Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Party!!!

It has been a while since I am able to sit down here at Starbucks Paragon to update this blog. Those of you who had followed this blog long enough may recall that a number of the posts here were conceived while sipping my cuppa here waiting for the Mrs to knock off or to be done with her shopping.

It is probably apt that I am finishing the last post of the year here.

Had my year end company lunch at The Line at Shangarila and since the Mrs is still busy reminiscing the good old times with her friends over some coffee, presumably at the PS Cafe, I decided to sit here and blog about Isaac's recent birthday party. So many of you had asked for pictures and updates so I felt I couldn't be lazy anymore.

Isaac's party turned out to be exactly what we had expected it to be, a rather small affair. Apart from the odd few who couldn't make it, most of our invited guest managed to make it so Isaac celebrated his 1st birthday with his immediate families and a bunch of his parents' close and good friends. To these family members and friends, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks for taking the time to drop by on Christmas Day. I hope you will mark it in your calendar permanently because from the look of it we will most probably be celebrating Isaac's birthday each year on Christmas.

I'm sure many of you had been down to the Ben & Jerry's at Vivo City and as I recalled one of you even had doubts that it can actually hold 40 people. Well, from our own experience it did hold about 40 people as well as made room for the buffet spread. Of course not all 40 people were seated down at the same time but somehow we managed.

I particularly like the fact that on this day, besides celebrating Isaac's birthday we were there to exchange season’s greetings and a few presents for the other kids and babies. It was also a good time for some friends who were too busy or whose offices are too far apart to arrange for the occasional lunch meeting to catch up.

Overall I would like to think that the party was successful where most if not everyone had a good time. We definitely do not regret holding it at Ben & Jerry’s because it is amazing to witness the effect that ice-cream had on both the young and the old. A couple of adults even had multiple servings of the free ice-cream (single scoop on a wafer cone) that we had promised.

Since a picture is supposed to say a thousand words I shall let them do the rest of the talking then.


The Venue

The Occasion

The Star

The Birthday Boy

The Cake

The Candle

The Young Lady Photographer


The Parents

The God Parents

The Paternal Grandparents and Cousin

The Maternal Grandparents

The Blowing of Candle

The Presents

Presents Unwrapped

As usual I have posted only limited pictures here. You are invited to visit me at Facebook to view the rest of them.

Lastly the Mrs, Isaac and I would like to give special thanks and credit to Crystal, the young and pretty photographer for that day. Incidentally she is also Isaac's God Sister.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Christmas!!

The way I look at Christmas this year is rather different. In the past I have always enjoyed only the period leading up to Christmas. I always felt that somehow the actual day is a bit of an anticlimax perhaps due to the over hyped during the preparation and presents buying. In the end Christmas Day is just like any other normal day that we do not have to work.

Needless to say I am not a Christian or Catholic hence I feel the way I feel. Unlike all you religious people you will have churches to go to and families and friends to visit to celebrate Christmas.

This year however is different and it is all because of Isaac. Although he is probably too young to understand but whenever we are out shopping for presents and he is attracted by the decorations I will always tell him that all these decorations are preparations to celebrate his birthday. I believed very soon he will understand that when he sees such hype and decorations it means his birthday is near.

Many of you readers have commented how fast a year has passed and Isaac is turning one already. Personally it felt as if it was only yesterday that I was sharing with all of you my inexperience as a Father-to-be.

I can still remember the joy I had when I learned that we were expecting a baby and this being our first time I really wanted to document every step of the way. Besides I hoped that I can learn from all you readers hence the birth of this blog.

During this past year the Mrs and I had witnessed the birth and growth of Isaac. He was this ugly (yes I can say it now) little monkey look-alike baby that was rather yellow. He was so tiny that we could carry him in one hand to the shock of many people whom clearly did not attend Mrs Wong’s class.

If I breakdown his past year into quarters and describe how I remember them in relation to his progress, it will go something like this:

0 to 3 months

This is probably the easy time to handle him since all he did was eat, shit and sleep. Even though we had to wake up a few times each night to feed him, I had a lot of ‘me’ time. During the weekends, while he was sleeping in his cot I could be playing in front of my Xbox while the Mrs rested or do whatever she pleased.

So despite the nightly feeds which I helped, it was considered to be a piece of cake but not quite as fun to play with him.

3 to 6 months

To me this was perhaps one of the best stages for a baby to be in. Isaac still ate, shitted and slept a lot but he also added this element of fun because he was a lot more responsive. He was able to sit up with the aid of bumbo seat of course. He was smiling a lot and was still very easy to handle. Whenever we were busy we could simply placed him on the bumbo seat and carry on with our chores and he will just sit there and watch you go about your business, although not for long.

One of the highlight for us was of course his size. Back then he was rather chubby and really looked like he could really give the boy in the Nippon Paint commercial a run for his money.

6 to 9 months

To me this was the stage that was noisiest and wettest so far. Not only did he make a lot of ga ga noise he was also drooling and spitting a lot. He was much stronger hence the bumbo seat had to retire because he will tip himself over. Luckily we usually placed him and the bumbo seat on the sofa so he did not hurt himself.

At this age he also laughed the loudest and the most. He was usually very ticklish and when he was in the mood one can make him laugh effortlessly as video evidence posted in this blog had shown.

Although he was crawling he was unstable so we had to follow him every step of the way just to try and prevent him from plunging head first into the concrete floor. This was perhaps the hardest part due to all the back ache.

9 to 12 months

He is a lot more demanding at this stage. He has learnt how to express his displease (read complain) and be sure that everyone at home will know. When placed in the playpen he will throw all out the toys and stuffs in there if he is unhappy or happy and simply wants to get your attention to play with him.

Due to his strength and weight he is a lot harder to handle now. We were out shopping for Christmas presents with him last weekend and after carrying him for about 3 hours straight I had to admit my back felt like it was going to give way.

He has learnt how to get off the bed and crawl to wherever he likes so he needs to be watched all the time. He knows no fear and it does not matter how high the beds or sofa are he will apply the same method that he learned from the low mattress and try to climb down.

Although he has laughed less these days but he has certainly smiled much more. He is definitely much more fun to play with bearing the back ache on my part of course.




Here's wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Birthday!!

I’m sure those of you who have been following this blog long enough will know that Isaac’s birthday is coming up. For the benefit of those who have no idea, his birthday happens to be on Boxing Day!

Our friends, family and even readers of this blog have expressed interest as to how we are going to celebrate for him and how is the preparation so far.

To be honest, at the time of posting the Mrs has only confirmed a Wednesday meeting with the Manager of Ben & Jerry’s at Vivo City for further discussion and possibly leaving a deposit. So literally nothing was done or confirmed yet. It is very unlike the Mrs to leave things to this late but I think I need to clarify on her behalf.

Originally I was the one who did not want to do anything because my logic was Isaac does not really have any friends yet. So it will turn out to be just an excuse for us adults with the family in tow to meet up and gossip. No offense to all of you who are celebrating or have celebrated your kid’s birthday but I thought it was rather meaningless from Isaac’s point of view. I thought we should leave it be until he has his own friends in the form of classmates in the future.

However almost everyone around me, the Mrs included feel otherwise. They all feel that we must celebrate Isaac’s birthday especially this first one. The minimum we should do is have a dinner with the immediate families, i.e. Isaac’s grandparents, aunts and uncles from both sides.

Majority of the people of course prefer something a little more party like so the Mrs had been kept busy thinking and researching what we can do. It was not easy largely due to our intention to hold it on Christmas Day so most places and food will not come cheap.

Another reason was due to the Mrs’s condition also since we were not even sure if she can make it should there be a party as she was supposed to be resting in bed till she delivers. So everything was held back and by the time I was convinced to do it for Isaac we’re worried most people cannot make it since it is Christmas Day after all.

