New look for the new year

I'm so pleased that my living room wall has just gone from this:

Ikea-rised and peeling

to this:
Summoning nature

:)

Christmas Outfit

Since I started on the breastfeeding journey, my wardrobe choices have been severely limited.

Besides nursing tops, I opt for button-down shirts that allow for easier access when feeding. The thing is, few things changes one's body more than a pregnancy can. My body shape is no longer as before, and I cannot fit into many of my old clothes. Nothing to do with fats or not - I suspect my bone structure has also changed!

Fortunately, a quick trip to some High Street shops got me a few good basic pieces.

For our yearly Christmas gathering at a friends' place, a pair of tailored shorts was perfect for lounging about in.

And of course - I can always do with a touch of red :)

The Gift this Christmas

This Christmas,
we remember God's precious Gift to us,
His Son Jesus Christ.

We also thank God for His gift to our family, our beloved baby girl
This is her first Christmas with us, and we look forward to many more in the years to come.

Here's wishing all of you a lovely Christmas season, filled with much joy, love and warmth! :)

We're on a roll

Bubbles has been doing this recently:

She turns herself to one side, tilts her head backwards, pushes her arms forward, and arches her back. On some days, her legs kick in that direction too.

This picture was taken at a friend's place. The more experienced parents there said that she is starting to learn to flip!

How exciting! But it also means I can no longer leave her unattended on places she can potentially roll off...

Smells from the kitchen

I've been doing some baking this season and enjoying it very much.

My oven tends to be a little hotter than it should be, so testing out new recipes goes something like this:

For a 180C/1 hour recipe:
At 30 mins, my cake looks done.
Take cake out to poke it. Hmmm, a little wet on the inside.
Pop cake back in at 150C at a 'heat from bottom' setting for 10 mins.
Take cake out and poke it again. Still very slightly wet.
Pop cake back in for another 5 min.
Done :)
Let cool.
Spread icing.
Pop into fridge till the next party.

I still haven't figured out how to make it easier for myself! Bake at 1 hour at a lower temperature? At a different oven setting? etc.

Scratch head

3 months check

1 whole month has passed since Bubbles' last visit to the PD. Time has really just zipped by for me the last few months!

Last Friday, we took Bubbles for her 1st 5-in-1 jab and her monthly check-up. There was a bit of a crowd at the clinic as the doctor was away on leave the week before. We had to wait...
and wait...
and wait...
Soon, it was nearing her nap time and I was relieved when her name was finally called. Our little bundle was by then rather grouchy and made it known that we really have no business doing all these strange doctor-y stuff when she all she wanted was to sleep! The doctor even told her: "Please don't sleep! Dr X needs to check you!"

Finally, I put her to my breast (which she wasn't happy about either - how would you like it if you wanted to sleep and someone shoves a burger in your face?), and the doctor poked the needle in. Bubbles gave a yelp, sobbed a bit, then when I stood up to carry her, she fell asleep in my arms! Right inside the doctor's office. Funny baby.

She continued to sleep through our McDonald's breakfast, and all the way home.
Just to be preventive about a fever coming on, I plonked a cold wet towel on her forehead when she got home. Besides displaying an initial few curious facial expressions, it didn't seem to bother her much - she just carried on with her usual self-amusements.
Bubbles at 3 months:
6.67kg, 63cm

I need to smell like me

For the first time since Bubbles' arrived, I decided to dab on some perfume before a trip out.

Then, without thinking, I deftly picked up Bubbles to leave the room.

She gave a loud, sharp cry!

It took me a few quick moments to check her (did she get bitten/cut etc?) before it dawned on me that it must have been the scent I wore! No more Mummy smell!

I had to quickly wash off what I could that was on my wrist (yes I always dab some there), and brush my hair. The scent still lingered but I was running late. So I bent down to look at her in the eye to tell her that it was still Mummy who is going to carry her.

I then picked her up gently and she was all smiles!

