Friday, 31 January 2014

小马哥要来咯!

Happy year of the horse to everyone! :)

Especially to Clan Sito cos we're having another boy this year! :)

Like last time, I must document everything. EVERYTHING!

Friday, 1 Nov 2013 - 4w5d

ZK was still asleep when I woke. Something made me do a pregnancy test - I don't know why cos I didn't manage to test positive for ovulation at all in the past month. And at 6.30 am:



:)

So surprised! So happy!

Then I remembered that five days ago on Sunday, I had XO fish soup *.* I took comfort in that the placenta was probably not formed yet so baby had food from the yolk sac, not from me.

Monday, 4 Nov 2013

Started spotting today. It would be the start of a long string of worries...

Wednesday, 6 Nov 2013

Felt a stronger pulse today! Felt slightly better in spite of the spotting that returned after a break on Tuesday.

Thursday, 7 Nov 2013

A pimple appeared. And a new one appeared every week for the next four or five weeks :(

Friday, 8 Nov 2013 - 5w5d

I was supposed to see my gynae for a PAP smear some time in the next couple of weeks - it was supposed to be September but it got postponed a few times. And today, he was free so the nurse called me in. Well, might as well!

But, sighs, he found a small water bag in relation to the yolk sac. And while the foetal pole could be seen, there was no heartbeat - yet? Hopefully.. Else, really?!!!

He wanted me to go back a week later. But I was worried it was too short a break - what if it was just too early? So I made a later apppointment... And he primed me to be prepared to take it out that morning if it didn't turn out well... And he decided not to give me anything for the spotting cos 是你的就是你的 :(

So I spent a miserable 10 days waiting for the appointment. Meanwhile, I continued to spot non-stop..

There were otherwise very few symptoms of pregnancy - a breast muscle hurt here and there, a pelvic muscle hurt here and there, but they could all be random or simply figments of my imagination..

Tuesday, 19 Nov 2013 - 7w2d

It was the day after Sito's birthday - if baby didn't make it, I would forever remember the date...

But doc found a heartbeat! :) Everyone from the gynae to his nurses was very happy with me :)

And he managed to date it - so yes, probably the first scan was too early.

This time, he gave me progesterone for the spotting. But I didn't want to take it after reading about synthetic hormones online..

Anyway, after that, I started feeling burpy.. I knew it was the start of morning sickness.. I feared it but it was always reassuring!

Monday, 9 Dec 2013 - 10w1d

And on this day, I regretted not taking the pills - I bled quite a bit and bright red just before I left office :( As I left office, I called the clinic for an urgent appointment the next day.

The bleeding stopped within an hour. I hoped it was just what was causing the spotting coming out...

Tuesday, 10 Dec 2013

What a relief when I saw baby waving at me! :))



Doc said it was probably the placenta moving away from the cervix - it was a little lowlying.

Since everything was fine, I cancelled my appointment the following week and brought forward my genetic testing - we did the MaterniT21 test. Combined with a routine pregnancy blood test, they drew five tubes of blood from me *.*

Oh, doc also spotted something between the legs... We wondered..

Saturday, 14 Dec 2013

Bled again in the morning! :(

Sito went with me to see the doctor and thank goodness, baby was fine! :)

Doc was naughty - baby was sleeping so he used his heartbeat sound on the machine to wake him! Then baby moved a lot! He must be pissed off haha!

I was given a shot of progesterone on my right butt. Doc said it was probably the placenta moving, and if there were no cramps, I should be fine.

At this point, I asked him for his opinion on our India trip - we were ready to cancel it by then - but he thought it fine for me to go so long as I was careful with the water.

I bled a little more the next day but was otherwise fine. Oh, except that the jab site was sore like a bruise. I had fun rubbing it haha!

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013

Bled on the way to fetch ZK after a movie with Sito - on half-day leave. Sito said the jab had probably worn off. By then I was taking the pill religiously - I listened to the doc and took it for a week. But it didn't prevent the bleeding and the spotting continued. I think it was useless *.*

Friday, 20 Dec 2013 - 11w5d

I had morning sickness through all this drama. No puking at all this time, unlike with ZK, but I was burping crazily everywhere almost all the time. Super unglam. Even though I didn't puke, I don't remember feeling this bad with ZK!!

But today, I thought I was feeling better though I was still burping crazy.

When we were in India, I felt minimal discomfort. Although I felt really bad at some points, it was bearable because Sito was helping a lot.

Saturday, 4 Jan 2014 - 13w6d

Back to the doc for our test results and to see baby - everything was fine, and he waved at us again! And the funny thing was, he was waving like a fortune cat, much like what ZK had been doing whenever he wanted us to bring him around to see things! Like 哥哥, like 弟弟 :)

His boy part is also 100% conspicuous now, as my doc never fails to point out at every visit..

I was still spotting but doc said he wouldn't worry about it. The placenta was getting further from the cervix too.

Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 - 17w2d

The horrible spotting finally reduced to nothing by the first third of January - sounds a bit weird in English, but it's 上旬 in Chinese :) It came back a little last week but it wasn't as bad as before.

Doc just mentioned briefly that the placenta had moved further away from the cervix - always a good thing!

Baby was very cute again today - he moved a lot :) I made a silly comment and caught myself:

mf: He looks like his brother! Wait, all foetuses look about the same *.*
Doc: Yyyup!

We counted four heart chambers, saw the bladder and even his lips when he arched and opened his mouth at one point - that was something new!

Signed for a package that will last me until delivery. I think I paid that much the last time with ZK, when I went to him at 32 weeks without package *.*

Today

I had a LNY surprise this year - brought a little bump to 拜年 :)

This time, I'm showing waaay earlier. Just checked against my pictures with ZK - I was this big at about 20-21 weeks or maybe more! As early as eight weeks, someone wanted to give me his seat *.* Maybe it was my baby doll top.. But it happened again a couple of weeks later. And on my birthday, I suddenly realised my belly button was looking shallow. So fast?! The last time, it didn't go shallow until past 20 weeks! Sighs.. Loose already *.*

I started from a higher base weight this time - gained 2kg after I stopped breastfeeding ZK :( But my weight gain this time is on track as last time - plus 2kg at about 18 weeks. Hope I don't become heavier than Sito by the end of our pregnancy!

