Time Capsule

October 2015

Hello my little peanut (you’re 35 weeks 4 days in there),

This afternoon you’re digging (what I imagine to be) a little hand/knee somewhere in my groin. It hurts. I’ve tried to walk you out of your position but you like it, it seems. You haven’t budged.

Friends who are moms say I’ll miss this. That this is the closest and safest you’ll ever be. We’re together 24/7. I know where you are 100% of the time. I know what you’re eating (as I’m eating it too).

You are me and I am you and we make a huge, waddling figure walking down Bishan Road. But there are times, frankly, that I just want this over with. I want to see you and hug you and hold you. That’s when the tough part begins.

Now we’re in the final stretch and you’re heavier than ever. I woke up twice last night, both times because my heart was pounding so fast, I could scarcely breathe. I don’t go out for lunch in the office anymore and (thankfully!) your lola (grandma) is here. She arrived last week and she’s been making us lunch: baked squid with chopped fruit for dessert, spicy Malaysian-style chicken curry, spinach omelette. I’m so, so thankful she’s here.

Your dad’s away for training. He’ll be back this Thursday and I’m whispering to you, hoping you’ll hang in there for just a little bit more. Your baby shower is this Saturday. You’re not even full term yet. Just hang in there my baby.

I have plenty of fears right now. Well, first off I hope you’ll be healthy and safely delivered to us. Last week, the first day after your dad left (and after he explicitly told you to behave!) I woke up to pee and saw drops of bright red blood on the toilet seat. That was the day of your lola’s birthday. For some reason I wasn’t too worried though. I was confident you were fine. Your birthday present to lola was a visit to the hospital maternity ward, where they put a heartbeat trace on you for two hours (I liked hearing the quick thump thump) and monitored if you were okay. You were. (See? Mommy’s always right.)

You make your presence felt in other ways. Like today, punching my groin from the inside. Lifting your little back (the bump feels hard, smooth and round) and making peaks and valleys of my stomach, stretching the already stretched skin (smooth stretchmarks make stripe patterns on the surface). I don’t mind, I like rubbing my hand over your back, gently pushing down sometimes, to see if you’d push back or move. Sometimes you do.

I fear I won’t be able to breastfeed you properly. Breast is best, they all say, but there’s no shortage of stories of women who can’t produce milk at all, or who, after they start working, suffer from dwindling supply or confused babies who suddenly decide they’d rather suck on a rubber nipple after all. I don’t know how you’ll turn out to be. I hope we can stick it out, you and me, at least until you’re six months. Maybe longer. Hopefully longer.

(There you go again! Stretching! I can’t blame you, I’m sure it’s all cramped in there what with me eating 2.5 slices of banana loaf and a full glass of milk. But… still. Your knees/elbows/feet/whatever that is do hurt, baby.)

I fear I won’t raise you kind, smart, or curious. I’ve read articles (your Ninang (aunt) likes sending Mommy all these child-raising links).

But it’s one thing knowing the theory and quite another to live it out, I’m sure. Hopefully Mommy will react mindfully, smartly. But there will be times that it will be tough.

I can’t promise I’ll be my best self when you’re crying just a bit too much and it’s been a long day, or if you’re mad at me for making you eat something awful like pan-fried Brussels sprouts when I just want you healthy.

I will try though.

With love, Mommy

peanut in tummy
The little peanut-shaped tag was from a baby shower gift.
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#CheerioChallenge, Singapore-style

I saw the Cheerio Challenge on Life of Dad when it was just starting to go viral. *laughs and shakes head* It is such a dad thing to do.

From: Life of Dad (https://www.facebook.com/lifeofdad/)
From: Life of Dad (https://www.facebook.com/lifeofdad/)

Hubby and I thought, ‘Well, challenge accepted’ but Squishy is now in a face plant sleeping position phase — which means every five minutes or so he flips over on his tummy (while amazingly keeping some space to breathe) and in this flip-flop manner he manages to travel the length/breadth of the bed overnight.

face plant

So, since we’re co-sleeping, doing the challenge will most likely result in uncomfortable crumbs on the sheets.

Then there’s the other problem of Cheerios not being widely available in Singapore. Here are five readily available replacements wily parents can try stacking on their kids:

1. Haw Flakes – They already come pre-packed in tiny stacks!  Prying the wafers apart is another challenge altogether though.

Source: http://www.misstamchiak.com

2. Iced Gem biscuits – Minus the icing! (Dad can lick it off.)

Source: http://www.ladyironchef.com

3. Chocolate coins – If you have leftover ones from Chinese New Year (which I highly doubt), now is the time to bring them out!

Source: http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg

4. Potato Wheels – Injecting a bit of savory to the list.

Source: http://sethlui.com

5. Curly Tops or Flat Tops – What’s the difference between the two? Who knows. Both sweet chocolate treats from the Philippines and both sneaky enough so you never know how many pieces you’ve actually eaten.

