building communication skills to help with the Terrible Twos

At 15 months, we're getting a premature taste of the infamous Terrible Two stage. Our little boy's personality seems to be developing along what the books call "spirited" or "strong-willed", even "high-need" (although this last term is politically incorrect anymore). His Khmer nanny is bewildered and amused at the range, intensity and volatility of emotion he exhibits. He can be blissfully happy one second and thrashing about in a full rage for the next two hours. It sets him off when we don't understand what he wants. With redirecting a bit more difficult now we've had to be creative. Thankfully he's developed some decent communication skills early on. The fact that signing and verbalizing are still novel to him at this stage, and that … [Read more...]

Awake training

Lack of sleep - yes, it comes with the territory. (Don't you love how every Jane Dick and Joe peddles this brilliant insight gleefully to new parents, regardless s/he's a parent herself? Like the idea won't logically pop into your head?) As a working mom who luckily likes her job, I'm amazed with how mind and body can actually still function - well, maybe not optimally - on the piddly rest I'm sometimes able to scrape out of my nights. (Sleep-training our little boy? I think he's got me the other way around.) When baby wakes me up to help him go back to sleep - and then I can't get myself back to sleep, it's the one opportunity I have to catch up on my rss feeds, in bed in the dark. (Thank god for tablets!) So during these sleepless … [Read more...]

What to do with an old crib

I love this idea, even though we never got around to buying a crib for the little boy! It's reposted from A Little Learning for Two, a blog about raising two kids on a small budget in a small apartment.   … [Read more...]

from Diapers to Durians

...speaking of pungent fruits.. It isn't durian season, but Thai varieties are available all year so we can get them here. I had a craving for it a few weeks ago and the little boy got in on the fun. Yep, he's had a taste and seems to like it. … [Read more...]

a first Christmas for the little boy

it's a nice little rendering from the folks over at House32, no? … [Read more...]

Toys for tots

      We always have a ready list of items to look for on our travels, that we can't find or don't have a wide selection of in Cambodia. Toys were on that list this year. While home we looked for toys that'll engage the little boy's imagination longer than the immediate learning phase. And I'm not a fan of the plastic battery-operated trinkets with obnoxious bright lights and noise. I remember the toys from when I was a kid which had a lot to do with being creative - like blocks, tinker toys or legos. So one of our great finds is this Zany Zoo wooden activity cube. It's sturdy and bottom-heavy (at 9kg/19lb this little boy can pull himself up on it without tipping it over), thoughtfully designed (rounded corners, … [Read more...]

Surviving a long haul flight with a 10 month old

Last month the most direct route from our house in Phnom Penh to my parents' doorstep in NYC took 29 hours. We took two flights: Phnom Penh - Hong Kong for three hours, then Hong Kong - JFK for around 16 hours. It's a long time on the road with an infant. Our baby practically lives in a suitcase, and has been on numerous flights since he was born - always as a lap child (at $1520 a seat on this flight, I think we're going to take him as a lap child as long as we can!), so he's used to flying and is generally manageable on flights. Nevertheless, I'm always anxious before the trip and packing "his" carry-on is de-stressing me. We're preparing for our trip back this weekend -- yes, after I'd finally adjusted to the time zone and the cold … [Read more...]

a nursing mom at work

Having a baby is a life changer, and thankfully our life outside the US has been good for us. The social culture in SE Asia and my profession are both supportive of young families. Staff and diners here don't cringe when we walk into a restaurant or food shop; instead they fight over who gets to hold the baby while we eat, and he's returned to us with the bill. Second, we're lucky that my employer is so supportive of new mothers. There's a nursery at the office so nursing moms to bring our babies to work. My colleagues help make sure that I can pump on the days I don't bring the baby by scheduling me into the meeting rooms. I have an unofficial flex time. And on travels I can bring the baby (and his nanny) with me. My current work has to … [Read more...]