Sunday, 28 May 2017

Meeting the teachers

Today - actually yesterday now - was Parents Teachers Conference. I sent the kids in, went home for a short while before walking over with Sito.

We went to K1 first. And what a wonderful boy he is in class! Both teachers said he could go about the day's schedule very well, knowing when to shower, when to clean up etc. He's very motivated by competition - he wants to be the first to finish up so that he can have his choice of activity before nap time!

Academically wise, he knows all his letters and letter sounds. He can draw and write a short descriptive sentence. He's learning some maths. Chinese, um, can be better but he has shown improvement. In fact, he typically scored the most points in Chinese class. Ok, not quite fair comparing to ang moh kids! :p In terms of self care, he can also shower on his own, with supervision. But he can't wipe his poop yet - our next training target!

AFI? Need to listen more *.* But he's not particularly more emo compared to his peers.

Here's Sito in Kai's class - the upper floor of the other house

Lots of drawings have become rockets or aeroplanes or boats

I like this one coz I found passengers!

His yellow schoolbus

Ah, respect - do not push at the playground :p

Learning "this is a ..."

This is a great term for him coz he loves transportation! So he can say the names of various vehicles in Chinese too, which is amazing! But even more amazing - he can write!

I need to tell him that this 轮 is the same 轮 in 激战奇轮!

His teacher is also teaching him to write smaller characters :p His Chinese name has many strokes so he tends to write it quite big. He's also started writing the day's date in Chinese instead of using just roman numerals.

We spent a long time with Kai's teachers coz he's going into more academic stuff. Even his work has more worksheets than crafts now. But for Yang, we just chatted about his development. So we learnt today that his elder brother has spoilt the market for him - Kai could hold a pen very well very early while Yang is mostly still holding it with his fist but that is normal. It's also ok that he's not standing to pee yet! :p

Yang can also feed himself. I know but at home, he needs to be fed. I think I'd better start getting him to feed himself from next week. The sooner he can feed himself while with us, the easier it will be when we all head out.

Love his rainbow!

Funny face under a quilt

No wonder he was talking about zebra crossings this week!

He's been talking about traffic lights for some time now - red means stop!

Oh I also did some craft - making socks non-slip using Tulip fluffy paint!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Yu's first fever

Yu had his first fever today, six plus weeks into infant care. Not bad le :p

I let Yu cry to sleep on Monday night while I stayed next to him. On Tuesday night, he woke to nurse and couldn't be put down. But after a little fussing, he went to sleep on his own, taking a pacifier instead of being rocked! Last night, he fussed and I didn't nurse him but he went back to sleep on his own! I was so happy about it until he woke just past midnight - fever *.* 37.7 in one ear and 38.5 in the other.

I pasted a fever patch on his forehead, saw that he didn't reach for it, and patted him down. We lost the patch towards the end of the night - found it at the foot of the bed!! - but his fever had gone down. In the early morning, he measured 37.5. By the time the clinic opened, his fever was gone.

But he was sneezing a lot! And every sneeze made my little baby a disgusting baby - mucous everywhere!

The clinic had a PD but I didn't want to spend $200 on something I could cure myself - I could have got medicine from the pharmacy but seeing that this was his first fever and I needed his child MC, I brought him to the clinic. We got a nice middle aged Japanese doctor who reassured me like a first-time mum. I brought along a bottle of paracetamol for her to indicate the correct dosage coz it was from his vaccination a few months ago - never opened and still far from expiry. She gave me something for the runny nose but it didn't seem to work until like eight hours later?! By bedtime, he didn't drip so much.

The bassinet is old and creaky now. But it was such a good buy for three kids to sleep in, lie in, sit up in. And for Yu in particular, we put him lying there to facilitate giving him vitamin C, and today, his medicine and fresh barley water!

Making noise with Sophie - I need to try that one day!

On normal work days, I can work the whole day and not be sleepy. But today, I was so sleepy at noon that I napped with him until he woke me up. After lunch, he was fussing quite a bit due to the runny nose - the fever did not return - so we took a walk!

Aimed at least five times coz he kept turning!

I wanted to go to Star Vista but decided on One North after glancing at the map - can check out Sito's work neighbourhood!

