‘Alexa’ on BFM

Alexa would have turned four this week.

Time flies.

I would like to think of my book as a birthday present for her.

When we were still in the planning stages of the book, the hubby told me that I would have to go all out to promote it, since I was self-publishing.

I told him at that time, that I didn’t know how to promote it. For one, this book is about a story that is so close to my heart. In fact, it is a story about my heart! Because I was so raw and open in the book, I feel very vulnerable and nervous about others reading it.

Secondly, this book is not like a happy book that I can promote along the lines of “Christmas is coming! Still thinking of a perfect gift for your loved ones? Grab this book today!”

And finally, I’ve never been good at promoting anything especially when it comes to myself (for talent jobs) or anything that I am selling.

But I figured I got to do it anyway. Because, what is the use of writing and publishing this book, but not letting people know that it exists? And how would it help people if they do not know that it exists?

So recently, I was on BFM to talk about the book. I felt quite calm about it because I used to work on BFM and I know the person who was going to interview me. At the same time I was quite nervous because I didn’t know what he would ask me and how I would feel talking about it. In any case, I am glad I did it.

Here’s the interview if you missed it.

If you would like to buy a copy of the book, you can purchase one here.

 

Love,

Natalie

Things Amy says #3

I confess: iNanny is my favourite Nanny. And I’ve always felt that she has been quite a good nanny because:

1) I get a tantrum-less toddler for at least 30 minutes;

2) I get to do my own things for that 30 minutes;

3) it stops her from jumping all over the couch or climbing the stairs nonstop or throwing her toys all around the floor or destroying something;

4) she learns a LOT from the videos, i.e. ABCs, nursery rhymes, language, planets and the solar system, etc.

However, lately I’ve been imposing a new rule of no gadgets during sleep time, whether afternoon nap time or bed time. Because there are no gadgets, the sleep routine now consists of book-reading and storytelling.

Amy has a very good memory. She can memorize the words on every page of the books we read to her, and can even recite stories that I made up (but of course, that meant I had read and told her the stories again and again and again and again and again…).

Recently, I caught her reciting a story that I often told her, only she has slightly modified it (those with exclamation marks were shouted at the top of her lungs. The more exclamation marks, the louder it was):

Amy’s story #1:

One day, Papa Night Owl saw Little Night Owl, and said “Night Owl, it’s time to go outside.”

Night Owl said, “I don’t want to go outside! I wanna eat orange!”

Papa Night Owl said, “I don’t want to eat orange! I want to go out!”

Night Owl said, “I don’t want to go out!! I want to stay in the room!!!”

Makes no sense, unless you’ve been listening to the conversations we’ve been having in our house. Haha.

Amy’s story #2 (in reference to Peppa Pig): 

There is Daddy Pig, Mummy Pig, Peppa Pig and Baby George.

Baby George cries all the time.

Baby George dowan to be happy. 

Amy’s story #3: 

Where is Baby Alistair?

Is he behind the door? No!

Is he under the bed? No!

Is he at the playground? No!

Baby Alistair cries all the time. 

***

She cracks me up!

I can learn a thing or two about creativity from her. In a child’s mind, nothing needs to be logical or rational, and that is the beauty of imagination. Often, that is also how great stories come about! I’m looking forward to hearing more stories from her!

 

Love,

Natalie

The fate of the seconds

Just realised that my last update was quite awhile!

Lately, I’ve rediscovered the joy of journaling the old fashioned way – through pen and paper. In this case, a notebook. I’ve almost forgot the joy of keeping some thoughts private 😛

Growing up, I had always been journaling and, although I have kinda lost ALL my journals, it was fun reading back some of them years ago. So, I thought, why not restart my habit? It’s also a good place for me to jot down random ideas without being judged haha. Anyway, the real reason I decided to get journaling again was because I received a really pretty notebook for my birthday and I didn’t know what to do with it but I didn’t want to discard it nor did I want to leave it to rot somewhere, so… yeah.

Now on to the other thing I’ve been up to: mothering my little baby and toddler. But what I really want to talk about is: the fate of the seconds.

