Friday, 27 March 2009

Awkward!!

Last Sunday we took Ani out for a high-tea buffet to celebrate her birthday. Since she really like salmon sashimi and the Mrs has always like the spread at Carousel, we decided to buy her lunch there.

The original plan was to leave Isaac at my dad's place in order to allow Ani time and space to enjoy her birthday treat. With Isaac around he will surely be a handful and we felt that Ani may not be able to enjoy as much. However Ani was a little sad when she learned of our plan so we decided to bring Isaac along.

Is this cone too hard or I do not have enough teeth?

On that day it was also the first time that we used the twin stroller that my SIL had bought us all the way from Canada. She is a citizen there and when she learned that we were having twins she immediately told us that she will get a twin stroller for us as a gift. She had to lug it all the way from Canada as well when she came over to visit during the Chinese New Year.

She would be pleased to know that the stroller was a breeze to handle and it is also not that heavy. Like most twin strollers it is rather bulky and would have problem fitting into our old car. But with this new 7 seater we had no such problem although we had to give up the last row of seats. From our trip that day we also concluded that in fact there are a number of escalators that will not be able to take our stroller.

Overall lunch was good and we all enjoyed ourselves even though Isaac was a little cranky. He was not feeling well as he had probably caught the virus from his cousin. He was always demanding to be carried or fed so as usual the 3 of us had to take turn to carry and pacify him. Before we knew it almost 2 hours had passed and we had to leave as the restaurant prepared itself for the dinner buffet.

She just can't bear to celebrate without Isaac


Who says caring for 3 kids is easy?!?!!?

The Mrs and Ani caring for 3 of them like how they do on a daily basis.

Now those of you who had followed this blog since day one will probably remember that I had for the longest time chosen not to reveal our identities because the Mrs has always been afraid of unwanted attentions. Imagine her shock and uneasiness when we wheeled out the twins in their new stroller for the first time. People were staring at us and for the most part smiling. She was so uncomfortable from the short walk between Shaw House where we parked our car to the Royal Plaza on Scotts. I could tell that she was evading eye contact with the strangers who were walking in our direction.

As all the 3 babies needed to have their diapers changed we decided to head towards Isetan Scotts since they have one of the better nursery around.

On the way back to Shaw House the Mrs again felt very awkward and had to always engage me in conversation in order to avoid making eye contact with oncoming strangers. I also suggested for her to wear her shades the next time we bring the twins out in their stroller.

The observations we made was rather interesting because this is not the first time we brought all the 3 babies out but we have always had the Mrs and Ani sling the twins while I carry Isaac. Although there were stares but they were never quite like what we had experienced with the stroller. Immediately upon crossing Claymore Hill road we were stopped by 2 Chinese ladies. They asked if they were twins and requested to take a picture of them. While I was replying them the Mrs had already walked on.

I should have read that as a sign that she will not be of any help from what is to come next!

There were no further incidents and we reached the nursery at Isetan Scotts rather quickly using the lift of course. Even though the very long escalator looked like it could handle the stroller I was not confident I could manage getting the stroller on and off the escalator. I told Ani I will have a trial run another day without the twins actually in there of course.

Nothing much happened in the nursery except for some pleasant exchange with another 2 ladies there who were feeding this little boy.

Once we were done they Mrs and Ani wanted to pick some stuffs up for the babies department and since the stroller is too big to be manoeuvred between the aisle and rows of products I decided to park myself with the twins right next to where they display the prams and strollers.

Our twin stroller!!

What happened next was something that even I had difficulty handling. The twins in their stroller literally stopped traffic. Everyone that walked down that aisle would stopped and check if they were twins and their genders and age before proceeding to guess which is the boy and which is the girl. Those who were with their family and chanced upon us first will guessed and then once their family members caught up they will made them guess the gender as well. If only I get a dollar with each guess..........

Most people are excited to learn that they are of different genders.

The Isetan employees and promoters also left their post just to come and sneak a peek. Some even got their colleagues from another section to come and look and again guess the gender.