It has been 3 months!

3 months ago, our little bundle of joy arrived. There was much excitement in the family - so much so that she had a receiving party right outside the labour ward! The 1st month was one of discovery for the family, especially for Roboman and myself. From the start, she showed a fiesty personality, kicking herself round her cot while on her belly during a crying fit. Mummy's fault then, as I didn't know babies can get hungry THAT frequently. She latched on confidently right from the start and thankfully my milk supply soon caught up with her demands.

Newborn Bubbles charmed everyone with her efforts to communicate. From distinct curious stares, to excited flapping of arms. She was an escape artist who never stayed in her swaddle. We sort of gave up and left her arms unwrapped most of the time.
Her cries were rather distinguishable, and we soon understood when she needed to feed. When she learnt to trust us, her hunger cry reduced to gentler 'eh eh eh' sounds to indicate a rumbling tummy.
Few things thrilled us more than when we saw her smiles; and she rewarded us pretty frequently with them. Even in her sleep.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The 2nd month was an exciting time as we watched her grow. Random smiles gave way to genuine responsive ones to anyone who made effort to talk to her. She also started to sleep longer through the night, allowing her mother's eye-rings to lighten somewhat.
This was also the month where she suddenly turned from a little newborn to a chubby babe. Her growth happened so quickly that we hardly realised it until we had to give away 4 packs of newborn diapers that she outgrew. Her hair also started to gradually stand up on her head, tickling the chins of people who carried her. We also found out to our delight that she is extremely portable - being able to sleep anywhere without disturbing her routine.
Rejuvenated from longer sleeps, I managed to set a routine for her that included play-time with varied activities that we are both still enjoying. She also started to do mini push-ups on her tummy, which was really fun to watch!

In order to allow bonding time with Roboman, we decided that he should feed her a bottle every night. She took well to this until one strange day when she decided she didn't like the idea. We thought it was a rejection of the bottle teat, but realised later that she only wanted me to feed her - be it bottle or breast! I could be lying right next to her but she wouldn't take the bottle if I wasn't the one holding it. We realised then that we really do have one discerning baby!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bubbles just turned 3 months' old. She still has a smile that lights up the room :) This past month has been the most enjoyable one so far. I feel it has passed by almost too quickly! Bubbles is now a little chatterbox (in a good way). I enjoy having our daily 'conversations' and watching her earnest facial expressions.
She has moved from stuffing her hand in her mouth to deftly sticking either thumb in. I have watched her turn her head to switch suckling from one thumb to the other with perfect aim.Tummy time now lasts longer, with her surveying her surroundings the moment she is flipped on her tummy. She doesn't seem to want to flip on her own anytime soon, although I have been told to look out for it so I can make sure she doesn't fall off our bed!
Bubbles demands attention, and fortunately there are always people around to give it to her. She joins in conversations when she realises everyone else is talking, and responds to the first person who turns and acknowledges her. She enjoys being read to and to be shown books and pictures. She is not the docile, girlish baby. Instead, she is rather cheeky, and as her grandparents put it - very active and in constant motion. We warn people who want to carry her that she always insists on being carried facing outwards so she can see what is happening around her. Don't comply and you will get an annoyed babble!
After many nights of persuasion and many days of playtime, Bubbles now lets Roboman to feed her again. The number of people who are allowed to feed her now stands at a grand total of 2. She has categorised us as her only feeders and everyone else can at best be fun playmates.
She still smiles frequently in her sleep, and is now able to sleep 7-10 hours through the night. This is really wonderful for her previously sleep-deprived parents, and we are so grateful for this development! We know we just have to enjoy it as much as we can for now till the next change! (teething, perhaps?)
It is difficult to believe that it has only been 3 months. It sometimes feels like she has always been a part of our lives. A very special part. She holds the softest parts of our hearts and the hearts of her grandparents. It has been a privilege to be her parents. She stroked my face the very day she turned 3 months, turning me to mush.

