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Hubby, My Pillar of Strength

Walking around the shopping centre yesterday and seeing so many parents, I wonder if they felt as overwhelmed as I do when they had their first child. I wonder if they were as nervous as I was bringing their baby out for the first few times. Before Aurora was born, I looked at all the new parents and always thought that they seem to know what they were doing. Now as a new parent myself, I wonder if people look at us and can see it on our faces that we have absolutely not idea what we are doing. Haha.

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It was a shopping day for mommy. Hubby told me about the Babies R Us at the shopping mall and we wanted to check it out together. We were a little unprepared, I think. So when I came back, I realised there were a few things that I should have gotten. Oh well. Next time then. But we did get a couple of items for our November holiday. Oh my goodness. Just thinking about it gives me the goosebumps. I am excited, nervous and frightened all at the same time. Flying for the first time with a baby is going to be challenging, especially for a kan chiong spider like me! haha I am counting on hubby to keep me calm and collected. >.<

During our weekly visit to Ah Ma’s place this week, hubby managed to get some of his baby photos.

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You can hardly tell them apart! She definitely is daddy’s girl alright! I just hope she gets daddy’s intelligence too! Please don’t be like mommy. I’m a blur sotong!

I know I said I’d take a picture of our family’s first walk together, but yes, blur me forgot. However, I did remember to take one after the walk.

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Hubby carried Aurora in the Moby Wrap while I walked our furkid. Thanks to Godma Sim for introducing us to the wrap and reminding me that it takes a while and some patience to get Aurora comfortable. I would have given up after the first few tries when Aurora cried. Hubby managed to do it effortlessly. I tell you, those stereotypes about fathers are wrong. He is much better at all these parenting stuff than I. If he had boobs, I bet he’d be breastfeeding Aurora much better than I do. Haha

He wanted me to be the one with the Moby wrap the next day to boost my confidence. I was quite surprised by how comfortable Aurora was. She sleeps the whole walk through. I thought it would be hot and uncomfortable for her inside but I guess the closeness brings to her a sense of comfort and safety. We will definitely moby wrap her for our November holiday!

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So far, being new parents has brought to me a greater sense of appreciation for my parents. All the patience, hard work and heartache ma and pa must have gone through bringing us up is no small thing. And when they grow old, it is only right that we take care of them with as much love and patience and as they have showered us with our whole lives. Not only my own parents, but hubby’s parents as well. I have to admit I am not close to them. But they must have been awesome parents to have brought up such a man who is now the father of my baby. And for that I am ever so thankful.

Hubby made me realise that I have been second guessing myself a lot. Should I continue this way, I’d burn myself out in no time. Lesson #12493 of being a parent – there is no absolute right or wrong in whatever decision you make for your family. To quote Phin Wong, opinions are like belly buttons, everyone has one. And you will undoubtedly be your own worst critic. But hubby and I will do the best we can together and hope that when Aurora grows up, she does not have crooked teeth from sucking the pacifier, that she remembers to cover her mouth when she coughs and make sure she doesn’t learn any swear words because those are the most important things you should be concerned about as a parent. (There’s an opinion for you.)

Well, as for now, all we want is for her to be safe, healthy, and most importantly, happy. And we intend to do that by bringing her up in a safe, healthy and happy family. πŸ™‚ I just pray that not only does she stay safe, healthy and happy,Β she also will not blame us too much for all the mistakes we are about to make and have already made as her very blur and kan cheong parents. Ok, to be fair, only one of us is blur and kan cheong.

2

Some Nights

Aurora is going to be 2 months old soon and it’s been an emotional whirlwind for me. There certainly are many thing mothers don’t tell you about motherhood. But I guess it’s because every mother is different, just like every child is different. And every experience for each individual is different as well. What I can say so far is that It is definitely not easy. For such a timid person like me, sometimes I think back on when hubby and I decided to have a baby and wonder how I even dared to want one from the start. It is, after all, what people call the hardest job in the world. From the endless worrying to the sleepless nights. These are things you read and hear about but when you experience it yourself it is so different. I guess this is what they mean by the term ‘tip of the ice berg’.

