, we had a tall baby in our hands and despite her percentile weight, she was beautiful and well-nourished..and whatever we are doing is working really well for her. I now keep formula as back-up plan for when we have to step out and pump as necessary to put my mind and breasts in ease. I cannot also deny how beautiful my daughter looks when she lays latched to my breast in a complete state of mental and physical well-being, and how the image of every tiny part of her body — her fluttering lashes, her little upturned nose, pink cheeks, the softness of her feet, and beautiful long fingers, will forever be etched on my mind.


Welcome Baby A

So our li’l girl arrived into the world on a warm, beautiful spring morning on April 25, 2013 via c-section with perfectly rounded head, long arms and feet and the most adorable eyelashes and digits one can hope for…. In fact, when she was initially handed to me the first time, cleaned up pretty for momma and dadda, between my tears and gushing, I first noticed how beautiful and soft her fingers were.. I said to my husband, “Well, here’s Mini-Me!” That is probably the last time I heard any one exclaim my daughter looks anything like me in the past several days… but I digress… :).

It was amazing how tiny and dainty she was and how incredibly hard it was to contain my tears.. (not blaming the hormones) every time I held her to my skin… Here she was … a little piece of “us”..even if she din look so much like her momma… she was here… after spending nine cozy months in my tummy… and I just knew in my heart, it is going to be one i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e journey getting to know this tiny human being.