Friday, October 30, 2009

Ever had an ECV?

I've mentioned that the baby is currently breech. At 30 weeks, this is apparently not a problem and supposedly about 18% of babies are breech at 32 weeks anyway. By the time they reach full term only 3-4% are breech so most of them should turn around.

Early on in the pregnancy, somebody asked me if I was going to have another natural drug free delivery. I said 'Yes' of course. I mean, its what I believe is right for the baby (and my recovery). BUT I also told my friend that part of me (secretly) wishes that I would have no choice but to have a C-section because 3 years and 3 months later, I still have the vivid memories of the natural drug free birth. *I hate thinking about it*

So, if I did it for Aaron, how could I not try my best to do it for this next baby too? Anyway, the baby's position is constantly on my mind and I'm always imagining I can feel his legs in my side or his head poking about. The doctor mentioned that at 36 weeks if he's still breech, they can try an ECV - External Cephalic Version. It seems safe but some women have mentioned that it is extremely uncomfortable.

This first video with the happy music cheered me up a little. Put my mind at ease.

And then I had to go look at another one!

External Cephalic Version

+ Jenny + | MySpace Video

I'd better go try all the other natural ways of turning a baby before 36 weeks.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday Thirteen - Breathing and Laughing

I worked through one of my yoga DVDs in the afternoon, supposedly making me breath properly for 40 minutes, and felt a lot happier afterwards. I guess I just needed some extra endorphins released.

I also managed some reading time today and had a good laugh. Its sometimes strange how simple acts, like breathing and laughing, can make one's day 'happy' again. So, for today's Thursday Thirteen here are thirteen words from an anonymous mum's dictionary.

1) Amnesia: Condition that enables a woman who has gone through labour to make love again.

2) Dumbwaiter: One who asks if the kids would care to order dessert.

3) Family Planning: The art of spacing your children the proper distance apart to kee you from killing them.

4) Feedback: The inevitable result when your baby doesn't appreciate the strained carrots.

5) Full Name: What you call your child when you're mad at him.

6) Grandparents: The people who think your children are wonderful even though they're sure you're not raising them right.

7) Hearsay: What toddlers do when anyone mutters a dirty word.

8) Impregnable: A woman whose memory of labour is still vivid.

9) Independent: How we want our children to be, as long as they do everything we say.

10) Ow: First word spoken by children with older siblings.

11) Show Off: A child who is more talented than yours.

12) Sterilize: What you do to your first baby's dummy by boiling it and to your last baby's dummy by blowing on it.

13) Two Minute Warning: When the baby's face turns red and she begins to make those familiar grunting noises.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Want My Normal Toenail Back

I've got a great reason for not blogging yesterday. I hurt my toe! Ha! Ha!

No, its not a good reason but I really did do some damage to my toenail. I don't know how I got this talented but my right foot somehow kicked my left little toenail. Heaps of blood but from what I could see (not really a lot with the bump in between my head and fee), the nail was still stuck on.

This morning, thanks to Aaron's monkeying around, half of it has flipped up and has been throbbing most of the day. Since then I've been in one long, grouchy mood.

In fact, the whole mood of this particular post is a grumpy one. Any pregnancy, after the first, is really no fun. There is no pampering, 'looking after yourself' or 'taking it easy'.

I've always been a morning person so when I was pregnant with Aaron, I still woke at 5.30am or 6am each day and went for a brisk walk followed by 30 mins of yoga. I did this even more religiously than before I was pregnant. AFTER that, I'd have breakfast followed by a nap. Those were good times. The rest of the day was just reading, watching TV, internet, y'know - relaxing things. I just did whatever I felt like doing.

Now, the day is spent 'serving Aaron'. Thats what it feels like on the bad days anyway. He's a good boy but an energetic one and I try not to waste his energy. Something is wrong with my back this time around too so all the playing on the floor isn't helping. Then there is this already rebellious baby deciding to be in the breech position and I think making me more out of breath than normal. AND there is the fact that I think I feel my pelvis loosening and making it a little painful to move my legs in certain positions.