After some walking, Yu dozed off and I sat down for a drink. So nice :) Then I went to get some buns and cheese tarts for Kai and Yang on Saturday. I only realised it was Thursday today after paying for the stuff. The cheese tarts will keep but the buns! Shall just give them for breakfast tomorrow.

We had some fun at the bassinet, playing with toys, listening to Chinese nursery songs, drinking barley water, before he started to fuss again. So I showered him - I didn't think I would have to do it myself a second time this week!! Anyway, I showered again after settling everyone at 9 pm.

I managed to squeeze in quite a bit of work just now. But I missed a meeting this morning and I have another one tomorrow morning. Hope the fever stays away and the runny nose dries up!

Lose weight 001

Before the gym ball, when I rocked Yu to sleep around our room, he liked to stare at my belly binder which hangs on the outside of our wardrobe in the day. It was as if he knew a friend when he saw it - the belly binder is helping me recover my shape so he won't have to pay for it next time! :p

With Kai, I lost all the pregnancy weight and 2 kg when I went back to work. After I stopped breastfeeding, I gained 4 kg, i.e. net 2 kg. With Yang, I started on a higher base and didn't lose everything. Ended up at +7 kg from pre-kids. With Yu, well, I'm now +3 kg from pre-kids!

Gym ball is a great exercise! All that bouncing. But it wasn't enough. I was doing a back massage downstairs one day when a lady in the shop told me about her slimming treatment and showed me photos. I had wanted to do that at another place recommended by SSY but I could only do that after I stop breastfeeding - and I intend to carry on as long as I can - and it's eight sessions in a month at AMK. Very difficult. In the end, I went downstairs.

My first session was on 23 March. She massaged me a lot and used yi yang guang heat treatment on me. The heat and pain didn't go away after that. At first, I thought the remnant pain was from the heat treatment. But on 25 March, I did not have the heat treatment but it was still painful. Must be the massage...

10 bottles of ba guan instead of heat treatment!

That was my first ever cupping session! She gave me a light suction. I had almost no marks after that. Only a slight redness on the sides. She said my blood circulation was good. Did it in the third and fourth sessions too. For the fourth and last session, I also did cupping on my back, which developed a few red round marks but not too dark.

Sito thought my belly had gone down :) I was so happy! Now I bind my belly at home to complement the treatments. While my torso visibly slimmed down, my weight didn't move much at first. I don't care. Look good = great! :p

I wanted to do the limbs too. At the first session, she said no need. But at the second session, when I had to remove my skirt, she saw my no-thigh-gap thighs and thought I could do it if I wanted to *.* But I tried rubbing my arms and thighs her way and found it so painful!! I think I won't pay for pain *.* So I bought gua sha plates online! Shall do it myself!

The difficult thing is this is the diet - no carbs for dinner. Sito and I haven't had rice for dinner at home for a very long time, since before I was pregnant with Yu, I think. But on days when dinner is a one-dish meal, e.g. fried rice/noodles or Japanese curry rice, it means I have nothing to eat. So I've taken to eating hardboiled eggs - usually one is enough. But compared to other places I've heard, this diet is already very kind coz I am free to eat anything in the day. In moderation of course!

Fast forward to this week. With only gua sha at least three or four times a week and on-off belly binding coz it's hot, I dropped to 61 kg! More importantly, my pants started feeling loose since last week.  可以又瘦又舒服,真好!

Just as I was feeling happy about it, I ran after the kids today - and various bits of me started running independently too *.* Ok, still some way to go but knowing that I'm losing weight and inches is very motivating!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

A slightly different Mothers' Day

I don't celebrate Mothers' Day or what day very much. But today, I felt a little like the unseen mother in the picture below:

Source: Whatsapp circulation...

Kept my cool when Kai dissed the scrambled eggs he wanted early in the morning
After two consecutive nights of Yu staying awake for up to three hours, I was very happy that he slept better last night. When he last went down at about 5.45 am, I really wanted to sleep more with Yu. But they woke me at 6.30 am - I don't know how they had been up watching the clock! I just wanted them to eat breakfast on their own but... And then Kai didn't like "the sweet part" of the scrambled eggs, whatever that was coz I couldn't make it out.

