A snapshot of life, Q1 2021 edition

Last week I fell into the rabbit hole of reading through my old blog posts from my BTB days. It was quite weird knowing that I’d written all those posts, yet struggling to relate because those were literally written many lifetimes ago.

But it also reminded me how lovely it was to have a time of my life documented. So here I am, trying to create a snapshot of life right now.

First quarter of 2021

Covid-19 is still a thing. Wearing a mask outside is still a thing (ugh). Eating out feels more normal. House gatherings are limited to 8 pax. With Hari Raya coming next month, I’m not sure how visiting will be affected. Schools and childcare centres are up and running, thankfully. Still no word on travel borders opening up, so holidays and holiday planning are still on pause now.

But more personally, in the first few months alone, I’ve:

  • Called an ambulance
  • Made a police report
  • Given a broadcast interview in Malay (lol whaaat)
  • Stood as witness in a court trial (and got scolded by the judge for inadvertently interrupting her, v sian I tell you)

Less shockingly, I’ve also:

  • Done a job interview for a contract role, did not succeed (but it’s all good)
  • Caught up with many friends, including my doula and my ex-colleagues
  • Made some encouraging progress with work
  • Introduced a waiting list concept for my sourdough bread in January…
  • …And then announced that I will no longer be taking orders from April/May onwards
  • Gone mountain biking with NG, which was something I told him I’d never do
  • Got swabbed for Covid-19 and also endured an episode where Chickpea, Watermelon and me caught the flu bug

And currently, I’m:

  • Still breastfeeding Chickpea
  • And pumping too! Down to 1 pump session, which gives me much better yield than I remember getting for Watermelon exactly 3 years ago
  • Obsessed about female wellness
  • Trying to declutter the house and get better at doing cleaning chores

*ka-chick: makes camera shutter sound*

That’s a snapshot of my life right now.

The four things everybody wants

This morning I was listening to Marie Forleo’s podcast interview with Martha Beck. Martha said that she’s met (coached) many people in the last 30 years, and whether they’re rich or poor, pretty much everybody lies awake at night yearning for the same things.

Peace
Joy
Freedom
Love

I thought to myself, I think I have all those things right now. If not all, then most of them.

Writing this down to remind myself the next time I find myself clutching in dark to seek for contentment.

Chances are it’s been right there, all along.

Chickpea is one! A letter to her

Dear Chickpea,

You’re one year old already! Time seems to have flown past quickly. I feel like I barely remember the days where you mostly lay in the rocker that we’ve since given away.

Before I birthed you, I was really worried that you’d be difficult to handle. Everyone seems to say that siblings will be different, and for me, I only dared to imagine that you’d be bad-different from your older sister.

The day we brought you home from the hospital – technically it was slightly past the first 24 hours of your life – I worried in my heart that I had scored a high needs child. The night before, you’d refused to sleep in the bassinet alone. You much preferred to squeeze in bed with me, which turned out to be a foreshadowing of how close you often want to be to me.

But the truth is that you’re good-different from Watermelon. I needn’t have worried that you’d give me a hard time. For instance, you ended up sleeping a lot during the fourth trimester, giving me unexpected freedom to do things like bake and colour in my adult colouring book. I could not have imagined so when I was still pregnant with you.

Compared to your sister, you’re more agile. You love food more, though fruits less. You’re just as cheeky as she was. And while at one year old she only had one stubby tooth emerging, you have 4 debuting around the same time.

You must forgive me though for seemingly comparing you to your sister a lot. I’m a fairly new mum of 2, and I can’t help it even though I know you’re your own person.

One more thing I noticed about you is that you’re so much fiercer. And I love it! Even at my age of two and thirty, I still struggle with asserting my rights and often end up inadvertently shortchanging myself. So I take comfort knowing that you will likely have lesser qualms expressing what it is you truly desire.

Chickpea you’re only one, and already I pray for you a lifetime of happiness and an eternity in Paradise. May Allah swt write for you a spouse who will love you endlessly, never make you feel alone, and guide you into becoming a true Believer. Things I won’t be able to do for you when I’m gone.

But most of all, I hope you’ll always honour your inner voice and truly be at peace with yourself.

Remember…

You are so brave.
You are so strong.
You are so beautiful.
You are my prayers answered,
and I love you very much!

Happy birthday to my baby! ❤️

2020…1

2021 is here! 2020 was such a gamechanger for the entire world, wasn’t it. I still remember taking walks at the reservoir and listening to an American podcaster explain “social distancing”.

Now it’s taken for granted that everyone knows what social distancing is. Also, walks at the reservoir truly feel like a thing in the past because these days I’m spending my mornings baking. Plus I somehow associate those walks with a period of struggling — so in a way, it’s a good thing I haven’t felt the urgent need to return?

Sometimes I get this curious feeling of missing circuit breaker and almost wanting to go through it again. The quiet neighbourhood. Struggles of keeping the toddler occupied. Family time. The amount of TV privileges that Watermelon got.