Thank you God for blessing us with this little baby. May we be worthy of this precious gift, and learn to love and guide her as she grows.

Smile!

Bubbles has been smiling more as the weeks go by.

Just the other day, we were having lunch at a Japanese restaurant. Roboman and I had the pleasure of eating our meal in peace as the waitresses there did the 'babysitting' by playing with her as she sat in her stroller. She obliged with plenty of giggles and gurgles.

She usually smiles at anyone who looks straight at her to talk or to make funny faces or sounds. If she finds you especially funny, she would crunch up her face into a big cheeky smile and pull her knees up to her tummy. If you are a stranger, you would have to do all these without trying to carry her though. She's particular that way, and screams when carried by people she is not familiar with - which unfortunately, includes almost everyone other than Roboman and myself.

Just as well, as I've been getting slightly paranoid about strangers touching her, especially since she has not had most of her vaccinations yet. So I have been relying on antibacteria wet wipes to clean her hands - hands that find their way into her mouth a lot these days. Her favourite thing to chomp on now is definitely her thumb! So it better be kept clean =P

On a more somber note, it is December already and soon I will have to go back to work. It is not by choice that I am going back so soon, and I think because of that, I have been having some nightmares. I recently dreamt that Bubbles was taken from me, and in replacement, another sweet baby girl was presented to me. I screamed that I wanted my own baby, and tried desperately to look for her. How awful! But God's plans go beyond what Man can imagine, and I trust that things will work out for good. I have 3 weeks to wean Bubbles off me, to take the bottle from someone other than Roboman and myself, and to take the bottle in the daytime. It is trying, but I am trying!

Leo the Lion

Bubbles owns a few gorgeous plushies given by people who love her. They are really pretty and come in sweet colours. Her favourite however, is a brightly coloured lion puppet. When I first saw it, my first thought was "How ugly!". Thankfully, I didn't let my prejudice stop me from using the puppet during Bubbles' play time.

Leo the Lion, as we call him now, never fails to put a smile on her face. No matter how much she is crying, or whatever the reason for her discomfort, she would pause midway to give him a smile when he is put in front of her. If she can manage it, she would also pause to "talk" to him, presumably to explain why she is upset. She is very sweet that way :)

Unfortunately, because we received so many presents, I can't remember who gave her this Lion! If you did and are reading this - thank you very much for this gift :) It is certainly very well-loved.

Exhausted from play

Little Miss Chatty

I was at Mothercare making some purchases when I heard a familiar baby voice behind me. I turned around and found my baby lying in her stroller 'conversing' with 2 Caucasian ladies. They couldn't speak English, but they smiled in my direction and said something about Bubbles and "responder".

Their "conversation" continued for a while longer as I stood, amused. After all, I didn't understand either language being spoken!

And here is Bubbles when we got home. Deep in thought surely, about the interesting opinions she heard that day from her foreign counterparts ;)

Outing

I took Bubbles out all by myself for the very first time today.

I know that sounds terribly suaku and un-noteworthy to many Sept 09 mummies who have already done this tons of times.

So far, outings with Bubbles have always involved someone else other than me. When no family member is available, I take my helper along.

Unfortunately, even my mum and husband also weren't too confident of me going out alone with Bubbles, and that kind of added to my lack of confidence in doing so. It was beginning to get ridiculous. I felt trapped at home despite having a car at my disposal. I desperately wanted to wander out by myself without having to trouble another person.

So I decided today that I just had to do it. After a feed, I dressed Bubbles and myself up, and made her wear a bib (in case she regurgitates in the car and I can't dab off the milk as her carseat is behind the driver's seat).

Then, ignoring my helper's shocked expression, I popped Bubbles in a stroller and heaved my diaper bag on my shoulder as I headed out the door.

