Friday, June 29, 2012

Last night

Here's a great follow-up to yesterday's post.

Last night, the baby cried for milk while Ryan and I were reading in bed. Ryan nudged me to pick her up. I put her to my breast, offered Ryan the other breast and the three of us laid down in bed next to Richard, the baby on my chest, Ryan in the crook of my arm. I hugged both of my children, rubbed their heads, stroked their faces and arms and told them I loved them. It was a wonderful feeling.

Slowly, Ryan reached out to his sister and gently, so very gently, put his hand on her head. It's hard to adequately describe the moment - it was pretty magical. I kept quiet, watching to see what would happen next. Ryan relaxed, closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.


Ryan and I have slept in each other arms ever since he was born. Coupled with the fact that sleeptime is when a child feels most vulnerable, when all defences are let down, it was immensely significant that Ryan accepted and incorporated his sister into our very intimate and personal space. 

The baby came off the breast shortly after that but stayed on my chest, fast asleep. She shifted position but Ryan continued to hug her in his sleep. He soon came off the breast too, falling deep into slumber. 


It wasn't the first time that the two children slept so closely together but it was the first time that Ryan set up everything from start to end. This next shot was taken last week. Ryan and I were sleeping and I got up to nurse the baby. Ryan got up, semi-awake, and settled down again on me, with his hand on the baby's hand and his head on her legs.


As always, this is the way we like things to happen - on their own terms and in their own time. 



People have been asking how Ryan has been taking to the new addition to the family. Depending on who is asking, I don't really know how to answer this question. Most people have a fixed idea of how an older sibling must behave or react in order to qualify as having accepted or adjusted well to the little one. If I tell them that he doesn't jump to her side when she's crying, will they think that he doesn't care? Will that be fair to Ryan, to give that sort of impression?

Hmm, one paragraph in and I realise that this is not an easy post to write. I do recognise that the majority of people do things differently from us - and so I hope everyone reading this will not take it as a criticism of methods that are different from ours. I'm just penning down what we do and the reasons why. The fact that our methods tend to be different is not a judgment or criticism of what others do. So please don't send me any hate mail. :-)

Ok, let's talk about Ryan's reaction.

Ryan has been very accepting of the baby. He hasn't been throwing tantrums, he's just the same as before. He doesn't push her about, he doesn't throw stuff at her or anything like that. In fact, he's extremely gentle with her. He has also noticed her umbilical cord stump still on, which seems to make him even more gentle, avoiding that area at all costs.

I think he's a little uneasy or nervous to get physical with her and I would think this is completely natural - he has zero experience handling babies after all. I still recall Richard's first time carrying Ryan in his arms as a newborn - the man was definitely a little nervous! I like to think that this nervousness is borne of an understanding that the baby needs to be handled with a lot of care, so I'm actually really happy to see Ryan display that level of understanding.

Some children love to take care of others, being in charge, etc. These children jump right into their big brother/sister role. Ryan is not at that stage yet, or perhaps he is not that sort at all. But yes, I've seen Ryan pat the baby when she cries, which is something that he probably learned from his nanny (who is now looking after a baby as well), and yes, he does kiss her. But he doesn't kiss her all the time, or hug her all the time, or sit next to her all the time. So it would not be completely honest for me to tell you that yes, he kisses her, or pats her, or that he is affectionate with her.

A better way to put it, is that he is being very cautious. And that is completely in line with the Ryan we know. He is handling this new relationship the same way that he handles all relationships - seeking to first observe and understand while keeping an open mind and heart, and showing compassion and gentleness.

Ok, now let me talk about how Richard and I have approached it.

For most children, their parents lay the groundwork early. While the mother is still pregnant with the second, the older one is prepped about "meimei" or "didi" (Chinese terms for younger sister / younger brother). The older one is told that he/she must help to take care of the newborn, that the older one must love the newborn, etc. Then when the baby arrives, they continue with these instructions. I'm not against this. Some children respond happily to these sort of instructions. Some children are comforted by the structure/training that is provided - they don't feel so overwhelmed, they know what to do with the newborn, they have a sort of safety line to hold onto.

