Saturday, December 26, 2009

Slow Progress

It's been almost a month since I stopped working, but I still haven't gotten used to the rigour of housework and childcare. Hahaha! My back hurts just from doing chores while carrying my one year old. Yes, you read right, while carrying her. Sometimes it's alright, but sometimes it's just a pain. She gets into moods where she wants me to carry her while I do whatever it is I'm doing (such as putting clothes into the washing machine or cooking, or just arranging things on the shelf) so that she can get a better look at what I'm doing, because she can't see much from where she's standing on the floor. It is bordering on being spoilt, but when you think of it, in the olden days, women used to do work with their babies strapped to their backs, so there really isn't much difference from her and me now. Heh.

She doesn't like to sit in a sling, so that won't work. Plus I feel like she's too heavy for a sling. Plus she wiggles too much. Then I thought I had gotten round the dukung (being carried) problem by letting her sit in her highchair beside me while I'm doing whatever, but then she started trying to stand in her highchair, so that's no good.

I honestly don't know how to make her do her own stuff while I'm cooking or whatever. I bought her a few singalong dvds and they manage to capture her attention for awhile, but then she will get tired of watching it before I finish my chores, so that doesn't work for long. How do you other women do it? If you are a stay-at-home mom, or even if you're not, and you have well-behaved toddlers that do their own thing while you are cooking or cleaning, please tell me your secret! It would be wonderful if I can have a stress-free day at home. I used to think that it was stressful working in an office, but I find that I face the same amount of stress at home when I'm not able to complete my tasks in peace. It seems like she's never satisfied until she disrupts whatever it is I'm doing.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Moodiness

Salma had her MMR vaccination last week, to immunize her against measles, mumps and rubella, and the doctor said that she would get a fever one week later. And sure enough, on the day of my husband's bowling tournament on Sat, she got a fever and was more quiet than usual. Which is good, considering that both my husband and me had to bowl. Then, in the middle of my second game, the most suprising thing happened! As if my body knows my child is sick, I started to produce breast milk! More breast milk than usual, and my breasts really began to hurt. It was my body saying, 'go feed your child silly, and make sure she recovers fast.' So I stopped playing, asked my husband to bowl for me, and I went to breastfeed her. And after 20 minutes of nursing, she fell asleep. The fever lasted for two days.

Since her fever, we were introduced to the phenomenae that is "Poppet's Moodiness". She can get really moody, like a big girl! Like the day before yesterday, for no reason at all, she got angry at me while I was reading to her, she grabbed the book, walked to the edge of the bed, threw the book to the floor and sat down. And just remained there, sitting quietly for some very long seconds, before I urged my husband to pujuk (console) her. Then she kicked and screamed and cried, and I really don't know what was the reason. I was having a sore throat and my reading did not sound as nice as usual, but could that really trigger her anger?

Another common mood of hers is to suddenly lose interest in her meal halfway before it's finished. She wants to feed herself, but sometimes the situation won't allow it (like when she's having something soupy). She will get angry. Then when I allow her to feed herself, she doesn't want to anymore, she will just throw the spoon onto the ground and walk away. Oh well, you'll just go hungry, I say. But she doesn't care. Eigh.

She hasn't even hit puberty yet, and I am beginning to lose patience with her antics. I would just let her be, but I know she wants me to pujuk her. She's so funny that way.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

On the 3rd day...

I thought I would spend more time with Salma now that I am jobless, so I pick her up at 1 o'clock from school now, so she can spend the entire afternoon with me. Usually at the end of the day, I am pretty tired after work so we do those gentle activities like eating dinner and reading books, so I thought, you know, with me now having more time on my hands I can do more strenuous activities with her, like whatever she does in school. But boy was I wrong! That girl has such boundless energy, that after an hour or two, I was totally wiped out! And she has this short attention span so even before we finish one game, she's already on to the next. Eesh! (She certainly doesn't get that ADD from me.... hehehe). Well, let's just hope it's just a phase that she'a going through while she's still a baby, because this short attention span thing will definitely mess up her studies if she keeps this up when she's older.

I was so pooped out from the first day of playing with her, that by the second day, I didn't even have the energy to do the stuff I planned in the morning. I just plonked right back into bed and slept for 2.5 hours right after I dropped her off at school. By the time I woke up, it was time to have lunch and go pick her up again. I thought to myself, "Letting her stay in school for just half a day is not enough. I can't get anything done this way!" So I decided that on the last day of each week (or maybe the 1st starting next week), Salma should stay a couple of hours more in school, so that I pick her up in the afternoon instead of midday. That way at least I can get more chores done and even rest a bit.

Today though is Thursday, and Salma stays at home with me the whole day. She only goes to school 3 times a week so that we can save on the school fees while I'm out of work. That way, she can still play and learn with her friends and spend time with mommy. Today was not so bad. We went to her paediatrician in the morning for her MMR jab, then we went to Tesco, where, to my surprise, she was very well behaved and stayed in the shopping cart the whole time. After Tesco, she fell asleep in the car, and I was able to prepare her lunch. We played for a bit after lunch, and then it was time for her afternoon nap. And she's still napping now. So I'm getting the hang of it...

Now the challenge for me is to think up of more interesting activities for her to do at home so she doesn't get bored. In school they do all those fun things like sing songs and book circles and whatever else. But at home it's pretty much just mommy and the same basket of toys over and over again. She still insists on me reading to her the same books over and over, and that tires me out. But at that age, they learn better by repetition, so I'm not meant to complain about it.

When her dad comes home in the evening, she looks forward to having a car ride, which we usually have to buy dinner if I don't cook. She will insist on it, and even hand over to us the car keys. She will drink her milk in the car and fall asleep (well usually)... And that's how her day ends. I need to recharge my batteries before taking her on again tomorrow!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Salma's first airplane ride

Last Saturday morning was Salma's first airplane ride. We went to KT to attend my best friend's wedding. But on the plane ride to KT, Salma was fast asleep, so she missed everything going there, but coming back, she was wide awake!

We sat at the window seat, with Salma on my lap. I let her look out of the window. Before take-off, I kept saying to her, "Okay, get ready... get ready..." and while the plane took off, she didn't complain one single bit. She just looked out the window and exclaimed, "Wowwww!" Then, to my husband's amusement, (and to my detriment), she proceeded to ask me for breastmilk. You see, Salma's favorite pastime is to drink milk (breastmilk) in the car. So since the plane is like a car that flies, she wanted to do what she likes best. She was very persistent in asking, so in the end I gave in, with some difficulty, because those economy class seats are not the roomiest of places. Plus, she didn't like the thermal airline blanket that I used to cover up my shirt, but in the end we managed.

A tip to parents who are flying with babies for the first time: you need to check in extra early and ask for the seats right at the front. We tried to do this on the first flight, but we didn't come early enough and ended up with seats somewhere in the middle. We were luckier on our return flight, and managed to get seats second row to the front. It's also good to bring toys or books to distract them, which we did but didn't need to use (since she spent a lot of the time just nursing). To combat the earache that we all get during airplane journeys, it's good to give your baby a drink to suck on with a straw. This will "pop" their ears and bring it back to normal. Salma was nursing most of the time so the earache didn't seem to bother her that much.

We were also lucky that our flight lasted for 45 minutes only. On longer journeys she may complain though...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Shoes! Shoes! Shoes! part 2

Today I am wearing the super mama heels that my husband bought for me yesterday. Haha! I have not experienced this type of shoe-for-beauty pain in a long time. They're pretty high, these heels, and one size bigger than my normal size. Cos my favorite shoe shop was having a sale and they ran out of size 36....

I like how I look wearing them with my skinny jeans. Yeah, wearing jeans to work on a Friday even though it's not allowed. I figured since it's my last Friday at this company, who cares. I feel good today! :D

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shoes! Shoes! Shoes!

I dunno what woman doesn't like shoes. I love shoes and shoe shopping. I used to have a different pair of shoes to suit each outfit (well almost), from stilletos, kitten heels to wedges. But ever since becoming a mom, that all changed for some reason. When I got pregnant, they told me I had to switch from heels to flats, so I packed away all my shoes into their shoe boxes. It's been almost 14 months since I delivered my baby and I still haven't unpacked my shoes yet! And I only vaguely remember what shoes I have. But ever since becoming a mom, I feel like I don't have the freedom to dress the way I used to dress anymore. I have no idea why I feel this way. Like now, all I want to do is feel comfortable. Before, I could go through the torture of being in stilettos for the whole day, but now the thought of wearing those shoes even for just 2 hours make me cringe.

Why the sudden change ya? Maybe it's the thought of having to tote Salma around in heels that make me weary, but then I see some mommies who don't even care about that! There is one mom who sends her daughter to the same school as Salma who wears 3-4 inch heels to work everyday! She doesn't even bother to change into slippers to drive (like I do, I wear a pair of flip flops while driving cos heels get ruined if you drive in them). I can't even bear to wear really high heels to work, even though Salma's not around then. Maybe my sense of balance has changed ever since getting pregnant?

