Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Travel tips

We have friends that newly became parents. And some of the things that they said & planned during the first three months of having their newborn just made me laugh. It wasn't that I was laughing at them, just that their innocence was so touching, it made me laugh. For instance, they asked us to join them on a trip to Singapore or some place where we would take a flight and stay in a budget hotel, so that we can spend the rest of our money on shopping. And they invited other couples, who happen to be childless, to join also. First of all, even though this may sound wonderful, it just isn't practical. If you want to go on vacation with a newborn or an infant even (doesn't even have to be a newborn), you will have to travel with all sorts of equipment: stroller, carseat (optional but sometimes necessary), diapers, changing mat, wet wipes, bottles, formula, thermos, etc, which limits your movement a bit. Then the baby will cry most of the time on the plane. And then you can't just stay at just any hotel, it has to be a child-friendly hotel. You will not feel comfortable in a cramped room in a budget hotel. You will need space, first of all, to put all the baby equipment you brought, plus all of the stuff you brought for yourself. And then the baby needs space. Space is important. You need space as a time out from your baby, too (if it is constantly crying).

Travelling with other couples that have small kids may sound like fun, but it may also dampen the mood if each couple has to wait for the other to catch up (say if one couple's children need a toilet-break or something like that). And childless couples will hate this. So don't travel with them, even if they are your very bestfriends, because unless they love babysitting, they will most likely get stressed out by all the extra activity. And even though it may sound like fun to go on a shopping spree vacation trip, lugging around that stroller and diaper bag will just tire you out, and it won't be fun. When you have kids, the trip cannot just be about you, you have to plan some activities that your kids will enjoy, too. Kids (even if they are newborns) don't like shopping all that much, I find.

When we travel with our toddler, we travel alone. And it's more fun that way because we can take our time doing things. And we specifically look for hotels that have a great children's pool or children's room or playground. And we love restaurants that give plastic plates, cups and cutlery when we order the kids meals. Even better are those restaurants that let kids eat for free with an adult meal. New parents have to discover these things for themselves, I think.

Even though I have about a month and a bit left to my pregnancy, I am still looking for vacation deals or hotel packages. Just for a short weekend getaway. I want to rest and relax somewhere nice. But I know it won't be fun if my 2 year old isn't having fun also. Those spa getaways won't be worth it if the hotel doesn't have some sort of activity for the kids too. Which is why I'm still searching. If you know of a good place, do leave me a comment, thanks!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Things that interest me at 33 weeks

Being pregnant can get boring after awhile, especially in the last 2 months. You get so big that your movement is impeded, and you are always feeling hot and tired, and the combination of all of these will make you grumpy. Like, "Enough already and come out!" I am going through that stage right now. So I am trying to distract myself by thinking up of different activities I can do to pass the time. Like perhaps doing my hair and make-up and taking pregnant photos. And ordering books to read online. 

So I ordered 3 books online the other day, but they haven't been delivered yet. I was hoping I could get them soon so I can start reading and not be so bothered by how hot I feel sitting around in the house, but looks like they will only be despatched at the end of the month. Which is about 4 days away. Four days is a long time to wait. I can probably finish a book in one or two days, so I was online window shopping again for some more titles to purchase. That's when I came across this wonderful website, www.ktlit.com, which centers around Modern Korean Literature in English Translation. I am into things Korean now, as I find their culture fascinating. In previous times during my life I have been interested in Chinese Literature of the China kind, and Russian Literature. So now it's Korean Literature. I dunno why, but it's hard for me to get into Malaysian Literature. I haven't really tried hard enough maybe.

But I came across this Modern Korean Literature website, and I love it! Not only does it do reviews, but they also just blog about interesting Korean stuff seen from the eyes of non-Koreans or maybe Koreans who went overseas and came back "home". Oh you know what I mean. I still think of myself as that type of Malaysian (one that went away for a long time and came back). Based on a few of their reviews, I started searching for the books they mentioned on mphonline.com, Kinokuniya's book web and acmamall. Sad to say that those 3 sites don't stock the newly published books, but ones that were published 2010 and prior can be found. And the prices vary between the sites, too! Acmamall is the cheapest, however may not have the book in stock, and Kinokuniya may have it in stock, but is the most expensive. Hmmm... decisions, decisions. 

