Parenting level 4

And so, November passed faster than any other month. The last week of it was spent planning Zoe’s birthday party. People tend to tell you how great it is to have kids and how the little sleep will be compensated by the moments full of laughter. However, no one ever tells you how bloody stressful it is to throw a birthday party for a 4 year old. We only got to throw one for the closest family, and due to lack of space, we couldn’t even invite Zoe’s friends from daycare (yes, the latter part makes me feel bad). The coming years, I am not caving to all the “Oh, we missed it last year so you have to throw one this year” b.s.

It was fun for Zoe and the kids that were there, though. Apart from the “oh no, s/he can’t have my toys”-tantrums Zoe threw every now and then, it was all good for everyone. Everyone except me. I was so tired the day after the party, I have spent the past week at home because I don’t have any social skills left. It was just mentally draining for me to hang out with so many people at the same time in such a small space.

Anyway, I still remember 4 years ago, when my water broke and the Dutchman had barely slept. The cab ride to the hospital was calm, and I remember being thankful for the little traffic there was at 5am. Once we arrived to the hospital, the first snow fell and it was one of the most romantic moments of my life. I couldn’t wait. Who knew it’d take Zoe 14 hours before she decided to rush it all and come see the world?

For the majority of those 14 hours, we actually slept since absolutely nothing happened. Around noon that following day, we decided to let them give me a morphine shot to help me relax because I just couldn’t relax. No kidding, I had a baby I was dying to meet and she just didn’t wanna move out (I really hope she won’t be like this when she grows up lol). Two hours after I get the shot, it all happened very quickly. I still laugh at the fact that the nurses didn’t tell us that if I feel like I need to go to the toilet, I shouldn’t because that would mean the baby is on its way. So, right after I got into the bathroom, the nurses come in and I hear the conversation that the Dutchman and the nurse have. Seconds later, I, for the first time in my life, called for help. I couldn’t get up from the toilet seat no matter how hard I tried. Luckily, I hadn’t locked the door so the Dutchman and the nurse came in to help me up. Those few meters between the toilet seat and the bed felt like a mile. It most definitely felt like the longest walk I had ever had to walk. Once I got to the bed, it all happened very fast. I remember having monitors attached to me, and I remember monitoring my contractions as well. To be honest, the pain was the least of my concerns. I was worried Zoe wasn’t feeling well since my water was murky when it broke.

For moments, I couldn’t hear any of the nurses when they called out to me. All I could hear was the Dutchman’s voice, so he had to convey the nurses’ messages to me. I couldn’t push when I was told to, because all of the sudden, Zoe was in a real hurry to get out. Three pushes later, there she was. Immediately, I was worried because I didn’t hear her cry until what felt like minutes later. Of course, the first thing she did was to pee on me when they put her on my chest. Nice, I love you too, kiddo.

The only regret I have, was that I was too knocked out to ask to see the placenta. It’d be so cool to see it, especially one that I actually grew. I know it sounds gross, but I’m curious haha.

Anyway, we just finished up eating all the cakes and left over food from the party and I’ll gotta say, I’m not sure I want to do this again :P

//c_Cae; can’t believe kiddo is 4….


Wait, what? I am not ready for winter :(

TA went great. On our last excursions, my students even told me they love me as a TA. That is the best reward that I could ever get. For the ecosystem engineering, I TA’d two groups of five students. These groups were to write a report of the excursions that we made and I had to correct them. It surprised me a great deal, when they sent the reports in and they differed so much. One was truly well written and the other was close to disaster. Honestly, I expected a certain level since these are students straight out of high school. They’re not used to the academic writing yet, and so I had lowered my standards significantly.

The first group’s report was brilliant (for their level), and I had little to correct. The “worst” thing they did was exceed the strict 3 page limit by putting a cover page over their already 3 pages long report. That was the worst thing. The rest were technicalities and they had actually gotten all the theoretical parts right. This, of course, got my expectations up and when I received the second report, I was kind of let down. I don’t want to seem like I am bashing on someone here so I’ll just stop there. Overall, they were great students. A bit reluctant to go out on a lake or sit by a muddy river bank, but then again, they had never done this before and probably never will ever again.

