Friday, 29 March 2013

A very good Good Friday

Well, I barely ranted about it and ta-da! We committed ourselves to a new apartment this afternoon! I've never signed such a big cheque in my life before. And the account doesn't even have that much money yet haha!

Time to say bye bye in name to our little flat... We'll only say bye bye physically to this little place in 2017. Until now, we must really enjoy living here...

More details at some point!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Ranting about housing

I want to rant - it's so hard to grow our family when faced with an housing problem!

See, we originally bought this three-room flat in 2009 as we didn't need a bigger place then. And we were buying within our means. We thought, hey, next time we could always upgrade right. After a few years, we would have enough savings to get a bigger place and rent this one out to help pay for the second one. When our kids are grown and have left this nest, we could move back to our matrimonial home, perhaps retiring with some passive income from renting out the bigger place. Nice, right?

And then the cooling measures were dropped on us. Tmd.

Implications - if we get a second place, we will face additional stamp duty and a hefty downpayment cos we have an outstanding loan. Not going to bother explaining here - go google ABSD and loan-to-value ratio. We have to get rid of our little flat to avoid the additional stamp duty and to get a bigger loan from the bank. But that means we'll lose our matrimonial flat! Sentiments at play here...

But we do need a bigger place. Now with only ZK, it's fine. But when number two comes along, we'll need full-time help. Really, you can't expect me to push a stroller and drag a toddler up and down Taman Warna on my own! Nononono! So the desk will have to shift from the little room to the living room to make space for the full-timer. The mess, I can bear. But I also have to bear with sharing a toilet with a non-husband person; another of my OCDs - that, I hope to endure for as short a time as possible!

And, we were thinking of having three or four kids. But I seriously doubt ZK's room could take more than two kids. Yes, I grew up in a three-room flat with two siblings and five of us shared one room at one point cos we rented out the other room. But this is another generation, and I want our kids to live more comfortably. So no, I don't think we can have three kids here, not to mention four.

Conclusion - we need a bigger place and soon!

But no money :(

Mum has an idea - transfer the flat to them so that we could keep it in the family. The profit from selling it wouldn't help much anyway.. Then no more additional stamp duty and we could get 80% loan yeah! But we will still need to borrow cash to pay off the mortgage for the flat - in-laws couldn't get bank loan - and to pay for the downpayment of our new place cos our savings are quite depleted after Kellogg.

So we're now checking with HDB on the transfer, looking at showflats here and there, and getting AIP for bank loan. With any luck, by the middle of this year, we would be chest deep in debt hoho!

We're looking at new developments so the earliest we could move should be 2016 or so; getting a resale apartment means incurring reno costs which will require yet more cash. We've discussed and decided that we will have another baby in the next couple of years, move to a bigger place, then see if we could have one more. I hope we can have number three!

miso: Siao, make number two first!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Ashes to ashes

I missed 清明 this year :( It has always been a hot but cosy family affair.

In land scarce Singapore, I think most people cremate their dead. I just found out that even if you choose to be buried, you will be exhumed in 15 years to be cremated and stored in columbaria niches, unless you're buried for religious reasons, in which case you will be re-buried in a smaller plot of land.

Um, wa liao?!

I've decided long ago that I want to be cremated. But instead of being kept in an urn and collecting dust in a columbaria niche or in the home of my descendants, I want to be scattered into the sea. It's possible to do that - found this on the NEA website:

"The scattering of small amounts of ashes can be carried out at the designated site located about 1.5 nautical miles (2.8 km) south of Pulau Semakau. The scattering of ashes can be conducted daily, from 0700 hrs-1900 hours. For further information on scattering of ashes, please call the Port Marine Safety Control Centre at telephone number: 6325 2488."

Now, Sito and ZK, please take note :) Remember me in your heart instead of in an urn.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Raising a multi-lingual kid

... is what we hope to do!

Sito grew up speaking English and Mandarin. I grew up speaking English, Mandarin and Hokkien. We both learnt Japanese and we're learning Bahasa Indonesian now. But the last two are difficult as we started way past the sensitive period for learning languages.

Jo's boy could understand four languages - English, German, Mandarin and some Japanese from his childcare centre. I'm showing ZK English flashcards in the morning and Chinese in the evening.

