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Archive for June, 2010

We did Lion’s one month party yesterday lunch.

The party was significantly smaller than Peanut’s party and most people were more interested in playing with Peanut than Lion.

I sometimes feel quite bad for Lion. He’s like the forgotten 2nd child. People would come up to us, peer at him, then the next question they ask is, “How is Peanut reacting to him? Where is Peanut anyway? Oh! What a cute little dress she has on!”, or if Peanut is around to introduce Lion by going “Bay Be!!” and petting Lion on the stomach or head, “So cute this big sister!!”, promptly forgetting about my little boy lying quietly asleep on his little chair. So I spent most of the afternoon never quite leaving Lion’s side while Peanut had a ball of a time running amok and The Other Half did all the socialising with guests on behalf of our family.

I remember telling The Other Half after we had Peanut that I certainly hope that my 2nd child will be a boy because that would substantially distinguish him from Peanut that lessen the “been there done that” factor for the relatives. But it is beginning to seem like being of a different sex doesn’t do very much for Lion anyway.

But then again, Lion doesn’t do very much at this stage of his life besides eat and sleep and poop while Peanut acquires new words in her vocabulary every day and uses them effectively to elicit laughter, kisses and hugs from all around her.

Oh well.

I really hope Lion doesn’t develop a complex from this, that he grows up to become a well adjusted person with a distinct personality of his own and not forever in the shadow of his unstoppably gregarious big sister.

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He had always wanted to write music, and he could give no other identity to the thing he sought. If you want to know what it is, he thought, listen to the first phrases of Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto – or the last movement of Rachmaninoff’s Second. Men have not found the words for it nor the deed nor the thought, but they have found the music.
~ Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

*

We just bought tickets to watch the Berlin Philharmonic play Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances in November. I wouldn’t have paid the slightly prohibitive price for the tickets if it wasn’t Rachmaninov.

After all this time, Rachmaninov still makes me want to cry and laugh and celebrate being alive, all at the same time.

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We had dinner at a nice little fish / seafood restaurant on Saturday night. After our main courses, the owner of the establishment came up for a chat and asked Peanut whether she liked the food.

Instead of her usual “Good!”, she patted Lion on the head instead and told the owner, “Bay Be!!”

It was a really cute moment, Peanut showing off her brother to a complete stranger.

*

The sun held out on this morning so I took Lion and following my mother and Peanut to the playground / market for a quick walk.

On the way home, we stopped by the noodle-stall in the market to pick up some noodles to fry up for lunch. The noodle-stall in the market is run by an old lady and her daughters. Peanut walks by every morning, smiling and saying hello to the old lady and her daughters.

The old lady came up to Peanut to say hello as usual and instead of her usual hello, Peanut gestured at me and told the old lady, “Bay be!!”

The old lady laughed, then later pulled my mother to the side and quietly asked my mother whether these grandchildren were from her son or her daughter.

It’s quite strange how after all this time, there still exists people who thinks that whether the grandchildren is from the son or the daughter makes any difference at all to the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren at all.

No matter where they come from, grandchildren will always be little faces for grandparents to kiss and dote on.

*

I’m constantly amused that when I take Lion out, people tend to gawk and stare and point, like they are completely molested and offended by my irresponsibility in taking Lion out into public when he is oh so small. Even worse when they notice that he is not wearing long sleeves and buttons up to his chin, not wearing a hat, and not swaddled tight into the shape of a Russian doll.

Get a grip, people. Even small babies need air.

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We decided after a couple of months to change the sleeping music in our room upstairs because the Largo CD was frankly driving the two of us slightly bananas. We hate the last few songs and for the last weeks, have been turning it off once Peanut falls asleep.

So now we have a selection of Rachmaninov played at 9:30pm every night for Peanut and Lion to go to sleep. I picked it out from my stash yesterday night when we got home from my parents’. On the CD sleeve, it said “songs for passion and love” or something like that, which made me slightly apprehensive at first.

But then passion and love doesn’t always have to be in that romantic sense right? And I figured it is never too early to teach Peanut and Lion about passion and love, two very important ingredients in life, in my humble opinion.

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We left the house a little late this morning because Lion woke up for one of his epic feeds at around 6am.

After dropping off Peanut and having breakfast at my parents, we proceeded to the hospital with some trepidation for the repeat blood test for Lion for his jaundice. Arriving at the laboratory, the woman at the reception took a look at The Other Half holding Lion and started to chide him for not holding him with his back ramrod straight. “It’s not good for his bones! He’ll become a hunchback when he grows up!!”

The Other Half and I exchanged looks. For some reason, when you have a baby, the whole world likes to participate in your child rearing. Complete strangers suddenly have an opinion on how you should be carrying / feeding / clothing your child and have no qualms of coming up to you and telling you so. We went through it with Peanut. We are going through it again with Lion.

“Must be no experience…hahahaha…” the woman chortled. The Other Half stepped out of the laboratory in disgust, leaving me to continue with the registration. I rolled my eyes.

“Have you been here before?” the woman asked.

“Yes. This is a repeat visit.”

“Oh. Is this your first child?”

“No. This is my second child.”

The woman faltered. “Oh! Then my mistake…not no experience…my mistake…said something wrong…” She drifted off awkwardly and then proceeded to process my registration in silence.

