Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Look What I Got!

He arrived on 27 Dec 2009. So, those people who were betting on a Christmas baby weren't too far wrong.

Things actually got started on the night of the 25th. On the 26th, I went to the Boxing Day sales in the city before making my way to the hospital. Things were really slow. They almost said I should go home because it didn't look like 'real' labour. They did insist that Richard go home so he left me to my pain.

Two hours later things went from slow motion to fast forward. Even the midwives didn't quite expect things to move so quickly and each time they checked to see if I was at whatever stage they thought I would be at, I was a couple of steps more advanced. Within 20 mins of them getting me to the birth suite and saying that I was at 4cm and to relax, the baby was out! Lightning Boy!

Everything is good now and we're home trying to get as much rest as possible. I won't be the almost-daily blogger I was for awhile but I also can't stay away from the internet completely, so, check back every so often for posts on my life as new mom of TWO! (It still hasn't sunk in.)

Happy New Year Everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve - HOT!

I have to admit that I've found it a little hard to get into the Christmas spirit today. The morning was cool but by the afternoon, it was hot and humid. Horribly hot and humid. Anyway, we sent Richard out to get us some ice cream and we were all soon feeling a bit better.

The underneath of the Christmas tree is looking very exciting with a full load of presents in place. It reminds me of my own childhood Christmasses. I hope Aaron will not only be blown away with the presents but also feel the warmth and joy of being with family during this season.

I wish you all a Blessed and Joyful Christmas. Enjoy the time with your families, the good food and festive cheer. But, as you exchange your gifts don't forget the real meaning of Christmas - the giving of love EVERYDAY.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Baby Will Be Here Soon.....Maybe

"You're having a Christmas baby."

"You're not going to last until 7 January."

"Not long to go now."

Those are the sorts of comments I've been hearing a lot this past week. Even from total strangers.

With Aaron, he came eight days early and that cut out all the anticipation and any waiting time.

And because Aaron was early, I've always had it in the back of my mind that this baby will come early too. I know there is absolutely no scientific reason for it to happen but I've got that sort of expectation built into me already.

So on top of that, there are all these people who look at my belly and say "Its coming soon!" and thats just building the expectation in me even higher. I really prefer not to have all this anticipation but its happening whether I like it or not.

What have I been doing about it? I've read about the 'nesting instinct' where expectant mothers supposedly get this uncontrollable urge to clean, tidy and organize. In the final days of pregnancy, this is often a sign that labor and delivery is close at hand.

I definitely have not been cleaning and have no desire to do so but I have been doing a lot of online organizing. I've set up and checked that anything that can be done online, is set up. I've cleaned up my hard disk and updated all my documents.

The other thing I've been doing is eating. Not to get this baby any bigger but in anticipation of several months of potentially bland food. With Aaron, he seemed to react (by not sleeping) to anything I ate that was not vegetables stir fried with garlic. I couldn't eat anything with too much meat, oil, food additives or flavour. So, I've just been snacking on junk food all day long for the past week.

So back to when this baby is coming out. Who knows?? Sometime in the next two or three weeks? Do I want it before Christmas? Not really. Before New Year's Day? I don't mind. All I know is that it'll come when it comes and in the mean time, I'll be eating lots of junk food, maybe in front of the computer.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

First Contact

What a Sunday! Our house has been full of laughter, crying, sharing and snatching. A cousin that I haven't met up with in over ten years came to visit. He has a son that is three weeks younger than Aaron and a two year old girl.

So, today was the first day that Aaron has met a cousin. At the moment, Aaron only has one first cousin and these two second cousins. And unfortunately, it doesn't look like there will be any additions soon. He really has no idea about what it means to have relatives and with the Chinese way of addressing various aunts, uncles and cousins, today was quite a confusing introduction. None of the kids worried about that though. They hit it off right away and started playing really well.

Today was also Aaron's first time playing with another kid his age. In the past, they have all been several months older or younger than him but the little boy and him today are almost exactly the same age. It was mostly peaceful play but as they both got more and more worn out, Aaron especially, started to forget about sharing. That was to be expected.

Here are a couple of photos from when the two of them were busy 'cleaning' our glass doors.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Did he mean "Stop Nagging"?

As I've mentioned here before, Aaron is at that age of saying lots of funny (and embarrasing) things. He seems to have his ears pricked up all the time, picks up on all our conversations and then saves them for repeating at a later and more inappropriate time. As his vocabulary grows, he has also been coming up with some interesting original conversation too.

I always listen eagerly when he has something to say because they are often funny observations. Tonight was no different, and even though I know its not going to be so amusing in the future, it was still entertaining tonight.

After dinner, Aaron went to his desk to do some drawing. I called out to him that he'll have to stop in a few minutes, go brush his teeth and get ready for bed. Immediately, he came back with "Why do you tell me things I already know?". I told him that I was just reminding him and he went on to say that I keep telling him things that he already knows, too many times.

Its true, I repeat myself. But thats just because he usually doesn't move immediately. I never said the words "Stop nagging" to my parents but I can't help thinking that if Aaron know of the word "nag", he'd probably have used it tonight.

I have my first New Year's resolution ready for the start of 2010 - Only say things once!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wanting More Face

I think most people these days would be familiar with terms like 'loss of face' and 'not giving enough face'. I'm not even going to attempt explaining what 'face' means but you can browse through this Wikipedia attempt at various definitions.

Anyway, I remember being chided quite often by my mother when I was a child for wanting too much 'face'. And now, I hear myself thinking the word with Aaron. The closest English idiom that I can think of to describe the situation is to "give an inch and he will take a mile". Something like that...

Even though it can be hard work when there is no back up around, Aaron is extremely well behaved and easy to handle when he's in a one on one situation. If I'm at home alone with him for the day, he's entirely co-operative, willing to entertain himself and we get everything done. If its just the two of us when we go out shopping, he just holds my hand and walks obediently wherever we need to go.

Recently, Richard joined us. And a couple of days ago, my aunt from Holland also arrived for the Christmas holidays. And Aaron has been wanting more and more face everyday.

Its fun to have so many people in the house but at the same time, he's playing all of them. And its tiring for me to try to keep him disciplined. I'm relieved to see that he still has some respect for me and doesn't try to con me into things but it has been increasingly harder to get him to do the normal stuff like go to bed, brush his teeth, pick up his toys and even eat. And when we go out, if one person doesn't follow his insistent arm pulling into some book/toy shop or other, he'll just grab the next arm available. And at the end of the day, I'm always the bad guy that has to try to get the face wanting kid back in line.

Christmas time, its not only diets go out the window, routines, discipline and good behavior seem to take a beating too.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wiggling With The Wiggles

We have had THE BEST day. This morning, we went for The Big Big Show by the Wiggles. It was incredibly fun and as crazy as it sounds, the most enjoyable concert I've been to in my life. It was fantastic to share in the joy that Aaron experienced watching the Wiggles live.

I don't know how we got to be this lucky because I tried to buy tickets for this show when we were still in Palembang and at that time, they appeared sold out before I got any. A couple of weeks ago, I tried again and we got front row seats! It had a circus theme with a lot of acrobatics mixed in with all the usual favourite songs.

Aaron had such an enjoyable time because he knew all the songs and we had such great seats right in the center. I think all the adults there had a good time too because we, of course, also knew all the songs. LOL! Just was a really fast paced, colourful and well planned concert. I just kept thinking of how hard they were all working and how well spent my $35 per person was. I'm sure that they could charge more than that and people would still go but they've kept it very affordable and still high quality.

The Wiggles definitely have a magic way with kids. They've been around over 15 years and it was mentioned today that one of them has qualified for a seniors card! And yet, I didn't see any little kid throw a tantrum today. There surely must have been at least one around somewhere but I didn't see or hear anyone unhappy. All the kids I saw (and there were hundreds of these little under 5s), waited excitedly for the show to start, then danced their way though it and afterwards, they all seemed to be on some sort of a high from all the singing and dancing.

I've really had one of those days where I've felt incredibly lucky and happy to have had the opportunity for some great family fun time.

Richard took a lot of photos but when I looked through just now, this was one of the only ones with the four Wiggles together.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Pregnant Lady Look

I think I was a pretty cool pregnant lady the first time around. Cute little bump and all the time in the world to keep myself looking nice.

But at about 4.30pm today, I saw myself waddling in the reflection of some store window. AND, I had my hand on my belly. I looked just like those women I said I would never look like.

We went to a family friend's 60th Birthday Party last night and there was A LOT of standing around for hours. I was so tired after the four and a half hours there that I couldn't stay upright when I got home.

Today was already designated as a shopping day but I was too tired to start in the morning so we only left after lunch. I really should have stayed at home.

After two hours I had to keep rubbing my belly because of the continuous Braxton Hicks contractions (practice ones for the big day). And I think my hips had loosened out so my back was aching and I had to drag my legs along. I still continued on my mission though and got all the things I needed. They were all for the hospital bag so I thought I'd better get it done.

So, I've learned my lesson and will be much more charitable the next time I see a pregnant lady waddling instead of walking and rubbing her belly continuously (its not that she's so excited about the baby). There is good reason! And now you all know it too.

* I have to tag this on to the end of my post. Do you all remember "My Heart Will Go On" from the movie Titanic. Somebody next door is karaoke-ing to it! Have you ever heard anybody except Celine Dion sing it? I think its giving me more Braxton Hicks contractions. *

* Oh no. She has started on "Unchained Melody" now.... *

* Maybe I should be more charitable. She might have good reason to sing all these songs. *

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pondering Santa and Christmas Presents

As you all know, I only have one son, for now, and he's the center of my world. We've always been very careful about how many and how frequently we give him something new. But Christmas time is the time to let loose right? It should be but...

For his first Christmas, we didn't really get him anything. He was only four months old and wouldn't have known the difference.

His second Christmas was spent on holidays in Kuala Lumpur and we went a little crazy then. Although, I must admit that many of my well thought out presents didn't seem to have as great an impact on him as I had imagined.

Last year, his third Christmas, we were in Cairns and he had presents from the whole family. There were a few books and one Thomas the Tank Engine. Nothing too extravagant.

This year, he's found out that Santa also delivers presents (no, Santa didn't visit him for the past three years) and that receiving presents is something of a right at Christmas time. I don't have a problem with that, its part of what makes Christmas fun for kids (and the rest of us).

The part I feel a little hypocritical about is saying "You'd better be good or Santa won't bring you anything." I don't like bribing him that way and rarely use lines like that....until now. I have no idea why I started. Maybe its because of that Christmas song, or maybe its because people he meets always ask if he's been good.

In any case, Santa will finally be visiting Aaron this year. The problem I have is deciding if Santa should be the extravagant gift giver or should I. I've got him an amazing (and humongous) Lego set. Its a combination of smaller individual packs and my parents and I were planning on spliting them up and each person would give him one. The rationale behind it is so that he wouldn't learn to expect huge presents for Christmas and that the exchange of gifts is a modest one instead. The other thing I have for him is a Dinosaur Encyclopedia, something I already know he'll love. The plan was for Santa to give the book and the rest of us to give the small lego packs.

Unfortunately, the inquisitive little guy stumbled upon the poorly concealed (huge) Lego box and tore it open yesterday. We have that fire under control and he doesn't realise it was for him or that he would ever get to play with it. BUT, he now knows it comes as a big box so I might as well give it to him as a single present. So, its back to a little guy getting a really big present. I'll just be explaining that its from all of us. I also need to make some time to help him prepare his presents for the family to show that there is a trade of gifts.

So this has then led me to think about Santa's role. I thought that maybe we could make Santa a little boring and have him give presents that are useful, rather than "whatever you ask for". Take the Lego for example, I want him to know that it was his family that gave it to him and not some bearded stranger. Same with the Dinosaur Encyclopedia.