Amy was my first child (not including Alexa, you get what I mean). With her, everything was more carefully planned and more excitedly put together. I would spend hours researching the best activities and games to do with your newborn, 1 month old, 2 month old, etc. I would carefully select toys that would best encourage her sensory development. I would sing to her and tell her stories, and try to be the best perfect mother I could be.

Then came Alistair. The poor second. I would put him down in his cot and encourage him to look at the ceiling fan to entertain himself. I would let him play with the handkerchief to develop his sensory development. And I would turn on the nursery rhymes channel on TV for Amy, and let Alistair listen to it too to ‘kill two birds with one stone’.

He is so neglected, poor boy.

But like my friend said, that’s why the seconds are always the survivors. Haha.

Then again, besides the fact that second-time mothers are generally more calm and relaxed, we are also much busier and tied up with the first ones. Amy is such a handful! Thank God Alistair is a happy boy with an calm temperament. One strong-willed child in one household is more than enough thank you very much phew.

But all is not lost for the seconds. Because they have a relatively more calm and relaxed mom (haha), they get to enjoy more freedom. Their needs are met quicker and better too, because by now, mothers already know the basic needs of a baby.

I am also able to enjoy Alistair more because I feel more in control. Bathing him is a breeze, changing him is easy, playing with him is fun and breastfeeding him is relaxing (although also tiring due to the hours).

Compared to when Amy was a baby, I was a total mess then! I was easily worried and scared, and it didn’t help that she was an angry, demanding baby (sorry Amy, I know you might read this years later… but it’s the truth)

But I wouldn’t change a thing. I love everything about Amy, even though she drives me up the wall constantly. And I love everything about Alistair. I do feel like sometimes I need to clone myself or divide myself, and when I couldn’t, the mom guilt hits. But I’ve learned to take things easy and just enjoy every minute I have with the both of them.

 

Love,

Natalie

Alistair’s full moon

So this little guy turned one month old recently.

It’s been the longest and shortest one month ever. I don’t really know how to explain, but, some days I felt that the month was really going by slowly because I felt as though Alistair has been with us forever. Yet, other days I felt that the month has zoomed by so quickly because I felt as though Alistair has just been born!

Being a mother to these two is a great privilege. The hubby and I still sometimes say to each other, “I can’t believe we have two kids now.”

It’s been a challenge, definitely, juggling these two. They both need me equally, but there’s only one me. My heart sometimes feel heavy for Amy, because she now has to share mama’s attention. Sometimes, she has to wait. Sometimes, she will only have me until her little brother cries for milk.

Just last night, it was her bed time. My mother-in-law was ready to put her to bed, but, after changing into her pajamas, she ran out of the room to look for me. I was breastfeeding Alistair. Amy looked at me, put a hand on my arm, and said, “Mama sleep? Mama sleep with Amy?”

My heart melted. My little girl still wanted me to sleep with her. But now, she has to learn to wait. She has to learn to be a big sis.

At the same time, I also feel (a little) sorry for Alistair. Unlike his sister, he does not get to enjoy the full attention from everyone. I spend a lot of time playing with him and bonding with him, but it is so different from the time I spent with Amy. He will never get the exclusive time and attention. I mean, even his toys and stuff are mostly hand-me-downs. Haha. Welcome to being the second in the family, my son.

The star of the party was too busy asking for milk and trying to sleep to pose for the camera.

My little one. You are so precious to me. I thank God for you, and I pray that you will be blessed all the days of your life. May you grow up to be a great young man, with strong values and fear of God. May you be full of joy and hope and faith. May you be strong yet gentle. May you reach your potential and live your destiny.

I love you my little man. I am so proud to be your mama. You are the perfect addition to our family.

 

Love,

Natalie

The last straw

It was the second time I had cried that day.

I was trying to sleep after feeding Alistair in the afternoon, but Amy came into the room again (for the hundredth time) to disturb me. I tried to ignore her and hoped that she would entertain herself with the iPad, but she stood up and opened the curtain, which allowed in the sun light and unbearable heat right onto my body.

I snapped.

