Day 3 

Today’s the 3rd day managing things mostly on our own and surprisingly, we’re fine. Maybe because it’s only day 3 but as tiring as it is trying to squeeze in some household chores, food prep and email clearing when Nat naps, I am quite happy doing it. These few days also made me realize how much I need and value my time alone to get things done, the way I want them to be. 

Our day in summary… 

AM: Nat’s usual morning routine

  • 630am rise and shine.
  • 7am milk, followed by 8am breakfast (fruits and yogurt combo).
  • Storybook + playmat time to crawl and tire himself out before his morning nap at around 930am. 
  • Once he slept, I prepped his lunch porridge before taking a nap too. 
  • After Nat woke up around 11am, I bathed him and we waited for my mom to pick us up to go for lunch. 

LUNCH: @ Waterway Point today 

  • We walked around a bit after lunch and did a quick grocery run before heading home.
  • As per our norm, we only head out in-between his AM & PM naps and ensure we make it back home in time for his 2nd nap. 
  • If he’s not tired yet like what happened this afternoon, I’ll give him more floormat and/or playpen time.
  • Now at 9 months, Nat can stay awake for 3-3.5hours and needs to be sufficiently tired enough to be ready for a nap. 
  • The moment he sleeps, it’s time to steam his fruits for tea and his post-dinner dessert. This is also the only opportunity to cook his evening porridge. 
  • If I’m lucky, he will sleep for at least 1.5 hours (like today yay!) and I get to fit in some work.

DINNER: @ my mom’s place  

  • Once Nat woke up and his meal cooked, my mum came by again to bring us over. 
  • I wanted to pram him and walk (she lives just 1.5km away) but it was too sunny. 
  • HJ joined us for dinner after work and we brought Nat back around 8pm. 

Actually, this is pretty much what I do on those days I don’t go into office so nothing was drastically different or more challenging. 

I think I will miss this once I return to work full-time. So even if can’t really slack around and binge on Netflix because there’s more household chores and baby-related prep to be done, I’m glad that I can do all these for him. 

– CK 

Long Weekends

This pretty much sums up how our weekend went ūüôā As we don’t plan to travel with Nat anytime soon, one form of pseudo-vacations with him are staycations (only when there’s good deals of course). It also gives me a chance to escape, which is what I find myself doing quite often these days. Escape from what? I can’t exactly pinpoint. Maybe just the usual weekend routines that aren’t relaxing most of the time.

How shall I make sense of this…

Weekends with a baby are not really different from weekdays. Most of it is because of the choices we make but for valid and good reasons.

1. There are essentially no more late sleep-in weekends.

  • Nat would be hungry by 7am (if we’re lucky). On normal days, he would wake up around 630am.
  • We choose to keep to the same routine on weekends as per weekdays because our work requires us to be out of the house by 710am.
  • It is also much easier to just begin his day ard 7am and then schedule his breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner from there.

2. Weekends are also now characterised by bits of negotiation and lots of planning.

  • We try to bring Nat to visit his paternal and maternal grandparents and occasionally, his Great-Grandfather.
  • I’ve learnt that there can never be absolute parity so we just try to let everyone spend pockets of time with Nat.
  • More often than not, it happens at our own physical expense because it can be very tiring. It is the right thing to do but still, really tiring.
  • Strangely, the most relaxing Sunday we had thus far was when we left Nat to finish his afternoon nap at my mom’s place after lunch and both of us just went home. We didn’t plan for such an arrangement, it just happened naturally since it was time for his nap after lunch. It was relaxing because we simply rotted at home doing our usual brainless stuff, and the best part was that we could do nothing!

I guess these are some reasons why I look forward to the times where I can just get away and be alone i.e. at work, on vacation with HJ and/or during staycations with the kiddo. Sometimes it feels good to just be detached and in my own bubble.

Some days, all I’d really like to do is to chill on my balcony with a bottle of beer. Then I think about the calories and I get a bit more depressed.

But heck, the pull of the baileys irish cream is too strong. I’ll deal with the calories another day.

