Thursday, 28 January 2010

Going to the Babysitter

"Men make plans but God decides"
I remember a saying like that, which shows how unpredictable life can be. I was all happy when the confinement lady said that she'd stay on as a helper (and cook). For the past two months, I had been hunting high and low for a domestic helper (not stay-in as there is NO room at our place already) and got rejected about 6 times that I gave up. Since she's coming in 2 weeks' time, we all gritted our teeth and got down to do all the work that's needed as best as we could. One morning at the market, she called my Mum and said,
"Please tell your daughter I'm sorry. I'm so busy with Chinese New Year preparations because my children are coming home - I don't think I can help her. I will help her to look for a helper."
She was our last hope. Both of us were puzzled at her change of mind (I guess she's hoping I was that desperate that I'd offer the confinement rate again!). I called her to confirm this - I was even too tired to get angry with her. And I resigned myself to the fact that I will have to remain a full-time "stay-at-home Mother" for a few more months. Then, Giddy Tigress sent me an excited email about a babysitter her babysitter recommended! I personally prefer a daycare center but I thought I'd give her a chance. She turned out to be a gentle and youthful-looking 55 year old lady (whose husband goes to the market and cooks - wow!). After a visit and an interview, I decided to try her out. At least I'd have a back-up in case I need it and if I needed to attend meetings etc, I'd be assured of my baby being taken good care of. However, when it came to packing her things, I felt so, so, so sad! It was even worse when I brought her to the babysitter's place and talked to her about her habits etc :-( The babysitter could sense my sadness and she tried to cheer me up saying that my baby was going to be with her for about 6 hours. I was still going to have her at night and weekends. Still, it's hard to part with this little cutie who flashes a big smile, squawks knowingly and kicks her arms and legs excitedly when she knows she's going to be breastfed... I was quite teary when I left her place but I told myself I had to be strong. My challenge now will be to be able to pump out enough breast milk for her to drink! (She had to take formula which is a mix of Enfalac and Lactogen completely today. I'm worried she's allergic like her brother because her poo seems runny) I had a stressful morning dropping off one kid after another because the preschooler wasn't happy his sister is going to Auntie's place. He'd actually asked me quietly in the car,
"What are you doing with the baby?"
When we reach the kindy, he REFUSED to get down from the car because he wanted to go to the Auntie's house too. Aargh! I was so stressed because the baby started crying because the car was stationary. The kindy teacher had to help haul the boy (crying) out of the car sigh, sigh sigh. In the evening, I had to rush the preschooler through his romp in the playground because the traffic was building up and the girl's feeding time was coming up. It was *stressful* (again!) that I even followed a few cars in creating an illegal queue because an annoying and irrelevant traffic light was causing an unnecessary jam. The baby was crying because she was tired out from the new routine - the poor dear hardly slept at the babysitter's. Luckily, I could adjust my driver's seat as back as I could to coax the pacifier into her mouth. A lady in the car next to me smiled sympathetically and allowed me to go first. I swear I was all ready to get down and fight if ANYONE dared to dilly-dally on the road! When she got home, I quickly breastfed her but she still refused to settle down. I thought she's still hungry and made up some formula but she rejected it. I guess she's too tired and got ready to put her to bed - my Mum still wanted to keep her in the hall to play! After a very fierce yelling session, she managed to put her to sleep while I fed the preschooler his dinner. I was really lucky today because I could get home quick enough without both kids having a total meltdown. But I don't think I'll be lucky every day. For now, I'll drop off and pick up each child individually. That way, my Mum can help the little one settle down at home earlier and I can give the bigger one the attention he still needs. I'll need to do this for the next few months until she's bigger and adjusts to the new routine and new babysitter. Then, I'll bring her home earlier and she can also join in the brother's romps in the playground :-) What brand of formula milk is good nowadays? I have a feeling she's allergic to Lactogen but she doesn't seem to like Enfalac. I wonder if I should go back to Similac which she took at the hospital? Have you walked down the formula milk aisle in the supermarket recently? The number of brands is enough to make my head spin, not to mention the exorbitant prices!!!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

William Wegman's 123

One of the fun parts of browsing through a bookstore is that you never know what you'll find.

