Friday, April 19, 2013


My friend Jenn sent me this article about new motherhood, and I found I could relate up until the point the writer starts in about how she has forgotten the incredibly lonely, panicked days, where you should be on "cloud nine" but you are really on like cloud negative infinity and wondering if you can ever claw your way back to feeling like a normal person. That was me. To top it off because (good or bad) I like to try to come off like I have things all together, which is merely a facade because I have no idea what's going on most of the time, having people recognize that I wasn't on cloud nine and basking in the the joy of new motherhood brought me this enduring shame. I remember something my good friend Kate said to me, and I'm not bringing this up to make her feel badly, but after visiting me one day she was worried that I regretted having a baby. After reading that I cried thinking that if that is the vibe I was giving off I must be not only a terrible mother but a terrible human being.
It took me maybe an entire year or more to finally come to terms with my new role as a mother. In the beginning I loved my child and hated my sleep deprived life in equal measure. I was ashamed that I wanted to ignore my baby crying secretly hoping my husband would get up and take care of her. I felt isolated feeding her in the middle of the night while everyone else was sleeping peacefully in their beds. I did not enjoy those first several months as much as most new moms claim to.
Unlike the writer of that article, those days are still in sharp focus and I am terrified of the repeat experience. It wasn't amnesia that made me decide it was time for #2, but more the overwhelming pressure that if there was even a slim possibility that I would look back and regret not having a sibling for #1, I better have another one before both #1 and I get too old. I am terrified of those feelings or lack thereof of loving being a mom as much as society seems to think I should and even more terrified of having to tell people that I love it because that is what I am supposed to do when in reality I felt so alone and had a difficult time adjusting in addition to the long physical recovery.
But thankfully, I don't feel like this mom, who said in the Daily Mail article that having two children is the biggest regret of her life. I may lack some maternal instincts or the mothering gene or whatever it is that makes people bask in the blissful sleep deprived joy of new motherhood. I may never be good at getting the part straight for her pigtails and yesterday I may or may not have had to bribe her to go to bed by letting her look at my poop in the toilet, but despite the rough start I do not for a minute regret having Little Miss J. She brings me so much joy every single day. I've adjusted to no happy hour, going to bed at 8:00 p.m., waking up at 5:00 a.m. and always making sure I have crayons and Kleenex in my purse. This is the new normal. While I didn't find the actual birth much of a miracle, I do think that it is pretty amazing that I made such a sweet, cute, and funny little person (with a little help from my husband of course).
So maybe like an elephant, I still remember those days where I had thoughts that Little Miss J would have been better without me and how awful those days were. But at least this time around, I have proof that it gets better.

Monday, April 15, 2013

old mcdonald had a farm

I joined a Meetup group dedicated to golden retrievers and their owners on the off chance that there would be some event for Carl Rove, and last weekend there was the perfect event. A lovely couple in Vacaville (about 45 minutes from us) has 5 acres and pretty much a petting zoo on their property. I was telling Little Miss J that we were going to a farm with Carl, and she said, "I can see cows and pigs ..." There were no cows, but there were llamas, goats, pigs, horses, all kinds of birds, and bunnies. Not sure who had more fun, Carl or Little Miss J.

Carl and his new friends, Henry and Bruno
Little Miss J had so much fun that, of course, she didn't want to leave. The owner, Thao, let her collect some eggs from the chicken coop for her breakfast, and on Sunday Little Miss J told me she wanted to go back to the farm.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

rainbow baby

Dear Baby Wang Chung II,

I wrote letters to Little Miss J during my pregnancy (and afterward too) and so in similar fashion, I will do the same for you. After a miscarriage earlier this year, you are our rainbow baby. Picked that term up on BabyCenter, you like it? Because after the storm, there's a rainbow ... get it? If you were a girl, I was going to decorate your nursery with a rainbow theme. But you are not and now I'm struggling to find something suitable that isn't cars/trucks, dinosaurs, jungle, or sports themed.

You have the most adorable, perfect big sister so you've got quite a bit to live up to here, and frankly, so far I'm not that impressed. You've rendered me pretty much useless (and barfing) for the past three months. Your sister often tells me, "Your tummy hurt. You  go lay down." This is probably because I've said this to her repeatedly several times per day throughout this first trimester. Might I suggest that to remain in my good graces you be a good sleeper, good nurser, and please please please like the swing that I intend on buying you and putting you in so I can take a shower, do the laundry, feed Carl, etc. Oh and if you could come out with just a few pushes (versus two freaking hours), you will probably seal the deal as my favorite child.

You should know that I was skeptical while pregnant with Little Miss J often wondering (and not just to myself but to anyone that would listen) what would happen if I didn't love my baby. Fortunately, for you I have learned that babies are magical unicorns and despite feeling like an 18-wheeler just drove out of your crotch, mothers love their babies. It's mostly hormonal, but just go with it because it means we like you enough to take care of you and want only what is best for you - and really it's better than the alternative. You can, however, rest easy knowing that we've managed to keep one kid alive for more than two years. So odds are pretty good that you'll turn out OK.

Most recently, I have been looking forward to your arrival so I can dress you up as this for Halloween.

All kidding aside, we are excited for you to be the next Chunglund. Last night Little Miss J lifted up my shirt and looked in my belly button because she wanted to see you.

