First Family Staycation

Happy CNY everyone! I had a super long break because my boss told us not to come to office on Monday (CNY eve), and my company closed on Thursday, so we had a good 6 days break from work woohoo! Padahal I just started work for 2 days before that weekend lol.

Our 2nd wedding anniversary happened to fall on CNY eve. We had a nice dinner at Royz et Vous, then walked around Decathlon that evening. Yep, it was open on CNY eve. Didn’t manage to find a swimsuit for Hadi because the smallest size is OOS. Where else can we find a swimsuit for babies eh?

The next day, we had brunch at Penny University before our staycation for just one night at Village Hotel Katong. We were contemplating between this and Indigo, but eventually chose this because of the halal food. Buffet breakfast is part of the whole staycay experience yaw. We booked the Peranakan room because of the bathtub. It also came with access to the Peranakan lounge with free minibar. The room was really nice and clean too, better than Bugis and Changi one iirc. We requested for a baby cot, which we got with no charges. But when the cot came, it looked more like a cage for toddlers. The bed was too low and we cannot open or lower down the railing, so there was no way we could use it for Hadi. Luckily our bed was king-sized.

So anyway, we checked in on Tuesday afternoon, lepak, then went back out for dinner. We explored Indigo next door for a bit, and decided that we need to staycay there in future after seeing how gorgeous the rooftop view was. I12 mall was open and we had Thai for dinner at the basement. Surprisingly, quite a few shops were open including the supermarket, where we got some junk food to binge on for supper.

Went back to the hotel and had a babyspa session for Hadi by dumping him in the bathtub hahaha. With the neck float, of course. It was his second time in the tub because we tried it for the first time in the bathtub at home. He seems to enjoy it more at the hotel, because maklumlah, bathtub hotel lagi besar. He loves the water so much, it was so fun seeing him smiling and kicking and even twirling his body in the water. Can’t wait to enrol him in swimming classes.

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We made grand plans to go for an early morning walk to see the sunrise at ECP before breakfast, but we overslept cos who were we kidding lah kan. Maklumlah we are sleep-deprived parents. So we got ready for breakfast, which was not bad, and went for our walk after that. ECP was quite packed, as expected. All shops were open too.

Reached back the hotel before noon, lepak some more and did another round of babyspa since we got late check out at 4pm. Shiokness.

I never really believed in staycations because hotels in Singapore are too expensive. I rather go to Batam/Bintan/JB instead because it would be more worth it even with the transportation costs. Dapat makan and shopping murah2 lagi. But the late checkout for this staycation made it more worthwhile I guess. If we had to check out at the usual 12pm, it would be much less fun. Location plays a part too, because at least there are nice places to explore, jalan-jalan and find good food.

Overall, we love Village Hotel Katong. I’m glad this was a very memorable experience for us as a family. I miss it already. Can’t wait for our first official family holiday soon! 😀

Update: 3 months post-partum

I am returning to work in 2 days, so feeling a bit emo yet grateful for a few milestones, hence the mood for writing a blog post. Hadi turned 3 months old last Friday! Today is his 9th day at infant care. I think he is adapting well and the teachers say he is very manageable. When I asked one of the teachers whether he cries a lot, she said “He cry no sound one!” Hahaha. No wonder my mum says his cries are quite soft, although it seemed quite loud when he screams.

But sadly, he started coughing after his 4th day at ifc and fell ill soon after. His cough got worse and the phlegm sounded very thick and heavy. So we brought him to the clinic on Thursday evening and got some meds for his cough and phlegm. Unfortunately, fever kicked in on Saturday evening. His first fever. Weirdly, this boy was still in an okay mood. Most of the time, he was still being his normal smiley self and doesn’t really look like a sick baby. I nursed him more often the whole weekend and spammed him with balms as often as I can. Yesterday we had his polyclinic appointment for his immunisation and 3 month development assessment. We had to postpone the vaccination since he was still unwell with on/off fever. Doctor also gave us panadol and nasal drops. The assessment went okay, but doctor said he is gaining weight too slowly. Hadi’s birth weight is 2.7kg and since me and bf are quite slim, Hadi has always been on the lighter side of the scale. His weight is now at <3% percentile, which is a cause for concern. But since we were coming back in 2 weeks for the vaccination anyway, the doctor gave us chance to fatten him up before checking his growth again when we return to the polyclinic. We forgot to ask him what would happen if he is still too light by then. We got home, and Hadi was being cranky and needy the whole evening. He would only sleep on our chest and when we put him down, he would cry murder inconsolably until I offer the boob and he falls back asleep on me. And the cycle repeated for 3 times.

