Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rolling Over and Skyping with Bubbie and Zaydie

If you're reading this on facebook, and you're interested to see the two videos I have posted, you will have to click on the "view the original post" at the bottom and look at my actual blog, since fb usually doesn't show my videos.

Sam rolled over about five times in one day. It seemed to be on purpose. She really seemed to know what she was doing. That was three days ago. Hasn't happened since.

Sam was holding the computer, looking at her Bubbie and Zaydie and screaming for about five minutes. Was pretty funny. I could only get the video from far away (which is why the sound sucks), because I distracted her if I was too close. She was also like this with my co-workers at lunch on Friday and also with her HUGE stuffed Tigger.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Back to Yoga

Today I went to my first yoga class since Samara was born. Wow, was it fabulous. I got to go to my favorite teacher, Prakash, and it was even better than I remembered.

Physically it felt super good to move in so many different ways - though I did note that I am no longer balanced. Even doing a forward bend felt different on the right side and on the left. Holding the positions pushed me but I loved every second of it.

Emotionally I think it is really important for me to do things for me. Even when I was doing yoga when I was pregnant, in my head it was ultimately for the baby. I wanted her to be comfortable, which would happen if I felt better, and I also wanted the birth to be better for her (whoops...there goes that one...). This time, it was only for me. While I thought about her at least every five minutes (probably more often), I didn't have my phone, and I was not concerned about the details of her well-being for an entire hour. It was fabulous!

The tricky thing is that I have no idea when I can keep going. During the week it will be challenging to choose to go to yoga rather than get that precious half an hour with my baby. If she continues to sleep later than 8am, I may go to the early morning classes, but that would be tricky too. We'll have to see how it works when I go back to work. All I know is that I felt like a new woman, physically and emotionally, afterward. I'm trying to figure out how I can get to the one class that I like tomorrow!

In other news, Samara got to meet her great grandparents (my dad's parents) over video gchat this morning. It was pretty cool. They'll meet her in person in July, but they got to see her playing around with toys, talking and kicking all over the place. It was damn cool. Four generations on one video chat.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Model Citizen

Last night Jer and I met a few friends (Dheeraj, Maria and another Jeremy) to have some good North Indian food and see a play. The play was called Model Citizens and put on by a play company called the Necessary Stage. This is probably the fifth or so play that I have seen by them. The last one or two was/were bad. I think I didn't get them, or they were too artsy or something, but the first few that I saw were SUPER interesting and all controversial. One involved medical marijuana and also the right to choose to die when you're sick. Another involved a Malay woman becoming Prime Minister of Singapore (yeah right) and generally touched upon the issues between Malays and Chinese in Singapore. The first one I saw was SUPER controversial, but I can't remember what it was called or about. I left each of their plays thinking, "Am I going to get kicked out of Singapore for seeing that?" I think I haven't yet blogged about them, because it's scary. I still will not write too much, but I will just share a few issues.

The play had only three characters - an older Chinese woman who was the wife of a member of parliament (the woman in the picture if you click on the play's link above), a modern Singaporean woman in her 40's (had two kids, spoke Chinese and Bahasa), and her Indonesian maid. The play dealt with issues such as who is the real Singaporean, the best Singaporean and where the government fits into it all. The Chinese woman was raised to believe that the Chinese built Singapore, and she was clearly super connected to the government, but she felt that people like the Malays and Indonesians took away from the quality of the place. She thought that Singapore would one day be the capital of China. She was very concerned with how things are on the outside but not at all concerned with what's on the inside. She talked about her husband's role as saying "yes" to the government and "no" to the people. The younger woman was representative of the regular people who live in public housing (85% of Singaporeans), has a tough life at home, but really tries to do what's best for her family. She was frustrated with the government, but just trying to plug along. Then there were issues with her maid (which clearly resonated with me right now). She treated her maid well ("I don't lie to my maid, and my maid doesn't lie to me"), allowing her to come and go as she pleases. Meanwhile the maid was off prostituting herself, getting pregnant, marrying a Singaporean just to get citizenship and living a big lie to her employer. Oy. All in all, it was interesting things to think about, and even living here for nearly four years, I'm guessing that 80% of it went over my head.

I will also mention that all of the Necessary Stage's other plays were performed at a library (which is somewhat connected to the government) and this one was in the NATIONAL museum, so apparently they approve to some extent of the content - or at least they don't disallow it, which is interesting. It's not like we're going to see these plays in some dark basement of an independent theatre (and I'm guessing this isn't an accident...).