There was this Caucasian man who became a father himself 5 days back showed me the pictures of his daughter in his phone and asked to take pictures of the twins at the same time. Basically I spoke with men and women of different colour, age, shape and size.

Can you tell who is Luke and who is Hayley?

All this while the Mrs and Ani along with Isaac were at a distance away watching and sniggering away. I could tell from the look on the Mrs's face that she was REALLY glad she was not the one who had to wait with the twins. Think she will probably dig a hole and bury her head in.

After what seemed like an eternity these people finally moved on and before more came down this aisle I quickly moved away with the twins and join up with the Mrs.

If I didn't know any better I would have thought mine are the last children on earth, think Children of Men. The way these people reacted was nice but a tad too overwhelming. While I am fine with strangers staring and smiling away and asking the odd question or two, this experience with the crowd was a little too weird.

Although this little experience did nothing to deter me from bringing the stroller out again I know for a fact that it will take a lot more now for the Mrs to agree to handle the stroller alone with the twins in it.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Revenge!!

When we first found out we were having twins there were many people including a few readers from here who said we were lucky and how they wish they have twins as well. My reply to them then was to give us a few months and let me blog about my experience first before you wish for it.

Well here is an update for you twins seekers after having ours home for a little over a month.

I believe the hardest part of having twins is really the sleep deprivation. When we had Isaac, although he was usually cranky between 9pm till about midnight or 1am it was still very much manageable. There were 2 of us and only 1 of him so we could always take turn to care for and pacify him.

With the twins now we sort of have our own designated baby to care for throughout the night. Currently they are sleeping on the same cot, although not for long at the rate that they are growing, so when one wails the other will be woken up also. It is hence very important for us to remove the wailing twin from the cot ASAP to prevent doubling (literally) our trouble.

As mentioned in my last post the twins, like Isaac, are also a little more unsettled during late night till early hours in the morning. Here is an example; I was back from the legendary Bangkok trip with Mike on Sat night and I was home close to midnight but I did not get to sleep till 6 the next morning. Perhaps the twins really missed their dad during his 3 days away. On Sunday I went to bed at about 4am and then 3am on Monday night. A definite improvement judging from the time but not nearly good enough if you ask me.

On Tuesday we brought the twins to Dr K, their PD for their BCG injections and the only question I had prepared for him was "Is it normal for them to be more unsettled at night?" His answer was they are unable to tell night from day so only way is to tire them out a little more in the day in order for them to sleep better at night and hopefully a routine will emerge after a while and they will understand that lights off means sleep time.

Since our visit to Dr K we have decided to stop swaddling them and make sure they get up for their feed every 3 hourly during the day. In the evening between 8pm to 10pm is the hardest because they are usually "gone" by then so it is very hard to try and keep them awake and not to the extent that they will get agitated and cry. If the previous 2 nights were anything to go by then our little "revenge" on the twins have paid dividend because they were sound asleep by about 11pm and went back to sleep without much fuss immediately after their night feeds.

The irony in life, well at least mine, was when the twins are asleep by 11pm I was wide awake. I remembered I stayed awake till Luke's next feed at about 2am and only went back to sleep at about 3ish. Looking back now maybe the 24 DVD did not help. Since I only had to feed Luke so the Mrs was able to have an uninterrupted sleep. Another irony was because Hayley was so quiet and did not wake up for her feed after 3 hours I got out of bed just before turning in to go check on her just to make sure she was alright. This is what I call the typical "baby-monitor syndrome". You leave a baby monitor near your baby so that you will be alerted should she cry. On one hand you wish she can sleep through and not bother you but if there was complete silence after a while you get worried and had walk over to take a peep.

Oh, about Hayley missing her feed at nights, no worries on that because she is now able to last up to 6 hours after each feed. We do not mind it so much during the nights but we made sure she did not miss her feeds during the day. It was a pleasant surprise for us and a quick check with Dr K revealed there is no cause to worry since her weight gain is normal. Hence we are allowed to feed her on demand at night.