We didn't do any of that. Those of you who know us well will know that's not part of our parenting philosophy. In fact, even after the baby arrived, we still don't. We want to keep things extremely simple for him. Having a new addition to the family is an overwhelming experience in itself, even without all the "you must be gentle with meimei", "give meimei a kiss". We want to filter out all the unnecessary noise and focus on the thing that mattered - letting the two children get to know (and hopefully accept and love) each other on their own terms, in their own time.

So, we don't ask Ryan to do anything with the baby. We don't tell him to hug, kiss or pat, or even sit next to, the baby. We don't create a situation where he might feel that he is expected to act in a certain way.

When speaking to Ryan, we seldom refer to the little baby as his sister. Why? First of all, the term "sister" is meaningless to him. It's not a switch that turns on brotherly love or affection. I should add that Ryan doesn't hug or kiss strangers, so we don't expect him to hug and kiss the little one just because she is his sister. Sister or not, she is still a stranger. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you shouldn't tell your older one that the younger one is a sister/brother - what I'm saying is that it is only a factual label. People have been going up to him and telling him that he must love the baby because she is "meimei" or that he must do this or that, or he can't do this or that, because she is "meimei" - if I were him, I'd find it a little annoying, almost a chore. As a parent, I find that this creates unnecessary expectations and stress. Whatever he chooses to do is entirely up to him. No push, no stress.

So things are going well but it's still early days. I'm sure that we will be in many situations where we'll struggle going uphill, but for now, it's peaceful and good.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Meet our daughter, Rachel


2.98 kg, 50 cm
18 June 2012, 2:05 pm
Magical


Dear Ryan

Your mommy is very bold. She's asked me to write to you about having a new sibling. And she's someone who knows the depth of the darkest feelings I harbor for my one and only sister. She's also very wise, for she must have realized I've become (somewhat) wiser and more appreciative of this other person I shared a womb with. 

You see Ryan, in my younger days my sister and I fought like bats out of hell. I was often resentful at how my parents could let her get away with things. As the elder child, I somehow took it upon myself to carry my weight where house chores were concerned. My sister not only failed to do her part, she often left behind a trail of destruction for others to pick up after her. It sounds very petty all these years later, I suppose my sense of fairness was severely offended back then. And the perpetrators being my parents for not holding her accountable. 

In moments of madness I even blamed my parents for conceiving my sister. For thinking that I had not been sufficiently entertaining hence the need to get another child. Yes, having a sibling from hell can wreck havoc on one's logic. Ryan, you'd be surprised how different you and your sibling can be despite sharing the same parents, the same genes and the same upbringing. 

At this point Ryan, you would wisely be contemplating my role in what must have been a pretty disastrous relationship between two sisters. I have to confess I had failed to put myself in her shoes. To consider what it must have felt like to be bossed about, and to be shunned emotionally. 

For all our differences, the frayed bonds holding us together is a whole lot tougher than I would have thought. After years of fighting, grievances and cold wars, we have learnt to deal with it by respecting our differences. To a large extent, this truce hinges on not pressing the wrong buttons. And I assure you, as siblings you know exactly which button is a detonator.


Now that my parents are in their twilight years, it is especially comforting to have my sister as a confidant and to share the responsibilities. Her personality is very different from mine, and that can bring a much needed alternate perspective in caring for our parents. It's interesting how those character differences which once infuriated me, now keeps me sane when the going gets tough.


Ryan, I don't have any words of wisdom to impart. As the saying goes, we choose our friends but not our family. I have faith that by the wisdom of your parents, you and your sibling could very well be the best of friends.


Terri

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Words for Ryan from a dear friend

My dearest Ryan,

You are one of my dearest friend’s precious darling and I’m honoured that Leona has asked me to write a little note to you. At this very moment your mommy and daddy are getting ready to welcome your little brother or sister into the family. All of mommy’s bestest friends are waiting for this latest addition to Budakkampung. As you will find out as you grow older, Budakkampung is our little childhood group since we were young girls of age 14…and we have been going on strong for 25 years now.

