Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I am terribly craving to read a book. I have so many waiting for me on the shelves of my library. Childcare and child psychology ones, books about plays, novels, books in foreign languages - which if I don't practice soon enough, I'll forget. And I am about to order another batch from, after a long long time. I was able to get by, by borrowing from the library but nevertheless, I am addicted to books. And I am going back to Above is my dream room.

I decided to join Menu Planning Mondays. If there is any I would like to attend play/games planning Tuesdays as well. I really lost my spontaneity. In addition, both Burak and Ela go crazy when the meals are late - even for 5 minutes. I can handle one hunger-crazed kid but two, no.

We had a really nice weekend. Saturday we went to Foster Beach and Burak and Ela got the last bits of sunshine and the lake. Hopefully, not really last but gotta enjoy every bit until this place turns into arctic.

On Sunday, Burak and DH went to Legoland Discovery Center. Then yesterday, DH realized Burak got some rash. Today the preschool teacher pointed me the blisterlike rashes on his hands. Luckily!!!, they had another kid having the same type of rash last year so she knew it was Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease. I first panicked, then pediatric nurse calmed me down, it's usual in little ones who started school recently.

So two tips here:

* Google "Legoland Discovery Center Coupons" before visiting the place or visit a local library for coupons.

* Don't Panic. Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease is different from Foot-Mouth Disease which only occurs in animals. This is like 6th disease. Viral, nothing to do, just wait it out.

We'll be at home tomorrow, trying hard not to get Burak and Ela touch each other.

Source (of the image above and many other envies):

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Goals and dollars

I am going crazy with this "not being an efficient full-time mom" due to never ending chores around the house. My husband helps me a lot and even with that I seem to be losing it. I am not a clean freak either.

Anyway, I decided I really need outside help -such as a cleaning lady- at least for 2 hours everyday, to help me clean up the kitchen, the tidy and clean the rest of the house, maybe put the clean laundry away etc.

Since I started Avon, I have been having hard time putting up specific goals for each campaign. Eh, since I am not working as a consultant anymore, I decided that should pay for any additional expense so that I can spend more time with my children.

I made a calculation:

2 hours of help every day * 5 days a week * 2 weeks (each campaign)= 20 hours

20 * $17 = $340 for a cleaning lady in a campaign period.

I assume $17/hr is an average rate for cleaning ladies with agents in Chicago. I have been out of that market quite a while. If I need less, it's even better.

Anyway, with Avon, in order to make $340, I have to sell $875 worth of products (40% profit level). With some products at 20% level, let's make it around $1,000. With average customer sales of $20, I need 50 customers buying from me each campaign. I have about 15 existing customers until now and they order maybe every other campaign or so. So I have to make at least 70 new customers. To do that, I need to talk to and convince 5 new customers every single day.

I need to get out more to the parks and have many playdates before Chicago weather makes everyone hide in their caves. That is a good excuse to spend more time with kids as well.

Also, if you are in need to good quality skincare, jewelry and make-up etc with great prices just visit my Avon store. I use most of the products. (That's why I'm into Avon) If I don't, then most likely my customers are.

As they say "you are halfway there if you have a goal". I hope this goal setting workshop helps me. :D

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Up and down

These last 2-3 weeks have been full of ups and downs like a roller coaster. I console myself continuously saying, "this is nothing", "these will go away" and "we can take care of this". I am also grateful that we are in good health (at least nothing untreatable, god forbid). It is kind of a test, I guess. Here is a list of my ups and downs for the last weeks.

Burak started preschool. He was really upset that I "abandoned" him there. He verbalized that he was "sad" for the first time, ever.

By Friday, he was ok, and he was not crying at all.

Both Burak and Ela got some kind of virus from pediatricians office that gave them runny nose. Especially Ela has been having hard time nursing and eating.

Ela started to get up and stand up.

I had the itches and rashes I mentioned in the previous post.

Ela started to crawl. Burak is actively socializing at school and learning English.

My cousin came to visit us. We haven't seen each other for a long time.

After non-stop rains this summer in Chicago, and affects of the southern hurricanes, rainwater leaked into our basement. We had to scrap the whole carpet. Our basement, which our kid's playroom is out of order right now.

We heard so many people's basement flooded. I drove to Park Ridge and on one street everyone had couches and carpets on the front lawn. At least, we only had a minor leak and we did not have to pump flood water out.