Now we have more or less an idea already and that is to hold the party at Ben & Jerry’s where we will cater food, order a birthday cake and of course everyone young and old gets ice cream. The Mrs is now busy sourcing for caterer because we do not want to have a Christmas menu and that is proving to be a challenge.

At one stage I suggested to the Mrs that maybe I should invite all you readers to the birthday party as a get together and meet Isaac in person session but since there is no way of knowing how many, if any of you would like to come or be able to make it, I decided it is probably not a good idea. I’m sure you’ll appreciate it is impossible for me to cater the food with the attendance unknown.

However if you are in town and not too busy attending church or visiting your relatives and happen to be in Vivo City on Christmas Day, do drop by Ben & Jerry’s between 2 to 4pm and I will buy your children ice creams.

With all the Christmas decorations wherever we go, I am beginning to explain to Isaac that everyone is preparing to celebrate his birthday. I tell him that whenever he sees such decorations it means that his birthday is just around the corner.

Oh and speaking of Christmas and birthday, all friends and relatives reading this, please be advised that Isaac will be expecting 2 presents from each of you because presents for Christmas and his birthday should be treated as separate issues.

Lastly I would like to announce a new tradition in the Tan’s household and that is each kid of mine will have to get their mother, namely the Mrs a present on their birthdays. This is to thank her for all the ‘sufferings’ that she had to go through carrying them to term and also for delivering them to this world. Personally I do not know anyone practicing this but I would like my kids to do that for their mum although it can only commence when they are slightly older.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Modeling

Two Fridays ago Isaac had his first taste of what it was like to be a model. I believe he now understands that it is a tough job being a model although I feel that he has all the makings to be one and it is not because he has the X factor or he looks extremely good in photos.

It is perhaps easier for me to list down a few of the things that he did that has Top Model written all over it.

- Walked (ok, more like crawled) off the set whenever he pleases.

- Natural in front of the camera. In fact he was so natural one could say that he was oblivious to the photographer and the shoot itself.

- Throwing tantrums while shooting. He was throwing away props that were required for the shoot once he felt he had enough shots with them.

- So comfortable with a whole entourage of crew (made of parents, godma, god-sister and maid) following him around, changing him and attending to his every need.

- Turned all cranky when he was tired and would not continue without having a rest or some fun first.

- Had his artistic views as to how the shoot should be. It took a lot of persuasion from his managers (parents) before he agreed to wear the chef’s hat and even that it was only for a very short while.

- Had no problem baring his body or modeling in his undies (diapers) so long as they are done in an artistic manner. Calvin Klein, in 20 years time perhaps?

Back to the shoot, it was all thanks to a reader friend, Evelyn (Thanks E!) for recommending Isaac to her sister-in-law, Jacqueline who is setting up her own photography business, Soul Photography. Jacqueline was looking for babies as models to increase her portfolio so Evelyn asked if we would be interested to help. This was when the Mrs was thinking of engaging a photographer to take family photos for us and maybe even herself while she is still pregnant so we agreed.

Jacqueline’s concept for her business is to go bring her studio to the comfort of the client’s home instead of having everyone travel to a studio. This is perhaps most useful with the toddlers since they will be more relaxed in a familiar environment. Not to mention the clothes, toys and props that are available at one’s home instead of picking and choosing the few that one has to bring to the studio.

Since Isaac’s Godma has a rooftop garden at her place the Mrs thought it will be more interesting to conduct the photo shoot at her place instead of ours. The plan was to focus mainly on Isaac with a few family shots and if the Mrs was up to it then she will have her own photos taken with the big tummy as well. Unfortunately she wasn’t really feeling up to it that day and all the coaxing and getting Isaac’s attention wore her out even more. As a result she took only a few pictures with us.

We were initially a little worried as to how Isaac will ‘perform’ that morning and will Jacqueline find him to be a prima uomo and difficult to work with. Luckily all our worries were unfounded because Jacqueline being a mother of 3 boys knew exactly what to expect from kids at Isaac’s age. She was very patient with Isaac’s many movements and will work around him to find the angle or shot that she wanted.

Prior to the shooting she was also opened and was willing to discuss any concepts or ideas that we had in mind.

Right now she is having a promotional package so you might want to find out more from her website or discuss with her what you hope to achieve. Have fun shooting!!









The above are only a handful of the pictures that we got from Jacqueline. As usual I will put up the rest of them plus whatever shots that we took on the same day in my Facebook!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Mistake?

Haven’t we all heard from friends and relatives or read through forums that there is someone who knew someone who was told she was carrying a baby of one gender but came out another?

Ok, maybe to find out only during delivery is a little extreme because I would imagine that the couple would have gone for a few more scans from the time the gender was announced till delivery right?

I think it matters little when the couple found out about the ‘mistake’ because if it was the gender that they really wanted and it turned out different it would be quite devastating especially if it is their 3rd or 4th attempt. On the other hand for a couple that wanted a gender and got their wish later it will be an absolute delight for them.

Personally I have never come across anyone I know that had such an experience. Come to think of it I have only heard of such an incident through people who happened to know someone from work or some acquaintance and I don’t even remember who they are now or how the story goes. It is almost like an urban myth to me.

The reason I brought this up is because for some reason the Mrs was having this really bad feeling that maybe Hayley (Yes she has decided on this name) is a boy after all. Maybe it was her paranoia but she was definitely feeling rather uneasy. When telling people of the twins’ genders she was always a little hesitant. She was always saying it like it is only 90% sure.

I guess we should have named her Hayden instead huh?! In case you’re not aware Hayden is a unisex name just like Dylan.

So since about 3 weeks ago when we found out that we are expecting a Boy / Girl combo, she has been looking forward to yesterday’s appointment with Dr N to double and triple confirm that it is indeed Hayley in there.

I believe she feels a little more stress now that we are receiving gifts for Hayley. This is also probably why she has not been buying anything for her whenever we are out. I can sense the urge to buy her something whenever we are in Baby Gap or Zara looking for clothes for Isaac but she always resisted because deep down she is worried that there is a mistake with the gender.

It got to a point that even I was beginning to believe her that maybe just maybe we weren’t so lucky after all. When carrying Isaac the Mrs did not have any such strong feelings towards the baby’s gender. At least back then I dreamt of playing with a boy (can’t remember his face of course) so that got me to think that he was a boy. So to hear that she has such bad feelings about this ‘mistake’ it sort of unnerved me as well.

Anyway as you know by now we went to Dr N’s clinic yesterday for her routine checkup and to make sure that they twins are growing fine because the Mrs has hardly gained any weight since her pregnancy. This by the way was also another concern of ours.

The good news is the Mrs and the twins are all doing fine. The twins are growing within the average percentile and their weight is slightly below that of a singleton at the same stage but that is acceptable.

When Dr N started the scan the first thing I told him to check was the twins’ gender and I told him about the paranoia that the Mrs was experiencing. While having a good laugh he proceed to check and the result is the below picture.

I was considering if I should post this scan but on second thought how many of us can seriously make out what it is right? Unless of course you are a trained Doctor but I have a feeling that there are no Doctors amongst you readers.

So for the whole lot of you who cannot make out what the picture is and after torturing you for the last 5 minutes or so, you will be pleased to know that we are indeed having Hayley after all.

Bad Boy??

Recently we discovered that by his own admission Isaac does not believe that he is a good, great or excellent boy. Don’t believe me? Watch the below video.


video

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Blues

Recently I had a first hand encounter with depression and postnatal blues. Originally I wanted to blog about it from my (an outsider’s) point of view but I felt I needed to get permission from the person suffering from it first.

So I approached my sister after she was feeling better and asked if it will be alright with her for me to blog about her experience to the world. Being a sport that she is, she actually suggested that perhaps she should guest write instead.