His illness took me by surprise because even though we knew that ifc babies tend to fall sick more often, we were not mentally prepared for him to fall ill almost immediately. It broke my heart. And then I learned from some mummies that their kids in cc would fall sick every month, but it would toughen up their immune system in the long run. Oh gosh. I am so not mentally prepared to handle it if this really happens. I don’t even know if I will be able to handle being a working mum well, especially since I will be shifting office to Jurong. Urgh.

My parents said that Hadi is quite a smiley baby, alhamdulillah. His head control has been improving, although he doesn’t seem to enjoy tummy time much. He loves bath times and has started “talking”! It’s so fun to observe him practising using his vocal chords. He is also amazed at the different sounds, tones and pitch that he can make by himself now, and he loves it when we talk back to him to respond. He seems to enjoy reading books too. It’s so heartwarming to see him grow right in front of our eyes, although I already miss him when he was still a newborn. Can’t wait to see him start laughing next!

Since Hadi started ifc 2 weeks ago, I have been trying to be as productive at home as possible. Had a lot of household chores to catch up on, went through Hadi’s wardrobe and finally sorted out all his bigger clothes by sizes and categories, KonMarie-ed a few random drawers in the kitchen and bedrooms, did a manipedi, did another urut with sengkak as a “penutup”, had another breast massage, did a few dress rehearsals to practice pumping in the office with my office top, tudung, nursing cover and my spectra handsfree cups and finally sent my new BF-friendly dresses for alteration. There is still a lot of decluttering to do around the house, and I need to iron as many work outfits as I can in an attempt to be one step ahead.

3 months of parenthood has been a rollercoaster ride. It’s quite enjoyable for the most part for me, but we were also quite unprepared for how it would change the dynamics of our marriage. With all the different parenting styles for me, bf, my parents and bf’s parents, we still got a lot to figure out. Life pretty much revolves around Hadi now and as a defensive first time mum, I’m quite taken aback by how the birth of a small being can suddenly put me in a tough spot to juggle and balance my roles as a wife, mother, daughter and daughter-in-law. Sometimes, being a good mother and being a good wife/daughter/DIL suddenly becomes mutually exclusive in certain areas, which is difficult because sometimes I have to choose? Soon, I have to balance being a good/productive employee as well. And then there is also the self-reflection bit about being a good role model and the person I want my son to be, so that he can follow me and be a good person. Rarely do children grow up to be better than their parents. So if I want my child to be good, I need to set an even higher standard for myself. Although it seems like it’s going to be a continuous work-in-progress anyway, but am I able to meet halfway? Hmm.. I’ve also been thinking about what kind of parent I want to be when my son gets older. Is it right to be a friend first, and a mum second? Issues like being open-minded about sexuality and other taboo topics have been haunting my mind because I don’t want to be that parent who just don’t talk about these things enough. I recently attended a parenting talk and the speaker told us that she and her kids are open enough to read each others’ whatsapps. Wow #parentinggoals. I think I am too afraid for my child to not like me or be close to me as he gets older, but is this obsession healthy?

My BF-ing journey is still going very well alhamdulillah. I’ve accumulated a huge stash of frozen BM in my freezer, just in case my supply drops when I return to work because I am not sure if I can keep up with pumping 3 times in office. I was even contemplating on donating some FBM away, but I’m still very hesitant and was-was for some reason, mainly because I don’t know who or how to donate them to and whether I should pick up a anak susuan. I’m really grateful that this journey has been going better than I expected with all the benefits that it brings. BM may be free, but I’ve invested more than $700 on pumps, equipments and breast massages. I had no idea that BF-ing is going to be such a high commitment physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. But it’s been really humbling because all rezeki comes from Allah. No matter how much effort I put in to make it work, if He doesn’t allow it, it will never be granted. And He can take it back any time He wants. So alhamdulillah for everything.

How it feels like to live away from family

Everyone’s been in a very reflective mood these days, probably because of the new year. But for me, I have been extra reflective because our first wedding anniversary is approaching soon.

I have been spending a lot of time with my family and extended family from mum’s side because 3 of my cousins got married in December and we also had a big picnic with almost everyone on 31 Dec. That was when I realised how much I miss them.

The separation anxiety was instantly strong when I first got married and moved out of my parents’ house. And then I slowly got used to it and adapted to marriage life with my husband, living on our own. Now, almost one year on, I am starting to miss them again, but in a different way.

