Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My son is me, and I am my mother

Went through some old family photos, and saw my son in me and myself in my mom.

Do you?

Childhood photo 2_0001.jpg
The mommy is in the red dress, the other kid is her cousin

Childhood photo 2.jpg

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Busy Weekend

One evening was taking D out for a walk in the neighborhood when we stopped for a chat with R who lives down the road with his wife and four kids.

Seeing the little active tyke, he suggested getting D a helmet when he cycles out on the road. Seeing sense in his advice, I did just that this weekend.

Here he is taking out his new rocket-and-alien ship themed sports helmet for a test ride:
Looking smart in my helmet!

On Sunday, we headed down to Fidgets again, this time at the invitation of his cousins for their joint birthday party.

Fidgets is an indoor playground for young toddlers to go crazy in. It also caters to parents who want to just find a place where they can order a coffee, sit down and read the papers or the magazine, and just chill while their kids run amok. It's very much like Puff's Magical Playhouse in Traralgon, just smaller and a lot more expensive - at $15 per entry.

I had actually brought D and my helper E there a week before to "recce" the place, so the photos below are from both visits:

At Fidgets with cousinsWith cousins at fidgets (2)The birthday girlsPhoto0153.jpgPhoto0148.jpgPhoto0147.jpg

Here he is trying to blow the candles off his cousin's birthday cake!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Watching them grow

A friend messaged me today and asked in passing if Dylan was enjoying school.

It's now almost three months to his third birthday. He's barely 3!

In some societies it can seem perverse to subject such little ones to a life of regiment, albeit for only three hours a day.

He's in his uniform at 1110hrs sharp, gets in the car by 1115hr and the minute I arrive at the school's main gate and stop the car at around 1120hr, troops of pre-school teachers promptly open the car door and briskly whisk him out and off into the premises.

Within seconds, they flag me to drive off hastily, forcing me to disregard his screaming and crying in the process. (There's one teacher who has a real "evil eye" - in one look she makes me feel like I'm guilty of the heinous crime of holding up traffic!)

The only teachers he will acquiesce to escorting him inside is Mrs C and Mrs H. I feel so sorry for him sometimes!

Still, in spite of his protests I can see him growing socially and verbally because of school, and I trust that at some level he enjoys having friends and teachers to interact with.

I guess what makes it hard is realizing how fast he is growing and how much of it I've been missing out on.

Here's the difference between the infant-toddler years and the schooling years: in my child's first two years (especially if you are a stay-home mom), I can see growth on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis.

Suddenly, when the early educators step in and I outsource the nurturing, or when I re-enter the workforce, our child comes home saying new things, behaving differently, and I find myself asking - when did this happen?

Soon, my little boy will be introduced to the rigors of mainstream schooling, well before I'm ready for him to.

I guess this only makes the time I have with G these remaining two-plus months all the more precious.

In his 7th week, baby G is learning to smile genuinely, sleep for longer periods through the night, and thank God his jaundice has cleared.

He also has enough head support to be propped up against the sofa, so he has a better view of the world, which by the looks of it, he seems fascinated by:

Here's a term I picked up watching American's Next Top Model - "Smizing". It means smiling with your eyes. G's mastered that already, hey!

Ok, this one's a little harder to interpret. Is he contemplating the deep mysteries of the universe?


Or maybe he's just drifting off to slumber land...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

No teeth?

Dylan, spying his baby brother's toothless grin, turns to me and says:

"Gareth's teeth fell out!"

Six Weeks Old

Baby G is 6 weeks old today.

He's growing fast, and though still a little jaundiced, he is looking every bit the cutie to this mommy that he is.

Like the laundry my helper E. puts out every morning, she lays him out in the morning sun too. Now that he's a bit more aware and responds to stimuli, you can see him eyeing me (and the camera) with some interest:


A little closer:

And closer up still:

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Time with the Eldest

I've forgotten how much I enjoy gazing at my newborn while cradling him in my arms.