So here it is:

I am one who is seldom at a loss of words. This is one of the rare occasions. I was asked by my brother to share something very personal with all of you and that is my experience with postnatal depression (PND). It wasn’t hard for me to agree to it because I hope by sharing, my experience will help some of you who are either having PND or someone whom you know has it.

It all started for me when I was extremely adamant about breastfeeding. In this day, breastfeeding is often deemed as the right, best and the only thing to do for your kid. And hence, to me, breastfeeding equates to what a good mother’s duty is.

Being so adamant about breastfeeding, I was latching on once every 3 hours and I soon had insomnia. This was because after each feed, there was always the issue of the next feed at the back of my mind – will I wake up in time, is my milk supply enough, how do I build up my supply, will eating such and such food affect the taste of my milk and hence rejection from my baby. My insomnia soon turned chronic. It was so bad that I slept a total of less than 7 hours in 3 days. By then, I was a lost cause – I had a glazed over look in my eyes, my body was shutting down, my milk supply plummeted due to the lack of rest and I barely had the strength to carry my daughter. When I visited my gynae, he suggested giving me a sedative to take so that I can sleep through one to two nights and basically reboot my system. Well, perhaps it was Murphy’s law but what happened was after taking that sedative, I actually sleepwalked. My husband told me that I woke up in the morning and walked him to the door, kissed him goodbye and spoke with him yet I recalled none of it. The scariest part was when I realized upon being “awake” that my hair was nicely plaited (my hair is always left undone when I sleep) and the T-shirt I wore to sleep was different from the one I had on in the morning. It was then that I freaked out because I had no recollection at all of what I did, where I went and whom I spoke to. I admitted myself to the hospital right away.

I stayed for a total of 4 days in the hospital for respite care and it was quite possibly one of the lowest points in my life because I actually lost total confidence in being able to fall asleep naturally. Insomnia is a horrible horrible condition – the rest of the world is sleeping and you are awake pacing around at home, dead tired to the bones but still unable to shut down mentally and rest, while watching the clock the entire time and wondering what on earth is wrong with you.

After I was discharged, I also had very bad hot flushes (which further hindered my sleep) and hyperacidity where I needed to eat once every 2 – 3 hours and I was gorging myself silly with food. I had 2 bowls of rice at every mealtime and a “snack” would be 4 slices of bread, a banana, an apple and a milo and I still did not feel full.

In depression terms, it was comfort eating but for my case, it was also because the stress level I had cause the hyperacidity and hence, I had to eat. For someone who only gained 7kg during my pregnancy and has never weighed past 50kg, it was a sudden shock to see the scale go up.

To top it off, my baby is very alert and active since birth and does not sleep much unlike most newborns. Hence, fatigue and stress and insecurity set in. I became obsessed with my ‘failure’ as a mother and my weight gain. Being depressed also caused lethargy which made it even worse for me because I have always been a very active person and was exercising right through my pregnancy. It was hard for me to wake up and feel spaced out and groggy and barely having enough energy to accompany my dad walk my brother’s dog in the morning.

On a good day, I was able to converse normally, laugh and joke but on a bad day, I would feel like such a complete failure and was simply detached from the world with no interest in getting out of bed, talking to anyone and having any interest in anything. I just wanted to be left alone and ‘rot’ in one corner. The scariest moment was that at my down-est time, I actually had a thought pop into my mind and that was “how I wish I could chuck my baby down the chute”. My “rationale” was that if that happens, then I would have no one to worry about, to care for and no one to depend on me. That was when I realized that I had depression.

Next to my husband, my brother is my other best friend and we have always been very honest and close. It was him who called me up one evening and spoke to me very openly about his observations on my mood swings and condition. I broke down and cried and admitted that I needed help. My sis-in-law and him, God bless their souls, had already started asking around about depression since weeks ago when they first noticed that I was a bit off. I was able to get an appointment with a psychiatrist the following day and started treatment immediately.

I am now seeing the psychiatrist on a fortnightly basis and am on a mild anti-depressant dosage. The fact that I am not in denial about my condition, she says, make me very treatable. Additionally, I also sought help early as I truly want to get better soonest possible.

Based on my visit with the psychiatrist, PND usually happens to perfectionists and yours truly, am definitely one. It is because perfectionists having type A personality have a fixed set of ideas and mindset about how things should be and we are usually the ones who keep anticipating what can go wrong to prevent things from going ‘wrong’. But of course, as we all know, babies do not have a “fixed” set of rules and habits and hence, it is this same trait that caused my chronic insomnia.

I now force myself to head out of the house everyday with my domestic helper and do simple things like heading out for lunch, grocery shopping to start injecting some normalcy back into my life. When I am out, most often than not, strangers would come up to me and touch / play with my baby and comment on how lovely she is. These comments help me drastically as they make me realize how lucky I am to have such a healthy and beautiful baby when there are many who are not able to conceive.

I am also extremely blessed because I have very strong family support – my mother-in-law has been staying with me for the past 3 odd weeks to help me with the night feeds despite having a full time day job; my sister-in-law though pregnant has been there to comfort and console me and drove me to my psychiatrist visit; my husband who despite his very punishing work hours, stayed with me in the hospital even when he ended work only at 11+ and had to leave for work again at 7+am the following day and my parents who constantly called and brewed tonics for me.
I would like to end off by saying that having PND does not make us a lesser parent or person and it is not a disease nor is it something to be ashamed of. It is simply a condition that we have that is treatable so if you are suffering from PND or know someone who seems to have the same symptoms that I had, please seek professional help and you WILL get better.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Guests

A little over a year ago when we found out that we were having Isaac, we thought of moving back in with my parents because we would like for them to be able to spend more time with their grandchild instead of just weekdays and during office hours.

So I checked with my mum and was rather disappointed and hurt that they rejected the idea. I believed that the Mrs felt terrible then too. Naturally no one likes the feeling of being unwelcome.

In my mum’s defense she has always told my sister and I since we were young that she does not want to live with us once we have our own families. The reason for this is she believes that by staying together we will have more conflicts and clashes hence it is better that we meet once or twice a week.

My dad's main reason for turning us away was he was worried that he will have arguments with me. Back in my younger days when I was still a little more hotheaded I will not back down from any arguments with anyone, my dad included. However with the help of the Mrs I have learnt to control my temper better and I had no argued with my dad for years now.

Although I knew my mum’s standpoint on this but somewhere in me I always thought that I could get them to move in with me eventually hence when faced with the reality I was disappointed.

Looking back now, after having stayed with them for the past five weeks I am glad that the whole moving in together for good thing did not materialised.

For the past few days the Mrs and I were quite vexed because Ani was having problems with my dad. It all started on a faithful Thursday when my friends and I were planning to have a game of mahjong and because there were not have enough chilled can drinks in the fridge, Ani took the initiative to leave a few cans in the freezer with the intention to remove them after about half hour or so. This is common practice in my own household. Unfortunately when my dad came back and saw the cans in the freezer he was shocked and shouted for Ani asking her to remove them fearing that they will “explode”. He was not aware of her true intention plus he did not know how long had the drinks been in there.

Since then things seemed to have gone downhill between the two of them. After that incident Ani was terrified of my dad so she had not been smiling and neither was she warm towards my parents and even resorted to avoiding them. My parents in turn thought that she was showing them the ‘black face’ and being rude so things got out of hand pretty quickly.

Although I was out at work but I got constant feedback from the Mrs everyday through Skype on what was going on at home. I pity the Mrs because she was right in the middle of the tension when she was supposed to be resting and instead she had to spend more hours hanging around in the dining area just watching everyone and assessing the situation.

Her birthday was sort of ruined by this entire matter also. She lost the mood to celebrate and did not want to go out for dinner because she did not want Ani to be left alone to eat with my parents resulting in everyone feeling awkward.

