Friday, 30 November 2007

Maid

Originally I had wanted to blog on our recent experience on shopping for a maid. It was meant to be a little light hearted and I was going to touch on how shallow I felt for rejecting the biodatas simply by looking at their photos.

I had wanted to elaborate on how awkward and terrible we felt having to turn away the maids (there in person) that these agents brought to us for our considerations. We really felt so low and shallow and judgmental and we were not proud of it but alas it had to be done.

I was also going to touch on the various agency fees which I felt was ridiculous to have a variation of between S$77 to S$688.

However our situation had been upgraded to desperate and I mean really DESPERATE!! Who would have thought that engaging a maid would be this difficult?!?! I mean there must be more than 1001 agencies out there!

We had actually approached an agency for help about 6 weeks ago and we thought that this agency will be able to come through for us just like she did with our friend, P; P’s friends and relatives as well as my BIL. We were taking things rather easy cause if she managed to find a suitable maid for so many of them then finding a suitable one for us should not be an issue surely.

But how wrong were we!!

Initially our instructions were to look for one that either speaks Cantonese or Mandarin but since we have no luck there I have amended it to English speaking which is what I preferred anyway. Even then they come in various standard, Little; Fair and Good. Naturally I opted for Good since the Mrs and I do not speak Malay so we really need to be able to converse with her in English.

Besides, I have the intention to send her to TMC for baby care training conducted by Parentcraft. I do not believe it is a lot of money but I know I will feel better knowing that she has been properly trained.

The problem with maids who speak good English is they are usually very experienced maids who had worked in Singapore for a few years before and they all want day off on Sundays. I have not even touched on their pay yet. We have been advised that the pay for Indonesian maids have gone up twice this year. My BIL got a Cantonese speaking maid around the same time last year and her salary is only S$280 per month.

Today, a fresh maid that speaks little English commands a salary of S$330 and S$350 for any maid that worked in Singapore before.

Below was the list of the criteria that we wanted our maid to fulfill initially.

- Decent looking;
- Preferably above 1.5m and not too heavy;
- English, Cantonese or Mandarin speaking;
- Has taken care of infant before even if it means taking care of their own children;
- Must not be afraid of dog;
- Able to start as soon as possible (before end of December);
- No off days;
- Experience in working oversea before. It does not have to be Singapore. The reason for this is we do not want a homesick maid shortly after she starts work

What do you think? Are we asking for too much? I thought these are really the basic that first time maid employers like us would look for.

Well, like I said we are desperate so we understand that we have to make some adjustments on our requirements so we are prepared to overlook certain things such as height & weight and experience in working overseas.

We are even prepared to accept ‘Transfer’ maids but still not a single maid is able to meet all our already lowered expectations.

The remaining criteria are really non-negotiable. We have to like the way she looks since we will all be living under one roof for the next 2 years. She has to have infant care experience because her primary duty is to take care of Baby. She must not be afraid of Ah No. She has to be able to start as soon as possible since the Mrs is due in about a month’s time.

I believe our biggest stumbling block right now is language because it is really not difficult to find a married maid who has infant care experience and not afraid of dogs. Even fresh maids meet these requirements actually. Now it is only an issue of balance.

Do we get a fresh maid who really speaks very little English and hope she will improve after staying with us for a short period or engage a transfer maid that speaks good English but demands to be off every Sunday. Frankly I am actually leaning more towards hiring an experience maid that had worked here for 6 to 7 years, a Christian (eats pork) and speaks good English. My logic is since they had worked here for so many years then chances of them getting themselves into trouble must be relatively low right? By giving her an off day on Sunday will allow her to recharge herself and will at the same time allow us some family time of our own. I mean there must be many employers out there, namely the expats that grant their maids off days and I am certain many of them had no problem with their maids.

I believe the Mrs like many out there has an issue with off days and it is not because they are slave drivers but because they have heard so many horror stories!

From the angle of monetary risk, should she really land herself in trouble and had to be repatriated our liability is really only the excess from the insurance that we intend to buy which comes up to only S$250. This is a far cry from those days that employers had to forfeit the full S$5000 bond.

I would like to think of us as being good employers who only demand honesty and integrity from our maid but having said that, inviting a total stranger into our house is really awkward and not the easiest thing to do. A lot has to be carefully planned out. This is the single biggest step that we had to take besides deciding to have a baby. Hopefully everything will turn out alright for all of us.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Nose

Since the response on the poll is not doing too good, only 8 votes at the timing of posting I have decided to include more clues in case you find that the Mrs’s tummy is still not evident enough.

No, seriously. We were scheduled to visit Dr C again yesterday after we found out during our last visit that Baby is smaller than average. He wanted to make sure that although small, Baby is still growing.

