Dear Js,

Mama sent her first newsletter to all her past clients, as well as moms who signed up at her group! I knew something was up when she rummaged through all her bags and nooks for scraps of paper she wrote emails on. She said she was finally ready do it because she finally thought of a good enough excuse. She was always too afraid of being a bother.

The excuse she used this time was that a bunch of moms at last week’s group asked how she lost so much weight so fast. So she emailed them about Eddie. She explained that he has free bootcamps at the park every Sunday, which we go to as well. We went two weeks ago and we’ll be there this week. That’s the park with the spiral mountain. I showed you a video of you zipping up and down it in the last letter. Why didn’t we go last week? Funny story. Mama usually goes with our friend JJ. Last week, her boyfriend said to Eddie, “I’ve been trying to propose for the last few weeks but she keeps going to your bootcamp. Can you cancel it this week?” So Eddie told JJ that bootcamp was “cancelled.” Then JJ told mama it was cancelled. Mama was pissed when she saw Eddie announcing on Facebook that it was still on. She told JJ, who was even more pissed. We weren’t sure how her bf was going to propose to her like that. But all was well later. We saw her proposal pictures and we made fun of her about the cancelled bootcamp. Her bf made her think she was going hiking with a friend, but he surprised her there instead. He had to wait for 3 hours. She’s known to be tardy but 3 hours? That was a long time to reconsider, so if he went through with it anyway it must mean something.

Anyway, in the first newsletter email, mama opened up about the gaining weight thing after baby, then shared her struggles and solutions. Then she left a breastfeeding tip and reminded everyone about group on Monday:

Breastfeed with confidence and stay in shape. You can do it!
Hi mamas!

I hope you’re all doing well and have had a chance to enjoy the wonderful weather this weekend! As some of you know, exercising, getting back in shape and feeling healthy can be a big challenge in the postpartum period. After my first child I never managed to get back to my ‘pre baby weight’ and then after my second child things were getting a little out of control for me when it came to weight and stress. Recently I decided to do something about it and little by little over the past few months I’ve lost 25lbs! Most importantly I’ve found time for myself, my fitness and health which is the most important gift I can ever give my children.

My friend Eddie has been an extremely important asset during this time. He is a personal trainer who has a master’s in kinesiology. He has trained some mamas during pregnancy and postpartum and is very kid friendly (who else would play catch with J and chase j while yelling at me to do my burpees heheh). He has also started a free bootcamp on Sundays. Free! No excuse to not try! The group meets at JF Park in C at 10am for one hour. Great way to start getting back into shape and give the little ones some fresh air with daddy while mama works on her fitness! I’m there every Sunday barring any child-related emergency hehe. Some of you had already expressed interest so hopefully we’ll have a chance to sweat and catch up tomorrow or soon.

Also, please remember that our group continues to meet Mondays at 10am in TT. It’s very nice to see the group growing so much and to even have some of our graduates come back to visit as mamas get ready to go back to work. Nothing fills my heart with more joy than to see happy mamas with happy and healthy babies. Happy milky thoughts to all.

Breastfeeding Made Easy Tip: If you are storing frozen milk, remember to freeze the bag flat so that it occupies less space. You can also use one of the rectangular canned, soft-drink boxes for a cheap storage solution. Just stand them up one behind the other, putting the newest one in the back to insure that you are following the first in, first out rule!

J’s Mama

Pretty good for a first email, right! It went out to 30 moms. Only 1 unsubscribed; 80% open rate. She thought of a few more moms to send to after she sent it. Considering she’d been struggling with this for a few years, just the fact that she sent it out is a success. Like Jardy, I tried not to nitpick. Let’s celebrate getting things done and shipped. We can always improve later. Good enough is good enough, and good enough is better than nothing.

Actually, the email worked too well.

On Monday I called to ask how it was going. I heard babies crying, women’s voices and mama talking to someone else. I said, “Helloooo? Hello?” Finally she answered, “There are SO many moms so it’ll be great if you can come.”

I found you waiting outside the room by yourself. You were surprised to see me you jumped up and down DADDY DADDY DADDY and into my arms. Your sister was inside. You said, “There were so so many many many mamas.”

Later mama described what went down: They almost didn’t fit. The room was full. Two moms texted to ask if it was okay to show up late. For the first time she ran it support-group style, instead of one-on-one. J, you kept watching mom after mom come in and asked, “HOW many many moms are going to come today? Why are there so many babies and mamas? Why do they keep coming?” There were fifteen moms. Some were new. Half had never come before but came because of her email.