I thought tonight I’d share with you some of the worries I have had. They say writing things down is cathartic. Hopefully this helps.

1. Sleepless nights

Aurora had a period of cluster feeding. That kept me up for many nights. Literally from after dinner time till sunrise. But this isn’t the only type of sleepless nights you can experience. Aurora can’t fall asleep on her own. We have tried different ways. Music, giving her a soft toy, even pacifier. She needs to be rocked to sleep. And even then, when you put her down, she sometimes wakes up and you’ll have to rock her to sleep all over again. This can take from 15 minutes to an hour. It is OK during the day. But at night, when every one is asleep and I’m the only one up at 1 in the morning, I start to feel really lonely. Especially so when you can hear the snores from hubby and when the streets are extremely quiet. And this lonely feeling eats into me and keeps me awake.

Even when Aurora is fast asleep, I need about half an hour before I myself can fall back to sleep myself. And the whole time, all kinds of emotions and thoughts that are brought about by my sense of loneliness run wild. Sometimes, I feel like crying. Then I worry I transfer this negativity to Aurora.

2. Disagreements

We know that we have to make decisions together. But we don’t always see eye to eye. There are so many decisions to make. From insurance, to schools, to parenting techniques. The list is endless. And you can’t always be on the same page all the time. I am not exactly the type of person who is easy to talk to. I am a little slow in picking up stuff. Hubby on the other hand is very quick. He is always a few steps ahead of me. So when we have discussions about important things, we tend to get impatient with each other. This isn’t a good recipe for discussions. There will be arguments. There will be disagreements. And sometimes, we forget that we both want the best for Aurora.

I think if we only remind ourselves that, we can meet in the middle. But when it’s late after a long day at work, and the only time you have left to talk to each other is the 1 hour before bed time or before Aurora wakes you up again, and you’re tired, it is easy to forget. And you realize that that 1 hour is too precious to get into arguments and all you want to do is have a peaceful sleep.

But almost every night, I stay up feeling lonely putting Aurora to sleep. And so I fall asleep feeling lonely too.

3. Thinking Ahead

Insurance, education, mental, physical and emotional health. All the things we have to think about. Hubby is good with thinking ahead. I am not. I must say I’m lucky to have a hubby who knows all these things. He knows what insurance to get so that Aurora is well taken care of, especially in our country, where insurance is a must. He’s even read up on schools, preschools and what not. All I have considered are her emotional and mental well being. I worry about what kind of effect the things I do will have on her. Should I be or not be doing this or that? I worry about her getting too dependent on us, or me getting too possessive of her. I worry that I will be the cause of all the things that she will grow to dislike in herself. And then when I think about all the feelings and thoughts that go through my mind, I think about all the other mothers who have it much tougher than I and I feel very incompetent and weak. Another cause for sleepless nights.

4. Judgemental

It is late at night and Aurora still can’t fall asleep. When the clock struck 2, that pacifier is starting to look very welcoming in helping her sleep. Then I think about all the other mothers out there who will judge me for using a pacifier.

Aurora is a spitter and I have to constantly put a bib around her neck, even when she sleeps. I don’t want her sleeping in wet clothes and the bib can soak up her spit. But sometimes it causes her to have tiny rashes around her chin. I worry others will look and blame me for giving her rashes.

We judge mothers all the time. When you see kids on their iPads at dinning tables, kids playing their hand held devices when out with family, I even have heard stories of kids who can’t speak until they are 3. We are very quick to judge the parents for the fault in children.

But we forget that parenting does not come with a manual. You don’t have a trial run first before having kids. And I think we face enough stress to be judged by one another. Still, I worry about people judging me, telling me what I should and shouldn’t be doing.