At 5+ weeks, he's acquired quite a repertoire of noises. Other than the "I'm hungry, feed me!", or "carry me" pitchy cries, this little cutie is full of grunts, snorts, coohs and aahs - amazing noises that emit from him sometimes even with his mouth closed, or when he's at the breast.

Each noise is accompanied by a different facial expression. He winks his eyes open one at a time - for example - and I love his scowling, smiling, wrinkling his little nose up. It's these little things that the Daddy has been missing, sadly.

Still, we make do the best we can.

The funny thing about being mom to number 2 is that - something apparently all parents experience - we're still more concerned with number 1: how is he taking to the baby, his feelings, his well-being, his growth, his development. Was just sharing with friends yesterday that D's cries will still raise my blood pressure a whole lot more than G's cries, and it's not just because he's a lot louder!

I guess it's also because now that D has lost his monopoly over the mommy, the time we get to spend together has become a more precious commodity. So I'm making it a point to make sure D still spends quality time with me.

Some highlights from last week include another trip to Vivocity, and D's first foray (and hopefully the last!) into cross-dressing:

Observe how water falls!

Fill 'er up! Photo0121.jpg

Checking out the bling

What happens when you let loose your nieces on your son

Monday, October 05, 2009

The first month

A month later, I'm starting to realise how different second-time motherhood has been for me compared to when I had Dylan.

D's arrival startled me - not only because we realized how ill-prepared we were to deal with the "aftermath" - the night wakings, how a baby changes the dynamics in our marriage, the constant need for attention, the rocking and cuddling, and figuring out what the baby needs from his cries.

D's arrival startled me into wondering about life's starting point: if God made us to be eternal where was little D's starting point? How did we all begin?

He made me think deeply, and fear deeply, about my own mortality - that one day I won't be around anymore for him.

With Baby G, this time round, I read up more - a LOT MORE - to bump up our knowledge so we don't just rely on our experience alone.

I also learnt to pray - and to depend on God to guide and to provide where I feel my strength and wisdom is lacking, and to shape the character of this baby I'm only starting to get to know.

But altogether, second time round, D and G's well-being is topmost in my mind, and I find my concerns being far more prosaic, far less visceral and spiritual.

This time round, I made sure to go the full nine yards to get the best treatment - hence I hired a proper confinement nanny and a lady who came in for seven days to massage and jamu wrap me up!

The real reason, other than wanting to recover, is that this time, I'd like to give full breast-feeding a real shot. The last time round, I was just so exhausted and so insecure about my milk supply that I couldn't give Dylan the full benefits of being fully breastfed. This time, I am determined to make it work.

Now, in our 5th week of getting to know each other, little G and I are finally establishing a semblance of a routine. He's growing well. At this morning's check, our five-week old weighed in at a hefty 5.3kg and 56cm long. Not too bad!

Speaking with other moms and sharing stories about what is normal and what isn't also has helped ease a lot of my insecurities about full nursing.

For instance, not stressing out about how much milk I should be producing, and just letting baby latch for as long as he wants has helped.

I had forgotten if it was normal for babies to not poop for so many days is another example. G had been poop-less for four days (but he finally did the dirty today, thank God!).

He's also a very flatulent baby! For a breastfed baby he smells like he's had steak and french onion soup for dinner! Again, it seems G isn't alone is the stink department, going by the experience of other recent mommies. Phew... and Pew!

So many thanks to friends and family who's been giving us the support this time, especially as hubby's absence is much felt.

Here's a picture with A, my confinement nanny who's been responsible for cooking yummy and tonic food, and taking bathing, diaper changing and baby rocking out of my hands so that I can rest:

We brought D and G to my office to distribute cakes and tarts, and little D lent his weight in helping mommy prepare the gifts:

"Where do you want these labels to go again?"

Last night, we had a little Chen family celebration, and the little troopers all gathered to sing a birthday song for Gareth with a candle on yummy Durian mooncakes:

The star of the show, with Po Po: