December 2006

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Ode to the Holidays

On the first of 4 days we were to spend with Ethan,
It was past noon and our tummies were really barren,
So off our mini family scooted to Queensbay Mall
Where else but Kenny Rogers’ to answer hunger’s call?
The food was superb, the service simply great
Ethan boy really enjoyed the rusks he ate
As usual he flashed a charming smile or two
At aunties at the next table, and some pretty girls too!

Shopping at Jusco is always fun
We just didn’t know when we would be done!
The baby room is an ultimate addiction
For Ethan had his meal of milk to his utmost satisfaction!

After a whole afternoon of shopping and more shopping
We headed to Laksa Shack for some lighthearted eating
Then it was home sweet home all the way
A fulfilling end to an awesome day!

One Wish…

There’s this Toyota Vios ad that comes on ESPN quite often. It starts with these 2 castaways on a deserted island. They find a lamp, rub it and Poof! … A genie appears.

Genie: For freeing me, I’ll grant each of you one wish.

First castaway whispers his wish in the genie’s ear.


First castaway jumps for joy as the genie has granted his wish of a brand new silver Toyota Vios.

Second castaway (hits his head in an appalled and shocked manner): What?!!!

Second castaway then whispers his wish in the genie’s ear. TV viewers think he is wishing for something better or more sensible than his friend’s wish.


Second castaway: Ah yes! Yes!!!

Second castaway jumps up and down in excitement as he embraces his granted wish of a brand new *black* Toyota Vios.

All three (2 castaways and genie) are seen jubilating as the ad ends.

Ethan is fascinated with this ad. Every time it comes on, he will stare at the TV transfixed. It could be because we keep on saying this phrase over and over again, especially when we *free* him from his sleeping sack:
“For freeing me, I’ll grant each of you one wish.”

Our little family spent Christmas eve in Taiping and Christmas day in Ipoh. It was a rather rushed-filled holiday, but all in all, we all had a ball of a time this Christmas. Ethan boy, of course, had loads of fun… after all, why wouldn’t he? His t-shirt clearly states: WARNING! Little Monster on the Loose! Heh heh…Ethan was showered with so much love and attention, and of course presents!

And what did Daddy and Mommy get him? Check this out: We got him his first pair of red Adidas football boots, similar to what Daddy owns. The boots came with a toy Santa Claus. We also got him a denim cap with the letter P in front. Pete says P stands for “Pete’s boy” but secretly, I think it stands for “Phai-see” (Hokkien for Naughty) . Hehehe… By the way, the cell phone in the picture is not Ethan’s - it is just for size comparison.

We managed to get a couple of precious shots of Ethan wearing his new cap, and it is a wonder how we did it, because almost every time we put the cap on him, he would immediately pull it right off his head!

Ethan: All I want for Christmas is my TWO front teeth….

…and the closeup…

We took Ethan to Queensbay Mall today to complete our Christmas shopping. Every year we tell ourselves that we won’t do last minute shopping, but year in and year out, we end up going to the malls at the last minute.

Well, this year we have Ethan tagging along. Pete was just commenting that he loves taking Ethan to the mall because our boy gets really excited with all the sights and sounds there. And let’s face it, when Ethan is happy, Pete and I are happy too…

Ethan looking on with amazement…

Lunch at Kenny Rogers (Ethan had carrot sticks and rusks)

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,

I wanna be with Mommeee…!!!! “

Christmas Tree

I have always wanted a huge (at least 5 ft) Christmas tree for our home. Unfortunately this year, with baby around and all, we just did not have time to hunt for a nice one. We are rather perfectionist in nature, so nothing but the best would do. Next year then…

In the end, we put up our mini Christmas tree which we have had since we were dating. It’s even shorter than Ethan!

Anyway, in a short and brief introduction to our Christmas tree, Ethan wasted no time in “making friends”.

The Gift

This morning, I received a poignant reminder of what Christmas really means in the form of a song from my brother’s entry in his Multiply site.

