a week or so ago, the girl came back from school and showed me her wobbly tooth. her first wobbly tooth!
my first reaction (after cringing, because i always cringe at wobbly teeth) was “oh nooooo” because the first loss of a milk tooth officially meant they’re no longer a baby. and that made me kinda sad. my last baby.
also, i was sad because her teeth have grown very neat and straight thus far, and missing teeth would kinda ruin that. so yeah, i wasn’t looking forward to this milestone.
aniq lost his first at 5 too (the same bottom front tooth!), and more than one at a time very soon thereafter. the girl seems pretty unfazed by it, unlike me. i thought, being a girl, she’d feel self-conscious about being toothless, especially in pictures, but maybe she hasn’t realised it yet. my grandma insisted on just plucking it off instead of leaving it dangling precariously – she warns it’ll affect the growth of the new tooth – but i’m more of a, err, naturalist?! you know, let it drop off by itself.
then again, my reluctance is sentimentally-driven.
it wasn’t intentional but her fifth birthday too was rainbow-filled…
well, ok, this was technically the weekend before her birthday, and we happened to be in damansara, KL (again!), on a mission to conquer Publika, where a certain Wondermilk cafe holds residence.
we could not resist the perfect opportunity to buy one of their famous colourful Lola cakes, the sight of which in itself is so delightfully vibrant and joyful, it could make unicorns cry happy, sparkly tears.
the actual day of her birthday, i travelled many kilometres, to the other side of the island, to fulfil her wish. yes, she wanted not one pony, but many ponies, and ponies she got – on her cake.
owls often symbolise intelligence, wisdom, knowledge – plus, they’re REALLY cute. (and ok yeah, there’s a literary reference too: Owl Babies is one of my favourite children’s books, makes me teary every time, sniff.)
pink (her favourite) and black (my favourite) hoot loot. well, i had to compromise.
treated the kids to a stay at royal plaza on scotts over the weekend, and had close family members over for high tea at carousel.
just a commoner… ;p
cake compliment of Carousel.
the brother who still refers to his sister as “my baby”.
the coincidentally colour-coordinated grandparents, heh.
many eligible princes.
yes, even he likes to squeeeeeze her. a lot.
the royal plaza people were so kind as to help set up some chairs and a table at the pool side for a small party in the evening.
sleeping beauty was forced to wake up from her slumber power nap to blow out the candles…
and pose for insufferably many pictures.
kate middleton she may not be, but marry a prince… who knows?? :D
happy turning terrible terrific three, my owl baby.
remembering aniq’s 2nd birthday where we somehow managed to get almost all the guests to dress up their kids as superheroes, i had a sudden flash of inspiration for auni’s 2nd and thought, maaaybe they’d humour me again this time round.
i’d developed a ‘fascination‘ with the fairy tale classics in the recent months, having realised what a treasure trove of rather twisted, backdated values, ideals and morals they represented, as i re-read (and over-analyse) them as an adult. it made me question how relevant these stories are in our modern times, and whether they are worth being retold, being so far removed from that world – where characters lived in woods amongst preying creatures; where occupations were predominantly menial; where the females were mostly depicted as being vapid, preoccupied with beauty, and matrimony was the ultimate goal; and where the males were the overall archetypal saviour. there was so much going on in those stories that the more i read them, the more i baulked at the logic, but LOL-ed at them anyway because come on hana, THEY’RE JUST STORIES FOR CHILDREN, right? who cares if Father Bear and Mother Bear slept on separate beds, or whether Rapunzel’s hair could actually withstand the weight of a grown man, or why anyone would want to kiss a dead woman in a glass coffin unless he’s a serial necrophiliac?
but the moralist nazi in me says, all stories MUST have a moral, dammit! so i wrangle them out as best as i can after every “The End”. i mean, surely there’s value to these classics for them to be so time-honoured, however preposterous they may appear to such a sceptic reader. and i do get that the universality of the themes of these western tales serve the purpose of creating a kind of collective consciousness. plus, anything that promotes literacy and the love of literature wins points in my books any time.
so anyway, for me, the one story that stands out the most with its richness in symbols is the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. from the colour red, to the chasteness of the cloak, to the naivety of the girl, to the wolf’s nature and true intention…
man, i could go on, but i won’t! coz for now, let’s just focus on HOW CUTE the children at the fairytale party were, shall we? :D
let me introduce to you the characters who appeared:
here’s Peter Pan, who flew in specially from Never Never Land for the party.