So you see how one tiny toenail incident can make me blow things out of proportion and drag out the grouchy feeling for a whole day? Its all hard work and absolutely no pampering this second time around!

So for today, this blog will be used for venting. After all, it is the first thing I listed under the title. But don't worry I'll be back to normal soon. Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What About Me?

Well, thats the end of all the flashbacks. Its time to come back to reality and blog about this here and now.

I tried to go change the 'About Me' for this blog and had absolutely nothing to write. In the beginning, one of the reasons why I got into the whole blogging thing was because I thought I had an angle. Life in Palembang was new to us (and full of annoyances) and I felt that I would be able to share many interesting things about life in a different part of the world.

But what now?

I live in a 'normal', developed country, city. Not a big city, but a pretty one. I'm still in the same job, although my role will be expanding next January. Nothing exciting there to blog about though....

Sometimes, I feel that we're finally going to be a normal family that spends the whole year together. That part sounds 'normal' but at the same time very exciting to me. In each of the past 5 years, I've spent months away from Richard. So once again, where is my blogging angle?

I'm going to have two children, not a crazy dozen. Anyway, I don't want to only blog about sleep, poop and the latest milestones. I think this blog is going to be harder to work on. This isn't necesarily a bad thing since I do use it to stimulate my braincells (when I get some good uninterrupted time at it).

But, after saying all that, there isn't anything else to this post. I started on it too late and now I'm too sleepy. Tomorrow....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

*Flashback* 19 September - Our Last Day

We've really had a good day today. It is the eve of Hari Raya Idul Fitri and Richard's office is already closed.

We went out for breakfast at our regular noodle place. After that, we did one final tour of Palembang in the car. It was only around 8am and there was no traffic. As we drove around, the scenes that were initially so foreign to us looked so normal. At one point, I did wonder to myself "Why do we need to see this? Buildings and cars look the same everywhere." Of course, they don't and I might as well make some new memories of the place so that it will take longer for them to fade.

Then, we got the idea to take Richard on his very first Angkut ride. Aaron and I have been several times with Iwan but Richard was always at work. This was the first time we went without a guide. I needn't have worried, the driver and other passengers on board were very helpful. Richard has also never visited Iwan at his new home so the mission was to catch and Angkut to Perumnas and walk in to Iwan's house. I rang ahead to ask the name of the road that we needed to get off at and when we got there, Iwan was already squatting by the roadside waiting for us.

The trip to and fro reminded me of how helpful and friendly the people here can be. They always stare at us because we speak in English but as soon as you flash them a smile and say something in Indonesian, they really become warm. The women on the bus were chatty and the helped Aaron on and off the Angkut.

After nearly three years here in Palembang and being surrounded by motorbikes daily, Aaron finally got to ride on one.

We had a good final day here. I'll forever be grateful for the opportunity to spend this small part of our lives here in Palembang. Tomorrow, we start a new chapter in the adventure of life which is both exciting and scary.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

*Flashback* 18 September : A Final Reminder

It was unintentional but today, I got a final reminder of how many people in Palembang live.

I went to visit a friend who is about a week away from having her first baby. I brought several gifts for her but after visiting, I wish I had thought to give her much more (including some cash). I haven't seen her in a few months and in fact, have never visited her at her home before today.

She's 19 years old and since getting married and moving into her husband's house (together with MIL, FIL and bro-in-law) she has taken over all the household chores. The last time I met her was a few weeks after her wedding when she came to visit me after an argument with her husband. Back then, she was shocked at all her new roles and today, she mentioned them with a sigh of resignation but she seemed somewhat contented. What else can she do?

When we got there, she was at the back of the house, hand washing the family's clothes. She's eight and a half months pregnant! I'm finding it hard to bend over now at 5 and half months. I know plenty of people here have no choice but to do it but I couldn't help feeling sorry for her.

The house itself was basic but a very decent size and very decorated. There seemed to be a lot of china on display. It had everything except a bathroom.

One of the issues she had when first moving there was the fact that she had to walk to the river each day to wash the clothes and have a 'shower'. During this dry season, the river has completedly dried up and they now need to carry some dirty yellowy water from a well to their house.

There is a platform at the back of the house that serves as the place to wash clothes, plates and people. It was just a small deck with wooden boards until about waist height. Women clean up there too while wearing a sarong.

AND, (this is the worst part), this area is also I was horrified! I didn't want to embarrass this girl but I know she understood me. I feel ashamed for asking so much but thankful that I had somebody open enough to know I didn't mean to be look down on her, be scornful of her way of life or anything like that. It definitely wasn't pity that I felt, just plain old shock.

After that, I went into a long lecture about how she needs to care for her baby and all the precautions she needs to take.

I wish I could still be around when her baby was born. I know she isn't allowed out of this house much and rarely gets to meet her own family and friends. I regret not visiting her more often instead of just keeping in touch via text messaging.

The 'house arrest' period of this pregnancy really put me out of touch with life in Palembang. I'm glad I had this one last visit to a local friend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

*Flashback* 17 September - 13 Memories Of Palembang

I have so many memories of the place and thankfully hundreds of photos so I won't forget. Here's a Thursday Thirteen dedicated to some of my memories of Palembang. Its not in any particular order, I just 'flipped' through some photos.

1. My favourite Indinesian food : Perkedels! Click here for the recipe I use.

2. The famous pempek. I always said I didn't like them but in the end, I was addicted to the curly keriting. Not in this photo though because I always bought it on its own and those photos are a bit boring.

3. Our driver. He supposedly eats pempek every day and doesn't like other kinds of foods.

4. Aaron's first ride on the crowded angkots. Look at his chubby hands and feet!

5. You can get almost anything fixed in Palembang. I took a pair of Richard's shoes to be re-soled at this place. Unfortunately, the just slap on whatever fits and this guy somehow managed to fit a sole onto the shoe that looked about two sizes too big!

6. One of the vegetable sellers that roams our neighborhood each morning. This lady is supposedly 43 and already has several grandchildren!

7. My neighbors and their laundry. There were frequently bras on those round plants too (which would have made a much funnier photo) but I never felt confident enough to take the photos then. These were a drive by point and shoot anyway.

8. My stone age tools. Its a variation of the now commonly seen mortar and pestle. I have no idea why the indonesians use the flat surface instead of the bowl shaped one which is so much easier to handle.

9. The lilies that surrounded our garden. I didn't plant these, they came with the house and multiplied.

10. The sad fact that formula companies have an extremely strong hold in places like Indonesia. I expected to see a country of breastfeeders but sadly, many believe that the formula milk is better.

11. Bikin Gigi translates to Making Teeth. So, its basically a denture shop. Lots of people, young and old, have missing teeth. And, with the poor dental care (and oral hygiene) many suffer from constant toothaches and prefer to have their teeth extracted. Many will tell you that their teeth are the way they are because they love their pempek so much and pempek has to be dipped in spicy vinegar mixture to be fully appreciated. So, its the vinegar's fault.

12. The famous Ampera Bridge. I don't think I'll ever fully appreciate its supposed 'beauty' but all Indonesians mention this bridge when I mention 'Palembang'.

13. The view of all the houses by the Ampera bridge. This eventually led me to visit the houses there. Go here and here for a close up of life by the river.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

*Flashback* 16 September : Our Home

We didn't do anything special today. Just three days before we leave and I spent the entire day at home. Shouldn't I be out somewhere? Doing one last something?

The problem with Palembang all along has been that there is nowhere to go. Apart from Perumnas market, the 3 malls, my weekly foot reflexology, the occasional hair spa and some of the restaurants there is nothing to do. Am I wasting precious time here?

Perhaps not. Most of our lives in Palembang have been spent within the gates of our house. Its not the perfect house but Aaron has had lots of fun in it. And I have had a lot of fun watching him grow and explore the house. I've complained that the garden here is too small but now I see that it is just the right size and with enough dirt for Aaron. The gates are always locked so we've reached the stage where he can roam about freely outside pretending to be a gardener / construction site worker / market vendor while I am inside the house doing some of the chores.

We never added to the old furniture that the landlord kept in this house and have done absolutely no decorating. The house looks bare but has been easy to childproof during Aaron's early days and now, there is enough space to kick a ball around indoors. I hope that we will one day get to live in a house with this much space again. And of course, a house with an internal courtyard with fishpond.

The house has four bedrooms but we only used one. We started off with grand plans of having the master bedroom and Aaron having his own room. Shortly after arriving here, we found that the master bedroom was in the worst position and never got any of the breeze or sunlight. Aaron had the best room and he was still such a fussy sleeper that it was easier for us all to move in with him. I've loved every minute of it. He has his own room prepared for him in Brisbane so I'm getting a bit nostalgic about snuggling up with him each night and having him wake me each morning.

Today, 20 October:
Well, Aaron has been going to sleep in his own room but I'm still waking up with him snuggling next to me each morning. When we first arrived, he used to creep into my room and then call out softly 'Mama' until I woke up. Now, he just climbs in and makes himself comfortable. I haven't had the discipline to take him back to his own room and settle him back to bed there yet. Part of me just wants to get rid of the bed and put mattresses on the floor for our whole family to sleep. Wouldn't that be cosy?

Monday, October 19, 2009

*Flashback* 15 September : I Wish I Could Tell

I've been procrastinating going around to all the neighbors to say goodbye. I really want to do it and in fact, I want to let them know that we're leaving for good and that I have appreciated their hospitality and friendship. Unfortunately, we can't tell yet. So, if I were to go visit them, I'd have to be casual about it and just say that I'm going for my yearly trip to Australia. They know that in each of the past two years, I have spent several months each year there. I feel like such a liar.

Richard has not officially resigned yet, so, except for our closest friends here, we haven't told anyone. The other person I'm dying to tell is our driver, Iwan. This is so that he can start making his own plans in case he's out of a job. We've actually got a job lined up for him and have gently encouraged him to explore it but he says he's contented where he is. Thankfully, that job should still be around for another couple of weeks so that when we can finally tell him, he can make a better decision about checking out this other position.

I hope that the people we know here don't feel slighted or offended that I didn't say a proper, long-term-type, goodbye before leaving. At least Richard will be around to do that and I'll have some presents prepared for them by then.

The silver lining here, and its a selfish one, is that the inability to talk about our move makes it a little easier for me to leave. Sort of like distancing myself from them so that I can forget how warm it is to be around them. As it is, I feel so sad to leave the few friendships that I have cultivated here. Each time I speak to those who know of our departure, I always leave with a feeling of "The End-ness". At least I think I'll see our Singaporean friends again but I may never see some of these others. I will of course stay in touch with letters but that will fade, especially since I'd have to write in Indonesian...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

*Flashback* 14 September - The Last Murtabak Manis

This is a super unhealthy snack but its delicious. We have something like it in Malaysia but this is a hundred times better (and unhealthier). Murtabak Manis! I suppose this can be described as a giant, sweet, pancake lathered with margerine and topped off with your choice of crushed peanuts, cheese, chicolate chip or raisins. We always go for the peanuts.

I have been craving this for days but these stalls usually only open in the late afternoon and evening. That has been the smelliest time of the day recently so we've been staying in. The haze has been clearing a little over the past couple of days so after dinner, we went out.

I wanted to get some from my usual store but it wasn't there. You must go here to take a look at this one of a kind vehicle.

We went to another place recommended by our close friends instead since it was just down the road, in front of some auto shop. I'm really going to miss those friends when we leave Palembang. Richard and Aaron got down to order, one for us and one for those friends (they live one street away). Five minutes later, our friends arrive. What a coincidence!

* Look at that thumb nail!!! I'm only seeing it now, over a month after I ingested what it had handled *

Friday, October 16, 2009

*Flashback * 13 September: The First of Lasts

Well, THAT was an unexpected break from blogging. In fact, I haven't looked at a computer screen since Sunday morning. We didn't plan on going down to the Gold Coast but a family friend had an apartment there this week and invited us along. The initial two night stay was extended to three and then subsequently four nights. That meant four early mornings on the beach. What a bonus for us!!