5. Am I Doing Enough?

Aurora needs to be carried around often. So after she feeds and gets her burp, and after we’ve held her up for about half an hour after her feed (doc’s recommendation to reduce her spits), she would sleep for about an hour before she cries for attention again. Mostly because she has an upset stomach and needs to spit out. Once she’s done spitting, she’ll go back to sleep. Shortly after, it’s time for her next feed.

In that short amount of time, I sometimes forget to brush up or clear my table, or do whatever I should be. Instead, I go online and try to find some release. Maybe do a little online shopping, catch up on celebrity gossips. Then I immediately feel guilty for not doing enough. Should I have read her a book to sleep instead? Should I have carried her more, burped her more, fed her less? Am I doing enough?

At times, i want to pick up my make up brushes and just try on the new things I’ve bought for myself. Then, I feel like I shouldn’t. Maybe I should be doing something more productive. Like read up on education here, or get to know her insurance policy better since I’m quite blur about these things. While hubby is busy working hard, here I am wasting time on the computer. I constantly feel that I’m not doing enough.

6. Self Image

I have become so lazy that I don’t even shower in the morning. I told myself countless times that this is the day i will start my 30 minutes work out and it almost never happens. I tell myself I will cut down on food, so much so that sometimes when I reach the fridge, a sense of sadness overwhelms me and I suddenly don’t feel hungry anymore. Of course this lasts for an hour or so and I’m back to going to the fridge for that bowl of noodles, or that bar of chocolate. Right now, I’m high on bubble tea. It’s as though I’m making up for all the bubble tea I was refused during my confinement.

I have stopped my beauty regime, which was already close to zilch to begin with. I stopped putting oil on my stretch marks; I’ve given up hope on it ever disappearing. I’ve stopped putting sunscreen before I walk our furkid. I’ve stopped my trice weekly facial and foot scrubs. I think the only beauty thing I’ve done so far is clean up my brows.

Well, the one good thing is that I’ve lost 10kg since giving birth. I think its the confinement food. Thanks mom.

I’ve gone to Qoo10 to get some new clothes recently as my old ones don’t fit anymore. Plus, I needed to get some breastfeeding-friendly clothes, like maxi dresses and buttoned shirts. I had to choose sizes L to XL and when they arrived, a couple didn’t fit; they were too small. That didn’t help my self image at all. To top that off, I learned that my waist line is the same as hubby’s. And those of you who knows my hubby will know that he isn’t exactly slender, seeing that he is 1.8m tall.

But hubby reminds me every day that I look beautiful. Don’t misunderstand, I am proud of my stretch marks, hubby always tells me they are the mark of my motherhood, so wear them with pride. It’s just that I guess I feel bad trying to find time to do the usual stuff that I used to do. I mean, I take an hour to just put on make up (mostly because I’m not very good at it). I’d rather not trouble everyone by spending so much time on such things.

7. Being Understanding Towards Your Partner

Of all the worries I have, being understanding towards hubby is the worst. I expect him to come home to make me feel better, which is totally selfish of me because it is easy to forget that he’s had a hard day at work too. Sometimes I wish life were easier for him, or that I was stronger, or more independent. And at times when I try to do something, I end up making things worse. I know he has a lot on his shoulders and I don’t know what they are or how heavy it weighs on him. And I sometimes wish I didn’t need him as much as I do. But I do.

 

I guess at the end of it all, what is most important is to stay happy and positive. Smile more, joke more. It really isn’t that hard once you start trying. I’ve started to try to joke more with my mom, and not cry over spilled milk, literally and metaphorically in my case. But there are still nights where I feel less than competent. And I guess this is one of those nights.

1

5 foot Santa Rina Paid Us A Visit

It’s been a weekend of sweet gathering! And lots and lots of naps!

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 5.18.11 amAurora loves it when grandpa carries her over his shoulders. She falls asleep really fast this way. Plus it helps her with her burping, which is good because she tends to spit out a lot.

