Watermelon is one!

Watermelon turned one without much fanfare. I was excited in the days leading up to it, but the day came and went, and she was still the Watermelon that we knew.

Chey. With all the hype I’d allowed myself to build, I thought she would transform overnight but no leh, never.

A birthday party was never on the cards because I think they look more stressful than enjoyable for the parents, and my plan is to throw one on her 5th birthday instead. InsyaAllah. I had a 5th birthday party myself and to this day I still remember some details of that day and still think of it as one of my happier childhood memories, alhamdulillah.

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umrah with baby

alhamdulillah, we fulfilled our intention to perform umrah with NG’s parents and Watermelon earlier this month.

i was anxious about what the experience with Watermelon was going to be like, but now that it’s over, i realise i need not have worried so much. alhamdulillah with God’s grace she was easy on us. save for a handful of cranky episodes, she was generally cheerful and slept well. bringing her to the mosque for congregational prayers was not too difficult — though Baby Bites (biscuits) quickly became the standard bribe 🤣

she had plenty of fans (“mashallah mashallah!”) and received a lot of kisses and sweets from strangers. the kisses, i mentally prepared myself that they might happen. so i made plenty of doa that Allah swt protects her from illnesses 😬 the sweet treats, i sacrificed myself and ate them on her behalf. you’re very welcome, Watermelon! mmyum.

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a public declaration: my “no shopping” goal

bismillahirrahmanirahim.

(that is how out of my comfort zone i am going out, starting with the basmalah, though technically it would be good for me to start every entry with that)

recently an IG friend posted about this NYT article on not shopping for an entire year. she then shared that since Eid 2017, she had done the same too after realising that she still had unworn outfits from previous years’ sales AND new packages were still arriving every so often. “it was a disease,” she mused.

and soooo i have decided to do the same, insyaAllah.

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what’s going on

feels like I haven’t had much to blog about, short of updating about the mundane stuff like what I feed Watermelon for dinner (not much), how many teeth she has (zero) and if she can walk (no, not yet).

the most exciting update is probably our plans to perform umrah soon-ish, InsyaAllah. the plan is for three of us plus my MIL and FIL to go in mid-January. we chose an off-peak period since none of us are tied to school holidays. omigosh please help to pray that Allah swt will ease our affairs! my biggest worry is how Watermelon will behave when I’m joining the congregational prayers. as cute and pouty as she is, she can be clingy/insecure when she doesn’t have her hand on any part of my body so … good luck to us girrrl. other things I’m worried about are whether we can keep her sufficiently warm in the cool temperature, and how she is going to behave on the plane and on the long bus rides 😔

if anybody has tips on performing umrah with a 1 yo baby, please share! 😘

we went to KL late last month, for a super short 2d 2n trip with friends. 9mo Watermelon on a plane ride is much different from her 4mo self when we went to Krabi. this time she didn’t want to sleep and instead was very interested in the various flyers in the seat pocket, including the bak kut teh ad at the back of the magazine. astaghfirullah sis, mengucap! anyway, luckily it was just a 45 min flight but I already dread our next flight…

because we had limited time in KL, we planned a super packed programme on our full day there. it was so long that Watermelon got maaaad cranky at the end of it. even all that babywearing couldn’t save her. I learnt that babies will always need a safe and quiet place to retreat to. there’s a limit to how long you can bring them out for, even if you keep them close to you in a carrier.

what else… ooh, Aunt Flo appeared in my life again! at about 10 months post partum, not bad huh. what this means is baby number two, here we come!!! ok, ok, I kid. hold on, let me scoop NG’s heart from the floor and put it back inside him. I mean, I would really love a number two (and three! and four! cue major 7.0 on the Richter scale eye roll from my husband) but I don’t think we’re ready, if we can help it. of course if Allah swt should decide that it is our rezeki soon, then I would say Alhamdulillah, now let me shop for a newborn woven wrap… #buyallthewraps

lastly, I figured some time back that since I don’t have enough themes to group my thoughts into blog posts, I could turn to … microblogging. hee. I’ve been tweeting at @krakentweets. so that’s where all the mundane stuff have been hiding, actually. hope to see you there?

an honest conversation about work (part 1)

october/november is the time of appraisals, and it’s been made clear to me: i haven’t been doing well since returning back to work. i’m not as alert and thorough as i used to be, and it’s been noticed by some higher ups. eeps.

needless to say, it has been an uncomfortable and depressing place to be.

the last time i struggled in my career was when i had just switched jobs, but back then it was, i suppose, more understandable that i had many new things to learn and adapt to.