I'm still not out of the woods yet, wrt morning sickness. It's still cunningly lurking somewhere, waiting for a chance to hit me - like when I drink water or tea without milk, or when I get too much saliva in my mouth. I'm not feeling it so much these past three days cos I've been coughing - Sito said morning sickness is secondary and surfaces when there's no primary discomfort - either way, it sucks. I didn't manage to snack much this LNY :(

Despite morning sickness, I keep craving food. Not all the time; only when I smell it - I wanted fried bee hoon after seeing a teacher having it when I sent ZK in; I wanted Macs fries when someone stowed a takeaway on the train; I wanted grilled sausages when I passed by Cold Storage. ... I think I just want food *.*

And in recent days, I've been feeling funny movements inside. First in my left abdomen - I wondered whether it was baby moving or gas/poop moving down my intestine :p Then it was somewhere further in and to the right. I'm hoping to feel clear baby movements soon :)

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The long PS (on mispronunciation)

I mentioned this in my earlier post on raising a multi-lingual kid. It took a long while cos I was too busy posting photos of ZK. Anyway, this is about mis-pronunciation of words.

Earlier, I mentioned "tuition" and "撞". Let's start with English.

Even earlier, I wrote about how Singaporeans tend to not pronounce terminal consonants. And earlier, the ubiquitous use of "ever". I must admit I'm no expert and I make mistakes too but some common mistakes really really irks me. Besides what's here, I can think of the following:

1) Every day vs. everyday - I take supplements every day. Farting is an everyday occurrence.

2) Comprise vs. consist - Guess which word should not have "of" after it??

3) Can/could, will/would - This, I cannot explain in a one-liner! Read it here.

4) Revert - You don't ever revert to an email; you reply. Unless you were an email before you're human! What's worse? "I'll revert to you." !!!

5) Sheep vs. ship, fifteen vs. fifty - what's the difference? Often, I can't tell one from the other cos people tend not to differentiate the ee sound from the i sound.

I was going to list more but I found a lot on our very own Speak Good English Movement website! (Um, the link doesn't work anymore - I wrote this that long ago!) This one, in particular, is hilarious!

WRONG: “Please excuse me. I have to leave now to put my children TO SLEEP.”
RIGHT: “… I have to leave now to put my children TO BED.”
(EXPLANATION: It is a criminal offence to put a person “to sleep”. In Singapore it carries the death penalty.)


Yes, I'm often conflicted when I say I'm putting ZK to sleep hoho! Habitual.. I should change that *.*

And now, Mandarin! This, I have a lot more to say.. And as I type, a lot of common mistakes jump into my mind! Let me list them:

该换的就得换
Or I should say, words with different 声调 instead. The most common are 不 and 一 which changes 声调 with use. Generally, 不 is bu4 on its own and 一 is yi1 on its own. But they change 声调 when placed before words of different 声调. Here's the explanation in my trusty Chinese dictionary, duly stamped and permitted for use during exams:

不:在去声字前面,“不”字读阳平声。

一:“一”字单用或在一词一句末尾念阴平,如“十一、一一得一“,在去声字前念阳平,如”一半、一共“,在阴平、阳平、上声字前念去声,如”一天、一等、一点“。

声调果然不一!:p

不该换的别换
a) 第一声变第四声
The most common words that suffer this are 吃 and 喝 - both to do with food for some strange reason! I've been hearing this all the time and everywhere, especially since I started work - I'm very afraid that I'll get "infected". Come to think of it, 第四声 seems to be Singaporeans' favourite.. I have a cute "闭子" instead of 鼻子 *.*

b) Dialect influence?
Or at least that's what I think it is. Example, the only reason I can think of for pronouncing 虾 xia1 wrongly as xia2 is that it's hae2 in Hokkien! And of course, all the yu# - I closed the windows when Mother said 下蚁了 (omg!) to prevent rain from coming in and I grew up eating yi2 which should be 鱼 yu2. The second example also brought about much confusion - for a while in my childhood, I thought, why is 大姨 a big fish??

And just recently, Mother wondered out loud if there was going to be a 机会 and I was quite lost for a while until she put it in context - she meant 聚会!Why I never corrected her, I don't know. But I do know that if my kids say that, I'll correct them - by repeating their sentence using the right words instead of an outright "wrong" or "no". We really should say less "no" to our kids...

c) Missing you
Some months ago, an uncle asked me about ZK: "几个夜大?" I was tempted to say “150个夜左右吧⋯⋯!” But I grew up hearing this all the time so I do know he meant 月 instead; for some reason, the u in yue is often not pronounced by the older generation. So you have 夜 for 月 and 越 etc, "do-h" for duo. I think this can be attributed to dialect influence too..

d) Random - cos I can't think of a reason!
I turned in amazement when I heard Sito say 耳朵 for the first time - er2 duo3!!! I think that prompted a discussion that I should be the one to teach our kids Mandarin! Anyway, it should be er3 duo1 or er3 duo, i.e. 轻声...

And speaking of 轻声, I find that we don't use it much, such that I sit on a "疑子" instead of 椅子 - if we pronounce 子, it's 上声 so it's right that the preceding 上声 word should change to 阳平 but in this case, 子 should be 轻声! Sighs... I miss my old Chinese teachers in primary school whose pronunciation was so clear and crisp - and accurate!

e vs. i confusion
I was in the office last Saturday to finish up some work. There happened to be some touch-up reno works going on and I overheard this: 红四、红四!拿红四的来!

Another common one: I often hear 热 being pronounced as ri4 instead of re4.

g, the wandering terminal consonant
This is very common. Read the first sentence of the third para of this post - yup, the same thing happens for Chinese as well! Except that sometimes, we also put in a g where there is none! Come, let's do a test:

音乐 - yin or ying?
开心 - xin or xing?
高兴 - xin or xing?
升级 - shen or sheng?
敏捷 - min or ming?

*h, the mysterious rrrr sound
I still remember my primary one Chinese teacher who taught us how to pronounce all the ch-, sh- and zh- sounds, all so clear and unmistakably rrrr. But with time, I've lost my rrrr - it's more like just r now. Or worse, there's hardly any discernible difference between sheng and seng for example! Its relative, the initial r, sometimes becomes an l, e.g. 让 becomes lang4. Time to warm up the tongue, people! Rrrroar!

我先吃 vs. 我吃先
The former is the correct one. But I don't find anything particularly wrong with the latter so well, close one eye... Just don't go 我先吃先!

Yes, I'm super anal but for now, I can't think of any more mispronunciations. Till I remember or come across some more...

Anyway, I started writing this a long time ago. Recently, Sito and I decided that we should both speak Mandarin to ZK. It's more difficult than English, which he'll pick up in school. After all, his mum started speaking English only from primary school and turned out fine :)

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Shopping in the heartlands

My memory is indeed failing me - I thought I wrote about new year clothes before but I couldn't be sure so I searched my old posts. Yes, I wrote about it just before LNY last year :)

I thought about this cos I was on leave yesterday. Had an off day to clear within the month so I went for a manicure and a pedicure - let's be pretty for LNY! But I was early and so went walking around Clementi town centre. I couldn't help remembering that Na and I happened to buy the same pair of berms (well, not exactly the same but you know what I mean) at our respective town centres, i.e. Clementi and AMK, some 10 years ago - and hers was 10% more ex than mine, heh!

Anyway, I miss shopping in the heartlands!! First, I joined a horde of aunties around a huge basket with a $2 sign but all XXL *.* Then I found a cutesy shop and within five minutes, I got myself a pretty top - $15. After my nail session, I went back to shop again, and found a cool T-shirt for ZK - $7.

But what excites me more than the cheapness of it all is that, this is the first time in a long time that I got new clothes for my baby! :)

He already has at least four new items for LNY, none of which was from his parents, and all of which look more expensive than $7, haha! In fact, when I got home yesterday, I found that Mum had got him new PJs from Gap. See, parents scrimp, all other relatives splurge. Who says raising a child is expensive for the parents? :p

Anyway, more shopping awaited me. I needed some bra extenders for the longest time but I didn't know where to look - the only shop I knew has branches in AMK and Tampines, damn far. BUT! I saw this amazing line-up of cups from a distance while at Clementi! I made a dash for it and got myself a pair of extenders at $3.90, with the auntie helping me check the sizing against my bra hook, no less!

Then I spotted this super long queue at the hawker centre. Very long, maybe 10m. Or 20m. I really have no concept of length. (Or weight, as attested by how I was lured by 果冻 $1.50/100g, picked "some" and paid $30 *.*) I was curious! I must find out what they were queuing for! So I followed the queue to its source - bah kwa! The sign was obscured by many paper pineapples so I couldn't see, but I guess that wasn't important at all.

And then, I was caught in a dilemma. I had wanted to get the peanut butter pancake from Cake History - I like theirs best. But I passed by another confectionary selling $0.95 cheese bun, and I like cheese buns. After walking past both twice, I figured that I should try something new and had the cheese bun. Not as nice as in the picture but for the price, it was good.

After that, I didn't know where to go or what to do, so I headed home. I alighted one stop early to drop by the bah kwa stall at the hawker centre downstairs. Getting there from the bus stop, I had to pass by the market - I went there only a couple of times before they shut it down for renovation and reopened it just a few weeks ago.

I remembered being overwhelmed by the aunties at my last visit. Well, yesterday, because it was already early pm, the market was kind of empty. I took a stroll through and found stalls selling cheap cheap nua nua button-down cotton PJs - I love them! But I remembered that I had kept a new set for LNY so I resisted buying more.. But I needn't have worried about spending money - cos I had just about none left *.* I realised that when I was about to try the bah kwa at the hawker centre. So embarrassing... I headed off to NTUC to get some tissue instead - I had enough money for that, after deducting points..

All in all, a very auntie LNY shopping day. And I'm mighty proud of it :)

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

My increasingly verbal child

ZK can say so much now! Although I could only understand very little, I find that I'm understanding more and more :)

Last Saturday, he surprised us when he suddenly pointed to his mouth and said "mouth"! Then Monday, he gave me another surprise - he said "bee-ket!" when I said 饼干 :) It wasn't the first bi-syllabic word that wasn't repetitive like "mama"; he could say 电梯 way before that but you've gotta admit that biscuit is more difficult :) *proud mama speaking*

Last week, I got him to say 蛋 when he wanted more omelette at dinner time. On Monday, I taught him to say 要 when he wanted more omelette. And yesterday, when I asked if he wanted more, he said 要! Next step: teach him to 要蛋!!

Just now, he touched my nose. Rather, he grabbed it when my head was near him during milk milk time. So I asked him what it was. He said 鼻子 :) And he could point to the right nose when I asked for his nose and my nose :)

And there's the photo of us on my phone. The first time he saw my new phone, he was alone in the room. I walked in to find him staring at the phone on my bedside table. When he noticed me, he smiled and pointed to the phone. I told him it was my phone. I think he didn't recognise it - it's in a flip case, unlike its predecessor or Papa's phone.

He gingerly flipped the cover open, and stared again. Finally he touched it. Then I told him to press the round button. He did and our picture came on! I pointed out Papa, Mama and ZK. He could call us out but not himself.

Then yesterday, I let him play with my phone again so that we could change his diapers in peace. And this time, he managed to say something like his name! It wasn't accurate but yes, I had no doubt he was trying to repeat his name after me :)

His progress in the past few weeks since he started playgroup was very good. I guess being around more verbal children helps. Now he can say "mouth" and once I thought I heard him say "ice" with his hands near his eyes. See, I don't need to teach him English at all!

And it was not just in speech. In the first couple of days, even though he was still adapting and crying, he managed to touch both shoulders. I guessed they sang head, shoulders, knees and toes in school and I was right - found a communication booklet in his bag that weekend that told us that they were teaching body parts, family and "me". The following weekend, he could point to his knees and toes, and he kept stooping - very cute :) We have been putting the song on repeat on Youtube for the past few weekends. He loves it :) But he also wanted people to do the knees and toes thing with him, which was very siong!!

I was chatting with A in office just now and she was sharing with me funny conversations she had with her granddaughters. I can't wait to have proper kiddy conversations with my little boy :) Oh, and sing with him without the actions :)

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Along the Singapore River with ZK

Ok, this is waaaay overdue!

So after the indoor photoshoot on 2 Mar 2013, we had an outdoor one on 7 Apr 2013, courtesy of my insurance company. The package from Lumiere included only some five or so photos but with $60, we got back more than 160 photos! Much better deal than the indoor one. And the photos - raw or edited - were so much nicer too :)

Here are some highlights. Many highlights :)

I'm so cool with my cap and expressionless face.



Chubby thighs add a cute dimension to my overall awesomeness.



Why is the uncle with the black box hiding behind the leaves?



Picnic? Where's the food?



I would be cute even if I was born in the B&W era.



Love lying on Mama..



Higher, Papa! I want to go UP!



If I don't don't look comfortable, it's because I'm not.



AhMa and AhYe join Papa and Mama in smiling. I'm still cool.



Uncle with black box is hiding behind things again - is he trying to play with me?



But I'm not in the playing mood. It's too hot. And, li kua si mi?



Noooo! I don't want to play! (Lost my coolness but still cute!)



Ok, I like this place better. Now, high five!



This place is so fun! Papa and Mama are having so much fun too!



I will work in that building when I grow up...



One day, I'll stand like you guys...



Why are AhMa and AhYe putting their hands together?



Whatever, I'm still happy!



Wet cheeks again!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Guilt

Some time in the afternoon, I remembered that I was very mean to ZK in the early hours of the day and felt very bad :(

Last night, he woke just 2 am and refused to sleep until past 4 am, during which he snuggled up to me all the time - head on my thigh and belly if I was sitting, and butt in my face if I was lying down. I couldn't sleep at all and I wasn't pleased. So I kept pushing him away and told him in a harsh tone to go and sleep.

When he eventually dozed off, I was afraid he would wake when Sito woke at 5 am so I stayed next to him so that if he woke, he would see me and go back to sleep peacefully. Well, he didn't wake until 5.45 am, phew!

He swiftly went back to sleep and I tiptoed out of the room to finally lie in my own bed! But not for long - he woke again just past 6 am. He tried to come out of the room but slammed the door shut instead. I was so tired I continued lying in bed for a while before I could bring myself to go get him.

By the time I got to his door, he was inconsolable and threw a tantrum, calling for me and milk but refusing both. I ignored him - as I usually do when he throws tantrums - and went back to my bed with him kicking around on the floor on Sito's side. It's a safe spot to kick around.

Eventually he stood up and called for me but when I responded, he cried loudly so I decided to keep ignoring him. Told Y to ignore him too. Finally, he got up and stepped outside to look for milk, still crying. Somehow, I brought him to lie on my bed to drink his milk. The poor boy sobbed while drinking as I caught another fiver.

Then he got better and allowed us to change his diaper and clothes. But he refused to go into the stroller and started crying again. Luckily, it was for that minute only. He was fine when he left the house - I had loads to do so I decided to not send him to school today and prepare for work instead. In any case, I was very tired and pissed with him for not sleeping. He looked a little confused as I waved bye bye to him from the door :(

Sighs, I was so mean to the poor little boy. He's only a baby. Babies don't sleep well. Babies don't mean to give parents sleepless nights.

On the way home today, I read a line on some website that reads something like, all kids eventually learn to reason - just be patient.

Yes, I need to be more patient.

I was glad I made it a point to leave office on the dot today. Managed to get home and shower before ZK return so that I was able to feed him, change him, have my dinner while he had milk, and put him in bed instead of letting Y do it.

I purpose sat further away from the bed in an attempt to coax him to bed while I sang from a distance away. But he refused to have that and came over to hug me so tight! The amazing feel of little hands around me :) Eventually I went to sit by his bed instead and he was fine with that and did not snuggle up to me. Soon, he fell asleep.

Still asleep. I think I'd better get some rest before he stirs - Y has the baby monitor on week nights but I would still wake at his cries.

Friday, 10 January 2014

ZK turning 18 months soon

Today, my little boy was very funny. Or I found it hilarious. I was hopeful that he wouldn't cry when I dropped him off at playgroup this morning cos he only whimpered yesterday. Well, whimper he did, but as the teacher carried him over, he *squeezed* out a cry! But he cried for under 10 seconds cos he was distracted by banana cake *.*



I left but turned to look at him. He saw him taking photos and said "mama" once but didn't cry. My brave little boy...

... my brave little boy who is raring to be a man and shave like his Papa! Hello, 十年早いよ *.*



Anyway, I have been slack in uploading his regular pictures.. So here we go..

We went to a play date with some forum mummies at Polliwogs Vivocity in mid December. He had fun on the merry-go-round but I was super giddy *.*



He also enjoys music, actually dancing to static music, and has been abusing turning on the radio whenever he gets a chance. Just that I really fear for my aircon ledge when he stands on it like that...



But I love seeing him in that outfit! So 家乡, I thought :p

Even in school, he reached for the radio..



I took some photos of him in IFC the last few times he was there. This is one of my fave - he was walking up the stairs for most days in December but sometimes he would suddenly turn around and sit there, looking cute!



This was sent to me by Teacher D - my boy feeding himself! Now he does that at every meal - when he feels like it. Oh, and when there's a bit of egg on the spoon *.*


Source: Teacher D

We passed by Subway at Star Vista and he saw this. Papa gave him a coin to put into the box but after that he kept touching the statue. Eh, where's my coin??



