Giving a scooter = letting go


We got excited to see a good deal on a bike and a scooter, so we bought both of them in May.

The kid took two days to get his bearings on the scooter and was cruisin’ the streets on the third day. Our house is next to a street 2-blocks long with a 30-degree incline from our end.

He had scooted there before, alongside me. He loves scooting downhill. Who wouldn’t with a newly developed skill on the scooter?

Having walked the neighborhood for nearly 2 hours, we headed back home and he looked up at me and asked if he could try scooting downhill the 2-block long street. After a short internal deliberation, I said yes. I was sure he will make plenty of stops in between.

Except that he didn’t. As he rolled down farther away from me, I started walking then switched to jogging to brisk walking to running to running like mad, yelling one after another asking him to stop.

At some point, I saw him with his back on me really set on his goal, except that he didn’t tell me what that was and at this point I didn’t exactly know what he was trying to do. Will he stop when he reaches the end? Of course he will. I hope he will. Well, lately he hasn’t been very keen on having us hold his hand when we cross streets.

He didn’t even look back or slowed down. It wasn’t like he was riding down very fast, but fast enough for me as a parent running after her child on his new scooter like a pro and failing to catch up.

I was scared. I was hoping that the street at the other end will have no form of traffic. Briefly, I saw a vision of me regretting not following him from the beginning. There was numbness but only for a moment.

He reached the other end using the scooter’s rear brake. He hopped off it, raised his arms, punching air a few times and yelled “I DID IT!!!”. From afar, I saw pride and accomplishment. I could play the scene again and again in my head, in slow motion with confetti, because that’s how I saw him savor his moment. Isn’t that one of those moments that I wanted for him? Something that he worked hard for and got the courage to try?

Letting go is easy to say but takes so much out of a parent to do. I don’t know now if telling me what he had wanted to achieve would make a difference. I probably would’ve run downhill with him if he had told me. That would probably kill the joy for him. But he’s only 3 years old!

He scooted back towards me. Did you see that, Mama? Still huffing, I congratulated him and hugged him. I let him talk about his accomplishment, I allowed myself to be excited about it. After a few minutes on our way back home, I talked about me feeling scared about his latest achievement making sure I didn’t spoil the joy.

My responsible potty trainee


I get ahead of myself so many times that I should know when I start doing it.

My little man is still a trainee, really. I should remember to hold myself down and not get too excited just because it has been a month of success.

The other day, my husband told me how our little man pooped in his shorts because he was busy watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and then ran to the bathroom when the episode ran its credits. Jonno heard 2 flushing sounds, which prompted him to inquire with our son on what was going on.

The child was honest in saying that he pooped his pants and that he dropped them into the toilet and flushed. One just cannot get upset about the pooping and what he did to rectify the wrong decision of evacuating where he shouldn’t, but we couldn’t help ourselves from beaming with pride (and maybe even emotionally touched) about our toddler being so responsible and honest.

That was one of those days that, as a parent, I ask what I have possibly done right that my child is turning out to be GOOD PERSON so far. Sigh.

Ban shopping my a$$!!!


Obviously, I failed to ban myself from shopping for kid stuff this month. Sigh. It’s so hard!

I thought I was getting good at it, until today. I checked my emails, saw an email from MyHabit. I saw sale of t-shirts for kids and I thought:

Uhm, I should google The Beatles t-shirts for him.

Our little man likes The Beatles and so far likes their Yellow Submarine song a lot. And whaddya know, MyHabit had Lords of Liverpool Kids sale today! The first shirt I saw was Yellow Submarine in big prints and lyrics.

Aaww!

Then I know of the promo code MYHABIT1 for my first purchase, which gives me $10 off, and then there’s free shipping. I couldn’t help it! I just had to get my child those cute shirts so I bought 2.

And my husband also bought 2 using the code and free shipping.

Image from lordsofiverpool.com

Total: $40 for 4 shirts. Shirts that our child will very much appreciate…

Or we’re making up that last sentence to feel good about our purchase.

Shopping ban on kid’s stuff


Sometime in May I thought about banning myself and my husband from buying anything, except food, for our little man. It has not left my mind since the day I thought of it.

In May, we spent around $385 on our child – toys, tickets, clothing and shoes! I mean, wow!