– CK

Traveling Without Baby

After the success of our ‘pilot’ trip to Hanoi, we’re definitely tempted (and more confident) to take more trips in the future where it’s just the two of us. Of course the biggest and most difficult decision i.e. whether you are okay traveling without baby has to be made way in advance but once that decision has been made, everything else comes pretty easy. HJ is very easygoing – he is okay traveling with or without the baby though he is aware that the latter would entail adjusting our itinerary. I, on the other hand, took a longer time to make up my mind but in my gut, I knew that I would prefer to travel without having to think about “baby logistics”¬†and that was how our first couple trip since March 2016 came to be.

So here’s a sneak peek into the whole¬†operation¬†–¬†yes, operation because a lot of planning and ‘rehearsing’ was involved.
1. Find a caretaker arrangement that puts your heart and mind at ease

I will be honest about this. There is no other person in this world that I would trust more to take care of Nat than my mom, with our helper to assist. So having her be the main caretaker while we were overseas made the decision to just go a very straightforward one.

2. Have caretaker(s) understand and experience baby’s daily routine

Knowing is one thing but nothing beats them experiencing the baby’s routine itself. So for us, we gave my mom and helper a rough schedule for Nat based on his daily eat/wake/sleep patterns. Nat is also over at my mom’s place on the days when I go to office so she gets to experience how his morning to evening routines are like. Then on some Sundays when we go to the movies, she gets to experience his bedtime routine until 10pm.

So if family member(s) are looking after baby when you travel, having them actually experience the routine helps prepare them for the days/nights that you are away.

3. Condition baby to sleep in various locations

This is more applicable if baby is going to be bunking over at the caretaker’s home as opposed to having the caretaker sleep over in your house.

For my mom, she is more comfortable in her own place so Nat and my helper slept over at my mom’s place while we were overseas. This meant that we had to start getting Nat used to the idea of taking naps at various locations, other than our own home. Even then, it took some trial and error experiments to figure out which room he prefers to nap in.

  • For instance, my mom’s room gets the morning sun so Nat could not nap very long in there whereas my sister’s room doesn’t get the morning or afternoon sun so it’s a darker and better environment for his naps. Verdict: my sister’s room is the best place for Nat to snooze.

4. Prepare for all scenarios especially if baby were to fall sick

Other than packing the usual baby clothes and accessories e.g. food, toys, bath items, we also packed his medicine for fever, nasal congestion and cough with instructions on how to administer each of them should he fall sick. The only thing we forgot to pass my mom was his health booklet, should they need to bring him to the PD!

Thankfully, everyone was prepared because Nat did come down with a slight cough 1-2 days before our trip because HJ and I took turns to fall sick so Nat also got some of our germs. We had also prepared for another more morbid scenario in the event that anything should happen to both of us.

I guess with that, we managed to travel with peace in our hearts and minds.

– CK


Everybody Dies.

Over the weekend, we were shuttling between two hospitals. My maternal Grandpa was warded on Thurs and should be discharged soon. Then on Friday, my paternal Grandma underwent an op for her heart and is in ICU until she can go to the normal ward. I generally don’t deal with such issues very well. I am avoidant because I have difficulty accepting that one day, they are no longer going to be here.

Everybody dies. I know.

I just dread dealing with all the emotions that come along with it.

– CK

FYI to Self

Yes… HJ has shown me this illustration a couple of times but I guess it takes a whileeeee to apply this. So the most recent thing I was worried about was June school holiday plans. To bring the kiddo or not to bring? There are valid points for either scenario but I think after our staycation, I figured that we would need a ‘baby-friendly’ country/city. I also foresee us spending quite a lot of time in the hotel for Nat to nap. True, he can sleep in a carrier but with my back woes, walking a few hours with a 8-9kg baby is not a good idea. HJ too, has a back injury and not everywhere is ‘pram-friendly’. I also believe that at this age, babies won’t appreciate holidays so it’s more for us, the parents. So, we decided to take up my mum’s offer to babysit him since she will be having school holidays in June and we’ll most probably go to Hanoi and it’s nearby caves for a few days! Definitely something one can do with a baby in tow. Trekking… taking a boat around a lake surrounded by limestone caves… some of the things we want to do but can’t with baby.