TA fun is now officially over and I’m just here wrapping the thesis. I had a meeting yesterday with my supervisor after all my confusion had cleared up. Everything is done now with the analyses and I just have to assemble this story so it makes sense. It bothers me, though, that my supervisor was all “Oh, I don’t need a first draft from you. Just send me the final version and I’ll correct it before having it examined so you can defend it.” Hold on, what did you just say? Skip the first draft? Wait, what?

I told both the Dutchman and Frank about this. They both said my supervisor was praising me for my hard work. My supervisor also said “well done” and “great job putting this together” but my thick, Asian skull just can’t take it in. I still can’t take it in, 30h later. The Dutchman is right, it’s remnants of what my parents used to say when I was younger that makes it nearly impossible to take in any praise. All I hear is “Oh god, why didn’t you get a higher score?” whenever I ace a test. I did not know you could score more than 100% of every test. This is something I will never do to Zoe. It’s so harmful. I can’t take compliments, let alone praise. Frank said something good, too, though. “It’s a skill to be able to take on praise”. I completely agree, although it is still difficult and it’s a skill that I am still working very hard on to hone.

Anyway, I put a deadline on myself since my supervisor won’t do it even though I’ve asked several times. I think I’m gonna work harder so that I can surprise him with sending it in a week earlier than promised. Think I can make it?

//c_Cae; challenges are what make us grow

Mother daughter time

Zoe and I didn’t do a lot while the Dutchman was away. Mostly, we’d just head out to the parks nearby and played at the playgrounds, hunted Pokémon together and went to see my mom. Other than that, we just had some quality time together. It was great.

I had intended to head for a BBQ as well as an art exhibition with Zoe, but the exhaustion and an ill-timed headache put an end to all that. It sucked, most definitely but at least Zoe had a lot of fun at the playgrounds. We did however drop by the Aquatic Ecology unit on the Friday and hung out with the people there. Marie showed Zoe pictures of her hens and guess who now wants hens?

So now we gotta buy a house with a yard and raise hens.

//c_Cae; any houses for sale? :P 

Alone time

I had encouraged the Dutchman to head for Twitchcon for a while and after a lot of thinking, he finally agreed to it and wrapped everything up. All the tickets were bought, flights and hotel were booked an payed. Then came the day he was going to leave.

I had TA early in the morning and intended to see him off at the train station at least. However, plans changed quickly as the professor that hired me for TA asked if he could take me and the other assistants out to get a preview of the next field site. I agreed, thinking it wouldn’t take long. I was wrong. It took far longer than I anticipated and because of that, I couldn’t see the Dutchman off. Texting and messaging had to do and off he went to fly across the pond.

That night, it was so quiet at home. It felt so weird to be the only adult at home and having no one to talk to. It struck me more than I had accounted for and I even started missing my grandma. It passed quickly, though, and I went to bed early. That was weird, too. I had the entire bed to myself. That night I kept waking up and checked for any messages the Dutchman might have left. Of course he would be safe, but I’m of the worrying kind.

That following Friday, Zoe stayed at my parents’ and I got some good rest after a long day of teaching. The silence was now very comforting and I found myself sleeping in the middle of the bed, hogging all the free space I got. I got some good quality sleep that night without anyone snoring or trying to wake me.

//c_Cae; hello silence my good friend ;) 

To TA ecosystem engineering

The following week was exciting. I had my first TA session and we were going out to field. Prepping took no more than an hour the day before, which was kind of comforting since I was running on a tight schedule. This was also the week the Dutchman headed for Twitchcon in San Diego.

Since this engineering class is so large, we had split the class in two with 30 students in each group. Within these two large groups were smaller groups, each with their own hypotheses and thoughts of what they would find out in the field. We were headed to a little lake across the county to take water samples and give the students a little insight of what could be found in a typical Scanian lake.