Now, on to a topic that has been on my mind for months. I wanted to blog about it as it was happening but circumstances didn't really permit that. When we found out that the next baby was on the way, it set off a snowball of decision making which culminated in us moving to Australia. So, this break I'm on now isn't exactly like all the other breaks. We'll probably be here a few years. Richard will be joining us in a couple of months too. This blog is so much about the ups and downs of my life in Palembang and I really wanted to share the thoughts I had as we were preparing to leave. Instead, I wrote the posts from our final week there and saved them as drafts for when I could post them....which is basically a month later. I think I have a week's worth of those.

So just pretend that we're all still in September when you read my posts over the next few days. Here is the first, written on September 13:

When I woke up this morning, I thought "Today is the last time I'll go for mass at St. Frades." In fact, today is the start of many lasts for us. We've been here for 2 years and 7 months and it has really become "home".

I've been thinking a lot about why I feel so sad to leave this place. From my posts, you already know that I have many complaints about this place - unreliable power supply, suffocating haze, questionable water cleanliness and of course the total lack of anywhere to go on the weekends. I should be rejoicing that we're finally getting out of here.

But I'm not. I've been dreading this final week. Sometime last year, I really started seeing this place as our home. Then this year, we've made some very good friends. And because we've always referred to this place as "home" (even before I thought of it that way), Aaron now thinks he's Indonesian. We're going to miss Palembang!

I've been pushing through each day and not thinking about our departure but we're really down to the last few days now and doing all the 'goodbyes'. The simplicity of life here is probably what I fell in love with in the end. There may be 'nothing' here but it also means that there is nothing to tempt us into a materialistic life. Or a life where one's enjoyment and happiness is derived from external factors. This place has sort of centered us and made us enjoy friends, family and our surroundings for what they are instead of what they can do to entertain us.

I wonder if we'll ever come back for a visit. This isn't exactly a tourist destination but I hope we can stay in touch with the friends we have made. And one day, meet them again.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Cute Sign In Brisbane

Off and on, I find funny signs in Palembang and I'll share them here. Its usually to do with some spelling error or misuse of the English language.

I think this is the first time that a sign has caught my attention in Brisbane.

Today, I followed my brother on a walk down memory lane with visits to his Primary and Secondary school. This was at the entrance to the Primary School:

I think its much more effective than putting up one of those "School Zone" signs or a sign with the shadows of children crossing the road.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Does He Go To Pre-School?

Over the past few weeks here in Brisbane, almost everybody that I've met up with has asked if Aaron goes to pre-school. After I tell them "No", they inevitably ask if I plan on sending him somewhere while we're here. And when I tell them "No" again, they usually look at me a little blankly. Sometimes I feel that they are thinking "What the heck is she thinking not educating him??"

This is the same question that I receive all the time in Palembang, Indonesia and Ipoh, Malaysia. People the world over seem obsessed with early education outside of the home. I know that much of this is derived from people trying to make sure that their children are not losing out to other kids that do attend pre-school. Also, I fully understand that stay-at-home-moms might want a few hours to themselves.

I don't know how I ended up being such an old-fashioned mom but I really think that a three year old's place is still at home, especially if his mom is there. School starts when they are five and after that it will be college and then its four or more decades of working life! Four years staying at home and having a less scheduled life is something I definitely want to give Aaron. Plus, I want him to myself for those four years!

There is so much about everyday life to be learnt in the home. Simple things like making the bed, doing laundry, sweeping floors, washing dishes, cooking and all the other 'chores'. At this age, they aren't even chores but things to learn and do. Of course, since I too try to make sure he doesn't lose out to other pre-school going kids, we do lots of school-type learning at home as well. I'm proud to say that he's good at numbers, alphabets and music notes. Of course I want him to have interactions with other kids and the outside world too. This is also definetly something I want for myself so we'll be hunting down weekly activities that where we get to meet some new people. I'm also lucky to have my parents around to help take him to different places.

So far, Aaron doesn't seem to have any problems with the Australian accent and will usually chat with people that try to engage him. He went to the museum this morning and tomorrow, we might check out the Rhyme Time at the State Library.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thoughts On Hand Me Down Items

I've got about 3 months left before the next little baby arrives. Technically, I already have everything that is needed. Most of Aaron's stuff is still in good condition and they'll probably be the right size. BUT. Doesn't this little guy deserve some new stuff too?

