Monday, April 25, 2011

The Important Stuff

I remember before we had Sam, and I felt very mixed about buying a lot of things. I had that stupid Jewish superstition brain that said don't buy anything. I also was sure we were having a boy (for no reason at all), but had no confirmation, and finding un-gendered clothes is HARD. I also don't like STUFF and wanted to not get caught up in it all. Having done and said that, there are some things that I am so glad we don't do without, and I thought I should post them for future new moms (and dads).

Ergo - I think the ergo baby carrier is the best thing on the planet. When Sam gets tired, she doesn't cry or fuss. She just closes her eyes and goes to sleep. It's hot, here in Singapore, but so is carrying your baby without using a carrier, and this way you get two hands and a happy (sweaty) baby.

Sterilizer and bottle warmer - I would have never bought a sterilizer or a bottle warmer. I thought it was so stupid when you can just boil water and stick the stuff in. Someone passed both on to us, so I figured I might as well try them. So super easy to just stick the stuff into the sterilizer and put a bottle in the warmer for four minutes. When you work, there are lots of bottles to be sterilized and warmed.

Double pump - I didn't really know what I was talking about when I decided to get a pump. People said to get the double because it would save time. Yeah - like HOURS of time. It's essential unless you're able to be with your baby at all hours. I got the Philips Avent Isis Duo, but most people are happy with Medela.

Tyke light - Jill got us this. It was actually our first gift for Sam, because she was only about 12 weeks in gestation. I didn't get how awesome it was. At 2am or at 6am, you just don't want to turn on the light, but you need to be able to see enough to find the baby's mouth (or she needs to see enough to find the treasure), and it's just perfect. I also like that it has a 15 minute timer, so if I don't have a watch, I also know how long I've been nursing (I have been living my life in 15-20 minute increments for the last seven months, and I still have NO idea without a clock how long 15-20 minutes is. It's actually a bit weird.) The batteries haven't even died yet, and we used it every night for four months and on weekend mornings for the last three. It's like the miracle of Hanukkah.

Exercise Ball - this is a key when the baby's super young. We would just bounce her to sleep. It always soothed her. Magic.

Board books - I thought they were stupid. I thought we might as well just get paper books. Turns out they were invented for a reason. Sam wants to eat every book in sight. Cardboard books survive way better.

Giraffe - This giraffe (hand-me-down) and Sophie are both Sam's favorites. She LOVES them. Giraffes are clearly key to a happy baby.

Sleep book - Shana got me this, but when it was recommended by other moms I trust, I figured it was a good one. My doctor said that other moms might punch me if I talk about my baby's sleeping, so I can't, but I can say that I LOVE this approach. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child is my go to when I am not going to pick up Sam at night when she cries. I literally take it off the shelf and read the part about how it's not abandonment, and you really love your kid a lot to help them learn to put herself to sleep, etc.

Digital SLR - who has an extra millisecond to wait when your baby is super cute NOW! Totally worth it.

Jumperoo - obviously.

Things I thought we needed -
Vaseline (why?)
Socks (TOO HOT!!!)
Pants (TOOO HOOTTT!!!)
Blankets (not even the heat - we got so many for gifts. We really didn't need to buy any)

We will finally be making a new album soon, but we have been adding more photos to this album of Sam. Enjoy!

Oh - and happy birthday, Matt! (too bad you don't read this so you'll never see this!)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Kosher Malaysian Chickens

In the US when I cooked chicken, which I usually did for shabbat, I went to the store, and I got kosher chicken in a packet - usually either boneless skinless breasts or "cut-up chicken." No prob. Came home, gave her a little clean and popped her in the oven.

We kept kosher in New York. Pretty strict. When we moved here, we left our kosher kitchen at home (mostly) and decided to be vegetarian here (mostly). There was one day where I experimented with prawn (shrimp) soup (I can't find the post, but I believe I blogged about it, because I remember having anxiety about rabbi/teachers of mine reading it...), but really, our home here has been vegetarian. Matt is pretty adamantly vegetarian at home, also, because he believes that we should only eat about three meals per week with meat, and it's easier to be veg at home than it is when you go out...(many, many discussions...). He doesn't actually care about kashrut.

I convinced him that if we were going to do Passover in Singapore, as it was my first one away from home, then I would have to make chicken soup and chicken. How else could it be done? I decided that if I were going to cook a chicken or two for Passover, at least they should be kosher. So I ventured to the kosher shop to get a couple of birds.

The first bird I bought was skinless. Seemed that it would be easier to manage. Then I realised that I didn't know how to cook a whole chicken with no skin. Back to the kosher shop to get another bird with skin.

In the end, I got two. I learned that the chickens are raised in Malaysia, and the rabbi (I believe) kills a whole bunch of them each week, or month, or something, and then we get to eat them. They are sort of small, but they are yummy. I believe that the hard core meat is all imported from Australia, but I haven't ventured to that part of the freezer yet.

With a bit of help from my mom, I decided to use the naked chicken for my chicken soup and the fully clothed one for the chicken dish. The chicken dish required that the chicken sit in lemon juice for a day. I went to take out the chicken to start to clean it,'s like for real a whole bird. Blood, neck and everything. I got pretty grossed out. Where's my "cut-up" and clean chicken? I felt super American and princessy, but I wasn't too keen on this bird. My helper, Rose, happened to come out right when I was looking uneasily at the chicken, and she said, "do you know how to clean a chicken?" "No. Do you?" "Of course! I grew up on a farm. Do you want me to clean it?" "YES! Can you!? That would be awesome." I went to the botanic gardens, and she cleaned my chicken (apparently there were a lot of feathers left - grody!). The skinless one wasn't as bad, once I got it out of the bloody bag, I was able to just wash it (though I didn't like handling the thing, and I couldn't believe how long its neck was). All of the food came out really well - especially the chicken soup - but I need to enter negotiations with my husband to be able to make it again. I'm working on it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weekend Mornings

Now that I'm back at work, as I have mentioned, I am totally exhausted. Even if I sleep 7 hours each night, which is similar to the amount of sleep I got before Sam was born, I am just totally exhausted. On my first few weekends back at work, I found myself getting quite resentful on weekend mornings when I woke up with the baby (which makes sense, since I'm the one who fed her) and Matt (to no fault of his own - I would do the same thing) would sleep. After a few weeks, I decided to try to figure out a solution.

Luckily we live in a country that has a two day weekend - for most people. And there are two of us. Hm...perfect match for splitting the mornings. So, for the last month or so, we have each taken one weekend morning, and it has changed my life. On Matt's morning, he brings her in to eat, and then he sweeps her off to Daddy-land where everything is fun and wonderful. And I stick a pillow over my head so I don't hear the excited voices of Daddy-land, and I sleep. This situation has completely changed my life.

In other news, Sam has developed a new language with lots of new sounds. It's as if she's telling a story - with different tones and sounds - all the time. It's quite cute. She's still totally not interested in eating solids, though yesterday was the first time we have tried in two weeks, and it was a wee bit more successful. This is going to be a slow ride. She watches me eat food like a tennis game. She wants to get her hands on everything on my plate. But the doc said we probably shouldn't give her spicy Indian food until at least ten months. Sorry Sam.

Warning - if you're not into talking about breastfeeding, stop reading.
We also took a big step yesterday and got our first tin of formula. I had planned to go without it for 12 months, but when I made that decision I really didn't know what I was talking about. I had never done this before - it was just from books. Now I know (and everyone else who has a baby knows too) that books aren't exactly always reality, but they give you some interesting guidelines.

It sort of seems like my entire life is pumping (five times a day for 20 minutes each time, plus the cleaning, etc.). At work I don't feel comfortable leaving the office for lunch since I leave three times to pump. At night I still have an hour before I can go to sleep once I decide I need to go to sleep. In the morning I almost wish that Sam doesn't wake up before I go to work, because then I have to feed her and pump which adds another 20 minutes before I can leave for work, and I already wake up at 6:30 (I don't think I can stomach earlier) just to get to work by 8:30 or 8:45. In addition, without providing too much detail - though I'm sorry that probably many of you already think that I provided too much detail - I'm not the most productive pumper, so I'm constantly stressed that I don't have enough for tomorrow, and each day I use about 8oz from the freezer, so I spend weekends and days that I work from home trying to stock up as much as I can. I think and worry about this limited supply all the time, and I'm just not sure it's all worth it. It's been 6.5 months, and I think that's fantastic enough. I am not going cold turkey at all, but I think we will start supplementing just to take some of the pressure off, and I may cut out one pumping session and we'll take it from there.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Get a Little Bit Closer...

The highlight of our day was in the evening. After Sam's bath, we want to make sure all of her fat crevices are dry to prevent diaper rash. Matt was blowing, and I was singing. Matt got a little too close, and WHOOSH! Pee all over the face!

Lots of friends have told us about getting pooped on and peed on, but that hadn't yet happened to us. Not in the bath, not on the way to the bath, not during diaper changing...just a few easy pees on the changing table. This was different. Whoa.

In other news Bubbie and Zaydie just left. We had an eventful ten day visit with lots of playing with Samara, lots of walks and a few other exciting journeys around Singapore. Sam loved spending time with them - reading books, singing songs and just generally cuddling.

Bubbie and Zaydie brought with them a jumperoo, which is Sam's new favourite thing to play with. She jumps and dances and spins all of the spinny things. Sam LOVES that jumperoo.

We had a great weekend with Fran and Tom - fabu Thai food at our favourite Thai place (Yhingthai on Purvis St), botanic gardens strolling and brunch at Halia, resting, veggie moussaka dinner, chocolate buffet at the top of the integrated resort (more in another blog post), tekka market...was fun and relaxing both. Click here for lots of photos (new ones at the bottom. I'll start a new album next upload).

In yet other news, our family happens to be the cover story of the Detroit Jewish News this week. Pretty exciting. It's all about how young people are leaving Detroit - but it's from the perspective of their parents. My mom said some nice quality things, and the photos are beautiful! I didn't realise that I should have taken a shower and put on real clothes for the occasion. I'm in my pajamas.