Source: http://weheartit.com

Happy Father’s Day to all the fun-loving, Cheerio-stacking, super dads out there!

Baby Face/Off

Whenever relatives and friends gather around babies talk inevitably turns to who the baby looks more like – mom or dad. (I say babies because the question clearly gets settled as they grow older.)

Almost everyone tells us Squishy looks like his maternal lolo (grandpa). It has something to do with the shape of his eyes, his big ears, his round face. His paternal lolo jokes that at least Squishy’s booming-adult-noise-level farts may come from his side of the family. 🙂

I feel it’s too early to call who the winner of this presumptive look-alike contest is. Is it…

Naked Hubby Baby?

lookalike 1e

or is it…

Serious Me Baby?

There’s one area I can be fairly sure Squishy will (mostly) take after me though. According to David Brooks’ ‘The Social Animal’:

The single strongest predictor of a person’s IQ is the IQ of his or her mother.

Setting aside the problems with IQ as a measure of intelligence, this is pretty good news.

Now when the time comes for Squishy to ask for help with the extra challenging homework kids seem to be dealing with these days I can, in good faith and on the basis of super solid scientific evidence, tell him: “Go ask your dad.”

Source: New Mom Comics
In our case, lolo. On point, hilarious comic from New Mom Comics (http://newmomcomics.com/)

 

P.S. In case you’re new to the blog I’m hosting an awesome hamper giveaway ongoing at the moment. Click through to join (just make sure to read the T&Cs). It ends 1st of July.

The Importance of Date Night (plus a sweet gourmet hamper giveaway!)

We had our second staycation over the weekend, just the Hubby and me, at One Farrer Hotel and Spa near Farrer Park MRT station.

One thing unique about the hotel was their complimentary minibar offering. I was used to seeing hotels charge crazy prices for a pack of crisps you can get cheap as chips in the next door 7-11. One Farrer’s minibar selection was decent: three sodas, three snack packs (roasted nuts, Oriental snacks and gummy bears) and a pack of Lay’s.

Slightly disappointed with the frazzled breakfast staff — no coffee offered until we asked and they didn’t refill the dishes fast enough.

That said, because the hotel was fully booked we got a complimentary upgrade to the family “Urban Den” which had a separate space for kids to sleep and even watch their own TV shows (there was a daybed and a pullout, see middle photo below). So I’m still keeping this hotel in mind for when Hubby and I both have our families visiting at the same time.

One Farrer
(You can spot us in the leftmost frame, whee.)

The Hubby’s family coming over to visit last week was precisely the reason why we were able to escape overnight anyway. Whenever we have family over we try and go on these mini-staycations while we’re sure we’re leaving Squishy in a lot of safe hands.

I think these little escapes from being mom/dad are important.

According to John Medina’s book ‘Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five,’ “more than 80 percent of couples experience a huge drop in marital quality during the transition to parenthood.” In fact, “in some marriages, having a baby is actually a risk factor for divorce.”*

And the fact that new parents fight a lot in baby’s first year is not the worst part of it. What’s worse is its consequences for baby:

Sustained exposure to hostility can erode a baby’s IQ and ability to handle stress, sometimes dramatically. An infant’s need for caregiver stability is so strong, he will rewire his developing nervous system depending upon the turbulence he perceives.

This is worrying news for us new parents. How do we avoid fighting with our partners in baby’s stressful first year?

Small steps.

For us, Date Night is especially sacred — one dinner (or even a movie night or weekend brunch) every week when it’s just Hubby and me. It’s time reserved for us — we can chat about how our week went, show each other funny things we found on YouTube, catch up on the latest Game of Thrones spoilers.

Sometimes talk turns to Squishy. But we try and steer the conversation back to us, to him and me before we were three. 🙂

Try it. It doesn’t even have to be a special date night. Hold hands while walking back home from the MRT. If you work near each other, catch up over lunch. Give each other a sweet surprise — a takeaway tray of his/her favorite char kway teow, a mushy Whatsapp message, or a really tight hug.

Your kids will thank you for it.

*

Scroll down for another sweet surprise…

maternity shoot 1
From our maternity shoot at Fort Canning

Here it comes, my very first giveaway!

The MamaDramaSG Sweet Hamper Giveaway ♥

What better way to spend a Friday night than lounging on the couch with your special sweetie, guzzling champagne and eating treats from the glamorous Subtle Sweet Hamper — for free?

Photo from https://gifthampers.com.sg/ghen/signature-hampers/the-subtle-sweet
Photo from https://gifthampers.com.sg/ghen/signature-hampers/the-subtle-sweet

Here’s your chance to make that happen!

Check out my blog’s Facebook page @themamadramasg (I hope you like it enough to give it a thumbs up!) and enter using the link below to win the following free goodies:

– A bottle of Wine/Champagne (Producta Bolero VDT Bordeaux Rouge, 750ml)
– Artisan Du Chocolat Chocolate Salted Caramel Honeycomb, 150g
– Ocelot Chocolate – Salted Marcona Almonds, 75g
– La Belle Chaurienne Terrine, 180g
– Cartwright & Butler Linseed & Sesame Seed Flatbreads
– Luxury Gold Tin with Twin Pack Biscuits, 300g
– Gift Hampers Singapore Signature Basket

Cool, right? Some T&Cs for you to carefully read before entering:

Terms & Conditions (Please read):

– This giveaway is open only to parents resident in Singapore.

– This is not a sponsored promotion and I am not affiliated with Gift Hampers Singapore, and accept no liability related to their services. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability.

– The giveaway starts 17 Jun 2016 and ends 01 Jul 2016.

– Your personal details are entered through the @GleamApp and I have no access to these. I will only be able to see the details of the winner automatically selected by the app.

– There will be one winner. The winner will be contacted by email 24 hours after the giveaway ends. If there is no response within 48 hours, I reserve the right to draw another winner.

– I reserve the right to replace the prize hamper with a hamper of materially equivalent value if the prize hamper is out of stock.

– The hamper will be sent at standard delivery times/days, at the address specified by the winner. No special requests for delivery requiring additional charges on my part will be entertained.

Good luck! 🙂

Enter the giveaway here:
https://gleam.io/Dyd7f/the-mamadramasg-sweet-hamper-giveaway

 

* All quotes in this post are from Medina’s book.

If I See One More #BreastIsBest Photo on My Facebook Feed I’m Going to Scream

To all exclusively pumping moms out there, you rock! Reposting from my personal blog. I wrote this back in December 2015:

My pump and trusty pumping log
My pump and trusty pumping log

Six weeks on and we’ve kind of settled into a routine with Squishy.

Being a first-time mum is tough. I don’t think I can adequately describe how challenging the first weeks are. You’re expected to care for a tiny person fully dependent on you to survive (the pressure!) while juggling sleep deprivation (which actually led to me having a few scary-as-hell sleep paralysis episodes) and everywhere-all-over kind of body ache (back, bum, name it). Being a new parent is rewarding, but man is it exhausting.

As if being a new mum wasn’t stressful enough, I also got a rude introduction early on to a Mummy Wars topic favorite: Breast vs. Bottle. (Frankly I think the concept of warring mummies is silly and debatable. For the sake of this post though, I’ll assume that it exists. Onward.) Continue reading

Instead of Pinterest-worthy monthly baby photos, we have this.

It all started with a wok full of pancit (stir-fried noodles).

My mom was here in Singapore to help us take care of Squishy. He’s my first kid and I had no idea what to expect. (Hubby and I had taken some prenatal classes, but as every new parent knows things are a bit different in theory vs. practice.)

Mom was in charge of kitchen duties. In those early hazy post-pregnancy days I was in no shape to think of dinner, much less the menu for the entire week.

My mom cooked the pancit and baked a whole chicken stuffed with lemongrass.

“It’s been a week. Let’s celebrate,” she said.

To be honest, I hadn’t realized a week had passed since the birth.

I was feeling the baby blues acutely – breastfeeding wasn’t exactly going to plan, I was worried about my milk supply, our paediatrician just told us he wasn’t gaining enough weight, I barely slept it physically hurt. I cried at the drop of a hat. I’m not ready for this, I thought.

I was in no mood to celebrate.

But my mom insisted.

So I found a stack of blue Baby Boy postcards I bought from a craft shop closing-down sale, back when I was pregnant and thinking of making a scrapbook of my son’s precious firsts (seven months down the line and his baby book remains mostly blank — haha).

“Hello! I’m 1 week old!” I wrote.

Mental pause.

Wow, I thought. We’d survived one week. This can work.

The next week, my mom cooked spaghetti and baked a banana cake with a cream cheese centre.

“Time to celebrate,” she declared. “Two weeks today!”

I had to laugh.

Long story short: so far we’ve done 31 weekly celebrations. I’m planning to keep doing it until he turns one year old. We’ve taken photos of Squishy and his “week-sary” food every single time. Some weeks it’s the full spread: pancit canton made from Yummy.PH recipes, Mom’s spaghetti, homemade chocolate cupcakes. Other weeks we had instant noodles and cake in a jar. My Mom went back home months ago, so we send both our families these celebration photos on Facebook Messenger every week. It’s become our own personal way of bridging the distance between Squishy and his lolos and lolas (grandparents).

I am reminded, every week, that it gets better. Much, much better.

I look back at the photo of that first week and smile to myself.

Now to do the same for the next kid.

Weeks 1 to 25 — for long life, noodles and more noodles