I go into my favorite shoe shop, which has now opened branches in KL (where previously I could only shop there in Singapore each time I went there for a business trip), and I try on their super sexy strappy heels to wear with skinny jeans, and I know they look great on me and make my legs look nice, but then I don't buy them because just the thought of walking in them for a few hours with Salma makes me feel tired. And they're not even that high. But just the thought of it. I haven't even tried doing it and I already gave up. I've thought about wearing ballet flats, but then for some reason they just don't look good on me. Or I haven't found the right outfit to wear with those type of flats. So I don't own any flats except for a pair of crocs, which I wear occassionally to office on Fridays.

What is it about shopping for and owning a lot of shoes that make women happy? I can't figure it out. It seems that all women love shoes. Does this have any links to back when we were hunter gatherers? Like "the one with the best shoes gathers the most berries?" Or what? Cos scientists managed to link women's love for the color pink to our hunter-gatherer days. They rationalised that women's brains are honed into liking the color red or pink because back in those ancient times, women needed to train their eyes to pick only the reddest and ripest berries for the best food. Back in the day, I used to only think new shoes made sense when you had a new outfit. That was when I was like in my fashionista mode in my early twenties. I went through a phase of buying a new outfit each week. Crazy. [Which reminds me of this new girl in the Sales Dept who is going through that same exact phase I went through, because each week I see her coming in wearing a new dress, new shoes and new handbag!] Then I became more cost conscious and realised that new shoes can jazz up an old outfit and bought shoes without having to buy a new dress to go with it (or vice versa). Then I had a baby and became almost broke from buying mamy poko and didn't buy new shoes for myself at all. And wore the same black heels until they were kaput.

And now I have reached that stage where I just want to find those staple black, brown and grey (or silver) heels that can match with anything. At least 3 or 4 staple shoes. 3 for work and going out, 1 for casual. Have been looking for a nice pair of brown heels but have not found it yet. It has to go great with a baju kurung and my skinny jeans. That's the condition. But have not found one yet. Must keep looking. Being a mom is hard work. ;)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stroller sale (and other stuff) at Baby Cottage Sunway

This news is just too good to keep to myself! Baby Cottage at Sunway (the one off the Federal Highway, next to the Fire Fighting equipment shop, and across the street you can see the back of Mentari Court apartments like 50 m away or something) is having a sale. We bought a Maclaren Volo (lightweight buggy-type stroller useful for travelling) for just RM 487, from the usual price of RM 609, 20% off. There are other strollers that go up to 40% off. They carry brands like Maclaren, Combi and Graco.

They also sell other baby stuff like cribs, highchairs, baby nursery accessories, nursing equipment (Dr. Brown's, Avent), breastpumps (Medela, Spectra, Avent, and this other brand i haven't heard of.. i think it's called Safe & Sound).

Baby Cottage has a branch in Subang Parade, but I'm not sure if the sale extends to that outlet also. But it's worth a trip to check it out, if you are looking for baby stuff!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Conjunctivitis

Salma and I are at home with conjunctivitis (eye infection). Salma caught it on Friday, most likely from someone at school. And since she spends 90% of her time at home with me, I am bound to catch the infection from her... which I did. This is the first time I am having conjunctivitis. It is a really irritable eye infection, very itchy. Your eyes secrete this sticky white discharge, especially when you sleep, and when you wake up, you find that your eyelids are stuck together because of it, and you can't open your eyes!
Conjunctivitis is highly contagious. If you get the discharge onto someone else, and they rub their eyes, they'll get it. It is actually making me feel a little sickly, this being the first real day of me having it. Salma's had it for 3 days, and it looks like it's wearing off.
 
The itchiness is making me very irritable. And surprisingly sleepy. I've not taken any meds for it except for eye drops.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Weaning baby

Without realising it, I have actually started to wean my baby from breastfeeding. I was reading an article from babycenter this morning, and it was giving tips on how to start weaning, and I found that I already do 2 out 3 of the steps below:
  1. Skip a feeding
  2. Shorten nursing time
  3. Postpone and distract
I've already started skipping feedings by giving her solid foods at meal times, and I've already started shortening her nursing time, even when it's time for bed. Instead of waiting for her to stop suckling on her own, I will stick my finger in her mouth to stop her nursing. I didn't realise that by doing these things I've actually started weaning my child! She doesn't seem to realise it either! Haha!

I'm starting to see the effects of the weaning on my body. Firstly, my body has started to produce milk on demand, instead of at all times of the day. I pump only when it starts to hurt. Or else there isn't much point anymore because I won't get even 2 oz. I think give it a couple of months more and Salma will be fully weaned. She's even started to drink from a big bottle at school. Although she doesn't want to take the bottle at home. I think it's mostly peer pressure, since all the other big kids are still drinking from the bottle at school. So she wants to also. But it's easier to give her the nutrition she needs now, since she can take the bottle on weekdays when I'm not around. And since I produce less milk, she'll be forced to eat more solids on weekends. Last night, Salma ate a whole bowl of penne with mince meat and tomato prego.

Now I'm just waiting for her to start feeding herself, then I'm all set. Can finally enjoy my dinner... hehehe (or so I think...)

Photo of Salma being naughty with someone else's birthday cake:

Monday, October 26, 2009

A walk in the park

Yesterday evening we brought Salma to the big park for the first time, and she got a chance to stretch her little legs! Boy can she run fast for a one year old! It's not really running, but more like speed walking. She got on the slide a few times too but I would have let her play on it more had she been wearing long pants (easier to slide down).

The grass was quite wet and a little muddy at places, but she enjoyed walking on the grass the most. She fell down only once. It was a windy day and several people flew kites. I don't think Salma is at that age where she can enjoy kite flying, but I sure love flying kites. Back when I was in 8th grade we all had to build our own kites. And I remember the entire class walked to the nearest park (Primrose Hill) to fly them, and after that (I'm pretty sure) we played softball. Some people's kites didn't fly well (we had to build them in groups). But when your kite can fly, you just have this exhilirating feeling. They were box kites. We had to run with it in order to get it lifted.

The park where we were at sold kites. And they were in various shapes of the same size, and had cartoon characters printed on them. There was a little boy and his father waiting to buy a kite. The father chose this "manly" Ultraman kite, but the little boy (he must have been under 5 years old) wanted to buy the Pooh Bear and Friends kite. And the father got quite mad at him and kept saying buy the Ultraman one. But the boy kept quiet, and didn't understand why his father was so mad, and still pointed at the Pooh Bear one. I mentioned it to my husband, who said if he had a son, he would be pretty surprised too if his son chose the Pooh kite over the Ultraman one. I asked, "what's wrong with the Pooh one?" and he said, "It's not manly enough." But he's just a boy. And maybe he likes the Winnie the Pooh and Friends cartoon on Disney Channel better than the Ultraman show.

Kids identify with that sort of thing. What's wrong with Pooh? Pooh is a boy bear. I guess I won't really understand these things if I'm not a man. I think it's silly for boys to play with G.I. Joe dolls. Cos they're still dolls... u know. But if they played with robot dolls, that's okay, cos they're not human dolls. Do you get what I mean? But when you're a small boy, like at toddler age, I think it's fine for him to have a Winne the Pooh teddy bear...

The way life goes

I walk into the office today and straight away I feel like I really shouldn't be here. I should be spending more time with my kid. Waking up late with her, and lounging around on the bed, reading books. I am really tired at the end of the day when I pick her up, and by the time I reach home, I just want to sleep. Because of fatigue, I think she is getting less attention from me, and it's causing her to act up, just to get my attention. She's even start to act up when she wakes up in the middle of the night. Grumbling and crying, which she never used to do unless she had a stomach ache. Now she does it to complain to me that I'm not hugging her enough. She will merajuk and push away my teat.

I really want this misbehavior to stop. She's starting to merajuk a lot in school also. I miss those days when she can play by herself without needing any attention from me. What am I doing wrong? I hope that soon I can spend more time with her than before. And do stuff that we love together, and also start doing some new things that we haven't done before. Like take walks at the park, just the two of us. And maybe go swimming. She has never went swimming in a big pool before. Maybe we can do some art activities like handpainting.

The separation anxiety is really taking a toll on my patience. I'm going through so much work stress that I am at risk of losing my temper with her at the end of the day when she starts crying each time I put her down. I don't understand why when she knows I am in the kitchen while she is in the living room, she still insists on crying and asking me to pick her up. I'm within her peripheral vision!