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my reviews on baby products

Watermelon is 9mo and homg does time fly by or what. 9mo is a delightful phase coz her cheeks are fluffing up, she smiles lots and giggle lots, she can sit up but can’t crawl yet (i.e. Hurricane Watermelon has not landed yet) … in general super cute. sorry to gush about my own daughter, hope i’m not making you puke! i realise that when i say other people’s babies are cute pre-kids, i meant other people’s 7mo-9mo babies are cute. and not the newborn stage or younger, ya know what i mean? 😉

anyway, today’s post shall update about how my baby fair purchases are doing. i had two posts from last year (here and here), and i thought i’d do a quick review one year later.

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keeping up with this changing life

hola! it’s been 3 months of being a working mum — oh wow, how time flies. it really does get easier with time, though the hard times were genuinely tough at that point in time.

some things have become so natural, like heading home straight. it’s not even a thought anymore about how sad it is that i can’t singgah shops at say, Bedok Mall on the way home. i’ve found a regular grab hitch driver that i engage maybe 1-3x a week. we chat a lot during the drive home, so it’s really nice.

pumping is also a tad better now. i generally have a better yield after a hearty meal although i don’t take chances and have some milk boosters at my desk. for now i’m relying on @mamalait’s brownies and Milo with oats, brown rice wheat and barley. i still have one pack of cookies from my earlier order from another baker but to be honest i’m dreading eating them because they’re bitter 🙊 i also have @bymommadee’s nursing aid and mother’s milk supplements, but i’ve not been actively using these two recently. heh.

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don’t be so like that!

recently i caught myself having a defeatist attitude twice:

#1: husband on holiday

insyaAllah NG has a work incentive trip next year, and we’re planning a family holiday before or after it. initially i was quite gung ho: i thought maybe two weeks of the family together and then NG goes on the incentive trip by himself with his colleagues.

but then i realised — rather belatedly — that it would mean me being alone at home with Watermelon! means sending her to ifc, rushing to work, then rushing back to fetch her, and settling her down all by myself 😱

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7 months is my favourite month

it’s kinda funny how my state of mind can change drastically over a few weeks. 3-4 weeks ago i was extremely unhappy with life, unmotivated at work, and wishing hard that things were different.

well, i still do. i wish some things are different, but now that i’m in a better mental space, i’m trying to reflect whether these wants are warranted and fair, or me being overly idealistic and/or greedy.

but yes, it feels so good to snap out of a dark phase.

anyhoos, updates. Watermelon is 7 months old and likes to kangkang (spread her legs wide open). good lord. one time we put her in the stroller and her legs immediately bent into an L shape, kind of like a cat. other times she could be waving her legs open, as though to show off her flexibility. well good on ya, girl.

we recently embarked on her solids journey, through baby led weaning (blw). we were off to a late start because until last week or so, Watermelon couldn’t sit well unassisted. now she does better, albeit in tripod position (i.e. hands in front on the floor). BLW requires for babies to be at least 6 months old and be able to sit unassisted. i was tempted to rush into it, but the name is called “baby led weaning” which means i’m supposed to follow her cues and not impose my standards on her. sounds logical on paper but gosh it can be really hard to practise in real life!

also, some babies are real natural at picking up food and feeding themselves.

unfortunately, Watermelon is not. hah.

there’s been some sessions where all the food ends up on the floor. she’s happy to suck on the food if i hold it for her, but that kinda defeats the purpose of getting her to self-feed. BLW groups say this calls for perseverance, so insyaAllah i will tryyy to keep offering food even if all she wants to do is push them around the table or within the plate … y’know, anything but lift them to her mouth 😒

backtrack to the agonising 2-3 weeks around her 6 months mark and slightly after:

i was more anxious that i like to admit about her progress in sitting up. previously she seemed to hit her milestones fairly early or on time, but somehow sitting up was one thing she didn’t seem to progress into. i was imagining that she would only be like 8 or 9 months before she started on solids, which my head says is fine but my heart cannot take the fact that she might be left behind by her peers… chey so young got peers already.

now that she’s passed it, i feel part relieved, part silly for having worried so much. but really at that moment, it mattered so, so much.

on top of this, mama kraken was giving me a LOT of pressure to feed solids to Watermelon. every time we met her, she would bring up the topic on solids: when we were going to start, puree is the way, how pitiful it is that her cucu (grandchild) had only been allowed to try timun (cucumber — sounds more pitiful in Malay, y’know?), if we fed her then she would be more full then maybe she wouldn’t cry so often … yadda yadda yadda. coupled with the unhappy phase i was going through, i intentionally avoided her for two weeks or so cos ugh, i really didn’t need the pressure.

alhamdulillah all is good now. although mama kraken still makes stabs at me, like ohhh so poor thing my grandchild sleeps while sucking on her finger, luckily her finger hasn’t worn out. grandmothers! lovely people but oh so dramatic 🙄

on a more positive note

i think 7 months is my favourite phase so far. as my friend pointed out, Watermelon is starting to look more like a baby and less like a wrinkly tiny unexpressive newborn.