One of my most sobering memories of 2020 was the time I headed to NTUC at Tampines Mall only to be shown the extremely long snaking queue around the entire basement. And learning that we had to give our personal details (that was slightly before the roll out of Safe Entry iirc) to an officer at the door before entering. Anyone in Tampines knows that particular NTUC outlet has been there since forever, always available for us to shop at. Until it wasn’t. That really taught me that we’ve been taking SO many things for granted 😔

Sending 2020 off

We didn’t have any Singapolidays over November and December. Almost felt bad that we weren’t taking Watermelon to anywhere cool, though luckily for me my sister brought her to the aquarium 😬

Then I realised that it’s just like how back when I was working, I rarely travelled in December because I’d be holding the fort in office while my manager cleared her leave. Because she’s got school going kids and has no choice but to wait until the school holidays to travel. So in the same way, maybe that’s why I wasn’t feeling like jostling with the crowds at places of attraction during the last 2 months, what more with the Singapore Rediscover vouchers being issued in December.

For 2021, I’m setting work goals and being more serious about them. In late 2019, I told myself I was just starting out. In 2020, I took a maternity break which disrupted my business quite a bit. In 2021 I have no more excuses so… time to make this work furreals.

Weight loss journey

Seeing my ex-MUA’s weight loss journey on FB/IG has super inspired me to get real about my postpartum weight loss too. Alhamdulillah I lost weight steadily over the year, and pretty effortless for most parts (yay!) but I’m now stuck at the last 5-6kg. Which is quite a lot because in the first place, I’d gained so much during the pregnancy.

Trying to exercise 3x a week, cut down on sweet treats, and do with 2 meals instead of 3. Like intermittent fasting but not really 😅 It’s worked to help me reduce 1-2kg which is super encouraging but… that still leaves me with another 3-4kg to go! 😆 I still can’t fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans boo.

Oh and I joined my sister in doing kettlebell classes, which are right in my neighbourhood park, lucky me. It’s the first time I’m leaving NG alone with both girls, albeit for 1 hour only. The classes are more than I’ve ever paid for anything fitness related, but wow I gotta say the money’s worth it because I can really feel my strength improving. Alhamdulillah.

That’s it for now. Wishing the world a speedy recovery from this Covid-19 nightmare. Stay safe and happy new year!

Chickpea is 10 months!

Chickpea is 10 months now, which means she’s been on earth about just as long as she was inside my body. And it feels bittersweet, because before this, I didn’t have to share her with the world. It was just she and I breathing and growing together, figuring out the massive changes in my life, and slowly preparing for the day she would leave her first home — my womb.

Watermelon playing with the box that our 11.11 diaper purchase came in, while Chickpea forced to pose in the glory of her unclipped romper. Chickpea hates it whenever we put on clothes for her 😅

At this stage, some parts of Chickpea’s personality are already shining through. For one, she’s a fierce gal. To the point that I, her mother, sometimes feel terrified of her. Lol. I think (hope!) she’ll have no problem asserting herself in future. She’s also pretty brave, venturing out to our store room alone, and somehow figuring out that the best way to get down from our bed is feet first. It looks like she’ll be more agile than Watermelon is. Obviously the two girls are different but sometimes I can’t help but compare!

Speaking of which, alhamdulillah the two girls seem to be getting along well, for most parts. Watermelon dotes on Chickpea but occasionally cries when Chickpea gets in her way. Nothing unreasonable. Sometimes I find both of them giggling away, which is nice, even though they shouldn’t be resisting bedtime. No idea what they’re up to because usually that sound is the cue for me to RUN and savour my freedom, even if for a minute.

I recently watched Don’t Dare to Dream (aka Jealousy Incarnate in some countries) because it has Jo Jung Suk (squeal!!!) and Gong Hyo-Jin. The start is slow and a little annoying, but by episode 7-8 I’m all in. JJS is just a-ma-zing at breathing life into Lee Hwa Shin. Love that the director really tapped into his comedic and dancing talents.
Then I watched Oh My Ghost, which also has Jo Jung Suk! Lol. Totally nursing a crush here. Hmm, this drama was released about a year before Don’t Dare to Dream, and I feel like Lee Ik Jun from Hospital Playlist > Lee Hwa Shin > Kang Sun Woo. Here his character is more uppity, so there’s way less comedic acts that he can give. Plot wise, personally I felt a bit frustrated with the ghost/body possession rules and started fast forwarding through episodes 12-14. The ending is way too Coffee Prince, plus worse. This drama has one of my favourite kdrama kiss scenes though!!!

Moods about work

Lately I’ve been feeling a lot better regarding work. I think coz one day I decided to listen to the Don’t Keep Your Day Job podcast by Cathy Heller. Her message and her positivity rubbed off me, and I started feeling like okay, this season of my life is to be cherished x1000, and that I’ve got a great thing going with my small sourdough business. I mean, the business sometimes feels like an accidental thing; an endeavour to be limited because it eats into the time that I should spend building my freelance writing business instead. After listening to her, I started thinking about Rafsiebakes a little differently, mostly more positively.

But yes, it feels soooo much better where I am now, than where I was a few months ago. Super glad to have left “the darkness”, although I’m still a huge work in progress.

Ending this entry with a lovely poem by Joanna Bennett, whom I learnt about in the latest episode of The High Low podcast. If I’m not mistaken, she’s writing about an unborn child. But feel free to interpret. Enjoy!

Kernel by Joanna Bennett

Your essence, she said, is inside like a kernel,
soft, safe from harm, full of hope, vernal.

Despite outside forces, the daily grind, a toasting,
it can endure a lot, a wise crack, a roasting.

A pulse, a heart, it keeps on glowing,
cheering you on, the roar keeps growing.

So when it’s very dark, listen hard, use your gut
you’re stronger than you know,
keep going little nut.