Put him on the swing one afternoon. He was expressionless throughout but he was reluctant to get down at the end.



One of two of my fave chubby hands :) He sits in his car seat like it's a throne, with his hands on the arm rests. And looking cool.



Y helped put ZK in bed this whole week. Just now she managed to come out while he was awake and he was quiet. But he cried after a while. I didn't want to go in but when I was in the shower, Y couldn't bear it and went in *.* Ah well, we'll see how tmr...

Now, I just hope he has a good sleep tonight.. Cos something important is happening soon, after Sito is done with work - we're booking our next holiday!! :)

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

In my mid 30s!

Today is the day I turn 34 and begin my 35th year of life - I'm in my mid 30s!

For the first time in many years, I had to work on my birthday cos of a recce trip for an event. But these highlights of my day made the sucky work feeling disappear:

1) Lunch date with Sito

We had wanted a steamboat dinner but the logistics of putting ZK in bed and sneaking out for a late dinner were just too daunting on a weeknight. And I had a sudden craving for dumplings so we went to Lao Beijing near my workplace instead. And then we got a cup of Yami yogurt each and walked through Novena looking at random stuff like blankets and people eating ramen. It felt like a couple of school kids on a sweet little date :)

2) ZK clinging onto me in school

Like yesterday, ZK refused to walk from the stroller to the door. He wanted me to carry him. And once I carried him up, he leaned his little head on my shoulder and hugged me tight. It was a most heavenly feeling. Unfortunately, he started whimpering as we neared the door and when the teacher carried him over, he was trying so hard to cling onto me as he cried - so heartbreaking! But Mama must work.. And ZK is a strong boy - he will adapt...

3) ZK running to me

I came home late as I was caught in a jam. I called out to ZK when I came in and he walked out from Y's room with her phone *.* I stooped down and asked him to come to me. He slowly walked towards me and said something into the phone - hello? Don't know :p And one metre from me, he dashed into my arms! :)

4) ZK clinging onto me at bedtime

I was on MC on Monday and had Y put him in bed. He cried when I left the room. The same thing happened last night. I decided to use this week to train him to sleep without me. So today, I let Y put him in bed. But he has learnt from the past two nights! He wanted me to carry him and refused to go down to his bed. Again, little head on me, little hands around me. Love him so much! I carried him for a while, just talking to him, sayang-ing him. He also patted my shoulder. But he was also rubbing his eyes.

I put him down on his bed eventually and made to leave the room. He cried and followed. I asked him to go to his bed. Surprisingly, he started to walk back but knelt at the edge of the bed and just lay there. He looked so tired... I asked him to say goodnight and he didn't respond. Was he angry? :( Y said he was just tired. I kissed him and left the room. He just called out "mama" once and fell asleep real quick.

I love my boys :) And knowing that we have one another made me real happy :)

Updates 10 Jan 2014

Photos from my birthday celebration with the family on Sunday:

We all looked into the camera :)



Looking into another camera with ZK ever so cute and his parents so happy :)



ZK looking happy! :) He likes the birthday song! Sing for us next time, ok..



Let's cut the cake! Mama was obviously a lot more excited about it..

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Of curries and a lot of people

So, we're back from India, safe and sound, no diarrhoea. We didn't lose the kid either, hoho! But this must be the most tiring holiday ever. Lots of interesting things and good moments, but tiring all the same. Plenty of photos and videos, and showing off the cutest and most troublesome aspect of our trip - ZK.

Monday, 23 Dec 2013

Mum took a picture of the happy trio (ok, ZK looks less so!) just before we went past the gates.



ZK with Kai Kai the panda! Or it could be Jia Jia. Whatever..



With Spongebob Squarepants..



And the Harrods bear bear! (What's with the face, baby?)



Multi-tasker - pushing the trolley and zipping my bag.



It was quite a flight as he refused to sleep in the bassinet and struggled to fall asleep in my arms as he hadn't done that for a long time. But eventually, we got to Delhi, pulled on the warm clothing and found our tour agent, Tek. This was while waiting for the car.



It was very late by the time we checked into Country Inn and Suites. Too tired to take pictures of our room for two nights. We dropped as much as we could and fell asleep - all three of us on the king bed. And it was probably 2 am Singapore time. And I guessed correctly - ZK woke at Singapore time too! But he fell back asleep, thankfully...

Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013

ZK woke, had milk, had bread (I brought his usual bread and peanut butter along!), got changed, and the parents somehow managed to wash up before we headed down for breakfast. Tried to feed ZK some cereals etc but he was only playing. Every morning turned out to be about the same.

Random guest came up to ask me to take a photo of him with ZK - ok, sure. He was the first of many to come - teenage girls, teenage boys, aunties and uncles. One girl even ran up, said "wait wait!" and started pinching and kissing his cheeks! We were too shocked to stop her ha! Indians love children, apparently. A friend told us that children were kings in India *.* But strangely, only the first two hotels had baby chairs. The rest of the time, we had to seat him in a wide chair or on us. I guess families don't eat out much..

Should have charged 100 rupees per shot or pinch :p

Anyway, we had only this one day for sightseeing in Delhi. We had thought Tek was our guide but he said only local guides could lead a tour so we met a local guide who brought us to our first stop, the Qutab Complex.



I really liked these columns - they reminded me of Egypt and Spain somehow - but ZK wasn't impressed...



Though he liked the feel of the rough stone!



This is fees differentiation *.* It got even better at the Taj Mahal - 750 for foreigners vs. 20 for locals. We paid more but we also got priority whenever there was a queue. Ah well...



Next was Humayun's Tomb - went there with a sleeping baby.



No, this was still Humayun's Tomb though it looked very much like the Taj Mahal, which was modelled after this. The key difference is that the former was built by the wife in memory of her husband while the latter was built by the husband in memory of his wife.



The fountain behind used to be powered by pressure from water from water tanks flowing down from different directions - how cool was that! *nerd*

ZK had fun roaming the grounds and touching things when he woke.



