Sunday, May 31, 2009

Backtrack 26: Why it’s good to have playmates

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

So that my mum can save on buying Doraemon tricycles whilst I enjoy a photo opp on other people’s toys.
On 27 May, on our evening walk, one of the mummies let Rosabelle sit on the Doraemon push-along tricycle. At first, she was quite wary and even slightly frightened of the unsecure and wobbly seating. After about 5 seconds, she decided she liked it, and was even more relaxed when I pushed her around in it, touching the handles and the huge, shiny Doraemon head.

As her legs are too short to reach the base, she also very expertly pulled her feet up herself to rest comfortably on the sides of the tricycle, haha!

We had to carry her out when she started wrapping her hands around the shiny head and started sucking on it…

Backtrack 25: I’m looking out for you, my girl

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

Backtrack 24: Damn you, swine flu

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

On our walks in the morning of 27 May, one of the babies’ mums told us that the fruit seller in our neighbourhood was diagnosed with the virus. Two other mums confirmed the sources, and even though it could be just speculation, I’m not taking any chances and am not daring to frequent the shops and restaurants around the fruit stall (and asking the nanny and Wayne to also stay away from the area). I don’t even dare to order fruits from another seller in the vicinity, just in case they have had contact with the affected person.

Sigh… I ended up buying Zespri kiwi from another stall at RMB23 for a punnet of 3 (only to have Wayne tell me Walmart is selling it for RMB5.50 each – darn!).
This sickening swine flu is affecting me in more ways than I thought, and seems to be making its way into other countries. Hope the situation really gets better.

Backtrack 23: The hard knocks of life

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

There, I did it (again) on 24 May. Rosabelle was standing at the sofa, I had one hand under an armpit, and my leg was on her other side, but when she fell in the direction of my leg, I was not fast enough and though my leg (and the playmat) cushioned her fall slightly, there was a loud heart-paining ‘DOOONG’ as the side of her head hit the floor and the nanny rushed over to see what had happened.

My heart skipped a beat and she cried for at least a minute – poor girl, there was a slight red spot on her scalp where she landed, and the nanny said she is indeed a tough girl for not bawling inconsolably. I was so worried and asked the nanny if I have caused any damage to my child, and said we must monitor for any nausea or drowsiness. I must be even more vigilant to stop causing such hurt to my poor girl, sigh… Sorry, darling Rosie.

Backtrack 22: My jealous, loving child

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)
Of late, Rosabelle has been learning to ‘love, love’ me back when I tell her to ‘love, love Mummy’ – she will push her forehead against mine and snuggle her head close to me. She even knows how to play peekaboo with us, pretending to look away, or to play, and turning suddenly in our direction with a smile or cheeky look on her face; doing it continuously for a few times in succession for us to know that it’s not a mere coincidence. She will also tilt her head 90 degrees to one side to initiate such playing.

On our walks, I was playing with A-Man, and reaching my arms out to offer to carry her. The nanny was carrying Rosabelle and noticing her reaction – she was staring at me playing with A-Man, and when I finally looked at her, she gave me a whimpering cry, reaching her arms out to me to get me to come to her and carry her. The nanny said it’s rare for a 7-month-old to exhibit such jealousy!

As she now has a lot of new friends on her walks, I was carrying her to play with a 10-month-old girl called Jia Jia, and at the same time shaking her around and lifting my arm to teach Jia Jia to dance. Rosabelle was gripping the button on my T-shirt, and after some time, used her hand to beat my dancing hand down, as if asking me to stop playing with Jia Jia and focus on her. Aiyo!

Just the other day, I was carrying Jia Jia whilst the nanny was carrying her, and when she saw that, she reached out to me with her arms outstretched, and even pulled at Jia Jia until I carried her. So, the nanny and I swapped babies and when she saw the nanny carrying Jia Jia., she immediately tugged at the nanny’s forearm, as if to say, ‘Mummy’s mine, and Ayi’s mine too – you both cannot carry other babies other than me!’. Faint…One common reaction we get on her walks: ‘Aiyo, this baby is so fat!’, 'Aiyo, look at this baby’s thighs!’, 'Aiyo, it must not be easy to bring this baby up growing so well!’, 'Wah, your baby has very good, glowing complexion!’, 'She is such a smiley and happy baby!’, and of course, the perpetual 'Wah, this stroller looks very good!'.