Finally after speaking to both Ani and my mum we started to piece together where the real problem lies.

It is all about having 2 systems in 1 household with Ani caught right in the middle. She was being told off for doing things in ways that were the norm in my own home but not to my dad’s likings, e.g. the chilling of fizzy drinks in the freezer issue.

They are all small and petty matters but I believe after many of such incidents Ani finally could not handle it anymore. On one hand she did these things because she was taught to do it in our own home but on the other hand my dad will tell her not to do it. I believed she felt really caught in-between.

My parents have never been the confrontational type when it comes to my sis and I. Over the years whenever they want to learn things about me, they will call my sis and vice versa. For some reasons they do not like to bring it up to us directly so in this case they will tell Ani not to do instead of coming up to us instead. Ani on her part does not want to relate stories to us so she will just shoulder it herself.

Last night the Mrs and I sat down with my parents to explain to them what had been happening at home was really miscommunications and a big misunderstanding and we hoped that they will understand that Ani is not showing anyone ‘black face’ but she is merely sad hence not smiling. We tried explaining to them that she was used to our way of doing things but did not realize that they are not applicable here.

I also tried explaining to Ani that she should not feel sad because such things do not apply to her alone. It applied to the Mrs and I as well. In our own ways we also feel like we are guests under my parents’ roof so there are things that we could not do even though we wanted to or had been doing at home.

By having 3 additional adults and a baby moving in full time we will not doubt cause inconvenience to them. Everyone has their personal space reduced and as a result frictions may have been caused.

Even simple things like the fridge will also be an issue because in the past my parents are not used to having things such as fresh milk, orange juice, cheese dip and other unfinished stuffs taking up space in their fridge. Suddenly they find their fridge not big enough to contain all the things they want in there anymore so they had to remove part of it.

During the conversation last night I told them to be patient with us and we only have a few more months here before we move everything back and they can have their own space back minus rooms for their additional 2 grandchildren.

I understand now that whether we move in with them or they move in with us is really not a good idea because they will feel exactly like guests under my roof and as a result they will not truly be at home and comfortable which is exactly what we are feeling now.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Joys

Recently I noticed that as a parent I am able to find joy in the simplest of act or places. I have listed down a few of the routine things that will always bring a smile to my face. I sincerely hope that they have the same effect on you as they do on me.

Shower:
Whenever I see Ani showering Isaac I will automatically smile to myself. In fact the mere thought of him sitting down on his Ikea stool playing with water while Ani fusses over him is enough to put this silly grin on me now. Somehow seeing this little man sitting down naked and playing with water has this effect on me. Sometimes when he made eye contact with me he will smile and want to crawl towards me. That will be my cue to leave. It has been a while since I shower with him and truth be told I do miss it.

Body:
For some unexplainable reason I will always smile when I see his naked body. I like to watch him struggle and crawl around when Ani tries to put some clothes on him after his shower. Maybe it is his plus size that makes me happy and proud. So many others have ‘molested’ and squeezed his thighs, arms and of course pinched his chubby cheeks.


Eating:
Watching Isaac eats brings enormous joy to the Mrs and I. We like to watch the greedy side of him whenever we eat. He will move his mouth as if he is chewing on the same food (what I termed eating air). These days he will even try and reach out for the food as if to tell us he wants a piece of the pie too, literally. When we put food in his mouth the way his chubby cheeks move will usually make us laugh. He is ever ready to open his mouth to whatever we place in front of him. For the record, Isaac has passed the 10kg mark already in case you’re wondering.


Feeding:
Honestly I have only tried feeding him his porridge once. Usually it will be Ani that does it because it can get rather messy both for the one eating and the one feeding. However I still enjoy feeding him his milk. It gives me a sense of achievement when I managed to make him finish his 240ml of milk before going to sleep. Sometimes he will turn and fuss about and it can be a struggle but when he finishes the last drop I will have this immense pride.

Carrying:
It started a couple of months back, Isaac was on his walker and he charged towards me when I got home from work. He then reached out his arms, a signal for me to carry him. That was definitely one of the defining moments for me as a dad. Ever since then I will be happy whenever he reaches out to me, be it in his walker, in his play pan and especially in another person’s arms.

Smiling:
I’m sure those of you who have been following Isaac’s growth will now be quite accustomed to his infamous smile. Actually be it the cheeky (mischievous) or the genuine happy-to-see-you smile I am thrilled to see my boy smile. Sometimes when he wakes up he will flash you this smile that will warm your heart and make you wish he stays that way forever.


Sleeping:
Putting Isaac to sleep can be a real challenge sometimes. He will struggle and want to continue playing. At various stage of his growing up there is a different method of putting him to sleep. When he was much younger and sleeping in the cot in our room, I will give him his pacifier and place one finger in each of his hands. This is to prevent him from rubbing his face and accidentally removing his pacifier. These days I will put him on the bed with all the lights off (this is important) and place him right next to my chest. He will play with my t-shirt with both his hands for a while before eventually drifting off to sleep. Watching him sleep makes me happy. It is partly due to the fact that we can all rest now but mainly it has this calming effect on me.


The above are just the joy that I managed to derive from the routine of caring for and playing with Isaac. With the Twins’ coming I can only hope that this amount of joy will be tripled.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Revealed

It has been more than a month since the bleeding episode and finally the fact as to what actually happened was revealed yesterday. A few of you were probably thinking of the twins’ genders revelation instead right?!?!?!

Yesterday was our review date with Dr N but before our appointment with him we had to go and get this really detailed scanning done. This was exactly the same as the one which we did a few months back. It took about 2 hours and cost us $520.00.

This scan was really detailed in that it scanned the twins’ lungs, kidneys, hearts and many other measurement. It took an average of about 45 minutes for each twin.

So the good news is that the Mrs and the twins are all doing well. They each weigh about 400gm at 22 weeks and the difference in size is not much between them which is good otherwise we will have something to worry about.

Besides the physical we also tested and calculated the odds of them being down syndrome and the odds look good at 0.032% or something like that. All I know for a fact is our odds is even better than a younger girl in her twenties carrying a singleton. Needless to say I am really relieved to learn this.

Now as to what caused the bleeding, it appeared to be the shifting and detachment of the membrane. So it was not from the placenta which is excellent news and although one of the placentas is low laying it will gradually move upwards as the twin grows. So right now it seems we are at the edge of the woods and although not quite out of it we are not really in danger so long as the Mrs continues to rest and not exert herself.

She is to continue her hospitalization leave and we will be seeing Dr N again on the 1st of December and follow up with another round of this very detailed scanning on our 29th week.

Now those of you who thought that this post was about the revelation of the twins’ gender from reading the title you are correct!!!

Before the scanning got started the Mrs was asking me if we should know and my answer was “No I do not need to know”. Then she told me that she is 80% inclined towards knowing and seeing how much she has to suffer I told her the decision is hers to make. I know that if there is a girl in there then she will be over the moon and the rest of her “confinement” period will be much easier to bear.

So while she was contemplating the Professor came over and we exchanged greetings. Now usually at this point I will remind the good Professor or whichever Doctor that we do not want to know the gender but in this case I let it be since the decision is left with the Mrs. However before the Mrs could say anything the Professor started the scanning and fate has it that where he placed his scanner was the exact position of the Twin’s private. So he happily told us……………………………






.







.







.







.







.







.







.






Wait for it





.






.







.







.







.







.







.






Wait for it





.






.






.






.






.






.






.






.






.






.






.






See his birdie?!?!?!



The Mrs was a little dumbfounded and she later explained to me that she had the intention to stick to not knowing but who knows the scanning started at the exact spot.