Having 2 kids means that books are a luxury, and I can only buy books for myself when I have extra savings. And it also means having to buy bargain books or books that are on sale, and stuff like that. Because, you have to admit it, books are expensive in Malaysia, as compared to books in the UK, where you can purchase a decent novel for £5.95 or something like that. With the price of one of the Korean Short Story Anthologies that I am interested in buying, I can buy 2 packs of jumbo Mamy Poko diapers. And Mamy Poko is the most expensive diaper brands out there! That is the opportunity cost for "Land of Exile". When you become a parent, you start thinking this way. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I'm about to have baby #2, and I'm having flashbacks of all the things I hate and fear. These flashbacks normally occur in dreams and in those short periods between awake and sleep that you sometimes experience when you are really tired. Normally the second type of flashback will jolt me back to life, and not in a good way. I'll feel more than a little apprehensive after one of those.

I read in my UN Safety Training (I forgot the actual title of the training course I had to take in my previous job), that flashbacks are part of Post Traumatic Syndrome. So a person who has suffered some trauma in their lives is bound to experience flashbacks now and again, and trauma does not just come from war, abuse, etc. It can be from any adverse incident a person experiences. Something which you thought would be nothing, like accidentally cutting yourself with a sharp knife, can be traumatic (loss of blood, shock, etc). If you dream about the incident over and over, then it means the incident was traumatic to you, even though you overcame it, and managed to heal the wound.

The UN Safety Training, was a bit blasé, though, as it ended the PTS part of the course by saying a person with PTS has to undergo some form of psychiatric counselling. Next slide. Usually, I would think ya, a person who doesn't know that they have experienced some sort of trauma would not want to talk about it at great lengths with a therapist, simply because they don't have a clue what to talk about. Because you know, their brain probably tried to forget it or contain it in a little jar. And then it would get really frustrating to keep replying "I don't know" when being asked questions (I watched this documentary about American soldiers in Vietnam). They really didn't know what the hell was making them have the flashbacks. Sometimes it's difficult to pinpoint one event. It could be a whole series of events or even an entire lifetime of events. Then what are you gonna do? Try to erase all the events? No, right? Sometimes it just doesn't make any sense.

So I was saying, I was having these flashbacks. And I really can't recall why in the world those flashbacks would be flashbacks... I don't remember being anxious about those events at all. I just know that I hate elements to do with those flashbacks, so maybe hate is just a byproduct of PTS. And if you hate someone or something (like hating cockroaches) then maybe that thing had caused you some trauma that you had forgotten (like maybe there was a cockroach crawling on your food and you realised too late). Just to let you know, too, I was just now woken up at 4.26 am by the sound of a cockroach (and I hate those damn things) crawling on the plastic bag that lines the wastepaper basket in the room. That small sound actually woke me up. I tried to kill it with a rolled-up magazine, but it went under the bed, so I have no idea if I managed to kill or injure it. And I am still awake now being anxious about it. Whether it's still alive or not. I would like to be able to just find it and kill it, but it's invisible now. And it's making me blog about it.

And these are the type of articles I used to write for an online magazine once. This type of musings. I miss this sort of writing. But I include it here because it's about an experience related to my pregnancy, and this entire blog is centered on my life as a mom. So, moral of the story is, don't ignore your flashbacks. Your brain is trying to tell you something... but I dunno what.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Baby coming soon!

Wow... I haven't updated this blog in awhile. Been busy with moving house and settling down. I am now going through the "nesting" phase of my second pregnancy. I'm browsing a lot of online baby shops and looking at a lot of baby stuff whenever I go out. But I am relieved that all my major purchases for the new baby were completed today:

1) MAM Anti-colic bpa-free bottles
2) Nipple shields (for first week when baby has trouble latching on)
3) Breastmilk storage bottles  (Items 1 -3 bought from www.fabulousmom.com with great discounts)
4) Maxi cosi baby carseat - at 50% off (big sister's old one cannot be used anymore. Bought at Mamours at Empire Shopping Gallery)
5) Quinny Zapp 2011 in Rebel Red - at almost 40% off (with shopping cart, rain cover, sun canopy and adapters! www.mybabyshop.com.my)

I can't believe I am getting the Quinny Zapp 2011 model instead of the 2010. Most shops are selling the 2010 model at Sale price, but I found one that was selling the 2011 model. No difference though I think. We are buying the Quinny & maxi cosi travel system this time because we had experience with really bulky baby strollers with our first child, and they took up too much space in the car and boot. So this time we are investing in a compact system so that we can transport the baby stroller in the boot along with big sister's existing Maclaren Volo, which is very compact. Plus the Quinny stroller is really light compared to other baby strollers (do not compare with toddler buggies, because these are much lighter, but cannot be used for newborns and infants).

I can't think of any other stuff that I really need for the baby, except for diapers and baby formula. Maybe a few pairs of long pants as I can't seem to find the big sister's old pants. But I am completely set for this new baby to arrive. So happy that I stored all of big sister's old clothes in clean storage compartments. Just have to put them in the laundry and we are good to go!

Everything else now are just loose ends that need tying up! :D