Mom-petitions: The bane of a mother's social life

I hate mom-petitions, and the moms who participate in them - "mom-petitors", I call them.

Now, just to be clear, I'm not talking about moms who enter their kids' photos in blog contests and giveaways, or to a magazine. That's fine by me. I'm not talking about moms who blog about their kids either - your blog is yours to write what you please, and if it means talking all about your lil one all the time, by all means, do it! I actually enjoy reading those blogs. I don't even mean the moms who take part in mom pageants - honestly, I wish I had the guts to join those.

What I am talking about is the moms who go out of their way to talk about their kids in relation to other moms' (preferably inferior) kids. You know what I'm talking about, right? Don't deny it!

These are the moms who will call you with the apparent purpose of "just catching up" but will somehow steer the conversation towards the kids' development. The subsequent conversation would go something like this:

Mom-petitor: "So what is your little guy able to do now?".

You (very geniunely and sincerely answering her question - so naive!): "Oh, he's already sitting up on his own/crawling/cruising!"

Mom-petitor (almost unable to suppress the glee in their voice): "Oh really?? Well my guy is already walking".

You: "Err...That's great!" (thinking to self: "OMG is my child developmentally challenged??!??!")

Mom-petitor (with a voice dripping with fake sympathy): "Oh, I'm sure its no problem...every child develops at his own pace, you know".

The conversation will usually end on that note since she will have "won" that battle and would like to now bask in the glory of being #1 Mom in her head.

I must admit, I think we all have that  natural curiosity about how well our kids are doing developmentally, compared to other kids. But most of us manage to stop ourselves from deliberately pitting our kids against each other because, really, whose battle is it? The kids couldn't care less! Its us moms who feel so insecure, when in actuality our kids developmental milestones have got little to do with our standard of parenting. No matter what we do, a kids is gonna walk when he is prepared to, grow his first tooth when he's ready, and learn to potty when he's willing to make the effort.

There is no point in going crazy over whether your child is reaching his milestones on time, or late, or exceedingly early. So don't play the mom-petition game. All it does is increase your self-esteem temporarily at the price of making another mom worry unnecessarily.

Even worse, if this kind of mom-petition goes on till the child gets older, it will affect the children significantly. ad We've all borne witness to that aunty down the road who comes over just to tell our mom that her son got straight A's in his exams, and wants to know how many A's you got. Or your mom's cousin who "complains" that her daughter doesn't spend enough time with her because she's so busy practicing to be a world-class pianist. How did that make you feel?

So do us all a favor and think before you speak. Let our generation be the one with cool moms who are there to support, encourage and love each other, mother-to-mother. Because  we are the only ones who "get it" and have the power to change this mom-petition mindset that is synonymous with the culture of "aunties" past.

Glam mamas don't need mom-petitions to prove their glamourous-ness! We're glam as we are, and there's nothing mom-petitions can do to prove otherwise ;D

My Cloth Diaper Stash

Since I just spent the last half hour stuffing my diapers, I thought now would be a good time to write about my cloth diaper stash. If you haven't read it already, here is a post I made about the reasons I use cloth diapers.

Now, before you get shocked by the sheer amount of diapers I own, please bear in mind that:
  • I have TWO kids in diapers
  • A lot of my stash are pre-loved diapers, so I got them on the cheap
  • I tried out a lot of diapers in my early cloth-diapering days, and kept them "just in case". I'm ashamed to say that quite a few diapers are rarely used...
  • BUT I keep those diapers for demo use to show to mamas who are interested in cloth-diapering
So now that I'm done with justifying my embarrassingly huge diaper stash, lets get onto the list, shall we? There's no real order to this list, but generally the ones on top are the most frequently used (which is why I can recall their brands first). Also, the quantities, especially the larger numbers, are just an estimate, because I haven't really kept count.

