April 30, 2008

Coffee...I need coffee

It's been 3 nights in a row that Natalie has not had continuous sleep. On Monday morning I had to have a cup of coffee to perk me up and I think I will need another one later today. I'm not usually a coffee drinker, only when absolutely necessary but the rugrat is forcing me to down lattes and mochas.

On Monday night, Mummy offered to take the night shift after seeing how tired me and Nick were, and Natalie disturbed Ma at 4.30 and 6.45 am. Last night, we put her in our room - she went to bed at 1 am, woke up at 4 and again at 6.15. Sigh...all that progress down the drain.

Will have to evaluate her routine and re-adjust her body clock. I tried feeding her extra in the evening in the hope that she would be full enough to last the night, but to no avail. She has her own time and target...I need to read more chapters in The Baby Whisperer book and get her onto a routine pronto!

April 28, 2008

Cranky doodle

Wonder if one can PMS if not ovulating…

Lately I find myself slightly irritable whenever the MIL says something or does something pertaining to Natalie. Maybe it’s her tone or maybe her anxiety is really starting to get to me that I find myself needing to vent today.

Yesterday she came over for dinner and played almost non-stop with Nat. Not that I mind, but she kept picking up and putting down Nutty even though her knees were jammed, she had to take a deep breath whenever she stood. She sang nursery rhymes all evening, which I think over-stimulated Natalie and messed up some of her routines, because my dear child could not fall asleep till the MIL had left at 10 pm.

She was so tired that she didn’t wake up for her last evening feed, which in turn led to a grumpy me this morning…having woken up at 2.30 am and 5.30 am. After the 5.30 am feed, Nutty was restless and didn’t sleep till almost 6.45 am. Nick gave up trying to go back to sleep and instead went in to work earlier. We had made so much progress with Nutty sleeping 6 – 7 hours interrupted recently…I hope things return to normalcy tonight. The last time something similar happened was also after a visit by the MIL.

MIL also brought CDs of nursery rhymes for me to burn yesterday. She wants Natalie to listen to them everyday, and went out of her way to borrow some discs. I had told her there was no hurry cos’ I prefer to choose the music myself and I had a hunch I wouldn’t like the discs. I was proven right when I played the first one…they were all a bit ching-chong, the kids singing had Singaporean accents, I don’t want Nutty to pick up their pronunciations. I think there’s plenty of time to teach her nursery rhymes, but now I shall just have to go out and buy my own CDs before the MIL visits again, otherwise I will be questioned how come I’m not playing Natalie any of the CDs she borrowed.

Before the MIL came yesterday, I also had to cut Nutty’s nails for I knew she would comment on her granddaughter still wearing mittens. Can’t help it if Natalie has a habit of scratching her face, I would rather she wear mittens than scar herself. Even when I trim and file her nails to the shortest possible length, her nails can still be felt from certain angles but if I cut any deeper, I risk cutting her flesh.

The MIL doesn’t think I do a good enough job and bought her own scissors last week, despite knowing I have an infant grooming kit with nailclippers and blunt edge scissors. She says that Nutty’s hands will be a different colour from her arms if she continues to wear mittens, I don’t really see how that’s possible since the munchkin doesn’t go out in the sun. But she claims it will happen, sun or no sun. Sigh…

There was something else that the MIL said yesterday that irked me. She said she didn’t like Natalie having so many nicknames since she had a proper name. I don’t see what the big deal is, they are terms of endearment and some are cute, even her own son is guilty of calling Natalie different things. To give you an idea, here is a list of Natalie’s nicknames so far:

1) Munchkin
2) Junior
3) Nutella
4) Nutty
5) Nuttypoo
6) Fattypoo
7) Nutty-coco
8) Miss Kaypoh
9) Miss Boh-gay
10) Rascal
11) Rugrat
12) Chubbykins

Before the paranoid MIL left, she called me into Natalie’s room to tell and show me something. She thought that the area around Natalie’s mouth looked blue black and asked me to take a look. I said that it was the dim room lighting casting shadows on her face but she was not convinced. She thinks the ‘bruising’ was caused by Natalie sucking too hard on the milk bottles! She asked me to monitor, and when she was at the door, she told Nick about it too. I jokingly said that Nat had a moustache hence the discolouration. But when I checked Nat’s mouth later, there was really nothing there…she’s sooooo paranoid, it’s irritating at times!

