Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Mother's Pain

Last night, I disciplined Dylan for the first time.

He bit me while nursing. First two times I just reacted by pulling him away and telling him a stern "No". Third time, I reacted by smacking his back once, lifting his face to mine and saying, "Dylan, I said no, don't do that!"

He blinked, eyes searching mine for meaning. For a few seconds, his mouth curled downwards and started trembling, and the tears soon followed.

I was surprised, not so much by the fact that he actually got the point finally, but by how my tears also started streaming down!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Starting Solids

We started Dylan on solids around the time he turned 5 months, at first with very diluted rice cereal once a day, and slowly adding less milk till he takes it as a smooth paste.

Last Friday, at his 6th month check and third immunisation jab, the ped said that we can start feeding him solids more regularly as he can afford to put on more weight.

So I steamed potatoes and mashed it through a sieve, enough to last for a week. Poor baby - within days he became badly constipated, and grandma had to "help" dislodge the hard pellets of baby poo out.

Yesterday was particularly concerning, cos I could tell that he was trying to push something out but nothing came out. The grandparents called Elroy (he was in the middle of his 18-hole game with my Dad), and asked if we should send him in to see the doc.

They tend to worry a lot - Dyl's granma and granpa, but I guess with nothing much else to do other than take care of their grandson I can't blame them for being overly concerned.

Here's a pic of them three after Mother's Day dinner:

So E and I prayed hard on our walk back from dinner with Jacinda and Kevin.

And lo and behold, the minute we got home, I spied an odd scent coming from our baby, and true enough, a diaper full of poo!

I read Lai Yong's chapter on Psalm 62, about what are some things we find most difficult to wait for.

He talks about what one soft-spoken farmer from Lisu shared. He said that it was most difficult to wait when all the grains in the store have been eaten, and the grains in the fields are still in their stalks, but are not ready to be harvested. So while waiting, they stay hungry, and wonder at how much longer before their tummies can be filled.

It made me think.

We often want to rush growing up, don't we. Not just for our babies but even for ourselves.

Little Dylan's digestive system is still slowing maturing, but of course his mouth and taste buds don't know that yet, happy is he chomping away at mommy's special mashed potatos. So he too, needs to wait, and allow a bit of waiting time before trying a range of other solid foods.

Similarly, only before God's presence can my soul be still, and be silent before my maker.

"My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken."

- Psalm 62:1-2

This week, I pray that we can gently wait for God to mature the digestive tract inside our baby boy, and be rested in our harried souls.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Malacca - Mother's Day 12-13 May 2007

Two weeks into starting work again, we decided to make a cell group road trip up to Malacca.

It's Dylan's second foray into Malaysia, and although I was vaguely worried about whether he'll last the 3hour drive, it was really exciting to have everyone, including little Luke join us.

Photographs are courtesy of Sing Yeong and Arene. =)

The group of us before setting off to an exciting weekend away -

It was a hot hot afternoon and I feared for Dylan's tender skin!

Going up the little hill that used to overlook Merdeka Square (before they razed it to build an huge underground shopping mall. Talk about demolishing historical sites!)

At the top of the hill, where the remains of St Francis Xavier's church stands, and little Dylan basking in the tropical Malacca heat (believe me, mommy was sweating more!) -
churchruins2church ruins3

Mother's Day celebration for CE, Luke, Dylan and I, and tiramisu cake which turned out to be just sponge cake, with neither rum, coffee, or sponge fingers -

Sunday morning at yum cha place next to the mosque. Yummelicious!
dim sum place

More food places - claypot bak kut teh (teochew style) at Taman Melaka Raya & Serempang, JB:
bak kut teh 2jb feast

Monday, June 11, 2007

Little Andrea

Our neighbours, Adrian and Agnes, have three lovely kids.

The youngest girl, Andrea, is six years old and can read just about anything. Her mom taught her phonics, she tells me. She isn't just lovely with her big brown eyes. She's really bright, this one.

At around 6pm everyday, she'll come around to our place, stand outside the gate and shout "Dylan, Dylan!".

She loves my baby boy, to the chagrin of grandpa who generally finds all three kids a nuisance. According to my MIL, if he had things his way "Dylan won't have any friends at all". To me, he's just an over-protective grandpa wanting to keep the nasty germs out of Dylan's system, now with HFMD back on the rise. I have these horrible thoughts myself, God help me!

Psalm 27

Our cell group did a study recently on Psalm 27.

The psalm begins on an exultative note, with David proclaiming -

"The Lord is my light and my salavation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?"

Somewhere in between, he shifts gears, and begins a call of distress for God to not forsake him. The psalm resolves, however, in the final verse, 14:

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

What exactly does it mean to "wait"? I left the study that night heavy-hearted, cos the truth is nobody likes to wait. While waiting, we each live with a sense of uncertainty - and to borrow from the movie Music and Lyrics - "with a shadow over our heads". E. sometimes likes to call it the "paralysis of analysis".

Psalm 27 expresses this reality about my own christian walk - on one hand, remembering on a daily basis His blessings in my life, and proclaiming that his mercies are new every morning. On the other, inexorably finding myself face to face with the unanswered questions, the hidden frustrations, wanting to act on it with my own bests interest versus holding out for God's answers.

In one sermon outline, three meanings are attributed to the word "wait" in the bible. When the word of God asks us to wait it usually means one of these three - to pray in the stillness of our spirit, to work in service to the Lord (and "wait upon the Lord" as it were), and to tarry in our steps.

I find the last most challenging. On our way to work this morning, E says he finds the call to "wait for the Lord" as providing scarce comfort.

Interestingly, over the same weekend, a doctor friend who has close ties with BFEC via the Karuna clinic, St Luke's hospital and now HealthServe, passed me a book written by Dr Tan Lai Yong entitled "Waiting for Growth". In it is a series of devotions in which Lai Yong shares his heartfelt stories and reflections, based on his experience in Yunnan, China, and on his ruminations of songs in the old testament, many of which are in the book of Psalms. The devotions revolve around this notion of waiting - for God's answers, and God waiting for us to respond to his love.

I picked it up last night after laying little Dylan down to sleep. It was 10.30pm.

(BFEC had published it in 2005 in support of St Luke's hospice in Bukit Batok. Funny how I don't recall BFEC every mentioning this to the congregation.)

Anyway, one line struck me, and I thought I'd share it here. Lai Yong writes about how we live in an age of instant gratification - we want it, and we want it now.

That's why it is always challenging to pray and ask for things pleasing to the Lord, rather than things pleasing to us, and to our very human longing for the security of the here and now.

But in waiting for God, we force ourselves to tarry, to pause in our instinct to react according to our desires, and see things from God's perspective instead. And that is when the word of God sheds light upon darkness, as sure as the sun rises from the east every morning. He cites C.S. Lewis who says that he believes in Christianity as he believes the sun has risen, not because he sees it but because by it he sees everything else. (I'm paraphrasing here.)

Similarly, my challenge to myself is to seek the word of God for light. I know for sure that I don't search to word deeply enough to work out the character I know God wants me to build. Maybe that is why my laments in my prayers sometimes feel so empty, knowing that on my part, God is also, waiting for me to grow up.