Thursday, April 30, 2009

Play time

Cheeky girl loves to play with the set of stacking cups we bought her, choosing different colors of cups to chew on, and singing along at times. However, if she does not get what she wants (e.g. prefers chewing/tugging on the camera than any other toy), she will make a 'nnnng, nnnnng, nnng' sound, not unlike a bowel movement. Heh. This is what blue color tastes like to her:

She is also very alert to sounds/voices – this is what her reaction was when Daddy called out to her last night:
And lastly, this is how she’s sitting on her Fisher Price seat these days, looking at the designs on the seat in between her legs (and at times looking to see if her toy has fallen in between):

All these play could be getting to her as she might be taking her new cot as a play thing - she again woke up at 6 am last night and refused to go back to sleep until 7:30 am (nanny had to play with and sing to her). Then I was woken up by scratching noises at 8:30 am - she was happily scratching the side of the cot and gave me a cheeky smile when I got up to peek at her. Oh dear me. Well, I told the nanny this is at least better than her crying/refusing to sleep in the cot.

On the last day of April…

On this day, you sat unaided for close to two minutes, observing Ayi mop the floor this morning. Your previous attempts at sitting unaided were always shaky, but Mummy found that you could sit up without support on the bed whilst playing. I thought it was a fluke, but you proved me wrong and sat by yourself for a long while. How clever!

On this day as well, you also took your first taste of Nestle rice cereal, your first-ever weaned food. It was watery, and only 5 grammes of cereal (to 35 ml of water), but you enjoyed the taste, and was left crying and Mummy had to supplement with a feed before you went to sleep. You managed to eat from the spoon, and even drank water from a two-handled cup to rinse your mouth after. How clever too!

We’ll have to monitor for any allergies over the next three days before we add items like carrots to the next cereal feed, you’re on your way to enjoying foods other than milk, milk, and more milk!


Ayi does massage for her after her bath these days, and if she isn’t feeling sleepy and/or hungry, she enjoys these sessions.

I’ve mosaic-ed out certain parts to protect our daughter’s modesty – ha!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Milk lines

If you look closely enough at the right side of her mouth, there is a deep line -- caused by 20 minutes of feed. Cute.

Happy B-Day!

It was D-Day yesterday, or more like B-Day, BED change time for our dear Rosabelle. After Wayne got home from work, he got cracking to set up the bed in our room – see how majestic and lovely it looks (matches her white Ikea cupboard too!)?

We were apprehensive that she would not take well to the bed, and I told the nanny to carry her and see Wayne setting it up, to pique her curiosity about her new ‘toy’, and she immediately loved it when we put her down!

The nanny kept reciting to her that this was her bed, and she was supposed to sleep in it that night, and not sleep next to Mummy anymore (other than the few days she was in hospital for her jaundice and operation, she has been sleeping by my side for the past 6 months since her birth).

She excitedly looked around the bed and liked the cutesy design and quilt, and looked so sweet in all things pink, haha!
We thought that she would cry upon being put to bed and want to sleep back in the big bed, but surprisingly, after feeding her, she went to sleep soundly herself in the bed – how brave.

In fact, it was me who was more excited, getting up to ensure she did not kick off her quilt (this quilt is quite noisy when she moves, so it helps and lets me know if she is waking up for a feed, and nanny said the slight noise will train her to sleep even when there is noise around).

However, maybe she got excited too and refused to go back to sleep after the first feed at 4 am, and the nanny had to sing her to sleep. Only bad thing about this cot is I have to bend to change her diaper sideways at night – killing my already bad back!

Other than day time nappy change and play time on the big bed, she will be sleeping in her own bed for night and day nap times.

On to other anecdotes, she likes looking at the security phone near our main door and will always stare and reach out to it until I hit the ‘view’ button and the black/white visual of our lobby will appear. She will always be so intrigued and look at me with a ‘now how did you do that?’ look, and as usual want to put the whole phone in her mouth.

However, there are things/foods she does not like – plain water. I feed her gripe water every day, and will then feed some plain water thereafter to rinse the sweet taste from her mouth. She has sharp taste buds and once I feed her the first spoonful of water, she will spit it out. Haha, turns out most kids do not like the taste of plain water as well.