Ugh, ok, enough venting…am starting to feel guilty. The MIL really is a very kind and generous person, she’s just too kancheong!

April 26, 2008

Ata's send off

Ata's funeral took place yesterday. I had never participated in a traditional Hindu funeral so it was quite an interesting experience. The mood was generally sombre but not to the point of being depressing. I guess most people felt that she was already quite old, so no need to be too upset. Us grandchildren could even joke around.

The rituals started about 2 pm, everybody took turns to anoint her with oil etc and lay flowers in the coffin. There were lots of flowers and garlands, and even saris and sarongs were laid inside. Some coins were also tossed in, jasmine oil was poured over her and something gold placed inside Ata's mouth. I have no idea about the significance of all these things, but her coffin looked lovely with all the flowers and smelled lovely too. I think she would have been pleased.

At about 4 pm, it was time to leave Sengkang for the crematorium. The pall bearers carried the coffin down the 3 flights of stairs, preceded by a representative from the casket company blowing on a conch shell hauntingly. Once she was placed inside the hearse, the grandchildren and women walked around the vehicle several times, before it slowly made its way to the main road, with everybody walking behind.

Most of us took the bus to Mandai, I am not a big fan of cremations there because the coffins are delivered to the furnace on a machine, its all very clinical. The service halls are nice though, all wood and glass with lots of natural light.

Anyways, Ata's coffin was placed at the front, surrounded by illuminated panels. More rites were conducted by the men present and then the family members added a final garland. Thereafter, the 3 main men representing the family, i.e. Papa, Uncle Baba and Rhubesh walked around her body 3 times, with Papa bearing a clay pot on his shoulders. A hole was made at every round and Uncle Baba who walked behind him helped to splash the water onto Ata.

After the last round, Papa had to take 3 steps forward then drop the pot behind his shoulder and walk out of the hall without looking back, while the rest of us moved on to the viewing gallery. As Ata's coffin was conveyed to the furnace by an unmanned forklift, those inside the viewing gallery chanted some prayers and before you know it, the coffin is transferred into the furnace and the wooden doors close mechanically, signalling the end of everything.

Once back at Sengkang, me and Nick went to collect Natalie from Ben's house nearby. Wendy helped to babysit all afternoon while we were at the funeral and she survived, ha ha! Next time I know who to call! When we got back to Compassvale, we ate the vegetarian food catered from Ananda Bhavan and then headed home.

It's been a tiring two days but I am happy for Ata. She can finally be reunited with her parents and other relatives. We were joking that once she got to heaven she might kick her husband for abandoning her all those years ago...I can almost picture it!

April 25, 2008

Bye bye Ata

My grandmother passed away peacefully early yesterday morning, on the 32nd wedding anniversary of my parents. The news did not come as a surprise as the family knew it was only a matter of time, she had been in hospital the last couple of weeks for bedsores and loss of appetite.

Just as her condition was improving, on Monday she had breathing difficulties and was put on a respirator. The doctor had advised that the family come to see her immediately and we were all mentally prepared for her to leave us that day, however by late evening, her breathing wasn't as laboured as before so we thought there was still hope yet.

But yesterday morning, the dreaded call came at about 6.30 am, Cousin Pam called me to deliver the news. Even though I knew she had to leave us eventually, I was still very saddened. At least Aunty Sarda and Aunty Susie reached the hospital in time to witness her last breath, she died just a couple of minutes after they arrived. The official cause of death was pneumonia.

As the youngest granddaughter, I was always told she had a soft spot for me. She used to live with us when I was younger and look after me, and relatives would often comment that I looked like her a little. What I will miss most about her is that despite her old age, she still had a sharp tongue, often making sarcastic remarks when there were long gaps in between our visits. Her memory was amazing, she could speak fluent Teochew and she was still keeping track of 4-D in her 90s! She kept to a very healthy diet during her lifetime, but she used to roll her own tobacco cigarettes. In fact, I remember sucking on some empty rolls when I was younger.

While she had a very long life (103 yrs according to her IC), she also had a very tough life. By Indian standards, she married late - I think 29, but that marriage did not last long for she was widowed by her mid-30s during the Japanese Occupation, with 4 young children ranging from age 2 to 5 to bring up. It was not easy, but she managed with the help of the extended family.

