Saturday, May 23, 2009

“Hairy” Story – Lang’s Got His First Haircut!

Lang was born with little hair, completely opposite to baby me as per my mom. She told me that I had a full head of thick, black and shiny hair when I was born. My parents immediately nicknamed me Black Hair (weird when translated to English) at the birth as they had yet found a perfect name for me. This name, even in Chinese, was actually one of my growing pains. My little buddies always made fun of me because the pronunciation of it sounds similar to a popular cartoon character at the time and that cartoon character was not a good association with a little pretty girl (Yep, I was a very pretty girl!). From my teen to tween days, for some reason I don’t understand now when I look back, I felt somewhat ashamed when my classmates found out I had such a nickname. I had to constantly remind my parents, sisters and brother not to call my nickname in public wherever my classmates were presented. My family still calls me in my nickname now. It actually sounds sweet to me, sweeter and sweeter as time passes. After all, to my parents, the name is their love-at-first-sight to me.

Back to Lang’s hair, they are very thin, soft and in light shades, an obvious gene mutation as both XJ and LXJ have thick black hair. We should have cut Lang’s hair when he was one month old. Traditional wisdom says babies’ hair would grow thicker and darker if infants' hair were shaved. But my mom insisted keeping the hair because she thought Lang looked even cuter in those hairs. I developed the same opinions about Lang’s hair under my mom’s influence. You know what would happen when women reached unanimity. In the meantime, I did want Lang to keep the hair as long as he could because they were carried along from my body. Watching his little hair dangling in the wind was an enormous joy when we brought Lang to parks!

With Memorial Day’s weekend approaching, New England quickly dives into hot summer. The weather is so hot that Lang’s hair is always damped with sweat. After all, it is selfish to trade babies' comfort with adults' eye candy. Mom and I decided to cut Lang’s hair. Imagine the difficulties to give a haircut to a six month old baby. We tried everything we could to only hold him still for a second in order to cut a stream of hair. From the morning to the afternoon, between Lang’s long and short naps, we finally accomplished his first haircut. What a huge project it would be if Lang were like any of us. The insane price tags for professional infants haircuts start to make sense to me.

As anticipated, Lang is as cute wearing skin head as ever, just looks more sharp and masculine! Go little man!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Power of Body Languages

(Lang 6 months old)

One night these days, Lang sat on my dad’s lap cooing, ahing and goggling happily with my parents. I found some watery stuff on his feet so I asked what’s going on here with a serious face unintentionally. Lang heard me and observed my face for a while. He quickly changed several facial expressions and started to cry, so sad that his little face turned purplish with tears gushing out. I immediately held him and tried to comfort him. But he resisted my hug and turned his head to my parent with a helping needed look…

Obviously, Lang understands body language very well now. Recently, I read an interesting book The Definitive Book Of Body Language by Allan and Barbara Pease. The book mentioned a lot of body languages are inborn. People display body languages unconsciously. Being bale to read a person’s body language will give you an edge in social and business settings. People who are not able to hear or speak are more alert in observing other people’s body languages. Also a baby is much easier to be read than an adult because adults are educated in somewhat degree to cover their body languages from revealing their true thoughts…

At his sixth month old, it is really fun to play body language games with Lang before he can literally speak. Lang is super alert. He tries to get a hold of everything going on around the house. When he is eating or playing, he won’t forget turn his head to any sounds, familiar voices and movements like a wary hound dog. He mirrors a wide smiley face when we smile at him; He bounces when we show up joyfully; He gets intense when we talk in a sharp tone; He cries when we are hush on him unintentionally or purposely (sometimes we are just teasing him to cry in order to see that cute little crying face); He raises his both arms to embrace a hug when we extend two hands to him…

Lang is a real doll!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

From Little XJ&XJ to Lang (朗)

Lang can respond by turning his head to us when we call his name “Lang3 Lang3” now. It is amazing, isn’t it? I remember around this time last year, we were still brainstorming a name for the Little XJ&XJ.

I guess everybody wants to pick the best name for their babies because this is actually one thing that they can CHOOSE for her/him. You can’t choose the sex, the physical appearance or her IQ/EQ. Those are god sent, pre-denominated by genes, statistics and some luck. Family name is a given in our culture. Little XJ&XJ will have XJ’s family name. Since first name is called given name, a name to be given by parents, it is gotta be a gift to be selected carefully.

