Thursday, 25 August 2016

My obsession with sleep routines

This article really struck a chord with me, especially the part on sleep. The writer's twins find it hard to sleep outside their own place and would get cranky. My boys don't get cranky immediately - but if they miss their nap, they get cranky before or around dinner time, which means no dinner and a messy sleep hour.

That is exactly why the boys had been to five or six play dates and parties with their friends from school this year, and just one with long-time friends. Their foreign friends have the same sleep schedule so parties either end by (early) lunch or start from 4 pm. On the other hand, my old friends tend to have parties over lunch hour, which eats into their nap time so it's either sorry, can't make it, or I go on my own.

Of course I learnt this the hard way. Perhaps three years back, before ZY got on the scene, we had a lunch date at CW's place. After all, his eldest is the same age as ZK so there's a playmate, there are toys, there's even space for napping. Why not? Because either ZK was too excited to sleep or he couldn't sleep in such a foreign environment! He ended up with no nap. It was a very frustrating afternoon for me.

But we do take the kids out for day trips once in a while. When we're outside playing, they tend to get tired and would nap quite nicely, albeit slightly past their usual nap time. When it was just ZK, he napped on Sito. Now, they took turns to snooze in the stroller. Tried and tested for Gardens by the Bay, the SEA Aquarium, Universal Studios, the zoo and overseas trips.

Napping one after the other at Penang Hill

But very soon, we're going to have to miss all the fun and social... While monkey will be easy to bring out in the early months coz he'll just sleep in the sling on me any time, there will come a time when he gets too heavy and he falls into a sleep routine. And this sleep routine will involve naps right before and after ZK and ZY's nap time. He will be 18 months before he goes into the post-lunch nap routine, i.e. about April 2018 *.*

It's not like I'm super obsessed with sleep; I won't want to miss going out all the time just so they can have their routine.  Just a little obsessed :) There are ways around, e.g. sling the infant, leave them at home, use the stroller to rock them to sleep.

But I'm pretty adamant that the kids sleep soon after dinner, and our dinner starts no later than 6.45 pm usually. Why? This is not some angmoh sleep schedule. In fact, based on various blogs I read, angmohs put their kids in bed by 7 pm! Either they are SAHMs or they knock off work early enough to pick up their kids and make dinner for them - nvm how they cook while minding kids!

In Singapore, we generally knock off at 6 pm-ish. By the time we get to the kids and have dinner, the earliest bedtime is probably ZY's current bedtime - he goes in by 7.30 pm usually and goes down by 8 pm-ish. ZK tends to go down around 9 pm-ish - not early enough but the best I can do for now.

So why do I make them sleep early? Coz eventually, they have to wake early to go to primary school etc! So they must sleep early so that they get enough sleep. Better to start them off like this instead of training them later. The sleep time will determine the nap time. For us, that is right after lunch.

ZK will eventually drop his nap. I'm hoping that he will sleep earlier when he loses the nap... But until he's totally ready, I'll insist he naps so that the parents can rest too :p

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

I saw our monkey's face!

Finally, monkey wasn't blocking his face with his hands and the doc got a nice shot of him :)

Who does he look like?

Sito said he looked like ZY at first glance but on second look, he looked more like a sleeping ZK. Mum and N thought he looked like ZY. ZK and ZY, well, I guess they kind of acknowledged this brother? :p

But I like what the nurse said - that he looked like me :)

I didn't recall seeing ZK and ZY so chubby in their ultrasounds. I vividly remember one of skinny ZK. So I just checked and found one of chubby ZK too; the skinny one was a younger one. ZY didn't have many good 3D shots of his face though.

Anyway, I should start from where I left off in July... Oops, sorry, monkey...

Thursday, 28 Jul 2016 - 27w5d

At 12.30 am, I experienced the mother of all cramps - my right calf went crazy on me and the cramp refused to ease despite me leaning on the wall to stretch it out. In fact, the muscle was contracting against my stretch!