Luke on the other hand is quite different. Not only did he gain weight he actually gained a little too much. In the 4 weeks between our visits to Dr K, Hayley gained a total of 1.1kg which was good while Luke gained a grand total of 1.5kg. He weighed in at 3.865kg on Tuesday while Hayley was 3.3kg. For those of you who aren’t parents yet, typical weight gain for infant should be between 800g to 1kg in a month so you do the math on Luke. The difference between the two is rather obvious now. You can tell just by looking at them and of course from carrying them. After the visit to Dr K we were told not to increase Luke's quantity and we have also decided to place him in the feed on demand program for both day and night. By the way they are currently on 90ml of milk at each feed and they are going through a tin of milk a week now!!

What is your opinion of having twins now?

At the time of publishing the most recent photos of the twins are not available so do check back to see if you can tell them apart.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Sawadeekup

Hello! I am writing this post while waiting for my room at a hotel lobby in Bangkok but before you think "Wah!! The two of them are on a vacation so soon?!?!?!", think again. I am here on a business trip and for the record I rather not be here and leave the Mrs alone at home handling the twins. I am sitting here worrying how is she going to handle the two of them in the middle of the night. Instructions have been given to Ani to stay alert for these 2 nights once Isaac is asleep.

Actually I am only needed here for a meeting tomorrow but as it will take the whole day hence I am required to fly in a day earlier. So by right the Mrs only needs to handle the twins alone for one night but my bro, Mike needs to come and give thanks to the Buddha hence we timed it so that we can have a boys' day out on Saturday and as a result the Mrs has to take on an extra night. Very kind of her I know and I am grateful.

The Mrs and the 3 kids sent me to the airport this morning and I have to admit it was hard leaving Isaac. This is especially so when his eyes turned all red and teary when I got off the car and said "bye bye" to him. The closest I have felt like this was when the Mrs and I had to go on our holiday before we had Isaac and we had to leave Dino at the pet hotel. The way he looked at us while we walked away was so hard to bear.

Anyway kids being kids, with a little distraction Isaac was fine once again before the Mrs drove off. He was happy waving "bye bye" to me and busy giving me his flying kisses complete with the mmmmm.....uah......... sound! See below video for an example of how he does it.

video

An example of his "flying kiss"

Last night the Mrs discovered that it has been more than 1.5 years since I last travelled. I guess being parents will do that to one. Anyway because I had not travelled for so long, I almost did not make it this trip. Last night while packing I realised that my passport has less than 6 months before expiring.

What is the deal about this 6 months period anyway? I know it is an international regulation but why 6 months and not 3 or for that matter 1 month? Why is it that airlines will not accept you if your passport has less than 6 months before expiring?

So I was busy last night and this morning calling everyone I can think of, i.e. the ICA, Immigration at the Changi Airport, the airline office as well as their operations representative at the airport.

Read on only if foresee yourself being in the same predicament and you want to learn how we can overcome this situation.

Basically the local immigration told me that they have no problem with me leaving the country and as far as they know countries such as Thailand and Malaysia are pretty lenient with us. The reservation office of the airline said that since I have a confirmed return flight then it should also not be a problem. However the Operations Representative gave me a flat ‘NO!’ He said that the airline could be fined so they will not risk it.

My only option was to have my passport extended since I could not apply for a new passport and expect to collect it within 2 hours. A quick check on the internet states that passport extension is only possible for people under 17.5 years. So I did the smart thing and called ICA directly. The lady on the other line simply advised me to hurry my ass down to ICA with my travel documents and my photos and their officers will see if they could help me.

So to cut a long story short, there were basically 3 stages that I have to clear and all within an hour if I were to have any hope of making the flight. ICA is able to issue me a Document of Identity and the 1st stage was the toughest as I had to be interviewed by an officer and listen to her telling me off for not checking before booking my flight. I had to jump queue here (all 8 numbers) by walking around to see who was next and then approached her with my sob story.

2nd stage was pretty fast as it was only submitting my photos and making the payment of $15. Although I did not jump queue I had to walk up to the counter and rush the officer when the number before mine drew no response after 10 seconds. She was kind enough to buzz my number and then attended to me.

3rd stage was merely collection and I ensured the lady whom I handed the document over knew exactly how small a window I had. So after rushing everyone and jumping queue I finally made it out of there within an hour.