I'm going to miss my grandmother, but I am really glad Natalie got to meet her earlier last month. Ata had said a long time ago that she would only die after I have a child, and she kept her word, passing on just under 3 months from Nutty's arrival.

The whole of yesterday was spent running errands preparing for the wake and then hanging out at Sengkang. She liked white, so we ensured we got her a white casket and went to Far East Flora to get some white flowers.

I think my grandma is the original Hot Pink Chick. Aunty Sarda fished out her wedding sari to lay on her body and it turned out to be a bright pink. I never knew that, since all the photos were black and white...I hope I get to keep some of her things as souvenirs. I lost the diamond nose stud she bequeathed to me years ago, maybe it will turn up somewhere.

In the meantime, Ata - wherever you are, I love you. Thank you for being my grandmother, I will miss you.

April 23, 2008

Strolling along

Natalie finally stepped out in her Lulu Guinness stroller last Saturday...I'd been itching to use it ever since I got it, but had to wait till she was big enough. Used the pink and purple Life Baby bolster and pillow Susan gave me to make Nutty a little more comfortable, but I think she enjoys sitting in the stroller, she gets to see things in motion!

Me and Swana met Sherene for lunch at City Hall and pigged out on Thai Express. My worst fear came true when the little munchkin pooped just after we had finished lunch...I had been dreading cleaning her poop in public! Off Swana and I went in search of a loo with a changing station, she pooped quite a bit so lucky I had an extra pair of hands to hold her legs otherwise she would squirm and kick her own diaper!

But once relieved, she was all smiley. She even laughed...I think she enjoys shopping as much as her mummy as evident by her smiles!

April 18, 2008

Psycho or polite?

Had the weirdest bus driver earlier this week while on my way home from work. Boarded a 196 from UIC building on Tuesday and at first I thought he was ultra-polite because he greeted every passenger that boarded with a 'Welcome'.

However, as the bus made its way down Shenton, I got the feeling that something was not quite right. First of all, the ‘welcome’ sounded very robotic, no warmth in it. And then he started burping and sighing very loudly, and I mean loudly. So much so that I felt like gagging whenever he burped. Very gassy indeed.

Anyways, what tickled me was how he said goodbye to passengers alighting. Everytime someone stood at the exit, he would start chanting robotically in between burps:

Thank you, goodbye
Have a nice day, goodbye.
Welcome, welcome
Xie xie ni, zai jian
Thank you, have a nice day
Goodbye, welcome

And he did this at literally every stop, even when no one was alighting! Is it me or do you find it weird as well? Either he’s ultra polite and vying for some courtesy award or, something’s not quite right…

April 17, 2008

Tummy time!

Me and the rugrat have been hanging at home the last couple of days, I still have maternity leave to clear and took 2 days off this week while the boss was in KL. Mummy went to JB yesterday and was out most of this morning, so me and Nutty got some quality time together. And whenever I have her all to myself I start snapping away like some deranged paparazzo.

Ma and Nick hate it when I put her on her tummy, they think I'm forcing her to prematurely lift her head when she's not ready. But my rationale is, if she doesn't get any tummy time, she'll never learn because she is always on her back. So once or twice a day for a couple of minutes, I flip her over onto her tummy to strengthen her neck muscles. Always under supervision of course.

Her head might flop about and she might struggle a little but I don't think she really minds, for she doesn't throw any tantrums. On the contrary, I think she's enough of an inquisitve child to try out new things.

The hubby is away in Tokyo these few days...hope he brings Nutty back a little kimono!

April 15, 2008

Home sweet home

This entry is a little overdue since we've been living in Spottiswoode for a while now. But it was only end of last year that we started furnishing it properly, and earlier this month that the finishing touches were added. And now I can call it home sweet home.

What was the last finishing touch? The makeover of Nutty's room of course! What used to be a study/guestroom/dumping ground made way for Nutty when she first arrived, however the walls were a sickly blue and everything was mismatched. It was only earlier this month that I could get down to re-painting and re-arranging it when Nick went to Taipei for a couple of days. He felt that the room was fine and refused to help me paint.

