Bedtime challenge

It is always a challenge to put Amy to bed.

Why is it that toddlers hate sleeping? I would give everything to be able to sleep. I would sleep on her behalf. I would sleep all the time.

Obviously she doesn’t share my sentiment. Bedtime is almost like war. I have to get creative to make her sleep, or we would end up fighting each other to sleep. Sometimes it would end in tears too (both her and me).

So yesterday, while putting her down for her afternoon nap, I discovered that I could actually bore her to sleep.

I told her facts (OK fine, some were made up) about the planets and the stars and the galaxies and the universe again and again in quite a monotonous tone. It was so boring, that I myself nearly dozed off a few times. And finally, after about half an hour of boring chatter, she fell asleep.

Yes!

I thought I could replicate that at night. But this time she was wiser. Once I finished one round of telling her about the planets and the stars and the galaxies and the universe, she interrupted me with a big smile, “Well done mama!”

That effectively ended my perfect plan of repeating the astronomical lesson.

So I changed my tactic. I told her fictional bedtime stories. I started with the story of the three little ducks, but she requested for a story about Angry Birds.

OK, I can do that. So I started my make-up-as-we-go-along story about Angry Birds. And then she requested that my story be about Angry Birds flying. I put that in. And then she asked for Angry Birds to go swimming. I incorporated that too.

I tried my very best to tell a very long and boring story, making sure that it ended with Angry Birds feeling tired and going to sleep. The end.

But, oh no, she seemed to be quite excited about it. And asked me to tell the story again.

So I did. And she asked for more. And I repeated. And she wanted more. This went on for. One. Whole. Hour.

My bedtime stories were putting myself to sleep, and my daughter didn’t seem to be anywhere close to dozing off!

Finally. After telling the same story for I-don’t-know-how-many-times, with the lights turned off for the past half an hour, and with me emphasizing that Angry Bird was tired and sleepy and had gone to bed to sleep and had told everyone goodnight…

Amy slept.

Another hard won victory!

 

 

Love,

Nat

Things Amy Says #2

(You can read the first Things Amy Says here.)

Is it just me or do toddlers grow exponentially the moment they hit 2 years old?

I feel that Amy has been going through so much growth since her 2nd birthday – not just physically, but also in terms of vocabulary and perception.

Situation #1

She is so chatty right now, and loves to imitate everything we say (good thing we don’t habitually swear!). In fact, she can now scold herself before I do, reciting every single word that I would have used!

Amy threw her crayons on the floor and one broke. Just as I opened my mouth, she said:

“Amy! Cannot throw! Crayon broke adi. Naughty girl! No more crayon!” 

Situation #2

She can also ‘read’ (from memory, not like actual reading yet) her favourite books from cover to cover, both the English ones as well as Mandarin ones. Sure, some of the words are skipped and some are coated with her toddlerese, but it’s about 75% accurate!

Situation #3

A few mornings ago, I had come back from news duties and went to bed at about 3am. She decided to wake up at 5am, and started rolling around the bed, disturbing me nonstop. Finally, at 7am, my little patience vanished and I sat upright, glared at her and hissed, “Amy! Stop it!”

She looked up at me and laughed. That fueled my anger even more. I pushed her away from my side of the bed and told her, “You go sleep the other side. Mama doesn’t want to sleep with you.”

Then I lay back down in a huff and puff, and tried to go back to sleep. To my (angry) astonishment, she bounced up and flew down the bed, opened my room door, went out and slammed it shut. She then stormed downstairs and loudly proclaimed to my in-laws:

“Amy bu yao sui jiao!* Amy bu yao sui jiao! Amy bu yao sui jiao with mama!” 

* Amy don’t want to sleep, in Mandarin

Situation #4

She is very good in asking for her favourite food nowadays. Yesterday afternoon, I took her on a drive with me to McDonald’s to grab myself some food. The moment she saw the golden ‘M’ arch, she said:

“Old McDonald! I wan fwen fwai!”

OK fine. I got my value meal, and shared my fries with her. I also got my Oreo McFlurry which I kept hidden from her. The moment we reached home, I tried to smuggle it into the freezer, but SHE CAUGHT ME. She took one look at the McFlurry cup, and went:

“I wan ice cweam! I wan ice cweam!”

I stared at her. HOW DID SHE KNOW THAT IT WAS ICE CREAM INSIDE? She couldn’t have seen inside the cup from where she was!

Situation #5

She’s a demanding little girl. Perhaps after 2 years of us giving her instructions, she has decided it is now her turn.

I can’t even pee or poo in peace right now, because she would march up to the toilet door and demand from the other side of the door:

“Mama come out. Mama come out now!”

She would repeat that until I come out.

I can’t have my breakfast in peace either. I was getting ready to eat a few mornings ago, and she asked to watch videos on the iPad. So I got her iPad out and settled it all nicely on the couch for her. As I was about to return to my breakfast, she held on to my finger, and barked:

“Mama watch iPad with Amy.” 

I was like, uh, mama needs to eat breakfast. You watch yourself OK?

“No. Mama watch iPad.” 

Um, mama’s just going to sit there OK?

“No. Mama sit here watch iPad. Mama sit here!”

She even patted the chair to emphasize her order, just like how we do it haha.

It’s really cute to see her re-enacting what we adults do all the time. Sometimes it’s infuriating, but most of the times it’s more than amusing. It also serves as a reminder to be careful with what we say and do! Toddlers soak up everything like a sponge!

 

Love,

Nat

Hemingway in Love: His Own Story by A. E. Hotchner

Recently I went to the Popular Book Fair, and I came home with more books for Amy than for myself (what’s new). It was my first time going to such a fair though. If you’ve never been, let me just tell you that the sheer amount of books available can make you go mad! I literally didn’t know where to start. And before I was even halfway through, my eyes were seeing stars already.

So, as I told my friend who was with me, I was looking out for books that ‘jumped’ out at me. Books that would catch my attention and give me that connection. It’s almost like looking for a soul mate haha.

In the end, I got several sticker, activity and board books for Amy, and two titles for myself. One of them was this, Hemingway In Love: His Own Story.

I have to confess. Having this book in my hand made me feel somewhat cultured. I mean, I knew the name ‘Ernest Hemingway’. He was an accomplished writer. One of the classics. He was big.

However, I actually had no idea what he was famous for exactly. I haven’t read any of his works. A quick Google would show up some really good quotes by him though, like:

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.”

“We’re stronger in the places that we’ve been broken.” 

“In order to write about life first you must live it.” 

Love him already.

But even though I do not know much about him, it didn’t make this book less inspiring or interesting. I am so happy I got this memoir.

Hemingway in Love: His Own Story is not a complete biography about the Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winner. If I’m not mistaken, A. E. Hotchner had already written a few other books that covered the other areas of Hemingway’s life. This particular book zooms in to Hemingway’s joy, loss, regrets and mistakes in love.

As Hotchner was such a close friend of Hemingway’s (he even calls Hemingway ‘Papa’), this book gives the reader the privilege and opportunity to be part of the intimate conversations between the duo.

It gave me a glimpse into how human and real Hemingway was. At times, I felt like hitting his head and asking him to be wise. But my heart also ached with him. And somehow, somewhere along the lines in those pages, I am inspired to be bold and step out to try new things; to appreciate and guard the relationship I have with the one I love; and to be a better writer.

Whether or not this would spur me to pick up Hemingway’s own books I don’t know, but I definitely have no regrets at all adding this to my library.

 

Love,

Nat

Robataya @ Publika

Because I am pregnant, whenever I am to meet friends for meals, they would ask me:

“Nat, what do you want to eat? You’re the preggers mama. What are you craving for?”

Well. To be honest, I crave for random things at random times. But one thing I always crave for (whether or not I’m pregnant) is Japanese food!

So when Robataya invited the hubby and I for a meal, I jumped at the opportunity!

Robataya is unlike my usual choice of Japanese dining places, because instead of just sushi and sashimi and bento, they are known for robatayaki, which is a Japanese cooking style where food are slow-grilled on smoking charcoal.

The delicious slow-grilled skewers, from left to right, prices per stick: Momo (chicken) at RM4, sausage at RM6.50, tomato bacon at RM6, Buta Bara (pork belly) at RM6, and Gyu Tan (beef tongue) at RM8.