Snow White, who took time-off from the slavedriving dwarves. (btw, she won Best Dressed for her mummy’s excellent effort in creating and sewing her costume from scratch. kudos! the non-domestic goddess me is still in total awe.)
I think Alice’s Queen of Hearts’ husband, the King of Hearts, came in his mommy’s best shawl and brooch.
Aye aye, Captain Hook! where’s ye eye-patch, matey?
The Wild Thing put on his best brandon flowers’-inspired guyliner for the occasion. “let the wild rumpus begin!”
The Three Blind Mice. See where they, err, hide.
2 out of the 7 Dwarves came with their chaperone. (along with 4 Giants.)
a little fairy who was supposed to be Puss in Boots (notty pussycat!) but i guess her footwear was sent for mending at the Elves and the Shoemaker’s.
the activities kept them busy…
attempt at group photo. call in the trolls!
Gingerbread Boys and Girls, thanks to Kak Chomel, esah’s sister. off you go, into the baskets, before the greedy foxes eat you up.
special thanks to Keatar, my SIL’s BIL, for making these masks with his own bare hands. (ok, i’m sure there were scissors and glue involved, heh.)
special thanks to Ayu aka Simply Cupcakes @justjetaime, for presenting us with the cake. :)
“and i’ll HUFF, and i’ll PUFF, and i’ll BLOW THE CANDLE OUT!”
to family and friends who came to share the fun, on behalf of auni – THANK YOU! we’ll make darned sure auni remembers this birthday for the rest of her life. she’s already said “i LIKE!” when we asked if she liked her birthday party. (we also just reminded aniq of *his* 2nd superhero party by showing him the photos as evidence of our equal effort – he kinda forgot but now he’s really pleased with his parents, so.. yey us? ha ha.)
ps: special mention to the Daddy for his kickass side dish of homemade mexican chilli beans in taco shells and wraps. (trivia: his original plan was to cook kachang pool and nasi lemak, but i convinced him otherwise – lol.)
Once upon a time, not so long ago (two years, to be exact), a bald-ish baby girl was born. She lived in a forest of (tam)pines, along with her father, mother and brother. She began to grow into a fiesty, fearless and, quite frankly, funny-looking little girl.
One day, she was told to send a basket of food to her Grandmother living on the other side of the forest.
“Remember, keep to the path and do not – i repeat – DO NOT talk to any strangers along the way!” the mother reminded her little girl. “Yes, mother,” promised the little girl as she donned her favourite red hoodie.
Along the way, she inevitably meandered away from the path, lured by shrieks of excitement from the playground nearby her intended destination, promptly forgetting her mother’s reminder.
“Why, hello there, delicious little girl. And what are you up to on this fine day?” a hairy creature slurred suddenly from behind the slippery see-saw. “Oh, just, ya know, chillaxing…” the girl in red replied, more interested in the swings and slides than the hairy creature who, unfortunately, looked nothing like Jacob Black in The Twilight Saga: New Moon…
i have what you can call ‘birthday party fatigue’, but sheer maternal obligation drove me to do something for the little one’s first birthday, even though it was terribly last minute, and the planning was not half as anal as it was when i held aniq’s first party three years ago.
i’ve had the theme at the back of my mind, well, actually around the time when those beautiful (and rather mysterious) rainbows kept appearing in our skies early this year. rainbows, care bears, these were the limits of girly-ness i could tolerate. (yes, pink princesses are still not in the cards, for now.)