We stopped by the café at the hospital for a quick drink and bite before heading up to the clinic to wait for the lab results of the blood test. We were told on Monday that the test would take about an hour to process. There is really very little you can do in a hospital for one hour like that so we decided to wait in the clinic where we would be able to at least read the newspapers. Thankfully, the clinic was far less chaotic than it was when we were there on Monday, leaving us with seats to take turns at the newspaper in relative peace. The Lion snoozed in The Other Half’s arms, seemingly unperturbed by all that was going on around him.

A short while later, my mobile phone rang. It was the clinic. The nurse was not told by the reception that we were already within the clinic and was trying to give me the lab results by phone. We proceeded to the counter where we were shown a faxed copy of the lab results.

“It’s okay. You can go home now.”

Really? my head went, not quite believing that it was so easy this time. The Lion had been far from an easy child, borne in a time of great adversity for Mummy.

“Yes. The bilirubin levels are within the normal band. You can go home now.”

I laughed, very relieved that we will no longer be carrying the PEP bed to and from our place and my parents, sleep with the bedroom bathed in an eerie blue light, vex about not making the minimum number of hours prescribed for the phototherapy [which is frankly quite ridiculous given the capricious nature of small children and their inability to stay where you want them to at any given time].

And so we were expelled from the hospital into the transient sunlight, earlier than we thought it would take and with me delirious with joy and relief. We went for a car ride to the West in search of a carwash and then later stopped by a chocolate boutique to buy a gift for the gynae and to share some really good chocolate between us.

We laughed a lot together, painless laughter after a week of lower abdomen pain and weakness from the healing Caesarean scar.

All this while, Lion continued sleeping in his child seat in the car, without a whimper of complaint, allowing his parents to enjoy the small moment of sunlight amidst the greyness of the past days.

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The problem with being in “confinement” is that you feel your days melding into a seamless pool of slushy grimy grey viscous matter.

All you want to do is to run out into the sun and show the world your babies. Have high tea with friends. Lie in bed. Frolic around a playground with the kiddos.

Instead, you are made to stay at home all day. There is no sunlight but humid sticky rain. There are advices to vet and emails to answer. Your new baby needs to sleep on a phototherapy bed for the next two days which require you to endlessly monitor temperature and times. You fret endlessly about whether or not your baby is getting enough milk while being breastfed exclusively because you are strangely able to express a phenomenal amount of milk and your baby keeps falling asleep halfway through feeding.

Worry. Worry. Worry. Pen and paper. Trips to the hospital. Blood tests. Constant nagging. Boring boring boring days of being prohibited from doing most things, even very simple, simple things like having an ice cold fizzy drink or taking a cold, misty shower at night, even picking up Peanut for a cuddle.

I need to escape from this drudgery. But I’m not sure how. I am just taking this one step at a time, waiting to see if baby can cease sleeping under the bed, waiting to have the stitches checked, waiting for the weekend reprieve with The Other Half and the babes at home.

And I thought that I had left the waiting behind.

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On the days I was on leave before the coming of the Lion, The Other Half would drop Peanut and I off at my parents’ and I would go take the customary walk to the playground and market in the morning with my mother and Peanut, walking along slowly each of us holding one of Peanut’s little hands with her between us.

Three generations of women from one family walking along together: Peanut with her mother and her mother’s mother.

Looking back at those days now, I suddenly remembered when Peanut first turned over at 3 months plus and how my delighted mother remarked how very nice it all was to watch Peanut grow and progress everyday because when we were growing up, time and money were too tight for them to sit around and observe us grow like that a little everyday.

When we picked up Peanut from my parents’ yesterday evening, my father commented that my mother would never ever get angry with Peanut because she spents all day calling out “por por” to her. My mother smiled.

I do believe, whether we like it or not, that there is a little bit of our mothers in us all.

So maybe in watching Peanut grow, my mother is remembering little bits of me as a child all 30 odd years ago.

And hopefully, 30 odd years later, I’d be watching the children of my offspring grow day by day, finding the littles bits of each of them in their little ones.

There’s just something so magical in that, don’t you think?

*

I had the following conversation with the anaesthetist administering my spinal tap before the Caesarean:

Me: Oh that feels nice and warm down my legs.
He: Does it feel the same as the last time?
Me: Frankly, I can’t remember the last time!
He: How long ago was it?
Me: A year and a half?
He: That’s not too long ago!
Me: Oh well, maybe I’m just no good at remembering painful things.
He: But after the pain comes the pleasure!!

*

In the rest of the day I spent drifting in and out of a drug haze complete with uncontrollable shaking, sweating and blurred vision, I remembered in the dark of the setting sun, a little sweet face with an enthusiastic smile trying to climb up my bed into my arms, touch my face, disconnect my drip.

This little bundle of energy was held back by my mother. Mummy! Mummy! Mummy! she said.

I can’t quite remember who came and saw me that day or what was said and done, but I do remember clearly that sweet little face and how much I wanted to kiss her because I don’t think anyone had ever been as glad to see me before, looking beyond my frazzled appearance straight into my soul.

*

The Lion is a far more delicate proposition then Peanut. I think we’ve all come to take Peanut’s hardiness for granted and forget that once upon a time, she was also this small and this needy and this fragile.

And it is only after having Lion that we learn what a gracious and caring little girl Peanut has grown to become.

Sometimes it’s good to forget things. In forgetting, we end up having to relearn, which opens our eyes a little bit more than before, allowing us to look at all of it brand new.

*

So now there are four of us.

While feeding Lion on my left and patting Peanut to sleep on my right last night, I thought about how these two beings have come to fill my heart and life with so very much, that the love shared between The Other Half and I was capable of creating two beings so magical. And this is even though I’ve barely known one of them for less than a week.

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