musings on infantcare

the other day, I realised that infantcare is more expensive than I thought it would be. the back story is that some time ago, one of NG’s clients told him about the dollar for dollar matching scheme that the govt gives when you contribute to the child development account (CDA). so if you deposit the school fees into the CDA for deduction, you’re effectively paying only 50%.

however I only just learnt that the dollar for dollar matching is capped at $3,000. so if the monthly fees are $750 (after deducting subsidies), it’ll only last us about 8 months of 50% co-payment. dang! I was hoping it could go on forever. ha ha. we’ll also get $3,000 from opening the account, but I know this pool will run out quickly so I was hoping to capitalise on the dollar for dollar matching in the long run.

(after note: alternatively the $3,000 could last 13 months of 70% co-payment, I realise. still not too shabby. 13 months because enrol at 5 months + 13 months of infantcare before qualifying for childcare at 18 months)

so I was feeling a bit down that my cash flow won’t be as free as I thought it would be. and then as timely reminders come, a Facebook friend posted about being grateful about the rezeki you have. and I thought to myself, ah that’s a gentle wake up call. insyaAllah we’ll still be able to tide through the relatively expensive infantcare phase, even if it means I’ll have to give up some of my “fun” money. by the time Watermelon enrols in childcare at 18 months, our CDA benefits would have dried up. but childcare is generally also cheaper so insyaAllah it’ll still work out lah.

anyway, all this mulling and we’ve not even (a) secured her spot or (b) confirmed that we’re doing infantcare. haha. just trying to think ahead!

also, a part of me is a little … sad? … that I’ve always been saving up for the next phase since I started working and will continue to do so. at first it was saving up for the wedding and honeymoon which took about 2+ years, then after marriage it was reno, then now it’s all the baby gear purchases and childbirth prep, and soon it’ll be childcare fees. and who knows, soon after it could be baby no 2 hor? on the bright side, myย milestones didn’t happen serentak, which would have undermined the budget I could target for each of them.

I was hoping for a little break where I could put the money into a Big Holiday fund or something, but I guess I’ll have to squirrel away money every month and allocate a lump sum of my bonuses for that instead. insyaAllah everything’s possible with some planning and discipline, and need to remind myself to always, always be grateful for all that i have.

the elephant in the room

my bump’s at that stage where friends are like guessing it’s 65% baby, 35% rendang. not wanting to take the 35% risk that they’ll offend me, they resort to whispering with each other discussing whether I’m pregnant or not. haha! and for me, I still find it awkward to announce my pregnancy smoothly in conversations, especially in group settings. and so the elephant in the room is born: is kraken pregnant, or not? do I need to tell them that I’m pregnant, or not? *awkward*

anyway, I’ve been recording my journey in entries that are now published ๐Ÿ˜„ if it’s the sort of thing you like to read (warning: I talk about throwing up a wee bit too much), you can check out part 1, part 2, and part 3.

like BTB blogging, I hesitated at first. but then I realised that I was digging up again all the pregnancy posts that I have ever come across — in other words, stalking people’s old entries — to reaffirm my own strange experiences. so here’s hoping my entries will one day do the same for someone. heh.

I mean I was very blur lor. the small things can be so surprising. for example, it took me a few days to realise that I was experiencing morning sickness. in TV shows, it’s always shown as a sudden bout of vomitting, with no warning. nobody told me that morning sickness can also be prolonged nausea that makes you want to curl up in bed all day errday (even when you’re on holiday in another city!) or hang a flag above your office desk that says “Please don’t talk to me, I’m not interested in conversations.”

I haven’t recorded pregnancy updates in a while, for a reason I explained in part 3. insyaAllah I’ll share about our next appointment, where we find out the gender! it’s taking me all the willpower in the world not to presumptively add things to my cart on carter’s. haha.

for now, labour is still a little far in my mind. i think of it as skydiving: something i’m super scared about, but committed to. and i take comfort in the fact that so many people before me have experienced it and have come out okay, so insyaAllah, i will be okay too.

a snapshot of life right now 6/2/16

we finally collected our albums after like 8 months of being married lolol. talk about pemalas much! there was so much inertia to head to our photographer’s house to collect hee. the funny thing is that the 3 heavily pregnant ladies in the photos have all given birth, and their kids are like 4-6 months already seh.

I drafted a post some time back about #marriedwomeninsidejokes. the gist was that a friend’s friend got married so I kirim-rd my well wishes to my friend: 

in my draft entry, I went on to talk about how marriage sometimes makes me feel bitter, and how I observed a transformation in my married friends too. after the blissful honeymoon period is over, they look more tired, more highly strung, more short tempered. it’s like we are all fighting our own struggles and have less mental and emotional resources for everything else.

so yeah, it was a really dark entry coming from a less happy time in my life. alhamdulillah things are much, much better now. we even laughed about my mean exchange.

which was why I thought I would do a snapshot of my life right now. alhamdulillah, life is simple and good. work is a tad more bearable these days, and I remember feeling glad to be part of the team on one of our more light-hearted days. business is good too, alhamdulillah, at the expense of NG who must put up with my frequent whining though. hehe. ran into some issues so was obsessed with researching on solutions for a while. the New Zealand trip with his friends is happening, and we have (OK, NG has) been planning the details. I’m facing a little dilemma as to whether to go skydiving or not. on one hand it’s a once in a lifetime thing for me, I don’t want to regret pushing myself kind of thing. on the other hand it’s like am I forcing myself to be like so and so who have all skydived before? coz I don’t like roller coasters and for a long time I din even dare to jump into the pool… speaking of which, canyoning and cliff jumping are on the cards too. *face turns blue*