Finally, weather got so nice that we could spend the day outside and not need the playroom in the basement.

A bee stung my finger as I was enjoying the sunny weather with my cousin, out in the backyard. This was the first bee sting in my life.

Luckily, my cousin is an MD and he did everything necessary, including calming me down while I was running around in circles, screaming "oh my god!! a bee stung me, oh my god!!".

Finally, my dad arrived.

Basement is still out of order and seems like it will be at least for the next 2 months. All basement waterproofing and sealant professionals in the Chicagoland area are backed up a month even to see and give and estimate on the issue. We got one estimate and I think it will hurt.

But again, as long as we are all in good health, we can handle all these problems. My itching has gone. My finger is not as swollen. Burak and Ela's runny noses have stopped.

Also note that most of my ups are about my children. If it weren't for them.... :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I am allergic to my kids

Few years ago, I was working with a director who was really stressed out. He got depressed in even the smallest, easiest projects. I hardly get depressed about work stuff, especially about the projects we do hundred times a year. So we were both working with clients, and I was working as therapist on the top of that to calm him down. He started to get really depressed, that his hair grew grey and he was pulling hair at his sideburns. Eventually, he decided to leave the company.

At the time, even though I did not link these things then, I started have problems swallowing. It started slowly, then at one point I realized I could only take 3-4 bites and swallow down in a meal. I lost weight. My dad, who is a doctor, got really concerned when he heard this. I went to an internist, and she did not find anything wrong physically and neurologically. I was also getting frustrated, not knowing why I was chewing and chewing but not able to push it down with my tongue.

Eventually, when that guy left, and I started to manage my own projects by myself - overseen by a partner of course -the problem went away. It was very interesting to me, because I never felt stressed at the time. But I realized I might have strange physical reactions to unconscious stress.

Few weeks ago, my arms started to itch. There is nothing on my arms but the burning inside was killing me. The itch continued a bit on my back and then went down to my legs. It is coming occasionally during the day, like a burning feeling, and urge to itch. I itch like crazy, then my skin becomes red and bumpy. Then it all goes away. No trace, no mark nothing.

Of course, I started think of any reasons to cause this itch. First I stopped working in the garden, touching any bean or tomato plants' leaves. Then I stopped using any body wash and shower brush. Then I stopped using the lotions and moisturizers. I wasn't eating or drinking anything new, so that couldn't be. The itch was getting worse. The rash was coming and going.

Finally, I thought of the past event, oh my god. I am unconsciously stressed to be at home with my kids. I got even more depressed - if I were unconsciously depressed in anyway. It is true I am still struggling to be more of a mom than housemaid and Burak is testing my limits due to new grown jealousy, but stress? An allergic reaction? I am allergic to my kids? I was devastated for few days.

Then I realized, I should have asked my dad. I told him I might be having allergic reactions due to stress. He was baffled. Then he told me, "What stress? Stop using your thyroid medicine."


I haven't even thought of that as a possible reason because I have been using that medicine for a while. We looked it up online and it says very rarely it can cause itching and rash. I was so relieved and happy to be physically sick.

I did not take the medicine today and I don't have any itching. I visited a doctor today and he couldn't care less. He told me to take Claritine and to continue with the thyroid medicine, without considering to check my hormone levels. I got upset that he wasted my day on Saturday, as much as he was for the same reason.

I came home, to find Ela crawling. She just started. She was so happy to see me.

So am I, honey, so am I.

Monday, September 8, 2008

First Day of School

This is Burak's first day at school. He started his preschool today. I have been getting him ready for a week or so, telling him, he would play with his friends and toys, and singing songs and playing outside. He mostly listened to me quietly but he commented, once in a while, "Mom's coming along, right?". I explained him, "Yes, I will. Then I am going to come back home to cook while you play and have a good time. I will pick you up once I'm done." He didn't seem to be very convinced or enthusiastic.

This morning he went in right ahead and found himself a toy. He was happily playing while I handed his stuff to his teacher. He started to whine so that I stayed there, once I told him I was leaving. He didn't want to come with me. It was obvious he wanted to stay and play, but he wanted me to be there. His teacher controlled the situation by playing only with him until I was gone.

I am so curious, how he's doing. Whether, he's going to jump into my arms or drag his feet coming home.