But we found out that the Quinny Buzz 2007 model does not come with a summer seat, i.e. she needs to endure the thick foam even in the hot summer, and in Singapore and China, the suppliers do not sell the summer nylon seating separately, so poor Rosabelle was perspiring hard when she fell asleep in the stroller one morning on her walk (really have to be wary of cheap deals man!!!).
We had to get her cooler straw-like backing for both the stroller and her high chair (she was perspiring hard during her meals as we put a waterproof backing to prevent spills from dirtying the chair cushion), and a cooling cloth for her bed (switch on fan at night some more). At least she can keep nice and cool these days...

Backtrack 21: Overcoming fears

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

Rosabelle used to be quite afraid of the
clown toy I brought back from Singapore. However, over the course of the weeks, she has been taking an interest in it again, and even ‘initiating contact’ and making peace with an offer of her teething biscuit. She now likes to pull the clown’s hair, pinch its red nose, and pluck the pink flower on its hat, haha!

Backtrack 20: That priceless look

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

Nope, she’s not concentrating/focusing on something. Neither is she disgusted by anything.

It’s just a rare shot of her at the end of a sneeze whilst eating, haha.

Backtrack 19: Are all SAHM* mums so 无聊?

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

* SAHM - Stay at home mummies

Rosabelle likes to play with the Ikea fish net container, so just for laughs on Thursday 21 May, I lopped the whole container over her.

She was at first entranced by the novel experience, and felt her little fingers around the meshing and pulled at the pliable container, but very soon went back to tearing her Ikea magazine papers, haha!

Pity the base isn’t sturdy enough, if not, it can at least hold her in place to prevent her from toppling over if nobody’s around to watch her!

I told the nanny this is probably how the syndicates house the little children they kidnap, and keep them amused with cheap ‘toys’ like dirty papers!

Backtrack 18: Energy burner

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

After her first taste of
potato on Wednesday night 20 May, Rosabelle was in an energetic frenzy. Lying on the nanny’s bed, she suddenly went all hyper when I passed her her little cap, and grabbed it in her arm and started doing her vigorous arms and legs banging. Her high-intensive jig went on for more than 5 minutes, and the nanny was laughing till she had tears in her eyes, when she passed Rosabelle her saliva towel, and the latter was dancing with a cap in one hand, and a towel in the other.

Maybe it’s also because she’s happy wearing her new Pampers (
improved version) diapers we got from the supermarket on Sunday. I was tempted to buy a trial pack because of the softness and expandable waist, and the trial price is even cheaper than the Mamy Poko brand we use for her. It turned out to be so good I had Wayne going back to buy more trial packets (as the usual price is more expensive), though Wayne was probably over-tired, and ended up getting newborn and small sizes, haha! (Luckily we could exchange for M sizes.)

All I could catch on my home camera was a flurry of motion, and the exuberance/sunshine on our daughter’s face…

Backtrack 17: Our 小大人 (little adult)

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

The nanny says Rosabelle is a小大人 (little adult), in some of the things she does, and in how she behaves at times.

On Wednesday night 20 May, as she was grouchy at dinner from being sleepy, I had no choice but to give her new things to play with, like the half-eaten orange left over from what the nanny had squeezed juice from for her earlier. She refused to let me hold it for her and when I removed it at times to remove the sucked-dry pulp for fear of her swallowing and gagging on them, she would protest vehemently. It’s been awhile since I let her taste orange, as I was afraid it would affect her calcium absorption if taken too young, but she loves the taste of the citrus fruit.

Likewise, she would also want to take her own drinking cup (not the sipper cup) and glug from it, and would ‘aid’ the nanny in feeding her by holding the spoon and putting the contents into her mouth, at times impatient to chomp the food down quickly.

The nanny has had quite a few food/water-slinging incidents from having to pry the spoon from her little hands, so we will give her her own spoon to hold onto today (but will have to deal with the problem of her sucking on the spoon and not letting the nanny feed her…). Of late, since the week of May 25, she has been drinking water and juices from the bowl without dripping a single drop. The nanny has conceded defeat and says never in her life has she seen a 7-month-old drink from a cup or bowl so well, haha!
On 21 May, when she was in a great mood and enjoying her carrots and potato, I was teaching her how to fling her arms in the air and extend it to say ‘Yaay! Such great food! Yaay, thank Ayi for making such a yummy dinner! Yaay, Rosabelle’s such a happy baby!”. She was observing me closely doing it for at least 10 times when she tried to also extend her arms upwards! However, as she was sitting at the edge of the high chair, she still needed to balance her arms on the table and would wobble backwards at times whenever she released her hold on the table. However, I was amazed at how fast kids learn, and watched as she followed me to fling her arm upwards when I went ‘Yaay!’.

