Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Newborns and Kodak moments

Before I go into the contents of this post, a random musing: is it by mere coincidence that the core Line 1 of the Beijing subway (the longest east-west subway in Beijing spanning some 31.04 km) broke down during evening peak hour (no less) last evening - the day right after the Beijing Olympics ended? Woe betide the Beijing organizers if there was any transportation breakdown of sorts during the sacred Olympics season, and it's funny to see the same chaos I've come to expect of Beijing at the subway station yesterday. (I wasn't going to take the train, but was going into the underpass that links my office building to the shopping complex across the street to meet Wayne for dinner - subway personnel were ready to padlock-grill up the entrances to prevent overcrowding of people...)

Anyway... Rosabelle has been kicking/twisting/turning more and more these days - she is very, very active, and these past few mornings, I could not sleep in late as she will kick me awake (maybe she's hungry and wants me to get my lazy bum up to eat breakfast). Whilst sitting down still, I can at times even see my tummy heave from her wriggling, or see pokes of her body out of my tummy, so much that it's all quite cute to me, haha! Mum was advising me to give her pats on my tummy when she moves too much, to reassure her and put her at ease - it's a fun way to "interact" with her as well.

As Rosabelle grows from day to day, I was looking through photos of my dear nephew and niece (Simon and Marianne) when they were born, to get an idea of what my newborn might look like (bloody/grimy/wet/big/small?)...

Judging from the photos of Simon and Marianne on the day they were born, newborns look alike, are very sleepy, have "blur" looks on their rosy and chubby faces, and in both their cases, have very thick hair (maybe cos my sis drank alot of bird's nest...). And both of them look oh-so-cute, but when I think of how big Rosabelle has to grow before she pops out (and what I have to go through to pop her out), I am just amazed at how much more she, and my tummy, is going to grow over the remaining 2.5 months...wowee... Goodbye waist, hello backache!

Looking back at the photos when Marianne was born, Simon was only a "baby" himself at about 16 months old - but see how he tenderly stroked and "sayang" his baby sister - I remember when I saw these photos some three years ago, I was thinking to myself "How sweet...".

I was never present for the births of either of them, which is really a pity, and am really glad that my family will be around to witness Rosabelle's, and that she will immediately have Kor Kor Simon and Jieh Jieh Marianne to learn from, and to play with.

On a more practical note, Wayne and I have also started thinking about the paperwork of bringing Rosabelle back to Beijing next March - we'd need to apply for a Singapore passport for her (a passport for an infant - how cute!). I am also in the midst of getting information from the China Embassy in Singapore on the visas for her passport for her to get into China for long-term stay - the last thing we want is for our infant to be retained at customs for lacking the proper papers to get into the country, or get deported! Shudder...

When anybody talks about passports, they will think about how good/bad they look in passport photos, and I'm thinking - Rosabelle is going to use this passport for travels until she's five years old - but we all know infants change their looks hour to hour - how is the immigration officer going to ever ascertain that Rosabelle at three years of age is the same infant in the photograph taken at say, three months of age??? That, I leave to the experts to make their own judgements... but I then started looking around for tips on how to take photos of infants for passports. Passport photos have very strict guidelines, and I found a site that gave some tips for how to get best passport photos of babies and kids.

According to Singapore Immigration rules as stated on their website, Rosabelle's photograph must, amongst many other things, be:

  • Taken full face with her looking directly at the camera with head straight and eyes open with no hair across and/or covering your eyes. Both edges of her face and the top of her shoulder must be clearly shown. She must not look over any shoulder and her head must not be tilted
  • Taken with the image of her face measuring between 25 mm and 35 mm from chin to crown of head
  • Taken with uniform lighting with no flash reflections, no shadows, no uneven bright spots on the face and no red eyes (her eyes have to be open in the first place, of course...)
  • Of white background, except that where if her hair, hat or head covering is white, the background must be light grey
  • The photograph must show her alone with no chair back, toys or other persons visible

So... my daughter has to prop her own neck up at 3 months of age, preferably without any clothing on that will risk blocking her face/shoulders, look straight ahead at the camera, open her eyes and close her mouth for the perfect shot.

It's probably going to be a nightmare for us to do it , as you can see from the below examples that are rejected (I think the final photo of this poor infant isn't exactly the cutest, but who needs cute when you are passing through customs, I guess):

Maybe we'll just have to hire a professional, like how Simon and Marianne took day-old photographs that look lovely, and meet all the requirements of a passport photo if they are close-ups. (Now, don't you think newborns all look quite alike? That's Marianne in pink, if you are trying to work out who's who...)

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