March 2020: Covid-19 escalates

The days in March felt short, yet the whole month seemed so slow…

Covid-19 travel advisories and the #stayhome campaign

We had a big family trip to New York City (!) planned for early April, which sadly had to be cancelled due to Covid-19. It was going to be scary flying with 2 kids, yet exciting because we were going in a huge group with all of NG’s family members. It was also supposed to be a sweet 5 year return since our honeymoon kinda thing, but oh well.

Although it seems obvious now that the trip was bound to be cancelled because of the Govt’s advice; their imposing of Stay Home Notice (and most recently the “stay hotel notice”, my own words not theirs, for travellers returning from US & Britain); and also the fast rising of Covid-19 cases in the US — it wasn’t really clear at the start of the month. We were in a limbo, watching the Govt issue advisories against travelling to Italy, Spain, UK and Germany … but not US. And to be honest we were somewhat reluctant to cancel the trip because we had a lot of money in our Airbnb bookings. Airbnb’s stance at first was to refer us to our hosts for cancellation policies, and you’d bet no host would generously give full refunds at their own expense of lost revenue. Eventually Airbnb did allow guests to cancel bookings without penalty, and we were in a better position to cancel.

Even though calling off the trip is better for our well-being, I can’t help but feel disappointed. Last year’s family trip was so fun and memorable, and I was hoping for the same this year. Also during my pregnancy I’d bought Chickpea some warmer clothes to wear, but looks like I’ll have to sell them … after the world gets the all clear to travel again.

At the same time in Singapore, the calls to #stayhome were getting stronger as the month progressed. Luckily in the first few weeks I managed to go on mummy dates and catch up with my dear ex-colleagues for lunch. Having a newborn around this season meant I was sorta used to staying home anyways, but I still liked the idea of meeting friends to catch up and going out for a few hours. In the past week I’ve cut down on meeting friends and eating out. Hope our country doesn’t go into lockdown because I would hate to have this last bit of freedom to go out (admittedly at my own risk and discretion) to be taken away.

Chickpea updates

Round 2 of having a newborn is alhamdulillah easier and less stressful! And it also helps that Chickpea has been pleasant, patient, and forgiving with us. As a second time mum, I feel more confident of my choices and more willing to trust my baby. For instance, I now believe that babies need a lot of touch, so I try to be open-minded and complain less when Chickpea wants to be carried.

Chickpea is also shaping up to be rounder than her older sister was, which I secretly love. So cute! Love chubby babies! I dunno if she’s rounder because she’s sleeping quite a lot (yay! hope I’m not jinxing myself) or that I’m better at nursing now. She’s been really good with sleeping in a wrap — I’ve been out a few times without having to remove her because she’s just sleeping all the way.

Watermelon updates

While her kakak transition has been relatively smooth so far, I think poor Watermelon is still going through some hard developmental times because she’s been quite challenging lately. A lot of whining, crying, and night terrors. Truly a testing period where I’ve not been proud of the way I’ve sometimes responded, and at the same time trying to motivate myself to be a more positive parent. Hopefully I will do better by her.

First highlight of this month is finally bringing her to the PD to get her started on her vaccines. I was really worried about how she’d respond to needles and pain, but our warm and friendly doctor at The Cheery Child Clinic made it a very casual experience that she didn’t cry at all — alhamdulillah all my worries were for naught.

Second highlight is (also, finally) trying to commit to a stricter bedtime routine. I feel that the top 2 areas of concern that keep coming up with mother-ing Watermelon are (i) SLEEP and (ii) FOOD. So here’s me trying to tackle the sleep issue harder. After talking to more mummy friends, I’ve come to realise that I’ve really got to clear my night schedule and let go of all expectations of me-time or errands-time so I can get her in bed earlier. In a way, the whole staying home makes this easier. So let’s hope this will be a permanent-ish change in our lifestyle.

As for food, I recently bought a book about picky eating. Looking forward to valuable insights and helping Watermelon eat more varied foods.

Other things I’ve been up to

Netflix-wise, I watched “Crash Landing On You” together with NG. Fun times, reminds me of how we used to watch kdramas together back in 2017 when I was on maternity leave. I’m almost done with an oldie, “My Love From A Star” after a friend recommended it. Plus it was written by CLOY’s writer, so I was extra curious. Concurrently watching Queer Eye, ok finally I get the hype. Love the series despite the occasional eye-roll moments haha.

Fitness: My second pregnancy was a lot fitter than my first. I also gained more weight this round. Sooo this brings me to my current situation of (i) grieving over having to restart my fitness from scratch, and (ii) feeling anxious to lose my pregnancy weight quickly. This past week, I’ve been trying to make it a point to go on daily morning walks as mini cardio. After subuh I change out, wrap Chickpea, and go. When Watermelon wakes up, NG bathes her and feeds her breakfast, and when I’m back I hang out with her a little while before sending her to school. NG used to do morning school runs, but with him working from home more now, it makes more sense for me to do it.

Food: NG and I are trying to move towards a whole foods plant-based diet for health reasons. And weight loss (me). Imho this lifestyle change is the sort of thing where you cannot expect to do it perfectly, or you might never start. So while I try not to buy meat or poultry anymore, we still do eat meat and chicken when outside or eating at parents’, and indulge in fast food or processed food once in a while. And cook fish and prawns weekly, because they’re tried and tested and easy for us. Our struggle is finding WFPB recipes that entice us. There are TONS of recipes out there, but many don’t particularly feel inspiring. Hopefully we’ll keep building our collection of go-to recipes and successfully transition!

Next month …

I want to keep up with my exercise, before Ramadhan comes

Continue decluttering around the home

Finish reading the book on picky eating and see what I can implement

Get started again on finding work assignments … wish me luck and rezeki!

 

Stay safe and healthy, everyone! May we find hope, support, and community strength in these strange times ❤

 

Watermelon is three!

Awww Watermelon, you’re already 3. It’s amazing how much you’ve grown in the last 12 months. You learning to string sentences together was probably the biggest game changer, because now you’re such a chatterbox! And sometimes so bossy. But still cute.

The biggest highlights from between your 24th month to your 36th month include:

  • The long holiday we had It was an ambitious itinerary involving almost 4 weeks of travel and 8 different hotels. I was worried it was going to be too many changes for you to adapt to, but you were such a great travel companion. You were so happy to be around your paternal relatives, and I think it was during the trip that you started to closely bond with your cousins. Then we travelled with Abah’s colleagues and you gladly basked in their attention too. Finally we hung out with my friend and her husband, and you loved it when they brought you to feed ducks and swans at the local park. Throughout the trip you were pleasant, generally cooperative, and didn’t whine much — it was truly a special time for our little family :’)
  • Being a big sister We found out you were going to be a big sister sometime in June. We didn’t make a big deal out of it until much later in the pregnancy. At first you told us the baby was a boy, only to be corrected by the sonographer that your adik is a girl! Haha. When you did seem to figure out that we were expecting a baby, you’d say sweet things like how adik can share your toys and your books, and how you wanted adik to come out. We’ll soon discover for ourselves what kind of big sister you’ll really be — hopefully a really sweet and awesome one!
  • Our JB & KL staycations It wasn’t until we travelled again in November that you started to appreciate hotels. It was fun seeing you get excited about your “new house”, running in and out of the huge toilet we had in Capri, beaming at us in the king size bed as the three of us snuggled together, or getting soooo excited about swimming only to feel scared to do anything in the water LOL. Now you like to say “I want new house, I don’t like old house” and we have to tell you that please eh, it’s not like we can easily go to “new houses” every week.
  • Toilet training We also got to see you figure out toilet training fairly easily. It amazes me how quickly you figure out things, and how teachable you are. I hope you never lose your curiosity. We’ll have to work on weaning you off night diapers soon, and I hope it’ll go just as smoothly!

And then there are the everyday delights … like seeing your love for books, your eagerness to help us “cook” and “wash the dishes”, and hearing endearing stories about you from your infantcare/playgroup teachers. The way you giggle playfully, sing your made up songs, and be all drama queen or mimic us when we least expect it.

And to keep things real, the everyday struggles … like you being selective with food and not wanting to fall asleep early. Areas we still have to work on in our relationship with you.

Thank you for being so patient and forgiving with us as we learn how to be parents and better humans in general. Thank you for simply being you and for coming into our lives ❤

watermelon’s capsule wardrobe

Yikes, I realised I forgot to mention Watermelon’s capsule wardrobe in my last journal update! Which is ironic because I made sure to complete it before July ended, for accountability’s sake after mentioning it in my June entry. So here goes! (For the record, she’s 2.5 years old as I’m doing this.)

In a nutshell: For this particular clothes purge, I came up with some ideal numbers for Watermelon’s capsule wardrobe. Then I took out alllll her clothes (minus the ones in the laundry), sorted them into categories, and then decided which ones to keep, sell, donate, or recycle. My idea was to have a really small wardrobe for Watermelon so that laundering and organising her wardrobe becomes easier.

