Friday, April 30, 2010

Look what the stork brought!

Name: Gideon Martin Toh Chia Ian
Popped out on: April 13, 2010 @ 2103 hours
Weight: 2.26 kg

I'm Aunty Wendy a third time over! My sis popped early at 35 weeks as she was having pre-eclempsia problems and high blood pressure, so the gynae had to induce her into a natural birth early on.

Little Gideon is a fighter, and having a considerably ok birth weight, went home on the third day, but had mild jaundice a few days later (his 200+ index is low, compared to the high 300+ Rosabelle had - she was baked under UV for two days, compared to Gideon's one day). Looks like my whole Toh and Loh family will be kept busy for a long while, and I am looking forward to meeting him when Rosabelle and I head back to Singapore in June to coincide with the school holidays.

Only thing is, my poor sis has latching problems, and blocked milk ducts, but I really hope she can be third time lucky to enjoy the lovely bonding and convenience/benefits of breastmilk for little Gideon. She has to express her milk to bottlefeed him, which is obviously time-consuming and not as effective, but I'm glad she has not given up and is presenting him with the best-ever gift she can provide! 加油!

On the subject of babies galore, my friend Meibao (first daughter, Sophie's, birthday same day as Rosie's) also gave birth a week early on April 09 to another baby girl. Gosh - I am so looking forward to seeing them, as I missed out on a precious reunion with the Nanyang Girls over this CNY since Rosabelle was having diarrhea then (my Singapore postings will be backtracked...and up soon, hopefully, haha...).

Can't wait to have Rosabelle Jie Jie see the little ones soon, and hopefully I can see more photos of them before!

P/S: Blame my slow posting and catch-ups on the fact that I'm having PC problems and had to re-install alot of programs, including a new photo-editing tool I am spending time getting used to...haiz...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Let the river run!

True to the name of this blog, I shall dedicate my first update to what our girl has been getting up to, language-wise. Here are some photos of her taken on 10 April, sitting on another kid’s bike (rest of pix galore to follow after they get sorted out, I promise…).


