Saturday, April 20, 2013

When it rains…

Phew! When it rains it pours. Once I got back into the swing of things in the sewing department, the requests and orders just keep pouring in.

There is so much to tell, but lately most of my spare time has been spent at the sewing machine. But I resolved that at some point I MUST share some snapshots to show you guys what’s been going on in the background all this while.

Here are some new favourites…

Boo-Boo Bag BuddiesDSC03669

Sophie the Giraffe Leash

Sakura Bloom Nursing Cover


More stuff posted at Serenely Made and at my Etsy Store.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Why should we care about our heritage… cont’d

Last month I shared this question I was pondering over from a discussion with hubs: Why should we care about knowing our heritage?

I came across this New York Times article about why it’s important to ensure children know about the family stories and history. Here’s an excerpt…

The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: Develop a strong family narrative.

I first heard this idea from Marshall Duke, a colourful psychologist at Emory University. In the mid-1990s, Doctor Duke was asked to help explore myth and ritual in American families.

Doctor Duke’s wife, Sara, a psychologist who works with children with learning disabilities, noticed something about her students. “The ones who know a lot about their families tend to do better when they face challenges” she said.

Her husband was intrigued, and along with a colleague, Robyn Fivush, set out to test her hypothesis. They developed a measure called the “Do You Know?” scale that asked children to answer 20 questions. Examples included: Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your mom and dad went to high school? Do you know where your parents met? Do you know an illness or something really terrible that happened in your family? Do you know the story of your birth?

Doctor Duke and Doctor Fivush asked those questions of four dozen families in the summer of 2001, and taped several of their dinner table conversations. They then compared the children’s results to a battery of psychological tests the children had taken, and reached an overwhelming conclusion. The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The “Do You Know?” scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness.

Doctor Duke said that children who have the most self-confidence have what he and Doctor Fivush call a strong “intergenerational self.” They know they belong to something bigger than themselves. >> read rest of article



Read more on our little family project to compile our Stories of Long Ago

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The end of an era… and the start of a new one

I mentioned in my last post that one of the biggest questions going through my head is about Nathan and his relationship with the new baby. Managing sibling rivalry/jealousy is generally one of the biggest topics and FAQs in all the parenting forums related to preparing for a second baby.

DSC03606Sometimes I wonder how I’d be able to love another little one as enormously and completely as I already do with Nathan. He’s growing into the cutest, smartest, affectionate and most lovable little chap that I just love him so much to bits.

Some of the adorable and loving things he does…

  • Suddenly holding up his arms asking for a “Huugg!” for no apparent reason
  • Giving me an impromptu kiss while holding on to my shoulders as I help him into his pants
  • Once he came up to me while I was sitting with my head down having a difficult moment and tenderly put his hand on my shoulder while asking “whas da matta, mummy?”

At the moment I’m probably a big central part of his whole world… his main playmate, caretaker, comforter and companion. But after this I know I will somehow need to manage dividing my time, attention and even lap space. So I agonise quite a bit over what the situation would be life from Nathan’s perspective… would he feel sidelined? Less loved? Less important? Neglected?

I wish I could somehow make him understand everything… to prepare him in some way… to help him see that my love for him will not be any less.

You could say I’m almost grieving a little over the end of this era with Nathan… after all he is sort of being forced to grow up in a way. Without fully comprehending  what is going on, he will be compelled to have to deal with the fact that it will be no longer just about him.

Of course it’s true that he will be losing his only-child status and exclusive relationship and undivided attention from mummy and daddy, but on the other hand he will be gaining a new sibling to love and play with for life.

Well I suppose we are coming to an end of an era.

But it is also the beginning of a new one.

Monday, April 08, 2013

What’s been on my mind

So talking about this pregnancy, here are some common questions I often ponder over…

Is the sleeping arrangement going to work well?
I spent hours picturing what the family dynamics, daily routines, household activities and everyday sounds would be like to figure out which room to use as the new nursery. It mustn’t be too close to Nathan’s bedroom or the main living area, but would choosing a room right at the back be too isolating for baby? There’s also the night feeds to consider and the proximity to the bathroom and guest rooms etc.

What would baby’s habits and personality be like?
Would she/she be easy-going like big brother? Or would I be stepping into completely new territory? Would I be able to apply all the tricks and routines we learnt the first time round? Or would I have to unlearn everything and start all over?

How would Nathan respond to the new baby?
This is probably the biggest question I ask myself all the time. Of course I know I cannot expect everything to be a bed of roses immediately or all the time. But there will be plenty of adjustments and I truly hope I can have the wisdom to navigate through the challenges.


On the practical side of the preparation, the nursery still looks like this…


I guess the nesting instinct hasn’t kicked in yet. But I’m still pretty confident that there’s plenty of time still. In the meantime, I’m spending all my spare hours as much as possible in bed.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Baby movements… the sequel

DSC03617A parting shot of my tippy toes: "Farewell tosie posies, see you in three months!"

In my last post, I mentioned that baby’s movements seem stronger and more apparent compared to the first time round. Hubby says it might be an indication of a fiery personality… well, we can only wait and see.

Here are some observations of this baby’s dance moves in my belly…

Flipping and rolling is a lot more apparent this time round. Maybe it’s due to everything being ‘looser’ and more flexible. At each check-up and scan, baby is always in a complete different position. Sometimes sideways, sometimes pressing outward against my belly, and sometimes completely upside down with his/her head pushing down on my bladder and pelvic bone.

This little one can really throw some hard kicks and punches. Sometimes I feel like I’m having a mini earthquake in there as my whole belly quivers with activity. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I get the feeling that this little one gets very excited when he/she hears big brother’s happy squeals and laughter nearby. Perhaps children just naturally respond to the sound of other children’s laughter and play.

Spasmic fetal hiccups are not as apparent with this one. With Nathan, I distinctly remember experiencing series of rhythmic spasms for a minute or two every now and then. With this one, the spasms are more sudden and once off. Maybe like a sneeze?

One funny movement I feel is whenever I turn over in bed, I’ll suddenly feel a series of little kicks and spasms inside me. I picture baby who has probably settled down to a comfortable position being flipped over and is frantically waving and kicking its tiny arms and feet going “Aarrrgghh… mummy! mummy! what’s happening???”. Anyway this are the sorts of images I amuse myself with when I’m thinking about baby.

The fetal movements seem to be more apparent when I’m sitting still or lying down. Perhaps it’s because when I’m not moving about, I’d likely notice the movements more. But my feeling is that this baby finds the swaying and rocking from walking about soothing. I am definitely looking to have a little one to babywear again.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Pregnancy #2… how is it different?

So I know I haven’t been chronicling much about this current pregnancy. Of course the whole novelty of the whole experience is not the same, being the second time round. But I don’t think I have been thinking about it any less, just thinking about it from a different perspective.


Some main differences I’ve noticed about pregnancy #2…

Morning sickness and food aversions
Compared to the first time round, this experience has been dramatically different. I literally felt sick to my stomach almost all day long. My sense of smell seemed to be constantly in hyper-sensitive mode which probably exacerbated the whole all-day-long-morning-sickness feeling. Smells I was sensitive to included musty rooms, chicken, raw onions, raw meat, even rice, and changing nappies was a huge ordeal for me every single time. Thankfully the worst is over and my sense of smell seems to have bounced back to normalcy again.

Food cravings
I don’t have huge list of food cravings, but one thing new I noticed is a strange new craving for fizzy soft drinks, especially Coke. I’ve never been a fan of fizzy drinks before this… but nowadays our fridge has to be constantly stocked with bottles of Coke, Sprite and Schweppes.

Popped belly
This time round, my preggy belly popped out waaaay earlier than last time. Perhaps things are just ‘looser’ and less tight than they used to be. So I was already pulling out the maternity clothes at the fourth month whereas the last time I don’t remember having evident signs of a belly until closer to the sixth month. And if the adage holds true, my maternity clothes should eventually become my permanent wardrobe.

Feeling the load
With my bigger belly, I definitely feel the difference in the pressure of my belly’s weight on my pelvic area. I visited a chiropractor which helped ease the pain a little bit after each session. But even the chiropractor says that the pain can never completely go away as baby keeps growing and my belly keeps expanding. The only thing to do is to take it easy with my movements, take smaller steps and walk at a comfortable pace.

Baby kicks and movements
I revisited this article which I blogged about during pregnancy #1. I somehow get the sense that this baby’s movements seem stronger and more apparent than last time. Maybe it’s due to my being more aware of such movements, but I think it’s more so to do with things being a lot more ‘loose’ than before, so there’s more room to wiggle around. It feels like having a wriggly little snake in my belly moving and wiggling around in there all day long. Quite an apt analogy since this one will born in the year of the snake.


P.S. To answer the big FAQ: Have we found out if it’s a boy or girl? No, we have not found out about the gender yet. During the 21-week scan, baby had its legs legs wrapped tightly around the umbilical cord and refused to move or let go no matter how much the radiologist pushed and prodded, so there was no chance to get a peek. Hopefully we’ll find out at the next scan.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Happy Library

In my grandparent’s house in Sri Gading, Batu Pahat, there is a room with one wall packed to the brim from floor to ceiling with books. My mother fondly refers to it as ‘The Happy Library’.

It was of course nothing like the pictures of mansions with a grand library of high ceilings filled with mountains of books. But apparently in those days, their collection was deemed as substantial wealth in books.

Credit to the development of this library is given to a favourite uncle – the youngest of three brothers.

It was this third uncle who first started this little project, buying books for his nieces and nephews, encouraging them to read, and getting everyone to chip in their pocket money to contribute to the library fund for more books. His example instilled a lifelong love for books in my mother and all her other siblings.

Whenever I’m back in my grandparent’s house for a visit, I always enjoy a browse through the dusty old shelves that held such treasure beneath their musty exterior.

I find something special, even almost magical, about looking through the yellowed pages of a book from prior generations. And discovering little notes scrawled in the margins of a page is like uncovering a diamond in the rough.

DSC03610A couple of classic gems from my mums’ literary treasure collection


This post is part of my series on Stories of Long Ago