On that night as well, when the nanny as carrying her, I wanted to carry her over and extended my arms outwards. She looked at me, then grabbed the nanny’s neck with her other arm and hid her face in the latter’s neck, before peeking at me to give me a cheeky smile. I had to clap my hands again to see if she wanted me to carry her before she smiled and came towards me for me to carry. The nanny said she was being cheeky and trying to pretend she did not want me to carry – how cute!

She has also probably observed me sitting cross-legged, and sitting with my legs out, and ankles crossed, so she mimics this action nowadays by crossing her own angles, but it causes her to lose her balance when sitting down and she will topple over, so cute!

On May 26, when Wayne was playing with her whilst I was carrying her, she was squealing with delight until Wayne said ‘Ok lah, Daddy’s going to bathe now, let’s stop playing!’, and she immediately looked shell-shocked and her eyes were downcast with disappointment, until Wayne said ‘Ok, let’s play again!’ and she continued squealing, haha! As the nanny says, she just does not know how to articulate her feelings, but she sure understands what you are saying!

This is also how she likes to open her mouth nowadays when trying hard to look at something out of her view (or when focusing).

Backtrack 16: Little steps

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

Whenever Rosabelle sees her activity station, she will flag her arms excitedly, exclaim, and incline her whole little body towards it. On 20 May, when the nanny was supporting her as she was standing, she actually attempted to put one foot in front of the other to try to ‘walk’ towards it, haha!

When I was holding her at the sofa on 31 May, she actually wanted to cruise sideways!

This is her on Thursday night, with two pieces of Ikea brochure in her hands, doing her waving dance at the same time. We’ve been giving her soft pieces of magazine paper to tear, and hopefully it will teach her new skills at the same time that she understands that not all paper is for tearing!

Backtrack 15: The merry month of October 2008

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

On our morning walk on Wednesday 20 May (where Rosabelle amazingly woke up at 8 am), when resting at a spot in our neighbourhood, we met three other babies/families who were also born in October 2008 – on the 16th, 22nd, and 27th. Curiously, the ‘eldest’ one on the 16th was the smallest in size, whereas the one on the 27th was the largest (a girl weighing more than Rosabelle, at around 10 kg already!), and already sprouted two lower teeth.

I don’t normally take photos nowadays on the walks, as I’m not too sure if their caregivers like me taking pictures of them, but just spend the time enjoying a good time and pointing out things to Rosabelle (and running errands as the nanny takes care of her).

Backtrack 14: Check out my biceps & triceps!

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

Backtrack 13: Hearing voices

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

I was taking a quick nap at night on Tuesday 19 May in my bedroom, and heard the nanny trying to pat Rosabelle to sleep in the living room, so I asked out loud “Have you changed her into her pyjamas?”, and the nanny started laughing. 

Apparently, Rosabelle was resting her head on the nanny’s shoulder and upon hearing my voice, jumped immediately to turn her head quickly around to search for the voice. The nanny was just standing next to the fan we brought out a week back (Rosabelle still has yet to figure out what this tall tower is), and she kept staring at it, willing it to speak to her again in Mummy’s voice. Even when I stepped out of the room to talk to her, she was still looking at the fan in intense concentration, wondering how it could make sounds – maybe it’s like R2D2 to her, haha!
Speaking of voices, as I’ve been ordering a lot of take-outs from the restaurants in my neighbourhood, there’s this dumpling store guy who probably knows us well enough. On Tuesday night, when he delivered our food he told me “You have a very nice voice, just like a broadcaster.” Haha, first time I’ve heard anybody say that – sure hope he wasn’t referring to those lousy, fake-accented, raspy-voiced broadcaster types! When Wayne ordered from them on Saturday, the delivery guy said ‘Your family all have very nice voices, I had to come and see for myself who you all are!’ Unfortunately, only the nanny was there to greet him (they gave us 6 pairs of chopsticks – I told the nanny if they want to be so generous, I can talk to them in exchange for free food, but we don’t need so many pairs of disposable chopsticks, haha!).

Backtrack 12: Standing tall

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

Wayne stacked up her cups on Monday night 18 May, and she gingerly reached out to try and grab them, but of course toppled the cups over in the process. As she enjoyed the ‘cause and effect’, we let her have some tummy time and encouraged her to reach out and move in the direction of the cup tower. She was trying very hard to inch and orientate herself towards the tower, so cute.