That's the power of children. Early childhood is prime for learning languages. Even if they're spoken to in different languages by different people, they are able to differentiate them so no fear of confusing them.

We hope that ZK can speak both English and Mandarin well - important for school from a practical point of view. Yet, simply relying on the school is not enough - look at how many Singaporeans could master neither language despite (or because of?) our bilingual system! So we're starting at home from birth.

Sito can definitely speak English better than me, although I insist that my pronunciation of "tuition" is the accurate one :p So he's speaking English to ZK while I speak Mandarin.

Actually my Mandarin may not necessarily be better than his - he can carry out a long and difficult conversation in Mandarin, e.g. about buying houses, while I have difficulty doing so! How sad, considering I used to be so proficient in Mandarin. Blame the lack of use at work and the lack of speech when I was growing up :p

But for this early phase, ZK only needs to learn the basics so my Mandarin is definitely better - I'm pretty good with hanyu pinyin! Sito has a tendency to pronounce certain words wrongly, or in the "Singaporean Chinese way", I think, e.g. 撞 *.* But I'm nowhere near perfect either.

I recall my Chinese teachers in primary school, all pretty old-school type whose articulation was perfect. All the ch, sh, zh were properly "curled", all the terminal g (or lack of) was clear and all the 阴阳上去 were accurate. Even the 笔画 order was amazing! So I must improve my Mandarin if I want to teach him the right thing. First of all, I shall not be lazy and I must be sure to "curl" my ch, sh and zh!

We also would like him to learn Cantonese from his paternal grandparents. Many kids these days can't speak any dialect and I think that's a pity. Sito doesn't speak dialect (ordering dim sum aside!) and my Hokkien is very coffee shop-style, unlike that of my dear Grams. That leaves the grandparents. Hopefully, he will be able to understand his own dialect, unlike his parents!!

Anyway, at karaoke back in November, CY and I wondered how we could read 繁体 when we learnt 简体 Chinese in school. Singing probably helps since many of our fave songs are from Taiwan and Hong Kong which use 繁体!

PS: I had a very long PS on proper Chinese pronunciation so I've decided to move that to another post! I'm still researching on some usage so, akan datang :) (A preview here..)

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

己所(不)欲,勿施于人

The phrase 己所不欲,勿施于人 came to mind during a discussion this afternoon. I want to see if there's an equivalent for the converse. I ended up finding out about the Golden Rule - effectively the English version of 己所不欲,勿施于人: "One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated."

So is there a rule for "one should not expect others to like what one likes"? Or more generically, "one should not expect others to be what one is"?

Imagine this conversation:

A: Here, have a drumstick. It's good.
B: No, thank you. I don't like drumstick.
A: But it's good. Come, have one.
B: But I don't like it!

Perhaps it's as simple as 己所欲,也勿施于人! Something to think about in my parenthood journey..

Part-time single mum again

Sito is in Jakarta! And he will be there on weekdays for the next two to three months, which makes me a part-time single mum, bleah!

He took leave the past two days after his last project which was in Singapore. So on Monday after we were done with St Regis, we sent ZK to IFC for the rest of the afternoon - the teachers who had never seen Sito were pretty excited to see what ZK's papa looked like haha! - and went to watch Oz the Great and Powerful. We like it!

But Oz always reminds me of a day in my childhood. I must be about five or so when my paternal grandmother brought me to the office where she worked as a cleaner. I was left in a meeting room with the boss's daughter who was about my age. I remember she had nice clothes. And a book - yes, it was an Oz book. I couldn't read a word and felt somewhat inferior. But I remember the pictures and probably what she told me cos it was years later when I came across the Oz story that I realised that that was the book she showed me back then.

Anyway, yes, we watched a movie. Then we took a little walk in the new wing of Plaza Sing and had an early dinner before going back to fetch ZK.

