May 31, 2008

She can turn!

Nutty has finally got the hang of turning on her own without anyone helping. She mastered it yesterday and hasn't stopped turning since!

Cannot leave her unattended on a sofa or bed now for even a second. The moment I put her down, she will turn onto her tummy and grin at you! She does it in the cot too and then stares at the cot bumper, which is too close to her face for my comfort, shall have to figure something out. But if I don't put that, she will get a limb stuck in between the cot frame.

Yesterday she also laughed. Previously she would smile, gurgle and squeal if something amused her but yesterday she giggled! Geram!

Delirious Divas delivers

Jason, Joanne's brother came back yesterday and I couldn't wait to see my tailoring order so I went to collect from him last night. As anticipated, everything fit perfectly and I am so pleased with all my new clothes! I have 3 new dresses, 3 new tops and 2 dresses for Nutty which match mine!

All 3 dresses turned out well but I like the blue satin and pink rose ones best. Another blue rose one was fine, but my original material was a little thick so not so suited for the smocked dress pattern I copied. Shall bear that in mind next time, the tailor did warn me though.

Of the tops were a blue satin smocked tube, a babydoll chiffon blouse and a mandarin-collar organza coat. The mandarin collar one is really nice, I had been keeping this material for so long and didn't know what to do with it and was last minute inspired to make a coat out of it since I have a singlet in a matching yellow.

I made 2 floral smocked dresses for Nutty out of my balance material and the pink rose one was so pretty! Needless to say I shall be placing more orders with Delirious Divas!

May 27, 2008

Dream dresses by Delirious Divas

I've been on a material buying binge of late because I have found an affordable tailoring service that's cheap and good, but it's all the way in Vietnam!

Joanne has started a new business selling clothes and accessories and she also takes tailoring orders. It's called Delirious Divas and its targeted at all aspiring divas who want to 'look glam for less'. She's even started a Facebook group to showcase her clothes patterns and pictures of the other items on sale. Prices are much cheaper than if I were to send here or Malaysia.

When Germaine flew up to Ho Chi Minh 2 weeks ago, I passed her a bunch of materials and samples to pass on to Joanne. My dresses and tops should be ready soon. Joanne's brother is there at the moment, and if the clothes are ready, he will help me bring them back. She should have a proper system of material collection and deliveries set up soon, but for now I am relying on friends who travel frequently between Vietnam and Singapore.

Being a clothes freak, I will definitely support her new venture. Imagine all the matching mother/daughter clothes I can tailor and all the favourite tops and dresses I can copy, but in the materials of my choice!

These are the new materials I bought from Spotlight, can't wait till they 'materialise' into copies of my favourite outfits! In the meantime, check out!

May 26, 2008

How fast she grows

Nutty will be 4 months next week, how time flies! It seems like it was just yesterday that she was born. One minute she's a blob and the next she's smiling, gurgling and attempting to sit up.

Of late, she's been doing crunches...well, it looks like she's doing crunches but she's really trying to sit upright. So I pull her up and she gets this amazed look on her face.

She also loves tummy time, her neck is much stronger now and she can hold it up for long stretches and will curiously look all around her. She tries to crawl, but she doesn't budge an inch!

The last couple of weeks she has also attempted to turn, she will swing her body round but end up with one arm pinned under her, preventing her from turning fully...she'll get the hang of it eventually, although she has managed once or twice.

Swana has no work this week and we arranged to meet for lunch today. She brought a surprise for daughter! I was waiting for her downstairs and she called me from behind and I turned around and Nutty was in her arms! Mummy was hiding behind a pillar! Ha ha.

I had asked Nick to join me and Swana for lunch so he was pleasantly surprised to see Nutty too. We ended up at the Market Street Carpark Coffee Club, where I managed to order the Baked Rice with Chicken and Zucchini that I had been eyeing since last Thursday's dinner with Puni, Chris and was not as great as I anticipated. Too creamy, and not enough zucchini!

May 23, 2008

Witches reunion

Had dinner last night with Vig, Puni and Chris a.k.a The Witches. The name came about in secondary school when we used to hang out with The Swines. There were us 4 girls and them 4 boys...but nothing romantic or anything, we just had fun teasing each other and calling one another those names.