I was in charge of the water chemistry groups. These students were going to investigate how the surroundings of a lake could change the water chemistry. Very simple, for someone with a lot of experience. The first day of TA was introducing myself and teaching the students what a hypothesis is and how to test it out in the field.

Getting to know the students was fun. Most of them are straight off of high school, while a select few have worked a little before joining the university joy ride (or whatever to call it). Prepped and ready, I send them off and prepare for the first field day.

With the first group, promptly named group 1, they sang and were all enthusiastic about heading out to the lake and sampling. The best part of having water chemistry, was that there is relatively little to do both in field and in lab. What made it even better was that the weather was with us.


With an office like this, who could complain?

20160921_110201 20160921_110208

We weren’t as lucky with the weather on the second lake excursion, though. It was gloomy, but on the bright side we finished our sampling almost 1.5h earlier than the previous trip.

With little to do, we decided to help out the other groups so we all could wrap it all up sooner. Luckily, the sun peeked out shortly before lunch and the mood among the students significantly changed for the better.

//c_Cae; got any more of that TA thing?

Cooking with the co-workers

I know many people are not lucky to work with people as amazing as the ones at the Aquatic Ecology unit at Lund University. These people are the reason I am always taking a bit longer at my breaks, we simply have a lot of fun. Because of this and our mutual love for food, we decided to join up for a cooking/baking day. Since Marie is the only one with a large enough kitchen and house, we decided to go there on Saturday.


A happy gang in a tiny car. Me, Huan, Sylvie and Guiseppe :)


A wild Marie appeared!

Early that Saturday, Sylvie, Guiseppe, Huan and I met up at the department for a drive to Marie’s house. Once there, we got a quick tour of the house and left for some grocery shopping.

Back at the house, we started prepping an old fashioned focaccia pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil. Since Huan is the least experienced in baking, she got a chance to learn from pizza master Guiseppe.p1140441


And into the oven they go!

Once the pizzas were in the oven, we started prepping for the dumplings. A lot of chopping later, it was done and the pizzas were taken out.


Sylvie and I :)


Pizzas! The tomato sauce was divine.

We sat down to enjoy the pizzas and they were great! There’s something about home-made pizzas that make them so good. Especially if you make them with friends that love food as much as I do. Once full, we continued the dumpling making. Little did we know, that we prepared about 100 dumplings. It took forever but once it was finally done, we all could sit down once again and enjoy our food.


On the right is my chubby little dumpling next to Huan’s. I normally don’t do them that way, but the thick dough left me no choice and we were all too hungry to do more than what was required.

We also made a lemon sponge cake. Since it was for Huan’s sake we baked it, she was the one who followed instructions. For a first timer, it turned out great, but it probably could’ve used some more whipping to get it fluffier. She promised she would practise :)


mmmm, lemon sponge cake.

So what I thought would be a short day, turned out to be a full day event. I got home around 930pm, and it probably would’ve been later had Guiseppe and Sylvie not offered to drive me all the way home. Like said, the co-workers I have are irreplaceable and worth more than their weights in gold.

//c_Cae; we all agreed to do it again~ 


Getting back to normal

The following week after Frank had been here, was kind of weird. With him being in Europe, we were in the same time zone and it was easier to talk, but also weirder in a sense. Zoe kept asking where he was, and because he forgot his water bottle here, Zoe got a bit defensive of it.

Going back to uni was a breeze. I was filled with inspiration even though there was stil la lot of frustration regarding the statistics of my thesis. So I scheduled a meeting with my supervisor and he gave me some pointers that I followed. Surprise! Getting some new insight of it all actually cleared a few clouds off my sky. The problem is still not fully resolved but at least I am now out of the frustration and can move just a little bit forward.

Aside from working hard at finishing the very prolonged thesis, I also prepared myself for the week of TA-ing. Exciting times were ahead of me.

//c_Cae; yay for updates!