I joked with mama, “Do, do you feel powerful? You ask them to come, and they come.” She said, “I know to you it’s easy like a systematic process, but I didn’t feel like I had anything valuable excuse to mail them until last weekend. I know you’re going to say that I had many valuable things I could have emailed them about…” I said that’s the Curse of Knowledge. Once you know something, it becomes easy to you and you can’t remember or imagine how it could be difficult for other people. So you think you have nothing important to say, or what you know is so obvious that everyone else should probably know it too. When the reality is that what seems ordinary to you may be the answer someone else has desperately been seeking. Her eyes opened and she said, “There was one thing I said that I thought was common knowledge but all the moms looked at me like ‘wow, she knows what she’s talking about’.” Yes. That’s exactly it. Now think about all the other things you didn’t share with them because you self-censored.


Sometimes censorship is important to survive. I mean censoring certain things from your life. For example, I find myself being more aggravated when I pay attention to everything. Like J when I notice you bumping your sister and, j, you slapping your brother on the head because you learned to hit from him. I want to try to fix it, reason with you two, try this, try that. Try something to fix it. But you two don’t listen and keep doing it. So sometimes I must force myself to go… WHATEVER.

I try to look somewhere else and think about something else to ignore it. I think part of staying sane is choosing your battles. I ask myself, “Is anyone going to suffer permanent damage? No? OK.” I can let that go. Sweep it under the rug. Close one eye. You two can sort it out. I’ll let it be until one of you starts crying. I have to fight my natural tendency to want to control things. This makes me anxious. Which is why drinking calms me by dulling the senses. Which is why I have to be careful with it.

But it doesn’t always work out. I yelled at everyone today. Mama was speechless. She had never seen me scream at the top of my lungs. It was the only way I could think of to fix all the noise down stairs. Now that I’m calmer I can try to deconstruct why the bomb went off. And I found a number of triggers. The problem was all the triggers flipped at the same time.

Trigger 1: You pushed j. I get irrationally mad anytime you hurt j. I know I love both of you, but when you hurt your sister, for a split second I see you as the enemy and red flashes in my mind with thoughts of pushing you across the room. I feel hurt that my daughter was hurt, and I feel even more hurt that you hurt your sister.

Trigger 2: Mama was upset. Hearing her pleading, tired and frustrated voice makes me rage a little more for some reason.

Trigger 3: You realized you did something bad, so you got upset that mama made you upset. So you started screaming in anger.

Trigger 4: You screaming makes Kimi howl like someone is skinning her alive. This pisses me off because we feed her, she stays indoors and we take care of her… and all she does in return is poop, pee…. and be stupid, useless and annoying.

Trigger 5: I was trying to work and I couldn’t concentrate.

All the triggers aligned, and I just wanted to make it stop. So in a split second I decided that the perfect solution to stop the crying and howling was to go downstairs and shout louder than I’ve ever shouted before. Logically, it was the right solution, because the house was silent again and I went back to work. J stopped crying and instead started asking questions because he didn’t understand what just happened. But at least there was no more screaming and howling.

But it didn’t feel like the right solution. I felt terrible. For the next few hours I just laid in the dark on the floor next to the bed and stared at the ceiling. Meanwhile mama struggled to finish the bath and bedtime routine alone. I felt many feelings I couldn’t recognize, some of which were shame and guilt and anger. Somewhere in there I tried to figure out why I exploded, which led me to pick apart the triggers above. And one of the things I decided was that I wouldn’t have snapped without Kimi pissing me off, and that Kimi was the easiest trigger to get rid of. My brain knew she had to go. But I couldn’t do it and I was confused why. I didn’t like her that much. I think it was more to do with thinking that if I got rid of her, I’d have to accept that I failed, and that would be another 1 million questions I’d have to answer from you. I really want to kill her though. But she’s tracked by animal control. I tried to think of creative ways to cheat the system that but I soon snapped myself out of that.

Anyway the next time I realize my triggers firing, I try to take a deep breath and say to myself, “They’re just kids.” And “She’s just a dog.”

The next day, I heard this conversation:
J to j: “Stop. STOP!”
You kept trying to make a bigger growlier voice :”STOHPP! STAAHP!”
J to mama: “That’s how I talk when I’m upset.”

You learn from watching us… all the good and all the bad. That’s another reason why being a parent is hard. Because I’m not perfect and you’ll inherit all the flaws I can’t fix.

Babies R Us. They had a store promo and invited mama to teach an intro class to expectant moms. This was an interesting opportunity because they’ve historically had a bad image among breastfeeding moms. And what mama set up at the TT boutique was something they could use at BRU too. One difference is that BRU had a bigger budget, more customers and a whole marketing machine we could leverage. So while the prime reason to go was to serve the moms there, this was a sneaky test as well.