I have always been bugging the Mrs to go for a 4D scan so we can see Baby’s features but she has always resisted because of the cost involved. This time I finally managed to persuade her to go along with it and my reasoning was very simple. This 4D scan is something that we will never be able to do once Baby is out no matter how much money we are prepared to fork out.

Personally I thought that it is a very meaningful thing to do and eventually it will make an excellent gift for Baby too. I mean, hey if my mum can show me my 4D scan now I will be thrilled. I have seen 3D pictures that really resembles the baby after he is born. But of course they are supposed to look alike since it is basically the same person. The difference is one is taken while baby is still in the tummy while the other is taken after he/she is out.

So anyway, we went for our check up and did a normal scan on Baby and are glad to learn that Baby is doing just fine. A check on the water surrounding Baby shows that it is plentiful. The blood and oxygen flow to Baby is also good. Our main concern which was Baby’s abdomen has shown growth which is crucial.

Baby’s weight at 33 weeks is 1.947kg and according to Dr C, Baby’s predicted weight will be just below 3kg at EDD. This is not too bad huh?! We do not want Baby to be above 3kg partly also for the Mrs’s sake. As you can see from the pictures of the Mrs’s tummy, it is still considered to be on the smaller side so if Baby is any bigger then the Mrs will really have a hard time.

During the 3D scan we told Dr C that we would like to have some 4D pictures and all he had to do was punch a few buttons on the machine and change the handheld scanner to a different one and we can see Baby very clearly.

After the examination, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that instead of getting a few 3D pictures, we got the 4D videos which I have posted below.


video


video


From the videos, we can tell straight away that Baby has my nose, a little fleshy. Now the Mrs is so worried that Baby is a girl and ends up with my nose!!

Seriously the nose looks quite cute right? What about the cheek? Baby looks like he/she has cubby cheeks.

The other video you can see Baby sticking his/her tongue out and yawning away. Unfortunately some cord was in the way hence we were unable to see the whole face. It was a shame because I do not think we will be seeing Dr C again on the assumption that every thing continues as it is. Baby continues to grow slowly and steadily.

Well, I hope these videos will give you a better idea to allow you to vote for Baby’s gender. Maybe you can tell from the nose, who nose (punt intended). Those of you already voted, you are allowed to change your votes!

Friday, 23 November 2007

Signs?

For those of you who have been following our journey will probably remember that most of the people who saw the Mrs’s tummy guessed that we are having a boy. Since majority of them are mostly parents or even grandparents already, it sort of prepared me mentally to get ready for a boy.

Nothing wrong with that except that we have not concluded on a name for him yet. A few more names have been thrown into the mix, names such as Josh; Jake; Hugh; Marc; Jude; Matt and even Joe. But if you leave it to the Mrs, she is still rather set on Kai. So if Baby is really a boy, the most inconvenient thing at hand is his name.

Anyway, interestingly the guesses recently are all leaning towards Baby being a girl. A rough ratio on the gender guessing then would have been about 90 – 10 being a boy. But today If we were to estimate it is probably about 60 – 40. Who knows, in a few weeks time it could even be 50 – 50 which means your guess is literally as good as mine and everyone has a 50% chance of being an expert in telling just by looking at the tummy.

In case you forgot, name wise we are all ready for a girl since we have already agreed on Kate.

So why the sudden change in peoples’ guesses? It seems the really traditional tell tale signs that these people are still relying on are becoming clearer.

Firstly, the Mrs’s already fair and good complexion did not take a turn for the worse. There was no unsightly pimple on her nose or anywhere else.

Secondly, neither her nose nor feet has grown any larger. They believe that this means there is no additional male hormones in her which will normally at least increase her shoe size one up by now. I was just commenting the other day that she was lucky in that she did not have to go out and buy bigger size shoes. We also heard that if she is carrying a boy then surely her nose will be gearing a little more towards Jackie Chan’s infamous nose. That is not the case so far.

I believe the most ‘convincing’ sign they are getting is from the tummy. Originally people are saying that it appears sharp and pointing towards the front hence it ought to be a boy. If it is a girl then the tummy growth would have been more evenly spread from the left to the right instead of concentrating on the front.

These days however the tummy although not growing from left to right is getting rounder and rounder. It actually looks like a ball to me and if it were to have stretch marks then it will really resemble a watermelon. Now I know why some people refer carrying a child to carrying a watermelon. I guess the first person who came up with the expression happened to be looking down at a lady with a very round tummy covered with stretch marks.


Since majority of you reading this blog are either experience mothers, aunts or godmothers, I have taken some never seen before pictures of the Mrs's tummy for your opinion (poll). For your benefit I have taken from the front as well as sides so hopefully you will be able to tell if it is sharp or round.