It just goes to show that being there is no such thing as not enough attention.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Salma's first birthday

I know this is so overdue, but Salma celebrated her first birthday on Sept 29. She didn't even know it was her birthday. Both her mummy and daddy took the day off (to let ourselves have a little celebration, too... one year of first time parenting) to celebrate it with her at school. I pre-ordered cupcakes for each student & teacher, the wife of a colleague of mine bakes them. They are really pretty check them out:





She has her own blogshop for her cakes. You can check her pretty lil cakes and order them here:

Salma's first birthday was characterized by her moodiness. She was so moody that day! She didn't blow out her candle like we taught her to. She wanted to go home. And then she got a fever that night and the next day. Growing pains, I guess... haha!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Breastfeeding after puasa

My breastmilk production decreased during Puasa month. I could not pump more than 2 - 3 oz a day at work during Ramadan. When I got home, Salma seems to nurse as usual, which means I was producing on demand, but lately I can tell that I am not producing enough, even though Puasa is over and I can eat and drink (and replenish my stock) as much as I want. I can tell I am not producing as much milk as before because she will stop drinking to do other things and then continue to drink again.

A lot of moms at my office were worried their breastmilk production would decrease during Ramadan, and some even stopped fasting so they could feed their babies. I fasted on all the days I could, though, and as a result, I think my body is producing less milk now. Tomorrow marks the day that Salma has been exclusively breastfed for a total of 1 year! What an achievement! I give myself a pat on the back for that. Exclusively breastfed means that my baby does not drink any formula milk, and only breastmilk. As a result of that, she is slim and not overly fat, healthy, gets sick less frequently than other babies, and seems to have a healthy appetite! We have also saved a lot of money since we do not need to buy tins and tins of formula each month! Some of my colleagues who are also moms tell me that their babies can drink up to 5 large tins of formula each month! That's approximately MYR 350 a month! Whew... I'm glad I don't have that extra expense!

But, as a result of being exclusively breastfed, my baby girl is extremely attached to me. Whereas other babies her age can sleep through the night, she still wakes up at least once each night to nurse. And she steals my bodily calcium through the milk, and my nails are brittle now and break easily. I feel like my teeth ache a lot more than before, too. I have calcium tablets, but I worry that they cause me to get headaches, so I have stopped taking them. I have to consume more calcium rich foods, but I am lactose intolerant, so that limits it a lot as I can't consume dairy products. But I read that brocolli is high in calcium, so I will try to eat more of that everyday.

The doctor that delivered my baby encouraged me to breastfeed til 2 years old, but maybe that's too long. My husband thinks we should stop now and try feeding her milk from a bottle, but I know she won't want a silicone teat. Maybe as my production slows, she will just know, and stop asking for milk completely. Then maybe we can supplement with formula milk in a cup.
Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Hari Raya (Eid)

Officially, this is Salma's second raya, but first time celebrating it. The day before, as is my routine every Ramadan before the first day of Syawal, I iron all the baju raya (Raya clothes). This time I am not doing it so begrudgingly as I sewed Salma's baju raya myself! Then we went to get new rims for my car (my husband's idea). It is a raya present. :)

The next day, I could tell she knew something different is going on. After I bathed her, she didn't complain when I dressed her in the cotton baju kurung. I put on a matching white hair band and matching white shoes, and made her stand in front of the mirror to admire herself, all the while saying, "Cantiknye!" ("So pretty!")
Here is the photo of her looking pleased with herself in front of the mirror -

I must say that even though I should have made the sleeves looser, the baju kurung I made fit her well. Hehe.

But as the day wore on, the clothes irritated her because the day got hot. And she took off the hair band. I brought an extra dress for her to change into in case she got grumpy, but my husband made her wear the baju kurung the whole day, sebab "penat mummy buat untuk Poppet." We raya in KL and in PD, and she remained cheerful throughout, thank God! Was afraid she would get cranky and naughty, but she didn't.

Maybe next year I'll make a baju kurung with pockets so she can collect lots of duit raya!
Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Friday, September 18, 2009

Suddenly bigger

You know the feeling that suddenly overnight your kid has grown bigger? That's what happenend to Salma! Suddenly yesterday I spied her through the web kiddie-cam being carried by one of her teachers, and she took up like half of that teacher's body! I thought, "She's so big!" Then last night, my husband dressed her in a shorts & t-shirt ensemble meant for 2 year olds, and it fit her (though with room to grow), and she looked like a big kid in it. Mummynye Poppet dah besar.

She has started walking confidently anywhere, now. She wants to start running too, but can't yet. So she'll just walk really fast. It gets tiring to chase after her. Me and my husband used to think that it was really bad of parents to make their toddlers wear that vest with the "leash", but now we can understand why they do it. When we were at One Utama old wing, she just walked on and on and on and on, and I had to call her to come back cos I was too tired to chase her.

At Petaling Street, it was wet and rainy, and still she wanted to walk! She's prone to stumble and fall, so we didn't let her, but she insisted, so we found some dry patch of level ground and let her walk. She had time to also stop and say hello to two French ladies, and until now I regret not greeting them in French, since I do speak French. But that night, entah, I forgot the most basic words like saying "She's one years old." ("Elle est un ans.") Haish. I understood every single word they said but could not reply a single thing. How is that possible?

We bought her these "sturdy" running shoes. Like with the jagged rubber sole for extra friction. I think she's pretty pleased with them and learnt how to balance in them straight away! (They still roomy at the front) I don't know how this raya is going to be like with her being newly mobile....

Monday, September 14, 2009

She's come a long way

I'm so proud of Salma this last week, she's reached many milestones I thought. She's started to walk more confidently and she's even shown interest in putting on her shoes by herself.
She was very well behaved during a buka puasa dinner we had at a restaurant recently, where another mommy brought her baby girl, and Salma was very sociable. She started talking to the other baby, touched her face (this is how babies say hello), and even wanted to share her Rabbit (stuffed animal) with her. This is the first time I've seen Salma want to share any of her toys with other babies. So I thought this was a huge development.

Then she has also started to ask me to read other books to her other than her usual all-time favorite! I bought 2 new books for her last weekend, and she was so good to ask me to read them to her, without even asking me where her usual favorite book was! Her top 5 favorite books to read are now:

1. Mommy, Carry Me Please! by Jane cabrera
2. I Love You, Little One by Nancy Tafuri
3. Googly Eyes Playful Pets by Matt Mitter (illustrated by Jane cabrera)
4. Just Go To Bed by Mercer Mayer
5. Maisy likes playing by Lucy Cousins
It used to be just Mommy, Carry Me Please!
I was also delighted at the fact that she can be a very considerate and conscientious girl now that she is turning 1. On Sunday morning, my husband and I slept in and woke up quite late (10 am as compared to the usual 8 am). Instead of pounding my back as she used to do to wake me up, I found her reading quietly to herself and her Rabbit. As I pretended to still be asleep I watched as she flipped the pages and "read" the book outloud in her best imitation of spoken English. :) When I woke up, she said "Hi!" with a big smile, and then crawled over to lie down next to me and we read the books together. Reading a book first thing in the morning is our usual weekend routine.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Going green?

Honestly, I don't think I do anything to help the environment as a mom. I use disposable diapers, I don't recycle my plastic and glass bottles, even though I should. I use wet wipes instead of just washing her butt with water. One thing I do though is reuse the cans of baby formula and baby cereal to store stuff like peanuts and muruku in them. Oh and I do use energy saving lightbulbs, but I don't know why some have blown even though they are meant to last for years and years (isn't that what they say?). Must be the wrong watt voltage.

Some people are very into saving the environment, and do a lot of green things. They even go to the jungle to replant trees. I, on the other hand, am a lousy gardener. I just can't be bothered even to water plants. Maybe if I planted them myself, I would care more. We were all given this mini bamboo plant at our office to put at our desks, and some went all out and bought those oxygen balls for the plant and stuff. And every few days they'd bring their plant to the sink to wash the pot and all, and replace old water. All I did was put mine near the window to get more sunlight, and water it. Even then I stopped watering it, cos someone considerate did it for me. Or rather did it for all the people that placed their plants by the window... In the end, I forgot about my plant and it died. I am so bad at keeping plants.

But I don't mind having a small chili plant in a small pot. That I kinda want. Even though I haven't made any effort to get one. We used to have a chili padi plant at my house in LA. Because, you know, it's hard to find chili padi in shops in LA. So we had a plant. I liked taking care of that plant. Or I thought I took care of it. I was quite young then. But I love gardens! I love a well tended garden, with a green lawn and pretty flowers. Tended by a hired gardener, of course. As a child, I used to love to imagine that I lived on a green farm, surrounded by lush hills, where I would go picking wild flowers. I think I was influenced by the Susu Dutch Lady commercials back then as a kid, where they had that milk maid? And I'm pretty sure it was filmed on that hilly cow farm at UPM...

Recently, I bought Salma this colorful pop-up book about what kids can do to help the environment. And it includes stuff like switching off the lights when leaving the room, turning off the tap when brushing teeth, using both sides of the paper... I hope I can raise an environmentally-conscious kid.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First real steps

Over the three-day weekend, Salma had her first real steps. And when I say "real steps" I mean more than 2 or 3 steps on her own. She walked for quite a stretch from her dad to me, and we were sitting maybe 4 feet from each other? Her legs are still wobbly though and she just loves falling back down onto the floor. She has had no bruises though, thank God.