Just this morning, Wayne called home and she immediately looked around towards the TV upon hearing the phone melody – will be some times before she realizes that the sound comes from the phone.

She’s now sleeping soundly in her cot, but Wayne told me our next-door neighbour has sold his flat, and the new folks are going to do major renovations = noise+dirt+construction debris+smoking workers. I messaged Vanessa this morning and told her if it gets bad, we might need to seek refuge at her place. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's been awhile...

My colleague Wan Lin sent me photos taken from last Friday night - quite a few new faces in the team, and some are leaving, but it was a good catch-up session, and for them to finally meet Rosabelle after all this time. Catching up gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling, doesn't it?


Rosabelle has been wailing away at bath time for the past three days. It's been like that since vaccination day on Saturday, where we did not bathe her. Henceforth, whenever we bathed her, she will sob uncontrollably, making it hard for the nanny to massage her thereafter. I at first thought it's because the water was too hot, and tried adding cooler water, and thought she wanted me to bathe her instead. However, she was still crying, but always alright and excited when we remove her clothes, right to the point when the water touches her.

We can't put a finger on it, just hope that this phase only guess is the vaccination jabs on her thighs might still be smarting from the water.

We brought her down twice today as the weather's nice and good --

She also did something really cute today - I was feeding her and playing with her fingers, pulling my finger away at the last minute when she was about to grasp it with her left hand. This pulling away continued for 4 to 5 times when she suddenly used her right hand to grab my finger instead; how cheeky but clever. Heh, doesn't sound like a big deal but I am just so amused how her little mind works.

Also, Amcare called me today saying that her iron level was slightly low (decimal points) and suggested weaning with yolk etc (same as what the doctor advised the other day), and feeding vitamins (another money-making spin). I'm not too worried as she's growing well, and after we put her in her new cot today, we'll give her a few days to adapt before we start on her first taste of cereal on Thursday, how fun!

Monday, April 27, 2009

The little things

It’s amazing, and also amusing, to notice Rosabelle doing certain things at times.

She has always liked watching TV, and when I switched on the CD today to let her listen to some children’s songs, she automatically turned her head towards the TV first to see if the sounds were coming from the gogglebox. When she did not see any images, she then started turning her head about to see where the sound was coming from.

This is her trying to sneak a look at the TV in Singapore - I purposely turned her with her back to the TV, and had no heart to see her strain her whole neck almost 180 degrees upwards to watch the TV!
She has always been a big fan of bath times, and would at times be so excited she would pee right before bath – my mum, Wayne and I have been victims before. These days, when removing her diaper before bath, we would do the ‘sssh, sssh’ sound to make her pee, and I must say she has been most cooperative! I thought it was a fluke, but when the nanny was changing her diaper just now, and made the ‘sssh, sssh’ sound, she peed again into the diaper. What a good girl!

She was cranky the other day, and no toys we fished out of the toy box could placate her. In desperation, I took off the lid of the toy box (the Ikea red fish toy box), and she happily started gumming on the fish fins and tail. I realize she likes containers – she will ignore the toys in the boxes and play happily with the cloth boxes we put the toys in. Back in Singapore, she also had a favorite doggy container that held some chewy sweets. In the car, at times when her teether cannot keep her happy, I will give her the plastic bag that held the teether instead, and she will prefer to play with the former!

Told Wayne that our daughter does not need expensive toys, haha!

What did you get up to in 48 hours?

It was a long weekend for us all!

On Friday evening, my ex-colleagues swung by to visit us. I have not met these folks since I left on my maternity leave last September, and some of them have since left, are leaving, or in some cases, are returning to the company. It was good to see familiar faces again, and Rosabelle also had a good time looking and playing with them all. There were super strong winds from evening time, but we went out for dinner with them anyway (thank goodness for the convenience of our own car!). It was my ex-colleague Li San’s last day, as she’s heading back to Malaysia, but during photo-taking time, Rosabelle instead stole the limelight and was the ‘backdrop’ for many of the photos. Pity my camera ran out of battery, so I only have a few photos taken…

That night, maybe due to seeing too many faces and having so much fun, she again slept only at 2:30am! And the next day, at around 9-plus in the morning, some silly neighbour upstairs decided to do some mini construction and started hammering away. When Wayne went upstairs to look around to ask them to stop, they started drilling away! Poor Rosabelle was woken up and grouchy – I had to resort to turning her on her side and using a towel to cover her other ear to pat her back to sleep. Wayne could not find out the source of the noise, but heard somebody else asking them to stop the din. Good.