I'm proud to say that we managed rather well :) She was great company as I tried on clothes in different dressing rooms. She contentedly gave me coos and gurgles as I sought her opinion on the button-down outfits I was trying out (beats expensive nursing tops!). While strolling in the little mall, she obliged passer-bys who peeped in at her by giving them her trademark wide-eye gaze.

I think I can do this again :)

Chocolate Cravings

For some reason, I have been having pretty frequent chocolate cravings these days. I've been stuffing myself with chocolate milk, chocolate bars, brownies, cookies, cakes etc.

I asked my helper to bake these Chocolate Fudge cookies today. With lotsa help from Betty Crocker (wink). I supervised her in the making of some olive oil chocolate chip cookies last week, but they turned out to be failures :( I have been told it is probably because we hand-mixed the dough instead of using a machine (which I do not own). That effort resulted in cake-like cookies - with too much air in them.

This batch though, was foolproof to do. Not much supervision was needed, and they taste really yummy.

Our dinner guests tonight will get some :)

Instead of sleep

I made these.
They are still too big for Bubbles, so I will patiently wait for her little feet to grow into them!

My First Booties

The "making things" bug hit me again.
These pair of booties is a result :)

They fit Bubbles just right.
I'll have to make the next pair slightly larger.

Eyelashlicious

When Bubbles was born, I couldn't see her eyelashes at all!

Given that I won the "Longest Eyelashes" round in a kids' game at Sunday School, I was thrilled when her eyelashes became visible as she entered her 2nd month. They have since gradually grown longer.

They are most visible when she is asleep, especially the strands closer to her nose. The rest kind of tuck under her eyelids at the outer ends of her eyes. There's just something pretty and delicate about a sleeping baby's eyelashes!

Mozzie Free

Oh, Hi!!
Have a good weekend and stay away from mozzies!

Laughter

Bubbles laughed last night.

She has always smiled and gurgled.

Last night she laughed a genuine laugh for an extended period of time. I made a funny noise and she responded with a hearty "Hur Hur". I made another sound, and again I got a "Hur Hur", as she lifted up her little chin towards me.

This laughing conversation went on for quite a while, amusing Roboman and I.

Such simple joys a baby brings!

2 months check

Bubbles went for her 2 months PD check today.

Given that I have heard many comments like "Are you (over)feeding her formula?", "Is she only 2 months old? I thought she's 5", "She's really GROWN!" etc etc. I asked the Doc if she was too fat.

She said a big NO and asked "Haven't you seen really fat babies?"

Heh

At 5.9kg and 57cm, Bubbles is at the 97 percentile for both weight and height. The good Doc said that fully breastfed babies who eat and sleep well tend to grow a lot in the first couple of months, and then their physical growth will taper off later on.

She also said we're really lucky that Bubbles is already sleeping through the night! And me the silly mummy was asking how to get her to sleep longer =P

My good little big bubs!

Just thinking

I have many thoughts running through my mind right now as I count down to the end of my maternity leave.

My life changed 2 months ago. I am now a mother. I have a new body (shape). I'm married to a father. I have a daughter. I have parents who are grandparents. I have new responsibilities.

Spent some time reflecting on Psalm 91 today.

What will the future hold? Only God knows. And in Him I shall trust...

... as I enjoy my smiley little bub
(wearing a cap her great grandaunt knitted for her)

A day in my (current) life

Taking a break from posting photos of Bubbles all over :)

I really should be taking a nap now but am sneaking in this post. Looking at this blog which has morphed into a baby-centric one, it has become apparent that my life has changed.

Although other non-baby things have been happening - almost losing my diamond ear stud at the hairdresser's, trying out new recipes with my helper, making new style corsages, and dining at new places - when it comes to penning down some thoughts in the limited time that I have, baby rules.

So I thought I would share (for anyone who is interested in mummydom) what a day in my life is like right now, with a 2-month old. The times here are rough estimates as Bubbles is not a robot!

