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Archive for the ‘motherhood’ Category

We’ve been in our new place for 2 weeks now, but we’re still not quite settled yet. To be honest, it’s been a challenging couple of weeks.

For starters, Alyssa fell ill the night before we moved. She developed a fever in the middle of the night that lasted for the next five days, and a bad cough too. The cough got progressively worse in the morning and we decided that rather than keeping her with me for the move and exposing her to all the dust which aggravated her cough, that my parents would bring her home for a couple of hours.

What a milestone for her. She’s never been taken care of by anyone outside of my home, nor for that many hours. That was the day she was started on formula as well. We had emptied out the freezer, so all the stored expressed breastmilk was finished. I had planned on nursing her during the day. So all of a sudden she had to try formula. Thankfully she took well to it!

What a change. For Asher and Ellery I had planned exactly when they would try formula milk, bought a small tin several days in advance, introduced it slowly with half-and-half breastmilk and formula milk, slowly increasing the amount of formula until it was just formula milk. For Alyssa, we just decided that very morning, told my mum which brand and she hurried to the supermarket to get a tin :) And the best part was, I was totally ok with it. Definitely third child laissez-faire-ness.

The movers were great. We hired Alliance Movers on recommendation from a friend and they were excellent! The guy who came around to give the quote was friendly and reassuring. The movers themselves were super efficient, professional, helpful, and despite all the work, cheerful! I loved seeing the movers chatting and joking with each other even as they worked. It made moving a less stressful affair. And there seemed to be nothing they couldn’t do. They helped to disassemble and reassemble our bed, dismounted then mounted some shelves, wrapped up everything quickly and properly (sofas, tables, computers, etc), provided 2 large clothes rack for moving clothes (fantastic! No need to re-iron Jon’s shirts!) and helped with packing our stray items. And they were so fast. I spent weeks packing, and in just a few hours the entire house was empty. The only things left were some items in the storeroom that we hadn’t had the chance to run through yet so told them to leave it behind.

2014-12-04 12.10.24

Filling the truck with our stuff

 

With Alyssa ill I couldn’t unpack much though. So for days the boxes just sat there. I started to feel stressed and overwhelmed. I don’t like mess. I’m actually quite OCD about cleanliness and having everything in its place (even though I’ve lowered my expectations since the kids came along). When the house is messy, my internal life feels messy. So living in a house full of boxes before moving, and then still living in a house full of boxes after moving, plus the dust that inevitably plagues new houses, and noticing the rectifications missed out by the interior designers, and finding new things that needed rectification, and scuttling back to the old house to clear it out for the new tenant, and a sick baby that was quite literally stuck to me the whole time…all this really drove me crazy. Everything felt grimy and dusty. Everything seemed to be going wrong.

The boys and the husband were perfectly happy though. In fact, the boys settled right in as if they lived here all along! It was a real blessing, but in my stressed state I failed to be more grateful for it. Even though we now have a view to die for outside our window, I was grumpy and focusing on the mess.

Until one afternoon, as I sat glumly staring out the upper windows at the dust encrusted on the outside, cursing to myself at how the interior designers didn’t clean it up as they were supposed to, I found my eyes refocusing from the glass of the window, to the clouds that were framed by the window. Beautiful, white fluffy clouds set against a gorgeous blue sky. And then it hit me that, like my eyes just a moment before, I was focusing on the wrong thing. Instead of looking at the dirt on the window, I should be looking at the clouds outside the window.

I felt lighter. I wouldn’t say completely at ease, but lighter and less stressed. I can do this, I thought. And prayed.

And the change in attitude came not a moment too soon, because the day after, I somehow found myself with a sprained back. I couldn’t stand upright. Walking was painful. Sitting was painful. Sigh. But I’m grateful for the people who prayed for me, and that my back is better now. Not perfect, but better.

And in spite of the back I kept trying to unpack. Now the house is less cluttered even though there are still boxes that need to be unpacked. It’s reaching the point where I can’t see how it’s all going to fit into the cupboards. Might need to do another round of throwing out things. I grumbled to my husband about how we should have made more cabinets. We have planned some things to be built in a second phase to save on costs for now, but I felt we needed it now. But his position is that we should just throw out more stuff. I suppose he’s right too. I probably hang on to too much stuff. Overly sentimental about so many things.

So, the unpacking is not done yet.