Now that the gender of one of them is revealed I have to admit even I am dying to know the second one because we really hope that that it will be a girl. Unfortunately for us we had to wait till he finished the scanning of the boy first and like I said, it was a good 45 minutes and this was probably the longest 45 minutes of my life so far.

During this time all I can think of was the statistics that for fraternal twins the percentage of having a boy / girl twins is 50 while all boys is 25. Then I started to think 25% versus 50% is not really much if you asked me unlike say 80% versus 20%. So I just sat there patiently while the Mrs was probably crossing all her fingers, toes and hair and pray that the remaining twin is a girl.

Dr N had to perform an emergency operation in the morning so our appointment was postponed indefinitely until they called. In the meantime I decided to go for a hair cut since Isaac’s Godma called and asked if we were in town to meet up. The Mrs had been complaining about Isaac’s hair being long, messy and ugly (refer to the cheeky smile photo in the previous post) so I decided to bring him to my regular stylist and let her work on him also.

Overall the experience was not as terrifying when compared to what some of you had to go through because Isaac was not screaming or kicking. I was holding him and although he was not very cooperative he did not kick up a big fuss. He merely turned his head to face the stylist whenever he saw the scissor coming towards his head.

Before he realised what was going to happen.


So far so good!!


A little nervous perhaps??


A while later we found a way to best do this and that was to put him on the table and let him sit on his own while the rest of the stylists who are free in the saloon distracted him from across the table. It was a Tuesday afternoon so they were not particularly busy hence no less than 5 of them were playing with him. With this new arrangement the cutting was done rather quickly. Although I was quoted $25 for Isaac’s haircut my stylist decided to not charge after all. Thanks a lot for that Lily!! Maybe she knew I needed the money with the twins coming.



How?? Handsome?? Sharp??

Speaking of twins you didn’t think I forgot to mention the gender of the other twin did you?!?! I merely wanted you to go “Huh?!?! Wait?!?! Did I miss something here? What about the other twin?!?!” Hope none of you cheated and scrolled down to find the answer first like I would probably have.

Anyway after the 45 minutes wait, the Professor was very nice because when he started working on scanning on the other twin he went searching for the private before anything else and.........................................



.






.






.






.






.






.






.






Wait for it

.






.






.






.






.






.






.






We have a girl as well!!


The Mrs was so happy that she was giggling like a school girl. She must be so relieved since people around us including myself kept on saying that we have this feeling that they will both be boys.

What about you? What was your guess initially?

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Salute!!

I have the luxury of staying at home with the Mrs and Isaac for the last 4 days and it will be 5 including today. Besides the weekend, we had a Public Holiday on Monday and I am currently on 2 days MC so in total I will be spending 5 whole days with them.

During these few days I learned that Isaac can be so hard to handle and it will really drain you off your energy (from playing and carrying him) and ideas (from thinking of what to do with him next). He has just turned 10 months and now that he is able to almost run in his walker he can really be a handful. He will go all around the house and start pulling things away from their original place or picking them up and then throwing them all over the floor. He will also be opening and closing the cupboards and drawers. He knows how to protest by screaming too.

He has gotten cheekier these days too. It is almost like he knows what he is NOT supposed to do but he still wants to do it anyway and in front of you too. Take for example he will pick something up and he will turn around and look at you and flash his cheeky “mischievous’ smile before throwing the item away. When we tell him ‘No’ he will smile wider or laugh sometimes. We will then pick up the item and put it back to its original place he will repeat the whole routine again.

Isaac and his infamous smile!!

Why the experience you may ask since I have spent days with Isaac before but to me it is a little different this time round because in the past when I am not working it is usually on weekends and we are usually out. The Mrs dislikes staying at home on weekends so you can imagine how she feels now having to bed rest. Hence when we’re out Isaac will be distracted with the surroundings. This time however the Mrs is not going anywhere so we had to remain indoor most of the time.

I am now an Uncle because my Sister had given birth to a healthy and lovely baby, Cate last week. She was having a little problem with breastfeeding Cate and also trying to establish her eating and sleeping routine. By now I imagine things are much better with them.

Lovely Cate!!

I met up with Mike yesterday when we collected our cars from the workshop together and had a quick meal with him. He was telling me how he understands that it is very hard for Kat to handle Kaitlin alone so he gave up more of his ‘me’ time in order to help with taking care of their girl. They had recently hired a maid but she is only charged with the household chores and the two of them alone will handle Kaitlin so this means no more meeting up with his regular kakis for breakfasts on Sundays.

After these few days I am now in a position to advise them that what they are experiencing now is really quite minor. Yes they may have to suffer the lack of sleep in the night since their girls are still infants but to me infants are really much easier to handle since all they do are eat, shit and sleep. I remembered I had quite a bit of ‘me’ time when Isaac was still an infant because he sleeps for 2 to 3 hours straight before it is feeding time and while he slept I was able to play some games on my Xbox. For the record it has been more than 3 months now since I last played any games after having completed GTA4.

I was trying to explain to Mike that between the Mrs, myself, Ani and my parents we are already tired from handling him hence I can’t imagine how are they going to do it on their own months down the road.

It is also through this experience that I can understand a little better what a Stay At Home Mum has to go through on a daily basis. Hats off and salute to you all SAHM. I dare not say I completely understand because I had help from everyone here and there is only just Isaac. Some of you ladies are taking care of more than a toddler and with minimum help.

So if any of your husbands give you crap about them having to work hard outside so they deserve more ‘me’ time or respect then I ask you to dare them to take up the challenge of staying at home alone and care for your kids for a couple of days while you take a break. I am positive they will see you in a different light after their little experience, read nightmare. I know I have. In fact I feel kind of sorry for Ani and was even discussing with the Mrs that we will give her a raise once the twins are out. God knows she deserves it.

So for you new parents or parents-to-be, know this; the infant stage is really just the beginning of worse things to come.

Never seen before, Fierce Isaac!!!!


Muahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Home

A little update on the Mrs and the Twins. They have all been discharged from the hospital as of 14th of this month, last Tuesday after spending a total of 12 days there.

The Mrs couldn’t have been happier and she was waiting impatiently for me to bring her home while I was running around between Dr N’s clinic and the hospital cashier making payments and settling bills.

The entire episode cost us a little over $7,000 and my MediSave covered about $5,000 of it so I paid cash for the remainder. Although being out of the hospital is good for the Mrs it is not entirely easier on the money because she has to be on this injection every other day and only a nurse can administer it for her. The medicine is about $700 for 9 doses which is equivalent to 3 weeks and then there is also the nurse’s fee which was at a staggering high of $80 per trip but the Mrs bargained with her and finally we got it down to $40. So this means we need to spend a little over $1,000 every 3 weeks on this injection alone.

At this point in time we have no idea how long we have to continue with the jabs. Our next review is on the 4th of next month after we go through this extremely detailed scan which took about 2 hours the last time we did it. I believe Dr N will shed some light on the situation by then.

Being home does not mean the Mrs is able to go out and all. Instead she is to be rested in bed as well. Only difference is she will not be as bored since Isaac and I are there. Since Dr N is not sure if the bleeding will happen again we decided that it is best to stay with my parents so that while I am at work at least there will always be someone else at home instead of just Ani. So after checking with my parents all of us including Dino moved in with them.

Moving back in with one’s parents is not as easy as it sounds. Honestly when I heard that the Mrs is for discharged I was only too happy to think about the logistics involved. We are talking about moving the belongings of 2 adults, a maid, a baby and a dog.

Let’s not include the Mrs because besides the daily necessities like home wear and toiletries there is really not much for her since she is not going anywhere.

Dino is also easy since it is effectively only his leash, food, bowl and treats.

Ani is also easy since she has always kept 2 sets of her things. One set at my parents and another at our place so it is a matter of moving more stuffs from one place to another.

