Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Things my husband says

After ordering $17 worth of parts online, and spending hours tinkering and cussing while trying to fix a spare phone and then not getting it to work, he finally gets up and says:

"I'm such a failure, I'm going to go and eat now and stuff my face like an emotional female."

Geez, let it go, Elsa.

Working mommy musings & the Countdown to D day

My daughter is sick with a cough, and she is finally sleeping after a day full of her coughing, and me googling children's cough remedies. I'm flanked by about ten pillows as I write this. Comfort escapes me, I can't sit, I can't lie down, I can't wait to feel normal again. I am trying my darndest to be patient, but being that I suffered a major deficiency of patience even before pregnancy, that plan is doomed.

So we are T minus 3 weeks from being due for this baby. I'm over being pregnant and trying not to freak out over my upcoming labour after the horrific experience I had with my first. I am trying to be "zen" about it, trust my body and go in with a fresh perspective, but we shall see how my resolve holds up. Last time I endured a 27 hour labor, being told to get off the delivery table to go walk a few more rounds, come back push again (which I did without complaint), and then eventually, got wheeled in for a C-section (they found the baby's umbilical cord wrapped around her thigh.  To put it in perspective, my in laws spent more time fussing over my mother who was breaking down at the trauma I was going through, than they spent worrying about me. Heck even I was worried about her. She was in the delivery room and had to leave, my husband had to change shifts with her because she couldn't deal with seeing me go through what I went through.  She maintains that my labor was much more difficult than any of her 4 labors. In spite of all that... I was in some kind of trance the majority of the time that kept me relatively calm.  It was kind of like an out of body experience (don't get me wrong, it was a bloody mess) but I was not the hysterical, panicking version of myself, that I am on a day to day basis.  I didn't cry, I was focused on keeping calm because I didn't want to stress the baby out. All that said, I'm sure my efforts to stay calm will all go to hell this time. Ha!

Keep me in prayers and happy thoughts, will you ladies? Ta.

It being the beginning of the year, and husband and I have been trying to sort out all sorts of grown up decisions like, how much we want to save this year, whether we should consider moving this year, how to file our taxes & how to manage our retirement funds this year (navigating the US tax & retirement schemes feels like venturing into the Labyrinth) , whether we want to buy a house this year and in which country, etc. etc. etc. When did we get so grown up? I'm not sure how I feel about it all, except to say, if I get through the year without squandering the nest egg, with my kids & marriage in one piece, I will call it a success.

Thanks to my week long date with Chikungunya, I was late to start the working year, and after a week in the office, I am still trying to find my bearings, all while the countdown of pending absence looms. It is making me mildly stressed, but it will have to sort itself out, because there is no other choice. I've no doubt the world at work will potter along without me, and it will all be waiting for me when I get back. I have a planning workshop with my staff scheduled in a few days. I'm still planning for the planning workshop, but it's just what it is. It will get done.

I am curious to see how a second child is going to impact my already hectic life. I wonder how I will juggle the demands of a second child with the demands of the job, the husband, not to mention the attention thirsty first child. I've been at my job for 5 years, learnt a lot, and there continue to be learning opportunities but I find myself wondering if I need a change of pace & scenery, not to mention more time at home.  Trying to balance that itch for change with the income needs of a growing family and then lets face it, my insatiable need to conquer the world, which is the real reason I work as hard as I do. Hmmm. Oh well, Rome wasn't built in a day. I guess we'll see how the year unfolds.

Yes, I guess we'll see.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Not so festive season.

It's 2015, already? Boy, does time fly. Except of course when you are 35 weeks and 4 days pregnant, than of course the sands are moving grain by grain painfully slowly through the hour glass of time.

This Christmas season has been rather different than prior ones for me. Other than the obvious fact that it was a sober one for me (#pityparty). Because I felt too heavy to travel, we agreed we would spend it in American Samoa with my husbands family.  I thought, "it'll be nice, spend time with the in laws, save money by not travelling, and have a quiet one and get lots of rest." I however, found myself to be quite restless, despite being home for almost 2 weeks now. I gave my babysitter some hard earned, well deserved time off for the season, and stayed home with my handful of hyper daughter. After 1 day on our own, we checked into a hotel, so she could have something to do all day to tire her out (swim) and I wouldn't have to cook or clean. It was also husband and I's wedding anniversary but come on, we all know the real reasons.