In the meantime, the boys have been having a blast here. They love going downstairs to play, they’ve been enjoying playing with boxes, and they’ve been rediscovering a lot of our books. Previously they were kept on a shelf that wasn’t so conducive for browsing. Now they are pulling out all the old books and reading through them. I reminded myself to be thankful that they could entertain themselves this way while I handled Alyssa.

And yes, as for Alyssa, she’s better now. She’s finally not coughing all the time, at night her coughing is much better too (it was worst at night). She’s back to being a smiley, happy baby. For those five days that she was feverish, she barely smiled. It was so unlike her. I had to scramble to find a paediatrician near our house to attend to her after we moved. Thankfully I have some friends with kids in the east who could recommend me their doctor. She hated the nasal spray and didn’t like her medicine. She also lost her appetite and didn’t eat anything, only drank milk, and even then not that much. As a result she lost quite a bit of weight. But she’s regained her appetite again, thankfully.

The bad part is, her routine is completely messed up. I never enforced a routine. She kind of fell into one naturally. She used to nap around 10am, then barely slept, taking maybe 5 to 15 minute naps here and there, before knocking out around 7/730pm. She’d then sleep for several hours without waking up until around midnight or 1am. Now, she sleeps around 8pm and she’s up every hour or so. Less sleep is no fun. Am hoping she somehow falls back into her usual routine again.

So, yes. It’s been a tough 2 weeks.

Hope to make the house look more presentable soon and have some semblance of a Christmassy home before Christmas arrives!

How many boys fit into a box? The boys packing themselves away before we moved

How many boys fit into a box?

2014-11-23 14.26.37

The boys packing themselves away before we moved

Saying goodbye to our first home

Saying goodbye to our first home

Empty!

Empty!

Boxes in our new place

Boxes in our new place

Boxes in our livingroom and the view outside :)

Boxes in our livingroom and the view outside :)

We have a balcony now! Great for messy things like excavating bones

We have a balcony now! Great for messy things like excavating bones

Bookish boys

Bookish boys

Making a tunnel of boxes to race through

Making a tunnel of boxes to race through

It's a tie!

It’s a tie!

 

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After I dropped Asher in school for his sleepover, Ellery and I had our special day (or evening rather). He was playing in the sandpit and made me sand pies, so for dinner we decided to have some real pies at Pies & Coffee.

We had duck confit and wagyu beek cheek pie. The filling was good. The meat was tender and the gravy rich and flavourful. But I was really disappointed by the pie crust which was much too dry and crumbly. It could be an off day. I’ve been there once before and the pie crust was better.

Our pies

Our pies. The mash potato was so good!

We headed home so that Alyssa could bathe and I made a deal with Ellery that we’d go out for ice-cream after Alyssa slept. He was so excited! My goodness. When we left the house he was happily chanting, “Mei mei (little sister) is not here! Mei mei is not here!”. He did clarify later that he loves his sister but was just happy that it was him and me alone that night. I really should try to schedule in these special days with the boys more often if possible.

Ellery chose to go Ben & Jerry’s, and he chose the flavours of ice-cream, and the toppings. Brownie with Candy Bar Pie and Chocolate Therapy ice-cream, hundreds-and-thousands, and sliced almonds. I approve. Yum! We shared of course :)

Ice-cream treat!

Ice-cream treat!

After ice-cream we walked around Dempsey a bit and ended up at Jones the Grocer. I decided to bring him to the cheese room just for fun, and oh, how much fun we had! He was sooooo amused by the names of the cheese and was especially tickled by Munster and Ticklemore! I had never heard of Ticklemore cheese too and found it quite funny. But Ellery thought the names of these two cheese was simply hilarious! He laughed so loud, and long, and hard! “Mun-han-hahaha-han-ster!!! Ti-hee-hee-hee-ckle-hahahahaha-more!!!!”

We bought back some Ticklemore to try and wanted to get some Munster too but the salesperson strongly advised against it. Maybe another day I’ll get a small piece to let him try.

In the cheese room

In the cheese room

Munster

Munster

Ticklemore

Ticklemore

Laughing his head off

Laughing his head off

We wandered Cucina too to see the produce they were selling, before heading home.

Looking at veggies and fruit at Cucina

Looking at veggies and fruit at Cucina

A special day indeed. We should have another some time :)

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Asher didn’t have school on Friday because the K2 kids were going to have a sleepover in school (how fun right?) Since Asher had been asking to go ice-skating again I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to bring him. With Ellery in school I could focus my attention on Asher and help him become more confident on the ice.