Baby is relative easy but since we will be there for the next 5 months at least we moved all his toys and diapers.

I guess the most difficult one would be me since besides the usual home wear and toiletries I still have to bring my work clothes and also going out clothes like the jeans, bermudas and t-shirts. Then there are also the work and going out shoes as well as my flip flops. I too have accessories such as my belts, cuff links and watches.

Then there are other must haves such as our laptops, all 3 of them, my Xbox 360 and also my DVD player along with my SCV decoder and my LCD TV for the bedroom. Luckily these days we can charge our PDA and iPhone using a USB cable and laptop otherwise we have to bring along the respective chargers.

Till date it took me about 6 trips back to my home to bring the items in batches and luckily my place is only 5 mins drive away from my parents’ place. So we started off with bringing over the immediate requirements and every other day Ani and I will head back to bring over the other stuffs.

The best part about all this is to try and fit all our things in a bedroom. The Mrs usually does all the packing and unpacking so while she is not so mobile now, we are living out of a suitcase for the time being. I know it bothers her a bit but I simply do not know where to begin.
Looks like this might turn out to be a rather long 5 months.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Suggestions??

The below post was actually drafted before the entire bleeding episode hence you can sense the entire tone and mood is a lot lighter. Since it has been drafted I decided to keep the post as it is.

Those of you who know me through this blog should also know that I prefer to open my Christmas presents on Boxing Day itself. Hence we only found out Isaac’s gender on 26th December last year!

This time round with the Twins, I am determined not to ruin the nice surprise but truth be told, it is a lot harder when compared to last time. The ‘problem’ does not lie with me. Since we found out we are having Twins, the main thought on our minds is whether we will get at least a girl in there and the Mrs is really dying to know.

I can literally sense her wavering resistance with each visit to the Gynae and each time she will be looking to me to change my mind. As cruel as it sounds, my stand still remains steadfast. Although I have to respect her wishes and if she really really really wants to know then I have to give in to her as well. Carrying the twins is tough as it is already without me causing her more sleepless nights by denying her wish to know the truth.

My logic for choosing not to know remains the same. What good will it do by knowing now? Of course if there is a girl in there we will be overjoyed but if they are both boys then there is really nothing we can do to change anything anyway. My main concern right now is for her to take good care of herself and the twins since as far as I know twins can be rather fragile even up till the later stages.

Of course choosing not to know has its disadvantages. And as some of you readers have guessed it, we will have problem with the names! As if coming up with a name for each gender is not challenging enough, we now have to torment ourselves by having to come up with 2 names for each gender.

If our naming experience with Isaac is anything to go by then I can say we are having 2 boys this time round as well. Why? Because we have relatively lesser problem with girls’ names compared to boys’ names. So the rule of the thumb is if you are prepared for one gender then God with his wicked sense of humour will reward you with the babies of the other gender.

For the English names we like the following:

Boys:
Hayden (only because this is a unisex name)

Girls:
Hayden
Hayley
Heidi
Emma
Kayla

I do like the following names but the Mrs is not too thrilled with them:

Fabian
Julian
Kyle
Blake
Gabriel
Kale

Even for the Chinese names we are also more of less set on girls’ names while nothing on the boys’. Since Isaac’s middle name is 天 we have decided to continue to use the middle name.

Boys:
天乐 (nothing to do with Louis Khoo)

Girls:
天恩
天敏

Sitting down and breaking the news to my colleagues, we had a fun time coming up with “names” that we definitely cannot use. Coincidentally they are mainly for boys. For the benefit of the non Chinese readers I have listed the meaning.

天才 (Genius – with a name like that we are only setting him up to fail)
天长 (Eternal)
天地 (Heaven and Earth)
天鹅 (Swan – again with a name like that she will be under a lot of pressure)
天父 (Heaven Father – nuff said)
天国 (Paradise; Heaven)
天堂 (Paradise; Heaven)
天花 (Smallpox)
天皇 (Imperial Emperor)
天空 (Sky – hmmmmm…… maybe?!?!)
天亮 (Daylight)
天黑 (Nightfall)
天氣 (Weather)
天上 (Celestial; Heaven)
天使 (Angel – hmmmm….. another maybe?!?!)
天涯 (Ends of Earth)
天桥 (Bridge)
天真 (Naïve; Innocent)
天主 (God)

Jokes aside, I am appealing to you readers once again to come up with names like you did the last time although we ended up using the one Godma picked. This time round it is easier because we do not need it to be 1 or 2 syllables but try and keep it at 3 maximum.

There is one condition though. We are trying to avoid naming the twins from names of the same alphabet which means you can skip “H” for now because if there is a girl we will use either Hayley or Heidi.

Like all the other “contests” and poll on this blog, the only prize the winner receives is bragging rights. This time though you get to name another child that is not one of your own. How cool is that!

Keep the suggestions coming!!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Hospitalised!

First of all we would like to thank each and every one of you who showed us so much love, support and concern during the past few days. Together you have set a record high for the number of comments received for a single post from readers alone. We really appreciate it and we honestly enjoyed reading all your prayers and well wishes very much. In fact it was perhaps the only highlight for the past few days.

I know you are all very anxious to know the outcome of our episode and also the well being of the twins and the Mrs. I’m sure you can understand the delay in updating this blog.

I do apologise for “making” you readers tear with the last post but I’m sure you know that it was never my intention and I honestly cannot remember any earlier post of mine that resulted in readers crying.

Anyway as with most life experiences there will always be good and bad news. The good news here is the twins and the Mrs are all doing fine. I like to think of it as the twins having heard their mummy’s cries in the A & E ward, hung on and stayed with mummy. Then there is of course your prayers. No matter what religion you are from I believed that your high being answered your prayers. Thanks again for that!

On Saturday evening Dr N came and finally removed the gauze in the Mrs and I was shocked to learn that about a metre of it was stuffed in her to add pressure to stop the bleeding. While he was pulling it out slowly our fingers were crossed that it will reveal minimum blood. True enough it had very little blood on it and better still after it was out there was no sign of any bleeding.

It has been another 2 days and by now we can safely say that the bleeding had stopped but to play it save Dr N wants to keep the Mrs in the hospital till she delivers, this is the bad news!!

The Mrs was so depressed when she heard the news that she was crying even till last night. Being in the hospital with her for the past 4 days I can fully understand her reluctance to stay for such a long period. Being bored is one thing but the main thing here is her missing Isaac. She hates the idea of missing out on his growing up such as his first steps, first word and birthday etc.

I remembered very clearly the dejected look on her when she was wheeled from the intensive care unit to the normal ward on Sunday night. I believed it was reality sinking in that she has to stay here for the next 4 months or so. She understands that it was for hers as well as the twins own good but it still did not proved to be easy.

Besides Isaac and boredom there is also the money issue. Based on a very brief calculation, a 4 month stay will cost over 20K. From this episode I also realized that all general health and life insurance policies do not cover pregnancy related matters. There are specific women only policies to tackle this kind of thing and although the Mrs bought one for herself, the coverage for hospital stay is only about 5K. So if you have to take away something from this experience of ours then go out there and invest a little more in such women policies before you plan to have your next kid. And if you are planning for IVF then all the more you should have this type of insurance in place since having multiple babies will have high chance of complications.

Secretly we are harbouring this little hope that Dr N will allow her home after another week or two. We derived this from what he said to her yesterday. He said that everything is looking up so far but he wants to keep her there for another week and then we take it from there. We like to interpret it as after another week or two and if everything remains status quo then maybe just maybe we can have her bed rest at home instead.

Speaking of home, I was in bed last night and it suddenly dawned on me that the house seemed emptier without the Mrs. Although Ani and Isaac were sleeping in the next room without the Mrs, the house just felt empty. Even the bed felt so empty and no, I am not trying to imply that you are fat Darling. Without the Mistress around the house just feels weird.