Christmas Day was all about watching my kid open her presents, the pure glee and joy on her face was enough to make me cry (damn, hormones). Especially being so far away from my parents and siblings on Christmas - something I've done maybe once or twice before and vowed never to do again. The food game was quite average this Christmas, I hit up hotel buffets on more than one occasion.  All while enviously eyeing Tia's Europe adventure pics and my parents Aussie Holiday pics. #puke #passmeanotherbreadroll

Being home this long (which I don't think I've done since I had my last baby) I have found myself "nesting" on some fuggen mother goose level. Aside from cleaning, I have more or less refurnished most of my house, new rugs, curtains, sheets, bathmats, kitchen stuff, beds, oh and lots of baby stuff. My grand idea to save lots of money this Christmas was indeed well intended but died a dusty death along with my old curtains and rugs.  Totally overcompensated for not indulging in my usual gluttonous ways during the Holidays. As a friend said to me, at least you've spent the money on useful things. If you were drinking you would've spent it all on booze. Yes, point taken.

Oh and to top it all off, I got Chikungunya!

My, aren't we ranty first thing in the new year.

Yea, happy 2015!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Car ride convos

F: I saw you talking to S
A: Oh yea, he said he got married last month.
F: Nice. Big wedding?
A: No, he said it was a court wedding.
F: Oh. How come?
A: I dunno, he said no kids & she's not pregnant.
F: So why'd they get married?
A: I don't know, love?

Pause.  Followed by simultaneous laughter.

Imagine that, being so in love that you rush a court wedding, just because.  Awww.

Whatever, I bet she's preggers.

Fai mai ai Forbes

Abilities wither under fault finding, blossom under encouragement.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Pass the chocolate.

So, I am flying to NZ in a few days. Big little brother is getting married next week. It means I will miss my office Xmas parties, thank god for that. I can't be arsed trying to find a dress, spend money on hair and make up and then sit around and not get drunk. Yea, no thanks. Although, brother's wedding will be something like that, at least I will be able to stop at KFC on the way home after the party.  I'm excited for him & his fiance to be getting married, it's such a fun journey isn't it? right? no? Ok, let's let the kids have a great party and wish them luck. It's all we can do.

I'm trying to find a slimming outfit for when I get on the plane and tell them I'm 6 months. I will throw a major "I'm so offended" tantrum if they suggest I'm further along and don't let me board. "Listen lady, I really need this trip, you have no idea."

I'm knocking on 30 weeks along. That's like single digit weeks counting down soon til a new human enters my life forever! I had a dream about her last night. She was chubbier than Lili and all I could think was, shit the labour is going to be a farken nightmare!

I feel as though I am not ready for this, and yet I'm like, ok kid, let's do the damn thang! (Ah, bipolar as ever).  I have no crib, no baby clothes, no car seat, no stroller, no nothing really, but for some reason I feel it will just all come together and I need not stress about, because stress is bad for the baby... woooooosaaaah... pass me a beer, I mean, chocolate.

The thought of two kids running around gives me the warm fuzzies for about 30 seconds and then I just sigh dejectedly because I'm tired of chasing them around in my head. The other crazy thing I'm dealing with is the irrational fear that something will happen to my child. Some of my friends have lost their infants recently :-( and my heart convulses every time it crosses my mind, which is too often for comfort.

Husband is excited, Lili is super excited, the baby sitter is excited, and I am tired as a farken too busy 30 week, over being pregnant, freaking out, working woman is gonna get, but yes excited. You know, I'm so excited but you just can't tell. Yea. That's me. Super. Fricking. Excited.

Eh, pe ua ka valea ea. Ka fia igu. Shit.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

You are worthy. Another self help spiel.

So before I watched Manu Samoa get stomped by the Poms yesterday, I saw a documentary on about parenting, and how different parents push their kids to success.

There was an Indian lady and her daughter that were exactly like my mother and I growing up. She along with the Chinese mom & her son were the from the far-right camp of parenting. Kids need authority and control, they need pushing and direction in order to succeed. They have no idea what they want, they're just kids, that's my job as a parent.

On the other end were other parents (most of whom were of the blonde blue eyed variety) who had a more holistic, laissez faire approach to parenting where kids had choices, freedom to become who they are meant to become, etc.

My approach is honestly more like my fellow people of color in the sense that I think kids need guidance and help to find their way. Though, being a product of this, I can also honestly say that at times, it leaves you feeling worthless, because you got a bloody A- in an exam. One gold medalist (swimmer) said something that resonated with me that I wanted to document:

"If you are nothing without a gold medal, you will be nothing with it."

Her point being you need to feel complete as a person, separate from your achievements, otherwise, you will end up like the guy who despite being a partner at a law firm & an accounting firm tried to commit suicide after not meeting his target number of gym reps (or something asinine like that).

My point is, don't do gym reps at all (wait a minute. Lol). No, my point is (and I'm saying this to myself really), you are more than the attainment of your gym reps, you are more than your achievements. You are more than your masters degree, you are more than any first place this & that, your perfect report card and your high paying job. And when I say you are more than that, what I mean is they mean nothing really. You are nothing if not a good person, a decent child to your parents, a good friend, an honest worker, a patient wife (ok maybe not that. Lol).  When you derive your self worth from things that actually make others happy (what a concept) you actually make yourself happy. Seems simple and obvious, but that's part of why it's quite profound to me.