Read More

Watermelon’s favourite reads (@27 months)

Thought I’d do a round up of Watermelon’s current favourite books! And mine too, because if I don’t enjoy reading any particular book, I’d probably secretly stash them away 😈😬 #truestory

I love shopping for toddler books for Watermelon, and it makes me reaaally happy when she likes them a lot 🙂 So here are some of my most successful purchases, coupled with some preloved and complimentary books that she loves. Read More

watermelon turns two!

Watermelon is TWO! Super cliche, but time really flies.

I hope I’m not jinxing myself when I say that I’ve been enjoying motherhood lately. Which is not to say that everything is easy, only that we’ve fallen into a rhythm and that I feel less like a frantic first time mum with a small baby. It feels like we’re emerging from the thick, dark forest of new parenthood and heading into the woods, at least for now. Maybe the parenting books I’ve been reading have helped me feel a tad more confident about honouring and responding to Watermelon’s needs, I dunno.

In any case, life with a toddler has been more free compared to her first year. She’s still clingy but she doesn’t depend on me as much. I can come home later on some days, and we can leave her with family without worrying about how she’d cope.

It took me 10 months from last year’s birthday post where I said I wanted to focus on my fitness to finally establish an exercise routine, and I have to say I’m loving it! I love being able to do something for myself, and feeling my body gain back some strength that I felt I lost since pregnancy.

My biggest parenting challenge — at least the first to come to my mind — is probably co-parenting. NG and I have wildly different styles, and sometimes it’s just so painful to work through. Lately this hasn’t caused any huge problems, but I know our differences will continue to haunt us as Watermelon progresses through her childhood.

My next (other?) huge challenge will probably be figuring out what I want to do about my career, and what kind of job would best support my needs and my family’s needs. To chiong or not to chiong? To stay in the same line or try something new? To accept a more rigid schedule and/or a paycut? I think the problem is that I haven’t worked out what I truly want. Maybe this year will give me the opportunity to, now that I feel a teeny braver to take risks and make big changes…

Until the next baby arrives, that is. Which is not anytime soon because we (cough, cough) don’t feel ready yet. Recently I was organising Watermelon’s wardrobe when I realised I’d have to think really hard about where to squeeze in no 2’s clothes if we have one. Suddenly it seems like a really daunting task, almost enough to scare me into stopping at one.

But I shan’t yield, at least not yet.

celebrating Watermelon

Enough about me, let’s celebrate the cutie patootie 2 year old Watermelon. I think one of the things I adore most about her is her sweet and gentle voice. Paired with her pelat (mispronunciations), aiyoyo. Suuuper cute lah. But I also love it when she gets a little shouty and says “WAHHHH!”, “HI!!!” or “BYE!!” with so much enthusiasm 😂

Watermelon loves books, perhaps a little more than toys. She likes us to read her the same books over and over again. It can be kinda hard to introduce new titles to her. For example:

Me trying to read her a book for the first time
me: (reads pg 1, pg 2, pg 3)
Watermelon: the end.
me: (reads pg 4)
Watermelon: the end.
me: (reads pg 5, and glances at Watermelon fidgeting) ok fine, the end.
me: *eyes the rest of the book that maybe someday we will finish*

She didn’t enjoy our swimming classes, but likes to splash and play in water. She particularly didn’t like to follow instructions and do the drills, and was hardly picked as the demo baby. A swimming instructor friend was so nice to tell me that it’s “good” that she doesn’t like to follow instructions tho. I’m like, “you sure or not? the other babies were amazingly compliant in the pool.”

Watermelon approaches playground slides with reservation. She climbs up enthusiastically then sits at the top for what feels like a really long time, at least when I’m around. Apparently she goes down fine whenever she’s with NG 🙄 She loves swings and wheel-y things.

90% of the time she cooperates and looks forward to our bike rides together. She’s fallen asleep several times mid-cycle, her head swaying uncontrollably and banging unexpectedly into my lower back.

The way to Watermelon’s heart is through a Magiclean. She loves to push it around the house and gets upset whenever it gets taken away.

She’s many times a paradox: will not flinch when (lightly) injured, but cries with fear at small foreign objects on the ground, like a stray bit of styrofoam or a tiny ball of thread.

Mama Kraken said if you scold Watermelon, she fights back with an icy expression in her eyes. She doesn’t cry, and stares right back at you without blinking.

Yet she gets overjoyed when we decipher what she’s saying and can repeat her request correctly.

Watermelon: *pointing towards kitchen* Cat, cat, cat
Me: Biscuit? Watermelon wants a biscuit?
*Watermelon smiles, nods enthusiastically, and lets out a cheeky giggle*

She currently likes plain carbs and eats meat selectively. Avoids all vegetables, is obsessed with fruits, and loves teh tarik. Strangely does not seem to like ice cream.