Auntie Yuen Fun (that’s me!) is an only child, no brother or sister, and it was something that I struggled with when I was very young….I used to make up stories and told everyone at school how I had 8 siblings – 4 brothers and 4 sisters! That was how desperate I was! Haha…strangely, at age 7 or 8, no one questioned why I could never name all of my 8 brothers and sisters! Mostly I wanted a big brother. Just one. I didn’t know though at the time that God could only give me a younger brother and not an older one, since I already exist in this world. More on that theory when your mommy and daddy talks to you about the birds and the bees… :-)

Having a sibling is a feeling like no other. Of this I’m convinced. When I was 5, my aunt came back to live with us, and brought her little boy. I never realized until much older that God had actually answered my prayers. He was a cousin, not a brother. So we fought a lot till we were teenagers. But deep down inside, we knew we were brother and sister…there were only the two of us, and now we are adults, the bond between us is as strong as any real brother and sister. And I know he loves me very much.

And for you, Ryan, your new brother or sister, will bring you many amazing memories and shared experiences. I now have a daughter, Nicole who is 15, and a son, Ethan who is 10. The memory that really takes my breath away even now is when Nicole was 5 and Ethan was just a few months old, I was in the middle of scolding Nicole for something naughty that she did (I forget what it was), baby Ethan who didn’t even know how to walk or talk then, crawled to sit in his sister’s lap, sat up and put his baby arms wide open as if protecting his sister and gave me a look that clearly said, “You have to get through me first!”. Of course, I was too shocked to continue scolding Nicole. It was totally amazing, but neither of them remembers this. It is a bond that cannot be explained. I mean, how did Ethan at 7 months old know how to do that? To this day, it is my favourite story to tell. Nicole and Ethan are now just like me and my cousin brother, they fight a lot, but they love each other. When Nicole is sick, Ethan will make sure he pulls her blanket up around properly and tucks her in. But at the same time he gets a kick out of annoying her. So Ryan, do know that you will have plenty of laughter and tears with your baby brother or sister, but do know that other than your mommy and daddy, your brother or sister will always, always have your back.

Ryan, your mommy and daddy will love both of you very, very much. They are amazing parents, from what I have seen. There will be times when strange feelings will set in (for some children) if you feel baby is getting more attention. But that’s only because baby is baby and needs a lot more care, just like when you were a baby and you are a big boy now and can do a lot of things on your own now like bathing and eating on your own and I think you can even help mommy with taking care of baby. She will appreciate that very much. Just remember, Ryan, that mommy and daddy loves you as much as baby, but they have loved you longer. Always remember that.

We don’t see each other very often, Ryan, but I love you because I love your mommy. My wish is that you grow up to be an independent, caring, loving and responsible boy. I’m so looking forward to meet your new brother or sister.  May God always hold the both of you in the palm of His hand.

Love always, Auntie Yuen Fun.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Words for Ryan from mummy

My darling son,

Throughout the months you saw my belly change, you simply smiled softly. You said nothing, you just embraced my growing shape as you slept every night in my arms. The very fact that you did not want or need to discuss it told me that you already knew, even better than I, that what lay in the future was beyond words, that it was something so life-changing that all that mattered for the moment was to savour our life as we knew it.

You have always been wiser than I.

I have faith that you will know how best to deal with all the changes that having a sibling entails. I also have no doubt that you will be showing your father and me a thing or two about having another child. Nevertheless, if there is one thought that we want to share with you, it is this:

With your sibling, you will share many things - both good times and bad, happy and sad. What your father and I hope to show you is that sharing is nothing to be feared. It simply means that there is so much more than there was before. The "extra" may not be more of the same. Instead, more often than not, the "extra" will bring fresh and better experiences, richer emotions, and more colourful memories that you will come to hold dear. And when you are burdened with sorrow, sharing will lighten that heaviness.

One thing which you will never have to share is the love that your father and I have for you. That love is yours and yours alone. We loved you even before you lived in my body, when you were a fantasy, a daydream, a figment of our imagination. And since you were born, we've loved you more every single day, more than we thought was possible.

When you lived inside me, I sat with you quietly, snug in my belly. I told you stories of the past, the present and the future. You listened to my lullabies and my whispers of love, and I listened to your heart, beating deep in my womb. We were one then and we are still one, my darling. We sleep now always with your head on my chest, my arm wrapped around you, your hand on my heart, our hearts beating in time, our chests rising and falling together, our breaths mingling. When we are awake, we are always close, and if I am not carrying you in my arms, I am holding you in my heart. I will carry you in every fibre of my being for the rest of my life.