I know it won’t be long before she starts knowing how to stack the cups herself, and it’d be another 'mother’s pride’ moment for me…

Backtrack 11: Standing or sitting

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

Whenever Rosabelle goes on her walks, she likes being carried, and will at times jig whether standing up or sitting down on our laps. She can now also wear her favourite ‘sexy’, airy singlets since the weather’s warmer.

Check out her groooovesss…

Backtrack 10: Hi, Daddy! Hello, Mummy!

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

On 17 May, when Rosabelle was trying out porridge for the first time, the nanny and I heard Rosabelle very clearly call “Baba (爸爸)!”. We (nanny and I) looked at each other in amazement, but a pity that Wayne did not hear it. Rosabelle was whispering ‘ba’ a few days back (my mum says they go 'ga’, 'ma’, 'ba’ nowadays, so it’s pretty random), and it was the first time she repeated it, and so loudly. Her daddy must be proud.

Just the other day, when her daddy came back, he said a loud ‘Hi!” to her, and she actually replied an equally loud ‘Hi!’ in enthusiastic response! Pity I wasn’t around, but whether it was by coincidence or not, it was sure very fulfilling to have her replying, and murmuring her first ‘words’!

In the past week or so, whenever she wants to look for me, and wants me to carry/nurse her, she will start saying “M…mu….,…”, “…ma…ma…”, or “Nai, nai, nai…”, and just on Wednesday morning, cried “Ma….mmeee…, Ma….mmeee…”, and even going “Mama” once!

I’ve read about teaching kids trust and independence by leaving them in the care of others, but it’s times like this when I throw all caution to the wind and will just carry her, and she will reciprocate by clinging on tightly to me. On Tuesday night, when she refused to sleep till 4 am in the morning, she was most clingy and needed me around even when the nanny was patting her. Separation anxiety – seems like it’s most apt to describe the mother’s, not the kid’s, condition!

Backtrack 9: Rollin’ good times!

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

On Tuesday 19 May, the nanny told me to look at Rosabelle playing on the bed – apparently, she was trying to curve her other leg inwards whilst sitting down, getting ready to prone herself down into a crawling position. I’d actually noticed this position of her for a few days already, but it did not strike me as a development phase of her getting ready to crawl.She was also starting to roll a lot on the bed, at times rolling three times in succession – no way can we leave her alone on the big bed nowadays! She’d actually been trying to roll over from tummy position since early May, just that I did not really pay attention to it, but when I saw her at work on Sunday, I realized she was trying all along to figure out where to place her arms and arch her butt so she would not get stuck rolling. Good girl for having so much perseverance!

This is how she gingerly tries to balance on both arms when sitting these days.

Talking of rolling, I had a ‘roll’ myself on Monday 18 May, on my way back from the bank, on the way for my facial. There was a slope outside the bank and maybe my silly Puma slippers were not non-slip enough, but I missed a footing and fell sideways and landed hard on my right knee, and when I broke my fall with my palms, they also took the hit. I ended up with a slightly grazed knee and palms, and now have bruises. @#$%!… thank goodness I wasn’t carrying Rosabelle man…

Backtrack 8: The food gourmet

(Delayed posting due to swine flu.)

Life goes on even when I could not access/update my blog – Rosabelle was trying a variety of different foods for the first time over the weeks.

Toe Ma Toe
During her bouts of non-poo (i.e. 5 days, 4 days at times), the nanny and I will feed her foods that aid in bowel movement, like spinach, banana,
peach and pear. On 17 May, the nanny pureed three cherry tomatoes for her. Maybe it’s not as sweet as the other fruits, and she grimaced a little, before going on to finish what looks like spaghetti bolognaise sauce.

Not a Teochew porridge fan
It was actually supper time on 17 May by the time she had her porridge as she slept from 6pm to 9pm, and was eagerly waiting for dinner after enjoying her bath.

Vanessa started Rachel on porridge, not rice cereals, as she said all commercialized rice cereals have sugar contents within. Maybe Rosabelle was used to the nice, sweet taste of cereals, and when we fed her porridge cooked with Chinese yam root for the first time, she had an extremely disgusted look, and wanted to retch at times.
The porridge was pureed and fine, so it’s not a case of choking, just a matter of the texture and (non) taste of the porridge. But the nanny commended her for eating at least 2 teaspoonfuls as babies will not normally take beyond the first serving after they find out how bland it is.

The next day, the nanny added some spinach into the porridge for taste, but got her at a bad time as she was sleepy and not in the mood for food. I ended up having to nurse her to supplement the meal on both days.