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 5.19.10 amGrandma took a nap with Aurora too.:)

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 5.18.47 amWe had a bit of tummy time with the little one!

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 5.18.30 amEven our furkid had naps! This time, he snuggled up against Da Yi!

As usual, Da Yi came with lots and lots of gifts!!

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Da Yi Zhang and uncle Meka bought us this! Apparently my sister sent them out for groceries one day and they came back with food alright, but they were all inedible! haha After they got them, there was an article about how these cutesies were called back because of safety reasons. But there’s no reason not to use them to teach Aurora all about vegetables and eating healthy! We’ll just keep them out of reach from her. πŸ™‚Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 5.19.22 am

Godma Sim bought us gifts again! A tummy time mat, a puppy that teaches Aurora all things from numbers to alphabets (she really likes this) and an owl towel. I forgot to take a picture of it >.< Godma Sim is spoiling Aurora haha!

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 5.19.01 amAnd Da Yi came back with this from the Peter Rabbit stories. I cant wait till Aurora can push this little thing around! For now its safely protected so that it doesn’t turn grey with dust.

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We had our belated Father’s day dinner when sis was over. Now there are 3 fathers at the table. Hubby, my dad, and my godpa. πŸ™‚ What a dinner it was. I’d rather prefer a sit at home dinner with mom’s home cooked food. All the warmth and togetherness. Nothing beats this homely feeling. Of course dinners outside is also definitely a treat! haha I rather enjoyed the dinner hubby brought me to when I was pregnant. Thank you for always being so thoughtful. πŸ™‚

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We brought Aurora back to Ah Ma’s place too and of course we didn’t forget about our furkid! We are one big family afterall. πŸ™‚ These days when we travel he sits in front with hubby while Aurora sits in the back with me in her car seat. She loves herself some car ride. She’d be crying all the way to the car but the moment hubby starts driving she falls instantly to sleep. haha I guess most kids like car rides. My sis and I did too when we were kids. Sometimes, mom says, it was the only way to put us to bed. haha How naughty we were.

It was nice having sis around, even if it were only for a few days. She stayed up watching football with dad, went shopping with mom (well, mom sent shopping with her, since she was the one doing all the buying haha), and for the first time, we ate at our dining table! Can you imagine, all the times she’s come to visit us, we never sat down at the dining table together for a meal? We were out every night! haha! This time though, we did. πŸ™‚ It’s nice to have the family together again. πŸ™‚

Baby update:

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Doc says baby is overweight so we had to stretch her feeding time. I had no idea I was over feeding her! Poor baby, look at those chubby hands! Despite all her spitting, she still managed to put on so much weight! Doc said maybe she has a need to suck on something. She told us to try the pacifier as it is better than over feeding, even though she herself isn’t a fan of it. At the start Aurora really loves the pacifier. But one day she just topped liking it altogether. She’d just keep spitting it out. Thankfully hubby found another way to coax her.

I think she can smell the milk on me so it takes me very long to put her to sleep. But once hubby takes over, Aurora falls asleep very quickly! Perhaps she feels safe in those huge arms. πŸ™‚

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Lately the cold winter in Melbourne caused Issy bear to have a fever. I hope she gets well soon 😦 poor momma is so worried about you.

Also the pet dog of a good friend of mine has gotten womb infection and just went for surgery. Because of her age her chances of survival is very slim.

The pain of watching the ones you love suffer while you stand there, helpless, is just a torture. I pray she pulls through. After all, she has yet to have her meet up with our furkid. πŸ™‚ Hang in there, Tifa.

 

0

Surrounded By Love And Awesomeness

Aurora had her official first day out with us! We went for her vaccination yesterday. I was very apprehensive about our first time out. What about diaper changing, and breast feeding, and what if she cries the house down. What if hubby and I quarrel??