Napped 25 min while Yu napped 30 min in my arms
It was very uncomfortable. I woke with a neck ache coz my whole head was tilted to my right to lean on the sofa. And I was drenched in sweat. Normal Sunday fare but boy, this baby is getting heavier!

Continued to carry Yu and even Yang though my back hurts so much
Yu was fussing a lot after his nap. Sito dozed off a bit before he left for home to prepare for his flight - oh ya, I'm a single mum until Thursday! So I carried him around. Then I couldn't take it and used the carrier. Just now, Yang asked me to carry him too.

Stayed strong
Yes, I don't celebrate Mothers' Day but it still hurt when, of all days, Kai said he didn't love me today coz I was so slow compared to N and Yang when crossing the road and he wanted to be fast. N said I was slow coz I was carrying Yu. But I was very honest with Kai that even if I didn't carry Yu, I couldn't run fast anyway! Kai looked at me for a second and said, "I love you now." I had to hold back tears.

Settled three kids for bedtime
Showering together with Yu without me having done a proper shower first was a first that I do not wish to repeat!

Nursing a cough through it all
It's been more than a week and my voice is still hoarse. The doctor was right - my throat inflammation has gone to my voice box. But the anti-inflammatory medicine is not suitable for breastfeeding. My phelgm has gone from clear to yellow in the past couple of days. If it doesn't clear up tomorrow, I might need a trip to the doctor again to get antibiotics.


I can't help but wonder how it was like for Mother, bringing three kids up without a maid. My father wasn't the hands-on type; he might not even be home much. Both grandmothers were working. I heard that MZ and I slept beautifully so I think that was how she went marketing - I recall waking up to no Mother in the house, sometimes feeling a bit scared. But we were definitely running all over the place too - I have memories of us standing and running on the sofas, hiding in the wardrobes among piles of clothes. No wonder there was a cane, and scoldings. Now I understand better though I don't necessarily agree with these. But I remember - I cannot understand the unforgivable curse.

Ah, all the complicated feelings on this day!

Another two eventful days in May

With Grams gone, we gather only during LNY, 清明 and their death anniversaries. I have missed 清明 for many years now coz I don't think the kids can take it - the heat, the incense and the long wait. Gramps' death anniversary falls on Vesak Day so we can always make it.

Compared to LNY, the boys were having lots of fun together. I tried to introduce their cousin - "she's nine!" - but Kai was like, I don't care! Oh well, lucky my boys make a company on their own!

They ate only Mother's fried noodles with chicken and cabbage, and rejected all sides. But I was pleasantly surprised to see them enjoy her agar agar! Now I'm motivated to learn it!! Maybe I should make a trip back this coming 端午节 to make rice dumplings and learn the agar agar!

Yang wanted to be carried

Since they ate so quickly, we decided to come back to nap instead of letting them nap there, which would be tough. But Yang either napped for 30 min or did not nap. I saw him playing with his toys outside just before I dozed off with Yu, as long as he was quiet... Then he came in, grabbed my phone and took 250 photos!!

This was one of his shots

He dozed off at about 5 pm in my lap while watching TV - so cute

We have been watching lots of 激战奇轮 lately. Sito projected it from the laptop to the TV but we realised that it's better to use audio output on the laptop than the TV if we want it soft but clear. Sito tried to find the toys but couldn't. The boys took to using their existing robot toys and medallions to play 激战奇轮 - I was very happy to see them find ways to play that! :)

The parents use Yu as a 奇轮人!!!

One of the boys' fave activities is to stick up their disintegrating Daiso swords with clear tape!

Lately, we've been utilising the many activity books at home too

Today at Chengzhu, we faced some resistance from Yang - he hid at the reception, refusing to go into the classroom. But when I told him there were new toys, he followed me! And after two seconds at the door, he put his marshmallows on the floor and started to remove his shoes - battle won without tears! I helped him to remove and left the room.

When the doors closed, I could see him sitting at one end. Later, he said that he didn't like the new toys. As for Kai, I saw him talking to the teacher and laughing. The teacher also reported to us that unlike some kids, Kai does not reject Chinese so we should not worry. So glad to hear that!