Maybe it’s because of the lack of proper meals, or the fact she’s started on solids and needs more water, but she has been waking up often at night for feeds, either due to thirst, or what I’m afraid is inadequate fullness from weaning feeds. But well, we have to take it slowly and increase her food intake and variety gradually, so as to make sure her little tummy can take it.

Since we started her evening porridge feeds, she has been cranky as I will normally nurse her to sleep after her bath, but her porridge time has inevitably clashed into a time when she is sleepy. I then decided to disappear from the living room on Tuesday, to see if she will cooperate and eat her porridge (nanny added apple and broccoli for taste), but she was crying throughout, and when I sneaked out to pass the nanny a fan that is her favourite toy these days, she actually cleverly looked around to see if I was the one passing the fan to her. Sigh, research has shown kids need to be fed a new item at least 10 times before taking to it, guess we still have a long way to go!

Sweet, sweet pear
almost choking on the fragrant pear previously, we pureed a large pear (smoother texture) for her, and she loved the sweet taste and thirst-quenching juice. As usual, with all new foods, especially those that will aid in bowel movement, we could not give her too much on her first try, and had to stop her from OD-ing on pear juice.

Cheery cherries
We made the mistake of not tasting the cherries before making into a puree of 3 cherries for her on 19 May. She took a first sip and screwed her face up immediately due to the sour taste. She enjoyed a few more teaspoonfuls before deciding enough was enough, and the nanny tasted the fruit – it was as sour as lemon, haha! Well, at least we’ve exposed her to some tastes other than just sweet, sweet fruits…heh!
Pooo tah toe
The nanny added mashed potato to her porridge on Wednesday night 20 May, as it’s supposed to give her energy and aid in metabolism of her little body (no wonder she was sweating that night and we had to switch on the fan for her!). However, she did not eat much as she was sleepy and grouchy, but on Thursday night, after we let her take a short nap after her bath and a short nursing bout, she woke up happy and cheery, and actually finished up a half-bowl of potato and carrots.

We’d been trying to figure out how to make dinner time happy for her as she will end up grouchy and sleepy as dinner time coincided with her nap time of around 7 pm, and tried shifting bath time around so she can eat first, and bathe later, but it ended up with her being unhappy at BOTH dinner AND bath times. She was also very sticky to me and seemingly not as energetic on a few days (probably due to not sleeping well because of a new dinner routine). However, we struck bingo on Thursday night, after we bathed her upon coming back from the evening walk, then I nursed her for awhile before she woke up happy, and with still the appetite for a good dinner (and she slept happily, and early enough, at 9:45 pm that night, for more than 12 hours – though she still woke up for feeds). She was happy as a lark after that! Looks like I still cannot deprive her of a habitual feed after her bath…
Meloney time
On 23 May, she enjoyed her first taste of pureed honeydew, and when she also tasted watermelon for the first time on 25 May, she just could not get enough of both. She ended up drinking directly from the bowl until she had a bowl-line depression on her right cheek! I was careful to observe for any bouts of diarrhoea or bowel movement change as melons are very cooling and might cause watery stools, but luckily the only thing affected was her taste buds, which have been welcoming new varieties of lovely foods and fruits, haha!
I wanna eat your tofu…
On 24 May, upon hitting 7 months old, the nanny made steamed egg (from egg yolk only) for her for lunch, but she was in a rather cranky mood and did not like it much (maybe the smell was too strong because it was one whole yolk?), only finishing about half of the serving. When she tried it again on 27 May (when she surprisingly woke up before 8 am and the nanny prepared ‘breakfast’ for her), she again did not take much, and the nanny even added small drops of children’s sauce and sesame oil, to no avail.

Then, at night, she had her first taste of white tofu, mashed into her porridge with some spinach, and was fine with it, until she decided that she wanted to be sticky to Mummy again (I almost definitely have to stay out of her sight when she’s eating, if not, she would start whimpering for me), and I ended up having to carry her at times when the nanny was feeding her (and getting food all over myself). She also had tofu for lunch the next day and actually finished up the whole bowl (I hid myself away this time, of course).
Nooooodle time!
On May 26, she enjoyed her first taste of noodle, cooked with tomato and spinach, and actually almost finished up the whole bowl – BURP! When there was a strand of noodle at the edge of her mouth, the nanny said she even stretched her tongue out sideways to lick at it, so cute!

Pumpkin patch kid
We finally managed to find a place selling large pumpkins in small pieces (the nanny says small pumpkins are not sweet and are hard) - we got them at the minimart just downstairs in my block, heh. The nanny cooked noodle and pumpkin with potato for her on 27 May but she did not eat as much as the noodles from the night before…hmmm… it smelt great to us adults though.