her daddy said one day she’ll look at these pictures and cringe in embarrassment at what mummy made her wear. lol. well, it’s better than dressing her up as a leprechaun, right?
she’s an outdoorsy and outgoing baby toddler, happy to be running around with just about anyone.
i guess i’m guilty of not keeping track of her developments as much as i did with the firstborn. you can call it a kind of ‘fatigue’ too, but so much is happening at the same time with both kids, there’s barely room for me to reflect or internalise, much less journal it down.
there are little surprises now and then, and we’re still trying to figure her out. all we know is, her hair has barely grown 2 inches since she came out, she always wants our food, she crinkles her nose when she grins, she can be very cheeky like her brother, she’s a pretty tough cookie. no princess here.
we think she’d have been a cute boy. lol.
i think i remember looking at photos of myself as a toddler and thinking how ungirly i look, with my barely there hair and the same expression in this picture. everyone says she looks like her daddy, but i kinda think she looks like me when i was small.
well, ok maybe not as colourful. :p
happy first, little girl. may your life be full of hope, surprises, miracles, and beauty. like rainbows.
(if you find pots of gold along the way, that’d be nice too.)
ok, due to, err, popular demand (ha ha), this is how the abdominal binder looks like. aiyah, no need osim lah.
(how creepy are these models with their skin-coloured bodysuits??)
from mustaffa, $49.90, size S, four panel.
you have to velcro it on REAL TIGHT, okay. as tight as scarlett o’hara’s corset in ‘gone with the wind’. you can put it on when you’re not wearing your normal bengkung (which should be even MORE SUPER TIGHT). you can eat, sleep, sit, berak, everything while wearing it, no problem. and you can continue wearing it long after your confinement is over. like till your baby is twenty-one years old or something.
but no guarantees that you’ll get a 16″ waist like scarlett o’hara, ok? :p
while the initial first week of post-natal recovery felt like it was going to last forever, the whole process thereafter surprisingly feels faster this time round than the first.
and as you can tell, i’m not big on confinements. i don’t deny that confinement’s important, for the body to heal, to increase your milk supply, and for the newborn to be ‘protected’ from illnesses (and of course, to hide all that disgusting post-natal flabs from the world!). but i’ll only tolerate up to two weeks, and that’s it. fresh air, please! and err, a bit of walking around is good exercise… no?
i hear some people (ie. the chinese) even get confined up to 100 days! that’s just crazy, man. the thought of being stuck home that long can give me the (post-natal) blues. old folks will tell you things like “nanti masok angin” or “nanti badan sejuk”, or… i don’t know. i don’t exactly have any old folks dishing out to me a smorgasbord of warnings and taboos, so i rely on my experienced and knowledgable tukang urut for all post-natal matters, and if she says ok, then i take her word for it.
alah, mat saleh takde pon confinement, okay jugak perrr… :p
also, with an older child in the picture, you feel more obliged to get up and running as soon as you’re feeling better, coz well, life goes on, and they need you just as much as your newborn.
anyway, since the daddies had started some kind of weekly football workout, we brought the little ones along to join in the kick about.
i have a feeling he’s gonna be an avid football player, this boy.
aniq, crowned ‘man of the match’!
as for the baby? aiyah, tucked tight against mummy’s chest with the susu masam smell, she sleeeeeps only lah, all the way. lagi best than playing football, you know.
half of the WAGS, ha ha
ok wait, her eyes were open at this point – pasal dia tau dah nak balik, darrr.
wow, fourteennineteentwenty-five thirty-five slings ordered – not bad!
i’m not making money out of this, really. i’m just a big fan of babywearing, spreading the love for slinging. :)
coz babies love to be close to you! just like this cute lil peanut…
so, what’s the day of a temporary sahm like?