So off we went to JCube. After a warming lunch of katsu curry (he said he wanted his body to warm up so he wouldn’t feel cold on the ice), we went ice-skating, just him and me. Alyssa was with Eni.

It was really special for Asher and I. I seldom ever get the chance to be with just him, even when there were just 2 kids. With 3 it’s even tougher. This was our first time, and he was so happy.

We were pleasantly surprised to bump into his two classmates there. They had been wanting to go back after the Frozen party too. It was great! He became a lot steadier on the ice and could move a little more smoothly, though still far from what I’d call skating. Still more like walking, or shuffling. But he was not afraid. And he was happy :)

I didn’t realise that the Rink had fixed timeslots for skating and we missed about 30mins of the 2 hour slot, but I made a promise to him, so I kept it. And it was so worth it.

With his classmates on the ice

With his classmates on the ice

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This 4th month Alyssa started laughing for real. I still remember that date exactly – 14 Aug – because Asher and I had gone to attend an event together. It was after the event that she suddenly found Asher very funny and kept laughing whenever he brought leaned in towards her.

First laughs!

First laughs!

In the last few days she also started to flip over, usually to her right side, and on two occasions even tried to push up a bit with her left arm. Definitely need to surround her with pillows now when she’s on our bed at night sometimes. Don’t want her to fall off the bed! Both Asher and Ellery fell of the bed as babies *sigh*, with Ellery having the dubious honour of falling off it more than 3 times since birth (he last was when he was almost 3 years old), always head first *SIGH*. Jon and I are hoping it’s not some rite of passage for Nair babies. Hoping it’s a boy thing.

She’s putting on weight, looking chubbier, and has broken the 6kg mark. Haven’t seen the PD yet, but I’m pretty sure he’s still going to tell me she’s gaining weight slowly. But she certainly doesn’t look it. She seems quite tall, and people tend to over-estimate her age.

She’s awake most of the day now. I’m kept very busy with her these days, but I confess I talk to her less than I did with the boys. With Ellery I already found myself talking less with him, with her even less. I find that I get lost in my own thoughts a lot, mostly because once the boys and Jon are around I have to chat with them so much. I like it of course, don’t get me wrong, but I suppose because I’m the kind that needs alone time to recharge, I end up being quiet with her. I have to consciously tell myself to snap out of it. Ironically, she doesn’t help herself by being such a good, generally quiet, little girl.

But she has been crying a lot more this past month. When she gets upset, oh man, she can really cry down the house. There were a couple of weeks where she was extremely sticky and would cry piteously if anyone else tried to carry her. Surprisingly it’s toned down this past week, and I’m hoping it stays that way.

She’s also doing the little girl thing. She can sometimes be quite tneh/tgneh (how in the world do you spell that?) It’s Singlish for (how in the world do you explain it?) trying to get attention by making little girlish whines…I suppose that’s a decent explanation. There were a couple of times I was carrying her, and when I put her down she complained (I don’t know how I should spell that either – “nnnngggggg”?? Singlish is clearly a spoken, not written thing…)

It could also be a girl thing that the toys she likes best are those with faces. Her favourite toy so far is Lionel the Lion that one of my aunts gave Asher when he was a baby. Both Asher and Ellery were cool towards it, but it’s Alyssa best friend. When she’s upset, I just need to get Lionel to talk to her and she’d smile. There was once she seemed to even roar back at him, but I could be imagining things.

Alyssa and Lionel

Alyssa and Lionel

She’s become very grabby, and everything she grabs goes in her mouth. She seems to need to chew on something a lot more now – teething? Seems a bit early. But it’s really no fun being her chew toy when I’m breastfeeding her. And when I yelp, she just looks at me and smiles her sweet smile.

8 Sep 2014

8 Sep 2014: Je M’appelle Comparison

8 Sep 2014: Taller

8 Sep 2014: Taller

8 Sep 2014: Sitting more steadily now

8 Sep 2014: Sitting more steadily now

Big hugs from Kor Kor Ellery! I love this series of pictures!

Big hugs from Kor Kor Ellery! I love this series of pictures!

She's so happy to be cuddled!

She’s so happy to be cuddled!

Yeah, me and my Kor Kor

Yeah, me and my Kor Kor

13 Sep: First time on the Bumbo

13 Sep: First time on the Bumbo

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Faster

We said, “Only if both of you finish eating your food by 6pm can we go to the Night Safari.”

Ellery is a slow eater, so Asher took matters into his own hands.