I offered to bring Nat to dinner if one of them would pick me up, in the end Puni drove and me and Vig hitched a ride with her to Vivo. We didn't eat at Vivo though, ended up at the Harbourfront Coffee Club which was all nice and quiet.

The menu had changed slightly, I was a tad disappointed when I realised the Portobello Mushroom Fritatta was not on the menu anymore. But it was still a good dinner, I ordered the Slipper Lobster Linguine and we shared a mushroom crepe - everything was yums! I was also eyeing the Alfredo and Baked Rice with Chicken and Zucchini, but alas I only have one stomach. Have to go again and try the other dishes.

The gals took turns carrying Nat who charmed everyone with her smiles and gurgling. Chris passed me some lovely dresses she bought on her travels, can't wait till Nat can wear them. I wish they would open a H&M store here, nearest one is Hong Kong...shall have to contrive a way to go there. Maybe in August as a birthday present...Nickypoo? Hint hint!

Anyways, Vig handed us her wedding's just 2 plus weeks away. I need to alter my sari blouse from Kavi's wedding. Found out both Chris and Puni were wearing white-based saris, so I am going to wear the white and turquoise one I wore for Kavi's wedding. Coindentally one of the dresses Chris bought was white and turquoise, guess what Nat will be wearing to match her mummy? Heh heh!

Welcome Baby Cara

Nat has a new friend in the form of Cara, Cato's sister. Born on 29 April, they are just under 3 months apart and am sure will be seeing more of each other over time.

Cato is the boy Mildred used to babysit and the MIL still visits him every now and then. Brother and sister look very similar, in fact I mistook Cato's newborn picture for Cara, who incidentally has a very strong pair of lungs! Nat's crying pales in comparison!

During our visit to the family's Newton condo, Cato entertained us by showing Nick countries on a globe. Name any country and he can show it to you on the globe, even obscure ones like Burkina Faso and Swaziland. He will actually show you the flag on an atlas book first, before showing you the location. And mind you he's only 3 and a half!

Nick was highly impressed and commented Cato's geography knowledge was better than his travel agents! Methinks he might attempt teaching Nat the world map soon!

Ajen & Vim tie the knot

Last Sunday was Vim and Ajen's wedding at Tank Road temple. I managed to tie my sari in one attempt, and I tailored a dress specially for Nat in Indian brocade material. Both of us were in hot pink, had to match!

When we got there, there was a mini hen nite reunion of sorts , most of the gals were with Vim in the bride's dressing room, including my Shrek-ish sister, Princess Swana in her lime green sari. Even the groom wore lime green!

The ceremony itself progressed really fast, before I knew it Ajen was tying the 'thali' and everyone was throwing rice! Lunch was a vegetarian affair from Ananda Bhavan and it was pretty good, I especially loved the deep fried ladies fingers.

It was quite a hot day and the sari didn't help. Nat co-operated by not making a fuss at the loud music and heat...I'm so lucky to have such a good-natured daughter...touchwood!

May 20, 2008

Deprived shopaholic goes nuts in JB material shop

I finally went to JB last Friday, after an almost 2-year hiatus. A check on my passport revealed my last visit was August deprived! Even my Padini card had expired because I didn't buy enough Vincci shoes to renew the membership!

Mildred came over the babysit whilst me and Ma conquered Kamdar and City Square. Kamdar is a department store and sold all sorts of materials, that's where the aunts have been staking out in all the recent visits and I finally made it. Prices were quite cheap starting from RM$3.80 onwards and there were quite a number of pretty florals. If you've seen my wardrobe, you'll know I love floral prints - I ended up buying 10 pieces of cloth, 7 of them floral!

There was so many to choose from and after browsing the aisles I couldn't keep track of what I wanted, so I removed the rolls from their metal poles and hid them in a corner until it was time to cut the lengths I wanted. In total I spent about RM$150, not bad for 10 pieces of cloth! Next comes the tailoring headache - what patterns to choose?

After Kamdar, me and Ma had lunch at City Square's Secret Recipe before exploring the rest of the mall. My cloth was heavy but that didn't stop me from going to every level. I didn't buy much though, just some things from the FOS and Reject Shop, and 3 pairs of shoes.