As for your father, he loves you with a love like I have never seen. It is only the second time in his life that he has fallen in love and with your father, love means forever.

That is all we want to tell you before you start this new adventure. Always know that we love you, we love you, a thousand times we love you. We will never stop loving you and we will never love you any less. You are our neverending joy.

Your mama, for always.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hello baby


The little one arrived yesterday! A healthy parcel of love and warmth from God, our second little piece of heaven on Earth.

I will give you all a full update soon, I promise. For now, we are basking in the glow of this beautiful newborn child and trying our best to tattoo these precious first hours of life onto our hearts.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ending to begin again


It is 6 in the morning. We are about to leave the house for the hospital.  Before we do, and as I did the night before Ryan arrived, I wander through our home savouring the last moments of our life as we know it, knowing that the next time I come within the comfort of these walls, I will be bringing a new permanent resident with me. A tiny bundle of joy and light.

Throughout my pregnancy, I've given very little thought to the labour, the delivery and the recovery. And now, just hours before I enter the delivery suite, my thoughts are still not there. I am calm, happy, at peace. All I am thinking about is having my baby nuzzle into my breast, smelling my little one's scent deep into my bones and tracing the little features that will soon be imprinted on my heart like a permanent tattoo. It is the destination towards which we have been journeying for the past 9 months. A dream that I have held onto, while praying that we will emerge safely on the other side.

It is a strange feeling, knowing that your life is going to change in the course of the day. Knowing that you're moving on, not because you were miserable with your life before, but because you were so happy that it seemed natural to make a change. And what a change it is. It is a change that dismantles your life and hurls you into the next chapter. You have no choice but to trust that what awaits you will be joy multiplied. It is a true leap of faith. No matter how easy or difficult parenthood has been so far, a new addition to the family is always a fresh undertaking and precedents only count for so much.

The thing which gives us peace and courage to embark on this unpredictable endeavour is that we already love this little one. We've loved our baby since our baby was just a dream, a hope and a wish. And that love has been growing and growing and growing. It will be our anchor through both the good and the bad times, just like it has been with our firstborn, Ryan.

Here's to our next adventure. I can't wait to begin.


Today is Father's Day and tomorrow we will be making our trip to the hospital to welcome our new baby.

Ryan is coming to 3 years and 5 months old. In Ryan, we have been blessed with a wonderful child. He is always happy. It sounds cliche but looking back, I would not change a single thing.

I do realize one thing though. In life, we can plan as much and in as much detail as we can but things usually do not turn out the way we visualize them. At the end of the day, it is the decisions that were made from the heart that matter. A lot of the decisions relating to Ryan's development were made after lengthy discussions, debates and research by Leona and me. At the end of the day, deep in our hearts we knew which were the right decisions to make and when was the right time to execute them. Some of our major decisions were made purely based on instinct and faith.

We live in a complex society. It is increasingly competitive and results-oriented. Our children are constantly judged and pigeon-holed by how intelligent or advanced they are. Leona and I always try not to let these factors be the driving force in our decision-making process.

A note to self on this Father's Day: Screen through the noise and let your heart guide you.

Richard

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday

Our final weekend before baby no. 2 arrives!

Our Saturday was spent fruitfully, buying the last few items we need for the baby, tidying up the baby area, and yes, finally packing my hospital bag. The baby is being very cooperative, waiting patiently in my tummy while we slowly get our act together bit by bit.

Ryan slept very late last night so he was pretty zonked by the time we came home from shopping, which was about 4 pm. Here he is, falling asleep as he is drinking from his water bottle in the car.


However, once we got home and out of the car, he refused to nap. I lay down with him for about an hour but he was itching to get moving. This is him again, when we drove out in the evening - wearing my hat and reading Dr Seuss.


Again, he fell asleep while we were out and woke up when we got home. Again, I lay down with him for about an hour, but he couldn't fall back asleep so we gave up trying. We were quite happy just cuddling on the bed, so it was still all good.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bump tales 3

As some of you would know, throughout the second half of this pregnancy, I've been posting photos of myself on Facebook. It was a way to take my bump shots while we still held back on announcing the pregnancy (see our pregnancy announcement video here). Here's a photo I took yesterday.