Love (but might love you more if you stopped making me barf),

your umma

Monday, April 8, 2013


The weather has been gorgeous and I have finally been feeling like I'm not going to puke 24/7 so we've been trying to get outside more and explore some new places. On Saturday, Little Miss J and I took a run/walk to meet Gus, who was getting his hair cut. Let's be honest. There was more walking than running. Little Miss J would tell me to "go fast to the corner," and I tried to oblige but I don't think she was impressed with my speed. Afterward, we headed to the Natural Foods Co-op for the first time together. Both Gus and I had been separately, but we thought we'd grab a bite to eat and look at some stuff. Little Miss J was insistent that she wanted a "big sandwich" until she saw the "big cookies." I was just happy that there was a real juice bar - the carrot, apple, lemon, ginger is delicious. For some reason, I thought that in California there would be more juice bars but there really isn't.

On Sunday, we decided to explore Davis, which is maybe 20 miles or so from our house. We strolled around downtown and had Indian food for lunch. Then we took Little Miss J to the park to run around. She's getting so big and we are *almost* at the point where I can sit on a bench and just watch her play rather than hauling her little butt up and down the slide.

After the park we stopped for a cupcake, which it would seem that Little Miss J mistook for ice cream because she licked all the frosting off both mine and hers, and then proclaimed herself, "all done!"

In typical form, Little Miss J was pretty upset when she realized that after cupcakes we were going home rather than back to the park.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

what you've missed

Since keeping Baby Wang II a secret for the first trimester, I've got a backload of Facebook status updates. Here's what you've been missing.

1. Nothing like throwing up in the bathroom with your toddler cheering you on, “You did it!”

2. So I guess if you have to be sick during church, it’s nice that they pipe the service into the restroom.

3. Somehow, Little Miss J has the impression that girls cannot have baby boys. I keep trying to tell her I have a baby boy in my tummy and she says, “No, Appah has boy.” Oh honey, sometimes your umma also wishes your Appah had this boy.

4. Only when I’m pregnant could I possibly think that my grilled cheese is too cheesy.

5. Hopefully, you can grow humans by eating only Lucky Charms.

6. cannot. stop. throwing. up.

7. Being pregnant is not like being drunk/hungover. Throwing up does not actually provide any relief.

8. You know you’ve got a keeper when after two faint positives, your husband takes the third pregnancy test to serve as the control. And in case you were wondering, Gus is definitely not pregnant.

9. Baby Wang Chung II is a boy and we’ve at least got the letters of his name narrowed down. My pick is Jonah, while Gus’s pick is Johan. Gus tried to sell me on Johan by saying it was a good Scandinavian name. In which case he probably needs a good Scandinavian last name. So we can either have a Johan Berglund or a Jonah Chung, Gus’s choice.
10. This is either going to be LIttle Miss J's best or worst birthday so far. She's either going to think it's great she got a baby brother as a birthday present or feel ripped off that it's going to be all about me and baby on her birthday.

a different banana

This morning Little Miss J saw me eating a banana and of course monkey see monkey do, she also wants a banana. I offered her a bite of mine, which got me a boat load of attitude as she dismissed that idea with an emphatic "NO!" Gus grabs another banana and starts peeling it for her and she freaks out some more because she doesn't want that banana she wants "a different banana." I'm thinking maybe Little Miss Independent wanted to peel it herself and that's what she's upset about, but no she wanted a specific banana on the counter because when Gus gave her the "different banana" she immediately asked me to help her open it. LOL. The life of the unreasonable toddler.   

Monday, April 1, 2013

hoppy easter!

Saturday morning we walked with some other neighborhood families up to the park where there was an egg hunt for the little ones. Gus volunteered to help hide eggs and to clean up dog poop before the kids got there. We got there a little early and not even the promise of candy in those eggs could get Little Miss J off the swing. Gus finally just had to tear her away because I have a feeling the tears would have been greater had she missed the hunting.

There was an Easter bunny.

Some face (arm) painting - she loved her butterflies and was very careful for the remainder of the day when washing her hands to not smudge them.

And even some treats for the grown ups!

Little Miss J got the hang of the egg gathering pretty quickly -

On Sunday, she was so excited to wear her "beautiful ballet" that we put her dress on well before having to leave for church. She was very diligent about going potty because she did not want to mess up her dress.
After church there was another egg hunt where she got more "Easter bunny eggs." I think her favorite part was the balloon drop.
We then headed to Easter brunch with Auntie Rachael and Uncle Randy complete with flower picking and a dance party - oh and more Easter treats!

Little Miss J was having so much fun with Auntie Rachael that she didn't want to leave, but we had another Easter bash to head to. Our neighbors had invited us over for dinner and so we had to head out. I told her that she was going to get to play with Karly and only then did she acquiesce to leaving. As soon as we pulled up to our house, she wanted to go to Karly's house. Since we weren't expected for another half hour or so I tried to hold her off but Little Miss J persevered and I finally had to text my neighbor to see if Little Miss J could stop by early. Thankfully, Julie took her off my hands for an hour and I managed to whip up some crab dip. By the time we went over there, Little Miss J had her shoes off, had drawn with sparkle chalk, and was swinging on the swingset. The weather was gorgeous and after a couple competitive rounds of croquet we headed in for dinner. My favorite part was watching Karly and Little Miss J - monkey see monkey do. Karly's in kindergarten and Little Miss J will do absolutely everything Karly does. Little Miss J sat politely at the table at all her soup with a spoon and dipped her bread in just like Karly. Of course leaving is always the hardest part and despite being bedtime, Little Miss J was still going strong. She was so upset to have to take off her fancy dress.
With family spread far and wide, the Chunglunds were on their own for another holiday. Luckily, we've had some great friends new and old to be with on Easter. We don't have many friends here in Sacramento, but the ones we have are fantastic and we had a jam packed Easter weekend.