Turns out it all went well. Takashimaya has a very good nursing area for moms and babies. They have a few private cubicles for moms to breastfeed their babies in peace while daddies can go shopping on their own for a while. They also have changing tables. Aurora did a poop during lunch so I sent hubby to change her. The moms there were a little taken aback that a guy was changing his daughter instead of the mom. Oh well. Hubby works all day and comes home late. Why shouldn’t he take the opportunity to be with his daughter when he can? He walked her around and pushed her around in her stroller while mommy went shopping. πŸ™‚

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Some father and daughter tummy time. πŸ™‚

Poor hubby was so sad when Aurora cried her lungs out while getting her vaccinations. I guess fathers grow really soft-hearted when it comes to their daughters. Even the meanest toughest of guys will feel pain when they see their baby girls get hurt. Hubby may be big and tall and seem fierce and loud and joke around at times. But I know inside he’s a real softy. πŸ™‚ Your secret is safe with me, Ah Nao.

The past month and a half has been a journey. I have had good days, bad days. grumpy days, angry days, tiring days, and trying days. There are times where the thoughts in my head disappoint me, mock me, and test me. But at the end of the day, I am ever so grateful for all the love and support I have had.

Mom took really good care of me with her lovely confinement food. It’s not healthy to eat them regularly now, and I must admit I’m going to miss them. They are just so delicious!

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Hubby is constantly reassuring me about my looks and about being a mother. I officially have my first mother’s day gift last month!

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How thoughtful he was that he even sent my mom a bouquet of beautiful blue flowers. I forgot to take a picture though. I’m not really a picture taker. My dad and sis are the photographers in the family.

Speaking of which, Sis is here! She’s specially come to see her niece! How sweet is that? I told her it was alright and that she didn’t have to. It is tiring to travel 18 hours in the span of 4 days but she insisted. And anyway we love her company! Look what she brought back from down under!

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Gifts from Godma Sim! Goodness. Godma seriously is spoiling Aurora. But all her gits are so thoughtful. My heart just turns jello thinking about it.

This is just a preview, of course. Da yi, da yi zhang and uncle meka all sent their gifts over too. Sis even brought gifts for mom and dad!

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I have always wanted a gramophone! But it is too expensive an interest to keep up with. When I get my own place I’m gonna get one. It is just amazing. That is her father’s day gift to our dad. Since we know she is to come over this weekend, we decide to celebrate father’s day tomorrow, a week late.

I’ll update again next week with all the rest of the photos! Oh shoot! I didn’t take a picture of our first trip out together! I’ll have to take one when Aurora takes her first walk (in the stroller) with our furkid.

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Sometimes I do wonder if I’m not showing enough love and appreciation to my parents and hubby. At times I let my moodiness get the better of me. Uncle Meka told me to look in the mirror and tell myself every morning that I am awesome. Haha. Just to lift my mood. Who knows. It’s better to spread laughter than my regular bouts of negativity. Let’s give it a try. πŸ˜›

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It’s Always Home When Love Is There

We have had lots of fun over the past 2 weekends. Last week end, lao ber ee and family came over for the weekend all the way from KL just to meet Aurora! Unfortunately we were all so excited about seeing each other that we forgot to take any pictures together. 😦 Aurora met her auntie Ning, lao ber ee and lao ber ee zhang. My mom has 9 siblings so I have multiple cousins so Aurora is going to have manyΒ lao aunts and uncles as well as normal aunts and uncles. haha! It will be until this Christmas before she meets them all. So far other than auntie Ning, she has only met auntie San and Uncle Bie. She’s going to have to remember so many names!

This weekend we celebrated Aurora’s one month. One at my in law’s place and another at my parents’ place. While the one at Ah Ma’s and Ah Gong’s place is mostly for Aurora’s paternal relatives, the one at my parents’ place is for our close friends.