Currently we have worked out a schedule and system to allow the Mrs to enjoy a few hours with Isaac on a daily basis. With him around her mood has definitely been improving.

To end this on a lighter note below are a few pictures of our pride and joy, Isaac.

A little blury but you can see he weighs about 9.26kg now.

Not sure if the old folks will scold for letting Isaac sleep on hospital bed.

A little close up on our Plus Size baby.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Prayers!!

I am writing this post from the delivery suite at Mount Elizabeth (Mt. E) hospital as the Mrs lies in bed trying to get some shuteye. The feeling is so different when compared to 9 months back when we were eagerly anticipating Isaac's arrival.

See what happened was at 2am this morning the Mrs got woken up when she felt as if she had wet herself in bed. She checked immediately and found blood on herself as well as on the bed sheet. She went to the bathroom to investigate and once confirmed that she was bleeding she woke me up immediately.

Since it wasn’t too much blood then we thought we could wait till the morning before we rush down to see Dr N. However after about 10 minutes she felt that she was still bleeding and upon checking she confirmed that the amount is getting a little alarming. Her sanitary pad was soaked! We wasted no time in getting changed and headed for the A&E department at Mt E.

We did not utter a word to each other and I believed that was probably due to us preparing ourselves mentally for the worst case scenario. So many thoughts went through my mind. How was I going to remain strong for the both of us and continue to give her support and encouragement? How do I console her if something bad did happen to the twins? What had caused this bleeding? Did anything happen to her yesterday? Was it something she ate?

The drive to the hospital was eerily silent with the both of us deep in thoughts. Since I did not know how to reassure her with words at that point in time I can only place my hand on her thigh and gave her a reassuring pat.

I had the shock of my life and realized for the first time how serious the bleeding was once we arrived at the carpark of Mt. E. As soon as she stepped out of the car and stood up the blood started to gush out. She was literally dripping and within seconds a small pool of blood was formed on the floor between her legs. I told her to stand and lean against the car while I ran in and got the nurse to bring a wheelchair for her.

See the pool of blood? This was only after like 15 seconds!!

What happened next was about an hour of agonizing wait for Dr N to come and check on her. The lucky thing was he was performing a C Section just upstairs at about 2.30 in the morning so he was with us as soon as he was done. In the meantime we were left to contemplate the possibilities. The Mrs was crying non stop and I will never forget the words that she muttered to the twins continuously, “Babies please stay with mummy!”

What wouldn’t I trade for the safety of my wife and my two unborn children?

The next hour or so was the frantic fight by Dr N in trying to stop the bleeding. According to him the Mrs looked like she had lost about 800 – 900ml of blood already and the bleeding was coming from the lower of the 2 placentas.

The Mrs was a real trooper. She was jabbed, had both her hands on drip and so many things were going on at her private but she never once complained of any pain or discomfort although we could tell from her face it was really quite painful. I believed that she only wanted the nurses and Dr N to get on and do their best without any distraction from her.

What Dr N did was to insert some gauze into the Mrs to add pressure and stop the bleeding. Since the bleeding is internal we do not know for certain if it has stopped. In Dr N's own words, we're not out of the woods yet. We will probably only know for sure sometime tomorrow evening or Sunday morning. According to him we have to pray for two things now; 1 - the bleeding must stop and 2 - the Mrs must not get any infection. She was already given antibiotics to prevent infections but as for the bleeding, it is in God’s hands now.

Wanting to find out what was the worst scenario I asked Dr N if one or both the twins are in danger and he explained that should the bleeding continue, his priority will be to save the Mrs hence both the twins will have to be aborted!!! Both our hearts sank when we heard that.

Scans were made to check on the twins’ wellbeing and heartbeats and they were doing just fine. Seeing them kicking and moving in there I really hate to even consider the idea of having to abort them. It will be really tough to pull the plug on them when they are still behaving so well in there!

Once the Mrs had settled down and resting, I had to rush home to settle a few things and make a few calls to the family. My eyes will tear up each time I inform them that the twins are in danger and might not make it, just like my eyes are all teared up while typing this now.

In this dark hour, I hope you will include us in your prayers!!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Twins!!

Since we announced to the world that we are expecting twins I realized that there are 2 most common questions.

The first question was always, “Is the gene from your family or your Mrs?” and they will normally follow it up with “Is it a boy and a girl?” The second question does not apply to you readers of course since you will know if you follow my blog long enough that we generally try to avoid knowing the gender. Needless to say the gender is already known to Dr N as well as the other Gynaes that did the scan for us and as usual at the beginning of each visit we have to remind them that we do not want to know the gender.

Back to question one. For your information the gene is from the Mrs’s side of the family. To be more precise it was from her grandparents. Her grandfather and granduncle were actually twin brothers who married her grandmother and grandaunt who were also twins themselves. In other words it was a pair of twin boys marrying a pair of twin girls. How cool is that right?! I wonder if they occasionally got their spouses mixed up …….. kidding!!

So there you have it. Answers to the two most commonly asked questions!

Truth be told while we were thrilled that we are expecting twins this time round, we can’t help but to feel a little worried as well. The initial part was for their safety because it is not uncommon for one of them to be “dropped” during the early stages. This was also why we waited until the Mrs was into her 15th week to announce. Even Dr N told us to be extremely careful till the very detailed scan which was carried out some time around the 14th week.

Once the novelty of having twins has settled down, we start to think about the real issues such as logistics and monies. We wonder whether or not my parents and Ani are able to handle the 3 of them during the day and more worrying is whether we can cope when we come home each evening. Can the 3 of us “take on” the 3 of them?! Currently we’re quite comfortable in that we can take turns to entertain Isaac in the evening right through to his bedtime but when we have 3 we will have to take care of 1 each. What about whenever we go out during the weekends? I can’t imagine how big or how many diaper bags we have to bring.

My sis is also due to deliver her daughter, Cate pretty soon too. So between her maid, Ani and my parents, they have 4 babies to take care of. Pardon me for referring to the future Isaac as a baby but I guess he will always remain just that, a baby!

Although they are not major issues but we were also thinking about transportation and prams and sleeping arrangements and cots and car seats! In fact the thing that bothered me quite a bit was the space in my car. By installing a permanent car seat I will not have space for Ani and my parents and that was before we knew we had twins. So as soon as we knew, we went out and got our car changed. Unbeknownst to Mike and Kat, they went along to help test the cars with us thinking that we were just tired of our car. Since we were looking at getting a MPV I figured we could use the extra weight and no, I’m not implying anything about Mike and Kat. It’s just that she was heavily pregnant then and Mike, well …….. let’s just say the Mrs and Kat have always been teasing that he looks 5 months pregnant.

Next of course we have to look at money matters, now that the milk powder and diapers consumption will be three times higher. While we are managing Isaac’s monthly expenses just fine, we can’t help but to start thinking about the additional money that we have to spend on a monthly basis. The only silver lining is we do not have to worry about their clothes since we can always use Isaac’s should there be a boy and receive hand-me-downs from Cate and Kaitlin should there be a girl.

Speaking of gender, I really hope that at least one of them will be a girl because as you know I have always wanted to be a parent to both genders. So I don’t mind if they are a boy and a girl or both girls. However I am mentally preparing myself in case they are both boys. I’m not sure if I will remain sane with 3 screaming boys running amok in my household.

Stay tuned for never seen before pictures of the twins unless of course OK! or Hello! comes calling first.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Journey

Over the weekend we attended a very nice wedding. It was a church wedding on a Saturday afternoon followed by a dinner reception at the Ritz Carlton on Sunday night.