She seems to spout more English words than Chinese, and I at times have to help translate for Nai nai, but hey, Nai nai teaches her Mandarin, so it’s a two-way learning as Rosabelle teaches Nai nai English words. In addition to the usual/past words she was already speaking, in random order, she has since learnt how to say/use the action of further words like:
  • Nodding her head when she says 要 (height/angle of the nod will commensurate with how much she wants the thing)
  • Objects like home/家 (when we are in the car on the way back) car, book, cup, bowl, bag, watch, juice, road (when she reaches the end of the pavement, she will tell me it’s the road and stop for me to carry her/hold her hand), door (she will indicate windows as doors still though…), and um – as in ‘umbrella’.
  • Colours like blue, red, green, and yellow (favourite is yellow – where every other colour asked of her is ‘yellow’… -_-)
  • Body parts like knee, toe, neck, chin, elbow, nose, mole, back (she loves books about opposites and very quickly picked up the ‘front vs back’ concept) 口(to ask her fake baby to drink water, mimicking us when we ask her to rinse her mouth with just 一口of water…)and armpit (complete with accurate pointing/indication)
  • Description with words like cut (mimicking my scissor-cutting action whenever I bring food to her), bit (when bargaining with me to take some of other kids’ biscuits before lunch), walk, wait, stop (with palms facing out), stand (like when she’s placing her water bottle on the dirty floor just to watch it stand – much to my chagrin), cheese (posing with fake cameras, at times facing the wrong way…), march (complete with hands behind her, as taught by my Dad, so much that she will go ‘Gong Gong’ every time we march), stuck (when she can’t move, or can’t get things out), knock, pain, dirty (like when she gets too near the dustbin or knowingly touches her dirty shoes or the floor), gentle (when we teach her not to be over-zealous in patting), wait (when she gets impatient with foods she wants to eat), come (when asking people to come, complete with waving of hand), turn (when she wants us to turn over and face her on the bed), big & small (even took out her two blue stacking cylinders to tell me she’s holding a big and a small cylinder), draw (when she wants her Crayola crayons and markers courtesy of Aunty Vanessa, where she like Wayne to draw cows for her), and good (though she does not know how to stick out her thumbs, but will use her index fingers instead, haha!), low (crouching down to demonstrate), dark (when we enter road tunnels), warm (in the past, she will describe things as hot even when they were mildly warm, so at least she has another in-between word besides cold and hot), 臭臭 (as she waves her hand around her nose, after she farts…), loud (purposely going LOUD when I tell her she has to be soft and whisper when people are sleeping), and with Nai nai around, speaking more Mandarin like点点, 饭, 慢 (Nai nai always tells her to run slower), 睡觉/觉觉, 绑 (as she happily cooperates when Wayne buckles her up in the high chair to stop her standing up), and 再见 (even said ‘Bye见’ once!). She can answer with words like 乖,听,带劲,好,美 when we ask her questions (e.g. ’Yue yue乖不乖?’). Nai nai even taught her to read玉米片 on the Kellogg’s corn flakes box, haha!
  • Animals like giraffe (she has a cute way of saying it – it’s quite a difficult word, if you ask me, so I think it’s quite amazing!), whale, 马 (was describing to me that Wayne took her on a carousel ride, and clueless me kept wondering what ‘ma’ she was talking about…) and 兔兔 (knowing that it’s slow like a ‘turtle’, and fast like a ‘兔兔’).
  • Counting one, two – her favourite number is officially now two (previously was eight), where she will want two of everything (or use two to refer to many…), or indicate two (with two index fingers placed together, since she can’t do a V sign with one hand now) – she can end the ‘One, two, buckle my shoe’ rhyme with an accurate ‘hen!’ too (and finish off the last words of ‘Twinkle twinkle’). She likes to go ‘Du du fei’ with her index fingers pointing together and coming apart – something the folks here teach their kids from young to practise their finger skills – though she says it more like ‘Du du wei!’
  • Foods like grape, 瓜, 'nana (banana), egg (says 蛋蛋 too), 肉, 豆豆 (her favourite as she screams for it at every meal, as she knows my tactic now of hiding her favourite foods like peas and corns away from her until she finishes the rest of the items) – she can say ‘milk’ very well now, but after Nai nai could not fathom what she wanted at the breakfast table, Rosabelle blurted out a ‘奶’ instead, as if knowing that with Nai nai, Mandarin works better!
  • Harder words like姥姥 (she says it with a roll of her tongue and it looks/sounds so cute – other older kids have a problem and pronounce ‘naonao’ instead…), and she can now say the names of her favourite friends like Qi qi, Jing jing, Wei wei, Wen wen, Dou dou, Jia jia, Guo guo, Bao bao, Fei fei, A-man, Hanzhu (mouth opens big at ‘A’ and ‘Han’) etc. Best of all, she can now say Yue yue, to refer to herself. She especially likes to refer to herself in the third person when requesting to do things on her own, like she will look at Nai nai and say ‘Yue Yue’ when she’s being fed, to get to hold her own spoon to feed herself.
  • Stringing words together like ‘wet wipe’ (taking wipes for me to clean her teeth every night, and remembering to push the opening back firmly after), ‘book stuck’ (when trying to take a magazine from the rack in a store), ‘no more’, and the ultimate ‘Mama抱抱down’ when she was in a hurry to get out of her high chair!
  • Also, she picked this up in Singapore when I shouted for Wayne to come into the room – she will go ‘Wayne!’ as well, and call out when we ask her what Daddy’s name is… not very polite, huh…
  • And of course, it’s never too early to start and now, she has learnt to say ‘please’ pretty well on her own accord, especially if she wants her favourite foods, heh!

First things first – An explanation

Wow. Close to three months without a blog entry. It is catching up with my last prolonged hiatus when I was MIA after popping – hah! So what has been going on? Close friends and family would have already heard by now – NO, I am not expecting another one lah, heheh! But my sis has popped early at 35w because of her high BP, to lovely Gideon Toh on 13 April (that needs another dedicated post…).

It’s just that firstly, when I was in Singapore, I wasn’t online at all, and thus a one-month absence from this blog (and all things online…so I am doing a lot of catch-ups now on the blogs/sites I follow). And then, when we got back to Beijing on 6 March, thinking that it’d be life back to normal – oh no, Murphy’s law came CRASHING into action. Our beloved nanny, bless her, was actually not keen to come back to our home a few days prior (as previously agreed) to clean up the place, as her agent had warned her against being in the house alone and later get accused of theft. But this story is not about thieving nannies, no.

After agreement, and me sending an SMS to the nanny and her agent to reassure that any loss of valuables over the period would not be held against them, our nanny got back to work a few days before we came back to Beijing. She cleaned, she wiped, she mopped, and she even bought some groceries to ensure we did not have an empty fridge and she could prepare Rosabelle’s dinner when we arrived. But maybe she was slightly over-zealous, or underestimated her 48 years of age, but she tried to shift our heavy leather sofa alone to mop under it (she usually has Wayne around to help), and it turns out that she injured her knee cap and was limping when we reached home. Aiyo… with her hopping around the house, and not being able to bend (i.e. cannot even bathe Rosabelle), we decided that she stay for the night and take a few days off the next day.

When the diagnosis was out, she had to put her leg in a cast and told us she would not be able to return for 3 weeks. Horrors! What was Rosabelle going to eat with two non-cooking parents around??? McDonald’s? Eat at restaurants every day?? We did not want to get a temporary replacement from the agent as it would be quite painful for me to have to supervise a newbie – I would rather do it myself. And so, the husband and wife team managed to survive for a week without the nanny. How so?