So we had a little date downstairs during the classes

We forgot to ask them if they missed us during the break but they didn't say a thing so I suppose... we can always go on dates now? :p We can even bring Yu to an activity if we're sick of the drinks there - there are so many activities for children in Rochester Mall!

My superman :)

This superman is in Bangkok now. (Kai: Then can we sleep in your bed tonight? *.*) After managing the kids during peak evening hours with just N and me in the past two weeks, I'm well poised to handle today!

Sito left this evening, which meant I had no one to help me shower Yu who can't stand to shower but is not big enough to sit upright in the bathtub and is too big to use the bath stand in the bath tub. So I did something which I never had to do before - shower both of us together! It wasn't the cleanest shower I'd had, obviously. One hand was always with Yu so there was a limit to what I could do with one other hand. Just prioritised areas to clean! The drying was quite alright as the room wasn't too cold, phew!

Other than that, it was already better compared to weekdays coz dinner was at Mum's place. At home, I would plonk Yu on his baby chair with a snack so that I could unsaddle myself and get changed etc; with some luck, his brothers might have finished half their dinner!

After showering, Kai and Yang had their weekly dose of YouTube (or TV on weekdays) while I settled Yu. Maybe half the time, Yu woke while I was settling his brothers, which meant I didn't get to finish settling them. But today, Yu stayed asleep. In fact, the three are all asleep now. When Yu woke n times a night,  it was just difficult to work - have to work at home coz I spend time pumping in office and leave early to fetch the kids - until Sito came home and helped out.

Watching TV with their milk

Some nights, the older boys refused to sleep. That usually happened when I had to leave them to settle Yu. They would be running around and I would nag them over the camera!

Yang refusing to sleep one night

But last night, Kai cried suddenly when I was in the room with him and Yang. He said he didn't like me coz I was "always strike, strike, strike, naughty naughty, naughty"! I felt so bad. Today, Sito and I discussed and brought in the plus to counter strikes! When he gave a treasured marshmallow to a classmate at the end of Chengzhu class today, we gave him a plus immediately. He was pleased :)

I think my eldest is a sensitive boy.

  1. Last Monday, I had to settle Yu and couldn't read them stories. When Sito came back before they fell asleep, Kai told him that there was "no story today because mama said she's busy taking care of baby DiDi. She's so tired."  
  2. A couple of evenings back, I told them how I used to outsource Yang to Y and N coz I was busy and reassured them that now, no matter how busy, I would also send them to bed myself. I don't think Yang understood much but Kai said, "Now he (points at Yang) loves you."
  3. This morning, Kai wanted to restart Moana coz we missed the beginning part due to a connection issue. I refused coz else we wouldn't finish it in time to leave for Chengzhu. But Yang somehow restarted Moana by himself while I was busy with Yu. So Kai came in to tell me about it, ending with a "he's so smart!" 
  4. And when he saw that Yang could snap his fingers on both hands, he went, "You can snap your fingers?!" I remember Kai could hardly snap his fingers as late as last year.

I remember being angry with Mother when I was at Kai's age. Sito reassured me that boys, unlike girls, wouldn't remember but I couldn't help feeling bad. I don't want the kids to remember me as a bad mama who's always scolding them. So I've been reading more on parenting - I don't miss a single parenting article on Facebook these days. I think I could do with some anger management; I've never scolded people so much until I have these little ones! Must remember that 孩子是生来疼的!

Friday, 12 May 2017

My first Mothers' Day with three :)

Ok, it isn't for another two days but we had the celebration in school today :)

But before the celebration, I had a little surprise when I sent Yu upstairs - there's a card from him to me!! Of course, the teachers did it but still, happy :)

On the door - mine is the one at the bottom right

A check-out photo of us and...

Cutouts of his hands! Ya, he loves me THIS MUCH :p

Then I went back to bake some sweet potato chips for the party. It's a Hawaiian theme so I dug out my floral tube dress from some 10 years ago. I like it a lot and meant to wear it during the last two pregnancies coz it's quite spacious but never had the chance to. Paired it with short tights in case I had to sit on the floor. Also dug out the necklace that Sito got me from Nicaragua.