So on 2nd April, as soon as he was out the door, me and Mummy brought out the paint and started slapping it on the walls! I had bought slate green and lilac paints to match a set of flower posters purchased from Ikea a couple of years ago and to further dress up the walls, I added floral wall decals. The result is a soothing pink and green room that's girly but not too kiddy. And now my dear mother just keeps buying pink and green floral bedsheets!

As for the rest of the house - while I love everything about it having been involved in the material and colour selections - my two favourite rooms are the guest bathroom which features a blue and white theme, and my purple dressing room which houses all my clothes, bags, make up and accessories. The clothes are arranged by colour and already I'm running out of space.

Gonna be on leave the next two days, time to spring clean the closet! Joanne, you know what that means right? More clothes for you!

April 14, 2008

Nutty's officially a Catholic

Natalie was finally baptised on Saturday in a private ceremony at Christ the King on Saturday, 12 April 2008. Father Stephen Yim conducted the rites and it was a very personal session. The little munchkin slept throughout the whole ceremony, not even waking up when water was poured on her head. Some babies would scream, but Nutty much preferred to continue sleeping...I think she gets that from me!

Godma Wendy personalised her white bib and Nutty wore a white gown sent over by cousin Sharm. There was a matching hat, and she looked like a little Amish girl when I put that on!

After the ceremony, all of us split up to run respective errands before the party we held at home. Kavi, Swana and me headed to the east to collect some grout Swana needed for work. It had started to rain heavily en route to Katong and some areas were flooded, felt like Singapore in the 60s!

After Katong, we headed to Tampines to collect the customised cupcakes I had ordered for the party. The colour theme was pink, purple and green and the designs had Natalie's name, her initials, a handbag and flowers. One of the flavours was Nutella, in honour of her nickname! The other flavour was orange with chocolate.

When we got home, some earlybirds had already arrived. There was no time to relax after that because more people started streaming in, in all I think we had over 80 people drop by...it was pretty packed at some points!

Nutty was reunited with Cameron, who arrived in his stylish Lulu Guinness/Maclaren 'I Love You' stroller. And of course I had to get a shot of the two of them in their respective designer strollers!

That afternoon, Nutty also received her "first kiss". My friend Rena's son, Gabriel, pecked her on the cheek several times! She had so many suitors at the party, there were lots of little boys running around!

Midway through the party, I brought out a surprise cake for Nick. I had secretly ordered a football-themed cupcake set for him and we made him blow out a candle. These cupcakes were Oreo-flavoured, they were quite yums.

During the course of the party we noticed Natalie's left eye had an infection. Luckily Monica was there and we got the contact of her pediatrician who was open on Sunday, KK would have been too crowded. Brought Nat to the pediatrician yesterday, the doctor was so nice and patient with her and 1 day later, her eye is almost back to normal! Although you can imagine how kancheong the MIL has been, calling every now and then, and dispensing advice about wiping her face and eye etc!

All in, I think the party was a success. I don't think we want to repeat anymore home parties for a while, too much work! Nutty's first birthday will have to be held somewhere else!

April 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Nickypoo

Yesterday was Nick's birthday and for his present I made him vouchers entitling him to a soccer jersey and football boots of his choice. His boots were recently stolen from outside our house but I didn't know he had already replaced them. Oh well, he could do with another pair anyway.

For dinner, I made reservations for both of us at The Buffet at M Hotel. He had mentioned in passing wanting to try the steamboat there one day so I thought of surprising him on his birthday. Just after I had made the reservation yesterday morning, he sent me an sms saying he felt like eating some hotel buffet. Such coincidental timing!

Anyway, the buffet was pretty good. I had felt like steamboat for some time but was picky about location and cleanliness. Didn't want some coffeeshop type. The spread was pretty good and there was even live drunken prawns and chicken rice. The durian pengat in the dessert section was also yummy - as good as, if not better than the one at Ellenborough Market at Merchant Court. Methinks me shall be going back there soon!

Not long after we got home, we had a surprise visit from the babes and dopes i.e. Kavi, Siva, Kevin and Swana. They were like birthday carollers, standing at the gate singing 'Happy Birthday' before we opened the door. Actually, they had an ulterior motive in coming over. Our combined Old Navy purchases had arrived yesterday afternoon and they couldn't wait to see their things. Am so tempted to order more!