she interacts more with her surroundings. smile and giggles more often. even i can make her laugh now, not just her father! likes to stick out her tongue for fun. can rotate on the mat and do a bit of commando crawling towards objects of interest, such as our handphones or cloth tags on toys/pillows/clothes.

best of all, i have found a rabid fan in her. haha. she starts panting and smiling widely when she sees me, which can be quite heart melting and flattering. some of the time, at least. regardless, lovelovelove! ❤

 

 

 

 

the first month of returning to work

soooo the new working mum life: hectic, hectic, hectic. and a little stressful. i recently found that i didn't have the time to even sit down in front of my PC and sort out my monthly finances, eeps.

some of the biggest changes:

making a beeline for home

when i worked my first full time job at Starhub's call centre back when i was 19, i had SO much energy to go out after work. i remember one week when i was on day shift. i went out almost every night, going home at 10-11pm, and leaving for work again at 7 or 8 plus next morning. crazy or what!

as i got older, i learnt to tone down the going out after work to max 1-2x a week. and now as a new mum? i walk briskly from office to MRT station and again from MRT station to bus stop, and sometimes even cab home so i can fetch Watermelon on time. heh. i don't think i have time to drop by the supermarket or any of the shops in the malls anymore. sigh! what a huge change.

on cabbing, it's part choice part necessity lah. even if i leave work on the dot (which honestly i don't have a habit of doing because i'm usually late in the morning) i have to sprint from bus stop to infantcare doors so that i reach before 7.00pm. such is the life of an eastie working in the CBD. the other factor is about quality of life … i kinda like reaching my neighbourhood when it's still bright and feeling like i have a liiiiittle more time with Watermelon. all this means having to set aside money for a new cab fund 😬

mama kraken tried fetching Watermelon on my behalf once, in my first week. it didn't go very well because even though mama kraken fed her, Watermelon still cried 😐 susah ni. since then, i try not to rely on mama kraken yet. maybe when Watermelon's bigger or more used to this routine, things will be easier.

bedtime prison

speaking of which: babies, being the smart and intuitive creatures that they are, can tell once mum is back at work. i felt that Watermelon suddenly became extra clingy with me. when she's crying and crying at night, and i'm tired ish, a win-win situation is to nurse her to sleep in side lying. except i'd also fall asleep early, which means not much time to do other things.

we've been doing lots of side lying, which i didn't used to do, because i preferred to cradle then place her in the cot. but now sharing our bed with her throughout the night has become our new pattern. i miss having more space! sigh. also she's starting to protest when i move her to my cot. or maybe it's just my poor dynamite transfer skills. hur hur.

deep down, i want to revert back to the cot days, but i know that it's better for Watermelon to drink more during the night so that she won't be so hungry (and demanding) during the day.

pumping

pumping milk used to be a recreational activity at home, but it's now a CCA (co-curricular activity) at work. hah. i started out very stressed about my output — it seemed a lot lower than what i had to pass to IFC every morning. other than pumping at work, i also woke up extra early to pump in the morning. sometimes there would hardly be any letdown, which is …

a let down. haaa punny.

but slowly things stabilised and i realised i don't have to pass them as much milk as i thought i needed to, so that eased my stress a little. also i think my body started responding better to the pump, which helps. so now i do away with morning pumps and instead try to Haakaa, but still squeeze in a pump or more Haakaa time at night. plus still experimenting with pumping times and pump settings, etc. for example, if my last nursing is at 6.00am instead of 7.00am, i can get a little more output during my first pump session in office.

also not getting enough sleep takes a hit on my pumping output. but some nights i like to stay up coz it's the only time i get to do my things? 😢

the other things

i can't remember if it's always been this way, but Watermelon seems crankier at night, even when she's already at home with us. on top of sleeping early, it feels like i can't do my own bedtime routine without leaving her to cry it out. sigh.

then there's also episodes of stress and anxiety over work performance and the new demands of becoming a working mum. and feeling lonely from my little heartbreaks and struggles. and also feeling overwhelmed by the household chores that i need to push on with. and also the resentment when things feel very unfair. sometimes i feel so trapped, because there's no escape, nowhere to run to…

oh well. i don't mean to complain and i'm certainly not looking for suggestions … just wanna get real about how i feel about motherhood these days.

i learn a lot from my friend P who always seems to make the best out of her circumstances. i hope to one day truly love the perks of being a working mum and become a thriving one. until then, there's plenty of inner work i have to do. may Allah swt ease all of our affairs, aamiin.

with difficulty there is ease 2 comfort words