Yesterday, I took only afternoon leave to conserve my leave since Sito wasn't able to wake too early anyway! In order to leave work early, I left the house with ZK at 7 am and headed straight for office after dropping him off. Got there before 8 am - what a feat! Managed to get things done and left by 12.20 pm, arriving in Shangri-La just a little later than our 12.30 pm reservation at The Line :)

We ate sooooo much! Seafood, sashimi, tempura, salad, pasta, steak, dim sum, fried noodles, prawn mee, char siew, satay, curry, prata! Oh, and Joy Yee-smell-alike vegetables! :p And the desserts - crepe, cold stone ice cream, cakes, puffs and cream-filled mochi! Washed it all down with earl grey for Sito and cappuccino for me. Soooo satisfied... And soooo full! We didn't have dinner in the end - not hungry!

Walked to Shaw to catch Warm Bodies. Initially, I wasn't interested in a zombie show. But Sito said it was a romantic comedy. A rom-zom-com? He assured me it wouldn't be scary so I gave in. And it really wasn't scary! In fact, it was cute and funny and sweet! *brains* :p

We came home to rest after that. Eh... I thought we rested but actually, no. We were packing his luggage for his trip, doing online check-in, switching power plugs around, etc *.* And very soon, it was time to fetch ZK.

ZK was playing on the play mat when we got there, belly down, toy in hands. He saw us, smiled happily and carried on playing, totally ignoring us! So we let him be for a while and chatted with the teacher until I couldn't take the cold shoulder anymore! :p

He had slept well in IFC these two days but last night he was up for 1.5 hour *.* And then Sito was up to catch his early flight. So I barely had much sleep after 3.30 am.

Now that I'm on my own, well, hope he sleeps better tonight!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Downsizing the milk milk factory

March began with a swollen boob.. That was the second time I had a blockage at that same spot on my right. The last time was also when I was on MC and couldn't use the better of my two pumps in office. And now, I'm blocked there again, argh!

Anyway, the next day, I decided to stop nursing/pumping in mid-day. So even though it was a Saturday and I was with him, I gave him a bottle in the day. But as it was the first day, I got swollen enough in the late afternoon to warrant a nursing session.. But by Sunday, I was able to get by to early evening. And by Monday, I managed to wait until his evening feed. Swollen, yes, but not unbearable. In any case, I was on a course so there was no other way. Perfect timing to stop, I suppose..

So I only managed to give him two bottles of expressed breastmilk for the first few days of no mid-day pump - a combined effort from my tiny store of frozen milk and the morning one-sided pump. By the end of the week on 8 March, I only managed one pathetically small bottle.. And the following week, I finally popped the last frozen milk cube into a small bottle to top it up. Sigh..

Then last Saturday, I decided to stop the morning pump too. I just let him nurse on both sides in the morning. In any case, I was pumping much less than before. And we were going to St Regis and I had no intention of lugging a pump along!

So there, I'm now pump-free. Brought back all my pump essentials from the office last Friday, and kept all my pump essentials at home by Sunday.

It's a little sad that I've stopped pumping. For one, formula milk is expensive! (And it gives stinky poop!) But most importantly, I feel somewhat guilty towards ZK that I couldn't give him more breastmilk until he's one. I know giving him only breastmilk for the first six months is already very good, and I still nurse him directly morning and night now, but well, I can't help thinking sometimes how nice it would be to give him breastmilk in his first year! Too many nazi mums around me :p

On the other hand, I get to really enjoy the morning feed now. (I can't see ZK very well during the night feed :p) In the past, I always had to split my attention between ZK and the pump. Now, I can just look at him, my little one :) Or snuggle in bed with him in the morning and nurse him there. It's a wonderful feeling, especially now that he would look intently at me every so often during a feed :)

Well, I will have to wean him off completely at some point anyway. Hope to do it before we get pregnant again!

Monday, 18 March 2013

ZK's first staycation!

ZK was curiously looking around as we alighted outside St Regis and checked in. It was the smallest room with Sito's corporate rate but it was great!

There's a little genkan on the way in. They had prepared a bottle warmer and a bottle steriliser along with a cot, a baby tub and baby toiletries as we asked for full baby amenities. But they ran out of diapers so we were given only two pull-ups - good enough!



The oval cabinet contains the mini fridge - this must be the first time I found champagne in a mini bar..

The room! Day curtains were up then. I must say that their night curtains worked really well - didn't know it was light this morning!