Image from 40somethingmommy.com

It’s not that we are sorry we bought him things, but there were a couple of mindless decisions there. We bought his strider and scooter at the same time. We bought 2 throw blankets for him because the first buy was not a well-thought-out decision. Maybe there’s more but I can’t remember now.

Personally, a strider and a scooter are too much in one go, but we did it because we couldn’t decide on either since he was an infant. We did the either/or thing, and obviously that didn’t work. What’s the difference in buying them at separate times when we knew we were going to get them  both anyway.

So it’s hard to kill the excitement when I see sale items on Gilt, One Kings Lane, MyHabit, Overstock, Macy’s, Nordstrom, etc.

So far, we’ve only spent $28 for babysitting him on date night. But, oh goodness, give me strength to ignore temptation!!! I have this thing where I can be so cheap on myself but I will splurge on my loved ones. I don’t even understand why I do that.

Twenty-seven more days left on my self-imposed ban. So far I’ve found myself “sometimes” making a mental wish list for him that would disappear. Those things are obviously not necessary to get. So I guess it’s working after all. 🙂

Moody Me


What a hump day! I spent my day feeling so BLAH.

I woke up today feeling tired and not wanting to go to work, but I still did anyway. The little man decided that he was also grumpy this morning. Yards away from school, he stated that he wanted his cereal–the leftover that I ate because he confirmed twice that he was done with it.

The problem is that I keep trusting my child that his confirmations and statements are well-made decisions.

So I reminded him that he made the decision to stop eating and said that he was done.

But I want my cereal!

Image from sharonmsmith.blogspot.com/

And proceeds to more crying, not scene-making cry but loud enough to make me feel guilty.

My child is begging for food! In public! With tears! I’m a terrible mother!

I still tried to calm him down to remind him of what I was planning as a consequence of his decision: to live with it and wait for his next meal at school. After all, he had warm milk after he woke up and cereal (with more milk) for breakfast.

It wasn’t easy. It never is. It=guilt. So I went to the coffee shop and got him bread with PBJ as requested, but had to wait for 3 customers ahead of me who ordered coffee and there was only 1 person behind the counter. When I returned he was sitting on the floor next to his cubby hole because he took tissue to blow his snot. He wasn’t crying and he felt better, but he was sure glad to have food again. He sat to eat his 2nd breakfast while the rest of his classmates were playing.

So I was late for my hump day 830am meeting. I feel bad about missing it for 2 weeks in a row now. I couldn’t concentrate and I ate a whale for lunch. I also ranted to my husband, and ranted about him. Really illogical and unreasonable of me. On top of feeling crap, I also felt fat and lacking any semblance of pretty. My stomach is bulging with post-natal fat (my child is 3), my fringe needs cutting, and my eyebrows grow faster than weeds.

What’s your hump day story?

How to move across the world


Leave the non-essentials behind.

As you might know, or not know yet, our family moved from New Zealand to USA and we did it in about 6 months.

It was a process in which the bulk of the hard work was crunched in 2 months. The rest of it was in preparation and in relaxation of some sort.

The decision to pack up and move across the world requires work no less. I’d say most of it, about 70% is emotional work. Imagine not having the funds to bring all of your stuff with you and to just buy tickets, quit jobs, and land in a new city. What can we do?

So, the next step was to plan. We got quite lucky. My husband and I first made the decision in August 2010 to move and, hopefully, be in Portland by March 2011. Planning could only get us so far, and we knew it, but we were prepared to make some sacrifices. Keep the eye on the prize. It works.

The first big thing was to sell the house. Our house was in good shape but it wasn’t great. It still had its quirky 50s look and feel to it. We didn’t have a lot of money to outsource all the improvements we wanted, and so another big decision had to be made. We asked my parents to look after our child to free up daycare money of $1,000/month that we could use on house improvements. They said YES. Jonno and I are not the DIY types but we know something, so we started with what we knew and learned more on the way. You don’t have to be skilled at something before you jump on it. Just do it! Your goal to accomplish a task will guide you in making decisions along the way.

And so I flew to another country to take the kiddo there to live with them for at least 5 months. This proved to be the hardest and, apparently, the ONLY emotional decision of it all. This was the 70% emotional part.

I flew back after 3 weeks to a home that my husband had already begun work on. For the next 4 weeks, our time after work and weekends were spent on stripping paint, cleaning up, selling things online, giving away things on Freecycle, and finding our dynamic as a couple again. The decision was unilateral at first–my husband’s–which became ours in August 2010.