Rosabelle then woke up close to 11am, and we had to rush for her 11:30am vaccination appointment at Amcare (the same place I did my pre-natal checks). Given it was a new place, she seemed in pretty high spirits, smiling and at times shrieking away. She is now 8.7kg, officially over triple her birth weight, and grew longer to 69.5cm.

We saw the doctor, an old lady in her sixties, I guess, who did not really leave a good impression on us (we requested for another doctor on the next visit). In fact, she costs three times more than a normal doctor as she is supposed to be a specialist. When we told her about the ringworm problem on her cheek, she deduced it was a mouth problem and said we should go to a specialist. When we told her about the purplish red spots on her shin that faded, she also said we can go to a specialist the next time it happens. In fact, her assistant seemed to know more than she does and she was asking her questions instead. However, she cleared Rosabelle’s heart murmurs (the doctor in KKH heard sounds the last two visits and asked that we follow-up here), and had Rosabelle do blood tests to check her blood and to see if she is deficient in anything.

Sweet Rosabelle did not shed a single tear when they pricked and drew three straws of blood from her finger for the tests – she was probably too distracted by the nurses around her and was even playing. How brave!

We then waited at the rest area for the test results (where father and daughter watched TV, as you can see…), and then saw the doctor again.

Turns out her haemoglobin level of 8.9 is lower than the usual 11.0, and the doctor deduced it must have caused the spots on her shin due to clotting issues. It actually isn’t as serious as it sounds, but she suggested I take more dark-colored foods like liver, black fungus etc, and start feeding Rosabelle egg yolk, date water etc.

Even though the tests to see vitamin/minerals deficiency will be out only in 3 days, they prescribed Vitamin A/D, and calcium for her, as they said children in China are not as exposed to sunshine as kids in Singapore, thus it’s necessary (turns out my brother-in-law thinks it’s not needed as they get everything from mother’s milk, and the nanny also said it’s a way for the hospital to make money off us – she says in worse case scenarios, the additional calcium will make her bones harder and she will not grow as much, heh!). Anyway, Wayne and I have decided that since she’s well, and we are going to start weaning her, we won’t give her these supplements (nanny said some babies even react adversely and vomit) – so it’s a case of don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.

She then received her Hepatitis B #3, and meningococcal #1 jabs, two nurses each jabbed her on one side of the thigh, and she cried for only like 5 seconds before stopping and getting up to laugh and shriek again – even the nurses were amused that she was so smiley about it all. An older kid was bawling her lungs out even before the jab!

Wayne and I then went to Wish restaurant just across the road for a late lunch. It’s a lovely place that I intend to bring my family to when they are here, and they gave us a lovely cordoned-off corner where Rosabelle actually took a nap at. She was at first intrigued by the paintings on the chairs, and played in her pram for awhile before falling asleep.
Seeing that she was sound asleep, Wayne then went on his own to make enquiries at the immigration department about her citizenship (turns out he needs to return to Zhengzhou to cancel her China citizenship for her – how troublesome).

Throughout the 1 hour 15 minutes she was asleep, I was reading magazines and OD-ing on red dates tea (haha, to quickly make up for the haemoglobin!).

After we left, we fetched his parents home and cleaned her up (she could not bathe due to the vaccination) and as we have a routine of washing her hands every time she comes back from outside, she started shrieking and getting all excited again when she saw Wayne washing his own hands. I deduced that it must be because she knew it was her turn to wash hands…haha!