Who needs Christmas presents?… We already have the gift.

A truly wonderful song which I am going to share with Ethan when he grows up.
Check it out here.

Musical Inclination

We always think of Ethan as a musical person. Even while I was still carrying him in utero, I played music whenever I could. Classical music was his favorite and I could feel him kicking inside whenever we listened to the music. In fact, after he was born and I played the exact same tune, he would smile contentedly, as if he could remember the feeling of security the music brought.When my Mom was helping me out after delivering Ethan, she too sang to him often. It helped soothe and comfort him. And let’s not start about him being attracted to the TV every time I switched the channel to MTV.

Lately, apart from the Christmas carols, Ethan has also taken a liking to dancing to music. I would carry him and hold him while moving around to the music. He can’t walk yet, but I can hardly wait till he can, so that I can teach him to dance with me… I can really tell that he loves it when we “dance” together. His favorites are waltzing to Johann Strauss’s The Beautiful Blue Danube and doing the sexy rumba to Andrea Bocelli’s Besame Mucho. Oh by the way, Pete claims he has two left feet, so it’s just Ethan and me dancing most of the time.


Yesterday Ethan again proved that baby strength is no joke. How? He broke my cup handle.

You see, I have a cup which I place by my bedside so that if I am thirsty in the middle of the night, I don’t have to get up and go into the kitchen for a glass of water (lazy ma…). Now, Ethan’s cot is right next to my bed, and hence the cup is reachable through the cot railings.

He must have been a little bored with his soft toys in the cot last evening, because he reached through the railings and tried to grab hold of my cup. He finally managed to grasp the handle, and silly silly me… I expected him to hold on to it, and move it all the way up to get the cup, but our boy just held on to the cup handle and pulled the cup towards him - well obviously the cup was way too big to go through the cot railings and the handle broke! Aiyo…. there goes my cup…

Lately Ethan has taken a liking to blubbering, i.e. puckering his lips, making the “brrrrrruuuuu…” sound (aka blowing raspberries), and using his index finger to flick his lips up and down. Then of course he will indulge in the baby blabbering. Occasionally we do catch a few words like deh-deh (Daddy maybe?) ….., mum-mum…, beh-beh (waving buh-bye) and just a couple of days ago, something which sounded remotely like “Mummeee….”. (yay!)However, it is unfortunately an unwritten rule that girls mature faster than boys, and also that the fairer sex is more adept at picking up languages. Just a few days ago, I met up with a fellow breastfeeding mommy friend of mine for lunch, and she told me that her daughter (now 15 months’ old) can already count from 1 to 10! Amazing!

Well, we don’t know when our boy will start having conversations with us, but we certainly can’t wait… for now, we are constantly speaking to him like we would to another adult, and he would listen attentively, even laughing on cue sometimes. It’s true that babies can understand and mimic what adults say fairly easily, especially at this age, when their brain is like a sponge. Therefore, we need to remind ourselves (and also those around us) to be careful NOT to use words which we do not want him to pick up at this tender age. You’d be surprise what babies these days can absorb…

Now until that precious first word is spoken, we’ll have to content ourselves with:

Me: What did you do today, Ethan?
Ethan: Wa wa wa…bababa…..brrruu, bruuuu……!!!
Me: Wah….really? What else?
Ethan: Mamamummmm…..vavava…..bruuu, bruuuu…..!!!
Me: Have you learned to say “Mommy” today?
Ethan: Brruuuuu…bruuuuuu….!!!! (showing a toothy grin)

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la…!!!

With Christmas about a week away, we are all in a Christmassy mood now. Festive decorations adorn the malls, Christmas trees are sprouting out everywhere and Christmas carols are played 24/7, transforming the hot and humid Penang into a “winter wonderland” of sorts.
This year’s Christmas will mark Ethan’s very first Christmas and we intend to make it as memorable as possible, for him and of course, for us too. The layman would easily associate Christmas with presents, and although we too visited the newly opened Queensbay Mall to complete our Christmas shopping, we would like to eventually inculcate the understanding of the true meaning of Christmas to Ethan.