Nice? :)

Well, my boys didn't think it was nice. Before we left for school, Yang looked at me - and I could see this huge question mark above his head - and asked me why I wasn't wearing clothes. I said I was! Then he pointed to my shoulders, "Put some clothes there! Mama shame shame!" Hoho!!

Later in school, Kai asked me why I was STILL not wearing clothes *.* I said I was wearing special clothes, and he went, "Like Moana?" What a lifesaver! Yes, like Moana!! Then his K2 friend chimed in, "You can see Moana's belly!" Um, ya, well, never mind!!

Kai took a selfie with me happily!

This was the first time I went to Kai's classroom at the second floor of the next house. It must be the neatest room of the centre!

While waiting for the activities to start, Kai introduced me to his "queen". What was that?! And the girl, V, turned around, grabbed his head and gave him a big squeeze! My chest felt a little tight right there... My baby is all grown up?! But well, she looks like a sweet girl...

Waiting for the music...

They prepared a performance for us! I didn't even hear Kai mention this! But when the music started, I realised why - it was a Chinese song. And while others were singing along as they danced, my boy's lips were tightly shut. It wasn't until the last chorus that he started singing a few words. When I asked him if he knew the song, he said no coz it was Chinese *.* Yet just now at bedtime, he sang it for me! He knows! I'm happy enough :)

Then he gave me a bracelet and told me how he made it :) When we were about to move to the next room for activities, we left to find Yang. He was putting cheese bits on ketchup on bread. He registered my presence but didn't express anything. I wondered if he felt bad when he didn't see me earlier :( I felt all the guilt I don't feel when I go to work :( I should have gone to his class first.

But he took a selfie with me!

And continued with his task

He waved a sweet potato chip at me coz he didn't like it

Can you see the dark long strips on the paper plate at the far end? Those purple things weren't popular with the N1A kids but back at K1/K2, they were being devoured!

I got a bracelet from Yang too, somewhere between all the snacks. Then he played a little with the flowers on it, looking a little shy. This boy always turns coy when he's not alone!

Yang continued to snack (see a bit of Kai behind us?)

Posing with his chocolate biscuit

And a Want Want senbei

Playing with the hoop he was afraid of just a moment ago

Hi Hannah!

Yup, that's Yang's Hannah. What a sweet little girl! I met Yu's Hannah this evening too - feisty little toddler of 13 months.

Kai was grouchy after he'd had the snacks coz it wasn't fun there. He wanted to go back to his class. But I couldn't leave Yang - Kai had already enjoyed many activities with me but poor Yang had not. So I stayed until after the gift presentation and group photo, which included Kai as well. Then Teacher Z distracted Yang while I made a quick getaway with Kai.

Back in Kai's class, we found some mums still hanging around. Kai found more snacks *.* I closed both eyes already by then! His friend was crying coz his mum came late and left early, said the teacher. When Kai asked me, I told him so and he asked his friend to his face if he was crying coz his mum went home early. His friend gave a sad yes but after that he got better and joined Kai instead of staying at the wall.

I told Kai that I would have to leave already. We had a little discussion about how he was happy when I was there. Then he said he would be happy when I wasn't there too. I said that's because he was brave and very independent. He caught the big word and asked for its meaning. How to explain independent to a kid?! I should go google it...

I left in moderately heavy rain to get to the next nearest NTUC - in Bishan! - to find Japanese curry roux so that the boys could have curry for dinner. Rushed a bit to get that and other groceries plus my lunch. Came back late to pump, shower and start work.

Presents from Kai

Presents from Yang - less two candies!

I just went back to read about Mothers' Day in the past few years. How they've grown! Now they will tell me they love me. In a few years' time, they may forget about Mothers' Day. I'm going to every celebration while they still want me!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Yu turns seven months!

And a couple of days... Too busy and tired at night, plus Yu kept waking up...

Yu has grown so much in the past month.

Since entering infant care, he can now drink out of a bottle. Some three plus weeks into infant care, I discovered one night that he was willing to take the pacifier! What a life saver! But it doesn't mean bedtime is easier all the time coz he will take the pacifier only when he's ready for it.