So cute when he fell! Very cushioned by his jacket..



Still very happy! :)



We spent a lot of time in this car. ZK decided that he should drive too!



We had an Indian lunch in this posh looking place. It was our most expensive meal at more than 2,000 rupees. After that, we felt that it was a rip-off. The restaurant toilet was the worst we'd been to the entire trip.

Next was Raj Ghat. A huge garden with truckloads of students.



We didn't visit any other places - too lazy and tired by then. But we drove past a few places such as the Lakshmi Narayan Temple...



.. and the parliament area, which reminded us of the Capitol Hill area in DC.

We ordered room service for dinner - pasta at about 300 rupees each! ZK had baby cereals for lunch and dinner the whole trip - gotta wipe nua nua baby poop from Christmas day *.*

I fell asleep but Sito managed to pick ZK up and place him in the cot so we had the bed to ourselves yeah! The cot had a raisable gate that made it possible to lower him into it, phew!

Wednesday, 25 Dec 2013

Merry Christmas!

We set off for Agra this morning. ZK fell asleep on me :)



Saw this while we were waiting for the driver Rajesh to pay for the state tax when we entered Uttar Pradesh - roadside grooming!



Took many videos this trip - we spent a lot of time on the road and it was hard to take pictures. Here's one showing traffic in an uncongested condition.



And shops along the way.



Also saw something very sad along the way - the car ahead of us ran into a white cow! The cow rolled over and tried to get up and to the pavement but its right front leg was bent in an awkward position :( The driver pulled over and came out and that was the last we saw of them. Don't know what would happen to the cow...

Had a good and cheap lunch, at only about 1,000 rupees. Also checked into Jaypee Palace and Convention Centre - a large hotel with big rooms! Didn't manage to take pictures though - too tired. But though the place was big, the room facilities were old - the TV was the old bulky type and the shower head was fixed, unlike the Delhi hotel with a nice new TV and modern faucets, including a waist-height shower head holder that was very useful cos we could avoid having water sprayed over our face!

Yes, throughout the trip, we were very careful with the water - a polyclinic doctor from India told me he used to wash his hands with mineral water!! So we only showered ZK's body when necessary and just wiped his head and face. The parents didn't wash face - we used disposable facial wipes instead. We tried to buy distilled water for ZK in case the mineral water tasted gross but (a) we couldn't get to a supermarket cos they usually go to drugstore for groceries, and (b) no stall owner understood distilled water *.* Luckily, the mineral water wasn't too yucky after all. We used it for everything - brushing teeth, cleaning ZK, cleaning ZK's bottles etc and of course drinking.

Anyway, back to sightseeing - the highlight of our sightseeing must be the Taj Mahal!



So pretty! It's white when we got there. By the time we left, it looked yellow against the setting sun. Nice :) We decided that when I go, Sito will build something similar for me haha!



ZK liked it too! He ran his little hands across the inlaid gems on the marble :)



Notices on the electric bus to and fro the Taj Mahal. Due to fears of dirtying the white marble, cars have to stop a distance away and visitors could take electric buses to the entrance of the Taj Mahal. We had to walk a little from the drop-off point - it felt a little like Kaminarimon - to reach the entrance, which was a stone structure, not the actual white marble giant yet.



I had to empty our bags in the car.



When we entered the Taj Mahal proper, we had to wear white shoe covers and take ZK's shoes off too.

The local guide brought us to two workshops to see the tapestry and inlaid gems. They also sold stuff obviously. The first guy was friendly even though we didn't buy anything - probably cos ZK had a fall in his shop and hurt his gums! The second chap was downright bo chup when it was clear we weren't interested in parting with our money. Bleah. The stuff were nice to behold but in my house? I don't think so.

The guide was very good, however, so we gave him some tips as advised by Tek. But I also clarified with the Singapore agent that there was no need to as we were told to prepared tips for Tek and the driver. We told Tek and he was alright with it. In any case, the later guides were bleah.

We had dinner at the hotel restaurant that evening. Fish and chips for me, and grilled stuff for Sito. ZK refused my fish, sighs.. The cot was good though - he managed to fall asleep in the cot! Probably too tired. But he woke in the middle of the night and tried to climb out! So we moved him in with us. Ah well, half a night was better than nothing..

Thursday, 26 Dec 2013

Set off early in the morning to visit the Agra Fort - there were so many monkeys!



The fort was guarded with a dry moat and a wet moat, with tigers and crocodiles respectively!

The palace in the fort was very nice. It was the residence of the king and his family, and also where he was imprisoned by his son until his death.



Fortunately for him, he had a good view of the Taj Mahal where his beloved wife laid.



Then we set off for Jaipur. Along the way, we met another local guide for Fatehpur Sikri and the Tomb of Salim Chishti. Again, we dropped off somewhere to catch a bus to the complex - not sure why cos it was a normal bus!

There went ZK again, feeling the stone..



Clan Sito at a chess ground.



And I became a chess piece! Apparently, they used women as chess pieces back in those days *.*



I wanted a picture of this pillar that had Muslim, Hindi and Persian influences but ZK decided he wanted to be part of it too...



The Tomb was a short walk away. The guide brought us to a boy selling scarves etc and told us to buy so that we could go make a wish like these hordes of people:



The scarves were not cheap. Even though the money would go to charitable causes, we didn't feel compelled to make any wish - we're contented :) And when we saw the crowd at the wishing place later, we were glad of our decision - there was no way we could bring ZK in!

Then the guide brought us to more peddlers in the complex and encouraged us to get some marble elephants or something. We weren't too interested and he made some sarcastic remarks - people needed to feed their family etc. But well, we seriously didn't need those ornaments in our house! Then he wanted to bring us to see gems etc. We told him we saw them the day before. In any case, we weren't interested. We didn't like him at all. And his phone kept ringing throughout the tour.

We left the place and took a tuktuk back to our car instead of the bus.



We carried on our journey to Jaipur and checked into Regenta Central by late afternoon. Jaipur looked different - as we drove in, we saw mountains whereas Delhi and Agra were flat. We thought it was pretty.