While waiting at ICA I suddenly remembered that I had not withdrawn any money and changed it to Thai Baht so depending on what time I got to the airport it may be another mad rush.

Thank goodness I managed to sort everything out within 2 hours if not I would have missed this important meeting with a principal who came all the way from Denmark and just as importantly disappointed my bro who must have been looking forward to this *legen……. wait for it …….. dary trip!

*Note: You will understand if you are a fan of the hit sitcom, How I Met Your Mother.

My next trip will be to Hong Kong with the Mrs and you can rest assured that this madness will not happen again for I am so applying for a passport renewal when I am back.

Now we are just considering if we can bring Isaac along provided he is no longer a bad boy and stop shouting.

video

Who is the bad boy?

video

Hear him SHOUT........!

Friday, 6 March 2009

Coping?

"How are you two coping?" "Can you manage the twins?" "Must be tiring righ?" "Getting enough sleep?"

These seem to be the most common questions that people are directly at us at the moment. We have families, friends, neighbours, colleagues, relatives, readers and yes, even strangers asking us these types of questions almost on a daily basis.

According to the Mrs, there are even strangers who either made a slight detour or simply stood there and waited just to find out if they are indeed twins and ask how we are coping. These people are usually more amazed once they see how young Isaac is.

Now for the benefit of those who are followers of this blog, you will be able to have a better understand just how we are coping, struggling even sometimes.

Generally we are still coping fine with them. Ani as usual is still mainly taking care of Isaac with some additional work such as more laundry and of course the occasional helping out with the feeding and coaxing of the twins.

The Mrs and I are still the main caregivers to the twins. While I am at work she will handle them almost singlehandedly unless of course both of them cry or demand to be fed at the same time. Once I am back from work I will take over from the Mrs the main role of feeding, changing and carrying them. This is to give her a break after all she had to endure their crying and demands for most part of the day already.

There are basically 2 periods in a day that are most tiring. The first being the early evenings when we had to take care of Isaac as well since Ani has to prepare dinner and wash up after we are done amongst other things. This window although tiny, usually about 2 hours, is really quite tiring. Isaac is crawling, climbing and throwing things around non-stop and basically tearing the house apart. Once Ani is done with her chores and showered she will come and take over Isaac while we go back to concentrating on the twins.

For those of you who have been reading this blog since Isaac was a baby may recall that Isaac was usually very cranky during the night from about 9pm till about midnight before he will quiet down and go to sleep. I am wondering if it was our lifestyle when we were pregnant because the same is happening with the twins. They like Isaac are crankier during the night and will be better in the early hours of the morning.

The second most taxing part of the day for me is during the nights. For whatever reasons they will not be able to just lie in their cot and sleep after feeding, unlike during the day. They will be unsettled and before long we will have to carry them. Having said that I am grateful that they usually take turns to be cranky instead of both crying at the same time.

I was just commenting to the Mrs last night that it is starting to feel like there is a punishment waiting for me each night and that is to stand (罚站). Most probably due to the lack of exercise my back is starting to ache as well by standing and carrying the twin (sometimes twins).

So far this Wednesday night was the hardest because the twins took turns to be cranky and kept me up till 4am before finally allowing me to go to sleep. Even then I had to carry Hayley to bed and sleep with her in my arms. Whenever possible I will try and attend to the twins alone during the night feeds because I feel the Mrs is a little more impatient with them in the early hours of the morning. Who could blame her right? After all she had to suffer all the screaming from Isaac and wailing from the twins not to mention all the feeding and changing of diapers. Guess all she wanted was a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Besides being taxing on us physically, it is also very taxing on the monetary front. Take the diapers for example. A bag of 48 diapers will usually only last for about 3 days. The twins are fed and changed every 3 hourly so they will normally use about 16 diapers a day. Thankfully they are still on partial breast milk so this at least helps to reduce the consumption of formula milk.

I understand that there are parents who are successful in potty training their babies even at the very young age of about 6 months. Maybe this is what we should do although I know this is easier said than done.