I thought I'd seen all kinds of children's books - well, until I stumbled upon William Wegman's "123". Almost everyone knows about the famous photographer from New Zealand, Anne Geddes and her baby portraits but have you ever heard of William Wegman and his dogs?

I think I picked up this book because of its "123", thinking that it's got high quality photos for the kids to read while learning their number.

Actually, it turned out to be a book where dogs are arranged to form shapes of numbers! Can you see them in the book cover below?
All I can say is that you can't help but smile and see the world in a different way when you see William Wegman's collection of books and calendars:

Thursday, 21 January 2010

How to entertain a 2 month old baby

Now that our girl is 2 months old, she spends quite a bit of time staying awake. In fact, she's very, very active and alert (already noted by ob-gyn at Week 23) Besides breastfeeding, taking a morning bath and an evening wipe-down, there is little else in routine tasks to keep her entertained! At first, I didn't know what to do with her and I realize that I'm such a lousy stay-at-home-Mother LOL Her Grandma is more patient with her but I need to give my mum a bit of rest too. Since the confinement lady left, this Mother has had to think of ways to entertain her baby girl. Here's what I do: 1. Prop her up on my knees and talk to her. She loves to see the leaves moving on the trees, the sky and any birds chirping outside the bedroom window. 2. Sing some nursery rhymes. On good days, she'll allow action songs e.g. "If You're Happy", "I'm a Little Teapot" and "Hokey-Pokey". On other days, she just wants the American Idol. Or I'll just sing anything that comes into my head! 3. Take her out to check the mailbox or say hello to some neighbours! Of course, her beautiful big eyes make people smile. And she smiles back :-) 4. Put her in her cot and turn on the Winnie-the-Pooh mobile.She loves watching the mobile gently turn around and will watch Winnie the Pooh "chase" his honey pot around for some time. I just *love* the mobile because it was handed to me by one of my aunts who had used it with her 3 kids. Even my son used to love it when he was a baby. Sigh. 5. Babywearing!!! Once, I put her in the Mothercare 2-way carrier and walked around the block but since she hasn't got strong head control yet, it's not very fun looking at Mum's chest... I prefer the sling because she is more comfortable cradled in my arms. She'd also fall asleep easily especially when I've walked around a bit outdoors in the morning sun with a cool breeze :D 6. Lecture her as she sits in her bouncer. We can actually have a "dialogue" because she'll respond (with cute smiles) when I grumble, "Why won't you sleep?", "Aren't you tired? I'm VERY tired ok. We are all very tired!" or "What do you want NOW?" 7. Read aloud from some of her brother's books. She seems to like Thomas the Tank Engine too (it could be his smiley face) that her brother is getting worried Baby wants to play with his trains too LOL 8. Let her cry propped up on a pillow. Ok, this is NOT recommended but I was really tired last night when she still refused to sleep at 9.30 pm! FYI, I DID NOT let her cry and scream her lungs out. I just let her lie there and only picked her up when her coos ---> loud sighs ---> squawks ("Ow! Ow!") ---> louder squawks ---> crying. To her credit, my daughter is way, way, way better than my son because she can still sleep if she's in my arms and a roomful of people are chatting, eating or watching TV. As a baby, her brother could only sleep in TOTAL SILENCE. While I'm still *a bit* stressed entertaining her during the day, I'm starting to see this as a blessing in disguise because she shows signs (like her brother) of sleeping through the night. Her last feed is at 10 pm, then she wakes up at 2.30/3.00 am and finally, at 6.30 am. If the trend goes on, this means Mum will be able to get her beauty sleep soon. How about you? How do you entertain your cheeky baby?