The king bed, fearfully awaiting a poopy baby :p



The bathroom from the bedroom - it's almost as big as the bedroom lor... On the left is the wardrobe. The two doors open into the toilet and the shower. The shower has a full-length mirror so you can watch yourself shower hoho!



And the side of the bathroom facing the two doors! ZK's bathtub was placed nicely in the big tub. Sito took a bath last night while watching the small TV! And that was the "his" basin...



The "hers" basin - complete with a makeup mirror, moisturiser and cotton buds etc, not available on the other side! :p



Our TV is larger *.*



The butler came in shortly after us and showed us around the room. But we forgot to ask her how to use the cot *.* No kidding! Cos there's no way I can put ZK down asleep with the bed that far down! I thought the door could be opened but nop.. Ah well, ZK would have to sleep with us in the king bed. We put him in the cot to play though - he was happy by himself until he got bored..



Let's rest - and pose!



We gave him a bath and then milk. He was drowsy while drinking but woke when the bottle was taken away, argh.. It took a while for ZK to doze off after that. I successfully put him down on the bed - without a bolster yeah!

But he pooped - either just before he slept or when he woke. As I was changing him, Sito finally understood what I understood when I first wiped adult poop off his butt - that yes, breastmilk poop was indeed "sweet smelling" as described by some baby websites!!

Watch him crawl! With his belly on the bed!



Dinner was at Chili's! ZK got fussy - think he was getting hungry. Fed him avocado from my guacamole before offering him my factory..

Finally got a piece of string to hang his toy on him - no fear of it dropping to the ground while we're out! Btw, very smart schoolboy look right? :) Unfortunately, most pictures at the restaurant were blur..



Sent the little one to bed after dinner and settled down to some movie time! But we didn't get through the second movie - I fell asleep, as usual! So Sito turned off the TV and hit the pillows too - with ZK in between us :)



Last night wasn't the first time he slept with us. In the early days, I nursed him in bed and slept together when he refused to go down. But he was in a swaddle then. This time, he was able to roll and turn! Found him turned sideways in the middle of the night - head with Sito and feet with me...

When he woke in the morning, he found himself in an unfamiliar place, sandwiched between two familiar persons. He's probably more used to waking up next to me cos I do fall asleep on his bed sometimes when he stirs.. But Sito! He was curious and snuggled up towards him and woke sleepy Papa! :p

We went to the pool on level two for a look - he woke but Papa was sleeping and I had nothing to do *.* Small but good enough to occupy him for a while..

Played in the cot while Papa took a shower - so happy! :)



But not so happy here.. Fed him some plain congee - too plain. Ended up just having some bread and papaya, followed by milk upstairs.



Let him nap a little after breakfast before we headed home. It was so fun! Really nice sleeping next to a ball of cuteness :) But I'm adamant about not letting him into our bed at home!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Conditioned

About two weeks ago, I started giving ZK vitamin C from a teaspoon. As he's always pursing his lips when he sees me have my breakfast, I would have a few bites of my breakfast, change the spoon to his and pretend to feed him my breakfast! Yes, Mama is very sneaky :p

He always gave me his surprised, bunched-up face at the touch of the solution. But strangely, he was quite willing to open his mouth again. It took me a few days to realise that perhaps he wasn't adverse to the taste; he just didn't like it cold!

So I tried leaving the solution out at room temperature for a couple of minutes. Result? No more funny face! And I don't even need to pretend to feed him my breakfast anymore - I just go to him with a spoon and some tissue. Wa, so easy!

And today, he surprised me. He sounded like he had phlegm so I decided to give him some medicine. I had wanted to put the medicine on his spoon after measuring out with a syringe but realised that it would take many teaspoons to feed him.

So I gingerly brought the syringe to him, armed with some tissue as usual, and asked him, "Do you want this? Is this ok?" In Mandarin of course.

He gave me his happy little face and OPENED HIS MOUTH!

I quickly squirted some into his mouth. He gave me a bunched-up face and I thought, ok, that's it... But I asked him the same thing again anyway. AND HE OPENED HIS MOUTH AGAIN!

Took me three squirts but those were three very successful squirts! I was so proud of him :)

DC told me to condition him to the syringe by letting him play with it. Well, looks like that's no longer necessary! :)

Every time something about him changes, I would think he has entered another phase. So this is one.

