Monday, May 27, 2013

10 things to look forward to when baby pops out

I’m now entering the final month of my pregnancy. It’s been a long journey and I can definitely feel the effects of gravity on my body. Most of my spare hours these past few weeks have been spent in bed… not necessarily sleeping, but just lying down. The weight of my belly is really pushing down hard on me pelvis, back and legs, as well as upwards against my chest and lungs.

I’m hoping for a last burst of energy to finish off some of my baby sewing projects still outstanding and other final nesting things like house cleaning, packing my hospital bag and putting the final touches to baby’s room.

Until then, I’m spending my spare hours resting my tired, stretched body and dreaming about all the lovely things to look forward to when baby arrives…

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10 things I am looking forward to when baby pops out

Being able to utilize the remaining 90% of my wardrobe again

Not having my bladder being used as a squeeze toy all day long

Having my mum here to cook and look after us

Being able to give proper, close, tight hugs again

Indulging in a big plate of sashimi

Enjoying that celebratory glass of champagne

Babywearing a little one again

Sniffing that heavenly new baby smell

Having a little girl to dress up in pretty things

Finally being able to meet and welcome this little person into the world and our family

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

An unforgettable lesson

Growing up, mum taught me many essential and practical things. Like how to mince garlic the right way, or how vegies must be cooked just right before lunch/dinner and served piping hot, or how cake mix must always be stirred in the same direction consistently to incorporate the air in properly.

But one unforgettable and profound lesson I learnt from her the hard way was: How NEVER to dodge and lie about school work.

This is the story…

I was around seven eight years old at that time. One afternoon after I arrived home school, my mum routinely went through my school bag to clear my snack box and probably to check my homework. Inside she found a construction paper with an unfinished drawing. So she asked me about it.

After going round the bush a little, she got it out from me that it was a drawing I was meant to have finished and handed in to the teacher at Moral Education class. But as I didn’t finish it in time, I had hidden it away in my school bag and kept quiet about it.

It may sound like just a little thing, but my mum took it very seriously. She told me immediately that I must go back to school to see the teacher, apologise for what I did and hand the work in. I was very upset by this time and was bawling my eyes out, begging to be let off. But mum remained firm on the matter. She hauled me to the car and drove me back to the school.

I attended a convent/mission school attached to the local Catholic church and my Moral Education teacher was actually one of the nuns at the church convent. Mum marched me right up the door of the nun’s quarters located next to the school and asked for the Sister A.

[Right Photo: Typical outfit of the the sisters at the convent attached to give you an idea what they looked like. Image Source]

Sister A came down to meet us, probably a little puzzled as to what was happening. She listened to my mum’s explanation of the situation. Mum then prompted me to say what I had to come to say. I immediately burst into tears and bawled out my confession and apology.

I vaguely remember a twitch at the corner of Sister A’s mouth, but she smiled kindly as she spoke to me and accepted my apology and told me it was okay.

Looking back in retrospect, the issue itself was actually not that a big of a deal and could have been easily overlooked or ignored by a lesser parent than my mother. I can imagine now how mum must have been tired after work or been preoccupied with handling the afternoon chores and cooking. But she chose not to let this opportunity for correcting a misdeed and reinforcing a value go by.

So, mum, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for trudging through the tough life lessons with me. Happy Mother’s Day.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Pink!

This is a little overdue, but for those of you who don’t know yet, here’s a little preview of what we are expecting to come out of the oven this coming July…

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A little somebody we can dress in ribbons, lace, florals and pink blossoms!

Friday, May 03, 2013

This is my final will and testament…

Recently hubby and I have finally gotten round to start planning and organising our will. We have been doing some research and started having some initial conversations with a solicitor recommended by our insurance provider.

The solicitor sent us a checklist of things to think about before he meets us, so we can be ready to run through these key points together with him, which include:

  • Who we want as our Executors?
  • Who do wish to name as guardians for our children in the event of our death?
  • Instructions as to the disposal of your body.
  • Gifts of any specific items that you wish to make, e.g. jewellery, ornaments etc.
  • How do we wish to dispose of the bulk of your whole estate, after giving any gifts. Will it go to one person or should it be split into shares? What would happen if any of these people die before you, what will happen to their share, e.g. should it go to their children?

Writing a will is rather a depressing process. I think the most depressing bit of it all is the naming of guardianship. I choke up each time I think about it.

You know those movies about parents who die and their children go and live with a family member or close friend? Films like Raising Helen or Life As We Know It or even Harry Potter.

Before I had kids, I use to laugh along with most people over the misadventures of the new guardian who got dumped with these kids unexpectedly. But nowadays, I think more about the parents who died and the children they left behind.

The Yaus

It’s extremely painful to think about what would happen to your own children being suddenly being left alone in the world if you happen to die unexpectedly.

Sometimes on the road home from work as we head to pick up Nathan from daycare, we might pass by a car accident, or encounter a clumsy driver who swerves a little into our lane, or get cut off by a rude driver. I always gasp, clutch onto my seat, and immediately start thinking about what would happen to little Nathan if he had to wait and wait and wait for mummy and daddy to come, and who would for once never turn up at the door ever again.

Most people without children would not bat en eye over the fact that these children would naturally go under the care of another family member, close friend or guardian. I mean, what’s the big deal right? Death happens sometimes. Someone will look after them. They’ll get over it eventually.

But they will not be able to comprehend the tremendous weight and significance of the thousand little things that will be forgotten and overlooked forever…

  • Who will know how to cut his peanut butter toast into the triangles exactly the way he likes?
  • Who will know how to cut apples into the little munchable cubes perfectly-sized for his little mouth?
  • Who will know our clever rendition of “wheels on the bus/tractor/cement truck/dump truck/car-carrier-truck”?
  • Who will remember to open the window blinds at 11.45am every Friday to watch the rubbish truck go by?
  • Who will know his favourite breakfast cereal combo of Weet-Bix and Cheerios with warm milk in winter and cold milk in summer?
  • Who will remember to say grace together before each meal, thank God for each specific dish on the table and bless everyone by name in prayer?
  • Who will remember to make sure his cuddly buddies Quack-Quack, Hoot and Bao-Bao are tucked in snuggly next to him in bed every night?

There are probably a thousand other little things which each on it’s own seem small and significant, but when put altogether make sense of life as a family… the family my child knows.

So on that same same line of thinking, as sad as this true story is of a young mother who lost her little girl to cancer, this post she wrote made perfect sense in it’s own twisted and sad way…

“…Just the other day, the TV was showing a Talent Program in China. One of the contestants was a Mongolian little boy who sang beautifully… He was 10 and he lost both his parents at a tender age. He sang a song to his mommy entitled "The mommy in my dreams". At that moment, it hit me like a thousand waves… I realized all of a sudden that I am so grateful that I am the one who has lost you and not the other way around. It has never occurred to me that you could have been the ones hurting so badly instead. All this while, if there had been a way, I was so determined, so willing and more than prepared to give up my worthless life in exchange for yours. I had prayed fervently, day and night crying out to whoever was in charge of human lives: Take mine instead, please!!! Spare my child, let her live!!! That night, I saw how the little boy was in pain. That night, I remembered my own pain. There was absolutely no doubt that you could have been the one suffering such indescribable pain for the rest of your life... That night, I am oddly and truly relieved that I am the one who has lost you and that I am the one suffering instead. It is such an odd feeling…”

So folks, if you have kids, writing a will is pretty necessary… but do brace yourself for the emotional roller coaster in the process.

You must know from experience that when it comes to picking somebody else to raise your kids, no one seems right. No one is you.
– Lindsay David, Raising Helen

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Bitter Medicines

Lately our household has been bugged with the cold/flu bug. The air is filled with the sound of phlegmy hacking, coughing, sneezing and blowing of noses.

Almost every winter or approach of winter I go through this. Nothing I do seems to be able to help me dodge it completely. I went for a flu-jab, took Vitamin-C, kept my hands as clean as possible… but still I can never evade it.

The worst bit of a cold for me is the coughing. It always gets worse at night when the phlegm builds up and by the middle of the night it has become impossible to breath and my body is rudely awakened by a violent fit of coughing. Sometimes it was so bad that I had to sleep sitting up like the Elephant Man.

Anyway, allow me to share my favourite remedy for times like this…

It’s is called Senega & Ammonia.

I have to tell you that it is absolutely one of the most disgusting tasting concoctions in the world.

It was recommended by a doctor a few years ago to help with relieving some symptoms of a case of bronchitis I was going through. It’s meant to help open up the airways in your lungs to make it easier to cough out all that yucky phlegm.

It was like a miracle cure for my cough. In just a one or two days, my coughing had eased tremendously and I was sleeping easier at night.

But let me reiterate again that it really is quite the most horrible things you’ve probably ever tasted in your life.

However I was well-trained by a master-drinker of nasty medicines. You see my father always told me “The yuckier and smellier the medicine, the better it is for you”.

As a child during times of sickness, we were made to drink bitter tasting medicines like the classic Hor Yan Hor herbal tea. Or worse still, we might pay a visit to the medicine man at the shop corner in Taman Foh Sang to gulp down terrible tasting black liquids concocted on the spot. How I loathed those times.

Anyway let’s take a turn on this topic to another episode of Stories of Long Ago

My father often tells me that the bitter medicines I had to drink were nothing compared to what he was made to swallow.

As a child growing up in the village, he too was made to drink bitter black medicines to cure illness. But the ingredients that went into those potions were much worse, which included things like cockroaches, insects, lizard dung… ground up together into some yucky mixture to drink.

I don’t know if he was pulling my leg at that time. But I remember his face being completely serious as he told me how ‘not so bad’ the medicine I was drinking was compared to the cockroach dung he has to eat as a boy.

As a boy growing up in a poor village environment, I suppose families always resorted to home remedies first to cure an illness or ailment. Only in dire circumstances when they had exhausted all options would they finally pay a visit to a western doctor.

My father told me the story of one time having to carry his younger brother piggy-back on his shoulders in the middle of the night to see a doctor. Apparently he was suffering from a fever which had gotten worse and worse almost to the point of delirium. My father was only a boy at that time, and his brother only a year or two younger than him. As it turned out, his younger brother got better after the visit to the doctor, since my uncle is now well and alive today.

However not all situations turn out this way, my father’s eldest brother too had suffered from a fever but in his situation, the fever got so bad until it resulted in brain damage. He eventually came through and survived the fever and illness, but it left him somewhat simple-minded as a result.

This uncle eventually died quite young when I was just barely out of toddlerhood. But I do have vague memories of him and I don’t remember anything strange or simple about him. In fact I remember him as being a mild and gentle man who was happy to sit down with us children and play or talk to us a little. I have one memory of him sitting down on the floor with me and my younger brother singing ‘Do Re Mi’ along with us.

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For more stories on my dad’s village life, you can check out these chapters…

My First Home

Money Mattered

Fun Games and Happy Times

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