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Here’s Aurora with her paternal relatives – (from top left clockwise) tai ma (great grandmother), uncle alan, uncle ryan and with the rest of the family ah ma and ah gong. Mom in law seemed happy to be a host, and we were very fortunate that many relatives and mother in law’s friends came by specially to see Aurora. πŸ™‚ And thank goodness she was well behaved! Just the day before, she was feeding almost non stop in the afternoon. I was worried she would do the same on Saturday and then the guests wouldn’t be able to see the baby girl they specially took time out to see.

Later that afternoon after the celebration, we decided to go to a mall nearby to buy a birthday cake for our little furkid from US dog bakery; he’d be turning 2 this Thursday. It was our 3rd time taking Aurora out. But it was different from the first 2, where she only went for her regular medical check up. This time, she started crying because she had a major poop. Luckily we brought along the super awesome bag lao san ee made for us. It has a changing mat attached to it. (I’ll take a picture of it one day.) So we had to change Aurora in our small humble little car. It certainly was an experience and even though it doesn’t seem like much, I felt hubby and I did a good job! haha! It was an accomplishment for first time parents and I’m looking forward to much more experiences we will go through together as a family!

Yesterday, the celebration at home was a blast. Mom and dad woke up early to make the traditional red eggs.

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After boiling them in salt (or sugar depending on which recipe you follow) and letting them cool down, dad dipped them into a bowl of red food colouring with some vinegar. Did you spot the apron my dad was wearing? Also another made by lao san ee! haha! With all the free time she gets ever since she left for down under, she’s been making bags and aprons for us all.

Hubby catered yummy food for about 40 people and while I only know most of his friends by face, I was glad they came to see Aurora and share the joy. πŸ™‚ I had a bit of a panic attack, what with everyone carrying her and touching her, I didn’t want her to catch anything, since she hasn’t had all her vaccinations yet.Β  I complained to hubby and as usual he was accustomed to my paranoia and was very calm about the whole thing. haha. Me, I’m going to be checking her very closely the next few days. haha.

We had cupcakes too! We ordered them from the same shop that did our wedding cake 3 years ago. They taste great and are quite affordable.

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Below is a picture of the cake that we ordered specially from Whips Cupcakes for my wedding. I requested for a Lilo And Stitch themed cakes.

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Sadly I did not manage to eat any of them on the wedding day itself. But I have bought cupcakes from them before soΒ  we knew what we were getting. haha. If you’re looking for affordable custom made cakes, look no further!

Some of my friends and our mutual friends made it too, which really touched my heart. It had been a while since we last talked and now that we are more available, I’ll definitely try to arrange more meet ups! It’s important to keep in touch with close friends. πŸ™‚

And coincidentally, 2 of my friends have shelties too! We have to make a date for all our furkids to meet up!

At night when everything was over, when every one has left and the place has been cleaned up, we gave our furkid his little surprise – an intimate birthday celebration. While he may not know it is his birthday (or rather it will be in a few days), I hope he knows how much we love him. Here’s to celebrating the love we have for the one member of our family who never fails to melt us with his warm hugs of welcome and who always puts a smile on his face no matter what the day brings.

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Within second, furkid has cream all over his whiskers and fur. He was so adorable! Hubby had to clean him up after. haha! All of us had a good time. πŸ™‚ It was a good few days. I was glad to talk to old friends, something a socially awkward person like me don’t do or feel comfortable doing much. I was happy to see people trade stories and share our joy. I was glad my parents had a good time too despite being tired by the end of the day. Mostly, I was glad hubby had a good time with his friends. After all, he is already the father of the year in my heart. πŸ™‚

And at the end of the day, while we were all smiles and full from the caterer’s food, we were also very worn from the excitement of the day. Furkid was so satisfied with his cake that later, he took a short nap beside baby Aurora.

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Looking at the pictures, and carrying both baby Aurora and furkid in our arms, I can’t help but feel a sense of completeness. Thank you, hubby, for giving me our own family.