When I was finishing up my second trimester, I posted a photo of myself on Facebook and I got a comment (from someone who knew I was pregnant) that said something like, "You still look good!" That was a jolt to me. What did it mean - I "still" looked good? Did it mean that a pregnant woman is not expected to look good? If so, why? Because of her big belly? Does a small belly mean I look good and does a big belly mean I don't?

Two weeks ago at Shichida class, one of the parents asked me, are you pregnant or what? I was amused seeing the look on her face when I told her, I was not only pregnant, but I was due to deliver anytime. Yes, I am happy when people tell me my tummy is small and tiny for whatever stage of pregnancy I'm at, because these people are usually trying to pay me a compliment. It's not the smallness of my tummy that I am pleased to hear about. Rather, it's simply the sentiment that I look good - that's always a sweet thing for anyone to hear, isn't it? I'm equally happy when people tell me my tummy is big (and beautiful, heh heh). I'm pregnant after all - I want to look like I'm pregnant!

Having a big belly does funny things to your mind. We girls grow up with a vision of what we should look like, and big bellies do not feature in that vision. Wearing a protruding belly, we vacillate between trying to hide it and trying to accept it. But then, what sort of memories do we end up with?

Some women go through pregnancy in a constant state of denial, insisting that they feel no symptoms, that their belly isn't showing, that they are absolutely unaffected. I find that very strange. Pregnancy is supposed to affect your body. It's not a disease that you need to be ashamed about. It is an incredible and significant event - why downplay it such that there's nothing worth remembering?

Then, there are women at the other extreme, women who cannot forget for one second that they are pregnant. Once they find out they're pregnant, they suddenly develop various disabilities, despite having no medical issues at all. They walk slower, they don't carry any bags, they don't do any housework, they feel tired all the time, and they refuse to venture out of the house. They get paranoid about everything, they will tell you that they can't do this, they can't eat that, they can't, they can't, they can't. At the end of the day, what sort of memory do these women have of their pregnancy?

As my first pregnancy drew to a close in 2008/2009, I knew that what I treasured most about it was not the various baby things we bought, or the various preparations we made, or how fast or slowly my tummy grew, or what I ate/didn't eat, or what I put in my hospital bag. What I treasured most were all the emotions. The knowledge that we were starting a family. The anticipation of meeting our son. The exciting feeling that I was going to be a mother, a parent. The joy, the happiness, the indescribable feeling of having been blessed with the privilege of carrying a child in my tummy. Those were the memories worth keeping.

A very important part of those treasured memories was having and showing a pregnant belly. However, being at peace about having and showing a pregnant belly doesn't come naturally to every woman. I wouldn't say it came naturally to me. I did have to take a conscious mental step in that direction. I had to let go of my insecurity that I might never again look the way I did pre-baby. I had to let go of my vanity so that it would not prevent me from enjoying my pregnancy and all the physical changes that marked its presence.

And I was glad that I did. Every single thing that could possibly have been a "negative" - a big fat belly, the fear of getting stretch marks, unfashionable maternity wear - all that didn't matter once Ryan popped out. The big fat belly went away, the stretch marks never came, the unfashionable maternity wear disappeared from my wardrobe. If I had not changed my mindset, I would have spent my pregnancy being anxious and worried about things that were completely unworthwhile and undeserving of memory space.

So, when I was pregnant with Ryan, I took regular bump shots, exposing my tummy in all its glory. But these were strictly functional shots - they showed only the belly and nothing else. You wouldn't have felt any of my emotions from looking at the shots. They captured none of the happiness that I felt at the time. They were completely impersonal and meant for only one purpose - to record the size of my tummy at various stages. As if I was recording data for research.

This time, I wisened up. I recorded my pregnancy with a focus on showing how I experienced it, as a positive and happy time. All the logistics, the preparations, the stuff we bought - if I recorded any of that, good. If not, that's fine too. It was more important to make sure I recorded what was more important. And in doing so, I gave my tummy the attention and the limelight it deserved. I let go of that vision that we girls grow up with, and embraced the fact that a pregnant and full belly is beautiful.