We’ve witnessed a lot of cute moments lately, which have lit up our home. I’m looking forward to connecting more deeply with Watermelon and watching her develop into the person she is supposed to be.

Happy second birthday, my sweet love!

Watermelon: Nana?? Okay!!!

– Watermelon asking me to nurse her, but making it seem like it’s the other way around

life with a 21mo toddler

Sooo Watermelon is now 21 months, and life is getting comfortable again. There’s less stress than the first 18 months or so when everything’s changing all of the time. Things are more stable, and I’m feeling more like my old self in some ways.

Of course there are some things that I haven’t gotten back, like computer privileges. Every time I try to use my PC, Watermelon wants to climb onto my lap, hits the caps lock button on my keyboard, moves my mouse, asks to draw… ahhh I miss surfing aimlessly on my computer 😦

3 Things That I’m Currently Learning

1. To wake up at 5.00am for some me time. It’s hit and miss, some morning I snooze because I’m too tired. But I’ve learnt to squeeze in a short exercise before 6.00am. It makes me feel good (am still trying to lose weight – what’s new. Keyword: TRYING) and reminds me of my pregnancy days when I used to do short exercises. Life was good and sweet back then!

2. To adjust my communication style to be more respectful and gentle. For instance, learning to acknowledge Watermelon’s feelings. “You’re upset because you want to play some more!” Learning to state facts and without judgment. And without inadvertently dismissing feelings. “You fell down! Are you okay?” (Instead of “you’re okay!”) And learning to praise effort rather than results. Though so far I’ve only practised this on my sister’s kids, and on a mama who scored an Oscha Treasure Tote via FFF lulz.

3. To be kinder to myself. Telling myself that it’s okay to choose sleep over certain household tasks, because my rest is important too.

It’s such a joy watching Watermelon grow and learn new things. She’s adding new words to her vocabulary, teaching herself to jump (very slow but cute progression here) and being more confident – and even insisting – of going up and down staircases by herself. I feel like I can’t help but love her more as she develops more antics and reveals a little more of her personality over the weeks.

Tantrums abound, of course. She likes to throw herself back, kneel down in a dramatic plea, or throw the very thing we ask back from her onto the ground. The extra annoying part is when she pretends to not understand me when I ask her to pick them up 😒

3 Recent Memories

1. Went out for a zoo outing with 3 other mummies. It was fun! They’ve gone out together before, but it was my first time joining them. One of them came alone with her 14mo twins. You could tell it was pretty challenging for her to manage both. I thought it was most amazing when her mum came down to the zoo to join us and help her. After bringing food to her own mum. Like wow, she’s a super dedicated woman. First she attended to her own mum, then she rushed down to help her daughter and to serve her grandchildren. I was like whoa this is the every day sacrifice of a woman. Things we don’t shout about because we take them for granted. Our mums are so amazing, eh. N’s mum was super friendly and even helped another mama push her stroller. It was really touching to see their sweet group dynamics.

2. Cycling has been our latest family thing lately. My BIL started it. He got a bike, then my sister got a bike, then their two kids got bikes and had to learn how to cycle. Then NG got a bike, and then I got a bike. All this within a span of one month or so. Haha. So anyway last week we cycled to dinner. On the way back, my bike and Watermelon fell down when I lost my balance trying to cycle beside someone burning incense on the pavement. It was super scary kay. Watermelon whinged for a short while, eeps. And then we got caught in the rain! Lightning, thunder, heavy showers. Poor Watermelon was drenched to the skin. But she remained in fairly good spirit. One time I heard her shout “broom broom!” ahahaha. And she was quite nonchalant about the thunders that night. Yay, proud of her. It was quite fun, and I kinda wouldn’t mind cycling in the rain again as long as traffic is not heavy and I’m homebound!

3. We were at a cafe which provided a small play area and some Lego blocks for kids. There was a preschooler who was building something before her mum (?) summoned her to the table to eat. When we were about to leave, Watermelon sat down at the corner once more and touched that Lego structure that the girl had built. The girl started whining, and the mum came up to us, smiled apologetically and took the structure back to their table. Since we were about to leave the cafe, I shrugged it off. But as I thought about it, I realised that I felt very uneasy about what the mum did. At first I thought, “it’s a communal toy. It’s not very nice to think of it as her daughter’s.” I probed a little deeper. “Plus there was a notice requesting for the toys not to be brought out of the play area and into the dining tables.” I talked about it with NG and came to the realisation that what bothered me most was the fact that she took the toy out of Watermelon’s hands. I don’t think it was very nice or fair of her to do that. If she had waited for just a minute more, we would have been out of the door already. Meh.

Ok lah, good or bad, sweet or painful, alhamdulillah for motherhood ❤️