Monday, April 26, 2010

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…

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