An immigration officer even commented in Malay to another officer that I had a lot of shoes while my bags were being scanned at Singapore customs! Hah, if only they knew how many more I had at home!

May 11, 2008

Girls gone wild

Yesterday was Vim's hen night but it was a 2-in-1 party as her good friend Gee was also getting married this month, so the organisers combined efforts to have a double celebration.

It started off at Vim's sister's house in the Holland area. There was food and drinks, including yummy pizzas from Da Paolo's and homemade chocolate martinis. Most of the girls adhered to the dress code of black tops and blue jeans, and the brides-to-be wore white. Kavi had driven them to the house blindfolded and they had no idea what was in store for the evening.

The moment they arrived, they were greeted with a shot of alcohol each and crowned with tiaras. A hairband with a veil awaited them inside, where they could finally remove their blindfolds. After a round of introductions, we tucked into the pizza and drinks, and only after the stomachs were filled could we begin the games.

The brides had to answer questions to which their grooms had provided answers. Each wrong answer resulted in a forfeit. For Vim, Kavi had to modify her questions at the last minute, because Ajen cheated and told Vim all the questions and answers!

After that, each bride had to call their respective husbands and tell them why they wanted to marry them. Not the real reasons, but a 'dirty' script prepared by Kavi! Credit to Vim, she read hers with a straight face while Gee was grossed out by hers! One was all about worshipping his 'thingy', while the other was all about how sexy he made her feel...u had to be there, it was pretty funny. Am sure the guys were getting turned on wherever they were!

After that, there was a surprise strip act. Vim's future brother-in-law had arranged a stripper without anyone knowing and the house started buzzing when word spread that the guy had arrived. The lights were dimmed and the stripper slowly made his way to the 2 girls seated in the living room. There was lots of squealing and cheering from the audience, but the two brides kept their hands to themselves and were most unsporting for fear of offending their husbands-to-be. Such good girls!

The guy was kinda cute, much better looking than the one arranged for Joanne's hen's nite, so I got his number in case I ever organise a hen nite again! The funny thing is, after his performance, he didn't leave immediately. Instead he hung around for a couple of drinks and no one wanted to be rude and tell him to leave outright, so slowly we just ignored him and eventually he left! Apparently he was hanging around to see if anybody wanted any 'extra' services...eeeew.

Before we left for clubbing at Clarke Quay, the girls opened the presents everyone had brought them. There was plenty of kinky stuff and sexy lingerie, they are all set for their wedding nights! Gee was quite wasted by this point, I think she has a low threshold for alcohol so she was all smiley and lovey dovey with everyone!

Part 2 was The Arena at Clarke Quay. Had never been there before but there was a live R&B band. Cover charges were waived for us and we had a cozy table by the back thanks to Lena, Gee's sister. Music was ok, boogied a little. The brides were called up on stage to dance, I think they had a good time. Me and Swana left early, both completely sober. This is what happens when you get knocked up and drinking! Bummer.

Picanto for sale

We've been trying to sell our car for the longest time in order to get something that fits Nutty's stroller etc. One of the reasons why we don't have a carseat is because we're waiting to buy a new or second hand car first before deciding what seat works best for the car. I took a picture of Nutty holding a sign to put up on a online classified site but Nick refuses to let me exploit her. So here's the pix for your viewing pleasure!

If anybody is interested in a 3-yr old silver Picanto, off peak and relatively low mileage, let me know! Agent-maintained, road tax just renewed, very economical with today's rising oil prices and easy to park!

May 8, 2008

She drives me crazy

I really feel bad complaining about my MIL but I can't help it sometimes, just need to vent! I have a new name for her, am gonna call her Mildred, derived from MIL-dread i.e. the dreaded mother-in-law.

Anyways, Mildred was over yesterday and as usual made a fuss over the baby and the fussing continued when I got home from work. Nat was asleep and had apparently been asleep for 3-4 hrs and Mildred was trying to wake her up. I commented that Nat was probably tired from playing with her all afternoon but Mildred insisted on waking her up.

She proudly told me she carried the baby for a whole hour while she was asleep and said I was a bully when I said Nat could fall asleep on her own and didn't need me to carry her all the time. She also teasingly (or maybe she meant it) said I was mean when I didn't want to bring Nat for a car ride when Nick sent her home.

