Animals, Kids, And Our Responsibilites

I read something upsetting earlier today. A friend of mind posted something on facebook that animal lovers will find hard to read. It is about someone whose friend put down their family dog because he bit her child.

When you adopt a pet into the family, most people do not realize that these animals need our care. And the care that they need are not much different from that of a child. Just like it takes a special person to be a parent to a kid, it takes a special someone to be a care taker of an animal, be it a hamster or a dog. Once they enter you lives, they are part of your family. They might as well take your surname.

From the moment we had our furkid, we unassumingly became parents. We had to wake up many times in the middle of the night when he was just a puppy to clean up his poop to make sure that he doesn’t eat it, as many puppies do. We had to bring him to the vet quite regularly when he was younger, not only for his usual jabs but also all the minor illness that puppies get. Until today, we have to shower him, check his ears, clip his nails, comb his fur, all regularly. And daily, we brush his teeth and walk him twice a day. Then there was the operation on his leg that got us worried sick.

If our furkid misbehaves, he’ll get it. No spanking or hitting. A good stern scolding and some quarantine. But many times animals do things that humans just don’t understand. Sure he’ll bite your prada shoes or your box of tissues if you leave it lying around. But they don’t know the difference between a $2000 shoe and a $20 chew toy unless you teach it to them. If they misbehave, it is your responsibility to correct him.

If you do not know such things, educate yourself. Reading the article I mentioned above on facebook, however upsetting it was, also made me feel a sense of relief to know that there are people out there who understands these things about animals too and that information such as animal behavior and care are freely available, if only we are willing to search for it.

Below are some educational posters from Dr. Sophia Yin’s website on how to interact with dogs. You’d be surprised by how much we misunderstand and how similar they actually are to some human behaviors.

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One thing to take away from this is that if you don’t like being treated a certain way, chances are dogs don’t like it too. Please be polite to all creatures, just as we should be polite to each other.


Lunar New Year And Some Pregnancy Woes

The Lunar New Year this year has been the same as the previous one for me. We went visiting hubby’s relatives on the first day and had our annual dinner with his paternal grandmother and steamboat at my in laws’. Only difference was that I had to cover up my elephant legs with a long maxi dress this year. No cheongsam for me, which is a disappointment for me because this year’s cheongsams are so beautiful.

Mom also made her yearly dinner for our family members who are still here and not overseas.

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 1.31.36 PMShe cooked steamed fish, the chinese ‘money’ veggie, Kungpau chicken, a regular veggie (mom always tries to give us more greens) and her famous treasure pot. It wasn’t easy but it sure was fun helping her out in the kitchen, learning from her and hopefully being able to repeat this with baby Tarn soon. 🙂

Oh! In case you were wondering, the little brown man in the centre of the lazy susan is the pepper shaker. We had that to add to the shark’s fin soup mom cooked. But being animal friendly, the soup was made from a melon that surprisingly breaks into thin strips (like that of the shark’s fin) when boiled. We only have that soup once a year and it is awesome!

Mom had to start cooking the treasure pot in the afternoon and you can see how much she loves to cook. It’s the sort of pleasure you get while doing something you love, knowing that you are also spreading that love around.

There were mushrooms, scallops, sea cucumber, bamboo shoots, veggies (again, but a different kind), prawns, and of course abalone in it. Not to forget, we also had our home made yu sheng.

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Carrots, cucumberes, radish and mangoes all shredded or sliced into thin strips. And in the centre, we have some cabbage leaves, pomelo and some sliced abalone. Together with mom’s chopped oven toasted peanuts and homemade sauce, we welcomed the horse year with a warmhearted and lovingly prepared meal. This is what makes the house a home. 🙂

Of course there were some decorations too.

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Those tiny little paper birds were made by my cousin, who was over for the new year last month. You can’t imagine how quickly mom took down the christmas decorations to make way for the Lunar New Year ones!

We didn’t forget our furkid. With hubby around, he didn’t disturb the guests, who are afraid of dogs, much. He sat beside the dining table biting on his chew bone. But you needn’t worry about him, he always has his ‘girlfriend’ around.

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He brings flounder to the balcony – one of his favourite past times is to sit out at the balcony and enjoy the sights, sounds smells and wind – every once in a while to enjoy the view with him. It’s usually quite hard to snap a picture of this moment. The moment I start my phone camera, he notices me and would come over for a belly rub. This picture is definitely a keeper.

On to pregnancy updates, the doctor has advised me to stop putting on weight and stop eating so much sweet stuff. The regular urine test I took worried even the nurses I see regularly at the clinic. I had to come back early the next day after my regular check up for a blood test. This is the one where I fast through the night and take one blood test, drink some glucose drink and take another blood test 2 hours later.

Thankfully, it came back negative for gestational diabetes. Although, the glucose level was on the high side of normal. That means a no no to sweet stuff, bye bye to new year cookies such as pineapple tarts, love letters and my all time favourite bak kua. 😦

I am one of those unfortunate people whose fats always end up in my thighs, arms and especially around my face. Unlike my bestie, who looks like she was never pregnant at all, mere mortal folks like me have to keep a watch on my diet, which is hard since I get hungry every 2 hours.

Other than that, baby Tarn is healthy and doing fine, much to our relief.

I think it’s important to mention that pregnancy isn’t as fancy as most people like to think it is. While pregnancy is a different experience for every women, there are some things I think we choose not to share.

For example, like I mentioned above, image is a huge issue. Sometimes I look at other pregnant women, who don’t seem to have put on weight, with much envy. I look at myself in the mirror and worry about what the scale will show during my regular doctor check ups. I worry if I am able to lose my pregnancy weight later. And it definitely does not help when I hear stories from others. My mom reminds me how my paternal relatives are all larger, and I might take after them. My mother in law tells me how she didn’t put on weight when she was pregnant, which makes me green. I myself am starting to feel a little upset over the clothes I will never be able to wear again.

This brings me to the second issue. I worry every day what kind of mother I will be and how my daughter is going to grow up to be. There are people around me comparing babies and saying whose ones are friendlier and easier to play with, people reminding me how my child is going to grow up addicted to the technologies around them. Some seem to already prophecised who baby Tarn will become.

Than to be perfectly honest, I worry about how to handle my parents and my in laws. It is not always possible to be perfectly fair to both families, who both have every right to spend time with their grandchild.

I worry about how I am going to handle criticism, be it constructive or not. I am very impatient when it comes to people telling me what to do. I guess it depends on who it comes from and how it is delivered. I worry I might offend my in laws, especially when I’m tired from all the late nights and crying and all I want to do and have some quiet moments to myself, my baby, my furkid and my hubby.

It may sound overwhelming and you may say I am thinking too much. But it is a fact that as a first time expecting mom, these are the few things that go through my mind on a regular basis. The only thing I can think of right now to prepare myself is to have a common ground with my hubby and make sure we are one as a family. People may say what they want and give their opinions. But it is important that the final decisions are made together between hubby and I as husband and wife, mother and father.

Oh well. It isn’t all scary! I am having fun looking up on baby products and reading up on parenting stories online. I dream of having baby Tarn in my arms but I also want to treasure every single moment, as time passes too fast sometimes. 3 more months to go. Until then, I am enjoying being pampered. 🙂