These are sold individually, so you would have to order them separately.

Besides the skewers, they also serve a variety of the usual Japanese dishes.

Kyushu Ramen, RM22

I loved this. I know how some people like their ramen broth to be super thick. But to me, this was light and just nice.

Goya Champuru, RM18

Fans of bittergourd and egg and pork would enjoy this.

Salmon Oyako Sarada, RM26

Salad, topped with salmon and salmon skin. Perfect as an appetizer or even as a side dish.

Buta Mayo Roll, RM20

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but no Japanese meal is complete to me without some sushi rolls.

Okan Sashimi Moriawase, RM70

I started drooling the moment I saw this platter. Unfortunately, because I am pregnant, I cannot take any sashimi. So my hubby had a great time downing them on my behalf.

Look at that salmon sashimi! I will be back you guys. I will be back once baby has been born. I will be back.

They also have a list of Japanese beer and sake available, for those of you who are not pregnant.

Robataya is also an izakaya restaurant. Izakaya is a type of informal Japanese gastropub, and it is known to serve interesting dishes to go with beer or sake. On the particular day we were there, it was pork uterus.

Yea. You read that right.

If you want to try it, all you have to do is ask for the otsusume menu, and the friendly Robataya waiters will let you know what’s being served that day. Just remember to be adventurous!

me

Overall, I really enjoyed the different dishes they served. They have a lot of other (delicious-looking) stuff on the menu as well as desserts (!) that I didn’t get to try, so I will definitely go back!

A heads-up: Robataya is quite popular and can be packed during lunch and dinner hours. I would suggest that you go a little earlier than the usual crowd, or be prepared to wait a bit.

SPECIAL OFFER:

free-kushiyaki-2

Robataya is giving a special offer to NatalieSia.com readers! All you have to do is show the image above when you dine in at Robataya at Publika, and you can get a Banana Bacon skewer and Tomato Bacon skewer free of charge!

This offer expires on 31st October 2016, so do drop by and try them out!

Note: The offer is not available during weekday lunch hours though as the grilling bar is closed during weekday lunch time 

 

Robataya
D4-G3-09, Solaris Dutamas Publika
Open Mon-Fri 11am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 11pm, Sat, Sun & Public Holidays 11am – 11pm

Tel: 03-62112785
FB: https://www.facebook.com/robatayaizakaya

#preggersandmamabrain

Pregnancy brain. Does it exist?

Some say yes emphatically. Some deny it fervently. I like how WhatToExpect.com puts it:

“Pregnancy-induced brain fog is a true (and truly frustrating) hallmark of pregnancy.” 

WebMD though is quick to clarify that:

“Pregnancy does not change a woman’s brain even though some women don’t feel as sharp as usual when they’re pregnant.” 

For those who have totally no clue what it means, this is basically it:


preg-gers brain

/ˈpreɡərz brān/

adjective

  1. the state of the brain which is more forgetful, less sharp, and more tired.
  2. usually only affects pregnant women

(source: Nat’s made-up dictionary)


Well, whether or not it is scientifically or philosophically or medically or whatever-ally proven, I can’t deny that I do have one.

Worse. You’d think that since it’s coined as “preggers brain”, it will all be back to normal once baby is born, right?

Wrong.

You then graduate to the “mama brain”. Which is pretty much the same, but it also means that this new brain of yours will stick with you from henceforth till forever more.

And now, I have both.

I guess I have many scenarios to prove it, but let me just share two of my recent ones.

Scenario 1

It was shower time. I washed my hair with my shampoo, and then lathered it with conditioner. I proceeded to take the shower gel. But instead of washing my body, I washed my hair. With the shower gel. Never happened before.

Scenario 2

I went for brunch with a friend, and I had my laptop with me. I put my laptop with my handbag on my chair, behind my back. When we were done, I took my bag, and somehow just completely not see my laptop. And we left.

Fortunately I realized my mistake when we were just a few steps out of the restaurant, and my friend kindly ran back to get my laptop for me.

So yea. I now have preggers and mama brain.

BUT. Disclaimer: this does not in any way render us less useful to the society. In fact, the UK Daily Mail said this syndrome makes us a better mother!