  1. Bumgenius 3.0 One-Size - 2 dozen pcs - Velcro
  2. Happy Heiny One-Size  - A dozen pcs -Velcro 
  3. Blueberry Dekuxe One-Size -Velcro
  4. Blueberry Size M - 3 pcs - Snaps
  5. Coolababy One-Size - 3 pcs - Snaps
All-In-Ones / All-In-Twos (AIOs / AI2s)

  1. Rumparooz - Size M & L
  2. Itty Bitty D'Lish - Size L
  3. Bumkins - Size M
  1. Motherease One-Size - 4 pcs
  2. Diaperaps Hemp Organic Size 2 - 1 pc
  3. FreshBots - Size M - 2 pc, Size L - 4 pcs
  1. Thirsties Fitteds - Preemie - 6 pcs, Infant - 36 pcs
  2. Assorted Infant & Toddler sized plain & embellished prefolds bought from the US
  1. A whole bunch of them, some plain, some printed - There may be at least 50 pcs of these in our house
  1. Motherease M Size- 3 pcs
  2. Thirsties Small Size- 4 pcs
  3. Wonder Wraps One-Size
Most of the time I use the pockets. Once in a while, when I've run out of pockets (yes, its possible when you have poop-making machines who go several times a day like mine), I use the AIOs/AI2s. My next choice after that is fitteds + covers.

Aqil wearing his custom embroidered Wonder Wrap Cover with a fitted diaper underneath

We use fitteds and knitted wool pants (often called 'longies' in the cloth-diapering world) for Afraz at night, which is AMAZING because it doesn't leak (I will definitely write about that one day).

Afraz wearing the longies that I knitted

The prefolds and flats were used mostly during Afraz' first month because he couldn't yet fit into any other diapers.

 1-week-old Afraz in a Snappi'd Preemie-sized Prefold

I'll write a review for the diapers in my stash one of these days. Till then, please refrain from gossiping about this crazy mama with a crazy large diaper stash ;)

Tandem Nursing: Part 2 - Nursing a Baby and a Toddler

As promised, here's Part 2 of my musings on tandem nursing. You can find Part 1 here.

When my milk came in after Afraz was born, Aqil went a little crazy with the breastfeeding. He didn't even care that he had to share with his brother, as long as he got the "duwishus nenen" (delicious milk). Think about it: he continued to nurse all through pregnancy despite not getting any milk, or very little milk. Of course the incredibly rich, sweet, newborn milk was just irresistible to the lil guy. There were times when he would be "mabuk susu" (milk drunk). It was quite hilarious.

Another aspect that I caught me off guard despite reading about it before, was the change in Aqil's poop! He started passing runny newborn poop again. Also, he put on weight and regained his baby rolls...despite hardly eating any solids, because he just wanted to nenen all the time.

Naturally, his enthusiastic nursing, along with that of my always-hungry newborn, only helped to increase my supply. Words cannot describe how proud, thankful and amazed I was that my body was providing more than enough nourishment for my two children. It was surreal!

However, in the first month post-partum, I still experienced traces of agitation. Along with volatile post-partum hormones and the lack of sleep that is par of the course in caring for a newborn, I was quite moody. Strangely enough, though, the feeling was not as bad as when I gave birth to Aqil - I had such major baby blues that time, it almost prompted DH to bring me to the hospital. This time around my moodiness was bearable, and in fact most of the time I felt quite happy. I suspect it had something to do with round-the-clock nursing. Increase in the pleasure hormones, y'know?

Anyhow, after the first month, the feeling of agitation vanished, as did my moodiness, and I began to get into the groove of being a mom to two young children. Along with easing into our routines, I was getting used to breastfeeding two children. For the first three months or so, tandem nursing went without a hitch. It was quite a blessing to have them both nursing together most of the time, because it meant that I would get frequent breaks during the day where I can just relax and not have to chase after Aqil. There were times when they would fall asleep together at the breast, which was awesome because obviously it meant that mama can have a power nap as well ;)

Since I have a short and narrow (shall we just say petite?) torso, it meant that a double cradle position was impossible from the start.

Picture from KellyMom

So for nursing while sitting up, I would opt for having Afraz in cradle position, and Aqil in modified football hold.

Picture from KellyMom

But as Afraz got older and bigger, things got a little more complicated. He began kicking his brother, which I can't blame him for since essentially his legs were being pushed in when they could be hanging off to the side if his brother wasn't there. Aqil obviously didn't enjoy this either. So then I adapted further by having Aqil stand up to nurse, while I continued to cradle Afraz. This was fine and all for the kids, but not so great for longer sessions because I had to lean to the front a little, and that hurt my back.