baby stirs, baby bathes, baby feeds, mommy bathes, baby poops, baby sleeps, mommy eats, mommy tinkers at the computer, mommy deals with W&F matters, baby feeds, mommy scavenges for snacks, baby sleeps, mommy does laundry, baby seeks attention, mommy gets baby acquainted with house, baby bathes, baby feeds, baby sleeps, mommy bathes, mommy spends time with toddler, mommy scolds toddler (ha ha), toddler sleeps, baby feeds and feeds and feeds and finally sleeps, mommy watches tv, mommy sleeps.
or something to that effect, more or less.
in between, she gets her body kneaded back to whatever shape it was previously. or at least, tries to. :S
i think every woman has a pre-pregnant pair of pants or jeans or skirt that becomes like a yardstick or measurement of achievement when they are able to squeeeeze their newfound post-pregnancy hips and butt into.
i chose this favourite pair of mango pants as my yardstick, which i really missed. (i know, i’m cheating – these are CARGO pants, supposed to be worn loose, lol!)
erm, how esah, do i look two months pregnant now?? :p
sigh, now to psyche myself up to do tummy crunches. ugh.
(update: bulk orders for peanut shells IS CLOSED. i’m not taking anymore! please go to goo-ga.com to order individually! thankyewforyourattention!)
visits to the docs are highlights for those in confinement, eh? :p
(boring stuff ahead, but they’re more for my own records. really.)
to summarise, doc checked my stitch (apparently, i only had one, like the last time – how elastic my Netherlands are, i simply cannot fathom) and declared it gone *poof*. the thing about stitches, the peak of its sting is felt some time around the fourth or fifth day, when the thread is drying up. couple that with a ‘bengkung’ wrapped tight around you, sitting down gives you the ultimate OOMPH, i tell ya. (didn’t i mention i’m a masochist?)
there was some discussion on family planning, which i’m sure you’re NOT interested in, ha ha. (and if you ARE – it’s gonna be the needle, baybeh. either that, or cut off those tubes!… ok, kidding.)
another visit due in two months time for a pap smear.
and yes, 7kg down, 3 more to go.
moving on… :p
next was another trip to the paedi, where more questions on her pees, poops and feeds were answered. he assured that the baby’s jaundice is almost gone, and will clear up by itself in due time, so no need for another blood test. hurrah!
i voiced my concern to him about how she sleeps too well at night, and that i even wake her up to feed (well, more to relieve my bursting-to-the-brim ‘udders’, really!). and get this – he said to LET her sleep! a wild idea indeed! apparently, i should count myself lucky that she lets me sleep where others have sleepless nights, and that i shouldn’t change her momentum – just feed her more in the day. hokaaay… i just thought, you know, babies *need* to be fed regularly every few hours. but this girl, hmm… she’s one of those day-feeders, i guess. which is good news for me and the VERY LUCKY husband, but bad news for me boobies! :D
ok, so i guess here’s where i start talking about my revived breastfeeding career.
(i can imagine all the anti-tit-nazis starting to roll their eyes at this point, ha ha.)
ahh. as the wise old saying goes – “the path to total breastfeeding is never easy”. (ok, it isn’t a wise old saying, i just made that up.)
the two days at the hospital after the delivery, i’d set my expectations lower – yes, you read me right, lower. i knew that my supply wasn’t going to be magically abundant. so i did what i did the last time, but without the guilt this time round – got her to suckle for as long as i could, and when i really needed to rest, i allowed the nurses to give her some formula. i knew she wouldn’t take much anyway, because she’d be tired by then from suckling me, and at one to two days old, she wouldn’t be that hungry.
and when we came home on the third day, the milk came in, right on time. hello, boobs!
it’s… kinda like driving a manual car – you sorta remember, but you need a refresher, you know? i admit that the first week is never easy for any mothers attempting breastfeeding – whether you’ve done it before or not!
engorgement? of course. sore nipples? yep. blisters? sure.
