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Dear Clover,

My precious first born, we had a rough start you and I. There were many dark days and nights because I wasn’t ready (and no one truly is) to be so needed by a helpless little being. And you, well you were just doing your best to adjust to the strange world around you.

But I think we made it; we made the best of it. I know I’ve been unfairly tough on you, too strict, too impatient. These I’ll work on improving.

You, my darling, is such a clever little thing; so eager to learn and absorb everything around you. You were never the sleepy baby shown in all those prenatal / postnatal / parenting paraphernalia. Your eyes (and lungs) were wide open from Day 1.

You never bothered with flipping (gosh the anxiety it caused me) and went straight to tripod sitting (the world does look better from a “higher” perspective, doesn’t it?). One day you just sat up on your own like it’s the most natural thing.

You were an early talker; verbal ahead of developmental milestone charts. Your first word was “mama”, actually it was more like “mamamaaaa”. Perhaps because you knew if you call out mama, someone would come tend to you immediately (you are quite a manipulator babe).

The funniest incident was when you were 9 months old on the night before we were due to fly back from New York. You ate THREE (no joke) little fruit loops cereal, spent all night bouncing off the hotel room walls and for the first time very clearly said “Dada”! Your father was highly amused and delighted.

We must have done something right with you. I love that you are so happy and affectionate all the time. You shower us with hugs, kisses and “I love you”s without any prompt from us. You love cuddles and tickles more than anything. Your 姨姨 says it’s so evident that you know are very loved; your quiet confidence and the joy you exude.

In the last 2 years you have grown so much. You taught us a big lesson in resilience. We relocated and took you away from friends you knew since a few months old. I went back to work full time and left you in a strange environment for long hours. Just when you made new friends and started to enjoy your daycare, we moved again!

We take heart in how you have blossomed in the new school. You have become more outgoing and an absolute chatterbox (like your dad). You are a wondrous mix of a girly girl who lives in dresses, loves purple, ballet, singing and dancing and a tomboy who loves climbing, picking leaves, rocks and petting all sorts of reptiles (and animals).

You are not entirely aware of the massive changes in the coming weeks. I’m certain you are the best big sister anyone can have. It will take time to establish a new routine for the new foursome but I have no doubt you will lead the way Miss Bossy-pants :)

Know this: your father and I will always love you and support you no matter what. Everything we do is out of love for you with good intentions even if we didn’t / don’t achieve the desired outcomes. We will always be your safe habour; your loudest cheerleaders. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Love,
Mama

:: No. 2 :: Week 38

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35.5 Weeks Photo by Matt Stefanidis

I will be 38 weeks on Thursday. Still no baby in sight.

This is officially my last week in the office, though I will be working from home until I pop (in order to enjoy the full 16 weeks maternity leave after the baby arrives).

 

The sister commented this morning that I must be the hardest working pregnant woman around; the fact that I still work a fully loaded 10-hour day (we don’t do 1-2 hour lunch breaks unlike in Asia) this close to my due date. Well I’m pregnant not an invalid! Plus I genuinely enjoy my work. 

 

I supposed I am truly blessed with both my pregnancies. I was never incapacitated by morning sickness and have been generally healthy barring a couple of seasonal coughs / colds. With no. 2 I did have a scare which landed me in the emergency room one Friday night; it was because I didn’t have enough fluid resulting in a mild case of bladder infection.

 

For both pregnancies, I think I’ve taken a grand total of TWO MCs.

 

C has been pretty healthy and happy since her case of pneumonia at the start of the year which definitely helped. I’m also thankful for the small mercy that our babysitter was 100% dependable and helping with school pick-ups for the last 8 months.

 

These are testaments to God’s graces; I’m not sure how we would have coped if my pregnancy symptoms were worse or if C was constantly ill. Or needing to deal with childcare issues.

 

I guess what’s left right now is to pray for a smooth, quick and safe delivery. I hope we don’t have to be induced or worse, an emergency c-section. I pray for a happy, healthy child. Clover has been good as gold with my pregnancy, I pray she feels the same when she meets Baby A.

 

Please keep us in your prayers!

I was in 2 minds about doing a maternity shoot for no. 2 mainly because of prohibitively high costs; here most photographers do not include digital files for their services. On average a single soft copy could cost anywhere between USD 20-50 and some only allow you to print up to a 5x7cm. That’s crazy if you ask me.

 

Another reason is I am 10 lbs (yes TEN-FREAKING-POUNDS) heavier than my last pregnancy. Not entirely sure if I want to capture that for all eternity.

 

Any hoodle, I was on a list-serve and came across a post for a mini session with Captured by Matt right here in Hoboken.  The cost was reasonable (USD 150) AND we get 30 digital files with full print rights!

 

After the hugely disappointing shoot we had last September in Singapore to the tune of SGD 450, practically anything will be an improvement (including setting up my own camera on a tripod). I am not sure if it was the heat and humidity, there was at most 5 usable photos from that shoot. That’s a post for another time when my mum brings over the photo cd.

 

I know my daughter, she is a little Tasmanian devil, it’s hard to get her to “pose” (more like keep still) for a photo. That said, I love how everything turned out. Here are some selected shots out of 40 pictures we received from Matt.

 

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Bump, Clover and Burrito

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Family Pic

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Upside down tickles

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Clover and her favourite stuffed toy

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Unbridled joy at the simplest little thing – throwing leaves

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Mama kisses are the best

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Fun with Dada

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This is how we hang

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Mama cudles

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Peek-a-boo

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I love this picture, how crazy happy she looks!

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<3

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Running around

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Bump shot

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How we usually finish off our weekends with our favourite ice-cream truck/seller

 

 

Once again, a big thank you to Matt Stefanidis for the lovely photos at such an affordable rate. I think we might have to make this photoshoot thing an annual event!