As for photos, apart from the photos I took of myself, I had two separate maternity photoshoots done by professionals - one showcasing our family at this time, and one showcasing my tummy and the full beauty of a pregnant woman (I'll share some photos from the second photoshoot soon!). When I did my selects from each shoot, I chose the ones that showed my tummy at its largest and our joy in its natural state.

Now, as my pregnancy draws to a close, I feel a reluctance to let go of this baby belly of mine. No doubt, the adventure that I get in exchange for my tummy is the main attraction, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't enjoy being pregnant, right? Knowing that I only have a few days left, I want to stretch these few days for as long as I possibly can, and each day that passes by peacefully without contractions is another happy day with my big and babylicious belly.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Still here

I'm still here. Still pregnant.

I have been trying to squeeze in some zzz's wherever I can because I've been staying up really late with Ryan (and so has Richard), and I'm starting to show the effects of it - coughing and sniffing. Gotta get well for the big push!

For the past week, Ryan has made it to bed at 2 am at the earliest, staying up till 4 am at times. Richard tries to ease the situation for me by taking the midnight shift with Ryan so that I can catch some sleep before he brings Ryan to bed, and I've tried, but I just can't sleep without my boys in bed with me. I toss and turn until they come up to bed, and then I spend some time getting Ryan to sleep, by which time I'm wide awake myself. I end up falling asleep at around 6 am and stumble awake at 8 am to go to work. Ryan catches up on his sleep during the day so he's good. Richard and I, on the other hand - not good, not good. Richard has been having a few early morning meetings lately, so I told him that I would do the midnight shift (I'm not able to sleep anyway). Sigh, if all this is confusing, well, all you need to understand is that there are two zombies in our house right now. Plus one Energiser bunny.

It's all right. Everything is going to turn topsy-turvy in a few days anyway, when I deliver our second child, so we're going to just grin and bear it for now.

Apart from that, we are going about our day as usual. People have generally been quite astonished to hear that I'm going to keep working until I deliver. But why shouldn't I? I feel fine, I have no medical problems and I can still be useful at work. Actually, I deliberately took my time to get through my to-do list at work, leaving a little unfinished business for the next day, everyday. I knew that I would turn up at the office the next day so I didn't want to have nothing to do. I guess I could have finished up everything quickly and gone on leave, but then I would have nothing to do at home.

Will pen more next post. In the meantime, here is a photo taken of Ryan sometime back (in April). It was a weekend afternoon and after doing his Energiser Bunny routine, he just curled up and fell asleep in the living room, like a little kitten. I love these little moments, only little children are so spontaneous and so trusting to simply fall asleep like that.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A different point of view

Here are my favourites from Richard's phone dump!











Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bloom Shots - Part 4

Insomnia strikes, so here I am blogging at half-past five in the morning.

Here's the last batch of bloom shots from this session! Actually, there are lots more but I'm not wearing much in those shots so I'll keep them to myself and spare your eyes!








Those of you who are curious as to where we had the session done, this next shot should give it away.


That's the signature shot of The Studio Loft! There are lots more in this segment with this piece of cloth, and another series with netting (another signature shot), but this is the only one I can share on the blog - because it's the only one where I'm leaning back and my bare butt isn't sticking out! As mentioned, there are a couple more segments to the session with a lot less clothing - don't worry, they won't be appearing on this blog!

Our photographer was Maryann Koh, and I think she did a splendid job - thanks Maryann! We had a fun time too!

My makeup and hair was done by my friend, Shann, who is a freelance stylist/make up artist - thanks Shann! If you need her services, let me know and I'll put you in touch with her. She's very good and has even done styling/make up for commercial shoots, plus she's a very nice person. Shann and I did our bloom shots together, one after another and, having just delivered her adorable baby, she's presently on maternity leave. She will be bouncing back into action very soon!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Half a weekend

It's the start of a new week! Week 39, that is. Yes, I measure my life in weeks now - two more weeks to my EDD! It's been kinda crazy this week, with birth announcements popping up everywhere. Having visited a good friend in the delivery ward on Thursday, today my nanny told me that her daughter delivered her baby on Saturday - and the baby was only at 35 weeks (not yet full term). Their family was expecting me to pop first, but I'm still here, still pregnant.