Am I okay leaving Nat in SG? 

It was initially a ‘hmm, not really’ that became a ‘yup I’m sure’ and I’m also a bit surprised that I am actually okay with it.

Simply put, I/we need a break and now when Nat doesn’t really understand things and is not clingy, we stand a better chance of ‘escaping’ while we leave him in the hands of my mum and our helper. They are both fully capable of caring for him so I don’t have much reason to worry.

Should I feel guilty? I think I got over that part quite fast because I think we need to prioritize our needs above his from time to time. As precious as Nat is, he cannot become the center of our universe such that everything revolves around him. Moreover, at this age, the concept of abandonment is completely foreign to Nat. If anything, it’s us, the adults who feel bad for leaving the kiddo. So no, I don’t think one should feel guilty/bad but it’s really not as easy to just let go.

Anyhow it will just be for a short period of 4 days. If this pilot works out, I’ll definitely to it again at the end of the year!

– CK

Baby Staycation 101 

Thanks to my Grandpa who has 7 days worth of Amara vouchers, the family is taking turns to have staycations. For now, because it’s only in Singapore, things are still pretty easy but I’m quite sure after this, we will travel in June without the kiddo (then it would be considered a true vacation!) With Nat, so many things need to be brought along for just 1 night and most of our schedule is also dependent on when he needs to feed and nap.

Packing:¬†Bring extras for everything baby-related… like really everything because you never know if they will pee/poop/puke on their clothes. This applies to diapers and all milk-related items too unless one is exclusively breastfeeding. Things like bolsters that help baby to sleep better is also necessary to create a sleep environment that is closest to home. As babies can’t use the soap/shampoo provided by hotels, there’s a need to pack their bath items separately too.

Feeding: As¬†I’m still pumping, I chose to bring the Spectra as it’s way more effective than my other manual pump. So below are just some of the “extra” things one needs to bring just for the baby if bottle-feeding. I refuse to bring a bottle warmer so a hot kettle, boiling water and a cup works just fine. Of course it’s easier to just let Nat latch on but nah… his milk intake is already quite erratic this week so I rather know how much he’s drinking as opposed to latching where I’ll have no idea. So what happens to the milk pumped out? Kept in the fridge and then made warm using the old fashion way of boiled water.

Activities: After checking in, it was time for Nat’s feed and PM nap so while the kiddo and HJ slept, I went to the spa! Was originally planning on going to the gym but my whole back has been aching after carrying Nat in the carrier to shop at Bugis Junction last Saturday so better not. ¬†We got lucky with our dinner venue at the restaurant¬†TENDON at Tanjong Pajar, which was usually very packed at lunch and dinner times with very long queues, but still had seats available when we walked in at 6pm!

This morning, Nat managed to get some swim time in the bathtub because we forgot to pack our swim wear! Next time we’ll definitely go to the pool.

Since he was still much smaller than the tub, he was able to kick from one end to the other whereas in the inflatable pool at home, he could only tread water and/or move in circles.

Sleep-wise, we were crazy enough to do an experiment – to listen to Nat’s body, forgo the dreamfeed and see if he still needed a MOTN feed. Most important guideline to follow, only sleep train or do sleep experiments if one does not need to wake up to work the next day. Here’s how it went:

620pm: Seemed hungry (last feed was 4hrs ago) but he only drank 60ml then fell asleep at 7pm

805pm: Hungry and drank 120ml before sleeping at 915pm

We didn’t top up with any dreamfeed and as we rightly predicted, he was hungry at 230am so we fed him 60ml to last until 6am

Verdict:¬†Nat still needs a dreamfeed to last through the whole night and we are 90% sure he’s gonna be bunking at my mom’s if we travel in June. Seriously.

– CK

4 months!

Someone’s 4 months today! Though he sometimes wears clothes size 6-12months? Maybe it’s the cutting.

WhatsApp Image 2017-03-08 at 12.08.10 PM.jpeg

Anyhow, last night I was tidying his wardrobe to set aside clothes that he can’t fit for some of our friends. Then I saw a pair of tiny socks, the size of my thumb, that Nat wore when he was just a newborn. It then struck me (again) that babies grow up too fast… really way too fast.