but i had superb support and help from the masseuse. she practically trained the baby to open her mouth “big big!” and taught me to pop that “big big” mouth – NGAP! – onto where it’s supposed to. (ok, she actually suggested that i video auni do the “open big big!” trick and put it up so other mums can do the same with their babies too – maybe i should get funding from the health ministry for a public awareness campaign? hmm. :p)
that sorted, she went on to massage the engorgement away – and it did, instantly. hurts like hell, coz here you have two rocks on your chest, and they get kneaded and squeezed, and you’re squeaking and squawking away, coz the rocks are very sensitive, can? but nevermind, masochist says, “pain is in the mind”…
the blisters, well, once you got the latch right, those things dry up in no time, with all that sucking. mine came off by itself within a week.
and after that one week teething period, so to speak, we’re on cruise control. (what is up with this car analogy, hana??)
but i must disclaim that i only speak for myself, coz i know this whole “BF” issue is like treading on glass. every mum, and every baby, is different!
i had an enlightenment during my two-day stay at ‘hotel eastshore’ when auni had jaundice. i was sharing the room with a mother who’d just given birth to a baby boy just five days before. he was warded for jaundice too, being born a few weeks earlier than his due date, with a cord around his neck.
the room being so confined, i couldn’t help but overhear a lactationist giving her advice and trying to show her how to do the football hold. later on, i could tell she was having a hard time whenever she tried to feed the baby, so i walked past and asked if she needed help, coz her baby was screaming his head off while she was helplessly trying to get him to latch (and coz i’m freaking kepo, i know). she said yes, so i tried the tickle-the-chin-and-”open big big!”-and-POP-mouth-onto-areola thing with the baby.
but i realise that her nipples were short, and the baby’s mouth was small, and she wasn’t comfortable holding the baby, and he was hungry and impatient, and… well, it IS hard, isn’t it?? :S
so yeah, i felt her frustration.
and i thank my lucky stars to have nubs just right for my babies with their big big mouths.
to soon-to-be mums, i wish you all the best if you intend to set on The BF Path. remember to, err, pull those nippies if you think they’re too stubby! (they’re pretty stretchy you know. or you can try nipple pullers, i hear they work.)
and if you need that “open big big!” video… i get auni to demo on izad, ok? :p
the first thing he did when he arrived at the hospital to visit me was to go to the nursery with his daddy, where he helped to wheel the baby into the room. told him that the baby’s out of mummy’s stomach, and officially introduced them. then we presented him with the gift “from the baby”, which he’d been anticipating for some time (he knew it was a “robot”).
but little did he know how absolutely THRILLED he’d be when he actually received it – he was practically beaming from ear to ear!
in return, the baby got a germ-full of kiss from her brother. :p
the family dropped by…
the kecoh aunties dropped by…
and all the while, she was oblivious to the attention…
before we knew it, it was time to go home!
i chose not to stay an extra day at the hospital this time round, since it was the weekend and i didn’t want to mess up the toddler’s schedule too much. he’d stayed at his oma’s house the first night, along with his cousin adam for company.
the second evening he came by, i was already missing him, and felt a little sad as he left with his daddy. he’d helped to wheel the baby back to the nursery, waved at me from afar with his usual high-spirited “bye mimmy!!”, then as an afterthought, ran back to give me a big kiss again before running back to his daddy. like he knew i’d be alone for the night and wanted to reassure me it’d be ok.
that, i think, is one of the most memorable mommy-moment for me to date. :)
he hasn’t shown signs of jealousy thus far, as you would have predicted from a firstborn. we sort of guessed that he’d be ok with the new addition to the family and the changes that was to take place in the household. perhaps it’s simply his personality. and perhaps he’d picked up the ‘normalcy’ of having a baby from watching adam, who coos and sings to his baby brother. aniq even cooed at his sister – “aidinnn!” – which is the name of adam’s brother, hehe. but don’t worry, we’re working on ‘re-programming’ him. :p
he shows concern when the baby cries, tells me she wants “tetek”, pats and kisses her… and here, he asks her to “please don’t cry baby, pleeeease?” :D
he pretty much doesn’t mind her around, really. maybe because all she does right now is sleep, cry and drink, so we can still give him almost the same amount of attention, especially since he IS something of a joker who entertains us with his antics and myriad of expressions he picked up from who-knows-where (his new thing right now is exclaiming “oh my gawd!”).