I think by her first birthday (at the end of this month), she'll be walking on her own! We make her wear her adidas soft shoes each time we go out so that she'll get used to wearing and walking in them. So far she still gets annoyed by shoes, and will try to take them off. Sometimes she forgets she has them on though, and will be happy with them on.

On Friday, or was it Saturday? We went to Tesco before buka puasa (breaking fast during Ramadan), and there was this promotion to get your baby's photo taken for free and entered into Cutest Baby Contest. Although I think we didn't enter the contest because they didn't make us fill up the form... anyway, we just had the hardest time making her smile for the camera! They made her bang on drums, wear hats, and she would just frown and cry. Finally, they made her sit on my lap, and she finally laughed and smiled! And my favorite photo of her is of her sitting on my lap and smiling with her small teeth showing. Since that episode, she has finally learned how to smile for our camera. So when we were all breaking fast at TGI Fridays, my husband video taped her on his camera phone, and she made all these funny smiley faces! She would scrunch up her nose and eyes and grin with her teeth showing. It is the cutest thing. Here's the photo:


I hope that by her first birthday, she'll be able to smile nicely for Auntie Amanda's camera. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cheeky girl

My cheeky little girl now wakes up for sahur with us sometimes. And she will want to eat whatever we're eating. She eats with us during buka puasa too, and will want to have whatever we're having. If she can't eat the main dishes, I will feed her with plain white rice from my plate.

Last night, we broke fast at a restaurant that had a buffet spread. We sat her on a baby highchair. I collected as many soft little cakes as I thought she could eat. I fed her the first 3 cakes with a spoon. Then when it was time to buka, my husband got the waitress to get a small styrofoam bowl, and I put the remaining small cakes in the bowl and placed it on the highchair tray for her to feed herself. We have never tried making her feed herself anything but buns and rusk biscuits, and I didn't know if she would be able to feed herself with the cakes. Well, what did she do? She squished the cakes with her fingers, lifted the bowl and turned it over! All the cakes spilled onto her shirt and onto the floor...

I was shocked that it happened so fast. My husband, who was also not amused, told me to ignore her and just continue eating. She just continued to play with the upturned bowl like a drum. She was hungry, I knew, so I fed her small spoons of mushroom soup instead. Which she liked very much. I also liked the soup. Hehe.

So, I don't think we can let her eat by herself without placing some sort of plastic sheet on the floor directly underneath her high chair. My husband wants to start teaching her to eat on her own. I know that they'll do that in school. They haven't started yet, which may be an indication that she's not ready to feed herself yet. I don't want to be cleaning up the floor each time she eats. But I have a feeling that will happen anyway, when she starts to eat by herself. *Sigh...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wanted: Authentic Wooden Rocking Horse for One Year Old

I am really not sure when this fetish (for lack of a better word) with wooden rocking horses started, but I really want to get Salma a wooden rocking horse for her first birthday. I've gone online and seen some really nice looking rocking horses!

If I remember correctly, some time back in my early childhood, I had a white wooden rocking horse. Although my memory is so vague, it could as easily have been someone else's rocking horse that I played with all the time. Or it could have just been my imagination. But I think I played with some sort of rocking horse before when I was a kid. I liked rocking chairs, too.

Here are some rocking horses that I liked online...


IKEA has a rocking moose (MYR 159), and I thought it was ugly, so I'm not getting that one. However, scandinavian ppl build very nice rocking horses. It's their culture I think. (I am also involuntarily drawn to Nordic stuff since I work for a Danish company). This gorgeous, yet modern pair of rocking horses below are made by Playsam (Sweden). They are my favorite -

















Their stuff are so pretty and modern. Check them out at: http://www.playsam.com/Products.aspx

If you know where in Malaysia I can buy a wooden rocking horse, please let me know. So far I've seen the plastic green one at Toys R Us, and that's not the one I want. Wooden ones are nice for decoration, too, once she has outgrown it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sleepless Night

My husband and daughter were sleeping soundly (and snoring both of them), when I awoke at around 1 a.m. in the morning with a stomach ache. I'm lactose intolerant, and I had pizza for dinner. :( So of course, I was asking for it.

Nevertheless, seeing as my baby girl was fast asleep, I decided to try out my husband's plan to let her sleep in her cot, which is located right beside our bed. So I took the time to clean it up (her toys and books are strewn all around her cot), and then very gently lifted her and placed her in it. I watched her sleep happily in her cot, even turning over and hugging her small bolster. This happy sleep of hers lasted for about half an hour, maybe? Where at the end of that time she decided to stretch her arm out to reach for me (as she does sometimes when she is sleeping beside me) and instead of touching my arm, her hand brushed against the wooden bars of the cot! She held on to a bar for a few minutes before finally opening her eyes and realising with a shock that she was not sleeping in our bed... Then of course, she started to complain; she sat up and pulled herself up to hang over the cot railing, asking me to pick her up. Which of course, I did.

After nursing her for a few minutes, she was back asleep. And again, I placed her back in the cot. She slept for another 45 minutes or so, and woke up again, angrier than before. This time, my husband woke up. I was finally getting sleepy.

I let him take care of her this time. Was not even sure what he did with her, because by then I was much too sleepy to notice. I know that he let her climb all over me before they both disappeared somewhere. I think he even let her sleep in the big bed again.

So our first trial run of making her sleep in her cot has failed! Tonight I will try again.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Crying over spilled milk

They say there is no use crying over spilled milk. I would most definitely disagree!! It's such hard work to pump milk... and the other day, I accidentally spilled almost 2 oz of bmilk. I was nearly about to cry! It took me half an hour to pump that...

Salma is now 10 months old and she still breastfeeds. I hope that I don't run out of milk during Ramadan. If I don't eat or drink during the day, will my body just stop producing? She will be very cranky in the evening if she doesn't get any milk! My husband says we have to try feeding her formula milk using the big kids bottle. But she has stopped drinking from a bottle (with a teat) since the age of 3 months! I'm worried that if we introduce it to her now, she will just refuse. I have tried giving her formula in her cup with straw, but she doesn't like it. So maybe we just have to change the brand of formula? Maybe she is lactose intolerant like me?

My husband is also now starting to complain that I shouldn't let her sleep in our bed anymore. :( But I feed her during the night almost automatically without realising it. It's like a reflex action. I am asleep when I do it. Because when I wake up, she is asleep on my arm (as if I breastfed her). My husband says that because I've been allowing her to sleep on my arm like this, all cuddled next to me, she is becoming really spoiled. I suppose he's right. Training her to sleep in her own bed will be difficult. She loves sleeping in the big bed. Especially when she gets it all to herself. She will do a 360 turn. When she wakes up in the morning and she finds that mummy and daddy are not in bed with her, she likes to roll around and giggle. Being in a big bed all by herself is like an adventure to her. I love watching her sit or stand up just to fall back down again on purpose. She loves that bouncy feeling of falling on the bed. She is just like me when I was young. :D

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Interview with Ma & Pa magazine

You know, I don't even know if that is the title of the magazine, but I think it is. I am on MC again today. The last day I hope of being on MC for the same viral infection. Anyway... around 9.30 am, the principal of my daughter's school called and asked whether I would be free at 10.30 am to be interviewed by Ma & Pa magazine, who are coming to Small Wonder Playhouse to do a piece on it. Coincidentally, one of the parents who was supposed to do the initial interview had to cancel because her child was sick. And since I was on leave anyway, I thought "why not?" and agreed.

Then a few seconds after hanging up, a thought struck me - would they be taking pictures of me? Cos I was in no mood to dress up, being sick and all. By then it was already 9.45 am, and I had to be at the school before 10.30, so I just really couldn't give a crap about changing into something nice, so I just stuck to wearing my purple t-shirt, black yoga pants and denim jacket. I put my make up on, and put on some eye shadow, which I don't usually wear to office, but I thought, what the hell. I have to make myself look not sick.

When I got there, the journalist from karangkraf and her photographer were already there, snapping photos. We were introduced. Salma was so surprised and excited to see her mummy there! She crawled over to me straight away. The photographer wanted to take mug shots of me holding Salma, so we did that for awhile. And unless you are a professional children's photographer, it is so hard to make a baby smile for the camera! We went into the Babies Room to take photos of Salma and Arryan (another baby) supposedly at play. They put the babies on the floor and surrounded them with toys. But as usual, the babies knew something weird is going on and would much rather concentrate on the adults. Arryan kept looking at the camera with a "huh" look, and did not play much at all. Salma only started playing on her favorite turtle toy when I played with it. But she did not smile for the camera either. I really wonder how the shots will look like with these stunned babies.

The bigger kids are much better of course. They know how to act in front of the camera. One of Salma's teachers kept saying, "Nasib baik Salma pakai baju cantik hari ni... (Good thing Salma's wearing nice clothes today...)" as opposed to the usual rompers/bodysuit I usually pack for her. That day I packed for her a romper dress. Hehehehe... the usual rompers, but with an outer pink pinafore dress layer. She gets sweaty playing, and doesn't like wearing bulky things when she's playing and crawling, so I always usually pack rompers.

