January 26, 2013

Girl? Or Boy?

Had a gynae appointment today, and this time we made it early to Botanics so we could save on parking and walk around a bit. Fed some fish and saw the swans, we even spotted a monitor lizard and a cicada. 
Was hoping to find out the sex of junior and we thought we saw something between the legs but Dr Siow didn’t quite commit. All he said was that it looked like a boy but he didn’t confirm it 100% and said to wait for the detailed scan.

So far everything seems normal, I’ve put on too much weight…gotta stop the bingeing! Considering the bub is probably the size of my palm and weighs no more than a couple of hundred grams, I’ve put on over 5kg and my stomach looks like my 7 months size when I’m only 4.5 months along.

Appetite has returned to normal, am still off meats like chicken and pork, and rice in the evenings but other than that, am not feeling any adverse side effects…touchwood.

I would be really surprised if it turns out to be a boy because I expected the nose to swell and to feel different but it’s been pretty much the same as the other two pregnancies. I guess I’m just lucky!

Had lunch at Tanglin Mall, and picked up some pictures to hang in the kids’ room. After lunch, Nick dropped me and Nat at Membina where we hooked up with Swana, Gigi and Ann for an afternoon of gown shopping.

Ann had found a place in Serangoon Shopping Centre which makes made-to-measure gowns at reasonable prices and we all couldn’t wait to check them out. The gowns were lovely, a lot of them featured lace…my favourite! Felt like getting married all over again and if it weren’t for the baby bump, I would have tried on some dresses myself!
I managed one shot before the owner politely informed us no pictures were allowed. Ann tried several styles and she looked great in all of them but didn’t place any orders, needing more time to think. We’ll just have to wait and see what she decides on come October!

January 19, 2013

Bella is 3!

It was a wet and rainy day, but that didn’t stop us from venturing to Changi to attend Bella’s 3rd birthday. Since Nick is out of town, I struck a deal with Swana i.e. I’d bring Gigi to the party in exchange for transport to and fro!

I could finally pass Adrienne her belated Christmas present and my clingy kids stayed in one of the rooms throughout the whole time, entertaining themselves with the toys available and occasionally Caitlin would come and check on them. Gigi was more open though, she attempted to play with the other kids.
The clever birthday girl said a short thank you to her guests, well done! After feeding the kids and having some cake, we bid farewell as Swana and Kevin came to pick us. 
We ended up at Changi City Point for a foodcourt dinner and short walkabout. Treated myself to some Fragrance bak kwa…mmmm.

The mall was pretty crowded, they have a lot of outlet shops. Wouldn’t mind going again if we were in the area but I think the boy will need some persuasion since he hates crowds.

January 17, 2013

16 Day Prayers

Met the SSC folks for dinner at No Signboard, Vivo for a quick dinner this evening, Nick is sick so I couldn’t stay very long but I caught a lovely sunset before I reached the restaurant. Also bought shoes before dinner because mine broke during lunch today, right after I parted ways with Joanne at Bugis.
Besides me, there was Jenny, Su, Parames, Michelle and Roger. Food was good, we shared 2 crabs…mmm the white pepper is yummy. It was good catching up, albeit briefly!

Yesterday, we went to the Kallang temple for Aunty Sarda’s 16th day prayers. The funeral guy was supposed to perform the rituals with the priest, but he got held up and Pops had to stand in.

Quite a number of friends and relatives showed up and we ran out of food, because Kavi undercatered, lol….Aunty Sarda would have been fretting.

The boy is off to London tomorrow to watch an EPL match in the name of work...box seats at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea vs Arsenal. Am so jealous!

January 12, 2013

Szechuan Court lunch

Mildred is staying with us for a while as she recuperates from her knee op and we brought the mums out to Swissotel for lunch, trying Szechuan Court for the first time. This Feed @ Raffles card is just making us spend more!

Had a dim sum buffet, but we’re all not big eaters that I think a la carte might have been better. Still the spread was wide and varied and we enjoyed 20% off.
Gigi came over in the afternoon and I made ‘Abby’ cupcakes with the girls, using a box mix for the base and adding pink, purple and blue. Tasted very processed though, next time will make from scratch, still trying to find a good white cake recipe.
Ben came over to visit mum Ivy and the girls cornered him into reading them a bedtime story. The story I chose was ‘Don’t Bother Ben’ but he sneakily skipped the repetitive bits!

January 5, 2013

Happy belated birthday, Mums!

Took the mums out to Ellenborough Market Café for their belated birthday lunch. Ben and Wendy could not join so it was just us, the Gomezs and the parents, plus Mildred of course.
The spread was very local, very wide but didn’t quite appeal to me except for the desserts…ate a big bowl of durian pengat!
Tastebuds are still out of whack so am still very picky about what I eat. Not that I could eat in peace because the kids kept wanting to play with the toilets and Wendy was not around!

While distracting the kids with a walk along the Singapore River, they spotted a giant frog in the water…biggest frog I’ve ever seen! Must have escaped from a dinner table somewhere!

Mildred followed us home after lunch and in the evening we went to visit Amah at her nursing home in Serangoon Gardens before dinner at Ben’s. Quite depressing, I don’t think she’s enjoying her stay there very much.