We ate out for lunch every day, whilst I prepared Rosabelle’s breakfast and dinners. Thank goodness for the slow cooker, where I just dumped everything in, and we even had dumplings at another neighbour’s house one of the days. I got a小时工 in from the agent on one of the days, and she did a great job, really, by my standards, she was rather meticulous. Pity is, the next time I wanted to get her to clean the house, she had already left to go back to her hometown to look after her own kid (hopefully she wasn’t terrified by me…). Our plan was to bring a 小时工in twice a week so I would not have to do my own housekeeping, actually.

And during the one week, Rosabelle strangely suffered from a crying fit on one of the nights, wanting 'milk, milk’ right after I had nursed her, and not stopping her sobbing even after I was carrying her. In the end, I left her on her own cot where she continued her ‘Mama! Mama!’, and screaming ‘Down! Down!’, wanting to get down from the bed. So much so that our neighbour downstairs came up to see if everything was alright (it was past 12 midnight, and maybe she thought we were abusing our poor girl). I was tempted to go in to pick her up right away, but decided that I should let her cry it out, and went in only after she stopped. Her thigh was jutted out through the cot, seemingly stuck as she probably wanted to come down on her own. So I hugged her and gave her a preaching session of how ‘Mummy and Daddy do not like crying children’ and that ‘We will continue to ignore you if you cry’ as she huddled close in my arms. Oh well… I’ve read that it’s a no-no to abandon your crying child, as she will become even more insecure, and you should be close by to reassure her as she throws her fit. There’s yet another school of thought to give the child her quiet time out, and not jump at every crying spate. Ah, whatever works best, I guess.

So, after one week of hectic non-nanny time, we decided to bring Wayne’s mother in, and made a road trip to Zhengzhou on 16 March to drive Wayne’s mother back to Beijing with us. It was Rosabelle’s first road trip of about 8 hours (700km) each way, and she slept for about 2 hours on each, and was otherwise very well-behaved by sitting in her car seat, as I kept her occupied with toys, magazines, books, and snacks/fruits/food. Phew! More on Zhengzhou in another post…

And now here we are, more than a month into having my mother-in-law here – it’s a godsend! She can cook for Rosabelle (though I still throw foods into the slow cooker as our girl loves soups), and also for us – we can eat homecooked food – nice, and cheap, and convenient! Only thing is now, I have to plan meals and groceries for the adults as well but it’s nothing compared to having her around – she helps clean the house as well, and is lovely with Rosabelle. Our little girl now used to want to sleep on Nai nai’s bed every night before going to sleep, and wants Nai nai to feed her, patting the dinner table chair to get Nai nai to sit down. Aiyo!

Only thing is, Nai nai likes to throw in some baby talk, like saying double of everything, like ‘吃肉肉’, '擦你的手手', '喝水水' etc, but she is trying to curb that. She is so very accommodating and good-tempered, sigh…so nice! So the long-term plan is to wait for my father-in-law to get a clean bill of health for his intestinal problems, and then he will also join us in Beijing where we’ll rent a place nearby for them both (as our place is too small). And after all the dust settles and Rosabelle is nicely comfortable with them in a set routine, maybe, just maybe, I can then consider stepping back into the corporate world, haha!

And what of the nanny, you ask? When we were in Zhengzhou, about a week after she had first received the diagnosis, the agent called me to say that the nanny will be able to get back to work the Monday after – which means that she actually took less than two weeks to recover. Wayne and I deliberated and decided that we have no need for her anymore. She is costly (RMB3,200/month – we’d rather spend money on Wayne’s mum…), does not have much experience with older kids, and I still need to supervise/advise her on the foods for Rosabelle. Our house isn’t that big either and whilst Mum-in-law cleans every day, I will at times clean some parts more thoroughly on some days. And luckily the agent agreed to refund our remaining fees, and the nanny then came on one of the weekends to pick up her remaining clothing and say bye-bye. No tearful farewells, heh (though the nanny cried when dressing Rosabelle up before we caught the plane to Singapore), and she said that she was also fully recovered already. But no lah, Mum-in-law is great for now, heh!

And there you have it… the reason(s) why I wasn’t updating my blog as often as I should (and also because the proxy I usually use to access blogspot from a China IP address was failing me because of computer virus problems, thus I could not even access my blog…). Stay tuned for upcoming updates and photos on our Singapore trip, the Zhengzhou trip, and of course Rosabelle’s developments (speaking/imitating very well now!) – excuse me whilst I go sort out more than 700 photos post-Singapore trip in between meals-planning/housework/much-needed facials and manicures…