I've bought a few new items but keep thinking that I can save so much money to buy other stuff if he just uses everything that Aaron already has. By 'other things' I mean books and toys which are usually ridiculously pricey.

I could buy the stuff now and have Aaron enjoy them. And since he keeps his things in good condition, his little brother can play with them in the future. Double usage for the one price. Unfortunately, it would still be a hand me down.

Don't get me wrong. There isn't anything wrong with hand me downs and I really like the idea. And I'm sure kids at that age don't feel anything except joy and excitement when they get something new anyway. The issue here is more with me. Its the whole feeling of not wanting to be partial to one child. Why should Aaron get new things and his little brother not?

The conclusion I've reached so far is that everything Aaron has will obviously be re-used. Aaron never had a lot of going out clothes as a baby because we never had anywhere to go. So, automatically, this next baby might get some new items there. The majority of Aaron's toys right now are hand me downs (from me!) anyway so he can continue to get new items at special times. Nothing excessive because I don't want him growing up materialistic. The next baby can get new toys/books in the same way that Aaron has been getting them. He'll probably need less since Aaron's toys will be around to play with but I'm sure he'll get crisp new books and shiny engines too.

So in the end, the second child, usually the one to receive hand me downs, is the one that ends up with a lot of bonus items!

Monday, October 5, 2009

When Did You Ride With Two Wheels?

I remember learning on the concrete slope in front of our house in Ipoh. It wasn't very long at all (maybe 7 meters) but was easier than trying to ride on long grass. We closed the gate at the bottom and my brother and I would just roll down and slam onto the gate each time. I think I was about 5 or 6 years old.

We've got a new project on our hands at the moment : Teaching Aaron to ride a grown up bike. I still remember it taking him some time to figure out the old three wheel tricycle in Palembang and now we're working on a two wheel one already. Well, we've been alternating between two and four wheels....

Here he is in our backyard with my father....on two wheels. He managed to stay on for two seconds on his own so we thought we'd go look for some grassy slopes.

So, here he is again with my brother.

He only tried it on two wheels once and then insisted that we put the two training wheels back on. (I probably would have too after seeing those slopes.) And then, the rest of the park proved too distracting and he abandoned his wheels for his legs. Never mind, we'll try again another day. I'm sure this is going to be an ongoing project for the next few months.

He's very keen to ride along the riverside but we haven't done that yet because he never looks where he's going and then his arms follow where his head is turning. Don't want him falling into the Brisbane river until we complete our next project - teaching him to swim!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Getting Re-connected......Slowly

Ah.....Finally, some time in front of the computer. Its FAST! And so is the internet here! Well, anything is fast compared to what we had in Palembang. Everyone is out and Aaron is asleep so I get to sit here for as long as I like.

I must admit that after 10 days of minimal computer usage and only using it for 'essential' things, I initially didn't feel compelled to sit down here at all. But now, its all coming back. IM-ing, browsing, blogging but not doing anything really important. It hasn't just been the internet that I've been disconnected from. I haven't watched ANY TV since arriving here. Its about time all that started again because I was embarrasingly late in hearing about the Tsunami and the devastating earthquake in Padang, Sumatra.

Richard left for Palembang early yesterday so we're slowly going to settle down into a more Aaron friendly routine. Previously, we were dragging him out all the time, over tiring him and then having him nap at the wrong time or place. Of course, he had fun the whole time but I need things to fall back into a more predictable routine so I can plan my days.

So, I've been out of touch with the world a little but as a result of all that extra time, my taste buds have been having the time of their lives! Mini explosions of yummy tastes several times a day. Our food in Palembang hasn't been bad at all. It was definitely healthy but the home cooked stuff I made was really getting boring. We haven't been stuffing ourselves with too much junk here. Just a controlled amount of ice cream, corn chips, the odd sausage roll and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. My favourite is the ice cream because its the one thing that we almost never had in Palembang and I could really go crazy with it but I have been good so far. Just one scoop a day.

Alright then, nothing much to this post. Just getting back into the swing of things.