To this day, each tandem nursing involves an array of positioning possibilities. Most days its trial and error, other days we find the ideal position from the start. But now that Aqil is less inclined to have longer nursing sessions, its a lot easier to position ourselves since I now he'll only be around for like 1/3 of the session.

As of this past week, my main issues with tandem nursing are the flailing hands of the kids. Afraz starts grabbing at Aqil, who starts to swat Afraz' hand off, which gets Afraz upset and causes him to unlatch, which makes me annoyed, and so on and so forth. There are days, however, when they peacefully hold hands or rub each other's faces. I remember back when Afraz was a newborn, Aqil would rub his arms and his hair till he fell asleep :D I live for moments like that.

Honestly, if anyone asks me whether I regret tandem nursing, I would answer with a resounding NO. I love it! Our experience has had its fair share of hardships, but none of it can outweigh the positive benefits all three of us have received. Both kids are happy, healthy, and close, whereas my life is convenient (in case of toddler meltdown, I still have the boobs to ply him *LOL*), peaceful (seriously, I cannot tell you what a blessing it is to be able to get Aqil to quiet down for just 5 minutes of nursing) and full of gratitude to be able to witness the brotherly bonding that goes on between my two boys when they are breastfeeding together.

So, to all the glam mamas out there who might be in the same position I was all those months ago - pregnant and still breastfeeding - know that you have a choice. There is no wrong or right. It all depends on your situation, how you feel about the possibility of tandem nursing/nursing while pregnant, and the status of your new pregnancy (higher-order multiples and high-risk pregnancies run the risk of multiple complications that can be further exacerbated by breastfeeding). The most important things is to educate yourself. Read a book, do some research, ask around. Then go to your chosen OB-GYN (who is, hopefully, pro-breastfeeding) armed with all these info so that you can have a sound, educated, well-rounded discussion about your choices.

Pictures in this post are courtesy of KellyMom
For more info please check out KellyMom's "Nursing For Two" section here

Tandem Nursing: Part 1 - Breastfeeding while pregnant

Remember how I had mentioned that my eldest son, Aqil, has weaned? Well, a couple of weeks after I wrote that post, he un-weaned! Apparently it is entirely normal for a child to un-wean, especially if the weaning itself was not achieved with a conscious, deliberate effort. I should've guessed he'd un-wean, though. That child has been obsessed with breastfeeding since birth!

So now I am back to tandem nursing again. Some of you already know of my tandem nursing adventures, but some don't, so I might as well talk about it here :)

When I found out I was pregnant with my second son, Afraz, my eldest was just 10 months old. Seeing as how I am passionate about breastfeeding and am determined to breastfeed all my children until at least two years old, the first question I asked myself was: Can I continue to breastfeed while pregnant?

That's Aqil and I, when I was three months pregnant

I knew from my forays into natural parenting forums that many mothers tandem nurse (or even tri-andem nurse - nursing MORE than two at once!), but I am the type of person who just doesn't trust anecdotal evidence 100%. After a quick search with Google for more info, I stumbled upon an article on Kelly Mom co-authored by Hilary Flower. It turns out she had written a book about tandem nursing & nursing while pregnant, entitled Adventures in Tandem Nursing. I immediately called Kinokuniya and put in an order for the book!

While I waited for the book to arrive, I confidently breastfed Aqil, knowing that any risks mentioned by nay-sayers have no real basis in an entirely normal pregnany (which mine was, as far as anyone could tell). After I got the book, I read it all at once. The book made every breastfeeding decision I made from that day so easy!

In the first trimester of pregnancy, I was experiencing some pretty harsh morning sickness. The heat here didn't make it any better - in fact, I fainted a couple of times while outdoors. Not at all glam, I assure you. In addition to all this, I was also experiencing some intense agitation issues. I don't know how to describe it fully, but its a sudden feeling of annoyance, aggression, amalgam of negative emotions really, and it only happens when I breastfeed. After the breastfeeding session, I would start feeling like my normal self again. I found out through research that it is normal for some mamas to experience this, but that didn't help to diminish the feeling at all.

Anyhow, I pulled through the first trimester despite the agitation and morning sickness, and moved on to the "honeymoon period" that is the second trimester. Morning sickness was gone, as was the agitation...but unfortunately, my milk dried up. Now, keep in mind that some mamas have milk throughout their entire pregnancy, and some find that their milk is gone from the first trimester onwards. So each mother is unique. For me, the second trimester signaled the absence of milk.

