Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Here we go again!

One awesome thing about being part of a network of mums, whether it's a mothers group or your own personal network of friends, is being able to swap and exchange baby stuff with one another! You can definitely save heaps of money by doing so.

Anyway not long after we found out we were having a girl, a fellow-mummy friend just learnt she was having a baby boy. The fantastic thing is, as she had a girl the first time round, she could pass me her little girl's old baby clothes. And in exchange, I could pass her Nathan's old baby clothes. So tadaa! One less thing to worry about.

Plus my friend has awesome taste, so my baby girl has a beautiful set of lovely outfits waiting for her when she pops out.

DSC03793(Baby girl clothes for #2!)

As I was sorting through the clothes my friend passed on to me, I was hit with a deja vu moment... It seemed just not long ago, when I was sorting through baby blue outfits and contemplating the new normal.

(Sorting through Nathan’s baby clothes back in 2010)

As the roller coaster cart rolls to the top of the hill and I brace myself for the plunge, these four little words flash through my mind: "Here we go again!"

Monday, June 17, 2013

My hospital packing list

One of my favourite type of blog posts is the ‘What’s In My Bag’ type of posts. Probably because I’m just nosy and enjoy having a peek into other people’s bag.

Anyway, as I was writing out out my hospital packing list and packing my hospital bag, I decided to share the list and some snapshots with you. Who knows, maybe some of you first-time mums-to-be might find this helpful.

Not all of the items in my list are necessarily must-haves but are simply personal preference. But I’ve starred* and bolded the items which I definitely consider essential to have in your packing list.

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For Me

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  • Change of clothing / going-home outfit*
  • Nursing tank top / nursing bra* (if you are planning to breastfeed)
  • Undies* (pack a couple old ones that you don’t mind tossing out after)
  • Maternity pads*
  • Towel (if you prefer to use your own)
  • Nursing cover
  • Socks (in case it gets chilly)
  • Books / reading material
  • A few favourite snacks

Essential items to pack for yourself would of course be clothes and underwear. I would recommend packing a couple of cheap or old undies so you don’t mind tossing it out to save the bother of washing them if they get too messed up.

Maternity pads are also an essential item, although some hospitals would likely supply them if you don’t mind using theirs. And if you’re planning to breastfeed, a good nursing bra, nursing top or nursing cover could help make the process a lot easier.

Other nice to have items to pack include a good book and some snacks – maybe a couple of favourite chocolate bars for an energy boost during labour. I also packed some potato chips in case I had a craving for something saltish instead.

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For Baby

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  • Nappies and wipes*
  • A couple of onesies / bodysuits*
  • A couple of baby vests / singlets
  • Baby hat / mittens / socks
  • Baby wrap

The most essential items to have ready for baby are nappies (diapers) and clothes. As my due date is in winter in Australia, my choice of baby clothes are naturally fitting to the season – full bodysuits, vests, socks, mittens, hat and all.

The baby swaddle is really non-essential as the hospital would likely have plenty of linen, wraps and swaddle cloths. But it’s something I recently finished making for baby and am excited to start using it on baby once she’s out.

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In the toiletry bag

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  • Hair accessories (to keep hair out of the way during labour)
  • Massage ball (for labour)
  • Nursing pads (if you are planning to breastfeed)
  • Bodywash, shampoo, cleanser
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Hairbrush / comb
  • Lip gloss and tinted moisturiser (for when guests come to visit)
  • Deodorant
  • Notebook and pen

This is basically your own set of personal items to help you freshen up and get back to feeling normal again after labour. Your hospital would likely supply you with the basic shampoo and soap, but you might feel better using your own to feel like yourself again after a good shower.

It’s also a good idea to pack a few items to put on some colour for the camera or for when guests come to visit. I just tossed in some tinted moisturiser and lip gloss, but it’s totally up to you what else you’d like to throw in.

If you’re planning to breastfeed, nursing pads are somewhat semi-essential as your milk likely won’t come in for the first couple of days. And even without them, you can always use some washcloths or towels to mop up any drips.

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Final items to throw in before we go

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  • Wallet* (ensure you have your ID, medicare card, insurance card in there)
  • Phone + charger*
  • Health records + any relevant documents*
  • Camera + spare battery
  • Tablet
  • Heat therapy bag (something I plan to use to help with labour pains)

The most essential items to remember to throw in would be your wallet, phone and any relevant health records/documents/ID cards etc. And don’t forget the charger for your phone!

If you’re planning to bring your camera, ensure the battery is adequately charged or remember to pack a spare one. I also plan to bring along my tablet to browse the net and keep myself entertained if I happen to have any quiet moments alone.

My packing list includes a heat therapy bag which has been a lifesaver for easing my backaches at this stage of pregnancy. So I reckon it might potentially come in handy for pain relief during labour.

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So that’s another item on my final things to do before D-day checked off the list. Yeah!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My favourite comfy T-shirt

I’ve just been reminded that it’s Fathers Day in Malaysia/Singapore tomorrow. For us in Australia, we don’t celebrate Fathers Day until August. But I thought to pay a special tribute to my own dad back in Malaysia.

With my nesting instinct starting to kick in, I’ve begun cleaning out my closet, sorting through old clothes, and I came across this…

DSC03832

Everyone has a favourite old comfy T-shirt in their closet. One that was been well-worn almost to pieces but continues to endure. And most comfy old T-shirts have a story behind them.

It’s just a simple old T-shirt, but to me it’s very special because it was a present from my dad who bought it for me when he was on a business trip in China.

Buying clothes for a teenage daughter is not something most fathers would consider an easy task – my mum told me how he had called back home to ask if she thought I would like it.

I was probably around 14 years old when he gave it to me. I remember how happy I was to receive it simply because it was a present from my dad, which meant he was thinking of me during his trip.

It’s definitely been well worn item all these years… from a T-shirt I used to wear out, it eventually became my favourite and comfiest T-shirts to sleep in.

After almost 20 years, this shirt is definitely showing wear and tear. But even if I can’t wear it any longer, I will never throw this T-shirt away. I will always love it, as I love you, daddy.

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Happy Fathers Day!

Friday, June 14, 2013

10 things to do in last month of pregnancy

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8-month belly shot

With the final countdown of less than one month till my official due date, it’s time to get down to business with getting things in order.

I’m definitely a lot more laid back with preparations for baby #2. Nevertheless, there are still some essential things to organise to minimise any chaos at go-time.

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So here is my checklist of…

10 things to do in my last month of pregnancy

  1. Organise and wash newborn-sized baby clothes – no point washing the entire stash or washing them too early. Although with baby #1 I think I had this item all done by the second trimester.
    DSC03801
  2. Wash and lay out baby’s bed linen – as with item No. 1, I didn’t see the point of doing this too early to minimise the bed linen collecting dust in the nursery
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  3. Put a towel/water-proof sheet in bed and car seat – better to be safe than sorry because you’ll never know when and where your waters might break
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  4. Pack hospital bag – First time mums might have this item all done in the first trimester… whenever you decide to do this, probably a good idea to have this prepared by this stage
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  5. Prepare emergency/backup plan for getting to hospital and/or looking after an older child – just in case hubby is not nearby or if you go into labour in the middle in the night and you have an older child that needs to be looked after
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  6. Prepare a special gift for baby to ‘give’ to older child (and vice versa) – a good idea for getting things off to a positive start with the new sibling relationship. And following a tip from a friend, we also prepared a few small items to use a special bonus mini-gifts (e.g. some small toys, matchbox cars, books) to bring out on those moments when Nathan just needs a little extra love – not as a bribe or anything like that, but just as an alternative love-language item to use if needed in the coming weeks.
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  7. Prepare a bucket or container next to the bed – one possible symptom of labour is puking/vomiting. That happened to me in the middle of the night with my first pregnancy and I was caught unprepared… which resulted in a very unpleasant mess to clean up. I personally don’t know anyone else who experienced this, but if you’re the type of person who likes to be prepared for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, just thought I’d share this little tip as well.
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  8. Write out any standard daily routines/to-do lists – so hubby or anyone else who is helping to take care of things around the house knows what to do (I wrote down the list of things to pack for Nathan’s day care bag)
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  9. Have a special one-on-one date with older child – with all the changes happening around, it’s important to reinforce this special relationship
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  10. Get some rest and shut-eye (a no-brainer!)

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Continuing the countdown to D-day – 21 days to go!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Dentists Today vs. Dentists of Yesterday

Do you enjoy visits to the dentist?

Well I don’t know if I am an exception to the rule, but I do. I group it together with things like getting my hair done or having a facial. I view it as a chance to sit back, put my feet up and let someone else attend to my needs.

And I do like talking with my dentist… although the conversation is generally pretty one-sided for most of the time, interjected with few grunts and nods from my end every now and then.

Plus my dentist also has a TV installed on the ceiling right above the chair so I can indulge in some daytime TV while he pokes around in my mouth.

So I would say that I find my visits to the dentist somewhat relaxing!

Nathan has been accompanying on most of my dentist visits every 6 months since he was 3 months old. Our dentist says there is no need to start any official check-ups until his permanent teeth start to come in, unless there is a problem. Just as long as we are brushing his teeth regularly (which he enjoys doing) and bringing him along with me to create a positive association with visits to the dentist. And he is always rewarded with a sticker at the end of each visit for being such a good boy while mummy has her teeth checked and cleaned.

Talking of dentists reminds me of a bizarre but true story my mum once told me...

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In the 50s and 60s, it was common to receive visits from peddlers and tradesmen who went from house to house plying their wares and offering their special services.

One day, when my mother was a little girl, the family received a visit from a travelling ‘tooth specialist’… sort of like a dentist, although I’m not sure what his qualifications were.

The story goes that this ‘tooth specialist’ told my grandmother “Oh, I’m sure it must be very inconvenient and troublesome to manage children’s cavities with all the sweets and rubbish they eat… the best thing to do is to pull out ALL their teeth and put in artificial ones so you don’t have to worry about it ever again!

My grandmother decided it was a brilliant idea and decided to execute the plan immediately. Apparently my mother was supposed to be one of the first victims… but she was too terrified and ran away to hide so no one could find her.

So another unlucky culprit was selected to undergo the ‘treatment’.

(For confidentiality reasons, I shall not mention which uncle or aunty this was).

And so this so called ‘dentist’ proceeded to methodically pull out each and every tooth out of this poor child’s mouth. I’m not sure if he used any form of anaesthetic or numbing ingredient… or even if he did, how effective it was. I cringe every time I picture this scene.

And till this day, this uncle/aunty always swears that if he/she ever meets this travelling dentist again, he/she will strangle him to death with his/her own bare hands.

True story.

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For more stories on my mum’s childhood days, you can check out these chapters…

The Portrait

Itinerant Tradesmen

Child Play

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