And the past few days, he didn't cry or even whine when I left the infant care. He just looked at me go and got curious about some other stuff in the room.

我的小baby长大了 :)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Happy 8th month old! :)

Let me start from early March...

We went for a photography session on 2 March - free from the baby spa package. Ended up spending $60 to get two additional photos - he's just too cute! Post later when we get the photos..

Fed him on the way back. Yes, that was at a MRT platform! And no, no staff came to say "no drinking"! Well, I dare you....!



We decided to give him a bath in the big boy tub now that he could sit properly! Purposely chose this blur shot to protect his decency :p



The next day, we brought him to the baby spa - his first time this year I think... He wasn't terribly happy.. Also shaved his head. It was a good shave. So good that I told the lady to cut off everything instead saving the top for some style :p But he started bawling halfway through the shave, bah...

Decided to head for a showflat at Clementi. The location is great but it has a bomb shelter instead of an utility room.. And it's expensive!

As ZK had fallen asleep, I stayed with him in the car while Sito and my in-laws went to the temple. But guess what, he woke! So we had some fun in the car, out of his car seat!

Eh? What is this place?



Heh, quite fun :)



What? You think I'm cute? *innocent*



Kekekeke! Mama seems happy!



Now, give me that thing in your hand...



Gimme gimme gimme!



Hahaha! Don't be flustered, Mama! I'm only kidding!



Huh? Is that it? We're not playing anymore?



Ahhh! Mama, you tricked me! You're still playing!



:))))

He is now able to sit very well. But crawling.. Well, he could move forward, just that I'm not sure if that's called crawling! If it's a soft surface, he would kind of bury his face as he moves along! That's our 埋头-kun :) And sometimes, he looks like he's clawing with his hands to pull himself forward... So long as he gets to where he wants!



Was on some special duty last Wednesday and didn't get home until 12.30 am, feeling super pissed at the slow work that evening. But ZK happened to stir - I went in, saw him look up at me, and I melted. I touched his little cheeks and picked him up. But I didn't manage to put him back to sleep - Sito did! Woohoo! My amazing husband morphed into an amazing papa last week - he settled ZK so many times! I'm so proud of him! :)

Thursday, a little nightmare* came true - the lift was down! I had wheeled ZK in his stroller to the lift so we had to go home to change into the carrier. What a workout going to school! And that day I was at a conference in town. Had a quick facial and came back to fetch him - without a stroller or carrier! My arms nearly broke.. But I think I'm stronger now than before...

* The big nightmare is if the lift breaks down when we're coming back from IFC..!

That night, actually early the next morning at 4 am, I woke to the sound of little hands slapping the play mat. I rushed in to find him one whole bed width away from his bed, belly down on the floor, with his bolster still on top of him! Quite a funny sight :p

Last week, I took out his Gap cap again. It used to be too big but it's just right now!

I'm too cool to look at the camera.



Now I'm too cool to look at you, Mama.



What? No ice cream for me?! ... Mama, that milk shake will make you faaaaat! *revenge*



We had lunch with CW, SSY and V-jiejie at Relish before moving to Island Creamery across the road, where we took lots of funny shots and videos:

I didn't mean to be rude! I didn't know I'm not supposed to stick out my middle finger!! Let me pull my ear to punish myself...



Sito has a classic line here: 为什么你让女孩子主动?! :p



And they seem to be communicating well...


Source: SSY

Now food.. Gave him a slice of apple again two Sundays ago - he was gnawing noisily at it!



Made porridge for him for the first time on 2 March - this was the only time I added a carrot leftover from making the stock.



But I made too much - used three tablespoons of uncooked rice. I ended up eating most of it *.* It wasn't until last Saturday that he finished all but two teaspoons of the porridge from 1.5 tablespoons of uncooked rice - I was so happy! But the next morning, he gave me not-so-cute adult poop!!

I started him on flashcards yesterday. Yes, call me kiasu! But I think he likes it!