7am: Bubbles wakes up for her morning feed. I am usually still the super sleepy non-morning grouch, so feeding will take place as I lie down. Roboman would at this time also be up and getting ready for work. He would, by habit, check the little notebook next to me to see if I had a bad night (ie. Bubbles waking up in the middle of it). If she slept through, he would mumble something to her along the lines of her being a good baby. Then with a kiss, I will bid him goodbye and wish him a blessed day. After Bubbles' feed, I would burp her, and we would both lie in bed trying to wake up properly.

8am: While Bubbles is still half asleep, I would have my breakfast, which will include a mug of Ensure milk and 3 pills - Probiotics, Calcium, and Fish Oil. Then, depending on my mood, I would ask my helper to prepare a fried egg, fish/pork rice congee, or cereal (Kellogs Special K!) with yoghurt.

8.30am: Bubbles' Bath Time! This is one of her favourite times of her day. I would clean her face and mouth, give her a little hairwash, and a nice bath. Then, my freshly bathed and changed baby will be brought to her Play Area. I will play a CD for her - a different one everyday. So far we have done a variety of jazz, classicals, Chinese pop, baby lullabies, Christmas songs, and even Filipino hits (my helper's). If I didn't wake up for breakfast earlier, I would have my breakfast as she plays on her own. If not, then I will play and read to her. She's now a little chatterbox - and loves it when I 'converse' with her. She will respond with a variety of sounds and knowing looks, and when she gets excited she will wrinkle her nose, raise up her knees, and give a little laugh - terribly cute!

9.00am: Diaper change and feed time again! My milkbar opens. (I've noticed that she tends to get hungrier earlier after a bath). After burping and playing with her a little while more, I will put her down for her morning nap. Ok the process is often a little more complicated than this, as she will be tired but still want to play, resulting in some fussiness. When she does fall asleep though, I will do my chores like take a shower, go on the internet or download photos of her from our cameras. If my mum is around (she comes by pretty often), I will use the time to run errands - post a letter, buy groceries (twice a week - one time to the wet market, and another time to the supermarket), deliver presents, get a haircut, get my nails done etc etc.

12noon: Diaper change and feed time! The flow of feed-play-sleep for Bubbles happens again, afterwhich I will have a quick lunch. After eating, I'll whip out the pump and do my first pump of the day. I decided to time a pumping session around lunch time in preparation for going back to work. Sighs. Not a pleasant thought, but a necessary one to plan for!

3pm: Diaper change and feed time. Followed again by a shorter play time and nap. This is when I have my tea. I need all the extra calories these days and get hungry ever so often! So tea is usually quite substantial - pasta, congee or beehoon/macaroni soup - leftovers from previous meals. Then it is once again pump time.

6pm: Diaper change and feed time. This is when Bubbles stays awake for longer - usually long enough till Roboman comes home. If the weather is good, I sometimes take her out in her stroller or in my Baby Bjorn for a walk. At dinner, we will 'sit' her at the table with us. A nice rocker/highchair hand-me-down does that nicely for us. She usually enjoys this and would babble to us as she surveys her surroundings from higher ground.

8pm: This is when her cluster feeding starts, where she will demand to be fed every hour. I will change her diapers and latch her on, then Roboman and I will take turns to converse and play with her. Bubbles tends to be very 'conversational' during this time. Roboman will have all sorts of conversations with her, and the little one will respond accordingly, with accompanying facial expressions and body movements to make her points understood :)

9pm: Roboman attempts to give Bubbles the bottle after another diaper change. I usually prepare a bottle of 150ml of expressed breastmilk for her. Sadly, her protests against this has become fiercer and fiercer these days :( I usually stay out of the room when this takes place, and cry along with her :(

10.30-12midnight (Depends on how long the bottle protests takes): Diaper change and final latch-on feed for the day. When she falls asleep, I will do my final pump to empty my boobs before going to bed. Depending on how much milk she took from the bottle, she will sleep mostly through the night. We usually get 5-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. If she drank very little bottled milk, then at around 3am she will wake and demand to be fed, and will usually suckle while half-asleep.