Personally I was too lazy to pack the diaper bag for the 20 min car ride, plus we had no more sterilised would have been too troublesome. Nick himself tries to minimise the time Nat spends in the car as A) she doesn't use a carseat, and B) he doesn't feel the car is safe enough.

Mildred also hates making Nat sleep in her crib, preferring to lay her on ma's bed or mine. She thinks the mattress is too hard, I say nonsense! And when the baby so much as waves an arm or wriggles her fingers after being put down, she will immediately pick her up and say, "Oh poor thing, you want to be carried ah?". Any reason to carry her!

And, I knew she would ask me about the nursery rhyme CDs. When I said I only burned one out of the 3 she brought, she questioned why. I told her I didn't like the singing and she said I was fussy! But when I said Nick didn't like them either, she kept quiet. Yesterday she kept telling Nat, "Oh, your mummy bullies you," or "Oh, your mummy is so mean."

I wish she would respect the methods we are applying when it comes to babycare and not impose her way of doing things. She probably doesn't agree with half the things we do and blatantly undermines our efforts to not spoil Nat. We don't want to inculcate any bad habits and the 'training' starts now but it's not like we're some military regime. We still play and have fun with our child, but we want her to be independent and not needy. Otherwise all sorts of sleep, separation and feeding issues will crop up later, we want to minimise those!

Oh, and she keeps checking on whether I am still feeding Nat booby milk...saying that breast milk is best and comparing quantities with her friend who just gave birth and asking how come I claimed I had no supply in the early days when her friend was nursing immediately after birth. I had to tell her that was the colostrum bit her friend was feeding the newborn. Anyway, if I choose not to exclusively breastfeed Nat, that's my choice. She herself didn't nurse her two sons and I pointed out to her they turned out fine.

And another thing. Ata's 16-day prayer is taking place tomorrow at the Sri Srivan temple. I know Mildred's a staunch Catholic but she has been reminding one and all that Nick and Kevin are not supposed to participate in the prayers as it goes against their religion.

No one said they had to perform any rituals in the first place, they are just entering the temple, not worshipping the deities for God's sake! Pun intended!

On Sunday she reminded me, yesterday she brought it up with Swana, she also told my mum and alerted Nick. And this morning, she reminded Nick again and asked if Nat was going to the temple. She's getting her knickers in a knot over a non-event. She even offered to babysit, I think she secretly doesn't want Nat to enter the temple but I am bringing my daughter by hook or by crook. After all she is half-Indian, I still want to expose her to her other roots.

Again, I have to put in a disclaimer. Mildred is very nice and caring who wants the best for her children and grandchildren...she just doesn't know when to back off!

May 7, 2008

Natalie's first BBQ

My niece Anjali celebrated her 24th birthday last Saturday with a BBQ at the condo she's renting. She and cousin Chitra share the same birthday so it was a double celebration. I hitched a ride with the Babes and Dopes, for Nick was at a NATAS street soccer tournament (his team came in 3rd!).

It was a really hot afternoon, too hot for a BBQ so I didn't venture near the grill. Mitra was in charge of getting the fire going and poured generous amounts of what smelled like kerosene onto the charcoal. Very different from how the locals get a fire going!

I brought a hat along to protect Nutty from the sun but it didn't help much. She sweated buckets and eventually fell into a deep slumber, but not before Siva tried to feed her some beer!

There were burgers and hot dogs and lots of running children. It was a pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon but eventually we sought respite from the heat by going up to Anju's apartment. Nick and Ma popped by for a while, and then together with the Dopes and Babes we went to Serene Centre for Island Creamery and McDonalds.

It was there I realised I had forgotten to pass Anju the memory card I had borrowed the week before so after supper I made Nick go back to Shelford Road, not knowing the U-turn was so far away. Before that we were stuck at the carpark exit for what seemed like ages when a Malaysian lorry couldn't get through the barrier...think it had no cashcard. So near yet so far, we were just diagonally opposite Anjali's place but it took almost 20 mins to get there! You can imagine Nick's mood after that!

Sitara takes on Serangoon

With last Thursday being Labour Day and a public holiday, I took leave on Friday to enjoy an extended weekend.

