Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Ex-Pat Circuit

We bought the following things before Samara was born:
a car seat (which is NOT required to leave the hospital here in Singapore, by the way)
a stroller
a few newborn outfits
a pack of diapers
a pack of wipes (which we haven't used yet)
3 bath towels
10 wash cloths (or flannels, as they're called here)
a few swaddling blankets
a rocking chair
a tub
a thermometer
a bunch of cloth diapers (for burp/spit-up purposes, not diaper purposes)

The stroller, car seat and rocking chair all became gifts from family back home.

Before she was even born, we got one ex-pat dump which included a baby bjorn, a pump, two play mats (including one with the animals that hang down), a tonne of toys and clothes, a tub, and a bunch of maternity/nursing clothes and probably other stuff that I don't remember. This was from a friend I met through a friend who moved here last year and is done having kids (Francesca).

We got a dump of stuff to borrow which included a floating tube for the pool, a bassinet, a bouncy chair...This is from the friend who introduced me to Francesca above (Susie).

And then after she was born we got two more dumps - one from a family in the Jewish community (the Greens) who has three girls and are also done. This one included a bouncy seat, a steriliser, a bottle warmer, a TONNE of amazingly cute clothes and a bunch of toys.

Finally, Matt and I went to a used stuff sale here in Singapore (where we scored a mobile and some other random toys), and a woman behind me in line (Cindy) heard me say that I was looking for sleeping sacs (for when we stop swaddling her). She said, "I have a few of those, plus a monitor and some other stuff. If you want to come to my house, I'll give it all to you." FABU! I went out there, and scored lots more clothes and toys, a totally working baby monitor and other stuff.

We became a repository of baby stuff. Once we took what we thought we would use, I then had friends over to go through it and take what they thought they would use, and finally Belle is taking the rest to be donated to her community back in the Philippines.

Between all of the stuff that people gave us and the amazingly generous gifts we have received, we have only bought more wash cloths and a few storage things for all of her toys since Sam has been born.

Let's be clear - I am cheap. I love a good deal. But this isn't even about that - this stuff is all in fantastic condition and it SHOULD be used again. Every baby does not need new toys and play mats - and I love that these toys and things have been previously loved by so many babies.

And when we're done...on they'll go on the ex-pat circuit...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Aunt Belle

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. This is the holiday and Aunt Belle does at Judy's. Aunt Belle really had a part of every holiday - at least four desserts - but this was the biggie. Rather than Aunt Belle doing Thanksgiving at Judy's, the whole family went to Judy's machetunum's house. That's because this is the first Thanksgiving without Aunt Belle. After 94 (almost 95!) years, Aunt Belle passed away last week.

Aunt Belle was like my second Bubby. She took us to do things as if we were our Bubby, even when my Bubby was still alive. It was when she died (11 years ago!), though that Aunt Belle really became my second Bubby. She was always up on my life. She knew everything that was going on, because she asked and because she cared.

Most of my interaction with Aunt Belle in the last ten years was at holidays and family gatherings. She always arrived with at least four desserts, and she took her seat. For dinner it was at the end of a big table, and after dinner, she sat on the couch. Everyone took their turn to go say hello and talk to Aunt Belle. She couldn't really hear what we were saying, so we mostly could just look at her, smile and answer her questions as loud as we could. She would always have a hand on us - on the arm or the leg - and she would smile and say "love you."

Every time I said goodbye to Aunt Belle in the past four years, I thought that it could be the last. Once she reached 90, I had no idea what to expect. Not only did she show up the next time I was home, but her four desserts came with her. Finally, when we left this year in May, it actually was the last time I got to see her.

I called her for her birthday, and the conversation went like this:
"IT'S MEL!!"
"Call back and leave a message."

I don't really understand what holidays will be like without Aunt Belle. Now that whole generation of my mom's side of our family is gone. There is no more matriarch. It will just be totally different.

And...on the other hand, it will be totally different for me, because I will now bring my own child to holidays (if we ever make it home again!). I suppose it's the circle of life...and it's really happening.

In other news, I still feel very weak and sore, so I have slowed down mine and Samara's activity. We have tried to do one thing per day, but other than that, we wake up late, go get coffee and run an errand if we have one and mostly just play at home. She's really interactive with people - she will try to get your attention if you start talking to someone else, and she smiles and coos a lot. She also smiles at stuffed animals and other things that have faces. She is really happy sitting in this Fisher Price bouncy chair that someone donated to us. She can sit in it all day, sleep, put herself back to sleep, play, bounce...Last night we were at someone's house who had the same chair, but it had an arch of animals that lit up and moved, and Samara sat in the chair for at least a half hour laughing, smiling and cooing at the animals (we are now looking for a used version of that chair!). She's so fun to be around...that every time I think about going back to work I want to cry.

We are headed to our second of four Thanksgiving meals this weekend! We are especially thankful for our friends who are feeding us fantastic food! Happy thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010


One - 10pm
Mel: in bed
Matt: in the living room
Samara: in her bed
Kitty: on her pillow on the window sill (her bed)

Two - 12am
Mel: in bed
Matt: in bed

Samara: in her bed
Kitty: on her pillow on the window sill

Three - 1am
Mel: in bed
Matt: in bed

Samara: in her bed
Kitty: in bed

Four - 6am
Mel: in bed
Matt: in bed

Samara: in bed
Kitty: in bed

Three - 7am
Mel: in bed
Matt: at work
Samara: in bed
Kitty: in bed

Two - 8:30am
Mel: eating breakfast
Matt: at work
Samara: in bed
Kitty: in bed

One - 9am
Mel: checking email
Matt: at work
Samara: in bed
Kitty: exploring what has changed over night

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Communicating with a baby that doesn't communicate back is bizarre. It's not bizarre when you do it for an hour or so with someone else's baby, but doing it for about 12 hours a day with your own baby is funny. I tell her everything we're doing - "We're throwing away your diaper where dirty diapers live. Playing on your tummy is really important for your neck muscles." We talk about what we have done - "This morning we cuddled in bed, and then we went for a walk. Then we played with Susie and said hi to daddy." This part is usually fine - but it is sort of weird to be talking all day when the person you're talking to doesn't really respond. Luckily she has started to smile and at least look into our eyes, which is nice...

The funniest is when I'm trying to get her to go to sleep. It seems right to sing to her - that's what you do to get babies to sleep, right? Well, when you're 32, you don't know a tonne of songs that are kid friendly. What songs do I know? Some Bob Dylan, Dar Williams, Indigo Girls, Kingston Trio...and TONNES of Jewish songs. Every night, we sing eshet chayil, shalom aleichem, the entire birkat hamazon, the shema and we get through parts of kabbalat shabbat. I actually have a siddur next to my bed - and you might think that I'm religious, but it's really just that it has all of the words, and we don't have anything else to sing! Seriously - I wonder what people sing to their kids/babies if they don't know all of these Jewish songs and prayers!

In other developmental news, Samara has started to speak to us a bit. We got a few babbles and goos. They're awesome. She has also opened her fists. They have been closed since she was born (for the most part), and now they're open and exploring the world. She can even see her hands. It looks like she expects them to do something exciting. I have spent the last two days picking the crud out from between her fingers. I swear we wash them every night in the bath, but it's sort of like her neck folds - stuff just gets stuck in here.

If you're reading this far, then you're probably genuinely interested in us/me, so I'll give more details. Yesterday I had to have a yucky procedure (D&C) to fix me up a bit. Apparently I had a "satellite placenta" that was attached to the normal placenta, and it was stuck "in the corner" of my uterus. Gross, right? TMI? Then stop reading. Apparently the placenta is supposed to attach itself loosely to the lining of the uterus, and mine did that, and they took that out with the c-section, but there was a piece that REALLY attached itself in there, so it was apparently difficult to scrape out (gross) and wouldn't have come out on its own. Basically, I had reason to be concerned (though it turns out I had reason to be concerned three weeks ago...), so I went to see the doctor, and he said they had to do this immediately. I got to go under general anesthetic for the first time. I also got to go back to the fabulous operating theatre where I had my wonderfully traumatic birth. It was mostly horrible, but I got out of there in seven hours and was in my bed afterward - and this time I could keep reminding myself that I have a beautiful and healthy baby, and it is all worth it. I should be totally better in a week. This is the birth that will never end, but it seems like it will finally end. Just about seven weeks late.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Routine With a One-Month-Old

You know when your life is filled with nursing, burping, changing a diaper and trying to develop your baby's brain (in loads of different ways)? You just don't have much to share...

This is my life. The Hildebrandt family is in town now, so we have been getting out with them, daily, and we have been taking additional adventures as well. Yesterday went to the library and the mall, today went to Tekka Market, met daddy for lunch and had four new moms and babies over, tomorrow heading to town for lunch with a friend - and then we'll walk back...but that's it!

Click here for more photos of Samara, and enjoy the photos of Samara's Bubby and Zaydie with her.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Smiling and Sleeping

Matt will sleep on the weekends until I wake him up. He can go till 2pm. And that's if he went to bed at 11pm the night before. He's a sleep champion. I, on the other hand, stink at sleeping. I can never fall asleep, and I'm always up early.

Samara takes after Matt. She slept for her first two days of life. We were convinced she was just getting over the rough labour and delivery. Then she continued to sleep. I asked the nurses in the hospital if I should wake her up to feed her every three (or four!) hours. She just slept. For her first two or three weeks, I set my alarm at night to wake us up every four hours, just to make sure she ate. Then my friends came over and said that they let their babies sleep until they wake up (they're the same age as Samara), so I succumbed to peer pressure happily, and stopped setting the alarm. Two nights ago she slept from 9:30pm until 3:30am and then from 4 until 7.

Yesterday was a whole different ballgame, though. She basically slept from 2pm until 6pm as we got her passport (it's cute!) and went for a walk in the botanic gardens. She woke up for about a half hour to eat around 4:30 and then went back to sleep. There is something about her carseat/stroller (and also the baby bjorn) that just make her SLEEP. We got home and had a few awake hours, but then she fell asleep hard at 8:30. She was sleeping SO hard that when we put her down to take off her diaper for her bath, she didn't wake up. She was sleeping SO HARD that when we put her in the BATH she didn't wake up! I thought something was wrong with her...but we just swaddled her and put her to bed. She woke up normally to eat, so we think she was just REALLY REALLY tired (from sleeping all day?).

In other exciting news, I'm pretty sure she was smiling this morning with Belle. She responded to her multiple times - making eye contact and smiling! It was super cool to see, but when Belle gave her back to me, there were no smiles to be had! I'll work on it...