In fact, I know that the little one I'm carrying is going to stay inside for a while more. How do I know? Because I said so! I told the baby not to come out till after my gynae gets back from holiday (which is tomorrow), till after Ryan has taken his linking memory test, and till after I've sorted out some work stuff. Haha! I'm kidding. Actually, I know that the little one isn't coming just yet simply because my gynae told me so.

Over the weekend, Ryan reverted to his crazy bedtime hours again - he hit the sack at 4 am on both Friday night and Saturday night. We spent half of our daylight hours sleeping to make up for the nighttime mayhem, so I only have half of the weekend to report on.

We had Penang food for lunch on Saturday. This was at Penang Road Cafe -  assam laksa, fried kway teow, rojak, nasi lemak and bandung. Yum yum yum. Then we hopped over to United Square for a wee bit of shopping - more Lego/duplo for Ryan and some Vtech toys on phonics. Checked out the shops for newborn clothing and was quite disappointed at the selection. Just as we were leaving, we ran into old friends at the mall. They'd just moved back from Sydney - that was a very pleasant surprise!

Ryan fell asleep when we drove out for dinner so Richard and I ended up eating in the car, so that he could sleep undisturbed for a little longer. When Ryan woke from his power nap, we took him out for roti prata (coin prata), which gave him enough energy to stay up till 4 am again!

Sunday was almost a repeat of Saturday. We woke up close to noon, had a bak kut teh lunch, and then it was off to Shichida class. Ryan aced his linking memory test with a perfect score (actually most of the children aced it). After our usual McDonald's sit-in, we managed to pick out some clothes from Tanglin Mall for the baby to wear home from the hospital although I have to say, there really isn't much choice out there for newborn clothing. I'm going to have to do some internet shopping!

Once again, Ryan fell asleep when we drove out for dinner so, once again, Richard and I ate our dinner in the car while he slept on. After Ryan woke, we brought him out for his meal and, although we were aiming for some noodles, he clearly had other ideas. He insisted on going next door to KFC for some french fries, so that was where we ended up.

Although we only had half of a weekend, we did accomplish what we'd intended to get done, so that was good. Now we just have to get our sleeping hours right!

In other news, the poll on the baby's gender is showing BOY at a ratio of 2:1 at the moment! If you haven't voted yet, please do so! Mouse over to the middle column of the blog - the poll is right at the top. It's anonymous and just for fun, so don't be shy!


At Penang Road Cafe on Saturday

Friday, June 8, 2012

Happy times

Have you cast your vote yet? If you haven't, please do! Mouse on over to the poll in the middle column of the blog and have your say - boy or girl?

A quick post today, just to record some happy events.

On Wednesday, I met up with some lovely forum mummies (Annie, Angeline, Carol and Kelly) at Fullerton Bay Hotel. Actually they were having high tea and, as I was free and nearby, I popped by (ie. gatecrashed). They graciously welcomed me and we chatted for more than an hour. Annie had her lovely 8 week-old daughter with her, and it was just wonderful to have an infant around - a flashback to those shiny new motherhood days!

After work yesterday (7 June), we went to visit good friends in the hospital who had just welcomed a beautiful new addition to their family. I'll leave the happy announcement to the parents, suffice to say that the little one is adorable!

After the visit, we went for dinner at California Pizza Kitchen with Ryan's two best friends - Rou Ern and Brayden (and their supervisors of course!). The children had a glorious time downing the food (including ice-cream!) and, after that, just running about, stopping only to hug each other!

Two things about the night stood out for me. First was something that we already know and which was reinforced - that the children enjoy each other's company so much! Watching them play together is always heartwarming. They have certain "rules" when they get together, one of which is that everyone must be doing the same thing. For example, Rou Ern had three My Little Pony figurines with her and she insisted that each child must hold one figurine!

At their age, the three of them are still so innocent and true to their feelings - their expressions go from happy to upset to happy in a matter of seconds. In the end, ultimately, they still look out for each other and insist that everyone stay together. I was particularly touched by the number of times that they tried to hug each other - much more so than before. Perhaps they are beginning to appreciate what friendship means?

The second thing that stood out for me was that I should start serious preparations for the arrival of our baby! I have yet to pack my hospital bag, I haven't yet got a set of clothes for our baby to wear home from the hospital, and we haven't enrolled with the cord blood bank yet! There are probably lots of other little things which my brain can't recall.