When I first moved out, I miss my family because I miss my mum’s cooking, sleeping with my sister although she kicks me in her sleep all the time, waiting up for my brother then disturbing him when he reach home late at night, and all the simple things we used to do together on a daily basis. But those are easier to get used to. Now that I have lived without my family for almost one year and established my own new daily routine after marriage and managing household chores on my own, I realised it is not just about missing living with my family and going on our routine every day. I don’t just miss having my family under one roof. I don’t just miss seeing their faces every day. I don’t just miss having mum around because she cooks and cleans and does the laundry for us every day. I actually miss growing with them.

Even though I try to meet my family every week and catch up, surely there are some details or little bits of information that will be left out simply because I don’t live with them and we don’t get to share how our day went when we get home from work. And when all those bits of information that are left out have snowballed for almost a year, it really feels like I have been missing out on their life. Because those details are not merely information, they are also what makes up experiences, life and growth. Like how mum has been bullied at work, my brother’s journey of pursuing his part time degree and looking for a new job, my sister’s thoughts on her new job while waiting for her O level results and starting her poly education, my dad’s constant struggle in trying to keep his career alive as a taxi driver.

The last time I experienced something like this was during my exchange when I lived in Toronto for 5 months. But that was different because I knew I was going to return home. So it just felt like my family life was paused for awhile. This is entirely different.

I am sure they adapt better to living without me than me adapting to live without them. I’m sure they are very understanding when I cannot spend too much time with them because I am supposed to put my husband first now and I have been busy with setting up my BTO house. As H and I have been adulting so much for the past one year and busying ourselves with our new life, I realised we take it for granted that our families will always be there, going on with their day-to-day life, giving us moral support from the sideline and watching us as we set up our new home. We tend to forget that our parents are also growing older and getting physically weaker. Their eyesights are blurring, their legs are not as strong any more, their health is deteriorating, even their tastebuds are getting less sensitive. Our siblings are also growing up every day, meeting new people, making new friends, learning new things in school or at work, and all these will shape their personalities and perspectives as grown-up adults. And not living with them means not being in their journey every day or every step of the way. And this is what has been causing a small hole in my heart recently.

But I guess it’s understandable for me to feel this way because I’ve been living with my family for 26 years. I just need a little time grasping the fact that I will never be a part of their lives the same way again and that my new life with my husband will probably last more than 26 years insyaAllah.

Haiz kan dah emo..

With this realisation, hopefully I will put in more effort to be more present every time I spend quality time with my parents and siblings and show more interest towards their individual lives. Life is too short to take these little things for granted. My family has never been the kind to show affection openly and my relationship with my dad has never really been that great. But since we are now quite “far” away from each other, perhaps it’s time to put away the awkwardness and show how much we really treasure one another. My siblings and I are more grown up now and this is usually the point where the kids start to take care of the parents more than the other way round. Our parents should be parenting us less now and befriending us more. After all, their jobs are almost done now that their kids are almost all grown up. At this age, their mission in life should be different now and old people just want to focus on their iman and spend time with their kids and family. And I look forward to see our dynamics improving.

Wrapping up 2017

2017 has been nothing short of life-changing events, discovery, growth and full of adulting. In no particular order, these are the most memorable events in 2017 that I never want to forget.

  • I got married!

This is hands-down the most life-changing event ever. Getting married to my best friend is the bestest feeling and I can still remember vividly how happy I was on that day to finally tie the knot after 8 years of courtship. Can’t believe our anniversary is coming very very soon, because it felt like just yesterday! Where did all the time go..

  • Getting our own rental flat

This is perhaps one of the achievements that I am most proud of, as husband and wife in our first few months of marriage. It was not an easy decision to make, to move out of my in-laws’ place. But with a clear conscience and intention, we did it. We are one family unit now, separate from our parents. And it’s the husband’s nafkah to provide shelter for his family, which is me. Setting up our home in the temporary flat also allowed us to discover more about each other. If you think you will learn more about your spouse only after the wedding and living together, you will discover even more new things about him/her after getting your own house together. We have been living in Boon Lay for 8 months now. As our first ever home, we have made so many memories here even though we still hate the west side. Will never forget this journey of setting up the home, taking in our foster cats, prepping the house for raya, cooking for iftar in ramadhan, hosting our guests, dealing with eccentric neighbours and horrible neighbourhood.

  • The best honeymoon ever

Allah’s plans are indeed the best. After our Hawaii trip was cancelled, we decided to go to New Zealand just one month before the wedding. I know for sure New Zealand is in my bucket list. But to be able to experience this country during a honeymoon instead of a normal holiday, is really the best form of trip I can ever imagine. The highlight was definitely the campervan experience. I realised I have become a more adventurous traveller than I expected and that I can indeed live without a hotel bathtub during my trips.

