Monday, August 30, 2010

Introducing Sean Hiroki Flood...

Sean Hiroki Flood, just born (Hiroki means "a big, wide tree" in Japanese)

On Thursday, Aug. 26th, 2010, our second boy, Sean Hiroki Flood, came into this world.
It was quite an "out of blue" for all of us, because he came out almost a month earlier than the due date. He is tiny and feels so skinny (especially compared to his big brother ;-) ... We have been always treating Benjamin as a small person till now, but all of a sudden Benjamin looks like a real grown-up boy, and looks almost "huge" next to Sean.

The labor and delivery was quite speedy and safe (after 2-3 hours of active labor without any sort of medications nor painkillers, and I only had to push twice to deliver him), and he was born safe and sound, albeit he is such a tiny little thing. (His birth weight was 5 lb. 11 oz = 2580g, which is just above 2500g, the weight considered "premature baby"). Actually he didn't have any problems and never had to go to a special care nursery - and stayed with me all the time during our 2-day stay in the hospital (you are allowed to stay in the hospital for up to 48 hours after the birth).

But as you can see in this photo below, his legs are so tiny and skinny... he looks and feels so fragile each time I pick him up or change his clothes.

I guess I just have to work hard to nurse him as often as possible, to fatten him up! ;-)

My water broke early in the morning (7 am) of Thursday, 26th, and it happened that Amar had been away in Boston for a conference that week. But luckily enough, it was the last day of his stay and he flew back right away, and he made it just in time for my active labor and delivery.

(And luckily again, we had arranged to have a birth doula [= who provides a mental support to a woman in childbirth] this time too, so Susan, our birth doula, came right away to my place to help me, and she drove me to the hospital after a friend came to pick up Benjamin to look after. I was so grateful that we had a birth doula, and that it was Susan, who was also a birth doula for Benjamin's birth --- because I feel very much at ease with her and thus I didn't worry too much about not having Amar right away - I knew he would come in time, and I just needed to wait his arrival calmly.)

Amar arrived at the hospital around 2 pm, just when my active labor started, and Sean was born at 5:10 pm. How lucky we all were!

Benjamin has been coping with this totally new situation/experiences quite well, and he seems to be accepting and adjusting to the fact that now we have a newborn baby at home.

However, this does not mean that days go without any turbulence of his emotions of course: the first day I came home from the hospital, Benjamin wouldn't go to sleep without me (although he had been fine sleeping by himself for a long time now), woke up in the middle of the night crying out for Mommy - he held on to me like a baby koala, cried so hard saying, "I want Mommy, I want Mommy!" and wouldn't let me go. My eyes welled up as well, and after holding him tight for a good long while, I put him to sleep again by lying side to side with him on his bed - until I heard a cry from another baby of mine from a different room. So I was shuttling between two boys that night...

But next morning, there was another incident which welled up my eyes, this time with a smile: when I heard Sean's little cry in his bassinet and I saw Benjamin doing something reaching over Sean, I ran to the bassinet, almost about to say, "Benjamin! Don't wake up your little brother!" ... But then I found that Benjamin was patting Sean gently, saying "That's alright, that's alright" --- and started singing his favorite lullabies, "My Bonnie" and "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," to him. So it was a very lovely, sweet moment.

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But such perfectly sweet moments are rather rare: most of the time it is quite a challenge to keep Sean safe from cheeky Benjamin's curiosity... I have to be constantly vigilant, and it's hard!

Benjamin loves to put his finger in Sean's mouth (though it sometimes terrifies his parents: Benjamin sometimes puts his finger too far, and many times his hands are not too clean, and Benjamin wants to do it regardless whether Sean is awake or asleep, and well, most of the time he is asleep...**)

Fireman Benjamin

"I'm a big brother now!"

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Handcrafted Farm

A few days ago I finally finished a handcrafted farm for Benjamin, which I started making 2 weeks ago inspired by a set of farm animal miniatures sent by my mother-in-law (Benjamin's "Nanny").