Also, this was my first night of Samara's entire life that I didn't put her to sleep. We had planned on leaving her with our Matt stayed with her. He tried to give her frozen, thawed milk, which she did NOT enjoy (though I have successfully given her some this morning - I keep telling her that it just tastes different, but it's fine - she made quite a face but eventually took it), which was a disaster, but otherwise she went to sleep just fine and slept for nearly eight hours, so I was pleased. I was a little distracted and not that fun to be around at times, but hey, it was my first time away, so I'll get better.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lasting Effects

It started when I was pregnant - or actually thinking about getting pregnant (as it should). If I eat this, will it have a lasting effect? How bad will that effect be? Now that she's born and a real baby, the consequences are a bit more real...but it just doesn't stop!

When I was pregnant, I thought (a lot) about the lasting effects of coffee, cleaning my bathroom with chemicals, sushi, the mosquito spray stuff in the air, biking in Bali and many more things that I did or came into contact with that could potentially harm the baby. If I don't read to her in utero, can she still be smart? If we don't play music to my belly, will she still be happy? (we didn't do either, for the record).

Now that she's born there are WAY more things to think about. I DO have coffee everyday. I first thought that I would just drink it after I nurse, so it won't have such an effect, but then there are days like today where I get back with my coffee, and she wants to eat, so I nurse and drink coffee at the same time. Oops. I drink beer and wine, but only one bottle/glass, and only after she goes to bed when I know I have at least four hours before she will eat. I have eaten sushi twice (and I want it WAY more, but my doctor said, "can't you just not eat sushi for a few more months? Is it really worth it?" May be worth it...).

Then there are the things I do WITH the baby. Monday and most of Tuesday I had no voice. Matt wasn't home most of the time. This meant that no one (other than Ben the coffee guy and Rong his assistant) talked to the baby. No one sang to her. No one read to her. I was sure I reversed her development at least three days.

We got her a used mobile for her bed at a used stuff sale here. On the way home it broke. A new mobile here is about S$150, and I'm cheap, so there's no way I'm getting a new one. The one we have has three arms, and they don't actually move in circles as they're meant to. They sort of move a cm or two and then go back. Will this stunt Sam's development if the mobile does not complete its cycle?

Sleep is a big stress. If I let her fall asleep nursing, then will she never be able to put herself to sleep? If we bounce her to sleep on the ball (as we did until she was two months old), will she always need to bounce to sleep? If she's crying and not falling asleep, as she does during the day, how long do I wait before I go in? If I go in too early will she then expect it always? What happens then? If I don't go in when she's SUPER crying will she have an attachment disorder? Will she ever trust me again?

If she isn't stimulated all the time, will she still develop? Will she be smart? Will she read at six months? Walk at four?

Yeah - there are lots of things to think about, just like the thumb sucking in my previous post (which she has barely done since I posted that!). And I do think about the lasting effects. Most of the time I think for a second and then dismiss it and say, "Melanie! Don't be one of THOSE moms! Just go with it!" I'm working on it...

In other news, Samara has rolled over from her tummy to her back a couple of times. It seems to surprise her and then please her. She has also found her feet and she seems to be doing the "happy baby" yoga pose for a good portion of the day (see photo).

Matt has been working New York hours this week - going to work in the late afternoons and coming back at 7am. This stinks for him, but it also stinks for me. Once the baby goes to bed, life is extremely boring when no one actually comes home...I have read almost an entire book ("The Help" - loving it and will finish it right when I'm done with this post), watched "It's Complicated" and gone to sleep pathetically early.

And, most importantly, we have also made an offer to a helper, and she has accepted it. She is coming from an abusive employer who won't let her transfer to us, so she had to go back to the Philippines, but she should be joining us anytime from a week to three weeks from now. I will explain more about this disgusting system (and why she has to go back first) in another post. All in all, though, we are excited, and we're hoping this works out better than the last. All we want is to trust her with the baby...

On a funny note, her name is Rose. Our first helper's name was Belle. My Bubby (grandma) had two sisters: Rose and Belle...

Here's an album with a few new photos of Samara, and it will be updated regularly for the next few months. Email me if you want me to email you when I updated it (no pressure...).

I'm also posting two videos. One I posted on facebook a week or so ago, and the other was taken at the same time. This is just in case there is anyone who reads my actual blog (not the version that's imported into facebook). These videos are one of my favorite things in life. She did this all the time for a few weeks and hasn't actually had moments like this since last week, and I'm hoping that it has nothing to do with the fact that she got vaccinated and has been incredibly whiny since. Hopefully this is just a new (and SHORT!) stage in her communication and the vaccination hasn't taken away her ability to talk (see - I worry about the lasting effects of EVERYTHING!).