It was awfully painful that I kind of panicked and woke Sito to help. He succeeded in easing the cramp after a couple of tries, and applied muscle cream on my calf. So painful...

Thursday, 11 Aug 2016 - 29w6d

I weighed in at 74 kg. I'm supposed to gain about 1 kg every two weeks so I'm likely to hit 80kg *.*

Doc found monkey head-down. I thought monkey had moved too coz the movements felt different starting from a few days before. Doc stressed that he could still move. The position would be more confirmed about 33-34 weeks. Anyway, monkey was shielding his face with his hands so couldn't see anything...

Saturday, 13 Aug 2916 - 30w1d

I was minding my own business in bed when I felt a strong movement on the left. Felt like a heel going by the size :) But now that I think about it, I was probably wrong; his heel must be damn small la! I was thinking of a newborn heel...

Saturday, 20 Aug 2016 - 31w1d

Weekends are always physically tiring. This night, the right side of my front pelvic bone hurt for a while. Luckily my right leg wasn't painful. Else, I don't need to walk already!!

Monkey has been giving me some really strong moves... I felt three strong extensions at the same time - left, right and top *.*

I love foetal movements. They start with such little taps on my cervix that I'm never sure what I'm feeling. Then I become sure that they ARE foetal movements. And things tend to accelerate from there, with bigger and stronger movements. To be honest, I can't remember all the exact feelings from ZK and ZY so I'm writing what I remember from monkey so that I can look back and recall these feelings.. My last baby!

Oh, this morning, I discovered that I was starting to have water retention. I was wearing socks at Pilates class - did I mention I started that on 6 Aug to combat pelvic pain and to help in delivery? - when I saw my ankles. They weren't exactly swollen but they weren't this big before either! At night, I pressed and indeed, there was a depression that took a while to recover, sighs...

Wednesday, 24 Aug 2016 - 31w5d

I weighed in at 75.6 kg - that's more than the expected 1 kg per fortnight!! Granted, I had Macs for lunch barely 10 min before but... Confirmed past 80 kg!!! :(

Actually, I don't think I eat a lot. This monkey doesn't like me to eat. I used to have buffets with ZK and ZY but with monkey, I don't have much appetite and a bit of food makes me quite full. There were times when I had big meals but I would feel uncomfortable after that. I even asked the doc today whether I wasn't eating enough or I was constipated - coz very little poop *.* ZY's poop yesterday was quite the wake-up call - so much more than mine!!!

While I'm sad to weigh so much, I'm glad monkey weighed in slightly above average at just over 2.1 kg :) Grow big and fat, baby!!

On the way home from the clinic, I started feeling a strange soreness. Soon, I realised my butt muscles are hurting from the Pilates class yesterday. My fourth lesson and this is the first time I feel sore. I must be doing something right!! Hoping to start doing Pilates at home on my own as well :)

Felt a sharp pain in my cervix just now. I was just sitting up in bed working when it took me by surprise. Now that I think about it, I seem to have experienced this before. Just checked and indeed, I got it with ZK. Ok, normal! :)

Taking stock...

I realise I still have a lot to prepare. I bought some milk bottles in May before some Robinsons vouchers expired. I ordered a Haakaa breast pump, raspberry leaf tea, confinement shower, ginger gel, confinement lunch just before National Day. Last Friday, I ordered a 20m bengkung and lugged back $400 worth of bird's nest. I still need baby stuff like more bottles, a diaper changing pad, a small mat for the bassinet and random things etc, which I should get when I take leave next month to go Ikea with CY who is on maternity leave now. And then there's the hospital bag etc for the delivery itself.

Trying to be a little more prepared this time compared to last time when I didn't do Pilates and even forgot to read up on delivery. That might have caused him to come out by forceps :( I'm determined to do things better this time. My last baby ok!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Pot of poop

I just finished working and wanted to sleep but I couldn't coz there was so much poo poo today!