Reno is once again, stagnant. I think after Chinese New Year I’ll start approaching companies. there was a time when I felt emotional about moving out, but these days I feel more objective about it. the other day I caught myself feeling excited over a box of 8 different coloured cleaning cloths for the kitchen from Japan Home haha.

sooo that is life these days. alhamdulillah for everything. despite the tough moments, marriage is truly a blessing. so fun to be doing more things together heheh ๐Ÿ˜€

just married!

hello assalamualaikum! alhamdulilah, really happy to share that our wedding went smoothly last weekend ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ I was really happy with the vendors I engaged — super love my mak andams (ishQ) and photographer (an analog affair), and was very happy that my decor (elly weddings) sought my feedback on fri night during the set up and worked to address the areas I wasn’t too keen on. my photobooth company (hello forever) — don’t say lah. they have one of the best pre-event customer service. on the wedding itself, I left them in the good hands of my brother and bridesmaids and sadly I couldn’t mingle with them much.ย 

our kadi (uztaz Ismail) put us at ease and was fast and breezy. I found out that my dad had actually wanted the kadi to represent him, but the kadi insisted for my dad to do it himself. since my kadi was 20 mins early, they took the chance to practise together. alhamdulilah, our marriage was sealed within the first lafaz … our friend even caught it on a 15s Instagram video! I was also so very impressed with my dad for his clear delivery despite the last minute preps + being on stage in front of so many people :’)

it’s taking a few days to sink in that I have a husband, to be honest. the wedding day passed by in a blur; I was just following the motions per my admin programme without it really registering that hey, I haz a husband now and that today my life has changed. at the end of the night when we dropped by ninja groom’s house, I remember thinking to myself that this isn’t NG’s house anymore, this is my in laws’ house. scary! I mean not scary scary but like… wow. we have new roles and responsibilities now.

oh yeah and NG’s reception was so gorgeous! for a groom who was all like, can we get married without a wedding, his decor was so pretty and splendid. in the months leading to the wedding, he tried to keep his concept a secret to me but I think he was also too excited and kinda revealed that he had put together a MOODBOARD with lots of PINK and WHITE. emphasis for all the parts that (pleasantly) surprised me back then hahahah. thought it was pretty brave of him to pick pink (but hey! it was LKY’s favourite colour) but yeaaah together with all the light bulbs and paper lanterns and rustic touches like typewriters and flowers in glass bottles, it was really so lovely lah. sampai my relatives asked my mum how come I didn’t pick those colours instead. thanks eh.ย 

ok so photos! here are some of my favourites that I stole from relatives, orang kuat and vendors. wanted to upload more but I don’t wanna kill my data plan heh. can’t wait for the official ones ๐Ÿ™‚

us in our nikah outfits, with four out of five bridesmaids. love them all!

at the photo booth with our sanding outfit. super love my make up. ilah gave me a bronze-y look … never seen my skin and face structure look so good!

the groom’s pelamin as uploaded by his decor vendor, @kassimbabawedding. this photo don’t do justice cos it looks sweeter in the night, together with the lanterns and light bulbs and gorgeous cake table which was set up by his friends.

one of my favourite moments of the entire day: marching in together as husband and wife at NG’s reception. his guests/friends had crowded around and cheered. ’twas so nice cos can step celebrity for a second hahah.

and finally, a product of our late night outdoor shoot at the place where NG and I used to have teh tarik dates (until we went on that horrible pantang). it was not easy because everyone was so tired by then but again major love to NG’s orang kuat who really are kawan setia :’)

alhamdulilah for we are really blessed to have lovely family and friends help us for our wedding. till next update!

digging up an old fear

my first and last birthday party was my 5th. it was a cool party (by my five year old standards) where i had lots of balloons and party games to keep my cousins and neighbours entertained. i got to wear a nice baby blue dress and the group photo that we took that day of all the kids at the party remains to be one of the highlights from my childhood photo album.

but i digress.

growing up, one of the biggest fears in my life was to hold a birthday party … and have nobody show up. “rubbish!” a friend once told me. “of course people will turn up.” well, i never did find out because i never went to organise one. the excuse i gave myself is that birthday parties involve too much logistics, and i didn’t want to trouble my family. (yeah…right.)

i got reminded of this because after i sent my first two Facebook messages to invite people to my wedding and ask for their mailing addresses, i felt scared. scared that they won’t reply. scared that they’ll pretend not to see my message. (i did that once to an ex-colleague’s wedding a few years back… silly me ๐Ÿ˜ฆ don’t ever do that! at least come up with a legit[sounding] excuse) scared that everyone will say no, sorry, can’t make it. haha. and i recognised the fear to come from the same place that never desired to throw a birthday party for myself.

i feel really silly because i should have more confidence in myself, but this is the truth. stripped down bare. heh.

anyway, i told myself to start off the whole invitation process with a big, fat, BISMILLAHIRRAHMANIRRAHIM. because i know from my own experience that inviting people to your wedding isn’t as simple as asking for addresses and sending out or passing them cards. there are soooo many ways a guest can be offended. personally, my number one pet peeve is late invites. once i have to cancel my weekend plans (and sometimes bubble other people) for a friend’s late notice wedding, i get pissed. but torn, because i DO want to be there for their wedding. i’ve been offended by invites addressed to “ninja groom and partner,” especially this one case where the groom and i were friends FIRST. or even when the host knows my name and i wonder to myself “why did he/she refer to me as ‘partner’???” and then there’s the other scenarios i’ve seen, where my friend goes “wait, he invited you but he didn’t invite ME?” (insert awkward silence) or another friend sorta complains that she didn’t get her own card just because her boyfriend is the bride’s cousin even though you know, she and the bride had been friends for over 10 years. so yeah, macam-macam lah. so here’s to not stepping on anybody’s toes, as far as possible.