2014-07-24 18.34.24

2014-07-24 18.34.33

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Becoming a mother introduces you to the world of baby slings and carriers. I’ve tried my fair share of them – the ring sling, the pouch, and a few types of structured carriers. It’s so important to find the right carrier as it really can make or break your day…and your back. Besides the essentials like diapers, the carrier/sling is the most important item I bring for each outing.

When I discovered I was pregnant with no. 3, I knew I had to find a way to carry baby comfortably while still having both hands free to hold onto the older boys’ hands when crossing the road. Having free hands was especially crucial as I pick the boys after school by myself everyday, and the carpark is big with everything from motorcycles to coaches going by frequently.

I knew I wanted something close to a sling style carrier as I like how cosy slings are for young babies with the cloth wrapped snugly around them, but I hoped for something that could give the double-shouldered support of structured carriers.

I drew up a list of requirements for my ideal carrier:
1 Comfortable and cosy for baby
2. Comfortable for me
3. Easy to use
4. Hands free

In the course of my research I stumbled upon the award-winning Baby K’tan and I was really excited because it seemed to fit the bill.

Awards Collage (updated)

(Updated Mar 2015: Baby K’Tan won another award this year)

 

 

I was given the opportunity to review the Baby K’Tan Breeze, and after 3 months of use I can say that it definitely meets all my criteria! Here’s the low down on the Baby K’Tan sling, and the Breeze model in particular.

About the Baby K’Tan Breeze

The Baby K’tan carrier comes as two loops of fabric joined by a smaller loop of cloth. There’s also an extra safety sash to use for certain carrying positions. It’s a simple yet clever design, functioning as a cross between a sling, a wrap and a carrier. It is as light as a sling but you can carry baby in more positions, as cosy as a wrap but without all the fussy extra cloth dangling everywhere, and as comfortable as a structured carrier but without the bulk.

getting started

The basic structure of the Baby K’Tan

The Baby K’Tan Breeze is similar in every way to the original Baby K’Tan except that instead of being made entirely of cotton, each loop is half mesh, half cotton. I chose the Breeze in white to reflect heat since my aim was to have a carrier that was as cooling as possible.

Comfortable and Cosy for Baby

The Baby K’Tan Breeze is ideal for use in Singapore with our hot and humid climate (for those of you not from here, the temperature is around 28°C on average, going as high as 34°C on hot days, and our relative humidity is upwards of 80% on average, sometimes hitting 100% during the rainy season). We also have the problem of very cold shopping malls that over-compensate for the hot weather.

The Breeze gives me the flexibility to adjust the wrapping material depending on the weather and where I am. Outdoors I adjust the loops such that two layers of mesh wrap baby. On a cooler day, I use one layer of mesh and one layer of cotton. At shopping malls and supermarkets, I use two layers of cotton over baby to keep her warm and snug.

the cotton side

the cotton side

the mesh side - thin and cooling, but strong

the mesh side – thin and cooling, but strong

There are no buckles or rings that get in the way, so the only thing that touches baby’s skin is the soft wrapping of the sling. I have many curious passersby asking me about the Baby K’Tan and gushing about how great the mesh fabric is. The most common comment I get when I wear baby is, “Wow! That looks really comfortable for baby!”

Comfortable for Me

That comment is usually followed by, “And it looks so comfortable for you too!”

This is so important. I used to be an avid user of the ring sling. But for all the things I liked about ring slings (it’s lightweight, folds small so its easy to put in the diaper bag, comfortable for baby), the key flaw was that the entire weight of baby was bourne on one shoulder. That resulted in poor posture and back aches. I liked how structured carriers distribute the weight across both shoulders, but it was bulkier and less cosy for newborns.

Baby K’Tan is like a dream come true in this area. You enjoy all the benefits of the sling, plus you get the comfort of even weight distribution across both shoulders! How great is that?

Easy to Use

Putting on the Baby K’tan is as easy as putting on a T-shirt. Just put the loops over your head like a necklace, put one arm through each loop, and you’re basically ready to put baby in.

Having used ring slings a lot previously, I can tell you that using the Baby K’Tan is a piece of cake. I know many people like the cosiness of slings but shy away from using a ring sling because of the difficulty they have in adjusting the cloth. As for baby wraps, even fans of it move to other carriers because there’s just so much cloth it becomes too hot for baby in our weather. It’s also a bit yucky that the ends touch the ground, especially on rainy days.