I had you two at home, while she taught a 1.5 hour class with 30 mins Q&A. When mama said she was showing pictures and videos with boobs they got queasy. They hid her in the back of the store, with the back of the TV facing the store. She captured emails.

Later, they had a raffle. Mama was not happy with what they raffled. She bit her tongue, but the organizer noticed she was quiet and asked, “What do you think of this bottle? Maybe you should say something about this.” Mama said, “I am so sorry, but I can’t lie. I know this is an expensive $20 bottle, but it has bad reviews among the breastfeeding community. I’m sorry.” The organizer went pale and the moms laughed.

But that really shows how out of touch BRU was. They had no expert curating their toys for Bay Area mamas. Other LCs have chosen the route of boycotting them. But that’s dumb and hypocritical.It’s like the Red Cross. Imagine if they said, “We don’t like wars so we’re going to boycott and let the wounded die.” But wars happen whether you like it or not. So if you just sit back or “boycott”, people are still going to get hurt. The difference is they won’t get help. Same with the moms who go to buy things from BRU. They are the ones who get hurt because most LCs are too proud defending their principles to get dirty in the battlefield.

Which is a unique opportunity for people like mama. Because imagine being the first “expert” to infiltrate BRU. And imagine how cool it would be if she could transform the organization, even if a little, from the inside. They could do better with toy selections, store layouts, ongoing classes and promotions, etc.

After the event, Mama sent the marketing lady an email:

Re: Touch base for this Saturday 8/9 – Happy Bonding – Breastfeeding Class

Hi M,

Thanks so much for the opportunity to teach moms about breastfeeding at BRU. The class went well and all moms seem to leave with all their questions answered. It is fantastic that BRU is becoming more involved in events like this, who knows maybe there might even be a BRU store considered their breastfeeding friendly flagstore or something along those lines one day.

If you are ever interested in setting up more formal classes or even a support group at any of the local stores I could share with you how I’ve helped one baby boutique in the south bay do just that, BRU has the trust of so many moms that it could be a fantastic way to spread awareness and information.

Thanks again!
– jsMama

Her reply:
Hello jsMama,

A GREAT BIG THANKS to you for sharing your time with our new and expectant moms! I would love to talk to you about setting up more formal classes and or even a support group. Let me know whenever it’s convenient for you to speak.

Thanks again,

We’ll see where this goes.

Nurse mama? She’s considering it:

I can do an entry level master’s in nursing. this is for people who have a bachelor’s in something else not related to nursing and you end up with the highest nursing credential possible :). Looking into the possible local options. Takes 3 years if u don’t fast track it which sounds about right since j will be 4.5 by the and looking into kindergarten.

We saw KS today, she came to a nice park in Mtn View with us. She looks great but still sounds crazy hehe. I’ll tell u about it later. Kids are napping at the same time again today, incredible!! We’re going to the indian grocery store when they wake up to see if we do manage to make J’s malai kofta after all.

My eating is kinda sucking but better than all the crazy cravings from yday :).

School is out for the rest of summer. You’ve been home with mama. You kids are taking more more double naps. Starting to play together too. The craziest time of the week is at mama’s group on Monday, because she’s trying to lead a support group, and pay attention to you two.

She’s starting to get more referrals. Her records show that she’s seen 3x more clients this year than last. When she gets a client, she gets me to come home early so she can see them in the evening. Sometimes she goes out at night too. One night, mama put j to bed and I stayed with you J as usual. Less than 30 minutes after mama left, j woke up crying. NOT GOOD. I said to you, “Your sister woke up. I have to go. I’ll be right back.” You said, “OK.” I was surprised that you didn’t fuss. I ran to the other room.

“Mamaa. Mama. Maaamaaa.” She’s not here, it’s just me. “Maaamaaa mama! Mama!” You understood what I was saying but you didn’t like it. It wasn’t as bad as last time though. You weren’t pushing me away or trying to jump out of my arms. So I asked, “Want to sing a song?” Brief silence. “Twinkle twinkle littler star?” You shook your head, “noo-noo-noo-noo.” “Baa baa black sheep?” “noo-noo-noo-noo.” More crying. “Grand old duke of York?” You paused. I sang. Your cries turned to sniffles. I sang Old McDonald next. I knew it was working when you rested your head on my shoulder and double sighed. As careful as I could, I floated you back onto your bed. When I went back to J, you were already asleep. What a good big brother. You usually cry to have us sleep next to you, but you knew your sister needed me more so you made a sacrifice. I kissed you goodnight.