After the journalist interviewed me, (and much to my surprise without taking many notes down) I went home. I really wasn't feeling too well. Started to feel hot and nauseous all of a sudden. I stayed barely an hour I think. I hope they got enough input from me as a parent for their article. I wanted to say that I like Playhouse due to the good adult-child ratio, and how there is always one dedicated caregiver for each baby, but the girl didn't jot down much of what I said anyway, so maybe it was all for naught?

Anyhow, the feature will be published in the October 2009 issue, which will be out in mid-Sept, so look out for it! I am sure I will look hideous (as usual in photos). And plus I am sick. And plus I did not put on liquid foundation (only powder foundation) so my skin will most likely look crappy. And I noticed that Salma has a scratch on the side of her forehead, and I hope that won't be seen... haish. And I should have brought a hairband for her to wear cos she looks so much cuter with a hairband on... so ppl can actually tell she's a girl... these thoughts only popped into my head as I drove home. *Sigh...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Health - my own personal H1N1 take

I'm worried about my health lately. Both my husband and I have been falling sick with flu-like symptoms for the last two months. We'll be fine for about two weeks, then fall sick again. I mostly get infected with it by him (haha! no offence intended daddy) or by someone at the office. And curiously enough, usually the newest bug to hit his office will also be hitting my office. So the flu virus (what is the plural of 'virus'?) is working its way in and around the Klang Valley at a really fast pace.

And since I've been having this fever since Monday, and actually been feeling off since the Friday before that, we decided (my husband and I) that it was time for me to take the H1N1 test, just to you know, appease ourselves. I probably don't have it. But at least if I do have it, then I can take the necessary precautions. I heard that before today, it was really difficult for ppl to actually get tested. The nation is told to go to government hospitals to do the test, because at first, they didn't equip private hospitals with the facility. Then it got really bad, where the queue to take the test would be 800 persons long, and they decided to open it up to other hospitals. Then it got easier, where instead of a blood test, they just do a swab test. Which was what I did. They didn't swab the side of my mouth, like I thought they would (ala CSI), but they made me stick out my tongue as far as possible and scraped somewhere close to my throat. So I was like, "oh okay..." At first the nurse who did it barely even scraped anything, so I asked her afterwards, "Are you sure you got anything?" So she scraped again. She had never done it until that day.

For those that are wondering what the procedure is like, this is how I went about getting the test. You don't just walk into the hospital emergency room and ask if you can get a test done. We've had friends who have tried this and got turned down at two hospitals. And I've read several newspaper articles of ppl getting turned down when they walk into a hospital, even govt ones. So what you do is, go to your usual Panel Clinic. Tell your doctor your flu symptoms, and if you have had a fever or the flu symptoms longer than 4-5 days like me, usually the doctor will comply, and issue you a referral letter to see a specialist at one of the designated H1N1 hospitals. If you or your panel clinic doctor don't know which hospital to go to, the Ministry of Health has a list posted on their website. Go to: http://h1n1.moh.gov.my/hospitalkerajaan.php for a list of govt hospitals and http://h1n1.moh.gov.my/hospitalswasta.php for a list of private hospitals.

You then go to the hospital admissions counter with your referral letter, and go through the whole entrace procedure. For me, we chose Assunta Hospital in PJ, because it's covered by our company insurance, and even though SJMC is on the list, ppl we knew got turned down there, but it could just be they didn't follow proper procedure. SMC is also on the list, but I was told it's no longer an ING panel hospital. So anyway, get a GL from your insurance to cover the cost. They'll do this at the Hospital Admissions. I didn't need to make an appointment with the doctor that my panel clinic doc referred me to, I was just a walk-in and slotted into the waiting list. So after about an hour or so or more, we went in. We talked about my symptoms and I asked to do the test, and he complied. Then I was ushered to the place they do the test, and they swabbed me. We made a follow-up appointment for Monday (3 days later). I got better medication for my flu. And that's it. You are supposed to know the result the same day, and I'm sure if it was serious (like a positive or what), they'd call me. But they have not, so I'm thinking I don't have it.

So that's how you do it. If you have really bad flu symptoms, right down to nausea and breathing difficulties, follow the steps I outlined above. Those hospitals will only entertain you at the emergency room if you really really cannot breathe properly. But if you just have chest pains when you cough, like me (i'm asthmatic too), then get the referral letter from your usual doc. Emergency Rooms are for emergency cases after all, and I think they won't really layan you if you seem to be okay. If you are sick and have been sick for a long time, just get the test done. Like me, I didn't have to pay anything. It's better to be safe than sorry.

And oh yeah, I read on the site that if you are a breastfeeding mother, and you are sick (with H1N1 or not) it is advisable to continue breastfeeding your child. Your body is creating anti-bodies at that very moment to fight your illness, and by breastfeeding you will in turn pass those anti-bodies to your child so that his/her immune system will be boosted, and your child will be stronger as a result, and will most likely be able to fight off the same illness. Like Salma, she hasn't shown any flu symptoms yet. Not even fever. So her anti-bodies are working. :) She's the best. But if you are really really sick, wear a mask when breastfeeding, or better yet, pump your milk and get someone else to feed him/her your breastmilk by bottle.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sewing baju kurung

Raya is coming up, and I am in the midst of sewing for Salma her very first baju kurung! I have already completed the kain or skirt, and already completed the sleeves. Now just the baju or top. I am worried about the neck area, because it seems so complicated, and I don't want to mess that up! So far, everything else looks good, to my amazement. The last time I ever sewed anything was in Form 3, when I made a pair of shorts and a shirt. That's it. It was a pajama set that I had to make for Home Economics (Kemahiran Hidup).

I even sewed the hem straight, which is a bonus for me, because I remember struggling with the hem in school.

When I have completed the entire outfit, I'll take a photo and post it here. Maybe with the model wearing it, maybe not. Hehe.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

First trip to the zoo

Last Sunday, my husband and I brought Salma to the Zoo! It was her first time seeing real wild animals, which she has only so far seen in her picture books. And for the first time, she behaved while sitting in her stroller and did not asked to be carried! A whole day of firsts...

The first animal that greeted us were the giraffes at the front of the zoo. She has never seen a picture of a giraffe before and at first I don't think she realised it was an animal until she saw the elephant, situated next to the giraffe. Then she began to understand that these were very big animals, and she began to wave her arms and speak to them. As always, I felt bad for the aged elephant, who now seemed to be dancing, lifting one foot then another, in a senile way... sort of depressing.

She reacted the most towards the cranes in the birdpark section of the zoo. It was all enclosed and they were flying over her. She called them "Rabbit"... hehehe. We fed the deer, and she was excited over that, too. But after an hour or so, and seeing so many new animals, she became overwhelmed and tired maybe, and quieted down. She didn't even recognize that the sleeping bears were actually bears. But it's alright. It's a whole lotta zoo for one 9 month old to take in. And we're pretty proud of her :)

Next, we want to take her to the Singapore Zoo... when she's a little older. :D

Friday, July 10, 2009

Baby's firsts

My baby girl’s first tooth has appeared! I am so relieved! I wonder if the calcium supplements I started taking had anything to do with it.

Speaking of firsts, today was the first day she sat in her “big girl’s car seat” (forward facing), and at first she was afraid and cried, but when she realized that it was a seat that allowed her to face forward, she became so happy. She smiled and laughed and chatted with me while pointing at things at the window all the way to school. :)

Her first school’s picture day was yesterday. I packed a romper-dress for her to wear, with pink shoes and hairband. All the other kids except her cheh-cheh were dressed up, too. I hope the photos turn out well since it’s so hard to make babies pose and sit still...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

When I smell like milk 2

A very kind and gracious friend of mine has just told me that she does not notice my milk smell, so that's a relief! She says her baby smells like milk. Sadly, Salma has stopped smelling like milk. She just smells like a Poppet Cuk. ;)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When I smell like milk

Sometimes in a disturbing way, I notice that I smell like milk. It used to be worse when Salma was a newborn, but nowadays if I don't pump, I will notice that towards the afternoon, I will end up smelling like milk. The scent is very subtle to me, but I wonder if others find it strong and are bothered by it! Or is it only me and baby that can smell the milk? It is weirdly disturbing, and I cannot help feel self-conscious about it, especially in the office.

Sometimes the smell doesn't go away even after I pump, which makes me even more uncomfortable. I wonder if it has any effect on others at all? And it is quite strange in a funny way, the way my baby girl gets excited to nurse after a whole day of not seeing me. She will even start to laugh. Then she will fall right asleep after nursing for half an hour or so.

I hope it is the same today, because I am on sick leave, and I have not pumped the whole day. So I hope she goes right to bed when I nurse her later this evening after picking her up. Then I can rest somemore. I don't sleep well when I'm sick. Do you?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vocabulary

When Salma learns a new word, she will say it over and over. Her new word now is "rabbit". Sometimes she will leave out the "R" and say "abbit". Last night it was always "rabbit rabbit rabbit". And then a few times it was "rabbit rabbit baby". Because now she knows how to say "baby", too.