(Lang 5 months old)

Like most men, XJ doesn’t enjoy doing this kind of “superficial” chores as much or is not as picky as I am on these “little” things. I volunteered to take the lead on naming our precious little thing who was rapidly growing inside of me. Except for the common cliché such as jampacking parents’ best wishes to the child’s name, I utilized the methodologies a marketing guru would use to create a killer brand name for a new product: market research, trend prediction, macro/micro environment, benchmarking and several focus group meetings. I also initiated my very own 3 “L”s that the final decision of the name will be evaluated upon:

  • Simple – The name has to be simple because I don’t want my first grade kid to struggle on writing his name especially in Chinese. More importantly, simple names reduce carbon footprint because they consume less paper and ink! :). In hindsight, I should have named him “L” or “一” in Chinese!!
  • Universal – The name has to have the same/similar pronunciation across different languages. My baby will have only one name and this name is easy to be pronounced in different languages. A combination of Chinese name, English name and middle name is too confusing. Improving efficiency and eliminating culture barriers from names, every effort counts!
  • My call – It is very nice that every family member contributes in naming the baby. But you’ve got to be careful because this process bonds the family and in the meantime creates disruption . There is only one baby to be named and one name to be chosen. Unanimity is rare. So I make it very clear that no offense, the mom will make the final call.

Naming our baby was a time consuming, soul searching and fun process. With my gushing hormones during the pregnancy, you bet a lot of arguments were involved. But the truth is: I don’t remember any unpleasantness now at all. All I am enjoying is my baby’s official name – Lang. No matter how much I loved Little XJ&XJ, how adorable and descriptive it is, it is not up to my 3 “L”s and I had to let it go...

And there is one last step you can’t skip in the information age. I Googled Lang, no negative meanings are associated with this word and I surprisingly found that Lang is actually an interesting, real word in many languages. It is indeed a serendipity!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Breast Feeding Is A State of Mind

I can't believe how fast time goes by and how unproductive I have been since Lang's birth! Only during nights after Lang is in sound sleep, would I sit in front of the computer and go through mail boxes and tell myself I've got to updated my blog or I won't be able to remember those precious moments with rapidly growing Lang anymore.

Lang was 6 months old on Monday. We brought him to see his pediatrics. Lang got another round of vaccinations. The doctor and I talked about my breastfeeding plan with Lang:

"Are you still breastfeeding Lang?"
"Oh, yeah, but only once to twice a day. :( "
"Well, you should say I am still breastfeeding him once to twice a day when he is already 6 months old. I would be proud of myself. :) "
"Well, ....... That does sounds better..."

But with a face like this, who wouldn't breastfeed him for ever?!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


My dear friend Yuan, by the way, who just became an aunt (Congrats!), and a colleague of XJ, called me several days ago probing what I’d like to have for a baby gift. I learned from her that XJ’s colleagues were going to buy a baby gift for daddy-to-be XJ. Yuan asked me to keep it a secret from XJ so they can surprise at least one of us. I gave Yuan some nice-to-have options and restrained the urge to tell XJ about the underground going within his team at work.

Yuan called me this Monday asking me to set aside some time Wednesday afternoon as she wanted me to do something for her. I didn’t think much and agreed. She came to pick me up yesterday as planned. As soon as I got into her car, “what are we going to do anyway?” I asked Yuan. “Oh, I need to buy a gift for Toby (her husband) and would like your opinion. But first, I forgot to bring my wallet and I need to go to office first.” She said. And I was like, okay. Yuan seemed a little bit nervous talking to me and she drove super fast to the company (she was literally speeding in my apartment community and the company campus.:)). I sensed something and started to tease her a little bit. (I am quite experienced with this kind of thing because the company I used to work in is women dominated and had participated/organized a lot of surprising parties, not even mention that Yuan asked me about the gift ideas previously.) We got off the car. Yuan walked quickly toward the office building. Obviously she was trying to avoid eye contacts and conversations with me. Usually, we chat a lot as we are walking together. By now I was 100% sure that they were throwing a surprising baby shower for XJ but I kept amusing Yuan. I said: “Yuan, you walk too fast, I can’t keep up with you. And isn’t your office in that building?” We were walking to XJ’s office building. “Oh, I just moved to this building several weeks ago.” Yuan said, without much confidence. Suddenly, I felt I was acting badly. I stopped teasing her. She was so sweet and kind trying to surprise me and she did a wonderful job!

By the time we got to the conference room, of course with cakes, shower gifts, cards, snacks and smiley faces of XJ’s colleagues. And I, obviously was one of the surprises they arranged for XJ. After everything was ready, XJ was brought into the conference room by a colleague who set up a meeting with him days ago, with a pen and meeting notes book in his hand. He had no idea! They totally got him!!! I emerged from the crowed. XJ walked towards me with his mouth to both ears.