Oh, the prize for guessing correctly is only bragging rights!! And in case you are interested the measurement of the Mrs's tummy is now 95cm.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Teachings!

Long before we got pregnant the Mrs and I have been observing from the outside at how parents raise their kids and how these kids behave in public. Sometimes I see things that I agree and would like for us to emulate in our teachings I will immediate share it with the Mrs and we will make mental notes to incorporate it. Likewise when we see things or methods that we disagree with, we will also share and make it a point to not do it in the future.

Case in point; about a year or more ago, we were having lunch at Greenwood area and while walking to the restaurant we saw this really cute Caucasian toddler (can’t be more than 3 years old) happily unwrapping his ice cream and then looking and smiling mischievously at his dad. Being his dad, the man immediately knew what his boy was going to do and he warned him with a stern “No!”. Still this boy threw the wrapper into the drain and ran screaming and very happily away. I was really amazed at what happened next. The father ran after him; caught him and then lower him into the drain which is dry of course and insisted that he picks up the wrapper. He then brought the boy to a proper bin and have him throw it in there. Once done the father cleaned his hands before allowing him to continue with his ice cream. That is something that I will remember for life. How many times have we seen parents (local and otherwise) allowing their children to litter the place or worst still lead by example and litter or spit themselves? I told myself then that this is one teaching that I will surely emulate when I eventually have my own kids.

It could be due to all the game consoles and online interactions, I find that kids these days require a lot of work on their interaction and social skills. They may become some kind of a loner and are often “shy” towards people and worst still rude towards their parents and grandparents.

We have encountered instances where we told our friends and relatives that they should not allow their kids to do things such as talking back to their grandparents or sleeping really late at night etc but sometimes we get the response, “Ah ya! You don’t know lah. Wait till you have your own kids. Then you’ll know it is not as easy as you think!”

While I agree that we are no parents and that raising kids with the right values is not easy, I strongly disagree that we need to be parents to understand the basic do’s and don’ts. Simple things like talking back or raising voice with their grandparents, littering and being rude and disrespectful to someone else’s things are common courtesy that require only common sense. These days we simply watch with our jaws dropped and we have since decided against making our opinion known. We can only hope and pray that Baby will turn out just fine. He / she doesn’t have to be a model citizen but definitely no menace to the society too.

We were at Ikea Tampines 2 Sundays ago and I was a little scared after spending about half an hour at the canteen watching the little monsters! Ha Ha Ha! They were really loud and messy!!! These are 2 things that I cannot tolerate. I like quiet, not library quiet but not constant screaming either and I like things clean too. At this point I have to clarify that I do not have OCD or at least I do not think so. I can still tolerate things to a certain extent. I understand kids need to let go of their system occasionally but I really do not appreciate kids talking really loudly (to the extent of screaming) when the place is not that noisy. I understand that kids are playful and would like to jump around but my bed is a strict off limit zone. The Mrs is also not allowed to walk on the bed. Bed to me should be clean because that is where we sleep.

I remembered an incident when I was still in secondary school, I was eating laksa and I dropped the piece of tau kua back into the bowl and naturally my white school uniform ended up with a few stains. I gave up eating and went home to change before going back to study. A little extreme, I know. Even till today, I have to be really careful with my noodles and gravy. If a small stain is found on my shirt and I still have a long day ahead, I will not hesitate going out to buy a new shirt to change into.

So I was sitting there at Ikea imagining me having to share the same table with a very messy toddler who is splashing the spaghetti gravy everywhere and at the same time screaming happily away! I looked at the Mrs and I’m sure she could see my worried expression.

I consider myself a rather impatient person so I am a little worried with how I am going to cope with Baby. I saw this lady feeding her toddler and she offered this piece of French Fries to the boy but each time he turned his head and pushed her hand away with his. But credits to her because her persistence paid off for on the fifth attempt, the boy probably decided that his "nagging" mother will not take no for an answer and ate the fries. At this point in time, I think the "now" me will offer once or twice and if the answer is still no then fine, let me know when you want ok? But who knows about the "then" me. For all we know I am more persistent then the lady at Ikea.

I think the teaching of the right values is easier as it will take time to cultivate the character but my immediate worry is how to handle crying, screaming and messy babies……..

Friday, 9 November 2007

Sleepless!

I learned long ago from you experienced mothers that we should sleep and rest as much as possible now because we will soon learn that they are a luxury as soon as Baby is born.

However no one remembered to inform us that sleep is almost impossible for the Mrs now that she is in her 3rd trimester. It is not so much the waking up in the middle of the night to pee rather she just can’t seem to find a comfortable enough position to fall asleep in.

This has gone on for almost 2 weeks now and during which the Mrs had been turning and tossing sometimes up to wee (no punt intended) hours in the morning with only the occasional dozing off before she feels uncomfortable again.