At first I thought she's just picking up on the sounds, and that she doesn't yet know how to put the word and the meaning together. But apparently, she does. Because... well... I was reading to her a book, "Rainy Day", and the main characters in the book were 3 little children - one little girl, and two little boys. Each time she will point to the picture of the little kids and say, "baby". And I will say, "No, not baby, 'little girl' and 'little boy'." So... she knows that "baby" is a small child, but does not yet know that babies are only applicable for children ages 1 and below. Because ages 1 and above is technically a toddler right? But she gets the point. There were pictures of dogs and cats, but she didn't point to them and say "Baby".

In school, they call her "baby salma". And they call the other babies the same way, so she has gotten to understand that her other friends are all "babies". Which is why when she sees another baby, she will turn to me and say, "baby". And I will reward her by clapping hands and say, "Yes, baby! Clever girl!" And she will clap her hands and say "yay!". Hehehe

When we got to school this morning, I asked her, "Mana rabbit?" ("Where's the rabbit?"), and she looked to the caged rabbits in the corner, and said, "abbit!" So she knows, the animals in the cages at the front of the school are rabbits. But I'm not sure whether she can tell the difference between a rabbit and another animal. But at least she knows that a rabbit is an animal and not human.

The one word that I'm not sure she knows the meaning of is "habis" ("finished"). She will say "abish" even when she's not done yet, so maybe because it's not a noun, it's a little more difficult for her to fathom? Not sure. At the moment, "habis" is the first verb she's learned. Everything else is a noun: mama, papa, baby, rabbit. Oh and 'bye-bye'.. but that's not a noun. I don't know what it is...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Drinking Problem

How do I get Salma to drink more water? She can drink from a straw now and I bought a cup that comes with a straw and a cover (by Pigeon), and she will drink, but after a few sips, she's done and loses interest easily. I'm starting to worry that she's getting dehydrated because her urine has this unusually strong smell. When we were kids, our parents use to give us water with glucose, but I'm told that it's not necessary to do that, because we may unnaturally increase baby's glucose levels and she can become diabetic. I don't even know if this part is true. But will adding a little glucose powder to water make it more attractive for my baby to drink? I really don't want her to prefer sweet things over other flavors.

She has also taken this separation anxiety to another level. When previously she used to wake up once or twice a night, she now wakes up about 4 to 5 times. And sometimes I think she wakes up just to make me reposition her to the other side of the bed (she sleeps with me). I have tried ignoring her to see if she falls back asleep on her own, but she will kick me, pat my face or pull my hair to get me to wake up. It is starting to drain my energy! When I get to work the next day, I will 98% of the time, walk in with a headache due to lack of sleep. Then I'll need a really good pick me up, and I have started craving for sugary foods. Coffee does nothing for me.

She's a happy baby most of the time... most of the time when I am beside her! haha. I really want her to spend more time with her dad & grandparents without me being round. But she'll start demanding for me to be there the second I leave sometimes. I don't know how long this separation anxiety will last. And I hate it how my husband says I "trained her" to be like this. This is not what I wanted. All the experts say that it's best to comfort your baby when she cries, and that's what I've been doing. Leaving them to cry on their own will cause them to have low self-confidence issues later in childhood. And on that note, I think in terms of confidence, she has lots of it, and does pretty well in school... interaction with others, playing, talking, etc.

I've seen those babies that are really shy and quiet and don't want to play with other kids and I'm glad Salma isn't like that.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Make-up routine

Like other working moms who send their kids to school in the morning, I don't have time to put on my make-up before I leave the house. So I do it when I get to work, usually after eating breakfast. And usually there are one or two other moms taking up the mirror space in the washroom with me, and we all share a laugh with one another when we're doing this routine. There is one working mom who works downstairs that sometimes comes in at lunch time, and she's putting her make-up on then! And when I say 'routine' I'm not just talking about foundation/powder, lipstick, I'm talking about the whole toner, lotion, face-blotter, foundation, powder, blusher, eye-liner, mascara, lipstick. This is the routine the mom downstairs does. And she does it in less than 10 mins too. Or maybe 15. If I pull this same routine, it would probably take me half an hour. My routine is just lotion, powder-foundation, liquid blusher, tudung, lipstick.

One time, me and another mom (Ms. Tan) were doing our morning make-up routine and this blue-eyed young girl was intently watching me put on my blusher (Benefit's Benetint) and as I was dabbing the brush on my cheek and then blending it with my thumb, she asked me, "Are you sure you're supposed to do that?" Me and Ms. Tan stood there for awhile gawking at her with our mouths open until I replied, "Err, yeah... it's a cheek stain." And then the funny part comes next, where the girl replies, "I don't think you're supposed to do that," and stomps out of the bathroom. Me and Ms. Tan start laughing our asses off and couldn't finish our routine until many minutes later. We thought it was so funny, we did that trailing laugh, "hahahahha...ehahaheeee.. eheeee... eheee..." and Ms. Tan couldn't apply her mascara because tears were coming out.

Another colleague of mine, who was not a mom, was standing by the tissue-paper dispenser and was smiling at the whole thing and said, "I guess it's strange to see the way other ppl put on make up!"

And I couldn't agree more! Before I became a mom, I used to think it was so weird (in an interesting way) the way the mom downstairs would perform her make-up routine. She calls it "putting on her face", which funnily enough is the same term my mother uses. Mom downstairs is forty-ish, and has long brown, wavy, bouncy hair, and dresses really hip. She has pretty good skin and is proud about not doing botox. And before I became a mom, I thought it was so funny the way she would do her whole entire make-up routine, right down to putting on the towel-hairband to push her hair back from her face so she can apply her face lotion. But now I understand. Because a woman still has to look good. And if you can't do it at home, do it at office!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Child-proofing your home

Salma is now starting to be more mobile on her own. She has started to "crawl" by scooching her butt forward while she sits. If you don't know what 'scooching' is, it's like sliding but not. When she gets on her tummy, she doesn't really know how to crawl. She will push her butt up in the air, use her arms to lift her head and then do a little push up but that's it. She does a military-style crawl with her face pressed to the ground commando style, but it doesn't get her far. So we call her a lazy baby.

And I am kinda thankful that she's lazy to crawl so that I don't have to rush to child-proof my home. Cos she is not really crawling fast enough to have objects be a danger to her. The baby of a friend of mine has started crawling and has fallen off the bed twice because of it. She left her baby for 2 seconds to go wash her hands in the adjoining bathroom, and before she knew it her baby girl had crawled off the bed. In the morning, I have to do something similar with Salma. She will wake up earlier than me, and once I've nursed her, I'll leave her on the bed to take my shower. Sometimes I will leave her on the bed to play with a toy. Sometimes she will be lying down on her back, on her tummy or be sitting down. And every single time, she has not tried to crawl off the bed. So she's lazy that way. She has fallen off the bed once before, so maybe she remembered how dangerous it was, and just makes the effort not to repeat the same mistake?

Whatever it is, I will place barriers at the edge of the bed, and she has tried a couple of times to peer over the edge, but I'll place her back in the center.

We spend most of our play time on the floor though. And each time I will entreat her to crawl to me, but she will be very grumpy and hesitant about it and would rather I pick her up. I have seen her crawl at school though! Via their webcam, so I know she can do it! But she is just so plain lazy at home. It is almost as if she has a Type A personality in school, but a Type B personality at home. Which incidentally, is the same way I am! I am more Type A at work, and Type B at home. I think it's my upbringing though, because we've always had maids while I was growing up, so hence the Type B personality because I know someone will clean up after me. Which is why I make such a lousy cleaner-uppper. If I were a housewife, and my sole job was to take care of the house, then I think it would be different, because the house would then be my workplace and then I would be Type A there. Yeah, we had to take this survey at work during a Team Building once to find out what Type personalities we were, and everyone thought it was strange that I was Type B at home, because it was obvious that I was Type A at work. There are ppl that are Type B at work, but Type A at home, which makes more sense because they are "boss" at home.

I love taking personality tests. Hopefully, laziness is not part of Salma's personality. Hope that it's just her being cheeky.

Monday, May 25, 2009

More first words

Salma is able to wave her hand and say "bye-bye" now! It is the cutest thing. At first she won't say anything when we request her to do it, but then once the person leaving really does walk away, she'll start waving her hand and say "Bye!" When we try to get her to do it, she'll give us this confused look, and she'll look from mummy to daddy then from mummy to daddy again. And when one of us finally walks away, she'll just say, "Bye!" Wish I can record it.