I have attended church weddings before but this was a little different. To begin with the dress code was lounge suit so almost all the guys there were in suits and some of the ladies, my oh my, came in their nicest Sunday church dresses complete with the floral hats and feather hair pieces. It was like one of those weddings that we often see in movies.

The dinner was just as extravagant and the attendees included an Ambassador, Mediacorp artistes, businessmen and company heads and directors. I was commenting to the Mrs that only with weddings for the people much higher up the social ladder will you be able to get 99% of the men to turn up in suits. I know for a fact that even if I were to host my wedding reception again this weekend and indicate that the dress code is Black Tie, I will have at least 50% of the people ignoring my simple request. It is just not in us the common people. I know my parents’ friends and relatives are people who do not wear suits much less own one.

Anyway it is not my intention to talk about the spectacle of the wedding but rather about the meaning of weddings and marriages.

I have attended many weddings and most of them with the Mrs but somehow the wedding over the weekend “touched” me the most. I believed it has everything to do with the fact that the Mrs and I celebrated our 9th anniversary on Friday, the 19th of September. We got married on the 19.09.1999.

Sitting there in church and listening to the Reverend it felt as if he was talking to the two of us instead of the bride and groom. So many of the things he said made sense. What made the most impression on me was when he told the couple that the marriage is a journey that the two of them chose to embark together. It is 2 people living 1 life and the sooner they realize that there is no perfect marriage and there will be arguments and quarrels then the better it will be for them.

He went on to add that with each other they will fear no rain because in each other they will find shelter. With each other they will not have loneliness because in each other they will find companionship and with each other they will not fear hardship because in each other they will find support. (I have to clarify that what I had typed above was something to the effect of what the Reverend said. Wished I took notes then I can quote him word for word).

During the dinner the Best Man also gave a speech and what he said also made a lot of sense but for the life of me I can’t recall word for word what he said. All I remembered was it was wise and definitely sound advice. Spoken like a true married man I am not sure if the newly weds will be able to grasp as much as I did and if they did then I truly hope they did not forget just as quickly like me.

The Mrs and I are married for 9 years now and on the 7th year everything was smooth sailing as well. There was certainly no itch whatsoever. I am not sure if it is good or no good because over these 9 years our life (2 bodies living 1 life remember?) has been rather uneventful. There were of course the owning and moving into our current place and up until the birth of Isaac the most interesting and exciting things that happened to us were our holidays and cars changing (speaking of which we changed again slightly more than a month ago but that is another story for another day).

I remembered very clearly in my speech during my own wedding 9 years ago, I said that “to find your soul mate (ok, I didn’t use soul mate then but you get the idea) amongst the millions upon millions of people out there is really not easy so we have to really cherish one another”.

Now, I think I understand better that marriage is more than just signing a piece of paper or merging of the 2 families together. If someone who is not married were to ask me today what marriage is, I will tell them that it is a commitment to each other that you will work hard in keeping the marriage alive. It will be mundane at times, it will also be hard and that is why you both have to work doubly hard to keep it exciting and interesting.

After having spent the last 9 years together we have probably taken certain things about each other for granted. Even simple things like we will wake up to find our other half breathing right next to us. I hate to imagine how life will be should I wake up one day to find the Mrs no longer there and I have to continue on with the journey alone.

Each year I will arrange to send the Mrs a bouquet of flowers on our anniversary with a simple message and this year’s was:

To my dearest wife,

Thank you very much for 9 wonderful years and Isaac and now the twins!

Love always

Dylan

Monday, 15 September 2008

Benchmark

So my friends Mike and his wife, Kat gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Kaitlin last week at Gleneagles Hospital. It was such a happy occasion that the Mrs and I visited them at the hospital twice.

Looking at them brought back many memories for us. For instance how small Isaac was about 9 months ago. How we carry him around using only one hand and it freaked many people including experienced parents out there. Now, we sometimes struggle with even 2 hands when carrying Isaac.

However what hit me the most was the diaper changing and crying. The smell of her poop seemed so familiar and then it dawned on me that diaper duties will be back soon but that I think is still manageable because we have Ani. What got me a little worried there was the crying. See, Kaitlin has a very healthy set of lungs and she was not shy in using them to the full capacity (she cried till she turned red). Unlike Isaac who needed almost no feeding during the first 2 days, Kaithlin was a hungry baby and as most mothers would do, Kat tried to latch her on but had no luck during her short spell in the hospital. Each failed attempt was greeted by loud wailing by little Kaitlin.

My “look” must have been pretty obvious for the Mrs to shoot me a “don’t be rude” kind of look. I like to clarify that she was mistaken. I was not “frowning” at Kaitlin for crying out loudly because that is the most natural thing for babies to do when they need to vent their frustration and communicate with us. The reason I had a look on my face was because I was recalling if Isaac went through the same thing. Funny how being a dad shorten my memories because I drew a blank hence the “look”.

I was standing there trying to recall what went on in our hospital room with Isaac about 9 months ago. I guessed I was just curious how we handled the wailing Isaac because what I had just experienced was really a wake up call for our coming babies. If our babies turn out to be totally unlike Isaac then we may have gotten way over our heads this time.

Isaac for the most part had set a pretty high benchmark for the coming babies. He was a relatively quiet baby during the initial few months. All he did was eat, shit and sleep. There are of course the night feeding duties but that was manageable for us even though we did it without a confinement lady. He drank almost every 3 to 4 hourly day and night. He was able to sleep through the night shortly after the fourth trimester.

He is not a picky eater. I mean he has his likes and dislikes of course but he is alright with most things. He is even happy with just plain water. Sometimes he gets a little restless in the car, we feed him plain water and he will drink it and be quiet for a while.

Isaac sets and follows his own routine rather religiously. He will eat when he is supposed to and for the most part sleep when he is supposed to also. Actually come to think of it, Isaac will almost never say no to eating, be it milk, porridge or puree. He has even upgraded to eating just plain rice nowadays. He will make noise whenever we have our dinner so we give him few grains of white rice at intervals and that will keep him happy for a while.

Isaac is also not sticky and at the same time not afraid of strangers. This goes a long way in sharing the burden (read his weight) with friends and family. There are of course days that he feels a little cranky and he will be a little more selective who gets to carry him but these occasions are few and far between.

He also gave us no headaches when we brought him for his injections. Besides crying really loudly for his very first jab at the PD he never shed any tears for the subsequent two and he also did not develop fever after each of those jabs.

Looking back it could be because we had a relative easy time with Isaac that gave us the courage and final push to try for a second one so soon.

Our fingers are crossed for the coming babies to be as good if not better than Isaac. We really need them to be in their best behaviour otherwise we will really have a hard time handling them together. Managing one crying baby may not be too much of a challenge but if both of them cry at the same time then it is a different ball game altogether and I seriously hope and pray that they will not affect Isaac when they cry.

I have a feeling our lives is really starting to get interesting.

Meanwhile it is official that Isaac is a plus size baby. I was never too convinced that Isaac is a plus size (cannot use the word Fat) baby because the way I see him, he is really not much difference from other babies. I mean they come in different shapes and sizes right but in my defence I did not really have a baby of about his age to compare in person.

So what convinced me was the birthday lunch that we attended yesterday. It was my friend’s son who turned one. During lunch a stranger (seated at our table) whose wife is also expecting twins approached us for our “secret” in getting Isaac to the size that he is today. My honest answer, it is all his own credit because he was the one who ate the quantity that he has been eating and also set his own routine. Guess I was not of not much help huh?!

By the way, the birthday boy is only about 9.2kg and 1 year old and Isaac weighed in at 8.8kg that morning, nuff said!



Never get tired of seeing this "ugly" face!


Just as happy when carried by mummy!



Isaac at 8.5 mths old is only 400g lighter than birthday boy, Aloysius!



What's the secret for keeping such round and smooth face?



There is always time for a little father and son fun!