Santa is a good excuse for getting a few more presents out there but I don't think I'd like to maintain that sort of expectation of having Santa give the gifts that a child asks for. For Aaron, the present that Santa is definitely giving is a piggy bank. I decided that one a long time ago. Aaron's also growing out of his clothes so maybe a pair of shorts and shirt to demonstrate that Santa can see that he needs it. But wouldn't I then be robbing him of the whole Santa fantasy? I guess what I'm looking for is some sort of balance to have the Santa fantasy without it becoming the carrot for being good.

And as for the presents we get him, I partly think that its too big but I'm telling myself that its balanced out by us not usually getting him stuff during normal times.

He's still only three and maybe I'm thinking too much into things and spoiling the fun for him but I think I need to remind myself that each year builds on itself and he'll not be three forever. So, I'd better build a decent foundation.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Time In Australia

Well, we've had another hot day with a high of 34 degrees Celsius today. Several of my close friends live in the northern hemisphere and are starting to talk about the cold. And, preparing for Christmas.

I've only had one Christmas where things were cold and there was snow about an hour's drive away. Other than that, they've all be hot. So, I'm used to watching movies on TV and listening to Christmas songs about snow, warm fires and the cold while sweating in my tank tops.

I wonder what the people who live in those winter wonderland Christmas places think of my Christmasses. They probably don't give it much thought since it isn't the sizzling Christmasses that are commercialized. Ultimately, it isn't the weather but the company that defines Christmas but I'm still guessing that it must be a strange thought for some people to think of Christmas being hot.

I heard a very funny Christmas song at the concert on Saturday night and thought I'd share the lyrics here. Obviouly, it makes no sense singing about dashing through the snow so here is an Australian version of Jingle Bells:

Dashing through the bush
In a rusty Holden Ute
Kicking up the dust
Esky in the boot
Kelpie by my side
Singing Christmas songs
It's summer time and I am in
My singlet, shorts & thongs


Engine's getting hot
Dodge the kangaroos
Swaggy climbs aboard
He is welcome too
All the family is there
Sitting by the pool
Christmas day, the Aussie way
By the barbecue!


Come the afternoon
Grandpa has a doze
The kids and uncle Bruce
Are swimming in their clothes
The time comes round to go
We take a family snap
Then pack the car and all shoot through
Before the washing up


Monday, December 7, 2009

Birthing A Ping Pong Ball

Tonight I went for an ante-natal refresher class. It was more like a question and answer session rather than an actual class, except for this one exercise. And I now have the imagery that silly balloon and ping pong ball exercise burned into my brain.

The educator got us to shove a ping pong ball into a balloon. After blowing the balloon up (but not tying it off), we turned the balloon upside down so that the ball sat over the opening. Once the ball was there, we could let go and the ball would act as the plug to prevent the balloon from deflating.

Here comes the fun part...

Firstly, we squeezed the sides of the balloon to show how uterine contractions do not happen. Its ineffective.

Then, we squeezed the top of the balloon, which is what the uterus does during labour and the ping pong ball kept moving up and down the 'neck' of the balloon. The neck representing the cervix.

Then the lady says "crown your baby". So, we all squeezed the top of the balloon until the ping pong ball was about a quarter of the way out of the balloon.

Now, "puff your baby out". And there were ping pong balls flying everywhere! I'm glad there was that funny ending to the exercise because I really did not need the extra props to boost my imagination skills.

I did not like this exercise at all because it made things too easy to imagine. I was quite happy just knowing on paper what would happen...didn't need to see it. But anyway, its on my mind now and I felt like sharing it here. The more I talk about it, the more accepting I will be of it. As 'they' say, I've got to trust my body....somehow.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Has it been three days?

Looks like it. We've had such a full three days that I didn't even notice not sitting in front of the computer for more than five minutes each day.