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August has finally rolled around, I am 35.5 weeks along and this means in a month (or less eek!) we will get to meet baby A.

- C is very excited to meet her sister and has been an absolute joy about becoming a big sister. She has offered to share her toys, clothes, books and told anyone who would listen “I am having a baby sister and I will help change her poopy nappy”. A year ago, I would not have believe it if you told me she is ready for a sibling.

- I see my OBGYN next week and will be seeing her weekly going forward along with the dreaded cervix examination.

- We have a hospital tour scheduled today; I am in 2 minds about stumping up USD 500 for a private room since I would only be there for 2 nights.

- We are almost done with shopping for the baby. Very thankful that we received an unexpected discount for the Babyzen Yoyo 0+ (yep the one that we can use from birth). Also managed to purchase a top rated infant car seat for USD 106.99. Now I just need to break out my Medela Freestyle and see if it still works. Else I will have to call my insurance company for a new pump (PISA, because Freestyle is considered premium and I am too cheap to top up $ for it since realistically I don’t know long I will / want to breastfeed for).

- We received the good news that Baby A’s infant care spot is confirmed in C’s school / daycare and we start at our desired date of December 2014. The infant room was previously full and was only available in May 2015 (!!).

- Work wise, I am in the process of off-boarding my responsibilities. My boss is out until August 11 but at least my maternity cover is in so I am doing my best to cut down on daily tasks and do more “managing the team”. I am also considering returning to work part-time from December so I can extend my maternity leave through January. This is of course subjected to discussion / approval by my manager and HR.

- Mr. P’s mum gets her in 1.5 weeks, which means if I do go into labour we will have someone to help with C.

I suppose in the next couple of weeks, it’s time to launder all the baby sheets, blankets, clothes, etc.

C has always been a mama’s girl from birth; she has a special smile for me, her first word was mama (though I think it’s more the case of when she says mamamama some – well me mostly – will tend to her) and no one can soothe her or make her happy like I can. When Mr. P and I left her back in 2012 for a week long trip on our own, she gave me the cold shoulder as punishment until she was satisfied that I was remorseful and had learnt my lesson (in her mind anyway).

Mr. P flew off to the UK for a work trip after the Independence Day weekend and we were both surprised at how much C was affected by his absence. When he called, she would cradle the phone and speak to him, gave him (well the phone) lots of hugs and kisses and proceeded to bawl her eyes out when he hung up. It was awfully funny to watch.

C missed her Dada so much, she stayed up to wait for him on the Friday he was due back. For the entire week after, she was 85% Daddy’s Girl. She would not let him out of her sight, would only have him pander to her whims (“Dada do it” was the no. 1 phrase the entire week) and would want a billion hugs and kisses at bedtime.

 

 

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Saturday morning after Mr. P got back

 

It was absolutely amazing to watch (and a well earned break for me yay).

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Only Dada

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Shoulder rides are the best mode of transport

After 3.5 years, I think we have reached parenting equilibrium – she is now pretty much equally a mama’s and daddy’s girl; well most days anyway.

 

Face painting treat from Dada

Face painting treat from Dada

 

We spent the Independence Day long weekend running errands and sorting out the kids bedroom with C being a wonderful little helper.

- Mr. P assembled the free crib we picked up the previous week.

- Mr. P and C painted our black/brown Ikea Expedite white. (Did you know Expedite is no longer in production and replaced by the Kallax which has thinner sides?)

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Earning her keep as a painter

 

 

- We finally got around to putting up the wall decals I bought last year before we moved to the new apartment with placement input from C. (King procrastinator here!)

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Up inspired wall decals

- We bought an Ikea Brimes pull out daybed (converts to a king bed) with storage for C in preparation for move to the girls room on her 4th birthday (yes currently she co-sleeps with us).

It’s still a work in progress, there are a few bits and bobs to finish up plus I still have to purchase bedding. We are aiming to complete this by the end of July (we kind of have to!).

 

Since our relocation here and having to move 3 times in a year, I have been working on conscious living;. In other words, consuming less. When we moved to our apartment last October, I gave away all of C’s baby stuff – convertible crib extensions (we converted it to a full bed, binned the crib parts), mattress, change table, infant car seat, Inglesina pram, play mat, and a whole load of barely worn infant clothes. We had no plans to add to our family.

Murphy’s law and a long, hard winter (what else is there to do right?) changed all that. I guess second time around we can differentiate between necessities and waste-of-money items. I have set a very “ambitious” target of not spending more than USD 1,000 for all of A’s baby items. That is a small chunk of change compared to what we wasted on C’s stuff!

Here’s my very concised Baby Shopping List

- Crib and mattress we picked up a free one (score!)

- Pram (this might bust our budget since we are going for the BabyZen Yoyo)

- Infant car seat

- Feeding set

- Newborn button-front tops / onesies

- Swaddles x 4

- Fancy crib bedding (waiting for Labour Day / Black Friday sales)

- Sterliser (we will get this for free using Hilton Honors points)

- Breastpump (covered by my insurance if the old one doesn’t work)

At 31 weeks along, the only item checked off is the crib and mattress because I made Mr. P go pick them up FOR FREE from a family who was moving. It saved us USD 260+tax (cost of the Ikea ones we were eyeing) off the bat and will hopefully keep us within budget even with buying the Babyzen.

With Mr. P travelling to the UK for work in a couple weeks, his dad visiting the week after and not wanting to clutter up the apartment, I told him we should only start shopping for the rest of the items in the last week of July. Let’s hope we get to pick up some good deals on the remaining items on my list.

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