With the K’Tan’s two loops, all these problems go away. You don’t need to adjust the length of the cloth, and there isn’t an endless amount of cloth to deal with. The extra sash used for certain carrying positions is not that long, and when not in use it folds into a bag to store the carrier (nifty eh), and is small enough to stuff into your handbag.

The Baby K’Tan stretches out a bit after some use, but like a pair of jeans, it shrinks back to size after throwing it in the washing machine! It’s also dryer safe so you can have it washed and ready for use very quickly.

There are a variety of carrying positions, and most require little (if any) practice at all. My favourite is the ‘hug’ position that I used from when baby was a month old (see this video for instructions to adapt this position for a newborn). Now that Alyssa is more aware and wants to look out I’ve been using the ‘explore’ position too. I’ve also tried the outward facing ‘adventure’ position which, unlike other outward facing carriers, provides a seat for baby rather than dangling her from her crotch.

She sleeps very soundly in the 'hug' position.

She sleeps very soundly in the ‘hug’ position

Enjoying the view in the 'explore' position

Enjoying the view in the ‘explore’ position

Hands Free

I can firmly attest to this. I find the Baby K’Tan Breeze wraps baby tightly to my body and provides enough head support for me to walk without needing to give baby extra support. This completely frees me to hold the hands of my two older boys when crossing the road or walking in the carpark. In fact, at the end of each week when the kids bring home their sleeping stuff from school, I carry baby, my diaper bag, two large duffel bags with their pillows, bedsheets and blankets, and still hold onto my boys’ hands. No sweat.

Me faking jumping jacks with the kids at their sports day

Me doing fake jumping jacks with the kids at their sports day (you really shouldn’t be jumping when wearing baby in any kind of sling!)

Downsides

The main downside about the Baby K’Tan is that you have to make sure you get the right size since the cloth comes pre-looped. It needs to be snug enough so that baby is held close to you when carried.

[Updated Mar 2015]
Baby K’tan used to only show US sizes in their sizing chart. When I bought my first Baby K’tan carrier I mistakenly thought they were in UK sizes and bought the wrong size. Baby K’tan has since updated their sizing chart to show both US and international sizing.

Sizing - International

As the sizing matters, you may not be able to share the Baby K’Tan with your partner if he is a lot larger than you. This isn’t really a problem for me as I have always been the one to sling the kids if they have to be carried for a longer time.

The other downside I found is that it’s a little hard for me to position baby to breastfeed in this sling. However, that’s just me. I personally know someone who breastfeeds her kid in the K’Tan while walking! What I do is I just take baby out before breastfeeding, No biggie. [Update Oct 2014: I’ve since learned how to position baby to breastfeed her and it’s quite easy. The best positions are to cradle her with her legs sticking out, and in the hug position!]

Verdict

I would highly recommend the Baby K’Tan as it’s comfortable and easy to use, and I’d recommend the Breeze model in particular because it’s perfect for our Singapore weather. It’s a product I wish I had when my older kids were babies as it would have saved me a lot of back aches and shoulder pains.

I had wanted the Baby K’Tan to replace my sling for when baby was small, and move on to my usual structured carrier when she gets heavier. But I might consider using this when the time comes as the K’Tan is comfortable and can carry kids up to about 16kg.

Sound asleep

Sound asleep, wrapped up and cosy

— GIVEAWAY —

The Baby K’Tan Breeze is not available in Singapore, but Baby K’Tan has generously provided one white Baby K’Tan Breeze in size M worth US$59.95 to giveaway to a reader!

To qualify for the giveaway, please do the following by 1 Sep 2014*:
1. Like the Baby K’Tan Facebook page
2. Leave a comment below with your name, email address, and share which feature of the Baby K’Tan Breeze you are most attracted by!

Spread the word!

*Winners will be chosen at random.

— UPDATE —

You have been heard!

The White, size M, Baby K’Tan Breeze for the giveaway has already been shipped to Singapore so the size cannot be changed.

But for those of you who are not a size M, Baby K’Tan has kindly agreed to give a 20% discount exclusively for Unlikely Lady of Leisure readers who use the code ULL20*. The discount code can be used if you purchase the Baby K’Tan baby carrier directly from their website here.

Happy shopping!

*The code is valid until 31 Oct 2014.

————————————————————————————————————-

I was provided the Baby K’Tan Breeze for review. All opinions are my own.

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It was very sweet to see Alyssa ‘talking’ to her Daddy and staring into his eyes, completely taken by him. I bet Jon will melt when she says “Daddy’. Ohh, he’s so going to be putty in her little hands.

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