She has tried tilting to the left and to the right. She has tried sleeping flat and facing the ceiling and she has also tried sleeping while sitting up. Unfortunately the comfort in whichever positions are very short-lived.

The funny thing is I realized that this seems to be only an issue in the night. Take yesterday for example. We decided to not exert ourselves too much and come home in the afternoon to let the Mrs have some shut eyes. She managed to fall asleep without as much hassle.

The same will apply on weekends. She can sleep rather easily in the afternoon without all these complaining; tossing and turnings.

I suggested that we buy small pillows to “support” her tummy and back when she lies on her side but this has not proved too effective either. We have 4 regular pillows, a bolster and a small pillow and I’m happy to give them all to her saving only one for myself in an effort to assist with her sleeping comfortably but again to no avail.

It is really difficult watching her getting up all tired and restless and having to go to work for the next 10 hours. At this rate I believe she may have to consider taking a few weeks off work come December just before Baby’s due date.

I feel very helpless and can only offer to massage her back, shoulder and neck to try and soothe her muscles and aches.

I do not believe I can really appreciate what she is going through with the closet probably being how I will feel trying to go to sleep on a very heavy stomach. At least with the heavy stomach I can still down a glass of gassy drink and burp it all out and after an incident it will be a long while before I find myself in this situation again.

I remembered during one Mrs Wong’s class she mentioned that MTB may have problem sleeping after 32 weeks and this is normal so they should just try and rest whenever they can. Trying telling the Mrs that!?!?! How can she rest when she can’t find a comfortable position.

Suggestions anyone?

Friday, 2 November 2007

Tattoo

I have wanted to have a tattoo for the longest time and the reason for holding back is mainly due the pain. There was never really a good enough reason to put myself through the pain (So I'm not that vain after all now am I?!). The Mrs can vouch for me that my threshold for pain is really non existence.

Take for example she will occasionally want to bite me on my arm (I never quite understand why) and in the past I will usually put up a fight. These days she gets the upper hand because she will tell me that it will make her happier and in return Baby will be happier too (in short - blackmail). Whenever we're at home I will volunteer Ah No instead but she prefers me for my lack of fur.

For the same reason I am not a big fan of massages. I believe I have only been for a massage less than 5 times in my life so far. I have never been to any foot reflexology centres either.

So why am I thinking of getting a tattoo all of a sudden?

I believe it all came back to me a couple of months ago where I read in the papers that there will soon be a new type of ink in the US where it can be erased easily. This came as excellent news in case I regret having that design in a few months time. God only knows how many bad hair cuts and clothes choices we made when we were younger that we are not too proud of. You know what I'm talking about if you take a look at your old pictures and you either cringe or laugh.

So there is this new ink and one does not have to go through a series of laser treatments and be scarred for life even with the original tattoo gone. Anyone can update me if this ink is out in Singapore already?

Another reason is it suddenly dawned on me one day that maybe I should get a tattoo to commemorate the birth of Baby and me being a father. I believe watching Miami Ink has influenced me to a certain extend as well. If you watch the show you will see that these people tattooed themselves to remember certain people or events.

Now comes the headache, the location and design of the tattoo. I believe I have solved the 1st problem although it still depends a lot on the design. There are the usual places such as forearm, back, leg etc. However recently I watched a movie and in the show there is this guy who wears his tattoo on the side of his neck. So whenever he is wearing a collar shirt the tattoo will be mostly covered. This rather appeal to me.

So now the design poses as the biggest headache of all. Up until now I am still clueless. I asked my hair stylist casually one day and the first thing that came to her mind was a pair of baby feet. I told her politely (had to since you never mess with your hair stylist) that while the idea is nice but er....... I need something a little more macho lor. Having said that, the design should not be too big in case after the initial 5 minutes I have to give up the idea due to the pain. I was also thinking of getting the tattoo artist to start small so if I were to be having this pair of feet tattooed on me for example, I will end up with only the toes (circles) and not the feet.

No use turning to the Mrs for any advice because she is not for the idea at all just like she wasn't for the idea when I wanted to pierce my ear years ago. So as far as she is concerned I am on my own crusade on this one.

So if you people have any nice pictures or ideas then you are urged to come forward with them. However these ideas must be in line with my wish to commemorate Baby's birth. Although I have to add that in the end I may just chicken out and you should not be offended and definitely must NOT look down on me ya?!

I realised and the Mrs also pointed out that my blog is very boring because there are no visual stimulations. Guess I really do not have much time scouting around for relevant pictures these days.

But for today's post, I happened to have a relevant picture. You may want to recommend this to anyone you know who has a good sense of humour and balding at the same time.


I have always admired people who can make fun of themselves!