of course his mischievous-monkey behaviour still stands, but all that needs is a ROARING-LIONESS to keep him in check, hehe.
so it began in the wee hours of 23 april, after midnight. that familiar feeling. not those braxton-hicks kind of contractions which i’d been getting for what seems like forever, but sharper. i was prettifying another diaper cake while watching tv while everyone was asleep, and kept watch on the clock at the same time. it’s begun, i thought – ten minutes apart.
i was still up around three, finished up, and decided to sleep till it was time for aniq to go to his oma’s house at seven in the morning. in the shower, there it was, the sign i’d been praying for – the bloody show! the mucus plug came out and there was no doubt that THIS was The Day. i guess the body, and the baby, knew i was given a deadline – the doctor had given me till the next day to have me induced! so i called the doc, told him about my contractions and the bloody show, and he said he’d meet me at the hospital shortly.
it was around eight by the time we got ready, and managed to drink the last of the akar fatimah water and a mug of milo. mum had dropped by, feeling jittery on my behalf as usual, tsk-tsked me who couldn’t help take the opportunity of sunlight to snap pictures of the diaper cake i’d completed while waiting for izad, and off we went!
thankfully, it was still early so no traffic on the ECP. registered and was led to the delivery suite by 8.45am.
how familiar. :)
like the last time, i was given a squirt of enema, something i’d looked forward to ha ha, no thanks to all that constipation during the last part of my pregnancy. took the minyak makan too, and recited some prayers.
the doc came in around 9+, just as i was having one of my contractions. he and the nurse placed their hands on my stomach, “good contraction,” he said, whatever that meant, then checked for dilation (4.5 to 5cm). while singing along to michael buble’s ‘sway’ which was emanating from his phone, he discreetly burst my waterbag. swoosh!
“by lunchtime you’ll be giving birth,” he declared. and he left for his clinic – all the way in kembangan ha ha.
and so i watched this machine as the minutes passed. izad even went down for breakfast.
i’d refused any of that gas rubbish, coz the last time it made me giddy. but this machine, kept me focused WAY, WAY better than any gas could! i watched the number rising as i felt my contractions – it made me anticipate them, so i was prepared to grip myself and BREATHE. after the contractions peaked, the number went down, and i could relax again.
this went on for a while, till around 10+, when it happened – the MOST intense contraction had begun, out of the blue. i watched the monitor again and the number had shot up much higher than before. the nurse called the doctor, a manager came in, both assuring us that they were trained to deliver – not that i cared! i’d watched enough of channel 70 to know that ANYONE can deliver babies, even 10-year-olds! :p
very soon after, The Urge became so strong that at the peak of my contraction, i simply had to grit my teeth and PUSHHHHH. it may be my second time doing this, but i was still naive enough not to realise that this was what all the “push! push!” fuss i’d seen on tv and movies was about – NOBODY had ever told me to push at this point, it’d always been my own doing. coz the doctor was not around – again, LOL!
but this time i KNEW that the baby was going to come out, doctor or no doctor, so i told them this was it, and they turned me supine (i was controlling my contractions and the pushing on my side all the while) – and then the final contraction:
SHE WAS OUT! just like her brother – she just… tumbled right out, all at one go. kinda slid out, actually. yeah, i sat up to see it happen too. hehe.
the husband didn’t even have the time to take a video or whatever – he was just as taken aback at the sheer rapidness of it all. all he knew was, her head appeared, and then her entire body.
the doc only came by about ten minutes later or so, to deliver the placenta and stitch me up. i *think* there were two stitches involved. i’ll ask him when i see him again next week.
i’d never imagined she’d be so… big. well, big is relative, of course, but i *am* kind of on the small side. the wonders of the womb, to have withstood the weight and tenacity of this baby.
and well… that’s that. she came at her own time, just as i KNEW she would. :)