Christmas isn’t Christmas till it happens in your heart, so the song goes. So really, the presents we exchange during Christmas merely represents the wonderful act of giving and sharing from the heart, which form the essence of Christmas: LOVE. I expect that Ethan would be thrilled with the presents he’d receive each Christmas from now on, but in the years to come, I hope and endeavor to draw his attention to that lonely manger in Bethlehem, many, many years ago where the very first Christmas was celebrated with the birth of Jesus Christ. That was where Christmas started and will forever stay in our hearts.

Well, as a start, I have been singing him Christmas carols almost every day now: Joy to the World, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Come All Ye Faithful….you name it, I’ve sung it. I do it all the time, while changing him, while nursing him or even when riding in the car with him… I’m glad he is enjoying my renditions…maybe cos I have a sweet voice.. ahem!

We will be spending Christmas Eve in Taiping (Pete’s hometown) and Christmas Day in Ipoh (my hometown). I know everyone is looking forward to Christmas this year. So are we.

Being a Moomie

In essence, the majority of people in our community are still ill-informed when it comes to breastfeeding. Despite efforts to promote breastfeeding amongst new mothers (especially), many are still in the dark about this beautiful bonding practice, which ought to come as second nature to all mothers.A common problem we hear people have is whether or not the mother “has enough milk” for the baby. In fact, several days ago, this very same topic came up among my breastfeeding group at work about why some mothers claim that they do not have enough milk to breastfeed their babies.

With all due respect, I DO NOT believe the authenticity of this claim. I believe that all mammals will certainly have the ability to produce milk and breastfeed their babies. In the same vein, humans, being mammals, WILL have enough milk to provide for their babies. For those who claim they do not, there will surely be a good enough reason why they eventually can’t.

Some of the reasons why the “not enough milk” mentality came about:

  • Failure to nurse baby on demand: a newborn demanding milk every hour or so is wrongly “believed” to be “still hungry” and hence, formula is introduced. Breastfeeding works on a supply-and-demand concept. When there is demand (from baby), there will be supply.
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Lack of confidence. Off and on, I meet pregnant women with whom I would ask “Are you going to breastfeed?” An answer along the lines of “See la, if I have enough milk…” shows that they are ill-informed and do not have the confidence to breastfeed fully. From the onstart, one must already have the confidence and think and KNOW that they can breastfeed exclusively.
  • Being told that one does not have enough milk

A common misconception is that all mothers will NATURALLY (read:automatically) produce sufficient milk for their babies, when this in fact, is not true at all. All breastfeeding mothers, including myself, can confidently attest that breastfeeding takes a LOT of effort, countless sleep-deprived nights and persistence. Oh, and how could I forget the support of the people close to me?

Ethan is now 10 months old and I am extremely proud of myself for being so persistent and perseverant in exclusively breastfeeding him. My 6-month target for breastfeeding was altered to a respectable 1-year target when he was about 3 months’ old. And now that I have about 1.5 more months to go to reach the 1-year breastfeeding contract with Ethan, I can’t help but consider a contract extension. After all, if I have the ability to give him the best, why should I settle for less?

A shopping mall is never complete without the inclusion of a breastfeeding/nursing room. Going shopping with Ethan tagging along is a breeze because for a breastfeeding mommy, we didn’t need to tote along milk bottles, milk powder, bottle warmers and whatnot. So when the all-new Queensbay Mall opened in Penang just about a week ago, checking out the breastfeeding room was top on my list of priorities.I was pleasantly amazed at the thought that was put in into creating a very conducive environment for nursing mothers. There were 3 rooms available, all privately enclosed by draw-curtains (having a door would be better, but this would do anyway), 3 diaper-changing stations, a sink and a hot and cold water dispenser. There were also 2 sofas provided in the lounge area, presumably for daddies to rest their weary legs or just to read the newspapers. I also thought it was a nice touch that they also hung posters promoting breastfeeding on the walls.