Coz ZY just pooped into the potty this evening! :))))

Ok, from the beginning.... Sunday evening, he stood just outside the shower area and leaked pee *.* So yesterday, I dug out the potty training books and showed one to ZY after dinner while ZK was showering. He was interested to take off his diapers to pee into the potty. We continued reading a bit more and then he did it! It was a nice pot of hot pee!

It wasn't the first time though - he had always wanted to go pee at Mum's place, with his pants on! But in school, he had really done it before, as he saw his classmates do it. Still, first time at home, woohoo!

Then this morning, I was so tired in bed when he came in. So I asked him to go tell kakak that he wanted to pee in the potty. And he did and did it again! A little bit of baby pee...

Back to this evening, he was having fruits halfway when he wanted to poop so he was doing his usual in his high chair when I asked him if he wanted to go poo poo on the potty. He looked a little confused but agreed anyway. He held the front of the potty and pushed. Nothing. So I told him how the boy in the book would sit on the potty, wait a little... Soon, he made a face, I made a face, and the poop came out - it was so long it broke into two in the shallow potty! Ok, tmi haha!

It was not the first time too - he pooped in the toilet at home some time ago when N put him there as he was having difficulty pooping. He also pooped on the toilet floor before... But this time, he was very aware of what he did. In fact, he jumped up right after he was done, pointed to the poop and said "I poo poo!" repeatedly!

And the next moment, a bit of poop that was stuck to his butt dropped on the floor between his legs *.*

I pushed the big poop down a little so that he could sit back on the potty to pee. And when he was on the potty, I picked up the bit of poop - N offered to do it but I wanted to do this at least once for my baby...

Soon, ZY was done with his little pee, and again, he jumped up and said, "I poo poo and wee wee!" He was so excited and no doubt very proud of himself. We were all very excited and proud of him too :)

I put on his pants - without diapers - and let him finish his fruits before his shower. It's going to be a while before he will learn to go on this own without being asked, but it's a start. ZK started about this age and became dry at night only about six months later - I just checked against old posts here, though the dates weren't too clear - so I know I have to be patient.

Next steps - (1) Help ZY be more consistent in and aware of using the potty, and (2) Encourage ZK to pee standing instead of sitting down so they won't compete for resources, nvm that ZK will then compete with the adults for resources - pee on top of poo!

When ZY wanted to sit on the potty while ZY was agonising over his missing poop that kakak flushed away...! But this is a more or less accurate picture of my vision - ZY to the toilet, ZY to the potty!

Update 24 Aug 2016

So I told ZK this morning that now that ZY was becoming a big boy, he should be a bigger boy, i.e. pee standing up! And this evening, he really did it standing up - he just made it past the height of the toilet bowl :)

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Catchy moves

An old song came on the radio on the way to work this morning, and I was reminded of all those catchy moves I knew since I was a child.

The song that did it (of course I heard the Mandarin version on radio)

Still remember back in university, there was a gathering at Sito's place one summer and a group of us went to Ginza, the predecessor of West Coast Plaza. We chanced upon one of those Para Para Sakura dance machine or something, and they guys got me to do it. Um, big fail... A primary school kid offered to take my place *.*

The first I knew - 对你爱不完 also by Aaron - with the hand stretched out and waving

Oh, the hair... The hair!! And of course the hand. And the split. But, the hair!

Don't get me wrong - I couldn't stand him back in 1992. I had my sights on another idol but that's not relevant to this post :p

Another one with memorable hand gestures - 别问我是谁

Back then, there was only the TV. I remember listening to the radio and watching MTVs, copying song lyrics to keep. But it was enough. My class performed to 对你爱不完 and 放心去飞 at the end of primary six. I think it was mass dance for the former and singing for the latter, with a solo dancer at the side.

Fast forward to the era of YouTube, and catchy movements catch like wild fire. Even toddlers can follow them - I mean, how can toddlers be patient enough to wait for MTVs on TV?! Think Nobody Knows and Sorry Sorry - both Korean, strangely. What has happened to Cantopop and Mandopop??! On a side note, I'm sad that I seldom tune in to the radio for years.