I threw the blanket away and stormed out of the room. Amy cheerfully followed behind me.

I stormed downstairs. Amy was singing songs as she tailed me.

I angrily moaned to everyone downstairs that Amy was disturbing me and I couldn’t sleep. Amy was still happily following behind me.

I stormed into the kitchen, and, not knowing what to do in my silent anger, grabbed some drinks and tried to eat a piece of Twiggies.

The hubby came in and asked me to go sleep while he handled Amy. At this point, tears already flooded my eyes and all I could do in reply was shake my head, swallow the bite of cake in my mouth, and go to the toilet. I shut the door and bawled my eyes out.

Even as I was crying, I felt silly. Why was I crying over the lack of sleep? It seemed to be such a trivial, stupid reason.

Oh but I was so exhausted, you have no idea. I haven’t had sufficient sleep since Alistair came home. I know it’s supposed to be “normal” for new parents to have that deprivation of sleep. But, a busy sleepless night coupled with a busy sleepless day for the past three weeks was beginning to take a toll on me.

Sure, some days I would get to sleep a whole TWO HOURS STRAIGHT. That is such luxury you know? But it’s simply not enough.

Locked inside the bathroom, I did ask myself if I was experiencing postpartum blues. I guess it was possible. Or I was simply too exhausted.

Anyway, I could hear Amy calling out for me from outside the bathroom (cheerfully still, bless her soul), and I waited till the redness left my eyes before going out.

I really wanted to be upset with her. But one look at her cute, cheerful face beaming up to me… My heart melted.

And so I took a deep breath, and girded myself for another day.

One day at a time. One moment at a time.

All the while reminding myself that these exhausting days will pass before I even know it. Soon I would be able to sleep in all I want.

And the reason for my current tiredness is more than worth it: the privilege of having and raising my two precious children.

 

p/s: The first time I cried that day was also due to lack of sleep. My rest was constantly interrupted first by Amy then Alistair then Amy then Alistair then Amy… you get the drift.

 

Love,

Natalie

Happy Year of Rooster!

Happy Chinese New Year!

It’s a ‘confined’ Chinese New Year for me this year. Even though I really don’t feel like I’m still in confinement anymore, considering all the rules I’ve broken and the amount of things I’ve been doing…

My elder sister has been nagging at me to follow as many rules as I can, but it’s difficult. Some rules were broken by choice:

a) I’m not supposed to shower and wash my hair. Eww. I showered in the hospital the next day after giving birth and have been showering every day since. I wash my hair every alternate days too. Just cannot stand being dirty, especially since I’m breastfeeding.

b) I’m not supposed to drink and eat cold stuff. I’ve been trying to adhere to this, but there was that once or twice that I broke it because I was too thirsty and it was too hot, I really needed that cold cup of 100 Plus…

Other rules were broken because I had no choice:

a) I’m not supposed to go out. But within days I already had to go to the hospital multiple times because Alistair was admitted for jaundice. And then I went out for dinner. And then grocery shopping.

b) I’m not supposed to walk a lot and climb stairs. But if I don’t, then who’s going to serve me?? I have no confinement lady, and I am not Harry Potter, so I can’t wish my way for food to come to me or for things to happen.

c) I’m not supposed to touch water. Well. As mentioned above, I showered. And then I have to bathe Alistair too. And occasionally I have to bathe Amy too. And we are supposed to wash our hands with soap before touching baby every time, so…

I’m not belittling the Chinese beliefs and traditions, but some of the rules are really not do-able. I think the confinement month and rules are made to pamper and take care of mothers, and it’s quite a sweet gesture. But I think it’s OK too if you can’t follow them, as long as you are not medically harming yourself.

(I have checked with my doctor about the walking and climbing stairs thing, because I was worried about having prolapsed womb. She said it won’t affect, but if I’m worried, I can always do the pelvic exercises.)

Anyway.

Since Chinese New Year falls within my confinement month this year, I’m not supposed to go out and everything. But we still dressed up for pictures!

Wishing all of you a prosperous and happy year ahead! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

 

Love,

Natalie

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