When she wakes up she starts talking also, as if to say, "Good morning!" or "Hello!" She will only do it once I am awake though, and doesn't try to wake me up by talking, which is showing consideration for others on her part. But if I am still sleepy, and I make the mistake of opening my eyes (she wakes up between 4.30 am and 5.30 am), she will try to engage me in a conversation! Now I try to "pretend" to sleep for a little while longer… or else the "talking" never stops!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Still amazed

Each time I wake up in the morning, I still find myself feeling amazed when I see her, this perfect little creature, that I created! Sometimes I still can't believe that I made her... she's so beautiful. And when she smiles back at me seeing that I have woken up too, that's just the best feeling. Then if she's in an extra generous mood, she'll plant some wet kisses on my face. She's the one sure thing I look forward to getting up in the morning.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mummy's girl

I am still losing sleep over Salma not being well. She wakes up more often in the middle of the night now to suckle, and I think it’s more for comfort than out of hunger. She is really starting to be a mummy’s girl. Some time last week I visited my ex-schoolmate, who just delivered a beautiful baby boy. Her first child is a girl, who is now 4 years old. And she, too, is a mummy’s girl. My friend said it’s okay for your kid to be a mummy’s girl (as opposed to daddy’s girl). I used to feel slightly embarrassed that my daughter is super attached to me. But now I’m starting to get used to it. I feel happy now that she’s comforted by me, and it’s so nice how she falls asleep so fast and so comfortably in my lap.

And thank you so much, Rimau Manja for saying that it’s okay to cuddle your babies. I still get hurt or annoyed by people who say that I’m manja-ring my daughter too much. I don’t think cuddling counts as manja-ring. Spoiling your kids is like when you buy them things they don’t need, or over-feeding them, or doing their homework for them all the time. But I think giving lots of hugs and kisses is healthy. And she loves my hugs and kisses. She knows how to clap her hands now, so she will smile and clap her hands when I come to pick her up from school.

Sometimes it's hard though, because ever since she got sick, she won’t let me put her down when she’s asleep. She’ll wake up straight away when I put her down and she’ll start to cry. So even bathroom breaks are tricky for me. She still gets a fever on and off. And sometimes she’ll nurse for more than an hour straight. And I’m not sure if she’s drinking or sleeping.

I really hope she gets better soon, and that she will start to gain more confidence playing on her own if I’m not in the room.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hospitalized

Two weekends ago Salma was hospitalized for high fever. We were about to leave the house to embark on a 3 hour trip to attend my friend's wedding when she started shivering in an alarming way, so I told my husband, "We're not going." It was a public holiday, and we went to the emergency room of SJMC (now SDMC) to get a diagnosis. Curiously enough, most of the patients in the emergency room that day were children! Her fever registered at 38.4, so she was admitted and put on a drip. They did a chest x-ray, did blood test and a urine test. She had an infection. So I ended up staying in the hospital with her for 2 nights.

I have not had a good night's sleep since that day until now! I had this one week long intense training straight after her hospitalisation. And since the hospitalization she has been very clingy at night when she sleeps, and does not allow me to move around. It's been very tiring to say the least.

She has a follow-up appointment tomorrow. Just hope that all tests show that she has recovered. She's been on anti-biotics ever since. And they've also put her on Pro-biotics to replenish the good bacteria in her system. Just hope that she's doing okay. Now with the heat, I really hope she's getting enough liquids in school. Wrote her teachers a letter outlining how they should change her diaper regularly and keep giving her milk, juice or water. Just hope this is enough. I don't know how to stop worrying.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Unusual headaches

Working Mom dilemma #2 – unusual headaches

 

Ever since Salma has started having the separation anxiety, I've made it a point to go visit her every lunch time, if I don't have any meetings or pressing work to complete. And because she is extra clingy nowadays, I end up spending almost my entire lunch break at the school with her and having my lunch later than usual. And I'm not sure if this is the reason, but lately I will get a headache after eating. Usually after having lunch, but sometimes I will get the headache after eating dinner as well. I am not sure if it's the combination of losing nutrients from breastfeeding before having had something to eat (sometimes I skip breakfast because I have no time to eat) and having my lunch 30 minutes later, or just that body not able to convert the energy fast enough for me (or my body trying to convert food into energy faster than usual because of the adrenalin rush of having to complete a task after lunch).

 

I went to the doctor some time last week, and he said I had low blood pressure, which can be due to a low red-blood cell count. I used to be anemic many many years ago, so this makes sense to me.

 

But being a working mom with this ridiculous schedule, I am guilty of not eating healthy. Just because I don't have the time to go to the places to buy myself the healthy food for lunch, and absolutely no time to cook myself a healthy meal for lunch. If I have the energy to cook dinner, which is rare, I usually don't cook extra for me to bring to lunch the next day.

 

Like right now, I am so drained of energy and I have a headache, and I'm sleepy! How do I boost my energy? I tried to drink the kacip fatimah drink but it doesn't help. Have not tried Redbull, but worried that it will flow into my breastmilk and then Salma will go into hyperdrive. I am generally wary of consuming energy-boosting pills or drinks in case it will affect her in an adverse way because of breastfeeding. If it makes her sleepy, then maybe that's alright. But I don't want her to end up being more energetic than usual, because I already feel that she is much too "lasak" for me to handle!

 

Caffeine has the opposite effect for me, as in it makes me more sleepy. So that's out of the question. I have had days where after having some form of caffeine-ated drink, I fall asleep in the surau or in the lactation room without even realizing it! So it's back to eating healthily… which I don't know why it's so difficult for me to do. I wish they had Jenny Craig in Malaysia so that I can have healthy food delivered to me for all meals! Hahaha… and lose weight at the same time! What a thought… maybe I should bring Jenny Craig to Malaysia. Any takers?


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Booster seat

I bought a booster seat for my 6 month old instead of a high chair, which I think is more convenient cos we can bring the booster seat to her grandparents' and feed her comfortably while we are there. I bought the booster seat for RM89 from littlewhiz.com, brand My Dear. It's lightweight and safe to use, and she hasn't complained sitting in it while I feed her. For now I place it on the floor or on the couch. Have not tried strapping it to one of the dining chairs, but we have not had our dinner at the dining table in awhile! Yes, I'm guilty of eating in front of the tv...

 

Today I dropped by her school during lunch and they were feeding her. Everyday, I pack for her rice cereal, Farley's Rusks, and another rice cereal flavored with apple and cranberry. I've pureed mango and green peas for her. She loves the mango, but still does not like the green peas. But must make sure to keep on feeding her the vegetables so she gets used to eating veggies when she's older.

 

Incidentally, Salma has started drinking from a sippy cup. I bought a Nuby one from Toys R Us with a soft silicone spout that has a safety valve. Again, same like the eating, I have no idea where she learned how to sip from a cup. She either bites or sucks on the spout to let the water out, but she drinks a lot faster from the cup than she does from the bottle. Breastfed babies usually move on straight away from the breast to the cup, and Salma is no exception. She hates drinking from a bottle. We give her water, milk and apple juice. She did not like apple juice at first, but is now getting the hang of it.

 

She thinks she's a big girl now…


Monday, April 20, 2009

Baby's first words

Last week, I think it was on Thursday, Salma said her first word, "Papa". She said it over and over in school when I visited her at lunch. Her teachers noticed too. Then when she cried, she said, "Mama". At first I thought she didn't know what these words meant, but when her Daddy got home, and I asked her to say, "Papa", she said it. Then when I asked her, "Where is papa?", she turned to face him! Haha :D  That made me so happy.

 

We tried getting her to say "Mummy" and "Daddy", but she just gives us this blank look and then repeats, "Papa." Then me and my husband both thought that she is trying to say "Poppet", which is what we call her at home because no one calls her dad 'Papa', not even the teachers at school. He is referred to as 'Daddy' at all times.

 

So I guess "papa" and "mama" are natural sounds that a baby makes, and why so many children across the world call their parents this. She says "Papa" when she's happy or playing. So maybe she doesn't really get that 'papa' equals 'daddy'. Probably not. But she knows who 'daddy' is when we say to her things like, "Daddy's home!" or "Daddy's here…"

 

Can't wait to hear what other words she says…



Saturday, April 11, 2009

Working mom

I have reached that stage where my body clock is all out of sync. I wake up at 4am wide awake even though my baby girl is still fast asleep. Then in another 4 hours I have to be in the office. Getting ready to go to office is the pain cos my girl usually cries when I'm getting dressed regardless if I've fed her or not.

Lately she's been crying a lot in school after some time being pretty well-behaved. I worry that she's experienced some traumatic event in my absence so that's why she cries. With me, she's fine. We can play. She will cry when she wants to sleep or when she wants to carried around jalan-jalan (which I am so lazy to do sometimes). Yesterday, after a stint of bad behaviour in school, I took her to Sunway Pyramid straight after school and she was fine. She sat obediently in her stroller, playing with her toy as I pushed her around. So I wonder, what is it that causes her to cry so much in school? Is it cos Mummy is the only one that understands her?

She loves waking up in the morning... she always wakes up with a smile. I would love to just stay home and play with her all day. Just have that be my full time job. Sometimes at work I use up so much mental energy solving problems or analysing data that by the time I reach home with her, I'm exhausted. Can't really play with her without falling fast asleep in 2 hours. Wish I could have more time with her...