These fences and animals were the original set

To my pleasant surprise, Benjamin fell in love... with this farm instantly and he could spend hours (!) playing with it by hims...elf, putting/arranging animals, farm house, barn, tractors, fences, little people, and even sport cars and trains ;-)

I guess it is partly because this is, for him, a "small world of his own" - in which he can exercise his autonomy.

 As you can see, he is putting a family sedan right in front of the red barn ;-)

Anyways, I'm glad I made it, and thank you, Christine, for sending these farm animals to begin with, and thank you, Amar, for making a second red barn after Benjamin broke the first one that I made, by using it for his hat!

After the roof coming off from the barn, Benjamin found another way to enjoy it --- to wear it as a hat!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Benjamin suddenly started showing an interest in wearing sunglasses yesterday (he used to hate wearing anything around his head - hats, sunglasses and all until yesterday).

Since he was trying so hard to wear my glasses on and wouldn't let them go, fearing that he might break my glasses at any moment, I decided to buy... a pair of sunglasses for himself - and voila! Ever since, he is wearing his eyeglasses whenever he sees them! (including dinner time and right after waking up in the morning ;-)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Amar Received a Prestigious Award!

On April 27th, 2010, Amar was selected as a 2010 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar.

This is quite a prestigious award --- the number of recipients of this award is limited to 14 per year, and according to the explanation of the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation's website, the Foundation seeks young chemists "who demonstrate leadership in research and education. Nominations must provide compelling evidence of the advance of important knowledge in the chemical sciences by the nominee".

Amar is very much excited about receiving this award and looks forward to using the award's funds for stimulating more creative research from his students.

Please also check out the website of Amar's research group as well :-)

Benjamin's 2nd Birthday

Benjamin turned two on the 17th of April.
We had a little birthday party with Benjamin's friends and their families in one of his favorite parks in the neighborhood.

He loved having all of his favorite friends at one time and playing/running around the big park with them. And he loved the birthday song and birthday cake too, of course, even though he looked a little bit perplexed at first to see everyone singing the song for him, looking at him!

When he was asked, "How old are you, Benjamin?", he answered, "Two!" with just ONE finger up (;-) and made people laugh and smile.

Here are some photographs taken on the day, but you can check out all the photos here and here.
You can also see a video clip of birthday song and Benjamin's candle blowing here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Benjamin's First Egg Hunting (Easter 2010)

Last Sunday (April 4th) was Easter Sunday, and we did our first family Easter egg hunting for Benjamin.

At first Benjamin didn't really understand what he was supposed to do: for instance, at the very beginning, he rushed straight to see ants, passing by an egg just in front of him ;-)

But then, after finding a few eggs and seeing that there are always some goodies inside them, he got all motivated and started running around the garden looking for them.

It was only a few days before Easter that I decided to do egg hunting this year for Benjamin, so I got the eggs and treats at the last minute (the day before Easter Sunday) and therefore I didn't find much options left at the store for nice-looking eggs without any pre-stuffed candies in them. (I wanted to choose and put goodies in the eggs on my own.) But I finally found some good ones (=empty eggs), and then I moved to the toy section where I bought two match-box cars and one tiny monkey soft toy.

I prepared about a dozen eggs in total, and in each of them I put some goodies such as the match-box cars and the little monkey I bought, dried prunes (cut into small pieces), some disney stickers, and kid's organic honey graham crackers. (These crackers were a hit because they are one of Benjamin's favorites, and also they happen to be bunny-shaped - thus perfect for an "Easter Bunny" treat!)

While I was preparing the eggs after Benjamin went to bed on Saturday night, I was talking to Amar describing every kind of goodies that I was putting in each egg, and saying things like "Amar, so maybe we should get up early tomorrow morning and hide the eggs in the garden before Benjamin gets up, right?!" And then Amar teased me saying, "You are like my Mom! :-)"

Benjamin enjoyed the whole thing and he looked so happy running around the garden with his daddy and mommy cheering for him. Our first family egg hunting proved to be such a success, and I am so glad that I decided to do it even in the last minute!

Please watch a short movie (5-minute long) if you have time to. (Please click here)

He thought that this little monkey looked like George (from his favorite picture book "Curious George") , and cuddled it against his cheek calling it "George!"