The clearest sign is how independent he is now. I was recalling how in December 2016, after the confinement nanny left, Nat would sleep best at night if I sang some christian songs¬†to him. Our favourite was Jesus Loves Me. I’ll usually just sing the shortened version below.

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so.

Now, he usually naps/sleeps on his own and does not need anymore singing. At most, we need to “smack and shake” his butt to help him sleep if he’s unable to fall asleep after 15 minutes or so.

Somedays I miss the newborn stage when we could cradle him in just one arm. Yet, at 4 months, I guess things have become¬†more fun because he’s awake longer for more activities. In terms of talking gibberish, that has multiplied also.

4 months also seem very short relative to the rest of his life. Even now, at 29 years old, my parents still feature predominantly in mine. I guess once you have a kid, you never stop being parents¬†until the stage where it becomes their turn to look after you.¬†Anyhow, we’ll cross all the bridges when we get there¬†because at the moment, I would just like to focus on the here and now.

– CK

Recalling the day Nat was born

Next week on 8th March, Nat would be 4 months and I thought I should document whatever I can recall about his birth while most details are still fresh in my mind. I remember the first two trimesters flying by while the third was really slow, or rather felt really slow because it was so near the end. Even at the end, I had no sign of labour. I repeat, absolutely zero. Eventually Nat was induced on 8th Nov 2016 even though my EDD was 18th Nov 2016.

7 Nov 2016 (Mon): I went for a routine gynae appointment. After 37 weeks, I was to see my gynae once a week just in case there was some sign that labour is near. However on 31 Oct 2016, my Doc asked if we wanted to come every 10 days since there was no sign yet but being the paranoid person I am, I stuck with once a week (am so glad I did!)

So at the routine check up, it was revealed that Nat was not growing anymore. His estimated weight was stuck at 2.9kg and because I have the tendency to ask scary questions at my appointments, I enquired with my Doctor about the state of my placenta – whether it was still working and if nutrients were reaching him. Previously at my 36 weeks check up, I asked him where my umbilical cord was… only to find out it was wrapped around Nat’s neck! So back to my placenta, my Doctor said that there were¬†some signs of calcification¬†i.e. hardening of the placenta. So in view of the above, he advised us to get Nat induced by the end of the week. He told us to pick any day that we were comfortable with to come in as long as I induce by 11 Nov 2016z (Okay usually I thought the Doctors would advise on the date so we were very stunned and clueless.)¬†

Anyhow, since we could choose any day within that week, why did we decide to go in on that night itself ? 

On one hand, I had friends who told me waiting a day would be better as I would get a day to rest. That’s legit.¬†My mum was also surprised that we could pick any day but said that the day didn’t matter as long as I was comfortable. That’s also equally legit.¬†HJ was of the opinion that since the induction had to be done anyway, regardless of which date, why delay the inevitable? True that.¬†

The catalyst was actually a phone call I made to my Doctor’s office in the late afternoon just to double confirm the procedure of getting admitted and induced with the nurse. It was then that the nurse said that my Doctor was a bit worried given my placenta’s status and the fact that Nat had not grown at all since last week’s check up.

That just tipped the ball off the cliff and we decided to get admitted on 7 Nov 2016 at 1130pm to be safe. Actually Nat’s movements were also beginning to slow down, which was an abnormality because he would usually be very active at night between 8-11pm but that day, he was really sluggish so that made me more anxious to quickly reach the hospital so that they could check if his vital stats are all okay.