I envy those stay-at-home moms... with maids. Hahahaha... not that I want a maid to live with us, cos I actually feel uncomfortable with strangers in the house, but maybe it'd be good for a day-time maid to come over to just help me clean up. Then my job would be to play with salma, bathe her, feed her, change her. Sing songs, read books.

But who'll pay for half the bills if I don't work? Lil' Poppet won't have new clothes and things if mommy stayed at home all day... so comes the sacrifice. But then I end up with having her cry all day when I'm away, and it tears my heart out.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Manja is as Manja does

 
I had my birthday last Saturday, and I had the best time spending it with my husband and Salma. With an overdue facial session (alone time for mommy) and a surprise birthday cake and dinner at a Mexican restaurant. My husband's birthday present for me was meant to be the Jamiroquai concert at the F1 After Party on Sunday (cos I am a big Jay K fan). And we had it all planned... drop the baby off at my parents, have lunch with them and then go off to enjoy the F1. We reached Sepang around 2 pm or so. Walked around the mall area... but then at each hour my parents would send us an sms saying that Salma has not stopped crying, and what should they do? So we suggested: feed her a farley rusk, give her a drink, take her for a car ride, play the lullabye cd, give her a bath... and they reported back that none of it worked! She kept crying and crying and crying for me. And right when the race started, my dad sent the most pathetic sms ever, saying that it was now the 4th hour that she has not stopped crying and can we please come home?
 
My heart just dropped. I felt so bad and so sad. So torn. Between wanting to spend some well-earned alone time with my husband for my birthday, and wanting to go back and comfort my baby. Then my husband says that we have to resign to the fact that we're parents now, and this is what we should expect from now on. Then I was thinking, but why must she behave so unreasonably after having had fun times with her grandparents babysitting her in the past? Why must it be today that she starts acting up?!
 
With a heavy heart, I told my husband that we had better head back. I got mad at myself for not sitting her down and explaining to her that me and daddy will be gone for some time and not to get scared. But I forgot that part. I just said to her, "bye-bye!". Heh. My freedom is now officially over I guess.
 
Felt so bad for my husband because he was so looking forward to the day. And so was I! It's been a long time since I've been to a concert. Eesh.
 
You might say that she is too manja (spoiled). But we don't spoil her as in "spoil" her spoil her. You know. I mean, I cuddle her a lot and she sleeps with me... maybe we do manja her. Oh I don't know! Is it wrong to cuddle her all the time? We love cuddling! We love just lying around and cuddling and then touching each other's faces. That's one of my favorite activities... But that's the thing... Manja is as Manja does.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Envious

I was just telling my husband how this woman that was paying in front of me at the cashier at Mothercare gave me such low self-esteem. She was a mother of a 9 month old baby girl (since she was buying a ton of stuff for baby girls at size 9 mths), was slim, had perfect make-up, had on a nice outfit, nice color tudung (hijab), wore a baby belly band that matched her tudung color over her sort-of tight jeans to cover her ass (wish I had thought of this myself since muslim women aren't supposed to wear tight-fitting clothes that show off their butt). She had a huge Fendi handbag (the type of huge handbags that I love), and spent $957 in one receipt and around $800 in another! This lady even had the time to curl her eyelashes and put on mascara. I never ever have time to do this. Ever. Especially now with my baby girl always complaining when I take too long to get ready. Obviously this lady has a maid or a nanny to help her watch the baby while she spends time getting ready to go out or putting on make-up, or when she spends a gazillion dollars shopping. Her top was only EDC but still... I loved that belly band idea... I have lots of short tops, but not like I can fit in them anymore post-pregnancy.

Just before I got married I was 58kg. Now I am... yikes! I rather not say, but still a long way from 58kg. During the last year of Uni, and when I first started working for the company I am working in now, I was 48 kg. Just a few months before that I was 45kg because I worked in a high-stress job (equity analyst). Then my weight ballooned up and down, til the last months before my wedding when I prayed for God to make me lose weight. And He made me lactose intolerant (which I never was before), and I puked up everything each time I ate cheese, chocolate or drank milk.

Now it's almost 6 months after delivery, and sad to say I only lost 10kg from what I originally weighed on my delivery day. Haish. How do ppl do it? I breastfeed daily. I sit on my ass all day in front of a PC just like other new moms, and yet they are still slimmer than me. WTF am I doing wrong man? Eesh.

Now the sad part is my breasts are 2 sizes bigger than pre-pregnancy but have lost their perkiness, and are so gravity-bound that I feel like a grandma. Haish. I really need to work out! But I have no maid, no nanny, and my little girl doesn't let me have any free time whatsoever. Not even to fold the laundry! Which are washed, but sit for 2 weeks in the laundry basket collecting wrinkles.

This is the life of a poor, nanny-less mom who's seen better days...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Complaining?

My little girl is now nearly 6 months old, and just over the weekend she has started to make a new sound, which my husband and I have dubbed "the complaining sound." It's a cross between a growl and a cry. It sounds something like "grrrrr" but not quite. She does it in between cries, but she is not crying, she is complaining. We wonder where she learned this! We imagine it is from school, but I believe it's something innate. My husband says that I make a similar noise when I complain, but it is much different from the one Salma makes.

 

However, she makes the growling sound so often now that it's getting irritating. We always tell her to stop. But like she knows what "stop" is...

 

She will growl at us when we don't pick her up quick enough, or growl at me when I am not quick enough in giving her milk... haish... I can't wait for her to just start talking.



Friday, March 20, 2009

Fun baby outfits

Having a baby girl is lots of fun! Especially when it comes to dressing up. The other day, I was shopping and came across these cute bug outfits for baby girls! One was a butterfly romper suit with wings and a hood that had antennae, and one was a dress that looked like a ladybug. Also with antennae. They were too cute to miss out, so I bought both at MYR 22.90 each. My lil baby poppet wore the butterfly outfit straight away and we had a lot of fun with her in it!
 
Baby girls are fun that way. You can dress them up in silly things and they still look cute! If I dress her up to look like a caterpillar, she'd still look cute! Now I am for the look out for little skirts. The short ones where her tushie sticks out. Haven't found them yet. If you know of any, drop me a comment and let me know. (And no, I haven't went round to Mothercare yet...)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

First meal

My baby girl had her first meal last weekend. Which wasn't actually her first meal, because I know she's had small bites secretly while not with me, but she had her first actual full meal with me last weekend. It was one tablespoon of rice cereal mixed with formula, and me and my husband were so amused at how "pro" she was at eating! It's as if she's been eating from a spoon all her life. She's 5 month's plus. She finished the entire serving and actually loves it.

So now I'm all chuffed and getting all pumped about letting her taste her first banana. Now I'm also excited about looking for a hand-held food processor or food puree-er (i know that's not a word). I want to puree for her green peas, which is my own favorite comfort food. I love eating green peas cooked with butter and onions. But for her just the peas I think. I am really excited about her eating. She always so wants to eat when we eat... and now she can.

So now, the list of things to buy for baby just gets bigger... high chair, food processor, those plastic bibs with the "bowl" at the end...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

She fell off the bed!

Salma fell off the bed last night for the first time! Wakakaka. It was around 3 am. I've been expecting this to happen ever since she started rolling over on her own (and from all the input that experienced moms have been giving me), and was less surprised about it than my husband, who seemed pretty shocked and pissed off that it happened. If you haven't guessed, she still sleeps with us, and I haven't gotten round to training her to sleep on her own in the cot for the entire night yet. Usually she sleeps in the center, but sometimes I switch breasts for night feeds, and when she falls asleep on the other side, I usually don't move her back to the middle.

She is quite a lasak baby. And I haven't figured out what the English translation of the word "lasak" is yet, but it means "cannot sit still". But I don't think she was asleep when she fell off, I think she must have been awake for quite some time and was rolling around until she fell off with a resounding "thud!" The "thud" sound woke me up and then the screaming cry. I picked her up off of the floor and my husband quickly grabbed her from me (as if I was the one that pushed her off the bed), and started to soothe her by carressing her head gently. She stopped crying and looked more shocked than hurt. She was uninjured, but continued to look shocked while I fed her. The funny thing was, she didn't fall parallel to the bed as I'd expected, but perpendicular to it. I just couldn't help laughing to myself because I knew this was going to happen, just as it happened to me, and my little brother and sister while we were growing up. I remember my brother fell off the bed several times. And each time he pretended that it didn't happen. Can you imagine a baby that was embarrassed about falling off the bed, or embarrassed about pooping in his diaper in public (he had to hide behind a curtain or a pillar)... that was my little brother when he was a baby.

Salma was giggling after half an hour. She didn't go back to sleep straight away. I cradled her for awhile before dozing off myself. And she went right back to sleep. I sincerely hope she remembers that she fell off, and how she fell off, so that she won't try to do it again. I don't know how a baby's memory works at 5 months, but I sure hope she remembers something of the experience so as not to repeat it, cos I let her lie on the bed by herself with pillows as barriers while I am doing other stuff in the room. I sometimes spread the duvet on the floor for her to roll around too. But I will probably start training her to sleep in the cot in earnest now. hehe.