Every morning, I'll give him a teething ring. Within minutes, that will fall to the floor. With nothing else holding his attention, I come in with the flashcards! Yesterday, he looked away halfway through the second round but looked back when I stopped. Today, he looked curiously at the flashcards :)

Every evening, I'll put him on our bed while I change into home clothes before changing him for bed. Yesterday, I disrupted the routine with flashcards - in DVD form! This is the Chinese version. But he was more interested in the laptop than the content on the screen! Well, I'll try and try again..

He had a bit of a cough and running nose on Saturday. By Monday, he was fine but the parents came down with the same, sighs.. Hope we're all super healthy in my next baby update!

Friday, 8 March 2013

帮倒忙

This morning, the lift arrived at our floor with two persons in it, a young lady and an old uncle. They let me push the stroller into the middle of the lift. I stepped into the space between the lady and the stroller.

Later, another old uncle came in. He stood in front of the lady where the lift buttons were. And then, a young man came in. He squeezed in between the lift door and the stroller to stand in front of old uncle #1.

When we reached downstairs, the young man quickly got out. Then, old uncle #2 told me to go.

Huh? But you're in the way!

Of course I didn't say that. I just thanked him but asked him to go out first as I couldn't get out without him moving first. But he kept telling me to go out!

Finally, old uncle #1 came to the rescue. He stepped out and helped me pull the stroller out. Then I followed...

Wa liao!!

I appreciate old uncle #1 wanting to hold the lift for me. But! Couldn't he see that I really couldn't get out before he did?!

Actually this wasn't the first time someone held the lift but was in the way. But before today, they all understood when I asked them to go ahead first. Today, old uncle #2 really 帮倒忙 man!!

Friday, 1 March 2013

There's a zombie on your lawn!

My new fave song! Check out how the sunflower moves :)



Cute in Japanese too! "ひまわり" :)



All by Laura Shigihara.

Sunflower: Sunflower!
One, two, three!

There's a zombie on your lawn
There's a zombie on your lawn
There's a zombie on your lawn
We don't want zombies on the lawn

I know your type: tall, dark, and dead
You want to bite all the petals off of my head
And then eat the brains of the one who planted me here (Homeowner: Nooooo!)
I'm just a sunflower but see me power an entire infantry
You like the taste of brains, we don't like zombies

Football Zombie: I used to play football (Sunflower: Football)
Conehead Zombie: Road cones protect my head (Sunflower: Cone on his head)
Screen Door Zombie: I have a screen door shield (Sunflower: Door shield)
All zombies: We are the undead!

There's a zombie on your lawn
There's a zombie on your lawn
There's a zombie on your lawn
We don't want zombies on the lawn

Sunflower: Maybe it's time to reevaluate
I know you have a lot of food on your plate
Brains are quite rich in cholesterol
You're dead so it doesn't matter,
Instead we'll use this solar power to make a lawn defense at any hour

Digger Zombie: I like your tricycle (Sunflower: Tricycle )
Buttered Zombie: There's butter on my head (Sunflower: On his head)
Dolphin: (Dolphin sound) I'm gonna eat your brains (Sunflower: No no no no)
All zombies: We are the undead!

There's a zombie on your lawn
There's a zombie on your lawn
There's a zombie on your lawn
We don't want zombies on the lawn


ひまわり
せーの

ゾンビがやってきた
ゾンビがやってきた
ゾンビがやってきた
ゾンビは出て行った

ゾンビはコワイガイコツ
はなびら全部を取りたがる
その後、頭を食べたがる
ただのひまわり だけどあたしは強い
ノウミソが好き ゾンビはキライ

フットボールで遊んだよ
ヘルメットをかぶったゾ
スクリーンドアも持ったゾ
俺達、ゾンビ、ゾンビ、ゾンビだあ!

ゾンビがやってきた
ゾンビがやってきた
ゾンビがやってきた
ゾンビは出て行った

裏庭で遊びたい
頭を食べるのやめなさい
ノウミソにはコレステロールが一杯
死んだのなんて関係ない
けど ソーラーパワーで戦うよ
植物を守るため

その三輪車ちょーだい
頭にバターがくっついちゃった
ノウミソを食べるぞー!
俺達、ゾンビ、ゾンビ、ゾンビだあ!

ゾンビがやってきた
ゾンビがやってきた
ゾンビがやってきた
ゾンビは出て行った
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