Tag Archives: newborn




We have, like many couples with newborns/kids, scheduled “date nights.” Keeping the marriage alive requires work and even more maintenance with new additions to the family.  After Benji was born, I did not want our relationship to take the back seat because it can happen all too easily once we get caught up with the hustle and bustle of looking after a newborn, and became really particular about having date nights. Truth is, too, our marriage suffered a huge setback about a year before we agreed to have a baby and since then, we have learned to never ever be cavalier about our relationship.

Since we don’t live close to our folks and don’t really have the confidence yet to leave Benji with a hired babysitter, our dates nights have been confined to the home. For the most part, it has worked out as we are mostly exhausted by the end of the day to even think about dressing up and going out somewhere. Most date nights consist of renting a movie or catching up on episodes of our favorite shoes. Sometimes, we just hang out on the couch and talk. The point is to simply spend time and reconnect with each other after Benji has slept, without the distractions of internet and the baby. 

So back to our date night: wow that my folks are in town visiting us, we made use of the opportunity to have our scheduled weekly date night outside the home, which was rather glorious. Okay, so it was a Tuesday night where the night scene around any town is pretty mellow, but when you are new parents, you welcome any time by yourselves. We hung out at George Ultralounge & Winebar in Yaletown, a bar with a quiet and relatively classy ambience. I got a virgin mojito (super fun and actually tastes like regular mojito!) and Bry got an old fashion (which he termed “the Don Draper drink.” You get the reference if you’re into Mad Men like we are).

Two short but super sweet hours went by in a hurry. I was surprisingly not that worried about Benji being a handful. And he was reportedly really well behaved the time we were gone (“slept like a baby!” said my folks). Thanks, mom, dad, and aunt, for keeping an eye on Benji and letting us enjoy a special date night.

Do you and your partner schedule date nights? What else do you do to keep the marriage alive? Do you find it even more necessary after having children?


These last two weeks have seen me returning to some of the things I used to do pre-Benji.

1) Exercise/Fitness: I joined this fitness program for new moms, Fit42 that has classes all over BC and in some other provinces in Canada and started with the least strenuous level as I had not been exercising since Benji’s birth. Overall, the classes have been really enjoyable and went at a good pace: some slightly more strenuous circuits than others. It is a good class to ease my way in to more challenging activities in a couple months, for example, jogging.

20120413-144455.jpgI also started swimming again. It’s an exercise I have always enjoyed and still did when I was heavily pregnant at 36 weeks with Benji. So when I found out that the Vancouver Aquatic Center has child minding services Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays from 9am – 1pm, I went out almost immediately, bought swim gear (did not take it with me from Australia!! How silly!), and hit the pool. Did 15 laps which left me feeling invigorated for the next few hours…hoping to be able to do at least 25 by the end of the month or early next month. Good to have some goals.

2) Sleep: Exhaustion from the swim and taking care of this little guy drove me to stop messing around on the internet or watching unnecessary television and hit the sack early at 9pm. Which was great, because Benji only woke up at 530am and that, if I did the math right, meant I got 8.5 hours of sleep. Uninterrupted. My longest stretch since probably the last few weeks of pregnancy (I had lots of trouble sleeping from about 34 weeks on). Needless to say, the sleep was AMAAAAAZZING. I am so thankful to have gotten good rest.

3) Read: Benji has started occupying himself a bit more these days. In fact, sometimes he just wants to be left alone. Good for him AND me! I started reading again in the day and am actually able to get through about 5 to 6 pages at a go while he’s awake and preoccupied with his toy or his feet (he’s now addicted to uhm, trying to put his toes in his mouth. I am VERY concerned and will express that in my next post to come soon)

4) Dine out: Between the 3rd and 4th month, Benji was extremely fussy during the “witching” hour from 5pm-7pm. Taking him out to restaurants for our dinners was impossible because he would cry and scream and demand our undivided attention. However, since his eczema got better and he started sleeping through the night, his temperament also got better and reverted to how he was in the first couple months: relatively mellow. Seeing this improvement, we decided to take a gamble and try a family dinner out at a restaurant in our neighborhood that serves food with gluten and dairy free options!! The food was great,  and I was able to get a gluten and dairy free pecan pie with coconut ice cream dessert (YUM, first dessert in foreverrr!!) AND Benji was totally chilled out. Win!