The cake was beautiful and yummy with a very cute baby face and a real pacifier. And, it was in Tiffany blue, one of my favorite colors. I put the pacifier in XJ’s mouth and caused a cluster of big laughter. The gift was perfect, a beautiful high chair we were considering to buy. We made wishes, cut the cake, read the cards, shared the only final candidate name of Little XJ&XJ, got positive reviews and recommendations for the name, received blessings and congratulations from all of his colleagues…In a cold, early winter New England afternoon, we had a blast and felt cozily warm in a corner of Apple Hill. Thanks Mathworks folks, and special thanks to Yuan. You guys made our day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hey, What’s Up?

It has been such a loooong time since my last entry. Friends who are used to check out my pregnant progress here started to shoot me notes or call me up: “Hey! What is up? How is the baby doing?”

How am I doing? My dear friends, I am doing great. Thanks for asking. Just that the chunkier I get, the lazier I become. Time passes by so quietly and quick without me realizing. Only four weeks remained till the debut of the Little XJ&XJ if he sticks to the schedule! What have I done during the last several months? I don’t remember clearly already! No wonder my mommy friends told me they regretted that they didn’t take some time to keep a diary on those milestones when the baby grew up. Those vivid and precious memories always fade exponentially as time goes by. “Get out of the sofa!” I ordered myself, “If you keep lying there, soon after you will be the one who murmuring what you were doing when the Little XJ&XJ exercise all his Firsts.”

Vermont in Fall

Although it is late, it is not too late. I still vaguely remember the weird feeling of the first butterfly kicks inside my tummy. Coincidentally, the baby kicks became more and more intense with the progress of the Beijing Summer Olympic Games, especially during the feasts of gymnastic finals. I guess it was more of my adrenaline that was working and affected his behavior than he had been enjoying the game himself and can’t help but mimicking; The hide-and-seek game between the daddy and son was really frustrating for XJ for an extended period of time: the baby always stopped moving when old XJ placed his hands on my tummy and started performing as soon as the poor daddy turned his sights away. I also remember the sparkle in his eyes and ecstasy on his face when XJ first felt the movement of the baby, also the urge trying to catch his hands when the baby made waves all the way from one to the other side of the tummy later; And how relieved we were when the ultrasound technician confirmed to us that those cysts in the brain had no longer existed! We cherished that day’s report like a-million-dollar check; We attended the one-day crash course of childbirth for first time parents in spite of all our friends who did it told us it wasn’t necessary. We hunted down our friends first for second hand car seats, strollers, cribs and other baby stuff and then decided to shop brand new gears for him because we think the baby deserves the best we can afford…We just don’t want to miss any step that is on the to-do-list.

As for myself, while I am not totally “wasted” as I became more and more close to an elephant, I did managed to dig into Chinese ancient and modern literature trying to find a perfect name for Little XJ&XJ (we are still deciding among the final candidates); I became addicted to shop baby’s clothes, especially kimono tops and found it extremely rewarding for the first time not shopping for myself around August and September; I spent hours in the fabric store to decide on the color theme and animal character for the nursery: I chose yellow elephant to reflect my nontraditional taste. I dragged my chubby body to burn midnight oil to decorate nursery and woke up XJ to check out my newly crafted crib bumper pad excitedly like a child; I also squeezed some creative juice from my long unused fashion designer brain and made a pregnant cape for myself in order to get that perfect pregnant posing in front of camera…

Wellesley in Fall

It is not all fun stuff though. The third trimester also turned out to be the hardest part of my pregnancy. One pregnant friend who suffered awfully in the first trimester teased me: I am paying back for the comfort I enjoyed during the first trimester. I am afraid I suffered all the symptoms that has been existed: heartburn, super frequent bathroom visits (5 times every night! God knows how many times during the day.), swollen hands and feet, puffy pregnant face (hate it!), short of breath and more heartburn, not even mentioning walking like a duck...

As I wrote along, I suddenly realize expecting is such a comprehensive word and one won’t explore all its meanings until the day she delivers. It is a soul searching process emotionally and a series of marathon events physically. You gotta live through it to fully understand it. I look forward to the big day’s coming, eagerly and anxiously, when I can look back and proudly tell myself I finally get the complete meaning of Expecting.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Maternity Fashion in Movies 1

When Fashion Meets Movies - 影尚随行: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg《瑟堡的雨伞》

Catherine Deneuve looks fabulously chic in maternity dress in this 60's romance movie despite a bittersweet story. Her tailored maternity dress is cute and sophisticated. The bump is wrapped preciously under dresses and coats: