Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 1: New maid

We fetched our helper, Dwi, from the agency yesterday evening, and by the time we got home after dinner and grocery shopping, it was already 9pm.
I showed Dwi her room, and a simple orientation of the household (where are the switches / toilet/ broom/ mop etc) and told her to retire for the day.

This morning, she woke up at 6am without my instruction and started going about the chores - sweeping, mopping, cleaning common toilet, fixing breakfast for Andy (2 slices of kaya bread & juice as per Hubby's request), and making Adam's bed.
Later on I found out this was her previous household's schedule, which was totally fine by me.
Considering we were out of the house by 8am, she managed all those chores in 2 hours, that means she is quite a fast worker who has quite good time management.

I had initially asked my PT helper to come and show her how to do the chores in our home because I dont know what color cloths she uses for which part of the house.
But seeing that Dwi had already taken the initiative to do everything, our PT maid is not needed to come anymore.

When I woke up this morning, I passed her a notebook with Emergency Contact numbers - Mine, Andy's and my MIL's.
Also, I had 3 golden rules for her with Bahasa translation:
1. Safety / Keselamatan
2. Cleanliness / Kebersihan
3. Honesty / Kejujuran

As for my House Rules, actually also nothing much. Last night she wanted to help me tuck Adam to bed, but Adam didn't want her, so I told her that in the evenings, once she is done with her chores, she can retire to her room because I want to spend time playing and bonding with my child(ren).
This way, Andy & I would still have some privacy to watch TV, use laptop etc when we come home in the evenings.
Her main duty would be 80% household chores, and 20% babysitting when needed.
I'm still the very hands-on Mommy who prefers to do things for Adam on my own - from making his milk to story-telling to putting him to sleep.

As for her Time Table, I wrote down some simple guidelines according to Daily, Weekly, and 2-Weekly schedule. I told her that it is just a guide and if she encounters any problems she should always ask me.

- Handwash Adam's clothes
- Handwash her own clothes
- Sweep and mop floor areas and balcony
- Clean toilets

- Change floor rugs
- Do our laundry (washing machine)
- Change bath towels
- Vacuum floor
- Polish glass and mirror surfaces

- Change bedsheets

* and any other ad-hoc duties as and when required.

I told Dwi that if she has any difficulties or problems, she should always approach me and see if we can work out any solutions.

And how is our young master adapting to his new help?
He still needs to get used to her sleeping in his Play Room, and he doesn't want her to help him with even simple things like : shoes, making milk, playing with him.
I feel quite embarrassed that he's resisting Dwi's help but I told her he's shy and he is not used to it so give him some more time.

I need to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all my Mummy friends (real life and on Facebook) & colleagues who have hired help (I seem to be one of the few who has never hired help Haha) for putting up with my incessant pestering and questions, which gave me much headstart and anticipation of what to prepare/ expect. Thank you all who have contributed by commenting here or on FB, I'm truly grateful  :)
Hopefully she will be a good help to me. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Our helper is coming tomorrow

Our agency has called and said our maid application is approved, and we can fetch our new helper anytime this week.
I quickly SMSed my boss and let her know I need to take leave so she can make alternative arrangements at work.

I told the agent we'll go down to the agency tomorrow evening, so that means I have Friday up till the end of next week to help our new helper settle in and fix up a routine.
We tidied up Adam's Play Room as best we could (ie. by pushing all his toys to one corner of the room), bought her a foldable mattress, pillow, blanket, towels and other necessities.

I keep telling Adam about our "new Aunty" coming to help Mommy with the house work. He calls our PT helper "Aunty", so now I'm just introducing him the idea that a new Aunty is coming to stay with us and she is going to sleep in his Play Room.
How is he adapting to this new idea??
Not very good, I must say. Everytime I ask him about it, he keeps mum and I get no response.
It's already tough work getting him used to the idea that there's a baby inside my tummy that's gonna Pop out anytime soon, and now getting him used to the idea of a stranger coming to live in our home?
I need to work harder!!

Frankly, I'm all nerves as well. I've always highly regarded my privacy. I even leave our PT helper to clean up our house ALONE while we are away at work (my MIL comes to open the door for her and leaves her to do her job alone in our home). And now we have to actually adjust to having someone live in with us.
No more not locking of bathroom doors, no more walking around the house naked to look for my clothes, no more leaving valuables unlocked.

Along with that, I worry about the inevitable like - is she reliable? Will she be honest & hardworking?
I don't expect a super maid. I just hope she can be honest and clean that's most important when it comes to working in a household with children.

Oh well, we'll soon find out. Wish us all the best!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

3 is a fun age. Uh-huh.

Adam fell into our koi pond tonight when feeding them. He was with Andy (we don't allow him to be near the pond alone) when it happened and I was in the ktichen keeping the laundry when Andy shouted out to me "Hon our son fell into the pond".
I went "What are you talking about?!" because I can't believe how anything like that could have happened right under Andy's nose. (Wasn't he supposed to be babysitting while I'm doing the chores??) Obviously, it can. And it did.

Men..... *sigh*

Anyway the good thing was, Adam just climbed out of the shallow pond as if nothing happened.
The 1st thing Adam said to me when I rushed over was - "Mommy don't scold me". .. . The look of cheekiness and smugness on his face tells me he's Ok. And it also tells me perhaps Andy & Adam have shared many a secret moment like these when I'm not around. So after analysing my dripping-wet kid, my question was "Did the fishes die??"
I guess with a husband and kid like mine, I've been classically conditioned to believe that as long as the child is still breathing, and henceforth alive, then things are a-okay. (See? I even had the mood to snap a photo of the said wet kid!)

Seriously. 3 is the age where Adam thinks he is liberated enough to: cross the road without holding hands, say "No" to his parents, and fall into a pond and think it's funny.
What a fun age. Uh-huh.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sleeping next to a Chain-saw. And some other updates.

Ladies, do your husbands snore??
Mine does. As a matter of fact, so loudly that I wake up with a start almost every night.
Last night, I was already in deep sleep when I suddenly got startled by the sounds of what seemed like "machine guns" - trr trr trr trr trr!
I jumped up and realised, in my half asleep stupor, that it was actually the Husband, sleeping on his back with his neck flexed and mouth wide open.
At times like these I'm tempted to smash his face with a frying pan or gag him with a table cloth, but I'm actually too tired to walk to the kitchen. Other times, I just smack him and ask him to turn over. Problem solved - temporarily - until he rolls onto his back and the symphonies of tractor roaring/ motor engines/ chain saw and machine guns start again.

I didn't used to be bothered by Hub's snoring, but lately I've been increasingly annoyed and sleepless because of my nocturnal polyuria and pregnancy-induced insomnia.
I get so frustrated at the lack of quality sleep that my only solution now - I bunk with Adam in his room. Adam would be sound asleep on his comfy single bed, so I have to make do on a mattress on the floor, but the peace & quiet I'm getting is priceless.

I hate to be sleeping away from the husband but right now I have no choice for my sanity's sake.

Summer heat
Not only do I get insomnia these days, but the blistering heat is getting to unbearable extremes as well. Even Adam thinks so. He actually gave up the choice of going to Explorer Kids and instead, opted to go swimming. Being in my 3rd trimester takes my body heat up another notch.
I feel so HOT and so burning that I can't even stand touching myself - whenever I place my palms on my face/ thighs/ neck/ limbs (Okay, EVERYWHERE and anywhere), I feel a burning sensation as if I'm setting myself on fire!
Oh gosh I love hiding in aircon comfort, at work and at home. If I have a choice, I'd rather hide in malls than go out in the sun.
I'm missing the year-end rain!

It's been almost 2 weeks now since we submitted our maid application but still no news from MOM.
I'm hoping things will speed up a wee bit so that I have some grace time to train her and let her settle into a routine and be used to our home before Baby No.2 comes along.
That way, she won't be too overwhelmed and honestly, I won't be so stressed up as well.
Fingers crossed.

P.S. It's gonna be July in a week and that means I'm already counting down to my EDD!
I'm so exhausted I can hardly wait!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Maternity shots

It's not fair, I didn't have any nice bump shots taken when I was pregnant with Adam. But that's because I wasn't into photography then. I hope Adam doesn't mind!

Children make us worried, sleep-deprived, our pockets poorer, homes messy, and they give us tons of those hair-pulling moments. If not for them being somewhat adorable and make us laugh sometimes, one would think we're absolutely insane to want a kid (only half joking). Now, we're even taking on TWO kids.
Parenthood - not for the faint-hearted.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The life of a 3 year-old

Does turning THREE come with a newfound independence?
A mummy-friend of mine warned that if I think Terrible Twos are bad, I'd better beware of my kid turning 3, because that's when tantrums and opinions hit a new high.
I didn't really understand her at first, until now I'm experiencing for my very first time - the Throes of Three.

For eg, Adam will ask us where we are going? And if that place doesn't sound enticing to him, he will decide that he doesn't wanna: leave the house/ get off the car.
So if we have to go somewhere he really needs to go, like his 3rd year MMR vaccination & PD assessment, we have to tell him the clinic is filled with toys he doesn't have at home.
When he watches videos on his iPad, it's no longer "Adam, let's watch Incy Wincy spider", but instead, some nights it's Dinosaurs, or Madagascar, or Fireman Sam, or Sharks, which he decides for himself.
Lately- especially this week - he's been reluctant to go to school, finding all sorts of excuses in the mornings and he even said he wanna change schools (???!!!?!)
I dont know if it's due to the fact that I'm on HL this week so he wants to be with me, or is he just trying to reinstate to us that "Hey Mom I'm 3 and can decide for myself what I want to do".

Same goes for my cousin's daughter Emily who is only 1 day younger than Adam. In order to make her want to come to my parents', my aunt & cousin told her there're many toys there, but when emily arrived at my parents' to find that actually there are not many toys (most of which are destroyed by Adam/ thrown away/ taken home by Adam), she started questioning and got disappointed.

My child is no longer the sweet little baby who will go anywhere with us as long as there is a pram and milk. I guess sooner or later I will come to the stage where he will grow apart from Andy & I but deep down inside me, as a Mom, he will always be my baby no matter how old he is.

Anyway, just to sidetrack.. I've (secretly) snapped some photos of Adam at GUG. I've instigated convinced my neighbour to try out GUG for her 1yr-old daughter Lyndsey. She's been looking for enrichment programs to prep Lyndsey for full-day childcare when she hits 18-mths because my neighbour is now Preggers with No.2. So when she heard that I brought Adam to GUG, she was interested as well.
Doing some art & craft

Back at home...Can you guess what Adam is drawing??

Monday, June 11, 2012

Week 29: Antenatal update

Went for my antenatal appointment on Saturday. I'm now close to 29 weeks.
Another 10 weeks or so to go.
My back feels like it's falling apart, I waddle like a duck and I am trapped in a whale's body.

On the bright side, we managed to get a 3D picture of Baby no.2 sleeping very soundly in my tummy :)
My mum and Aunt LY think No.2 looks like Adam - the cheeks and small mouth.

We asked Dr Don the possibility of my opting for Elective Csect because I am not good with waiting games, and he said I still have time to decide, if I really want to go for a Caesar, then I have to be at least 38 weeks.
Dr Don then gave me 1 week HL to rest at home because the pain and aches are getting really, really unbearable.

Today, I awoke early and after dropping Adam off to school, I went back home and did lots of packing - I packed up my old nursing books into a box to be stashed into the storeroom, I organised some "unwanted" and "recyclable" trash into seperate bags (old bottles, Medela breast pump, Adam's old toys with missing parts, empty boxes of our home appliance purchases from a year ago, old clothes which I don't foresee myself wearing ever again)... It's amazing how much trash we've accumulated in the span of just one year!!

After packing up and organising, I changed Adam's bedsheets, did laundry, watered the plants, fed the fishes.... I think the nesting instinct is setting in.
Another 10 weeks to go... Hang in there Veron, you can do it!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tiffany-blue for a good cause

It's in the shade of the ever familiar robin-egg blue, it's sweet (I have a sweet-tooth for both pregnancies) and it's all for a good cause.
June is the Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, and all proceeds of the Canele limited edition Teal colored Macarons will go to Singapore Cancer Society.

in a shade of Tiffany blue which I love
After that, Andy & I attended a wedding at Crowne Plaza, Changi Airport.
I wore a salmon-pink maxi dress. I can't emphasize enough
my love for maxi dresses this pregnancy.
I'm a day short of being 28W.

Going into 3rd trimester in a week. I'm all nerves... My Obs doctor said I can try for natural birth if Baby No.2 isn't breech like the first - BUT - I cannot be induced due to the risks of C-sect wound rupture. Which means, if I opt for natural delivery, I have to go au naturale at my own pace without induction by drugs, and if the labour doesn't progress, I may have to be whisked off for an Emergency C-sect again.
Adam was delivered by Emergency C-sect because he was breech and my waters broke. When the midwife did an internal examination for me, I was already 4cm dilated when I reached Labour Ward and she could feel Adam's foot at the opening of my cervix already.
It was all drama and happened so fast, which had its pros & cons. I'm not sure if I'm up to a natural vaginal birth honestly. Guess we'll cross that bridge later.

Meanwhile, after much consideration and discussion, Andy & I have decided to engage a domestic helper to ease our chores. It's mostly Andy - he thinks I won't be able to cope with chores and 2 kids. Which frankly, he may well be right. I've grown up with under the care of my Grandma, Aunty LY, and for a short period of time my Mum had hired a maid. I've not had to do housework 99% of my life, even now that Andy & I have moved to our matrimonial home, the chores are taken care of by our Part-time helper.

Now that I'm hitting my 3rd trimester, my tummy gets in the way and it's really starting to take a toll on me, but for the other 6-days that my PT help is not in, I still have to wash bottles, bend, pick up toys/crayons/balls/books, etc. For my 1st pregnancy, I did EVERYTHING at my own pace - if I was tired I napped, if I felt like sleeping in I slept in late, after work I would just crash in front of the TV on the couch. If I felt like doing nothing I did nothing.
The situation is different now with a 3yr old and it's definitely causing a strain and I'm easily exhausted more than usual.
On weekends, I wish I can sleep in late but Adam wakes up sharper than a rooster so I hardly get any rest at all. He's an Energizer bunny who hardly stops once his engine is started. I'll have to keep him entertained and it's sometimes driving me bonkers.
I run the bath, we go to the playground, we read books, I put on the iPad, I'm basically running out of tricks from my sleeves!
On weekends, I find myself even more tired than weekdays. I sometimes silently start praying "Oh God, oh God, oh God.... " and I feel resentful if he doesn't nap.
Why doesn't this kid NAP?! Why doesn't he GET TIRED?!!!! I'm on the verge of breaking point.
I admit that these are times when I wish we had a live-in help. I'm no Superwoman afterall and I'm not afraid to admit that I want help. Thankfully, Andy is quick to pick that up and so we made a few enquiry calls to friends / agencies and today we made a trip down to an agency to interview some available maids.

We shortlisted one - she is 28 yrs old from Indonesia, can speak fair English, not as fluent as Filipinas but definitely better than your average Indonesian maid. At least this is an advantage because my in-laws can speak to her in Bahasa while we can still communicate to her in English.
I didn't even interview her much - I've had experience with my Mum's maid and know that all those interviews are mostly useless.
As long as she was Ok handling pork, not afraid of Maverick, and was Ok to take care of a baby and toddler, I'm really fine. The rest will depend on her aptitude and attitude towards learning.

There are some concerns I have - I'm not due till August, and I intend to keep all my leave as much as possible. So what will the new helper do in the meantime when Adam goes to school and we are all away at work? Also, she seems very quiet (general observation is that Indon maids are meeker than Filipinas) and she's quite petite, so I'm afraid that she might get bullied by Terror Tod Adam.

Again, I think we have to cross the bridge when we reach it.
Now all we need to do is get the paperwork sorted out - Insurance, Levy, Employer Orientation Program, etc etc.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

June: School reports back

Before the school holidays begin, it's the bi-annual teacher-parent meeting session.
Yeap. Even for Pre-nursery grade kids also need to meet teachers. *stress*
What can the school possibly report for a 3 yr old Pre-nursery kid? you wonder.
If you're thinking the same wavelength as I, then you will be in for quite a shock.

Apart from diet and physical development, children as young as 3 these days are assessed on their:
- Social development (helpful & cooperative/ willingness to share/ enjoys company of teachers & peers/ shows care & concern toward others)
- Emotional development (confident/ has initiative/ independence/ expression/ verbalise feelings)
- Moral development (shows respect/ responsibility/ leadership qualities/ respect rights & properties of others)
- Intellectual development (Aural/ visual/ follow instructions/ understand instructions & requirements/ concentration / memory)
- Aesthetic development (music & movement / art & craft)
- Self help (eating/ wear shoes/ dress & undress/ use toothbrush/ verbalise toileting needs)
- Activities & Skills (Speech/ Story/ Reading/ Writing/ Math)
- Structured play (constructive play ie. Blocks / Puzzles/ manipulative play ie. play dough, beads/ Imaginative play)

So many aspects!! For a 3 yr-old???
No wonder my friends sign their kids up for all sorts of enrichment programs (additional classes apart from the regular childcare centre's curriculum, like Science, Speech & Drama, $100-$150 per subject per month. Yup. For as young as their 3 yr-olds).
To be honest, my brothers and I didn't even know any form of formal education until we were 5 and went to K1, but in our family, we managed to nurture 2 Hwa Chong scholars and I would consider my siblings & I as doing reasonably well in our own rights.

I feel sad for children of today's era.
They are clearly missing out alot on their childhood and are in my opinion, forced to grow up too quickly.
I wish I can strike a healthy balance between play and education for my own children.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Enrichment classes at GUG

Today is Adam's 2nd lesson at Growing Up Gifted (United Square), and also his first time joining an enrichment class.
Our classes are every Sunday, and he is in their Bilingual Playclub which is actually a 1.5hr drop-off independent program.
On our first lesson (which was last Sunday), I stayed with him throughout the entire session because he was wary/shy, and didn't want me out of his sight. He clung on to me like a koala bear, nevermind that I had a huge bump in his way.
Today, he was actually much MUCH better - he waved Bye bye to me at drop-off. However, when the other kids started streaming in and a new boy started wailing, Adam also started crying and looking for me.
The teachers and I had to keep assuring him that I'm not leaving him, I'll be waiting right outside his class.
And guess what happened next?? I started crying as well. Geesh... Must be the hormones, hormones!
Andy asked me "Hon what happened to you, what are you doing?!" and quickly led me away. What an embarrassment I was!
But when we picked Adam at the end of lesson, he was his chirpy self again and greeted me with a bear hug and showed me his art work. *Melts*
Besides, the 1.5hours away from Adam gave Andy & I some quality time together. We had a long, unrushed lunch at Boon Tong Kee! A luxury of the past ever since Adam came.

Ok, I digressed. At the Bilingual Playclub, they actually incorporate Music & movement, Art & craft, ZooPhonics, Numbers and Mandarin in the 1.5hour session. 1st hour conducted in English, the last half hour conducted in Mandarin.

We signed up for the whole term. I hope he enjoys the enrichment classes and actually gain something out of them. I really don't mind sitting in with him in the class so I can also learn a thing or two about childhood teaching but I think my presence will hinder his involvement because he'll be distracted and keep wanting to stick to me.
More updates next time. Meanwhile, any questions regarding GUG can be directed to me under Comments for other parents who are interested in signing their kids up for enrichment classes =)

Waving Bye bye to Andy & I

Saturday, May 19, 2012

First bike

About 20-odd years ago, I learned how to ride my 1st bike. I remember falling off the bike on a slope, grazing my knees, but getting up and soldiering on.
I was not the typical "Girly" type of girl (still ain't).
Now, I'm reliving all those bike-riding memories because my 3-yr old asked for a bicycle for his birthday. One of those Mommy moments that remind me that I'm a parent and I'm gonna do all those things my parents did with us when my brothers & I were little.

"Put your highest foot down followed by the other foot"

Even Grandma is roped in as well?!

^"Mommy this is a faster way to get to the playground!"

^DIY paddling with his feet on the ground.. Alamak. 1st bike lesson - failed. LOL.

There goes our first session teaching Adam how to ride a bike. Both Andy & I become Hunchback already! Till next time!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

3 is fast, what a blast! Happy 3rd Birthday Adam!

Our dear son turned 3 today and we had a school celebration. It turned out well, he was super happy to be surrounded by his friends and teachers. Best of all, today is the only day of the year where his Dad & Mom are in school with him. He woke up in the morning beaming. What a terrific start. What a blast!

His birthday planner is HERE.

What's a party without balloons?

Gift favors for his classmates

More gift favours (for the younger kids from Play group)

Personalised bookmarks which double as fridge magnets

Adam's cake for his school party

Our boy is Happy:D

His favourite part of the whole celebration

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day cum Adam's birthday celebration

We celebrated Mother's Day and Adam's 3rd Birthday on Saturday, 12 May 2012, at Yan Palace.
I am 25 weeks pregnant in this photo

Adam chose the cake design himself!

Despite all the sleepless nights and "Oh my God you didn't just DO that!" moments, being a Mom is the best thing that has happened to me. Everyday I feel lucky and blessed to have Adam and a beautiful family.
Sometimes I come home to see a messy house, toys strewn around the living room, or dirty little footprints in the toilet, it suddenly hits me - I'm a Mom!! and I have a child!!
It's been (almost) 3 years since the day I first lay my eyes on a little bundle which the stork dropped us. Now the little bundle is turning 3 and it still feels surreal.

One day if you are old enough to read Mommy's blog, I want you to know I love you so much Baby Adam. You are mommy's forever baby and I hope you will grow up healthy.

Mom & Dad.

P.S. Adam's 3rd Birthday planner can be found here.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Booster car seat for Toddler Adam

I'm not sure why in Singapore we need law reinforcements for parents to realise the importance of putting their own children in carseats. In other countries such as UK, Australia and US, parents are BIG on child safety at all times. When we went to Australia, even our rented car comes with carseat rental option, and the categorise the carseats according to child weight!
I've ever seen expats put their babies in carseats to board taxis although they may not own a car in Singapore.
Yet, my own relatives and friends put their children/ grandchildren on their laps/ sit in the front/ climbing everywhere and leaving a maid to "deal" with them.
I think I will be shocked out of my life if I'm driving and have to deal with a toddler "on the loose"!

I posted about the plight of Adam's car seat few days ago.
Then I thought that since Adam is already getting too big for that infant car seat, I might as well get him a toddler booster and recycle the infant one for Baby No.2.

So in the end I bought this online:

I ordered from Aprisin and they delivered within 2 days. As a matter of fact, I got it today (Vesak Day), which is a public holiday. Quite impressed with their prompt delivery even on a PH.
It doesnt show clearly on my iPhone camera, this is how it looks like:

Adam seems to like his new car seat. He fell asleep in it soon after we got on the car.
It gives him the added height so the seat-belt doesn't cut into his neck. Not bad for a $69 purchase.