I’m know this easy ride is not gonna last long but I’m enjoying it while I can…

I’m still amazed at my ability to have gone through days upon days without incident on such little sleep, and even more surprised that I still had the brain energy to blog since Benji was born.

Let’s just start by saying for someone with a graduate degree who has done pretty well in school and has an A+ work ethic, I am actually not very smart. I bet if I took an IQ test, my scores will be in the low average range. And my slowness usually surfaces in social situations when I take FOREVER to get a joke and am probably the least witty person I know.

I have also always hated my writing; I am still quite embarrassed to share my blog with friends and get flustered knowing that my husband reads it (hi!). You see, I’m a Speech-Language Pathologist married to a guy with a PhD who I’m sure I’ve said it somewhere else before, is one of the best writers who really should be writing for the NYTimes or The New Yorker. I should be a better writer. But if you read my posts with just a thick-toothed comb – let’s say a hair brush – you’ll fine grammatical errors, clumsily worded sentences, and probably even spelling mistakes.  Yet, if I spent time cleaning up my posts, I’ll probably be writing one post a month because I am that slow.

Now add on the fact that I haven’t been sleeping properly for months. You can understand now why I am amazed that I can still write somewhat coherently and function daily…somewhat. Still haven’t accidentally set the kitchen on fire (we have an electric stove at this rented house thank goodness!) or over salted our food yet. The only part of my brain that has increased in capacity is the one that organizes. Trying to plan meals n chores n outings n playtimes n quiet times with Bry with a newborn is challenging…and I’m super at that these days.

But here are some examples of how I sound with my brain on no sleep:

Me to Bry: “Hunny can you please…uhm…uhm…put the uhm…dishwashing detergent in the uhm…washing machine and push start?”


Bry: “Maybe we should use a safety pin to fasten the cloth on the strap (in the stroller)” 

Me: “Nah I don’t like using the safety pin what if the pin comes out?”

Bry: “Do you understand how a safety pin works and why it’s called a safety pin?”


Me: “Oh did you buy more pears? Wait they look like potatoes.”

Bry: “They’re potato pears! They’re pears that look like potatoes.”

Me: “Oh I’ve never heard of that. So do they taste like potatoes, too?”


Me: “Benji’s coos are sounding so cute. Somedays he sounds like he’s almost talking…and somedays he sounds like an amateur Ventroquolist.”

Most of the time, Bry is graciously amused by my slip ups and confusions but I would so like to go back to being just. SLOW.

Well, since we got back from Seattle, Benji has been sleeping a good chunk of the night. For instance, he slept from 8pm – 5am last night, and then again from 6am – 8am, allowing me to get decent sleep for 10 days in a row now. I’m feeling more and more revitalized from these good sleeps.

I have been playing word scrabble while nursing and starting to read articles on the NYTimes or WSJ again (and not just getting updates from gossip sites which at times were also too wordy for me. Or relying on status updates from FB friends or Bry to get my news.). In a way, blogging has also been helping to keep my brain in check. I’m gonna start my Brain Training exercises on my DS when we return to Australia and maybe later download a Sudoku app to complement word scrabble games while nursing.

Question is, with more rest now, will my brain go back to the way it was pre-Benji? Most people say it will never be the same again, but I am hopeful.


When Benji was first born everyone including me thought he looked just like Bry. But this baby photo of me that my mom emailed me yesterday just proved everyone wrong!

One of our friends joked before that people usually say the baby looks like the dad first so dads won’t bail. Funny.

Who does your kid look like? Did that change through the years?


That’s right! Benji turned the big 4 months about 4 days ago! Exciting developmental milestones in the last week or so:

  • He flipped over from his back to front which totally caught us by surprise so didn’t get to take a video of it. (Still waiting for another flip to happen, btw.) 🙂
  • He LOVES this yoga pose of pulling up his legs to mid air so he can look at his feet…and that really keeps him entertained for a while.
  • His 4 month sleep regression seems to be over. THANK GOD. Benji has now reverted to sleeping his usual schedule of about 8pm – 3am which gave Bry and me our quiet time together again.
  • He has more vowels in his coos. Instead of just going “ayy” Benji has started going “eee” and I might be making this up but I was pretty sure I heard a couple of weak sounding “m”s in his coos. His coos have also gotten louder and he’s gurgling more frequently than before.

Benji also had his 4 month immunizations and thankfully did not react too badly to them. He might have had a very mild fever but was not too cranky neither did he need any tylenol.

AND the biggest plus is his skin has gotten SO much better since we started him on the prescribed topical medication (Hydrocortisone Butyrate 0.1%). I have no doubt that the elimination diet is also helping because Benji hasn’t had new huge flare ups since the diet began. More about my diet in the next few posts.

Thank you all my friends and family for your prayers and concerns especially when Benji’s eczema was really really bad. God answers prayers.

Benji’s skin around the neck has now flared up. I feel like everytime he makes a little improvement, then a regression, the regressed state gets worse and worse. He woke up earlier screaming and obviously itching and in pain. I’m not sure what to make of it. The diet – if his eczema was really food allergy related 0 is supposed to improve his condition yet it’s getting worse. I might cut out grapes, bananas and even maple syrup as I have had those in the diet. Meanwhile, it’s 2am and I can hear the poor baby thrashing his head from left to right in the crib. How quickly do people see results from the TED if it was really a food allergy??? It sounds like almost immediately. Do we need to get another laundry detergent? Should I be doing something else differently? I’m going out of my mind replaying today’s events over and over, trying to find a reason for his regression.

We have a ped derm appointment next week. I have also now looked up naturopaths in the neighborhood and if things don’t look better in the next 2 weeks or so we might have to try that.

I’m finding it hard to trust that things will get better and that we will find a trigger. Maybe he’ll be one of those babies whose eczema just is and we just have to deal with steroids and medication.

I’m terribly sorry Benji we didn’t mean to sign you up for this. 😦


After a week (more like 7 weeks of steady decline of his skin) of watching Benji go through breakouts of rashes everywhere and getting increasingly fussy because of itch, I decided to do it: TOTAL ELIMINATION DIET.

Not just dairy and eggs and shellfish n red meat as in my previous post, but any food that has been known to cause allergies to rule out as quickly as possible if he is allergic to foods I’ve been eating. That on top of using new all natural laundry detergent, wearing and coming into contact with ONLY cotton, and getting our place spring cleaned tomorrow with all natural products.

It was a very tough decision for me (again I LOVE my food too much! And one of the ways Bry n I bond over so much is through food) but watching my poor baby so uncomfortable with rashes and having bound hands to prevent him from scratching is an even more difficult feeling to stomach. We need to get down to business faster.

Popularized by Dr SearsDr Sears the diet is made up of: millet, rice, rice pasta, organic lamb chicken turkey, squashes, and pears. I m going to modify it a little to include quinoa, apples and spinach lettuce and Chinese leafy veggies. Calcium n omega 3 supplements should also be consumed to keep up the nutrients.

I hope to follow through for at least two weeks and pray to see some noticeable results so we know there is a trigger and can work it out from there rather than simply relying on steroids medication n worse of all continuously having to bind his hands and watch him like a hawk.

Let’s hope it’s just food allergies. Goodbye junk food, cakes n cookies, cereal, cheese….etc for awhile!!

Meanwhile mommy needs to try to chill out.