New developments

j – at dinner you like ask me to pick you up so you can sit on my lap between me and my food. Then you play a game of trying to catch my spoon with your mouth before it reaches mine. You’ll stand on my chair with your hands on the table, leaning over my bowl and swaying like a cobra. I’d feed you little pieces to buy time to wolf down a few bites before you’re ready for your next piece.

You two are playing more together. We like this, but sometimes we get suspicious because it gets too quiet in the living room. One day when I checked, you had brought the bins down the toy rack. J had the train whistle and you gave your sister the recorder and said, “Blow j blow!” PFFfFFT cHOO CHOO PFFffFFTT PFFFT

Or another time you were playing in the courtyard. At first it was harmless fun, but then J threw the ball at j. You do this because your sister laughs and you like making her laugh. Then you threw the ball at Kimi. Not long after Kimi bit you. Haha…
J: “Kimi bit me!”
Mama: “I saw, J.”
J: “You saw what?”
Mama: “I saw, J”
J: “I was not throwing the ball at Kimi!”

Last week, J, you poked yourself in the eye. I looked to see what you were crying so loudly about and all I saw near you was a popup dinosaur book. We took you to the doctor. You didn’t let her put the yellow dye in your eye, so mama did it after wrestling with you. Then you played the vision test “game.” Later I asked, “Were you trying to headbutt the T-Rex like a Pacycephalosaurus?” You said, “Ya…” You missed your cornea, but there was a red dot in the white part of your eyeball for a day or two.

j you are much more robust. And getting big and long. We can leave you to sleep alone now. No more fear of you falling off. When you wake up, you can climb down and walk to find us.

J – three hour naps. Looks like a growth spurt.

j – you don’t nurse to sleep anymore. You drink a little at first. Then you unlatch to nuzzle and snuggle.

Mama: “Your daughter is a giant heh. 31 inches tall, 75th percentile. Slim at 19.8lbs between 10-25th percentile. Measured Joshua just for fun 38 inches and 31 pounds :)”

Mama downloaded a Snoozy Tyrannosaurus audio bedtime story. She played it hoping you’d pass out quicker. That day you didn’t nap so you were very tired. But the plan backfired. You enjoyed the story so much you did everything you could to stay awake. You squeezed mama’s fingers tight. At one point you were doing downward dog with your legs hanging off the rails. “I want to listen to the end of the story.” You fought hard. Finally there was a rain sound between tracks. You said, “MAMAaaaahh… IS.. This… THE END????” “Yes baby.” *plop* ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

Mama: "j just put on my purple sanuks and tried to open the front door... She can reach the doorknob just fine..."

Mama: “j just put on my purple sanuks and tried to open the front door… She can reach the doorknob just fine…”

The things you say…

On Monday after mama’s group, we met for lunch. Because you two go with mama to TT, and TT is close to work. Usually mama calls to tell me that you’ve been asking to have lunch with me. It’s hard for me to say no. You have a tiny squeaky voice over the phone. I don’t realize how tiny it is until I hear it on the phone. You communicate so well that I tend to forget that you’re just 3. “Daddy, do you want to have lunch with us?” I said yes but all I heard was silence. Mama came back on and said J said bye because j was going for your train set.
Then after lunch, you said, “I don’t want daddy to go back to work. I want him to stay at home with me ALL THE TIME.”

J: “Mama wake up!!! Get some tea and make breakfast!!!”
Mama: “Yes my little dictator as you wish….. Lol.”

On the potty:
J: “Mama your phone says nine zero zero. That’s very late. It’s getting dark outside.”
Mama: “Yes, that’s why you need to poo.”
J: “Mama maybe a song will help.”
Mama played jenny jenkins song. You pooped.

Unce unce unce
J: “We are having so much fun with the untz that we can’t stop!”

J: “I want you to send Julie away to another house”
Mama: “I cannot”
J: “I want to go away to another house”
Mama: “OK”
J looked back at mama, “Will you come with me?”

J’s morbid thought of the day: “mama, I think I would like to pretend to die tonight when I go to sleep.”
Mama: “why baby?”
J: “don’t worry mama it’s just pretend…”

Difficult questions:
J: “Why is Abu fat?”
J: “When are you and daddy getting married?”

Start of single-word conversations:
Me: “Good night, I love you j”
j: “Iyuvu”
Me: “I love you too”
j: “yaya”
Me: “Byebye”

Interesting things

Okinawa Churaimi

Robot birds. Robot birds chasing away real birds.