Strive to achieve goals, but strive also to have a deep enough self awareness that as a divine child of God, as a mother/ wife/ sister/ friend, you deserve to feel happiness, even if you don't meet your self imposed target achievement to feel worthy.

Eh, ka'i deep fo'i.

Alright, self help note 12035097 noted.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sunday ramblings of a pregnant Samoan rugby fan

So after an over indulgent to'ona'i (is there any other kind?) I am finding it impossible to nap in this thick, punishing heat. It must be how Manu Samoa felt today getting beat by England. Frustrated, uncomfortable and kind of like I wanted to throw up. Heck, I about went into labour watching the game this morning, although, lets be honest, I do get that way during most Manu Samoa games.  The Pom officiating and commentating was just atrocious. There is a special place in Hell for Nigel Owens, this I sincerely hope! #deepbreaths

With all the drama this past week around the team's threatened boycott, the tongue lashing from the PM & the SRU's (lack of a) response, I hate to say I called it, but I had a feeling it was going to end this way. Nothing good was going to come of it (other than some pretty awesome #SamoaUnited tweets from other teams/ players around the world).

I felt this was going to end badly, not because I don't empathize or agree with the players cause, but because it was an act that aired Samoa's dirty laundry on the worldwide stage (clearly we aren't capable of solving our own problems and need smarter nations to help fix things),  the grievances seemed to be "about the money" (lets call a spade a spade), and ultimately it made a lot of noise, upset a lot of people but ultimately went nowhere in resolving anything. If you're going to boycott, you better make damn sure you are transforming the face of Samoan rugby for the better. After today's loss, it doesn't feel like it did.

The truth is, Samoan rugby has gotten further on less. On nothing, really. That's the stuff Samoan Rugby is made of. Having nothing, and defying odds. Boxing above our weight & beating big nations on nothing but guts and heart. I imagine at least, that team allowances were never an issue at the team meetings of our best ever teams in history (think Keneti Sio & the 91 World Cup team).  And if they were, there's no doubt that a threat to boycott, would be an act so defiantly disrespectful to country/ PM/ family, that it would never even be uttered.

The problem is, as nostalgic as the '91 World Cup is for me, the world, international sport and indeed our breed of Manu Samoa player is evolving. The only ones not evolving quickly enough, sad to say, are our Union. I believe it operates on good intentions (on a good day), but if we're to compare to other Unions (where our players are exposed), it seems, we aren't even doing the basics right (jerseys, training gear, communications, etc - mentioned in the players letter and in Mahonri's report after 2011 RWC).  And the simple fact is, basics, as well as transparency and accountability it's not too much to ask for. It's not.

SRU's current administration I think want to do a good job (rose tinted statement), but they are just out of their depth, and they have failed to raise their game at the same pace as world rugby, and boy are the cracks showing.

It's a pity though, because Samoa has proven itself in the region as a government and a nation that is evolving. We have a government administration considered among the best in the region, our private sector is growing, and our economy is developing. We are no longer an LDC, and recently hosted SIDs. Samoa has smart, qualified, capable people and leaders. Now, before all the whistleblowers and corruption police (NZ borns) get their knickers in a twist, we are far from perfect, but the truth is, we are capable of doing a better job of running the Union, for Samoa!

As for Stui - I think he has unfairly gotten the brunt of the media backlash (not that he's losing any sleep over it - all in a days work for the man) but the SRU would today, not have the funding support and national support it has without him. Hiding behind him is a poorly lacking board/ administration team that don't know how to do their job well enough for the people they serve - the players and the public. The PM's fronting of the Union has only allowed their mediocrity to continue, although I imagine he is still there for fear that it will turn to shit without him. And my opinion is this is a real risk because I believe it is his name that has brought in the majority of funding.

So how do we fix this mess? Ia, Good question. Lol.

Not simply. The PM has the power to make the changes needed at the SRU. Someone trusted with the right plan needs to convince him to sign the difficult divorce papers. And the players, they need to focus on the game, and leave it on the field.

One things for sure though, it must be a tough time to be a WAG. Lol

Ia, lava loa. Fa laia. Go the Manu.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Eggplants, maternity leave & feminism.

So according to my various apps, at 26 weeks and 6 days, my baby is the size of an Eggplant. It really feels more like a bunch of bananas or a jackfruit. She feels biiig. We are having a GIRL! I'm pretty excited to be adding to my sisterhood of the travelling pants club, and my husband is taking deep breaths pretty nervous about another dose of estrogen in our house. We all know my house reaks of it.