My gynae is away on holiday till next week and, before he left, he told me that he was pretty sure I would not deliver before he came back. He did check my cervix, which is still high, which indicates no early delivery. So I've been pretty laidback about getting everything ready.  I've even told myself that there's no need to worry because, apart from packing a camera and some clothes for myself, we can buy anything we need from the hospital or from Guardian Pharmacy (there is a branch in the hospital).

Nevertheless, walking through the corridors of the delivery ward earlier, I did get goosebumps thinking that my turn is coming up very soon and probably when I least expect it! So I think I'd better settle everything this weekend!

Apart from that, we don't have any special plans for the weekend. The usual mode of operation will apply - catch up on sleep, eat good food, go for Ryan's classes, chill out at home.

Hope you have fun plans for the weekend! Remember to cast your vote in the poll!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Boy or Girl? Have your say!


All right, let's get this on the record! Do you think Beanie is a bouncy baby boy or a sweet baby girl?

There is no sure way to predict the gender without doing a chromosomal test but there are plenty of old wives' tales that give it a good go! The most popular of all is the tummy shape test, probably because it's the most convenient and everyone can give an opinion without having to perform any tests or ask any questions.

So let me give you a good look at my tummy! The shot above was taken on 1 June, when I was 37 plus weeks along in the pregnancy. Here's a shot from the front on the same day.


This is a shot taken this morning.


You can also see my tummy from all the posts I've put up of my bloom shots. Plus, you can compare my tummy now with my tummy when I was carrying Ryan - click here! It's pretty much the same - most of the weight is carried in front.

In the interests of full disclosure, I did ask my gynae if the tummy shape was an indicator of gender and he said nope, not at all.

Other "clues" (or not, depending on what you are using as your guide):
- I've had no cravings (same as when I was carrying Ryan)
- I've had no weird hormonal swings (same as when I was carrying Ryan)
- I've had no skin problems, no stretch marks (same as when I was carrying Ryan)
- My nose is the same shape and size as when I was not pregnant
- Ryan has girly facial features (which some say means that the baby in the tummy is a girl)
- Ryan still enjoys sticking to me (no change) (some say this means that the baby is of the opposite sex)
- According to the ancient Chinese birth chart, I'm having a boy

Ok, one last "clue" - here's a shot of Beanie's face taken at our last checkup on 29 May 2012, three days before the first two photos above were taken.


I've put up a poll on the blog at the top of the middle column. Do put in your vote - it's anonymous and I won't ask you to put money on it!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bloom Shots - Part 3

These are my favourites from the session!

Although they are part of a maternity series, the maternity part of it is secondary and it's not the quality that stands out - I almost forget that I'm pregnant in these shots. I'm certainly not the star of these photos and it doesn't matter at all to me. I love them because of the joyful interaction, the warmth and the happiness which leaps out at me from each shot and grabs hold of my heart. I get a lovely bubbly warm feeling everytime I look at them!








Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A little staycation

We spent last weekend having a little staycation at The Fairmont. It was just a one-night event but we had the best time doing ... nothing! Ok, we did do something, just not very much.  Here're some photos to share!

We started things off with a buffet lunch on Saturday at Cafe Swiss, while waiting for our room. 


Our room was splendid! Spacious and comfortable!



After lounging about for a bit, we made our way to the swimming pool, where we spent about an hour splashing about. I could tell Ryan was a little disappointed about leaving (although he didn't fuss), so we spent another hour in the bathtub when we got back to our room!




Dinner with friends at Prego! The children had loads of fun and we had a mini-celebration for Father's Day. The children also debuted their club T-shirt! (see yesterday's post for the details on the dinner.)


We had an early night - everyone was asleep by about 11 pm - and we slept till about 10 am the next day. Then it was Richard's turn with Ryan in the bathtub!

After we checked out, we went to the Legoland fair at Raffles City Shopping Centre, where we picked up some new Duplo for Ryan.


Then it was lunch at "soup broth asia" at the mall's basement. Here's Ryan perusing the map of Legoland while he tucks into his rice.


After that, it was time to say farewell! We went for Ryan's Shichida class and the rest of the day was pretty much the usual Sunday fare.

We had a wonderful relaxing stay - wish we could do it more often!

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