“Pregnant women DO suffer short-term memory loss, new research claims… but that’s so your brain can focus on the needs of your baby.

The suggestion is that women’s brains change during pregnancy so that they will be better able to concentrate on their newborn’s needs after the birth, with the result that they become less focused on other things, such as where the car keys might be.” 

Mothers, we are so sacrificial. Let’s give ourselves a pat on the back.

 

Love,

Nat

8 years after ‘I do’

It was late. I was tired. I was hungry. I had a long day. By the time he picked me up for dinner, it was about 9pm.

We went to TGIF, where I ranted about my day to him as we ate. He seemed a little quieter than usual, but then again, it could be because I was ranting nonstop.

Once we finished our main dishes, he asked if I would like to order dessert. Normally I would jump at that, but on that night, I was physically tired and mentally exhausted, and I felt full enough, so I uncharacteristically passed.

I later found out that that made him a bit more nervous. But he nevertheless bravely began his speech. He said he was sorry he had been unable to get me fancy gifts. He bought me something, and he really hoped that I would like it. I prepared my own expectations, and told myself not to show any signs of disappointment if I indeed did not like the gift. After all, it’s the heart and thought that mattered.

But all my own thoughts evaporated when he put a blue Tiffany & Co box on the table.

Oh. Ma. Gawd.

I think at this point he continued on with his well-prepared speech, but honestly, I can’t recall any of it. I only remember feeling utterly shocked, and I couldn’t take my eyes away from the box. I knew what was inside. My heart was beating wildly. I wasn’t sure if I was ready.

Then the question came.

“Will you marry me?”

Silence.

I looked at him. I looked at the box. I looked at him. And all I could say was, “Really? Are you serious?”

Unlike most girls who fawned and cried and screamed ‘YES!!!’ immediately, I had so many things run through my mind in those few seconds. My answer would be a very important one. It was not going to be just a one-word reply. It was going to be a big decision. For life.

I took a deep breath, and said yes. And he visibly relaxed as he put the (slightly oversized) ring into my shaking finger.

That was the beginning of our journey, which was solidified by our wedding a year later. We said our vows, making a big commitment. For life.

hennat

It’s been 8 years since we said ‘I do’. So many things have happened in our relationship.

In my husband’s words, we have lost our firstborn, we have welcomed and are raising a cheerful toddler, and we are now expecting another baby. We have been poor, and then been rich, and then poor again. Hopefully, we are on our way to being rich again *finger crossed*.

We have fought without words, fought with words, and fought on iMessage (which works brilliantly for us by the way).

We have been through quite a rough trail. Honestly, were there moments where I actually thought of bailing? Yes. But the commitment of love means that I will choose to hold on even when I want to flee.

Marriage is a lot of hard work. It is choosing to listen to your spouse when all you want to do is scroll your Facebook timeline (again, my husband’s words). It is choosing to be interested in your spouse’s day even though yours was as sucky as hell. It is choosing to spend time together even though you really crave for some me time after being hounded by a relentless toddler the whole day. It is swallowing down your temporary anger and resentment, and choosing to be kind instead. It is choosing not to keep scores, and to go the extra mile instead.

It is choosing to accept each other in every way, and not be on the lookout for ‘someone better’. It is choosing to overlook and forgive. It is choosing to remember the good times more than the bad times. It is choosing to see things from your spouse’s perspective, especially when you are blinded by rage. It is choosing to hold each other’s hands, and say again and again, ‘I will walk this road with you.’

Feelings come and feelings go. Butterflies appear in your stomach and vanish all the time. Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is the real deal.

So how do we stay in love?

We’ve only been married for 8 years. That’s a short time when measured against the years of life. But so far, staying in love to me means making choices and decisions every day.

Choose to remember our vows. Choose to remember what attracted us to each other in the first place. Choose to close an eye on the irritating habits. Choose to talk things out even when it’s difficult. Choose to solve issues even when we don’t want to. Choose to be fair. Choose to be kind. Choose to hold on when times are rough. Choose to create fond memories together. Choose to be completely honest. Choose to say sorry. Choose to dream together.

For better, for worse.

Happy 8th anniversary to my dearest husband. I love you more today than yesterday, despite all your disgusting habits. *winks*

 

Love,

Nat

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