So there - this is what a usual weekday is like for me. I squeeze in naps, craft work, computer work and housework/cooking supervision when Bubbles sleeps. Basically, "me time" happens only when she is snoozing.

It has been mostly good though. I'm enjoying my dear baby very much!

At Play

Bubbles is a morning person (unlike her mummy). She's the chirpiest after her morning bath and thoroughly enjoys her playtime, with or without her mummy around!
Talking to her Mr Lion friend.
Oops, I drooled a little, Mummy!
With Mini Lion :)
Lost in her own playgym world...

My little sausage roll

How can I bear going back to work leaving this little one behind?
:(

Relaxing...

Bubbles is now really fun to play with. She responds to people talking to her with different gurgly noises.

She is experimenting with her voice and I get a thrill from identifying new sounds she makes each day :) Some are soft and gentle, others are loud and boisterous. Each one comes with accompanying facial expressions.

It is hard to photograph or video record her though. Many times when I whip out a camera, she stares at it and often shuts up in awe!


Being Ill

So I woke up yesterday feeling unusually tired. My boobs also felt full and painful. Thinking it was because of engorgement, I went to pump after delivering my morning feed. Unfortunately the pain persisted even after the pump, and I started to get the chills.

Soon, I realised that I was running a temperature and my boobs began to feel even more painful. I immediately called an SOS to my mum, asking her to come over to care for Bubbles so that I could see a doctor.

Thank God for mums - mine cancelled her facial appointment to rush over. She arrived seeing me shivering under a duvet.

The doctor's diagnosis proved my suspicions right. I have been given a 5-day dose of antibiotics. My immediate concern was whether I could continue breastfeeding, and my doctor assured me that I could.

Still, I am now pumping 4 hours after I take an antibiotic pill and throwing that batch of milk away. (I have been told that after 4 hours, stuff in the stomach gets into the rest of the body's system) So less of it gets into her. I am not sure how much that would help, and it is painful seeing the milk go down the drain, but for her I have been doing it.

Mastitis

Am feverish now :(

Mothering an infant is full of challenges!

Night Bird

One night this week, Bubbles had her usual last feed at about 11pm. Strangely, she didn't fall asleep after having her milk. Instead, she was wide awake and babbling. She wanted to play!

I obliged as I thought perhaps she hadn't had enough milk to last through the night. At 1am however, she was still very alert. I latched her on again, but she still remained wide awake after drinking.

To cut a long story short, she was up till 6am! (Guess who else had to stay awake)

Thinking back of her day. I figured out why:


Sleeping on the tummy!

As I ascertained that her neck is strong enough, I tried that day to let her nap on her tummy. I was so happy that she slept much sounder and longer. I rejoiced that I didn't have to soothe her when she startled, and thought 'Yay' more time to do my own stuff.

Little did I realise that more (and better) sleep in the day could result in such an energetic night baby.

Thankfully, we managed to reverse the situation the next day by keeping her awake a lot more in daylight!

The Bottle

This is a bottle of expressed breastmilk (EBM) that Bubbles refused to drink last night :(

150ml gone to waste! (Mothers who do this will know what this feels like)

Bubbles has always preferred latching on (me) for her feeds. From the start, we occasionally gave her the bottle so that she can get used to it. Then, about 2 weeks ago, we started her on one bottle everyday, fed at night by her Daddy. She would protest but still drink, and then insist on latching on after, even if for a short while.

Last night though, she screamed murder when Roboman tried to feed her. She screamed and writhed so violently that we thought she was hurting somewhere. So we changed her diaper to a different brand, and checked her for any causes of distress.

In the end, helpless with a screaming baby in our hands, I decided to latch her on. What do you know, she suckled so blissfully, as if the ruckus just before that never happened.

As a friend puts it, I'm going to have a very boobful social life if this continues! Eep