This time capsule is still yearning for a couple of karaoke hours to croon those old songs... I have nine more weeks to find time for that!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Me and my hair

My hair has always been long-ish after babyhood, as far as I could remember. But it seems that I get an impulse to cut my hair real short every five years or so. And every time, I love it for a short while *.* I feel like I should give my hair a good treatment.

1980: I was born with a mop of gravity-defying hair

1984-1985: My usual hairdo (I'm sure everyone can tell which is me!)

I loved asking ML to tie my hair into "scorpion". But I always screamed coz it was painful. This is called 爱美不要头发!

1984-1985: Then upon someone's suggestion at age four or five, I agreed to cut my hair this short

30 years later, my younger son thought that was his older brother ^_^ I also thought I looked like ZK here!

1988: By primary school, my image was pretty fixed... (Again, can tell which is me right?)

I was eight - the year I got a huge ulcer on my lower lip, still visible in this photo. My lower lip never stopped being dry and cracked since then, sighs...

But I have a primary three class photo showing me with chin-length hair, i.e. I somehow cut my hair again at age nine. It was disastrous - so bad I don't want to post it! (Actually, I'm too lazy to go dig out that photo from hardcopy albums..)

My hair was all long again by secondary school. I tied it back in a single ponytail, showing no fringe. And my pinafore was too darn long - like over the knee long. Mother refused to hem it for me and I didn't know how to do it nicely. Overall a super nerdy look.

Was that why I cut my hair yet again?? Think I cut it on 端午节 coz I remember Mother brought me to the market salon, which was empty coz "people don't cut hair on 端午节".

1995: But still looking nerdy! And singing in front of 100 people!

That began a period of haircutting... I somehow cut my hair a year later, just before I entered JC. Why? I'm also asking myself now!! It was a shorter bob than above. And I did it again after JC. Why? Goodness knows! I ended up with a horrible passport photo for my first passport.

By the time I started university, my hair was decently long again. And this time, I kept it long until 2002 when I cut AND highlighted it for LNY. My first and only hair colouring job! Didn't like it much though. And no memorable photos worth digging out... Then it was long hair all the way until 2010 with two hiccups in between...

2004: A terrible perm job that got straightened out soon enough

2009: I cut off my fringe!! Don't remember looking so horrid back then :p

2014: Jump ahead a bit - I looked like I had short fringe here but it was my postpartum lost hair growing back out, I think...

2010: I absolutely loved this bob! For two days *.*

2011: It grew out fast enough and coz we were in a cooler climate, the hair at the neck was still a nice scarf!

I trimmed my hair a bit just before ZK was born. But it was still long. I also cut off six inches of my hair while pregnant with ZY. But it was still long.

2014: Shorter long hair

2014: Still love my long hair!

With long hair, I can do things like...

2009: Braid it

2011: Do silly pigtails

2007: Do cute pigtails

2016: But of course, I did it again!

But I was quite pleased with it for a while, which means more than two days. It was only about two or three months on that I started feeling quite pissed with it coz it was growing out and the hair on my neck on hot days was just irritating!

Grown out. Who says short hair is cooler??

So it's 2016 now. I need to remind myself, especially when it gets closer to 2020 at the four- or five-year mark, that I must NOT chop my hair into a bob again!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

ZY's sleep

A few days ago, I was reading some old posts and saw that ZK could be left alone in his room to sleep before he turned two. Sure, there were plenty of hiccups - sleeping on the floor, having to lock the door - but generally he could sleep quite well. Or if we kept him company, he would stay in his bed and roll quietly until he fell asleep. Same thing if he were to wake at night - he was usually quiet.

This ZY is past two, and he MUST be accompanied at bedtime. It's usually kakak these days. On her off day, he always snuggled up in my lap or at the very least, my legs. Tonight, he asked me to massage him coz kakak would *.* I refused and suggested that I pat pat him instead. He told me he would pat pat himself *.*

But tonight was already a more successful night than last Sunday when I took more than an hour with him coz he woke when I was transferring him from my lap to the bed and cried for kakak. The whole movement hurt my pelvis like mad but was pointless in the end coz he woke. I was very pissed.

Just now, I decided to sing him an old song I made up for ZK. I sang it a couple of times to ZY in his early days but his name doesn't fit as nicely into the song..

小XX要睡觉啦 小XX要休息啦
爸爸疼你呀 妈妈疼你呀
小XX要睡觉啦 小XX要休息啦
爸爸爱你呀 妈妈爱你呀
睡觉啦 休息啦
疼你呀 爱你呀

After the first time, ZY wanted me to sing it again. And he repeated each phrase after me so it was a pretty nice harmony :) Less than 10 times later, I stopped and he settled more on my thigh. Soon, he was asleep.

So amazing! Usually when I sing, he would end up more energised - unlike ZK, he wouldn't settle for lullabies much...

I waited a full five minutes before attempting to shift him to his bed. The first attempt made him turn around and grab my thigh instead. The second attempt made him go back to an easier position lying sideways on my thigh. The third attempt - I slid his pillow under his head and slid my leg out. Success!!

The past two nights, he woke before midnight, first crying for kakak, then acting all cute and said hi to us before finding kakak. Hopefully tonight he could sleep more before waking up - he would surely wake at least two times before morning. It's very difficult to wean him off sleep support now but again hopefully, he would become a good sleeper like ZK...

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Happy National Day! (And the first whip of the cane!)

We whipped out the mini flags a couple of weeks ago and the boys have been happy waving them around, hitting things with them. Needless to say, very soon, all that was left of the flags were the poles.

ZY watching videos of ND songs holding a pole in his hand

ZK had a gun while doing the same *.*

I was very happy to see them enjoying the songs :) Both of them could sing a bit of "We are Singapore" and ZK in particular had a weird little emphasis on the "ga" in the chorus.. But we always enjoyed singing the song together, especially yesterday on the way home :)

Wearing Merlion prints for school celebration yesterday!

Now ZY thinks that's where pictures are taken - he'd climb up and "take picture!" ever since we did that on Racial Harmony Day

Anyway so we heard loud speakers this morning and saw red and white balloons at the atrium downstairs. Checked Facebook and indeed, there was a ND party downstairs! Must have missed the notice at the lift... Wanted to bring the boys down for a look but ZK decided that Lion King was more interesting. So N and I brought ZY down where we watched young and old sing for a while and clapped along.

A kind auntie gave ZY a balloon sculpture

We didn't have tickets so didn't participate in the games and food etc. Went to the supermarket to get them some yogurt for afternoon snack before packing them home while I packed lunch from the hawker centre. On the way home, I managed to get another balloon sculpture for ZK :)

We all had an early lunch and napped early, else the boys were just watching YouTube, or crying over them *.*

Dozed off in my lap after a bout of crying over videos...

Early nap means early wake-up time. While I lazed in bed a bit more, they burst all their balloons with the flag poles *.* I got up only when it was time for their yogurt - they had it while watching the Olympics. Then while we were all in bed watching more Lion King, we had an accident...

Poor ZK 破相!

Could have been much worse... The kids were arguing over something and ZY hit ZK with the lollipop in his hand - he was holding the candy part. I was so scared it went into an eye! Luckily he missed. But that necessitated a severe punishment - not to mention how he bit all three of us today and kept hitting us, especially poor ZK.

Sito whipped out the cane - we've had it for months but not have a chance to use it. And to think that the first to be caned was the younger boy, sighs! Sito asked ZY to stretch out his hand. The boy held his hands together, looked down and said no. Think I pulled his hands apart and gave the right one to Sito. He just looked solemn, not struggling. Sito tried the cane on himself to decide on the strength. Then.... He missed the small hand and hit ZY's big toe instead! But that was enough - he started crying and holding his toe. Now that both kids have seen the cane at work, we hope the sight would be a sufficient deterrent..