Last Sunday, we celebrated his birthday in advance with his family. The MIL bought cake and Ben and Wendy came over for dinner. On the eve of his birthday, we had dinner again, this time with Swana, Kevin and Ma at Jack's Place, Great World City. The MIL popped by that afternoon so she joined us for dinner too.

I went back to work this week, feels like I never left! There was not that much to handover and the boss was away most of this week so I took leave today to prepare for tomorrow's party. Still have 14 days maternity leave to clear...

April 6, 2008

Goodbye Ms Tan, Hello Mrs Elawadi

After months of preparation, THE wedding of the year in my social calendar finally took place yesterday. The bride was radiant, the groom was dashing and I couldn't be happier for the two of them.

I got to Sentosa with about 90mins to go before the ROM started. Joanne was just about to have her hair and make-up done and the 3 bridesmaids hung around in her room to help her get ready. Soon the photographer and videographer arrived and I too snapped away. It got quite chaotic as 4pm approached, Joanne was adamant about starting on time, but you know how these things are. People start schmoozing and mingling and some people come late so it was about 4.15pm before we could make our way to the Glass Pavillion of Amara Sanctuary.

But then, the buggy which was supposed to bring us from the room to the wedding venue was delayed so after a couple of minutes, we decided to walk. When the buggy finally showed, me and Karen hopped onto the back and nearly fell off when the driver accelerated before we could hold on to a railing. That amused the bride and she started laughing her usual hyena laugh. And she continued squeaking when we realised the buggy only drove us something like 20 metres! We could have just walked!!

There was not much time to compose ourselves, the walk-in music started playing and we had to hustle. I tried very hard not to laugh as we walked because a silly fly had landed on my shoulder and I had to prevent myself from swatting it away. It followed me all the way in and continued to 'bug' me througout the ceremony...pun intended!

The ceremony itself was simple but meaningful. There were a couple of readings, followed by the exchange of marriage vows and rings. The couple had prepared their own personal vows and I couldn't help tearing when Tarek read the vows he had written. It was a poem and it rhymed and it was really, really sweet.

Next came the signing of the certificate and then it was all over! Confetti was thrown, bubbles were blown followed by lots and lots of phototaking. By this point, Joanne had had one too many drinks and made a lot of funny faces and talked very loudly while the photos were being taken. I don't think she was completely drunk, but just very happy high. It was quite amusing!

When all the necessary shots had been taken, I followed the couple as they went for their photoshoot around the resort.

Thereafter, it was time to get ready for dinner and I had to brief the DJ on the dinner music sequence. Once that was done, I could relax and enjoy the rest of the evening. Only needed to help Joanne change into her evening gown, her brother took care of the dinner coordination...and I must say he did an excellent job.

Dinner was a lively affair, the guests danced freely, there was belly dancing and a very big Yam Seng. Joanne's dad overcame his nerves and made a speech, he was so cute. Tarek's speech was funny too, he pulled up an email Joanne had written him months ago, reminding him to thank her in his wedding speech about how she almost single-handedly organised the whole wedding. She was so embarrassed about that, and I think literally crawled under the table!

I didn't stay till the end though, we had to get home to Nutty who was being looked after by Swana and Kevin. All in, it was a memorable wedding, one that I was proud to be a part of. I didn't have to make a speech, but if I did, it would be something like this:

I first met Joanne about 10 years ago when we both worked for Singapore Exhibition Services. Seated next to each other in the office, we soon became good friends and with her being 2 years my junior, I soon referred to her as the little sister I never had. You know the kind - irritating but lovable?

Joanne was quite naive and innocent then, and some would say 'suaku' or sheltered. There were many things she had never tried, she was not as independent and at times immature. But she has come a long way since.

We share a common passion for pink and purple and all things glittery. Little Miss Chilli Padi is like a breath of sunshine to any dull day. Constantly entertaining, highly amusing and always there for you. One of the things I love about her is her laugh. When she squeals and snorts, you can't help but laugh along, even if you didn't catch the joke. She's one of the few people who has made me laugh to the point of almost peeing in my pants and I hope her laugh never changes, although I can't imagine her doing it at 70!