We took a short rest before going out for dinner and Rosabelle was hilarious – when Nainai carried her at the start of dinner, she suddenly fell asleep again sitting on Nainai’s lap, and we put her in her pram for her one hour nap – enough for us adults to finish our dinner in peace. What a ‘considerate’ girl! Even Yeye and Nainai said Rosabelle is easy to take care of (很好带), and she cries only when hungry, or when she is cranky from being over-tired.

That night, maybe because of the vaccination, she amazingly slept ‘early’ at 11 am, and awoke only at 11:30am the next day! Wayne and I brought her out for lunch at Grandma’s Kitchen, and after playing awhile, she again took a 30-minute power nap and let us eat our lunch (how nice)!

The previous nanny told us about a wholesale place selling children’s clothing (官批), and we decided to pay this place a visit – it’s not as messy/crowded as the wholesale market near the zoo (动批), and we managed to get some sweet-looking pants, socks, and cap for her. We also got a huge floor mat for her to practise crawling on in future. Thinking she was tired, I thought of heading home for her to rest whilst Wayne met his parents for dinner. However, she woke up all alert after a 15-minute power nap and we all headed out together.

Wayne’s dad recommended a place near the apartment they are renting, and it turns out they make vegetarian food (totally vegetarian – they don’t even use garlic!). I think his dad did not really enjoy the food (though he kept psyching himself that vegetarian food is healthy), and kept raving about the great duck from dinner the night before, so we’re going back tonight, their last night in Beijing before they head home later.

Pity we did not get a good family photo as the waitress did not capture the shots properly….

By the time dinner was over, Rosabelle was hungry and I fed her, so Wayne took the chance to go to the supermarket near our place to get some stuff (this always happens – if she’s sleeping and/or feeding, I will then stay on in the car with Rosabelle whilst Wayne runs the errands) before we headed home. A solid 8 hours out, and I told Wayne Rosabelle kept looking for ‘excuses’ not to go home by either sleeping or feeding (heh!)… and the poor Ayi was long waiting and prepared with all Rosabelle’s bathing equipment. Not sure what got into her, but she started bawling once Ayi started bathing it, and refused to stop crying until I fed her. Thinking she’d had a long day, we were amazed that she only fell asleep at 12 midnight.

Told you it was a long weekend. Phew!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Our daughter - the to-be illegal immigrant???

Received a call from the agent helping with my long-term visa in China - he is also doing the visa for Rosabelle, to be dependant on my visa. Turns out the Chinese government has a new ruling that takes effect from this month - any child born to a Chinese national is automatically considered a Chinese citizen, regardless of whether the other parent is of another nationality, or whether the child has registered his/her birth or citizenship elsewhere.

Effectively, this means that Rosabelle is recognized as a 'tiong kok kia' (中国人) and does not need a visa to stay on in China, but it also means that she needs to perhaps go to Zhengzhou to get a hukou, and then get a Chinese passport! But as neither China nor Singapore recognizes dual citizenship, this is in effect wrong, and I then have to delist her Chinese nationality. It's ultra complicated, and I have left it in the good hands of Wayne to deal with it, but it just puzzles me as to why the Chinese government wants to claim more citizens - don't they have enough 中国人 to call their own already? It's either for the sake of job creation (to set up a department and resources to delist such foreigners), or I'm sure the delisting fees don't come cheap. Oh well, since we stay here, let's just support the local economy *roll eyes*.

Hoot, a night owl

Rosabelle fell asleep only at 2:30am last night, sheesh! She slept at close to 10pm, and just as I was wondering what to do with the free time on my hands, she woke up after 15 minutes, and kept Ayi and I awake for awhile more (Daddy had to surrender as he had to go to work early the next day).

I had to take a quick nap in between and could hear her shouting and ‘singing’ loudly all the time. Ayi told me she was looking for me and shouting to see if I would pop out somewhere from behind the door or sofa as I usually would when playing peekaboo with her. When I carried her, she was grrrummmp and chewed on my shoulder, right until Ayi gave her a cold teething ring and she was relieved.