We also educated ZK on the need to protect himself. The instructions are simple - get out of ZY's way when he's holding something in his hands!! Also prepared him for water sting coz our main agenda of the day was pool time. ZK last played there when I was pregnant with ZY, and ZY had only been to the cafe during my maternity leave with him. Glad to see them having fun!

ZY was the daredevil, running around in and out of the water

ZK was less timid today even without the float, walking in the water by himself 

Water guns at the ready.... Fight!!!! 

ZK managed to operate the water gun on his own. I had to think for a while and try it before giving it to ZY *.* While ZK went exploring, this ZY was terrorising Mum and Ah Yee who were seated nearby by aiming his water gun at them. I sat myself further away :p

Sito and Dad took ZK into the male changing room while Mum and I took ZY with us. Divide and conquer! Dinner was a frustrating affair with both boys being cranky. Sometimes I feel really bad making ZK give way to ZY but ZK is much easier to handle and coax than ZY so.. Need to sayang ZK more...

We came home singing in the car again. Towards the end, we sang "We are Singapore" or rather, I did, coz the boys seemed tired. But it was a good end to the day. I hope the boys will grow up loving this country :)

Happy National Day!

Monday, 8 August 2016

The grossest pregnancy

I think this is my grossest pregnancy.

In the beginning, I couldn't use shampoo or shower gel coz I couldn't take the smell. So I washed with only water, which was fine for the body but the hair didn't feel so good. Took me some time to find a scent I could tahan - peppermint and tea tree are my saviours!

Then now because of the pelvic pain, I couldn't lift my legs to wash them. And I find it hard to bend over to wash them. So I don't! I figure all that soap running down from the top half of me would do the job. ... It will, right?

And speaking of that pain, it is crazy. Two Fridays ago, I had to blink back tears :( Sito helped massage a bit, which kind of relieved a certain pressure but the pain was not gone. One night, I was going to sit on ZK's bed while settling him when it hurt like crazy and I froze for a while. Last night, it hurt like !@#$%^& when I was shifting a sleeping ZY from my lap to his bed - and he woke so I ended up carrying him while standing up for 30 min. Now I have to sit down to wear pants and just drop them all the way to the floor when I remove them so I don't have to lift my legs - my left can't bear much weight nor can it be lifted up. I'm glad I only need my right leg to drive.

Anyway, I digress...

One recent night, I realised how gross my boobs were. I don't mean they look gross - I'm filling up nicely as my body prepares for breastfeeding. But because my body is preparing for breastfeeding, I'm getting this secretion that isn't enough to drip but manages to form dried bits on the surface so my nipples get crusty over the course of a few days. Usually, they are very dry but that night, they felt damp - great, first they looked like snot; now they even felt like damp snot *.* The outside bit was oxidised so it was dark while the "root" was yellowish like colostrum. I got this with ZY too but not ZK. It didn't mean I had more milk though. Oh well...

But why should I feel gross? After all, I have two little boys - everyone knows that little boys are gross, right? ZK is still eating his own snot; ZY looks set to follow as he discovers he can dig his nose. ZK is licking everything and establishing territories on me using his saliva. And he is forever trying to show me his bum bum; once I found a bit of caked-up poop there after a shower by Sito *.* And of course, they are sweaty boys - now it isn't too bad as the aircon is usually on but when they grow up and do more things outdoors, they'll come home gross just like my brother.

I also look gross with my belly button sticking out... Though the kids love it! ZY usually gives me his face to kiss when I ask him to kiss me. He has finally kissed me twice on the cheeks. In between, he kissed my belly :)

A potentially gross little boy making me feel less gross about my body

Today, I had a prenatal massage at home. I meant to try this company to see if I wanted to take on their postnatal. But I ended up deciding not to do postnatal massage coz I really couldn't stand the gross oily feeling after that! If I can't stand it now, how can I stand it when I'm breastfeeding? It brought back all the yucky feeling from ZY's time. I don't recall being so OCD with ZK though but that might just be memory loss *.* I'm now looking for a long strip of cloth for bengkung wrap now - skip the massage with DIY!

May I have a non-gross postnatal period!
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