8 Nov 2016 (Tue): 

  • 1145pm – We settled the admission procedures and went to the ward to wait for the nurse to come see me and monitor Nat’s vital stats. Heartbeat was all okay but still no sign of contractions yet.
  • 130am – I was given a drug to get the contractions started, and was told to buzz the nurses when the pain became unbearable so they could wheel me down to the delivery ward to get my pain killers. Otherwise, the Doctor would come see me at 7am.
  • 230am – The contractions started and felt like INTENSE period cramps. Then I suddenly felt the urge to go to the toilet to pass motion so I woke HJ up to help me walk to the toilet because I could not walk by myself with the contractions and pain going on.
  • 330am – After emptying my bowels, I told HJ that it was really getting painful, making it difficult to sleep but I wasn’t sure what unbearable pain was supposed to be like. At that moment, HJ called the nurse to update her and then she got panicky that I went to empty my bowels myself!? Instead, what I should have done was press the buzzer because apparently that’s a sign of labour… That was when the nurse said it was time to go to the delivery ward to get pain killers.
  • 5am – I was given epidural (finally!) and to be honest, I had fears of the needle going into the wrong place, getting paralysis and what not… but at that juncture, there was¬†no time to be paranoid about it because I just needed pain relief pronto! In fact, the process was not as scary as I thought it would be. The nurse told me to breathe into an oxygen mask (probably laughing gas), and then for the next few minutes, I felt very lightheaded, almost like I was high on something. In the end, the administration of the epidural felt like a long hard pinch? I remember the anesthesiologist telling me to keep very still, and so I did. I also requested for a low dosage so that I can still feel my legs. I was able to wriggle both my feet but maybe because of the way I was lying down, my right leg felt more numb than my left but the nurses assured me that it was normal. So yes, the epi was magical because while the monitor reflected more regular contractions, I didn’t feel a thing! At this time, I was still only 2cm dilated and the nurse said that it may take an hour to dilate 1cm. At this rate, I was prepping for a loooong wait because I had 8cm more to go i.e. 8 hours!?
  • 630am¬†– I was still only 3cm dilated and I remember texting my family chat group that if after 12 hours of induction, still no sign of labor, I would have to go for emergency C-section.
  • 8am¬†– I was wheeled into the labour suite to wait for me to reach 10cm dilation.
  • 930am¬†– My gynae came to the suite and I was¬†only 4cm dilated then. Whatever happened to 1cm every hour?! This was also when he burst my water bag although what flowed out was more like a combination of amniotic fluid mixed with blood? It was quite scary but whatever I could not see or did not know was better for me and the nurses said that it was normal. At this point, knowing I had 6cm more to go, I was gearing myself up for a long wait until maybe in the afternoon?! What was worse was that I was getting really hungry because while on the epi, I can’t eat anything and only sip water. So the last thing I ate was some crackers at 2am which I could not finish because I was in pain. Next time, I must remember to eat supper before getting administered into the hospital!
  • 1125am – After HJ came back from his breakfast, the nurse came in to check and somehow I was 10cm dilated¬†!? That was fast and really caught me by surprise.¬†The next words she uttered was, “Okay you can push already, I’ll inform the Doctor.” Omg. At that moment, everything we learnt at pre-natal class just went out the window. I had no idea how to push or breathe of which the midwife reassured me and said that she would tell me exactly what to do, I just had to follow her instructions. So¬†how was I supposed to push?¬†I was told to use my core to push as opposed to straining my face and holding my breath. I could only push after each time a wave of contractions came. So because I didn’t have a very high dosage of epi, I could feel the waves and that was my indication to push, or rather, do a very big “ab crunch” because that’s what it felt like. My Doctor only came closer to 12pm for the finale.
  • 1205pm – So after about 40minutes of “training” with the midwife, this¬†was it. The final wave and push and the next thing we knew, Nat came out. Apparently, he was in some fetal distress and pooped while inside so thankfully he came out. I still remember my main motivation at that time was FOOD. It was pure hunger that motivated me to push properly so that I could quickly be stitched up and eat my lunch back in the ward hahaha! Throughout this time, HJ’s behaviour was quite hilarious, almost as if he was one of the nurses working in the hospital from how he was standing alongside the midwife instructing me how to breath and push using my core.