Japan Tech Rope Rescue Competition

This week in pictures


Splish splash

Yup. This is why we got a double stroller. So that mama can run away with J and you can push it empty:


Flower child

Brosis moment; just me with you two

j asleep


j being j, trying to look for mama in the phone after she called me to say she’ll be back in 10 mins. Mama was visiting a client.

What i saw when I came home one day

What i saw when I came home one day

What I saw when I came home one day (part 2)

What I saw when I came home one day (part 2)

Sleeping in the fort

Sleeping in the fort

New palace?

New palace?

You made a new friend on Monday. Some of mama's mamas bring their toddlers because they know you'll be there

You made a new friend on Monday. Some of mama’s mamas bring their toddlers because they know you’ll be there

You two kept trying to "feed the baby" but I said shhh the baby's sleeping when things started to get out of hand

You two kept trying to “feed the baby” but I said shhh the baby’s sleeping when things started to get out of hand

At mama's Sunday bootcamp, we were happy to see you run off to play with new kids yourself

At mama’s Sunday bootcamp, we were happy to see you run off to play with new kids yourself

"I can climb up the rope all by myself... Daddy! Help! Help!"

“I can climb up the rope all by myself… Daddy! Help! Help!”

Climbing up Spiral Mountain

Climbing up Spiral Mountain

Mission Control

Mission Control

We climbed a tree

We climbed a tree

New hats from our neighbor Auntie L

New hats from our neighbor Auntie L

You were one of the first at the new library, borrowing some new books for the first time

You were one of the first at the new library, borrowing some new books for the first time

Someone was flying a kite in the park next to the library

Someone was flying a kite in the park next to the library

Reading and climbing

Reading and climbing

Mama combing your hair right before you climbed back into the tub and got wet again

Mama combing your hair right before you climbed back into the tub and got wet again

Sleep nursing

Sleep nursing

Last day at J's school

Last day at J’s school



Mama took you to visit the fire station

Mama took you to visit the fire station

They let you spray

They let you spray

And drive the truck

And drive the truck

It seems that I'm allergic to Advil

It seems that I’m allergic to Advil. Mama made sure I didn’t die. I was in no danger but the swelling was annoying.

I tried to reintegrate the beast back into our family. Here she is with her new master

I tried to reintegrate the beast back into our family. Here she is with her new master

Finally, I wanted to show you something. Part of Jardy’s online classes that we set up include a private Facebook group for students to share and mingle. His students were so enthusiastic and brave that it inspired me to give it a go one day, when mama out visiting a client and she left you two with me. I hope you get a few laughs at my expense:

“Thanks Joe Jernej and Bel for inspiring me to practice again. Since you are all so brave, even posting your mistakes, I thought I would outdo all of you by failing harder than anyone else. Yes, and barefoot too. I’m pretty sure no one will be able to top me for a while. I’m also going to cheat by skipping Week 1 and 2 and jump right to 3. Haha… I have no shame. Jardy just tends to be overgenerous and give you too much, so don’t feel bad if you can’t digest all of it. He’s like a buffet… you can’t eat everything. I just pick what I like best. Sorry the video is not 100% dancing and music’s bad… I tried! I hope you get a few laughs at least. I filmed this so you guys see what I have to deal with. It’s pretty tricky to dance with two kids. That’s why I’m jealous of all you single people. I wish Jardy set all this up when I was still single and had all the time to dance! Anyway, dance dance dance because you can. No more excuses!”

I finally finished the Walt Disney book, by the way. It was about 400 pages with tiny words. I enjoyed it very much. It was sad to see that Walt didn’t get to finish his last goal – EPCOT and Disney World. He scrambled til the very end, even after he lost one lung to cancer. He got back on his feet for a while and seemed to recover, but died unexpectedly the next day. Roy came out of retirement to finish Walt Disney World. Sadly, his EPCOT dream of utopia was never finished. That bastard could have done it too.

Random thought. When I was younger, it used to be good enough to make something. I felt proud and happy just bringing something to life. But now, I feel that there needs to be meaning. What changed? Why can’t I find joy just creating?

Also, I realized why it can be hard for me to create. Because creating something happy needs me to create from a happy place. So I can’t if I’m unhappy. I don’t know where Disney draws his happiness from. Where’s the well of love inside him? I just don’t care enough about other people. And that’s why I think that someone like me will do better when partnered with someone who isn’t a sociopath. E.g., people with heart like mama and Jardy. Anyway, I’m reading Bruce Buffer’s book now, titled “It’s time!”



P.S. – Mama broke her toe again. You will be amazed when I tell you how. By sliding j down the slide. She ran along and kicked the pole under the slide.

Mama sent me this blast from the past. Baby J and dad on couch.

Mama sent me this blast from the past. Baby J and dad on couch.