Nutty had an appointment at the Outram polyclinic for a second dose of the Hep B jab...we were already behind schedule having missed an appointment when she hit 1 month. Anyways, my darling daughter of course didn't take the pain inflicted on her too well, screaming as the jab was administered while being held by her Aunty Nana. She didn't actually cry when the needle went in, but towards the end as the medicine was being pushed through the syringe. But it was over in a flash and so was her yelling.

Whilst at the polyclinic, me and Ma took queue numbers to see a doctor ourselves. Ma for the results of her ECG and me for de Quervain's tendonitis, which I have been suffering from the last couple of months. It's basically inflammation of the wrist tendons caused by carrying Natalie. Pain relief is in the form of anti-inflammatory painkillers or steroid injections. Either those or rest my hands for 6 weeks which would be the suffering continues cos' I don't really want to take the painkillers.

The rest of the day was spent in Serangoon with Swana, Ma and the Babes. We had lunch at Apollo at the Little India Arcade, pretty expensive by banana leaf standards - the bill came up to $90 for 5 adults, that's $18 per person for some biryani!

During lunch, Natalie made a big poo and Kavi helped me change her in the public loo. There was no changing station in the loo, so had to use the side of the sink. There was a lot of poop and Kavi was grossed out, she had to turn on the tap to distract herself!

The next couple of hours were spent sari-hunting at Haniffa. With Ajen and Vim's wedding in 2 weeks, Kavi needed a sari pronto, and Swana wanted a new one too. I already had a new pink one waiting for a blouse to be tailored, so I tried to find Swana something pink too but in the end she bought a bright lime green one...I called her Shrek.

Siva entertained Nutty during the whole time cos' I was distracted with finding Swana the perfect sari. Wonder when Nutty will wear her first sari? She didn't look too impressed judging by this photo!

May 6, 2008

The Baby Whisperer to the rescue

I've been tracking Nat's feeds and patterns the last 3 days and concluded that her interrupted sleep was a hunger issue. No wonder she started waking up, she's a growing girl and was not drinking as much as she should at her age.

The reason I concluded it was hunger and not a habit was because the timings were erratic, I've upped her day feeds by an ounce and it seems to be working. She slept for 5hrs continuous the last 2 nights. Another 2-3 extra ounces during the day would probably yield 6 hrs, will slowly aim for that.

According to The Baby Whisperer, babies undergo growth spurts at certain intervals and that's just what Nat was experiencing. The next time something similar happens, it signals time to up her feeds.

Ok, now I feel guilty for blaming the MIL for overstimulating her last, last Sunday...although the erratic sleep started that day. But still the MIL continues to bug me at times.

This past Sunday, she said I bullied Nat...just because I installed a new rule about no playing after 8 pm to minimise overstimulation. She kept talking to Nat and picking her up, each time telling the baby her Mummy bullied her and wanted to discipline her. And then she asked whether I had been playing Nat the music she brought...told a white lie and said 'Sometimes." I shall have to go find my own CDs soon!!

When Nat hits 4 months, I will start implementing the routine I have outlined for her. Essentially, it's based on The Baby Whisperer's book on problem solving, apparently babies like predictability and routine because it's comforting, plus it makes it easier to identify problems later on.

A routine is not the same as a timetable, it's more of a cycle repeated over the course of the day. The Baby Whisperer's routine is called EASY, which stands for Eat, Activity, Sleep and time for You. A 4-month old baby goes on the 4hr routine. 30 mins feeding, 1 - 1.5hrs of play, and 1.5 - 2 hrs of sleep. While baby sleeps, the parents/caregiver can rest or do their own thing. And then the cycle repeats itself.

At any one point, you know what stage of the routine they are at, so if they fuss, you know it's something related to either food, activity or sleep and thus easier to problem-solve. E.g. if they have eaten and are fussing, you know it's not a hunger issue.

I haven't finished reading the book yet, but I like the advice so far. I don't want to be a victim of 'accidental parenting' - settling for a short term solution to appease the baby, which might actually cultivate bad habits later on. Like rocking to sleep, snacking, distracting with TV etc.

Actually I had never heard of The Baby Whisperer before pregnancy, but it was one of the books recommended by my gynae. My sis bought it and I borrowed it from her, seeing as to how she is 4 months away from delivery...I think I need to get her a new copy, I'm keeping this one!