Ela is taking her morning nap now. So i'm kind of free. Blogging. Making "to do lists". That's my thing. Otherwise I forget stuff.

I really really have to count physical inventory in the fridge and the pantry. I seem to have completely lost control of what's in there, since my mom was the commander in chief of the kitchen for 9 months.

Once I figure out what's in the deep corners of my pantry, I need to plan when and what I should cook. And then cook.

I need to clean the house (Mondays, house cleaning)

I need to fold and put away clean laundry (Waiting from Sunday)

I need to call my Avon customers to get their orders before campaign ends.

I need to read and write blogs, and read books about Montessori, playtime for babies (refresh my memory) and a novel.

And now ....

Ela is awake :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

MBA Moms staying at home with their kids

Here is an article I came around in Businessweek about women who had their MBA's from Harvard and decided to stay at home after they became mothers.

It is true that you consider the investment you've already made when deciding to go ahead with your career, whether working for another boss or being your own boss, which I'd prefer should I decide to go back to working outside of home. At one point you have to consider how and how much you want to invest in your children. And this is not a simple equation. Not all moms, children, families and working and outside childcare opportunities are the same. So answer is really different in each case.

Working moms also provide other means of investing in children like living in safe and better neighborhoods, bigger homes, going to better schools and attending more activities. In terms of emotional needs, not all children are really emotionally glued to their parents. My mom worked all my life and I don't remember crying for her, maybe because we had good really care at home, whether being with our dear nanny or my grandma. She was all hands on after she arrived from work as well. My son was very very happy under the care of her nanny as well. She was able to focus on him all day long, playing with him full-time, much better than what I can offer him right now.

I was lucky to be able to work from home after my son was born. I was also very very very lucky to have the greatest nanny of all times for my son. I could still continue to work from home but the burden of being a half-efficient employee and half-efficient mom became too heavy. Even though I continue to complain about being a half-efficient mom anf half-efficient cleaning lady+cook at home I had to try this for my own sanity.

All in all, I am not a hardcore advocate of being a stay at home mom for everyone. It's a different scenario for every mother and every kid at every stage of our lives. We should consider the investment made in our MBAs, as sunk cost. The future lies in investing in our children.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Lessons learned

I usually buy children's books based on my liking of the illustrations. Usually the subjects and the contents are safe. That includes "Walter the farting dog" even though the name does not leave a good first impression.

Anyway, we have this really nice hardcover story book named I'll always love you by Peone Lewis and Penny Ives. The name is very common in children's books by the way. We love this book as a family. My son loves the main character Alex, after whom he named one of his teddy bears. The story is about a bear boy, who mistakenly breaks his mom's most favorite china bowl, asking various scenarios to figure out how upset his mother bear would get over the broken china bowl.

The story is nice and all, his mom telling Alex she would always love him no matter what mistake he would make. However, somebody had to figure out not every three year old might understand the story like this. Here's what happened in our household.

Section from the story:

Alex "What if I have a pillow fight with Joey Bear and all the feathers burst out? Will you still love me?"
Mom: "I will always love you. Though you must pick up all the feathers." (The picture shows Alex and Joey vacuuming the feathers.

Scene from our house:
I hear weird noises from the monitor and go into Burak's room, where he was supposed to be taking a nap. He is holding the pillow, with no pillowcase. Apparently some struggling went on. I ask him what he wants. Conversation goes:
Burak: Let's open the pillow.
I: But then all cotton and feather would spread around
Burak: Then I will clean up with vacuum cleaner. (which he loves to use)

Another section from the story:
Alex: "What if I spill my new pots of paint on Baby Pog and she turns green, red and blue?"
Will you still love me?"
Mom: "I will always love you. Though you will have to bathe her." (The illustration depicts Alex in the tub with her sister cleaning up.)

Scene from our house:
At the corner of my eye I see Burak wandering with a permanent marker in his had around his sister. I immediately run to the scene and see few lines of red marker on Ela's head. I told him that pen was a permanent marker and would not wash away. His response was that would wash her and it would go away. Reminder to myself: Burak got really tall. Put away all permanent markers to highest shelves.

I really don't want to see my son pouring the cereal over his head or playing with the food in the fridge, which are other scenarios in the story. He likes the book as well. So I think I will make up another story or create another version about the illustrations until he can read by himself.

And to the storytellers, be aware of different interpretations in your childrens's book stories.