With Richard here, I managed to get quite a few things done. Part of the Christmas shopping is completed and all my Christmas cards are ready to be posted tomorrow. My sewing projects are still all up in the air but I'm getting there slowly. They'll all be done by the end of this week I hope.

Thanks to Richard, I got some shopping time without Aaron tagging along. The downside to that was that I didn't carry a big bag filled with drinks, snacks, toys and important things like my CAMERA! So, sure enough, I saw something I found amusing. Thankfully, I found this photo of it on an old news article:

This AUD 50,000 buggy is a Brisbane City Council invention and appears to have been cleaning Brisbane's streets since March this year. It really was very cute and had a sign in coloured lights reading "Beware! Chewing Gum Removal In Progress."

While this green buggy was entertaining, I can't help wondering if Singapore's no chewing gum laws are a better way to go. After all, that one may actually make some money.

On to the other photos I wanted to share...

We went for the Lord Mayor's Carols in the City concert last night. Even though the concert didn't start until 7.30pm, the gates opened at 5.30pm. And we were there at 5.30pm. Thankfully there was no chewing gum in the grass we were sitting on but just take a look at the crowd that made it in there before us.

We had an incredibly enjoyable evening even though it drizzled on us three times through out the concert. Aaron enjoyed it so much he didn't want to leave at the end. My favourite act was by James Morrison, the jazz trumpeter. Unfortunately, it did remind me of how many years older I have become since the last time I watched him perform. My father and I went to one of his concerts during the Brisbane Expo in 1988. TWENTY ONE YEARS AGO!

We've got another few concerts to go to this week and next, including THE WIGGLES!!! I love this time of the year....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Remember those milk teeth?

I remember using my tongue to push out most of my front milk teeth. It was always something that I couldn't resist doing. I didn't want the teeth to fall out but at the same time, I couldn't stop moving them around and seeing how far they could bend over. As for the molars, I only remember one of them falling out when I bit into a biscuit.

We didn't have the tooth fairy visiting our family so I collected all the teeth, put it in a little purse and then wrote on the purse "If this is found in a hundred years from 19xx, know that it belonged to Amanda." Recently, I did find the purse but you know what? No teeth inside! I can't understand what happened.

This morning, I came across an article about a little girl having her tooth extracted by a remote control car. I have to admit that I did watch part of it through my fingers but after awhile, I saw how enthusiastic the girl was and put my hand down for the actual driving off with tooth.

Would I use this with Aaron? I doubt it. I think I'll just let him wiggle the teeth out himself.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Webcams....Hmmmmm....Of course, we have one here. But, I think I have webcamophobia. I really don't like them.

Well, I like them for looking at other people but I can't stand having it focused on me. Its been good for chatting with friends and family but I always have the camera pointed at Aaron. I find it too uncomfortable to have it pointed at me and usually avoid it unless Aaron isn't around and I'm talking to somebody else who has their camera pointed at them. It would be rude not to show my face. Sort of like speaking to somebody in person but not looking at them.

If my own screen didn't show the image of myself, maybe I wouldn't have been so averse to using it. Right now, its like looking into a mirror. I don't like looking in mirrors and always end up scrutinising my too big forehead, too small chin, larger than desireable pores, real or imaginary dark circles, crooked teeth, chunky arms maybe and the list goes on. What would the other person think if they saw me like that?! (Yes, I realise they have all seem me and probably don't notice any of that.) (Or maybe they do...)

Anyway, what got me thinking about this is the fact that Richard has not seen me in nearly 8 weeks and he's arriving tomorrow morning! According to the records, I'm only 3kgs heavier but while I might have been the size of a rockmelon the last time he saw me, I'm now a huge watermelon! I have not gotten in front of the camera the entire time and always had it pointed at Aaron if we were talking.

I felt a similar way when we arrived in Brisbane. I was so conscious about my then rockmelon sized bump and what my parents would think. Silly, yes. But it always makes me think that if I didn't have webcamophobia then I wouldn't be left with the last minute thought of "OMG, They're going to see me like this."