Alas, my excitement was short-lived as during my 3rd visit to the mall, we encountered someone who was quite unclear on the concept of the breastfeeding room. One of the 3 breastfeeding rooms was occupied by a guy and his kid, who was taking a snooze! Talk about insensitivity!

…is my 2 front teeth, my 2 front teeth, see my two front teeth?!!!

We are all familiar with how that song goes, but how many of us actually know someone who could actually relate to that song? This year, if only our Ethan boy can sing, that would be THE most appropriate song for him.

Last Saturday, we noticed a faint glimpse of white protruding through his top gums. That’s why methinks he is teething again (top two front teeth, nonetheless)… This would also explain the numerous times he wakes up at night. SIGH. It’s so heart wrenching to see him go through so much discomfort just to grow teeth…

Cheeky Lil’ Fella

Ethan has yet again proven that he is one photogenic baby.Over the weekend, SIL (Ethan’s Koh-Koh) presented an early Christmas present to him: his first vehicle, which amazingly is a TRAIN! Anyway, this is a toy which is designed to aid baby in walking, something like a push-and-stride thingy.

Only to be used when baby is 12 months and up, it was no surprise that Ethan’s feet dangled above the ground when he sat on it. So he now just amuses himself with the buttons and sounds on this new gadget now.

We did manage to take a few shots of him on the toy train. Really really….and I mean REALLY cheeky shots. Whenever the camera got ready to capture the picture, Ethan would instantly flash a cheeky grin….without fail. Check them out:

Life’s Lessons

Before we had Ethan, I was told that having kids would teach me patience. Well, apart from patience, Ethan has also taught us many priceless lessons. Some of the lessons serve merely as a reminder to us, as we may have forgotten them due to the humdrum of our daily routine and busy life.Perseverance
Better known as the “Never Say Die” attitude, Ethan exhibits this daily. Since becoming mobile, he is a champion at proclaiming this cause. For example, when he is free to roam on the living room floor, he will very rapidly crawl to our TV cabinet, move himself to standing position and watch TV – AT CLOSE RANGE! Of course, we’ll tell him “No, Ethan….don’t do that!” and carry him away from the TV back to the floor. But immediately he will move to the TV again. Same thing happens in his cot. He will grab the sides of it, stand up and start chomping on the cot ends, but not before he flashes a mischievous grin. His cot railings are covered with plastic protectors on both the lengths of the cot, but our incredibly “smart” boy will only chomp on the uncovered wooden ends! Affinity for wood, you’d think? Go ask the woodpecker/woodchuck…

When you love someone, show it, right? Ethan shows affection by BITING.
I really honestly believe that he thinks that he is being affectionate when he bites and sucks my chin, shoulder, arm, finger and just yesterday night, my leg!!!

When all else fails, SMILE!
Ethan will still be smiling even though he has a fever or cough. His smile is so infectious that he makes us smile too. Thank you Ethan boy for reminding us of the power of a smile.

Parenting and parenthood is all about learning, I believe. It works both ways. Just as we impart knowledge to Ethan, in the same mysterious way, he teaches us wonderful things every day.

Ethan is 10 months old!

Our Ethan boy is now 10 months’ old! Pete was just commenting that his age is now a 2-digit figure… heh. It seemed like just yesterday he was just a tiny bundle in my arms and now….he is Mr Bulat.Here’s a short report of how our boy has grown thus far:

8.6kg as of a week ago, should be about 8.7kg or so now

69.5cm as of 3 weeks ago, he should be at least 70cm by now.