Friends offered help, which we accepted. Not only that eased up work, but it strengthened friendships that started years ago. I got to know them more and now care for them more than I expected I would.

We put a deadline on when to put the house on the market, and we did it. That deadline was a guide and put us in action. We didn’t spend time on finding the right realtor. They are nobody’s friend. We decided to contact the realtor who sold us the house and signed her up. She even gave us a discount for repeat business. I haggled and she freed up another $500 off her commission. Haggling works.

Jonno gets a job offer. We get the first offer on the house the same week. We eventually accepted it after we got him to the price range we wanted. Our goal was to sell, and not to make profit. The market was still not good last year. We managed to get something like $2k, so not bad.

The house was officially sold after a few days of my husband flying to Portland. I stayed behind to tidy up life. Sell more, give away more. Strip down to the essentials, i.e. clothes that I and my son need. My husband brought with him everything he needed. Friends and I did a garage sale. Good decision but requires preparation, so spend at least 1 or 2 hours a day putting stuff you want to sell in one area of your house.

Christmas time came and I relaxed. I wasn’t sad. We are moving forward. This was the downside of the plan, but it’s temporary. We are all in good shape, albeit being on different parts of the world.

Jonno stayed with a friend, initially for 3 weeks but they told him that it didn’t make sense for him to move to a temporary rental and move to a more permanent one for our family. He stayed with them for free! I had a co-worker who was in-between tenants and offered to me his studio apartment in town, within minutes to my work, for $200/week including utilities. My timing, apparently, worked for him because Christmas time is a downtime for renting out a place.

I submitted my resignation after New Year’s. Oops, the car isn’t sold yet. I started to worry! But my husband tried other channels to sell the car, and we got a buyer from one of those channels. He’s so brilliant! Our arrangement was that I tidy up NZ life, he preps Portland life. We each focused on our local priorities.

A close friend of his offered their house that would not sell. It has been a tough property market, eh? We told them our budget was $1,300/month. They took it. Their house could’ve rented for almost $2k/month but they didn’t want to go through the process of finding the right tenants. Being friends with your best friend’s sister makes all the difference. 🙂

A month later I flew to Portland with 4 luggages. Believe it or not, I brought our beautiful set of pots and pans. I knew that I wouldn’t get them for the same price that I got them for. If I sold them, I wouldn’t be able to do it quick enough and at a price I would be okay with. So what if I paid a few hundred dollars on over baggage fees? I would’ve paid the same to get new pots and pants, and a few new clothes. It’s better than spending thousands shipping stuff to a new country. It was my choice, I knew that would happen, I got over it as soon as I checked in.

I started job hunting the next day. When I don’t have a job, I make it a job to get one. My son’s ticket to Portland was purchased and he was arriving a month later. Everything was going as planned, but it still felt as though a night under the stars imagining a life in Portland was actually happening!

I get a job offer for a contract role for only 3 months in less than a month. It pays well. You know, almost $50/hour. I didn’t need benefits, my husband’s job got us covered. Five weeks later, I got offered an extension of 6 more months from the end of my contract. Nine months guaranteed work and income! The work doesn’t need too much from me, but maybe because I know how to use my strengths effectively that I don’t go around a new workplace like a headless chicken.

We buy the essentials. We cook, we eat properly and healthily. This also meant eating less. We don’t plan to have a car yet. For one, Trimet is great! For another, we don’t want to take out a loan. We want to pay for it in cash and we want a hybrid, just like our previous one.

Now in Portland, we are complete and enjoying life together again. We could’ve chosen another city or state, but the point is: WE DID IT.

Yes, we did. My fear of the unknown held me for awhile. I was afraid of the discomfort it would bring, but I managed. I didn’t go hungry, nor was I homeless in the process. Anything better than that is good. I realized so many things about myself and what my true priorities are.

And now we are happy and have more confidence in what we can achieve as a family. I’m less of a worry wart now. I’ve been through what I thought was difficult, but we are all naturally agile. We had the determination, had minimal funds, and had the gift of knowing what we wanted. Friends said to us: “Mission accomplished!!!” when a date was set for the kiddo’s arrival. It still makes me smile.

What’s your story?