Think the pic below sums up the experience quite well – the last ultrasound that showed no weight gain, us waiting for the induction meds to work and finally, Nat and our first family pic ūüôā

– CK

27 Feb 2017

This date signifies a couple of things. Today was supposed to be my last day of maternity leave but thankfully, it isn’t. More importantly, this day last year, Mama (what we call my Grandmother since young) went home to be with the Lord so today is her 1 yr death anniversary. We had a simple memorial service for her yesterday, and back at home HJ commented that this was the first memorial service he has been too (make that both of us). He said that this just goes to show that my Grandmother really lived her life in a way that made people remember her very fondly. The Pastor yesterday recited once more something he wrote last year in a tribute to Mama and he summed up what he remembers most fondly about my Grandmother in 3 points.

  1. She had a very good command of English, with proper enunciation of her words.
  2. She was very thoughtful, always thinking of others (indeed) and he remembers her reminding my Grandfather to prepare some fruits whenever he visited because she knew he liked to eat healthy.
  3. She was faithful and trusted the Lord till the very end. Never once throughout her bout of sickness in 2014-2015 did she ever complain about her situation (this I definitely remember, her only lament was that she wished God could heal her so that she could walk through the gates of heaven, and I’m sure she did).

Lastly, he mentioned that while most Pastors are able to recite Psalm 23, my Grandmother’s favorite verse, he knew that she truly knew the Lord from how she recited it by heart every time he visited her in the hospital.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

– Psalm 23

Somedays, I tell HJ that it would have been nice if Nat arrived earlier, so at least she would be able to know she was going to be a Great Grandmother before she left this earth but we all know that could not be possible. Nonetheless, I will always have memories of how she selflessly looked after my sister and I so that both my parents could focus on their work.

Now that only Kong Kong, my Grandfather is left, what we can do is to not take it for granted so we let him interact with Nat as often as we can. This is made easier considering how he just lives 5 minutes away from our house.

Even if Mama isn’t here, seeing Nat and Kong Kong interact is the next best thing and so very precious ūüôā

– CK

The Sick Sees :(

I’ve dreaded this day where when one person comes down with something, it’s only a matter of time everyone else in the household gets it.

So HJ changed work place and perhaps due to the new environment, he was down with a sinus infection for 2 weeks. Then just as he was starting to get better, the kiddo starts coughing and sneezing on Monday night this week (16/1). Then I started with a mild sore throat that has become quite inflamed with a dry itchy cough ūüė¶

As for Nat, we monitored him for two days as he had no fever but decided to go down to the PD on Thursday (19/1) as his coughing became a bit more persistent.

Our PD, Dr Ang Ai Tin is at Thomson Medical Center¬†where Nat was born. We go there more out of convenience because she has been seeing Nat ever since he was a newborn and even if you have no appt, the average waiting time is an hour so it isn’t so bad.

So Nat has a case of upper respiratory tract congestion, thankfully not anywhere near his lungs yet but we have to go back next week for a review.

That is the amount of meds for one tiny body ūüė¶ Strangely administrating the meds have been quite pleasant – Nat will just lie there and get his nose sprayed, sucked on and have liquid drop inside. It is the cough mixture where we have to use a syringe to squirt 10ml into his mouth that he starts giving all sorts of faces haha

Today (22/1) is day 4 of his medication but he still has the occasional coughing. Hopefully the review next week won’t reveal anything serious and all goes well *fingerscrossed*

We also managed to fit in some pictorial time today during his waketime.

I am a HUGE fan of the Little Men and Little Miss series. HJ and I started building up a collection since our 2014 honeymoon in UK, London. We bought some limited edition ones there and the rest were purchased from various places in SG.

Then a few days ago I found 5 more books to add to the collection (totaling 25 now) from a 2nd hand book fair at Thomson Plaza, each book was only being sold for $1! No doubt each story ends in a few sentences but I was more interested in the colours because of its high-contrasting nature, which is mostly all that infants can recognize at this stage.

Anyhow, I personally love the idea of getting his books from a 2nd hand bookstore – it takes some digging and luck but beats paying so much more for a similar brand new book.

So the newest Little Men¬†books are now in Nat’s learning stash – a small container/sack where we consolidate all of his waketime activities in the living room for easy access.

Next up, when we have time, we will go register Nat for his public library account and collect his goodie bag. After everyone fully recovers of course – really praying my throats inflammation is not the dreaded tonsillitis ūüė¶

– CK