I was sad when she moved to Vietnam but I am glad she met Tarek. She's had her fair share of ups and downs and he came into her life at a point where she might have been disillusioned about love. He has been a positive influence in her life and I know he can make her happy. She might nag and grumble about the fact he doesn't spend as much time as she would like with her, but get used to it girl! All these men woo you and romance you and as soon as they have you, they don't make the effort anymore. I'm speaking from experience...right Nickypoo?

To Tarek, please take care of Joanne. I know you love her and would never do anything to intentionally hurt her. But if you do, you'll have me to contend with, I'm watching you...

In the meantime, good luck with the burping, snorting and farting and treasure each other always. Congratulations and welcome to the club! Now, faster faster make a playmate for Nutty!

April 5, 2008

Little Miss Tai Tai

Natalie turned 2 months yesterday and I resolved to buy her a present on the 4th of every month for the first year, ha ha. So yesterday while at Vivo, I bought her a cardigan and shirt from Zara, on sale at only $11.90 each.

After Vivo, I headed to Amara Sanctuary for Joanne's wedding rehearsal and then back to Spottiswoode to pick mummy and the rugrat before making our way to KK for Natalie's follow-up check up with the pediatrician.

In the evening, I brought Natalie to a 'girls night out' dinner at the Conrad hotel with some cousins and friends...her training in tai-tai-dom has officially begun! Nick was on his way back from Taiwan and it was Ma's evening off. As I did not want to miss out on the buffet dinner and lovely company, the munchkin came along. Her Aunty Nana carried her most of the time while I pigged out on a delectable spread of lobster, yabbies, crayfish and more! She was pretty well-behaved, didn't throw any tantrums and more importantly, didn't poop!

When we got home, there was a pressie waiting for her, from Nick's travel agent in Taiwan. The tai-tai lifestyle continued as the gift was from none other than Tiffany's. Inside was a sterling silver crescent moon rattle...which is gonna get her saliva all over it! Little Miss Tai Tai indeed!

Today is Joanne's wedding to Tarek, now that's a tai-tai if you ask me! Time to get ready...

April 2, 2008

The future Beckham?

Nutty has a tendency to kick her legs every now and then, especially her right leg. Could we be having a future Beckham in our midst? Am sure Nick will enrol her in a soccer school as soon as she can walk!

Meanwhile, this mummy might be going overboard on the pink. Check out Ms Pinkness below, can hardly spot her in all that pink!

The bride wore orange

Last Saturday was the Hen's Party of my dear friend Joanne. As Matron of Honour for the upcoming wedding, it was my duty to give her a memorable bachelorette party. Together with fellow bridesmaids Jamie and Karen, we plotted behind her back and booked a room at Swissotel the Stamford (thanks Jane!) to serve as a gathering point and venue for a bridal shower. The guests wore pink and the bride wore orange, both wedding theme colours.

Joanne's friends and relatives started streaming in from 7.30 pm onwards and we all got hooked onto a horror movie being screened on HBO. Once the movie ended, the festivities could begin. I had prepared some games to be played, including a quiz on how well people knew Joanne, how well Joanne knew Tarek and even a wedding dress design competition, which almost made the bride-to-be pee in her pants! There were kinky gifts to be opened and even a strip act...although that was a little disappointing if you ask me. The dancer was a little scrawny!

I made a big boo-boo that night. I had brought along a 3/4 bottle of Absolut Peach only to realise towards the end that it was filled with water and not vodka! I had grabbed it from my bar counter not knowing that someone had left it there after taking it out from the fridge where it had been used as a water bottle! Duh!

So, when we adjourned to Clarke Quay, we had to make up for lost time and get the bride high fast. We landed up at Attica and ordered a bottle of Smirnoff Black. The manager gave us a discount and even a free bucket of fruity vodka shooters. Joanne needed the alcohol for courage to complete the tasklist we had prepared for her. Dressed with tiara, veil and feather boa, she set out to complete her tasks as fast as she could. It wasn't too difficult, men approached her most of the time to find out what was going on and she ambushed them to help her out. As the night progressed, she started getting a little drunk and was soon shouting for the cute men to come to her and at one point tried to get a man to kiss her armpit, ha ha!

I hope the bride had fun, I know we all did at her expense! Can't wait for the wedding this Saturday!