  • BTO keys

This is no doubt another life-changing event. Mainly because it got us into a 300K debt with the government hahaha. Seriously though, I am beyond happy to be able to secure the best unit I can think of. It is the top floor, has a gorgeous view, 10-15 minutes away from Simpang Bedok, and only 5-10 minutes walk away from my parents’ place. The funniest thing is that this BTO was launched in 2012, when we were both still in uni. And when I saw the BTO under construction, I thought “hmm wouldn’t it be awesome if I could buy a house here, so close to mum” but H and I were still studying and nowhere near talking about house or wedding yet. But we still managed to secure it as a SBF flat last year. Like wow, I really feel like Allah has reserved a spot for us in this BTO. Alhamdulillah.

  • Bintan trip

It was H’s first birthday as a husband. So of course I had to plan a huge surprise. It was more or less an all-expense paid trip for him. Now member tengah panic cos I spoil market for his birthday and he still has no idea what to do for our anniversary in Feb and my birthday in March. Hahahaha. Although it was my first time staying in a resort, I think The Canopi was pretty awesome.

  • H’s career progress

H has been making really good and impressive progress in his new job. He switched teams this year which gave him more responsibilities, and will be embarking on another new journey and milestone again next year, which is even more exciting. I couldn’t be prouder of him. Looks like my road to taitai-hood is underway! Hehehehe

  • Discovering the truth about marriage

I recently saw a youtube video by Sid & Dina Tokio about surviving the first year of marriage, which is so on point! I never really noticed this, but I guess it makes sense for a couple to fight a lot in their first year of marriage. For me, I find that marriage life is like becoming a vampire. Everything feels amplified. We had the worst fights after the wedding than we ever had during our courtship days. But we also laughed the hardest after marriage. If you know he is a loving guy before marriage, you will discover how much more loving he can be after marriage. And same goes for the negative traits. But after awhile, you learn to choose your battles. We used to pick on each other’s small irritating behaviors and create a fight out of it. But now we embrace them more or just be more tolerant because some things are not worth fighting over. Time and energy are just too precious. We also learned that being married to each other also means being “married” to each other’s family, friends, colleagues and everyone else in our social bubble.  Sometimes it’s not as easy as saying person A sucks and has been treating you like shit, so why must we attend his/her wedding? But most important of all, marriage allows us to share our lives together so that when we are happy, we feel happier because we have someone to share our joy with and when we are sad, the sadness doesn’t feel that bad when we have someone to share our sorrows with. The best thing in marriage for me is the companionship, that feels like no other. Nothing can ever provide us with such a wonderful companionship better than a spouse.

  • Our foster cats!

I will never forget our very first experience of having, not one but two cats! Even though it was a very short 6-week stint, my love for cats have increased so much. They are really really natural source of anti-depressants and can instantly lift your mood after a long day. But at the same time, their naughtiness can also drive your blood pressure up after messing up the house and destroying our floor mat and boxes. Will forever remember Arnold and Bernard as our first babies.

Family Research part 2

Something different happened to my menstrual cycle ever since I returned from my Bintan trip, in terms of the flow – how it starts and ends. I am not sure if it was because of the massage I did there, because the masseuse did massage my tummy area – I allowed her to. The cramps are still there, but slightly less intense. And then I remembered an acquaintance talking about sengkak some time back. Did the masseuse did a sengkak on me? I have no idea. Another weird thing that happened was that my face broke out quite badly in the middle of my menstrual cycle. Which was weird because I thought when estrogen peaks, our skin is supposed to be at its best stage. So was it some sort of hormonal imbalance?

Anyway, I was googling about sengkak and I really cannot find much info. The most common thing that came up was postnatal urut. But I’ve been hearing that some people do sengkak as a prenatal massage to help to return the womb to its original position so that it’s easier to conceive.

And speaking of conceiving, I also chanced upon a few posts about pantang larang or do’s and don’ts of a woman who is trying to conceive. Like you can only drink warm water and instead of cold drinks. You should eat heaty foods because the body needs to be warm. Cannot lift heavy weights. Cannot be too active/sporty/lasak. I don’t know man, some of these things don’t really make sense to me cos isn’t being active good for us because we are keeping fit? And isn’t it supposed to be easier for fitter and healthier people to conceive? Lifting weights is also keeping fit what.

That’s when I realised that not a lot of people write about tips and advice or pantang larang (with logical justifications) when trying to conceive other than to take supplements or folic acid (any brands to recommend?). My mum has already been nagging at me to eat dates and drink goat milk. Just looking for info for my future reference, in case I become ready to actively start our TTC journey full-steam (pun unintended). If you know of any useful sites or posts, please share in the comments k. 🙂