Yu took a bottle at home

I'm glad to report that he is still on full breastmilk and that I'm not running out yet. He drinks only 120 ml per feed compared to his brothers who took 180 ml per feed. On stressful and/or busy days when I run short, I have a stash to top up with. So far, it looks like I can keep up for quite a while more.

But at some point, my pump output will probably go down so I'll have to supplement with formula. My third Nestle goodie bag came with a small can of formula to try. This goodie bag is very useful. I got HA for Kai in case he was allergic but of course he was fine. They didn't ask me for Yang and I also didn't think about it so I got the normal formula for Yang. Both of them made me spend a lot of money on NAN formula hoho! For Yu, I requested for HA when they called to confirm my details for delivery. I also had a Dumex goodie bag for Yang some time last year but he didn't seem to like it as much. But I like their maternal milk though :p

Oops, I digressed...

He's also eating more and more. I couldn't find plain rice cereal at NTUC but he's been having that in school. I figure that I can give him other foods at home. I have si sen powder and oat cereals but he's had avocado and apple too. He even had wholemeal bread on May Day! It was quite funny - he got angry whenever we stopped giving him bread :p Gonna try other first foods and hope he'll be less picky than his brothers eventually. So far, he's only having solids for breakfast and/or lunch, and only one dinner on 2 May coz there was some frozen milk leftover from school.

Plain baked apple

He might find it a little strong but he was still keen to gnaw on it until he dropped it. On the other hand, he didn't like carrot - all three of them rejected the Nestle sample!! I thought perhaps he might do better on baby led weaning. Will try to give him some finger food next weekend. Now, indulge me as I flood you with images of him enjoying his baby bite biscuit.

Wa, nice! What is this?

Don't care what it is - it's yummy!

Om nom nom

You want some?

Nah, not sharing!

Kidding la! Here, for you!

Gotcha! It's all MINE!

Gotta finish quickly lest you snatch it

Gnawing on a bit of cucumber, which he didn't seem to like

And his latest snack thanks to Yan 表姨

Oh, and he seems to have recovered from his bout of red bum bum and frequent poops. His bum is only sometimes red and he doesn't poop as frequently now. With the cream from Yan, the redness is further reduced but the chafed skin will take time to heal...

Yu can sit pretty well now. He may fall forward and lift himself up. But more likely, he falls to one side and goes-a-flipping. He's such a flipper now! Really have to watch him 100% when he's on our bed. But it's really exciting coz the next step will be crawling!

Sitting up on the gym now

The downside to all this growing up is that, he can no longer become sleepy after just two hours! :( Sometimes when I try to rock him, he struggles to sit up instead, and I'll have to carry him upright for a while. And sometimes, there's no point putting him down gently coz he wakes anyway! So sometimes I kind of do a quick baby dump - let him roll off my arms into recovery position.

When I overdid the baby dump :p 

In the last couple of weeks, I started reciting 唐诗 to Yu at bedtime. It worked quite well, especially when my voice was too hoarse to sing the usualy lullabies! I'm also hoping he's more receptive towards Chinese...

Papa carried Yu in the Lillebaby for the first time on Sunday!

Yu is finally happy with this carrier. He even fell asleep in it when I used it to carry him to his first tuina last Saturday! Hope the tuina can help him sleep better and more.

Smiling at the doctor

Had to hold his other hand coz he would go for his other hand or try to turn. He can grab things quite well. He's also interested in reaching out for toys. Once, he happened to push his feet against me and moved forward. Definitely be using toys to encourage him to crawl.

Hiding toys in the folds of his bassinet for him to find

Yesterday, my dear baby went mam mam mam mam mam many many times! Probably random noises using the simplest vowel and consonant but I can't help imagining that he was calling out for me :)

But this evening, while he was mamming milk milk, he looked up, smiled and let the nipple slide to the right side of his mouth. And he clenched down hard. I screamed and slapped his cheek. He released, stunned, and burst into a loud wail! I felt so sorry :( I held him tight to console him before offering the other side. Then when I apologised and called out to him, he unlatched and smiled at me. We're good again :) But I followed up with a lecture on never biting me. Or my phone when he grabbed it after nursing.

Can't wait to see how he'll progress in the next month!
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