2 bottom central incisors

Motor Skills
• Crawling: Ethan is now able to crawl on his hands and knees, and it is his preferred mode of mobility as opposed to commando or bear crawling.
• Assisted Standing: Ethan can pull himself up to a supported standing position with tremendous ease and speed. His favorite areas for supported standing are:
o The TV cabinet
o Inside his cot
o Our leather sofa
o His Stand-up Ball Blast toy

• Waving: Ethan can wave bye-bye now, and sometimes does it “his” way, flapping both his arms and legs
• Pincer’s Grip: He can exhibit Pincer’s grip now with finesse. I first noticed him doing that when he began pulling his own ear lobe.
• “Pointing”: He can make his fingers in the shape of a pointer, but instead of pointing, he uses it to dig his nose (gasp!) and make blubbering sounds on his puckered lips!
• Cruising: Ethan can move from one end of the cot to the other whilst holding on to the cot railings.
• Sitting after Standing: Ethan is now able to lower himself to sitting position after he has stood for a while. Previously the poor guy will stand there and just didn’t know what to do next…

Communication & Social Skills
• Say Mum-mum-mum…., nen-nen-nen….. but sometimes just says it for the heck of it, not cos he is hungry. I think he calls me Mum-mum for now.
• Say Daddy (or something that vaguely sounds like it), and most of the time, actually refers to his Daddy when he says it! Yay Ethan! Well, sometimes it sounds like Dadada…..
• Other repetitive syllables: yayayaya……, wawawa…., etc.
• “Inform” us when he is about to pangsai or pangsai-ing by showing us his pangsai face:

Ethan takes two solid meals a day of porridge (lunch and dinner). His porridge is cooked with some meat (chicken, fish or pork) and vegetables (spinach, lettuce, pumpkin, carrots, corn, etc).
Sometimes I will give him some fruit in the evenings or some oats. During weekends, I occasionally give him a meal of breakfast too; usually it’s oats with EBM and some fruit (bananas, apples or pears).

Rollercoaster of a Week

The past week has been one of the most trying weeks ever.

Pete came down with a high fever and chronic cough on Sunday, visited the doctor, and we all stayed home while he recuperated. After 2 days, his fever finally subsided, but he was still coughing.

On Tuesday morning, Ethan had a slight fever and cough, so we gave him some paracetamol. I also took the second half of the day off to nurse him at home.

Wednesday afternoon: the baby sitter called me after lunch and told me that Ethan was having fever and wouldn’t take his milk. I rushed back home to get the paracetamol and then rushed straight to the sitter’s. We gave him a dose of paracetamol, although when I arrived, his body temperature felt normal to me. With this pattern of body temperature fluctuation, we decided to take Ethan to the night clinic at the hospital after work. Coincidentally, his pediatrician was on duty that night. She assured me that he just had a minor sore throat, so antibiotics were not necessary. She didn’t even prescribe cough medication and just told me to give the flu medication to soothe his throat, and paracetamol only if the body temperature is more than 38 degrees.

Thursday: both father and son were recovering well. Unfortunately, dear Mommy fell caught the flu bug. It was really inevitable given the fact that Ethan coughed and sneezed directly into my face all the while. I rested at home… well, whatever rest I managed to get, I did…let’s put it that way.

Friday: Daddy, Mommy and Ethan are on the high road to recovery. Yayyyy!!!

So yeah, it’s really been a rollercoaster of a week. On Wednesday, I was jokingly telling some of my friends that I had to look after two babies for the past couple of days. Ah well… I’m just grateful that God gave our family the strength to see us through our time of need.

Recently I came across this short story, which I feel is so poignant and it really touched me to the core, now that I am a parent myself:

When I was a new mom, I called my own mother one day to commiserate over how difficult parenting had been that week. My mother abruptly changed the subject and began talking about her golf game. She went on and on about her frustration with her game and how many times she has sworn she would never play another round. Just when I was about to ask her why she was ignoring my problem and talking about hers she said, “And then on the 18th hole you chip in one beautiful shot, and that makes you go out and play another entire round.” She continued, “Parenting is like that. You have a horrible day and think that you cannot take it one more day. And then as you tuck your ‘little monster’ into bed, she says, ‘I love you, Mommy,’ and you go out and parent another round.” She explained that I would forget most of the horror stories, but would remember the “I love you, Mommy” stories when all is said and done.


December 2006
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