Had a rest and thought of having dinner at the hotel restaurant but found that they didn't start dinner service until 7.30 pm, which was when we would like ZK to sleep. So we called Tek and had him send us to Macs which was perhaps 5 km away. Guess what, we took more than an hour to get there!! I was feeling so super unwell in the car :(

Macs was good though. Sito had the Maharaja burger - their version of Big Mac - while I had the usual McSpicy. Also had a McFlurry. Total cost? 500 rupees :)

While getting to the car, we were very harassed by a beggar family loitering outside Macs, asking for money. I would have found them pitiful but they were so aggressive - they tried to block our way and then followed us across the road and didn't give up until we drove away. Lucky we had Tek with us and he helped us fend them off.

The journey back to the hotel was mercifully shorter. Like Sito said, traffic could appear from nowhere and disappeared suddenly as well *.*

Ok, at this point, I must confess that I washed my hair only once the entire trip, on this night before meeting friends the next day! I washed it just before we left for India, knowing that it would be a chore to wash while taking care not to let water into my system. Anyway, it was winter and quite cold so my hair didn't go greasy like it would had it been in Singapore.

Friday, 27 Dec 2013

In the morning, I regretted washing my hair the night before - I woke with not hair but grass on my head *.* It was really a bad combination of the water and the hotel shampoo. And to rub it in, I found that the water was way warmer in the morning than at night! My nose was itchy throughout the trip so I wasn't very pleased about this...

We were off to an early start cos we got to queue for our elephant ride to Amber Fort! The queue led to the red part in the middle of the picture, and peddlers were everywhere along the queue with their hats (as pictured) and knickknacks.



Here's our elephant! With a painted trunk.



Some Great Wall of China-lookalike structure on the other side of the fort.



Somewhere along the way, the elephant stopped moving. The guy told us it wanted to pee and indeed, a few seconds later, we heard the loud swish! He told us it would be about 10 litres!!

Clan Sito on the elephant - ZK almost fell asleep *.*



Very active boy on the loose, touching pillars again.



I don't remember much of what we saw there except that the walls were pretty. This particular local guide wasn't very good.



Taken from a mirror.



Next was the City Palace, where the royals still live in the yellow part of this picture.



Took a picture before knowing that it wasn't allowed :p



Peacock Gate! Very pretty but two angmohs were loitering around it for the longest time before we could get our picture. Oh yes, ZK was asleep, phew!



We then stopped at the Wind Palace for phototaking.



We had some time to rest and change in the hotel before leaving for the wedding - yes, this trip happened because a friend was getting married!

It took just over an hour to reach the wedding hall as we had to ask many people along the way for directions. Took a video of the night scene near the Wind Palace in the earlier part of the journey:



Found the Kellogg bunch in their room - the wedding hall had accommodation - and had a quick chat before going down for the ring ceremony.

We turned Indian!



After the ring ceremony, family and friends danced on stage. ZK slept through most of it, and when he woke, he was so mesmerised by the performances! Here are two dances - by the groom and the bride respectively:



Heard some shots were required for the above dance to happen...! And many people waved an angbao around their heads and simply dropped it at a corner of the stage.



Attendants were serving drinks and food during the performances, which were all in Hindi by the way, including the hosting. We had some before going out to grab some real dinner. ZK had his first Indian food - papadum!

Meanwhile, people were dancing in the hall on a small dancefloor. By the time we returned, the dance had ended. But not for ZK! :p



We left after that. ZK fell asleep in our bed, and we just carried on sleeping. Just so tired...

Saturday, 28 Dec 2013

Back to the wedding hall. ZK really likes to touch statues!



There were some wedding ceremonies in the morning but it was very informal. Guests were just roaming and having breakfast. Seeing that the next important activity was in the afternoon, we left before noon. But not before we had a picture taken of our preppy little one!



Lunch was KFC! We remembered passing by one on the way back the night before so we stopped by to pack a lot of food to eat back at the hotel. ZK had dozed off in the car so we got to eat in peace, phew! Had four pieces of chicken (all crispy; they had no original), one Zinger, one packet of fries and a pack of basmati rice with curry - all for under 700 rupees.

We left the hotel again at 3 pm and arrived at the wedding venue at almost 4 pm to find a procession - groom was on a white horse!

What are we looking at?



Papa dancing!



The procession danced its way from one gate of the wedding hall to the other. Traditionally, the groom rides to the temple and back. They erected some sort of a temple at the wedding hall so the procession did send the groom to a religious spot.

The Kellogg boys:



My boys :)



ZK learnt to unscrew bottles on this trip. Made quite a mess at times...





But he was always satisfied with himself!



After the couple had taken their vows, there was this long fire ceremony. Think the couple sat in front of the fire for a long time before they walked seven times around it. It was quite cold and ZK was making quite a din so we retreated indoors where he fell asleep and stayed so for some three hours! Sito took this video to show me:



It was so tiring holding ZK on the sofa! I dozed off for a while too. When I was awake, kind family members of the couple would pass by and ask if I wanted a room to lie us down. But knowing ZK, best not to move him too much! So we rested there until dinner time, when Sito brought me some yummy food.

When ZK woke, we fed him in the hall. The couple had one last ceremony outside - garlanding each other to fire crackers! Then they were finally seated on stage and family and friends went up to take pictures with them.



The Kellogg troop - familiar faces of years past plus new JVs and a new Kellogg kid!



Sunday, 29 Dec 2013

Spent this day nua-ing in the hotel, recharging ourselves (the adults!) before two long rides - one back to Delhi and one back to Singapore, both with active toddler in tow. Here's said active toddler in the cot that could not hold him at night, asking for my camera!



So after some packing, we just took photos in the room - here are the wedding favours from the couple. The green one is from the bride's family and the white from the groom's family.



Indian candies! They are very, very sweet!



Found this in the green box. Still wondering where to place this..