January 4, 2013

Mini photoshoot

The elder girls had a mini photoshoot at Membina today, thanks to papa’s tenant’s friend Salamat. He’s a professional photographer and Pops had put him up at 110 for a few days while he visited the tenant so as a gesture of appreciation he offered to take some photos of the grandkids.

Pops also had an ulterior motive to set him up with a single friend but she was not available, lol.

Anyway, they came over the Membina in the evening and it took a while to persuade Nat and Gigi to loosen up for the camera. Sasha missed out because Nick brought her to the doctor to check on her cough.  

But Gigi and Nat were cam-whoring in no time and I can’t wait to see the finished results.
After Pops and Salamat left, and Nick came back with Sasha, we had a little belated cake-cutting for Ma. Of course, she didn’t get to blow out her own candles with the ‘vultures’ waiting! 
And my poor Sasha has bronchitis apparently and doctor recommended a nebulizer for a few days. She’s a trooper, thinks it’s fun! 

January 3, 2013

Send off at sea

Woke up really early for Aunty Sarda’s final send off at sea. There was some miscommunication and we thought we were heading straight to Changi but we (Swana, me, Papa, Aunty Susie and Aunty Saro) ended up going to Mandai first to collect the ashes.

We were first in line to use the Hindu/Sikh room, I didn’t know there was a whole ritual involved. It was very interesting to see the bone and ash remnants on the slab that went into the cremation chamber, there was more bone fragments than I anticipated.

The funeral guy performed more rites, and made several offerings of rice balls with black sesame, fruits, incense and flowers before arranging everything nicely on banana leaves and then eventually into a claypot.
Then it was back onto the minivan for Changi Ferry terminal and we got onto a small boat that didn’t go out very far. It was over before I knew it, the funeral guy dropped the whole cloth-wrapped claypot into the sea, I thought we would actually be pouring the contents into the water. And that was that.
Reached Membina just in time to see the bubs waiting for their school bus. Today is the first day since they skipped yesterday and I had to hide behind a pillar so Nat wouldn’t see me, she was crying and screaming her head off…so poor thing.

January 2, 2013

Farewell Aunty Sarda

And so it is. Aunty Sarda has left us. About 90 mins after ushering the new year, she took her last breath and was no more.

I had been watching the countdown on TV and had just dozed off for the night when the call from Swana came. I didn’t get to the phone in time, but I saw there was a message in WhatsApp to all the cousins about her departure and then I got on the phone with Swana.

Apparently it was quick and painless. At about 1am, Lita had noticed her breathing getting even harder and Swana and Ma only had a few minutes with her before she took her last gasps, opened her eyes and that was it.

I wouldn’t have been of much help if I had gone over, a doctor from the hospice had to be notified first to certify the death, before Swana could make a police report and call the undertaker so a lot of waiting around involved.

Instead I posted the following on FB before spending 2 hours crying myself to sleep, knowing it was going to be a long day ahead. FB message:

“Goodbye my classy, freakingly tidy, kind, generous, fiercely independent, softie of an aunt. Of all people, you didn’t deserve to go out this way, but the only consolation is that you weren’t in too much pain at the end. Thank you for being a part of our lives, I know you’ll be watching us from up there, ready to give us ‘one kick’ if we step out of line. Love you Aunty Sarda…”

Aunty Sarda had already briefed the undertaker on her preferences a few months ago so he knew what to do when the time came. I got to Membina just before the body arrived, they did a good job of the embalming, she looked pretty.

Word had already got out to all the relatives and friends and the Radhakrishnans were the first to arrive, followed by a steady stream throughout the day. Nick brought the kids over and they took part in the ritual of placing flowers in the coffin. I think they understood Nani had gone to heaven but they kept asking why she was in a ‘bathtub’.
I drafted the obituary and together with Kavi and Kaelash, we went out to place the order with ST Classifieds and then had lunch at Serangoon, where we needed to pick up incense and saris for offerings.

We joked that she held on to complete 2012, she was anal that way. She even chose a nice time and easy date to remember. 1.30 am, 1st Jan 2013. A lot of 13s in there, and the date added up to the no.8, just like her birthday 1st March 1939 which is a 1/3.

Swana, Kevin and Kaelash took turns for the overnight vigil to make sure the oil lamp didn’t extinguish. More people came on the second day, including a bunch of Chitties from KL. It was the first day of school, but we decided to let the girls ponteng.
Aunty Sarda was definitely well-loved and a lot of people came to pay their respects and many more who were there in spirit but couldn’t’ make it due to the short notice of Hindu funerals. Of all days, it was also Mummy’s 60th birthday but celebrations will have to wait.
The funeral was held yesterday, with the rites performed at Membina at 4pm, before departing for cremation at Mandai Hall 4 at 5pm. Me and Nick hitched a ride with Nya Nya to and fro. 
During the final rites, because she was single, a stalk of banana was inserted into her coffin to signify a groom and she was ‘married off’. One of Papa’s friends, Pophatbhai Patel had to step in as ‘uncle’ to marry her off, as there no elderly male uncles around.

Some of the aunts who had been sobbing the last couple of days were surprisingly quiet as the coffin entered the incinerator. In fact the whole viewing gallery was quite quiet, which I think Aunty Sarda would have preferred.

On the way back, I was peckish and Nya Nya kindly stopped at Upper Thomson so I could pick up some ladu, papadams and prata. There was a vegetarian buffet waiting at Membina and before you know it, everything is over. Tomorrow we go to leave her ashes at sea...