We put her on the Fisher Price chair and rocked her, thinking the gentle motion would lull her to sleep, but she instead got even more excited! Just as well she slept late – she did a big poo at 1:40am, her third in the day. Ayi thinks it could be the pear, banana, or spicy food I ate. The spicy food could also have caused her outer ear to itch and she scratched till it bled and was slightly weepy (thank goodness for Hazeline Snow).
I think the Fisher Price chair has some sort of laxative effect. As we put her on the chair every time we have our meal, she will poo. Almost 8 out of 10 times. It could be the position she’s in is conducive for a poo, or we could be looking at a toilet-trained infant who thinks the chair is a toilet bowl.
Amazingly, she woke up at 8:30 am this morning, after only 6 hours of sleep and we took her out for a morning stroll before the winds came up (hope she takes a good, long nap now, or she will be grouchy when my ex-colleagues come along this evening to visit). Can't wait as I haven't seen them in awhile, but hope the number of folks visiting doesn't cause her to get all hyper and sleepless again - she cannot afford to be grouchy for her vaccination at Amcare tomorrow morning (Hepatitis B Jab 3/Meningococcal Jab 1).

Update: Both the mattress and bed came yesterday and Wayne was kept busy DIY-ing. Once we finish airing it, we should be able to set her up over this weekend!

Half year old

Half a year old. My girl, that’s how old you are today. Exactly six months ago on October 24, you came into this world and brought joy (and sleeplessness) into our lives. I never thought I could feel so much love, and responsibility, for another being.
Height: 48 cm, Weight: 2.74 kg

On your sixth day, you went through two nights in the hospital for breastfeeding jaundice treatment of phototherapy (jaundice needed 3 full months to subside, within which you had to go for frequent follow-up visits to monitor the bilirubin levels). We even took you out for suntanning (believed to aid in jaundice treatment), and you were so dark-skinned.

At one month, your cries became louder and heartier, but you were awake more often.
Height: 52.5 cm, Weight: 3.9 kg

At two months, you bravely endured an inguinal hernia operation on Boxing Day (9 straight hours of fasting - can imagine how angry you were!) and an overnight stay at the KK Hospital – you were a fighter and went back home the next stay and liked the orangey-tasting antibiotics!
You started becoming more playful (keeping us all awake at night with your laughter), and started liking to play with Simon Kor Kor and Marianne Jieh Jieh.
Height: 60 cm, Weight: 5.68 kg (usually babies double their birth weight by six months – you are an exception…)
At three months, you celebrated your first-ever New Year and Chinese New Year, and started liking the outdoors and going out. You became aware of your hands and started chewing on them all the time, and started turning to your side.
Height: 60 cm, Weight: 6.8 kg

At four months, you started liking books and talking a lot, and was given your first taste of foods apart from breast milk (banana, orange, apple). Your grip was getting stronger by the day.
Height: 64 cm, Weight: 7.47 kg

At five months, you headed back to Beijing on board your first ever flight. You became more aware of foods and utensils adults are eating, and started laughing and salivating a lot, being able to turn on your tummy yourself. You came down with a mild fever after your vaccination, and looked so cute with the cold patch on your forehead. Though you gave us a spate of worry with your occasional constipation (the most serious bout was 10 days of no poo, a rarity for total breastfed babies – how Mummy wished to clear your poo then!)
Height: 64 cm, Weight: 8.2 kg (close to 3 times her birth weight of 2.74kg – normal babies triple birth weight by a year)
At six months, already in Beijing, you adapted well to the Beijing cold, though you broke out in a case of mild ringworm on your cheek, and have taken well to the new nanny. Ye ye and Nai nai saw you for the first time as well. You are now grateful for teethers, and have developed a strong pincer grip, as well as a strong pair of legs to support yourself. You have also become very fair and look most beautiful in our eyes.

Ayi says you have good concentration skills as you are able to focus/stare at something for a long time without being distracted, and will turn out to be a good student. She also says you are very observant, playing with the ribbon on her blouse two days ago, and looking for the same ribbon when she changed her blouse, turning away when you realized it’s not there anymore. But most of all, Ayi thinks you are a happy, and easily placated baby. That is the most important of all, Rosabelle, as Mummy and Daddy wish you happiness, and health. Keep your sunny smile always, and continue to be as friendly to everybody as you are now.

Happy 半岁, our dearest 玥玥。