Our room faced the Water Palace, a beautiful palace in water. We had a chance to stop near it to take photos but we didn't since we could see it from the hotel! And sunset was a beautiful time.



We went out for only lunch. And it was to be the last proper Indian lunch of our trip, and it was good!!! :) We had chicken tikka masala, among others yummies :) Since we had nothing much to do after that, we took Tek's suggestion to visit a local shopping mall.

It was more like a wholesale factory of local produce, from textile to ornaments and jewellery. Our first stop was at the textile side, and we spent some time looking at quilts and sarees. I eventually got a saree for myself - 850 rupees! Didn't get the quilt cos (a) the designs were very Indian and wouldn't go with our place, (b) the ones I liked had silk covers and cost upwards of 5,000 rupees, and (c) we had no more space in our suitcase.

ZK spilled water on the duvet in the morning. It was difficult to get him to nap without touching the wet spot. Thankfully, it was gone by the time we returned from lunch. So we had a good nap in the afternoon.

Sito was supposed to go out for dinner with the Kellogg people who were all staying at the wedding hall but he somehow didn't get the text message. By the time he spoke with them, it was kind of late to get Tek over (30 min) to send him to dinner (perhaps one hour). So we had room service instead after ZK went to bed - we had the spiciest curry this whole trip!

But we had super irritating neighbours. For two consecutive mornings, they would slam their doors when they got out at about 6 am - goodness knows where they went at that hour! And this evening, they were trying to open our door! Wrong door, young man! And then, they were repeatedly slamming their doors to either side of our room. And they talked real loud on the corridor, to one another, into the phone, shouting up and down the staircases just outside our room. All while ZK was trying to sleep. We were very pissed and went out many times to tell them off. But they continued for two hours! Super irritated with them.

Monday, 30 Dec 2013

Checked out and left Jaipur. Passed by Amber Fort on our way out and saw a very very long queue for the elephant ride. Ours wasn't that long after all!

Lunch was early and at this dingy place in the middle of nowhere. We were not hungry so had only soup, samosa and pakora, none of which was good. Reached within 8 km of the airport just before 3 pm. Our flight was at 9.50 pm so we took a walk through this huge shopping mall - it was the only shopping mall we had seen on this trip that was typical of the type we know.

We were first greeted by a thin Santa Claus.



After walking for a while, we sat down at Red Mango for some yogurt. ZK took some as well - with raisins of course. Then I tried to make him sleep in my arms but he refused and cried a lot until suddenly, Gangnam Style came on the sound system and he became still! He probably found it familiar as he has this car with Psy's head poking out of the roof to the tune of his most famous song *.*

So sleep wasn't coming. I decided to use the carrier myself - I haven't used that for a long time! - to make him sleep while we walked. Successful! But only for 25 min. Somehow he woke when we set off for the entrance to meet Tek to get to the airport.

We found that it had rained while we were indoors. While Sito looked out for the car outside, I stayed inside with ZK and got acquainted with this Chinese girl who was on her way out with a colleague. She struck up a conversation as she seldom saw Chinese faces around. Turned out she was on a working trip. Gave her my number and got connected on Whatsapp. How fun! :)

This airport was really quite something. While the arrival area appeared to be free access, since Tek was able to meet us there, the departure area was super high security. First of all, we couldn't go in without letting a guard check our passports and tickets. Then, when we got past the airline staff at the gate, there was a guard checking out boarding passes again!

Anyway.. So we checked in online the day before but I neglected to check the seat allocations. Turned out we were allocated seats one behind the other! We said no and after a lot of checks and discussions, we finally got seats further back, with Sito across the aisle from me just slightly behind where he could easily see me and help with ZK when necessary.

Had dinner at the foodcourt - fake Chinese food! We had chilly garlic noodles with curry. Sito chose chilly chicken curry while I had Thai green curry which turned out to be a better choice. Love the word "chilly" haha!

There was a play area on the same level so we let ZK have some fun :) An older kid was shadowing him though and generally being irritating. The mother only asked the kid to move away or take turns, which he defied, and never once apologised for her kid's actions. Later on the flight, I heard a mother tell her kid to put his feet out of the aisle lest someone hit him - I would have thought he should move lest someone trip over!

We're not racist and we have nice Indian friends, and we have met some friendly people who came over for ZK, but some of the locals have made our tiring trip even more tiring. Like the guide who was pushy. Or super persistent peddlers and aggressive beggars. And the horrible neighbours at the Jaipur hotel. And someone even stood outside the toilet handing out paper towels and then expecting you to give them money for it!

The flight was pretty uneventful. ZK fell asleep on take-off as he didn't nap much that day, even though there were three other infants on the same row and two were crying! Thankfully, the loudest baby was furthest from us. The one next to us slept on and off but the mother was terrible - she dozed off with baby in the bassinet and didn't know when she woke. I had to wake her when I saw the girl reaching for the edge of the bassinet. And she didn't even say thanks. Unless eating into my space was her way of thanking people - she slept leaning towards me or with both chubby arms on the armrests, leaving nothing for me. I nudged back - think I can be bullied?!

Then Sito and I both saw her rock her baby violently to make her sleep. Really, violently! And another parent was doing the same to an older kid in front of the toilet - violent rocking! We were quite shocked *.*

Tuesday, 31 Dec 2013

ZK woke after four hours. Spent an hour entertaining him on the plane before we landed. And he had such good timing - decided he wanted milk as we landed! So I managed to make the milk and have Sito feed him on the way to immigrations.

Had a quick breakfast at Macs before going home. The poor boy was so tired and dozed off just before we got to HV. We went straight to IFC - that was his last time there with the babies. He napped a long time that morning and later that afternoon when he got back.

We, um, let the curries have their revenge :p and took a nice warm shower to un-grass our hair. So glad to be home!!!

Today

Took me a few days to finish writing this. To end this off, I must thank my dear husband. I think I wouldn't have survived if Sito didn't rise to the occasion - by waking early, taking ZK whenever the little one was willing (or sometimes unwilling!), and entertaining him :)
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