That didn't change the frequency of Aqil's feeding, though. He continued to breastfeed as if nothing had happened! At this point, I began instituting the 5-second countdown. What's that exactly? Well, when I felt as if the session had gone on long enough, or if I started feeling uncomfortable (its really hard to negotiate a comfy position between a wriggly toddler and a big pregnant belly), I would count down 5-4-3-2-1. At times I would do it slowly, at other times it'd be quick. Aqil was resistant to this at first, but eventually he got the idea of it, and to this day we still do the countdown.

Its a good thing I did it, too, because agitation returned with a vengeance in my third trimester! And with it, came my milk. I personally think that the agitation is hormonal and is related to my letdown, but I'm not entirely sure. Anyhow, I made full use of the countdown in the third trimester. Between my about-to-pop belly and agitation, breastfeeding was borderline unbearable. But for some reason, I still went with it. Mostly it was because I really really wanted to breastfeed Aqil till he was at least two years old. Another reason was because I did not want him to feel that the weaning had anything at all with the new human being about to enter our household. However, during this time, Aqil had cut down on breastfeeding a LOT. He would nurse maybe once or twice a day, and I remember being genuinely worried and upset about that, because I thought he was going to wean. Obviously, that didn't happen ;)

One thing I have to mention here, though. One of the best experiences in the time I was nursing while pregnant, happened around the time I was about to give birth. I was nursing Aqil, and all of a sudden, the baby kicked him from inside me! Aqil immediately latched off, and stared at my belly. It was the first time that breastfeeding played a part in their brotherly bonding, and it was such a profound moment for me, as it cemented my determination to nurse both my babies indefinitely!

Come March 11, 2009, I gave birth to my second child, Afraz Alman. He was a champion breastfeeder from birth! Not more than ten minutes after he was born, he latched on confidently, and in that moment, I officially became a tandem nursing mother.

Tandem nursing both children simultaneously didn't happen till Afraz was about a week old, if I recall correctly. Aqil woke up grumpy and wanting to nurse in the early morning, and I happened to be nursing Afraz while lying on my side. So I told Aqil to come around behind me and latch on from the top, and he did it (this is called a perch position for breastfeeding).

My first time tandem nursing - had to take a pic!

Tandem nursing a baby and a toddler comes with all sorts of issues - both positive and negative. I'll write more about that in Part 2 :) Stay tuned!

Tandem nursing my kids

Back in the game!

First of all, Happy New Year! I know I am way behind on wishing y'all, but better late than never, eh? ;)

I've been pretty swamped with assignments, writing and speaking jobs, house-hunting and, of course, being a mama to my boys. However, I've now vowed to update this blog every day! Honestly, writing is cathartic to me and I don't do it for myself often enough. So I really must do it more often.

You know what else I realized during my absence? I haven't told you all that much about what I do. Well, frankly, I don't have an official job description and actually have hard time describing what I do...but I'll try here.

In a nutshell: I work from home as a  freelance writer, speaker and public relations specialist.

I write articles for both web and print media. Most of it has been about parenting and natural lifestyle, but I've written about other topics as well.

Most of my speaking engagements have been about natural lifestyle and parenting choices too (most of the time its an overlap of the two topics). I've done some emcee-ing in the past, and enjoy that too, but a lot of companies like to hire in-house for that these days.

I also do PR work for Malaysian Babywearers and other clients (not at liberty to say), and its really a passion of mine. I majored in PR and I genuinely enjoy it. I'm not a 9-to-5er, though, so I highly doubt I'll ever work as a high-flying executive of a PR agency.

Although these jobs don't pay much now (some don't pay at all!), I look at them as building blocks for my career plans in the future. What might that include, you wonder? Well I would love to write books, and magazine articles. I'd love to teach, whether through ad-hoc speaking engagements or as a lecturer. I'd love to do some theatre or TV on the side (another long-abandoned passion of mine..the hours are too odd). There are many things I'd love to the near future.

For now, my main focus is to be a glam mama for my two kids...and even though I can't exactly put that on my resume, its the accomplishment I am most proud of!

p.s: if anyone has a need to hire me for any of the jobs mentioned above, i won't say no!