Musings

Pariah

you claim that i’m
a class of my own

not like the other
fair conventional
beauties
you publicly adored

i’m unique
the only one
you romanced quietly
then ignored

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Musings, Uncategorized

My First Boudoir Shoot

A boudoir shoot is an intimate photography session, often with subjects posing in lingerie or nude. The word “boudoir” is French for “bedroom.”

Having always been quite liberated, a boudoir shoot has long been something I wanted to do one day. I first thought of giving my husband boudoir pictures as a wedding gift four years ago, but back then, I did not have the time to schedule a shoot.

Last August 26, my husband turned dirty thirty, which granted me another opportunity to gift him boudoir pictures. I did my best to make it a surprise by scheduling the shoot when he wasn’t around. But alas, on the shoot date, he came home unexpectedly early and caught me in full makeup! I said I had a lunch party, which of course he didn’t believe, as I don’t wear full makeup to such events. Nevertheless, he could not for the life of him figure out what I was up to. When I gave him the pictures on his birthday, accompanied by a flirty little dance, he was suitably surprised and of course pleased.

My photographer for the boudoir shoot was none other than our family’s go-to photographer, Ida Roccio Ferrer-David. She did my maternity shoot, Wolf’s newborn and baptism pictures, and our family portraits. As always, she did a great job with my boudoir shots. She made me feel comfortable and relaxed even while I was baring so much skin. She was able to execute the mood and theme I described, which was sultry night vs morning afterglow. We followed my photo pegs and several other pegs she suggested in line with my ideas. She was also very good at directing my poses, which may perhaps be due to the fact that she herself has modeled for several advertisements (that’s actually also something I’d like to try, but I haven’t been making time to go to the VTR sessions). She took us through the boudoir shoot at a leisurely, relaxed pace, allowing me enough time to rest in between poses.

Do a quick Google search of “boudoir pictures” and you will find that it’s incredibly easy to end up with tacky boudoir photos. But as I’ve mentioned before, Ida is consistently able to produce tasteful, elegant shots that I had no doubt she could deliver classy photos once again.

I think that a set of boudoir photos is one of the best surprises I’ve given my husband. Based on his reaction to his birthday gift, I am sure he’d agree! Perhaps it’s not for everyone, but if having a boudoir shoot is something you’ve been considering, go do it. As long as you get a capable photographer, you won’t regret it! Below are a few of my boudoir pictures. These shots, along with several much more provocative ones, gave my husband a very happy dirty thirty birthday!

Boudoir photo

Boudoir photo

Boudoir photo

Boudoir photo

Boudoir photo

Boudoir photo

Musings

Still Life

Who am i
a one-legged soldier drafted for war
facing bullets without needing worn-out sympathy
eyes shut waiting for sweet release

Where am i
alone in an untrodden forest
drawn to dreams of rabbitholes that lead nowhere
waking up trapped in skin
that sags from pretending

What am i
just a pebble that makes no ripples
when sacrificed to the pond
or a twig that makes no sound
when crushed under a weary foot

Musings, Parenting

Mommy Brains are Not Dull Brains

Recently, a relative asked me when I plan on returning to work. I said that Casey and I haven’t really discussed a timeline, especially since we have not had a helper stay long enough for me to consider working full-time again. He then said that I haven’t worked for so long, and I might go stale. A few days later, a friend asked me if I experienced mommy brain. I asked her to clarify what that meant, and she said it’s when new moms become so overwhelmed with taking care of their babies that they lose touch with the world, and their brain deteriorates somewhat. I just looked at her and said, no, I’ve never experienced that, but deep inside I felt offended. Both instances revealed to me a condescension toward stay-at-home parents.

Child care has been undervalued for centuries, and sadly, it remains so to this day. I know a lot of people would still say that taking care of a child is not as mentally stimulating as being part of the work force. This notion is deeply ingrained yet sadly misinformed. It continues to be perpetuated by people who may not have had enough experience on both sides of the fence. Speaking as someone who has experienced both, I have several rebuttals to the idea that child-rearing is a mental walk in the park compared with corporate life.

  1. Many full-time jobs entail long hours of being idle. In the eight hours of work at the office, a good chunk is not actually spent being productive. I know that this is true for many in the corporate world. Now you may be thinking that staying at home with a child involves a lot of idle time as well. It could be so, but that would depend on the stay-at-home parent. At home, you don’t have a boss hovering over your shoulder to check that you’re doing office-related things, and so free time can be truly productive. When my baby is asleep, I often use the time to read, write, or trade stocks. Or sometimes I nap beside my baby, which is very productive as well.
  2. Many full-time jobs are unavoidably routinary. Daily tasks remain essentially the same, to the point that people merely go through the motions at work, and most actions become almost automatic. When you’re so used to doing certain tasks, your brain does not get that effective a workout. The same can be said for housework, but like I mentioned earlier, the amount of mental stimulation one can get varies depending on how much one actively seeks it. This actually holds true whether you have full-time office work or stay at home. The difference is that arguably, you have more leeway to plan your day at home, and so if you wish, staying at home can open up more opportunities to sharpen your mind.
  3. Raising a child involves a lot of brain activity. Meal planning, creative storytelling, singing and dancing, exploring—these sound fun and easy, but they require resourcefulness, innovation, patience, and discipline, which are high-level mental and emotional exercises. “Mommy brains” are not dull brains. They are brains that are challenged every day by their boss babies. Can’t take my word for it? Science is on my side.

Mommy and baby at Kidzooona

To be clear, I’m not saying that being a stay-at-home parent is more mentally challenging than having a full-time office job. I’m just saying that both roles can be mentally challenging, and that assuming that staying at home with the kids equals rotting brain cells is wrong. For those who think being a mommy doesn’t exercise the brain, well, just imagine taking care of a human other than yourself, and on top of that, realize that the human cannot even make his needs known directly.

Feeding a toddler

Take meal time, for example. You’re not a mom. You’re hungry, and so you eat a Subway sandwich, which is what you felt like eating. The end. Meal time is simple and requires minimal mental effort. Compare this to if you are a mom. You’re hungry. Your baby is hungry. You make him a sandwich. He eats a bit then starts spitting it out. You ask him if he wants a banana. He says “nana” and so you peel a banana. He takes a bite, spits it out, spreads mush on the table and smiles at his work of art. He then bounces up and down, grunting, and you realize he needs to poop. So you wait for him to poop, clean him up, then offer chicken and rice, which is what he wanted after all, but how would you know? Chicken is hard to say! Finally, an hour later, you get to eat his leftovers, which are not what you wanted but are all you have time and energy left to eat. On the bright side, at least you got to eat. Haha.

Also, take note that my experience is just the tip of the iceberg. I can only imagine how my brain will be tested once Wolf learns how to answer back!

I hope this post can help others better appreciate the value and challenge of parenthood. I don’t know if I will ever return to a regular office job, but even if I don’t, please realize that my mommy brain will remain in tip-top shape, thank you very much!

Mommy and baby at Kidzooona