Baby 2 is super active and kicks like Beckham which is always fun, especially when I suddenly feel like I'm about to pee in the middle of the night, or in the middle of a management meeting.  Christmas is looking busy with my brother getting married, and work being on another level of insane, all while of course abstaining from alcohol #struggleisreal, let me tell you.

I'm trying to sort out my maternity leave for next year which is a tad challenging seeing as there is no maternity leave at my work (because I'm based in American Samoa and it is not mandated by US law). I swear the longer I live in American Samoa, the more I am convinced that the United States (and associated territories) really is the most backwards country in the world. So I will have to Macguyver my way through post natal fun times by pooling together all my annual, sick time off. It's the only time I actually wish I lived in New Zealand. Or, really just about anywhere else in the world. Anyways, hopefully feminism grips the right balls in Congress some day soon and the shit gets fixed.

Oooh feminism. Have been seeing a lot of feminism posts lately on social media, many differing views of what it means, some embrace the word itself, and others don't like the word itself. Some are angry, some more diplomatic. Hard core feminists criticizing people that don't identify with feminism (the word) as ignorant and soft. And then people who criticize the word feminism as man-hating and seek for a more inclusive word. My view is, you can split hairs, and judge each other all day long but isn't that all besides the point. Isn't it just a little cliche for different women in a women's movement to be at adds with each other. Don't we all want the same thing, equal rights for all. In the wise words of Usher, "Don't talk about it, be about it." Now whose balls need to be gripped in order to enlighten the US Government to grant the damn mat leave?

Anyways, peace and love to you all. Stay safe from cyclones this season :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

20 weeks.

I'm 20 weeks, bitches.  Half way point. And I feel, ok. Work schedule is demanding and I’m fighting a flu, but in general, I’m fine. Touch wood. 

I had a follow up appointment today and as usual joined the cattle herd of pregnant women in the crowded waiting rooms waiting for our 5 minutes of undignified prenatal “care”. The last time I went for a check up, there was a new doctor standing in for one of the usual, she was an Indian lady. Probably a volunteer of some sort, here to help a third world country, probably fresh out of med school… You could tell she was in way over her head, she seemed panicked and had probably never dealt with 50 pregnant patients before 8am.  The doc normally gives me an ie lavalava and asks me to get on the table thingie. She told me to get on, and without warning she pulled my dress up over my stomach, she looked at my legs in shock and said, you have lots of tattoos eh? I just nodded. She then listened across my belly with her stethoscope for all of 3 seconds, and said, “I can’t hear the heartbeat, don’t worry about it, come back in 4 weeks.” I don’t think she even made eye contact with me. It was over in 5 minutes.  If I hadn't several similar appointments (minus the shock horror at leg tattoos) I would've been shocked.  But I'm not, a tad disappointed perhaps, but well adjusted enough to not get into a tirade about it. This is island life for you. 

So today, again I went, expectations zilch, a bag of food and a book to keep me busy while I waited out the 2 hour sitting time. The visit was – uneventful. Baby’s heartbeat was strong and regular, tests all came back fine... come back in 4 weeks.

What I did find impressive is the educational programs that run in the waiting rooms. So the Department of Health has these programs (Well baby, Breast feeding, WIC, Pre-natal health, etc…) and they send representatives to talk to their target (knocked up) audience about their services. Probably the most opportune time since we have 2 hours to kill and nowhere to go. There is a wealth of (largely free) resources available to pregnant mother’s and newborn care. You can get free breast pumps, free healthy food during pregnancy and the first few years of your child's life. Free birth control, free visits to the hospital, your house from breastfeeding nurses. And they are constantly telling you what to eat, and giving "advice" on how to stay healthy during your pregnancy. I always find it amusing the no nonsense way Samoans tell other Samoans what to do especially when its women telling other women what to do. It’s like listening to your mother tell you off.

“Don’t be fiapoko when you breastfeed, if you do it wrong, your baby will choke. Pay attention.”

“Quit drinking that soda crap. Oh, its so disgusting how can you even feed that to your baby? Drink water and milk, you hear?”

"These programs are optional, you have the right to refuse, but girl, its free food. Don't be an idiot. Sign up sheets are at the back there with Lise."

Today an older lady gave a no-nonsense talk about birth control, it was the most hilarious, graphic, awkward, and definitely memorable discussion about condoms, vasectomies, IUDs, STDs and cheating horny husbands I’ve ever sat through.

One of the gems from her talk today, “Condoms are good for you! Make sure when your husband wants to jump you tell him, “don’t touch me until you put on that rubber!” Condoms are especially good for you because if your husband is sleeping around, whatever he caught from the hoe down the street, you won’t get it.”

Lol. Preach sister. 

20 weeks to go. Touch wood.