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thumb Sucking

Samara has recently (and inconsistently) found her thumbs. She mostly sucks them in the morning before she actually wakes up, but she seems to be looking for them for a good portion of the day.

My first reaction, "Fabulous! She can self-soothe! I can sleep!" (plus she looks so damn cute when she's sucking them!).

Then I called the former employer of a helper that we interviewed to use her as a reference. She said, "I really liked X because my daughter sucked her thumb, and X was very firm and made her stop as a baby."'s not GOOD to have your child suck her thumb? This is news.

Then we go to the pediatrician for Sam's shots, and she asked about sleeping. I say, "well, she has been sleeping in six to seven hour clumps recently, and sometimes longer, and when I go in I find her furiously sucking her thumb! It's so cute." She did not think it was so cute. "When are you going to get her to stop? She should not be sucking her thumb later, and you will not be able to reason with her when she's older and attached. I would like you to think long-term about this."

Well, I sucked my thumb forever, and I turned out okay. My teeth aren't messed up, and I don't think it messed me up emotionally. I have other friends who also sucked their thumbs. I also have other friends whose kids suck their thumbs. They don't seem to think it's a big deal. Now, I feel very conflicted. I think we will not stop her. It really seems to make her so happy, and it really makes us all sleep so much more, but I feel guilty...

In other news we have NOT found a helper. We have been interviewing so many people (at least 25, I believe). The one that we liked the best seemed to have lied up and down her application. Um, been there, done that. No thanks. It's getting really stressful, since I have one more month before I go back to work.

In yet other news, we have been having a good time with Uncle Jeremy. He has read to Sam, played with her and we have taken her all over Singapore together. We have visited Tekka Market, eaten idlis and dosas, gone for great Thai, cooked good Indian, eaten east coast laksa and otah, visited Ben the coffee man (photo to come) and Mustafa''s been busy and nice.

I also had a great birthday. I don't usually have good birthdays. Matt organised a bunch of my friends to meet us at Lau Pa Sat, a big hawker market downtown. So Jer, Sam and I went downtown to meet Matt, and one by one, friends started showing up. He also got me flowers (we really don't do birthdays), which was super nice. Then we met our friends Rusty and Emily for a fantastic Thai dinner. Rusty was the one who I met up with from high school. They are leaving Singapore this weekend for good, which stinks. All in all, it was a super nice day.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Nothing Much

Since the last post, nothing much has happened. I have been figuring out what it's like to be on maternity leave for real - not working, but still doing laundry, cleaning and cooking. So far so good, but it's only been five days, and two of those were weekend days and Matt was here...

We have been interviewing people a lot, and it has helped to think about the next person in terms of a nanny for Samara rather than a maid. We would love to find someone who loves babies and can really enjoy being with her and keep her safe and happy (and if they can do anything with her development, that would be great too...). Any housework or cooking they can do will be a plus. We have found one woman in particular who seems great. She is taking care of two kids right now, one is autistic and the other was newborn when she went to live with that family, and she was definitely the most capable person we have interviewed so far. We'll see, but hopefully we'll have this situation sorted out sooner than later. We think it's a buyer's market for ex-pats looking for helpers (we're generally a lot more flexible and loose than the local families, so there are plenty of people who would work for us), so we just have to find the right one and not make some of the same mistakes we made last time.

We were awful parents and put ourselves first for three nights in a row, and there seems to be no consequence (which incentivises us to do it again...). Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights we took Samara to friends' houses and put her to sleep there. Thursday was not so successful, but Friday and Saturday she went straight to bed and slept until we took her home. Then I just fed her and put her back to sleep, and she slept like a champ. I super appreciate this flexibility, so our social life does not have to suffer too much. Just kidding...probably soon it won't be so easy. We even got two nights of Settlers in, which was my first time since giving birth. A milestone.

Today is Samara's three month birthday. We had planned to get coffee and walk to the library to return some books, but it started pouring (Samara looked like she was in shock - apparently the sun shade on her carseat/stroller is NOT also water-proof). So, we went grocery shopping instead. Buying a big thing of toilet paper, two big packages of diapers, other groceries, plus the library books to return and her carrier (always need the baby carrier in case she flips out in the stroller...) was NOT easy. I got lots of sympathy looks from people.

In the meantime, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Samara's uncle Jeremy who arrives tomorrow night.