When I graduated from elementary school in Taiwan, it was a trend to have all your friends write a few words and leave their contact info in a cute notebook.
When I was in Taiwan visiting family last week, I helped my mom clean out some storage boxes. In one of the boxes was my cutesy little notebook, full of my friends’ 12-year-old writing and mug shots. Ah, how nostalgic…until I started flipping through the pages.
The one common theme of all the well wishes is that all my friends wished I would successfully lose weight. I was repeated referred to as the “fat girl”.
As a chubby 12-year-old, my friends called me “fat girl”. My dad often pointed to obese people on the street and said one day I will become like them. My mom sometimes sent me to school with nothing but steamed vegetables in my lunch box to help me lose weight. It was cemented in my mind at a young age that I am fat. Even if I didn’t think that I was fat, I had enough people telling me I was fat.
I’m not bitter or angry about any of this history, because I choose not to be. I certainly didn’t write this post to cry a sad river about my childhood. I have enough awesome things going on in my life to realize that I’m more than just a fat girl. However, that doesn’t mean it is easy to change the way I think about myself. It takes so much energy to fight the negativity wired in my brain about being fat.
I just wanted to be vulnerable and share this little piece of carefully guarded hurt with you.
I’m in a few mommies discussion groups on Facebook. In one particular group, a mom posed a question today: If you have two kids, how do you ensure you are “fair” with both of them?
It sparked a lot of responses from various moms about how to be “fair”, how to make sure you give the same type of toy to each child, give the same amount of time and energy to each, etc. It reminded me how my parents always tried to be “fair”, which really meant my brother and I ended up with two of the same toys so we don’t fight.
Since I had Savanna, this is something I have been trying to grapple with. It started with the 3D ultrasound, before she was even born. When I was pregnant with Josh, I had 3D ultrasound done. I bought a $150 package, which came with a CD of the still images of Josh as a fetus. But when I was pregnant with Savanna, I really wanted the $200 package which came with a video. Should I pay the same price and get the same package so it’s “fair” for both kids? So when they’re all grown up and compare notes, Josh won’t feel like he was ripped off because he didn’t get a video from his 3D ultrasound?
It has taken me a while to come to this conclusion: being fair is over-rated.
So what if I bought the same ultrasound package for both kids, put the same amount of RESP away for them, buy the same brand and model of car seat for them, make sure they got the same snacks in the same amount, and spent the same amount of time with each of them? Yes, I’d be totally “fair”. But I would have also totally missed the point of having two children who are individuals with different needs and desires.
I don’t think I’ll ever be a super mom who can manage to be “fair”. It will always be in the back of my mind that I need to be fair, but I think the reality is that I’m human and I will love my kids differently. My relationship with Josh will always be different from my relationship with Savanna. I have decided that I’m ok with that.
The last time we went to Tokyo, I was pregnant with Savanna and feeling very sick and miserable. There were certain things I enjoyed about Tokyo, but mostly I felt tired and ill. So we thought we’d try it again this year. And this time, I wanted to do something a little different.
One day, I googled “tokyo cycling tour” just to see what would pop up. Luckily for me, I found a company called “Tokyo Great Cycling Tour“. We booked their “Tokyo Bay Ride” tour, which is a 6-hour tour that takes you around Tokyo bay and over many bridges.
We booked two bikes for Cliff and I, and also a trailer to haul the kids. Thank goodness they hooked up the trailer to Cliff’s bike, because I am pretty sure I couldn’t have hauled both kids through the entire tour.
We have this same trailer at home, and we’re used to seeing this set-up in Vancouver. But in Tokyo this is a rare sight. So every pedestrian points to Cliff pulling the kids and comment on how cute it is (“kawaeeeee”, they’d say).
The tour overs 23 km of riding, which isn’t difficult. Most of the terrain was fairly flat except for when we go up the bridges. Still, there were enough sight seeing breaks that you never feel like you’re peddling forever. For 10 of us, there were 2 guides (Henna and Su). We stopped often while they explained history and new developments in the city to us.
These ladies were top notch with their services. They had a big book of pictures and timelines to help with explaining history, they pulled out ice cream filled puffs to feed us, they constantly filled our water bottles with icy cold water, they brought fish food so our kids can feed the fish in the ponds, they handed out homemade ginger ale, they bought us ice cream at the park, and ended the day with beer and snacks in their office. They were so attentive and considerate. They are the examples of what customer service is.
I would totally go back and do this again in a heart beat!