Visiting Julia Gabriel

I am so excited to write this post!!!!

The other day I was invited by the Julia Gabriel Centre to attend a Positive Parenting Talk (the first of a series).  There are two brands under one umbrella – Julia Gabriel is a speech and drama center (enrichment center) for children aged 6 months to primary school, while Chiltern House is a preschool for kids aged 2-6 years.

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Tadah! The outside.

Ohhhh so this is Julia Gabriel Centre!  It’s located on Jalan Bukit Pantai and is located near my old office.  I used to pass it by and think it was an Italian restaurant WTF (cos of the red canopy).

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Impressed with the outside already.  Everything looks so cheerful and pristine!

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The front door.

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Here’s the lobby and reception area.

So upon arrival I was ushered into the assembly area (which is upstairs) for Julia Gabriel’s talk.  In case you don’t know (I certainly didn’t) Julia is a real person!

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Hi Julia! And Pau Lee, the center’s director.

Julia Gabriel is the founder.  She’s been teaching since 1983, and is an accomplished storyteller, performer, speaker and lecturer who has written and recorded educational TV programmes for the Ministry of Education in Singapore. In 1993, the Lord Mayor of London awarded Julia life membership of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Okay I think she’s fully qualified to teach Fighter. Lol.

Her talk was about the importance of imagination for children and how to nurture it.  Having a great imagination is crucial to a lot of things including creativity, empathy, inventiveness…

Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited but imagination encompasses all.”

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The definition of imagination…

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It’s true right!  When you’re a kid, anything goes.  I remember as kids me and Ooib would hole up in our storeroom and tie a torchlight from a ladder and call it a light and the storeroom was our detective headquarters wtf.  And we obviously had no cases to work on so we just spied on our neighbors for suspicious activity WTF.

And a lot of other games la.  We used video cassette tapes to fashion a maze for our pet turtles who didn’t do anything besides poop in it wtf.  And we created a whole ‘nation’ with our stuffed animals complete with political system lol.

And I do feel that as an adult I have less wonder and new ideas already.  I even feel a difference now and ten years ago. :(

Julia Gabriel Centre and Chiltern House’s educational philosophy focuses on what they call a EduDrama methodology.  According to their release, “children learn by drama, role play or imaginary play – designed to motivate students to express themselves at their best, when learning is made fun for them.”

It sounds perfect because it’s very important to me that Fighter’s imagination and learning is stimulated, and not that he’s only forced to study and memorize.

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I also went on a tour of the place!  Again I was impressed how warm and clean and orderly everything looked.  I don’t know la I don’t remember my kindergarten being this clean last time wtf.

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This is the Book Room.  They have tons of books here to read or borrow.  Guess where Fighter’s going every day now.CIMG2292

That’s Maggie, their BookRoom Coordinator.

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And a gorgeous reading nook!

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Here’s the stairs going upstairs… walls are all plastered with kids’ handiwork and class photos. :)

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The corridor between classes upstairs.  The red shelves are cubby holes for students to put their stuff.

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Here’s me totally not being creepy staring into classrooms lol.

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Dammit! Nearly five feet!

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Ok here I was peering into another class – the PlayClub.CIMG2307

Sneaked in to take this photo.

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Classroom decor!  Apparently they change the theme every semester. ^^ I’m guessing this term it’s barnyard animals?

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And the bathroom!!! Sooooo cute!

The toilet bowls are all mini sized!  Some more got cute jungle decor on top hahaha.

Anyway after the visit, I decided to sign Fighter up for a trial class to gauge for myself.  I’d been thinking of sending Fighter somewhere a couple of times a week or so, just to let him see more of the world.  As it is I already don’t let him watch TV or ipad so the most he does at home is play with his toys (of which most are stuffed animals), me or the nanny.

As a result I think his motor skills are quite good for his age (cos every day practice picking up toys wtf) but I thought it’d be better for him to mingle with other babies his age and get him involved in different learning activities.

The class we attended was Playnest – for babies aged 6-18 months.  So we got to the class where the teacher and assistants already knew him by name!  They all sang out merrily, “Hello Jude!” to which he blank-stared them since he thinks his name is Fighter LOLOL.

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Before class officially began was free and easy playtime.  Fighter kinda sat there like a dungu for a while… before reaching for toys!

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In ecstasy with the teachers. Hahaha.  He lovesssss adults in general I feel.  He doesn’t really know what to do with other babies which is why I wanted to let him meet more.

Then it started with a Welcome song sang by the teachers, and a session where they met and interacted with a stuffed monkey haha.  No photos here cos I was busy getting Fighter involved in the singing and clapping.

After that they read a story and did a paper activity with the babies based on the story!  It was about monkeys so the task was to glue paper cutouts of monkeys on a sheet of paper depicting a bed.

Of course I had to do it for Fighter. Lol.  But it was something new explaining it to him and showing him the paper and glue.

Next up was snack time!

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MOST ADORABLE SCENE EVER. 3-4 babies sat at a table together and the teachers handed out snacks.  The day’s snack was rice crackers, but the teachers told me it differs – sometimes it’s cookies, sometimes fruit, etc.

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Here’s Fighter eating like a champ.

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“May I have some more?”

Super proud of him cos the other baby at the table didn’t eat hers while Fighter finished his portion. #competitivemom

Then it was art time!  Painting to be specific.

The babies were made to strip down to their diapers HAHAH.  Some parents brought waterproof aprons hmph next time I bring too.

Then the teacher showed Fighter what to do with the water soluble paint provided.

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Fighter had his go!  Not sure if he actually understood the instructions or just saw red paint and thought “oooh what’s that lemme touch.”

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I was pretty surprised he went for it though! At home if I give him food pieces which are a bit wet or mushy, he normally doesn’t like the texture and drops the piece.  I thought he might have a complex about wet textures so I was pleasantly surprised he took so well to it.

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“HERE MAH MASTERPIECE”

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A very joyful Fighter.  He super enjoyed it!

After that I cleaned him up in the bathroom sink and settled him down for more singalongs to end the day.

All in all, I think Fighter enjoyed himself a fair bit!  He seemed interested in the other babies although he didn’t make a move to interact yet, and he was extremely excited to see the teachers and other parents (and helpers).

Some of the things they asked the babies to do (like glue monkeys on paper) seemed pretty out of their capabilities to do, but that could be because they create high standards so the babies will attempt to reach it?  The other activities like singing along and clapping and other hand actions, the other babies were doing very well actually.  And the painting which I would have thought out of reach, was also pretty skilfully handled by the other kids.

And Fighter, seeing the other babies crawl around at the speed of light, or even walk around, attempted harder than he’d ever done to crawl too!  He managed one step forward before he face planted lolol but I was impressed at the effect of a group on him.

Also I liked how clean and efficiently Julia Gabriel was run!  Immediately after every activity, assistants swooped in to sanitize and wipe down the areas used.  A big plus point in my book!

Julia Gabriel Centre has another centre at Citta Mall, in Ara Damansara.  For more info on Julia Gabriel Centre and Chiltern House, go here (Julia Gabriel) and here (Chiltern House).

 

Posted in AudParenting, Audvertorial | 3 Comments

A Sony Xperia Z2 review – the fourfeetnine way

A lot of photos coming up yo! Watch out bandwidths!

So today I thought I’d do a review of my Sony Xperia Z2. The fourfeetnine way wtf. Which means lots of photos involved!

I’ve been using the Sony Xperia Z1 for less than a year before switching to the Z2.  It was my first Android phone but I didn’t have any issues getting used to it!  Loved the Z1 but when I got the chance to upgrade to Z2 I obviously jumped at it hehehe.

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Sleek black classy box mm hmm.

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Open the top cover…

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*trumpets blaring and angels singing Design is nearly exactly the same as the Z1, but it’s slightly slimmer and a teeny bit taller.

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This time I got it in white! ^^ CIMG2104

There was even a personalized letter enclosed! Thank you so much Sony! I guess I am known now as Fighter’s mom. Lolol.

Anyway before I really get into it, here are the key features of the Sony Xperia Z2 that make it Z best. Lolol. Actually I apologize in advance first.  I am in no way a tech person so take my tech info with a pinch of salt wtf.  In fact Imma not really focus too much on the technical details ok!

Here’s what appeals to me about the camera most.

4K camera 

4K video camera means the image is 4 times clearer than normal HD! I don’t have a HD screen to hook up to look at the footage properly but my phone still ran smoothly considering what a heavy process this is.  The only thing is even a two minute video will take up a lot of space.  But that’s okay cos the Xperia Z2 comes with a micro SD slot.  I bought a 32G one to make sure I have lots of space for Fighter’s photos and videos hehehe.

Battery life

I’ve always used an… um non-Android phone in the past and what pushed me to switch was the terrible battery life!  Everyone I know with that phone either has to carry around a power bank all the time, or keep running back to their car to charge. :X I couldn’t take the reliance on chargers throughout the day so I switched to Android.  Picked Sony because… Japan. Hahaha.  No la I’ve owned a number of Sony gadgets in the past and they always served me well.

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Check this out! I’d been using it since 8 am and still 71% battery left yo.  Not heavy use sure, but moderate.  Checked Instagram, Dayre, news apps, Whatsapped a lot and still okay!

The Stamina mode really helps too!  It turns off Wifi and data when the phone is on standby to save battery.  Sources say turning it on doubles battery life.

I don’t bring my powerbank out anymore because I don’t need it! :D By bedtime sometimes it reaches 19% which is considered critical but even this is with really heavy usage on Whatsapp, Dayre and Instagram.

Lag

Browsing is super smooth!  Scrolling is as good as the iPhone with no lags at all.  There were a few instances where the keyboard was a little laggy by maybe a second but nothing that bothered me.

The camera

This is obviously my favorite feature. ^^ The camera is a whopping 20.7 megapixels – that’s better than most point and shoots!  Comes packed with all sorts of interesting apps and features too.

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Here’s the camera options available. You can also click Add Apps on the top right and add more functions.

The camera and phone battery were both good enough that I didn’t even bother bringing a camera with me when we went to the US!  Why carry additional gadgets when the Z2 works as well or better? :D

Check out the photos I took.

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Ooh wait before that.  Here’s photos I took of Fighter in his cot.  Keep in mind that his lights were all off.  The only light source is coming from the doorway opening to our room.

In reality it was actually very dark.  Other phone cameras (and even my Casio camera) would show up a lot darker or with more noise but the Z2′s camera captures whatever light available extremely well and comes up with a remarkably clear image.

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This photo was taken when it was even darker.  The door to Fighter’s bathroom was literally cracked open like 5 cm and that was the only source of light. :D

 

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When in the US, I tested out the Info-Eye function.  With Info-Eye, you snap a picture of anything – a landmark, a product, label, book, etc – and it will tell you more info about it!

Here’s a picture I took while we were on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

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It gave me the weather, exact location with map, and even provided a list of restaurants/stores to visit!

 

Super useful for when we’re traveling but I can also see it coming in handy whenever you need some quick info at your fingertips.

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Another shot of Rodeo Drive. (where all the expensive shopping is, where Chinese tourists hang out, and where Julia Roberts was snubbed in Pretty Woman. Hahaha.)

The clarity of this photo! Amazing or what?

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The front camera is pretty great too at 2MP!  When you switch to front camera, Soft Skin mode automatically comes on.  This is us having breakfast at a French bakery in LA.

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Also tested out the Panaroma mode on Rodeo.

It’s sooo good!  I used to have a Sony Cybershot that could do this too and this mode on Z2 is comparable! Best of all it doesn’t compromise on color and clarity also.

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This is Santa Monica Pier.  It was soooo gorgeous there and the camera totally did it justice right??

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Yes Angela was with us too!!!!

I was damn surprised seeing this photo wtf.  Cos I was wearing sunglasses so everything seemed quite dim to me hahaha.  Then when Angie’s boyfriend helped us take this photo I was so surprised at how sharp and bright the colors were. :D So nice one!!!

This is due to the Live Colour LED technology (only in Sony products) that captures the true colors of the source and produces an authentic yet gorgeous photo.

We rented tandem bikes and cycled from Santa Monica pier all the way down the coast to Venice Beach!

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Took another panaromic shot on the way.  That’s Frank, Angela….

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And Fatty. Who thinks he’s Johnny Bravo. ¬_¬

The beach is gorgeous though right!  And it’s huuuuuge…the ocean is way to the back at the horizon.

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And here’s a shot of Whoville, taken at Universal Studios Hollywood.  Again the camera captured the colors perfectly.

How does it fare for night scenery?

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Tadah!  The Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas.

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Another one.  I told Fatty to give up using his phone and just stick to mine for this trip please. Lol.

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The stores inside Bellagio.

Enough of scenery shots.  Wanna take food photos? No problem!

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The best gourmet burger EVER.  With duck bacon and topped off with truffle fries omgggg.  At Gordon Ramsay’s BurGR in Vegas.

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And the yummiest french toast.  On Melrose in LA.

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Came home to our Fighter.  My camera was set to Superior Auto mode so it detected a face and gave it the soft skin treatment.  Not that Fighter needs it hahaha.

Now for the fun photo modes!

Always wanted a professional camera but no money? Have no fear Z2 is here!

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Can do background defocusing yo.  So you can bluff people you’re a professional with a kickass camera hahahaha.  Background defocus is really quite realistic!  Just tap on the object you wanna focus on (in this case, Brown) and the camera will do the rest.

 

Sometimes if you focus wrongly or tap then move the camera, the defocusing doesn’t work but just tap again and it will!

 

Then the Augmented Reality mode!  Freaking hilarious!  There’s a few modes to pick from – Fairyland, Dive, Masquerade, and Dinosaur.

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Here’s Fighter in Fairyland. LOLOL.  Rody the horse at the back really matches the environment some more hahaha.

This AR is quite cute.  All the objects appear and you can shift them around and change the size.  And they’re all animated.  For example the little pixies are actually walking around so you can wait for them to get into position before snapping a photo.

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Now Fighter has a leaf hat! Hahahaha.

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Dunked him into Dive for some underwater fun hehehe.  He seems super entertained with the fishes.

And Rody the horse is now Rody the seahorse! Lolol.

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“Hehehe Flounder that tickles!”

Got flowerhorn behind some more wtf.

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And and! Fatty sitting in Jurassic Park HAHAHAHA. Saved the best for last wtf.

He looks damn sien cos he was watching TV but I was aiming my phone at him and giggling wtf.

Watch out for the T-rex, Fats!

All in all, I love the Z2! Like I said, it fulfills my needs in a phone so Imma be sticking to it for a long time to come. ^^

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Fighter loves it too. ¬_¬ No really, he’s always trying to grab it from me.  He’s stopped trying to eat it luckily so now he just looks at it and turns it over in his hands.  And maybe slap it a bit wtf.

P/S: The Z2 is waterproof too!  Can stand up to 1.5m in freshwater up to 30 minutes.  I don’t need anything so hardcore but it’s nice to know that if Fighter ever drops it into water or spills drinks on it, it will be fine. Lol.  He also dropped it like at least once a day already and it works perfectly so I’d say it’s also baby-shock-proof. Hahaha.

 

Posted in AudTourist, Audvertorial | 7 Comments

What Fighter can do at 9.5 months

So how was it?

By the time we got to Vegas I was dying wtf.  I asked Fatty if we could cancel the Vegas leg of the trip but we already paid wtf so we’d be burning flights and hotel and have to book a new flight back some more.  So okay……… I tahan. *meditational pose

By the time we went home I was going nuts.  The sucky thing was our flight arriving back in KL only arrived at 12 am!  Which meant that Fighter would be asleep already and we wouldn’t be able to see him until the next morning. But what to do!

Anyway we got home and checked on a sleeping Fighter.  To our surprise he woke up there and then for his midnight feed though it was 1am.  (guess he slept through midnight for once)

I happily took him into our room to breastfeed him, all eager to renew our breastfeeding bond wtf.

He wriggled.  The entire time.

Totally didn’t wanna suckle at all! D: He kept twisting out of my grasp and looking blearily around the room.  Fatty was standing around the room and he kept looking at Fatty but without recognition.

I said, “Fighter! Fighter! It’s me! Mommy!”  and he totally ignored me T________________T

At that point I was like, is this my karma for leaving him for two weeks. T________T

I gave up trying to nurse him and just got him a bottle of formula.  He started drinking but in a very sien manner, as though very sleepy wtf.

I whipped away the bottle and fasterly put him on my boobs again.  Maybe the formula whetted his appetite.  It worked!  He automatically started sucking again.  I was worried he’d forgotten how to nurse but looks like he was just lazy. >.>

The next day, everything was back to normal and he was happy as usual to see us.  Happier than normal?  Not really.  I doubt he even noticed we were gone. -_-

I guess it was only me going through withdrawal symptoms then… *shreds paper

Even then, he’s grown a lot in just two weeks! Less than that actually, we were gone twelve days including traveling time.  Whatever it is, we came home to a nearly brand new baby. Lol.

For posterity’s sake, here’s Fighter’s accomplishments for now.  He’s 11.5 months old, 9.5 months adjusted.

1. He can hold his own bottle!

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Taken with my Sony Xperia Z2

Before we departed, he could already tentatively do it.  But because I guess our Tommee Tippee bottle (which he loves) is a little big and awkward for tiny hands, he never did it consistently or stable-y.  Maybe he’d bossily attempt to hold my hand while I held his bottle, or grasp the bottle for a few seconds before dropping it.

But when we came home, I noticed our nanny giving him the bottle…and literally giving him the bottle.

And Fighter proceeded to hold it and drink from it steadily until he was all done.

Even more impressive, the next time I gave him the bottle, he held it and drank himself unconscious.  Then when he was done, he just let it slip out of his grasp, flipped over, and went to sleep.

(And that’s how he goes to sleep now.  No patting or rocking necessary.)

WHEN DID MY BABY TURN INTO A BIG BOTTLE HOLDING EXPERT?

Oh. Right. Sometime within the last two weeks.

2. He can hold his own finger foods!

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Taken with my Sony Xperia Z2

Found this out totally by chance.In the same motor skills department, I was super surprised to find that not only can he hold his own bottle, he can also hold his own snacks and eat by himself!

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We were having a family dinner and I was talking to my grandma with Fighter in my arms.  Grandma was holding a piece of mantou (a Chinese bun) and Fighter suddenly made a grab for it!

Ah Ma handed him the mantou and to my surprise, he grasped it in his fist and held it up to his mouth.  Then he took a great big bite out of it.

Dude you don’t even have teeth???

I saw he was clamping down on the bread with his gums and ripping pieces off into his mouth. Hahahahah how clever is that?? I actually gave up giving him finger foods weeks ago cos he’d just either drop them without taking a bite, or just hold it in his fist forever.  I guess in that time his motor skills had improved enough, and he now knows what is food and what is to be eaten.

I’m also very thankful that I started giving him solids/semi solids very early on because he just doesn’t like puree.  In the beginning he’d chew/mash the food up with his gums but end up spitting food out but he quickly learned to bite and chew and then swallow food.  If I didn’t he might not have learned so quickly what to do with food pieces. :)

3. He’s been eating really really well!  

He was on a food strike for four horrendous months and I was starting to resign myself to having a terrible eater.  Every day I fretted over what to feed him and mostly resorted to avocado wtf.  Also attempted baby led weaning which was a hit and miss since he didn’t know how to feed himself.

But four weeks ago he started eating a bit more.  I introduced baby pasta or rice in chicken or vege soup of which he’d eat less than a baby bowl.  Also noticed he likes egg tofu so I prepared egg tofu with minced pork and he’d also eat less than an ounce.  But he was eating!

And then right before we left, out of nowhere, he started to eat a whole baby dish of food.  Then sometimes two.

And by the time we came home, he was up to eating three quarters of an adult sized rice bowl!!!!  And he’s eating 3 solid meals a day now.

I don’t know what I did to deserve such good luck but I wish I did so I can do more of that!!!!

Feeding him is now a joy and it’s so fun thinking up new dishes to feed  him!  (Besides the usual boring porridge and baby pasta.)

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Taken with my Sony Xperia Z2

4. He knows to call people with a yell/gruntDinner menu – shepherd’s pie, chicken version

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This one’s a tad bossy but he now knows to go NGHGHGHGH and smile at whoever to get their attention. Hahaha.

5. He can stand! (well, sort of)

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Taken with my Sony Xperia Z2

His legs have gotten strong enough to support himself for maybe like a minute?  This is totally new too; a few days after we got back I got the idea to get him to try standing up by himself.  And he did it!

He’s even picking out his next OOTD here wtf.

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Taken with my Sony Xperia Z2

Yes? May I hepchu?

 6. He knows how to kiss!

Well, when he’s in the mood for love, that is.  I’m not sure if it’s the nanny who taught him or one of our parents.  But when he feels like it and you say “kiss kiss Fighter” he leans in and plants an open mouth kiss on your cheek.

It’s the best feeling in the world. :D :D

The other day he kissed me and then he moved his mouth like a fish and it was super geli hahahahaha.

7. He still can’t crawl forward

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Sadly he’s still on a backward trajectory with this hahaha but everyone says it’s a matter of time before he learns to do it properly.

8. He still has no teeth wtf.

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Taken with my Sony Xperia Z2

TOOTH FAIRY, Y U NO VISIT FIGHTER?

I can’t believe how quickly he’s progressing lately!  It feels like he learns something new every day.  Him as a newborn was adorable and lovely but this stage is just… FUN. :D Can’t wait to see what he does next.

 

Posted in AudBaby, AudParenting | 11 Comments

July 22 and July 28

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On July 22 we were boarding the plane to Vegas when Fatty suddenly turned to me and said, “Shorts, do you realize exactly a year ago is when you were hospitalized?”

That whole drama was a year ago? It seems like just a few months ago!

And today, July 28 is our second year anniversary. Has it been TWO years??

Time flies when you’re having fun and the past two years have definitely sped by for the both of us.

Friends asked if we were in the States as an anniversary trip, but truth is we both forgot WTF. We only realized when we were discussing July 22, which I didn’t remember actually. Fatty was the one who remembered that date.

And then we forgot again until Facebook reminded us today. Lolol.

A lot – and I mean A LOT – has happened this past year in our marriage. On July 22 last year I was hospitalized for preeclampsia, and would stay there under bedrest for four weeks. Fighter arrived in the third week (9 weeks too early) and he ended up staying in the NICU for five weeks.

Our days were a rollercoaster of fear, worry, nervousness, excitement. Fatty wasn’t but I was horribly bored in those four weeks, since I was confined to the bed. Half the time I also felt sick la since that was the reason why I was in in the first place wtf.

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Then when Fighter was declared A-Okay and discharged, we were ecstatic of course. Thus followed a whole year of craziness – falling in love with this little baby, dealing with sleepless nights, falling over ourselves to make sure we did everything right. Being enthralled by every little thing he does.

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We’re parents!

We did escape for a parents only getaway twice this year (quite a lot considering, but Fatty happened to have two conferences) but other than that we stayed put at home and practiced being parents and watched Fighter grow which was super fun anyway (way more interesting than watching grass grow FYI).

But somehow the best part of our relationship last year for me was….

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Weirdly, this.

Don’t get me wrong. Being hospitalized and having to suffer through weeks was the worst time of last year. And possibly my entire life wtf. But strangely, it was also the one that I look back upon with most fondness.

Yes there were migraines and daily injections and blood tests. There was near complete bedrest and crazy boredom and crazy worry and tears about Fighter’s future. I fretted about my future health and future chances for children too.

But I also remember Fatty and I just hanging out in my hospital room every day. Fatty would bring homecooked food over for dinner in a tiffin can because I couldn’t stand hospital food anymore. We’d spoon out the rice and dishes and eat dinner together while watching Modern Family on his laptop. Once we were laughing so much one episode that I thought I was gonna give birth there and then wtf cos my stomach hurt so much but I couldn’t stop laughing.

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We celebrated our first year anniversary in hospital too! By then I was too ill to go on home leave so Fatty brought flowers up to my room and we ate in.

When he had to go in to office, he’d rush over as soon as he was done. Or he’d arrange meetings at the hospital so he could be nearby as much as possible. There was a couch in the room so he’d take naps there too wtf even had his own blanket and pillow. And he would only leave at midnight, way after visiting hours were over but the nurses allowed it.

So although it was a traumatic time, it was also fun. Fatty and I always have fun, no matter what we’re doing, and I guess being locked up in a hospital for weeks on end is no exception. It was a tough time, but somehow we held each other up and got through it together.

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So for me, that was my favorite time together last year. Just me and him in the hospital ward, eating and talking and doing TV binges. Because that was the time I realized I married someone who would be there for me during the tough times, and make me laugh, and someone who I would never get bored of.

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Happy anniversary, Fatty.

Posted in AudSappy | 27 Comments

Modern Muse

What is a muse?

No, it’s not to cause someone to laugh. ಠ_ಠ

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A muse is an inspiration to someone (whether for their creativity or otherwise), usually a woman.

Estee Lauder thinks I am an inspiration!!! Okay I’m really not being self-deprecating but not really.  An inspiration would be the expected Mother Theresa.  Princess Diana. A muse, Audrey Hepburn.  Mona Lisa.

In today’s world, the modern muse as defined by Estee Lauder is pretty accurate I think.  I thought about what it means to be the perfect woman today and while there is no such thing as perfect, the expectations of a woman today are, to say the least, contradictory.  Someone with dual sides, which come together and complement each other in one woman, giving her the fortitude and ability to fulfil her role as a woman today.

So my muse would be someone strong, yet gentle towards her loved ones. Someone who goes after her dream but doesn’t lose sight of her values.  Someone warm and affectionate who isn’t afraid to be cool and calm when she has to.  Someone who makes the most out of her life and strives to make a difference, and who can do all that with grace.

I am nowhere near there yet. Lolol. Although I will someday okay! Hahaha.

(Actually I think my muse would be Audrey Hepburn.  Too bad I have nothing in common with her besides our first name. ._.)

Estee Lauder’s Modern Muse is their new fragrance!

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Is this not the most gorgeous photo composition you’ve ever seen? I don’t know much about flowers but I’m hazarding a guess – peonies? The pale pinkness of the peonies complement the dusky pink and navy blue of the perfume bottle beautifully.

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Went for Modern Muse launch with Bobo!

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The top of the bottle is a stylized strong straight bow, a direct inspiration from Estee Lauder’s first fragrance, Youth Dew.

CIMG2485The bottle is made of strong glass with sleek lines, yet it’s also feminine with the bow and curved edges, representing the duality of Modern Muse.

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Being the opposite of a muse. Lolol.  Drinking tea unglamorously.

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My #audfit! Is it in theme or is it in theme? Dusky pink off shoulder top from Twenty3, jeans from Younghungryfree, with my Emoda shoes.

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Bobo waiting for the Estee Lauder representative to tell us more about Modern Muse.

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They explained the dual different yet complementary notes in the perfume.

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Two distinct scents are fused together to make one fragrance.  One is floral – jasmine which smells absolutely divine – feminine, sweet and gentle.  The jasmine is infused with mandarin and honeysuckle to bring a spark of freshness to it.

The other is a woody accord – Madagascar vanilla, amber wood and musk.  I don’t have a lot of experience in fragrances but this woody smell was very unique and quite intoxicating too.

CIMG2493We received wrist ribbons doused in the fragrance, and a gold bow charm with it. ^^

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Received a bottle of my own Modern Muse!  The packaging is sooooo pretty I can’t even.  The design is hand drawn!

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Open the box and nestled inside is the luxurious bottle. ^^

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Ok the truth is I’ve never owned a single bottle of perfume and I’m so glad this is my first! Because of the dual-impression, each woman connects with the fragrance in her own way.  For me the floral scent of jasmine with the fruity undertones are the key focus. ^^

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To me, Modern Muse is fresh and strong without being overpowering.  The main accord is floral and it smells damn feminine but not overly so either. :D

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Psssst, I bring you good news. I have another giveaway from Estee Lauder yay! Anyways, this time I’ll be giving away a bottle of Modern Muse to 5 lucky readers out there!

Mad love how generous Estee Lauder is with giveaways.

Leave a comment below with your name, e-mail and blog link (optional) and tell me why would you like a bottle of Modern Muse. Then proceed to upload a photo on Instagram of or with the Modern Muse with the hashtags #mymodernmuse #FourfeetnineMMM

 

 

 

Posted in AudVanity, Audvertorial | 15 Comments

Modern Muse

What is a muse?

No, it’s not to cause someone to laugh. ಠ_ಠ

CIMG2510

 

A muse is an inspiration to someone (whether for their creativity or otherwise), usually a woman.

Estee Lauder thinks I am an inspiration!!! Okay I’m really not being self-deprecating but not really.  An inspiration would be the expected Mother Theresa.  Princess Diana. A muse, Audrey Hepburn.  Mona Lisa.

In today’s world, the modern muse as defined by Estee Lauder is pretty accurate I think.  I thought about what it means to be the perfect woman today and while there is no such thing as perfect, the expectations of a woman today are, to say the least, contradictory.  Someone with dual sides, which come together and complement each other in one woman, giving her the fortitude and ability to fulfil her role as a woman today.

So my muse would be someone strong, yet gentle towards her loved ones. Someone who goes after her dream but doesn’t lose sight of her values.  Someone warm and affectionate who isn’t afraid to be cool and calm when she has to.  Someone who makes the most out of her life and strives to make a difference, and who can do all that with grace.

I am nowhere near there yet. Lolol. Although I will someday okay! Hahaha.

(Actually I think my muse would be Audrey Hepburn.  Too bad I have nothing in common with her besides our first name. ._.)

Estee Lauder’s Modern Muse is their new fragrance!

CIMG2491

Is this not the most gorgeous photo composition you’ve ever seen? I don’t know much about flowers but I’m hazarding a guess – peonies? The pale pinkness of the peonies complement the dusky pink and navy blue of the perfume bottle beautifully.

CIMG2443

Went for Modern Muse launch with Bobo!

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The top of the bottle is a stylized strong straight bow, a direct inspiration from Estee Lauder’s first fragrance, Youth Dew.

CIMG2485The bottle is made of strong glass with sleek lines, yet it’s also feminine with the bow and curved edges, representing the duality of Modern Muse.

CIMG2492

Being the opposite of a muse. Lolol.  Drinking tea unglamorously.

CIMG2488
My #audfit! Is it in theme or is it in theme? Dusky pink off shoulder top from Twenty3, jeans from Younghungryfree, with my Emoda shoes.

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Bobo waiting for the Estee Lauder representative to tell us more about Modern Muse.

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They explained the dual different yet complementary notes in the perfume.

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Two distinct scents are fused together to make one fragrance.  One is floral – jasmine which smells absolutely divine – feminine, sweet and gentle.  The jasmine is infused with mandarin and honeysuckle to bring a spark of freshness to it.

The other is a woody accord – Madagascar vanilla, amber wood and musk.  I don’t have a lot of experience in fragrances but this woody smell was very unique and quite intoxicating too.

CIMG2493We received wrist ribbons doused in the fragrance, and a gold bow charm with it. ^^

CIMG2509

 

Received a bottle of my own Modern Muse!  The packaging is sooooo pretty I can’t even.  The design is hand drawn!

CIMG2511

 

Open the box and nestled inside is the luxurious bottle. ^^

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Ok the truth is I’ve never owned a single bottle of perfume and I’m so glad this is my first! Because of the dual-impression, each woman connects with the fragrance in her own way.  For me the floral scent of jasmine with the fruity undertones are the key focus. ^^

CIMG2519

To me, Modern Muse is fresh and strong without being overpowering.  The main accord is floral and it smells damn feminine but not overly so either. :D

CIMG2512

Psssst, I bring you good news. I have another giveaway from Estee Lauder yay! Anyways, this time I’ll be giving away a bottle of Modern Muse to 5 lucky readers out there!

Mad love how generous Estee Lauder is with giveaways.

Leave a comment below with your name, e-mail and blog link (optional) and tell me why would you like a bottle of Modern Muse. Then proceed to upload a photo on Instagram of or with the Modern Muse with the hashtags #mymodernmuse #FourfeetnineMMM

Posted in AudVanity, Audvertorial | 11 Comments

Mayfair Lady

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Did you know there’s a newly opened Beauty Hall in Pavilion!? My mother’s dream come true hahahaha she really likes facials fyi.

I went through those gilded doors…

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Wow.  This is like Hogwarts.  But for beauty salons.

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Instead of Gryffindor, I went to Mayfair. Lolol.

Mayfair is a beauty salon specializing in beauty, slimming and spa services.  They’ve been around for 29 years!

I was invited to visit to check out their services.  It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it. *flexes muscles #jokes

Inside I was ushered into a cosy consulting room.

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And given tea!  Tea makes everything better!  Also pink products and mirrors are a big bonus. Hehehe.

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Since it was a taitai type of thing to do (going to salon) I also dress tai tai la.

The Mayfair ladies asked what my problem areas were.  I wanted to say height but nothing to do about it wtf.  Second biggest problem is the stretch marks I got after pregnancy. T_____T

Actually my whole torso is a problem area after I had Fighter.  Throughout the whole pregnancy, I diligently applied bio oil and the Clarins stretch mark oil on my tummy – I even brought the oil to the hospital – and didn’t get one stretch mark on my stomach.

But what I didn’t bank on was the severe water retention that came with the pre-eclampsia.  Let me show you a diagram.

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Learned my drawing skillz from art class at Moho wtf. Anyway this is a crude drawing of my torso la hahaha. That spot in the middle is my belly button. Dotted lines are where my hips are normally.

The two moneybags on the side were pouches of fluid hanging off my hips literally like a spare tire.  These eventually went away after I delivered Fighter but because of the rapid water gain and loss, I was left with horrible stretch marks all on my sides and back.  Cannot wear bikini ever. T__________T

Besides that, my tummy also has the usual loose skin and sagging pouch that comes with being pregnant and having a C section.  So I told Mayfair about these problems and they recommended some treatments to target these areas.

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My therapist brought me into the room where I’d be doing my treatments.  So luxurious one!

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Like a hotel ah!  Complete with very luxe looking bathtub some more.

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First treatment was Intensive Frequency Treatment.

The therapist explained that the device, applied to the problem area, emits radio waves that penetrate the skin that helps improves blood circulation.

I was also told that it also stimulates the dermal layer to produce more collagen so skin is tightened… and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

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Like this!

It’s warm and massage-y thus very shiok hahaha.  Nearly dozed off.

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Okay to be honest I was really surprised with the result! I went in with no expectations and didn’t really expect to see any obvious results.

She did my right side (the reddish one) only to show me the difference.  And suddenly I had half a waist!  (As opposed to looking like a tube of toilet paper normally).  See how my waist curves in on my right?

My hips are normally a bit fleshy too but she asked me to feel them and they were suddenly smaller as well!  And… softer.  A bit funny to touch but she explained that the fat inside was zapped away hence the softness and ‘emptiness’.

(Btw I apologize for the stretched out belly button.  That also happens with pregnancy. :X)

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Next, the MediJet  device was applied to my torso that delivered a  painless electrical current. The current would stimulate my core muscles and flex them and tighten them that way. D: It’s like exercise but for lazy people hahaha. The oil that the therapist gently applied would also help with skin tightening and my stretch marks.

The Mayfair staffs were really professional, they even shared the benefits of this treatment which actually helps  boost metabolism and cell regeneration, and rejuvenates the skin. The device also makes the nutrients in the oil absorb faster.

It felt so weird!! Not in a bad way, but the current really stimulated my muscles and… my hips were spasming WTF. Hahahaha.  Like how when you knock your knee, your leg jerks up? It was like that!

Suddenly I was Shakira wtf.  My hips didn’t lie. HAHAHA.

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One side done. Visible difference to my stretchmarks!

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The side that’s not done yet, to show the difference.

Third treatment was Heat Circulation!

First, Detoxification Oil is applied on my skin.  The benefits are detox obviously – eliminating toxins and water retention in the body system.  Together with the heat treatment later, it helps to improve blood circulation and lymphatic drainage.

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After oil is applied, they wrapped me in cling wrap and then placed me a heat blanket on me.

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Hi!!! From my own personal sauna!  I didn’t wrap my upper body and arms cos I don’t feel like I have a lot of fat to lose there hahaha.

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Besides I need my arms free to take more pictures.

It was really warm but bearable.  I could feel myself starting to sweat under the cling wrap, exactly like a sauna but without the suffocation wtf. (I have a slight phobia of saunas; once I went into one and couldn’t breathe and when I tried to exit someone accidentally locked the door from outside T____T)

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And then after the Heat Circulation treatment was done, I took a nice shower and washed off the sweat and residual detox oil. ^^

I was feeling quite guilty about leaving Fighter for a whole afternoon to do pampering but quite glad I did it! The overall experience was very soothing and because of the second treatment I actually felt healthy and like I worked out (doing situps hahaha). Therapist was also careful and very gentle in her work and made sure I felt very comfortable throughout the whole treatment.

And best of all I could see an obvious difference for my love handles and stretch marks, which is really something!

I felt like the treatments Mayfair provided and the overall service were really suited to my needs as a new mother so mommies do it for yourself and your sanity! Hehe.

Mayfair is currently having a promo – just pay RM 29 for any 5 treatments of your choice! You can find out more at their website and Facebook page or contact them for a consultation.

And and! Giveaway for my readers. :D :D Thank you Mayfair!

Please comment (again leaving your email address) and tell me what would you like fixed about yourself physically (Sorry plastic surgery not included) – it could be your skin, your face, body, anything.  What you’d like to change about yourself and why.  You can be as elaborate as you want, and story me how you came to have such condition or what you’ve done to fix it before… anything!  The TEN most interesting answers will win a customized treatment each at Mayfair. ^^

Giveaway ends 27th July 2014. Shortlisted winners will be contacted personally through email!

 

Posted in AudVanity, Audvertorial | 22 Comments

Why being a mom splits you into two

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#butfirstletmetakeaselfie

So we have been away for 3 days now.

It’s not that I haven’t left before – we did go to Tokyo for a few days and I went to Bangkok for a weekend too.  But nothing this far!!!

Originally we planned on bringing Fighter with us one, hence the two week trip.  But our parents convinced us it’s unwise to bring him (jet lag, having to care for him 24/7 with no family around in a strange environment…) so we shortened our trip a bit and went without him.

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Take this as an illustration as to how clingy I was before we left wtf.

The week before I was vaccilating between looking forward to going on our trip and dread of leaving.

We were so clingy we even brought him with us in the car to the airport wtf. MIL came with us so she could take care of Fighter on the way back.  (Btw not my idea hor, I was a bit worried about Fighter being in the car for nearly two hours but Fatty wanted to.  Even rooted for Fighter to wake up in time so he could come with us.)

When we left him in the car and walked in to the airport I was feeling pretty all right.  But then with no warning… the tears pricked my eyes. Goddammit.

I’ve been away before! Why I cannot do it now!  Calmed myself down.

But then an ang moh family passed by.  The father was pushing a baggage trolley and the mother had with her a stroller with a Maxicosi carrier strapped on it, a small baby inside.

T_____T

Wah guilt stabbed me.  How come these two can bring a tiny baby with them and we can’t bring our nine month old?

OKOK think rationally.  Maybe they’re only going to… Singapore.  And small baby sometimes much easier to handle than bigger wrigglier ones.

OKAY FEEL BETTER.

Then we turn the corner and see an Asian family now with two kids and another baby in a pram. T______T

The guilt just keeps on coming wtf.

When the attendant announced that families with infants can board first, I stared at Fatty accusingly (as though it’s his fault wtf).

When I saw them loading folded up strollers on to the plane, my heart lurched wtf.

Even when I watched stupid Noah on the flight there had to be a baby involved!!! Obviously I teared. T_____T

Is this world going through a population boom or something!!! WHY SO MANY SMALL BALD HUMANS AROUND ONE.

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Sien wtf.

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I knew I would miss him but I didn’t realize how much it would color this trip.

Upon seeing kids around us, I alternate between guilt and anger wtf.  It’s like I’ve reverted to my original kid hating self wtf (yea I didn’t like kids before this) and irrationally get mad that people bring their kids out WTF.

I thought it would be a good break for Fatty and me and it has been!  For the first time in a year we haven’t had a little critter around to focus all our attention on, so our attention is now spent on talking and listening to each other and having fun.  I’m able to just relax and be me a year ago.

But every time my mom or Fatty’s sister sends us a picture or a video it hits me.  Looking at a photo or video of Fighter’s latest antics – his backward attempts at crawling, his silly faces and his screams of laughter – makes me feel better that he’s doing just fine.  And worse because he’s doing fine, without me.

This is what motherhood is about isn’t it? It’s about duality.

It’s feeling conflicted all the time.  It’s feeling guilty yet relieved that we didn’t bring him.

It’s wanting to be the one doing everything for him yet watching the clock and wondering when I’ll have some time of my own.

It’s about how you can’t imagine a life without him anymore.  But the next second because you’re so drained you do.

Is this how it’s going to be forever?  Once you become a parent, you never get to stop being one even if your child isn’t with you anymore or is all grown up.  It’s like the curse of parenthood wtf.

If your child acts up and you lose your temper, you end up feeling guilty later and trying to make up for it with extra hugs.

Or maybe you can’t wait to leave the screaming brats at home and go to work.  But at work you’re looking at the clock waiting for the minute you can rush off to daycare and sweep baby up in your arms again.

When he gets his driving license, you’re proud of him yet terrified he’ll crash his car.

You can’t wait for them to grow up so you finally get your life back.  But then the empty nest seems too silent.  And lonely.

So this is what motherhood is about.  Being two people at once.

Nobody wants to admit it because that would make you a bad mom.  Feeling happy about going on holiday without your kids? Bad mom.  Imagining you never had a baby? Terrible mom.  You’re supposed to be 100% selfless if you’re a mother, and strangely the pressure is much less for dads – for men it’s okay to pursue your own career, to have your interests away from family.

But the truth is, being a mom has more conflict and duality than any other life role.  The sooner we realize that, the sooner we accept and support each other in it. And hopefully the easier it gets.

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In the meantime I’m drowning my sorrows in shopping. Baby shopping that is hahahaha.  Miraculously I haven’t bought anything for myself and I don’t even feel like it.  The sun will rise in the west next wtf.

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Until next week, darling. :)

Posted in AudParenting | 6 Comments

The guilt of weaning

Wow where do I start?

So… I’ve been thinking of weaning for a month or so now.

When I was pregnant, I was determined to breastfeed exclusively for six months.  I even counted the months from October (Fighter’s due date).  April and I’d be free! No more pumping, storing, washing, sterilizing, direct latching.  I could do everything I wanted to since conceiving but never could – like have a cocktail, eat more crap hahaha, do botox…

Then reality hit.  Fighter was born 9 weeks premature. He was tinier than a kitten and as is common knowledge now, breastfeeding him was the best thing I could do.  So I got to work, pumping and direct latching, then pumping again to boost my supply.

It was tough work but eventually I got used to it. My supply stabilized so instead of pumping and feeding every three hours, my pumps petered off to 3-4 times a day, as did my direct latching, and there was abundant supply for drinking as well as freezing.

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Not very impressed wtf.

I was doing great! Thankfully Fighter took to both bottle and breast so I had the freedom to go out without the baby if I wanted to cos nanny or Fatty could feed him. At the same time, although he never rejected the bottle, he still preferred his milk fresh from the source wtf.  So my favorite time of the day would be early in the morning when everyone else is still asleep and it’s just me and Fighter nursing.

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You can’t tell from this photo wtf but after Fighter has his fill, he pulls off the nipple, looks up and me and gives me the most beaming smile I’ve ever seen.  The smile says, thank you and I’m soooo happy you’re my mommy because really your milk tastes awesome and you make me so happy, did I already say that?

Hahahahah really one.

So when I got to six months after birth I thought, hey he’s two months premature after all.  If I stop at six months, he’s only four months adjusted.  Maybe I should go on until April to make it a full 6 months adjusted age (eight months actual).

But when I got to April I was like, hmmm I got to eight months without any issues.  It doesn’t really bother me anymore.  Why not try for a year?

One other reason I was compelled to keep breastfeeding was that breastfeeding kept us both sane wtf.  Mostly when he wouldn’t go to sleep (breastfeeding was his sedative) or couldn’t calm down from a tantrum (breastfeeding is also a tranquilizer).

So this is where I am now.  Fighter will turn one next month which will make it a full year of breastfeeding.  While I’m not horribly averse to the idea of continuing to nurse, I think it’s time I end our breastfeeding journey.  My body has nourished Fighter sufficiently for the past year but the chapter must end.  Fighter doesn’t seem to care anymore where he gets his milk from (there’s too many other distractions in life!); in fact he doesn’t seem that interested in milk itself anymore.  As for putting him to sleep, it maybe works about 10% of the time now. My supply has also dropped significantly, maybe due to Fighter’s reduced interest, so I’ve had to supplement with formula for a few weeks now anyway.  It’s time to reclaim my life and my boobs.

That said, it hasn’t been an easy decision.  I decided to stop around his first birthday but I still struggle with guilt and hesitance.  There is a lot of breastfeeding awareness in my generation (compared to our mothers) and if not for that, much less babies would have gotten the benefits of breast milk.  But the other extreme is the crazies on certain breastfeeding networks online who insist on bf-ing until… like the end of the world wtf.

Cracked nipples killing you? BREAST MILK IS BEST! KEEP ON NURSING!
Nipples actually bleeding? DRINKING A LITTLE BLOOD WON’T HARM THE BABY!
What formula brand is the best? ARE YOU TRYING TO POISON YOUR CHILD?
Going into depression cos baby not feeding well? SO WHAT IF YOU’RE SUICIDAL YOUR BABY WILL BE GREAT

Yes, these are actual advice I’ve read before and frankly, it’s taking things a little way too far.

I know these are extremes but somehow it still gets into your head.  I still struggle with self doubt and guilt over my decision – I even thought I shouldn’t write this post lest I get people telling me BREASTFEEDING IS THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR BABY (you think I dunno ah so please don’t start ok?).  But there must be a balance for everything.

We are taking a trip without Fighter in two days and I’ll bring my pump and try to keep my supply up.  If I succeed, I’ll have something to bribe Fighter with when I come home wtf and I will probably continue to partially breastfeed.  But if it fails I will not fret.  I will come home and enjoy the rest of my mommy journey with my son.

 

 

Posted in AudParenting | 16 Comments

Another friend gets hitched!

Hello! I’m here with lots of preety colorful pictures! Feast your eyes babeh wtf.

Last weekend was one of my closest friends’ Hui Wen’s wedding!  We met I think 6-7 years ago while we were both still in university. Uhhh how we met is… we did NOT meet through blogs wtf.  We did not read each other’s blogs and then when I went to Melbourne to visit my then boyfriend, meet up and tour Melbourne jail together (WTF) and became super good friends from that one trip. Hahahaha.

Anyway we’ve watched each other grow from there and now I’m so touched and honored that I get to be a part of her big day. :D No really, her ROM was super small and she invited like all of ten friends wtf so me and Tim technically made up 20% of her wedding group hahahaha.

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Her ROM was held in Gita Bayu.  So picturesque!!

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Adorable sign leading the way to the wedding. I should have taken more photos of the decor!  But uhh my hands were full.  Of popsicles. :X

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40% of us. Hahahha.  With Fatty, Alison and Suet.

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And Smalls and Jaclyn behind!

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Then wedding ceremony starts!  The adorable flower girls.  The theme was like romantic and rustic with a lot of wildflowers and varying shades of blue and violet.

Hui Wen was going crazy running all over Bangkok looking for flower girls dresses that suited the theme and that were beige/cream.  Not that easy to find apparently!

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One of the bridesmaids, Hui Wen’s sister Ting with the ringbearer Rocky (not in photo). Ting wore a dusky pink jumpsuit for her gown.  Coolest bridesmaid dress ever!?!?

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HERE COMES THE BRIDE!

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The exchange of vows. T______________T  Love the soft drapes on the arch! And the chandelier!  Wedding decor was done by the same planner who did mine, Audrey Chow. :D

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Hui Wen saying her vows. It was here I got all teary eyed. She started it with her emotional voice! Lolol.

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You may kiss the bride!!!!

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I now pronounce you man and wife! Erm emotional moment but this woman is pulling rose petals out of her dress (cos everyone was showering them with it hahahah).

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Super not glam hahahaha. But very in line with her personality. :)

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Bride and us!  We all amazingly came decked in florals although the dress code was meant to be pastel/jewel tones.

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Me and my Fatty. Hehehe.  He came decked out in jewel and pastels though! Pastel yellow shirt and deep blue slacks.

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With Suet!

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Here’s the ringbearer! Rocky – the best dressed member of the party hahahaha.

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Ahhhh I love you Rocky!

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I really love you wtf.

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Ok I know it’s Hui Wen’s wedding but this Rocky is totally stealing her thunder how!

(actually I really like this picture cos my legs look very long here hahahaha.)

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Look at those widdle legs. Any shorter and they won’t be able to reach the ground. HAHAHA.

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*crazed fan

Hahahah at this point he slobbered all over my leg. I’m like okay slobber all you want. ^^

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And then! He can do tricks for food!

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Playing dead. HAHAHAH.

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And then I not satisfied cos I was out of reach before and couldn’t sprinkle petals on the bride. So I insisted she stand still and let me throw flowers at her WTF.

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God I look like I’m a monk blessing her HAHAHAHA.

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And now I’m suddenly kowtowing WTF.

Happy marriage woman! May you and CM have a blessed abundant marriage full of love, health, happiness and… BABIESSS.

Fighter needs more friends.

p/s: If you haven’t noticed, I have Facebook comments now! Imotiv started getting spammy :( And I decided Facebook comments are the best way to purge anonymous trolls if any.  If you want to comment something disagreeable go ahead! But stand by it and don’t hide behind anonymity lo.

 

Posted in AudSocialButterfly | 7 Comments