Month: November 2012

The Many Faces of Isa

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Isn’t the new curtain attractive enough to play with? Isa on a weekend morning, playing next to a lazy mommy.

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Isa’s waiting for daddy to come and pick us from office. He’s mobile now, though his ‘creeping’ movement is limited to turning to the left, right and funnily moving backward. He’s a bit frustrated with being unable to move forward that he ended up crying and screaming. That’s him after nursing – tired but contented!

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Another morning in the bed. He’s pretty proficient with making bubbles and ‘spraying; around sincehe’s 5 months old – and he can keep doing that for some times.

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They say at 6 months old the personality and individuality of your baby start to surface. I guess Isa is the kind who isn’t shy to make it obvious what he’s thinking and feeling

Is not it amazing how much progress a baby could make within a span of half a year? From a little creature with jerky movement to a guy with full determination, it is indeed a humbling experience to witness this.

All praise be to the Creator.

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Morning Mist

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This is the view I wake up to now. My new home is next to a reserve forest, so in the morning the mist is visible, with the green background.

I am really not sure if this is really worth the heavier traffic we have to brave through these coming days.

But for the time being, I am enjoying this.

Books by Colour

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To accommodate for our humble book collection, we finally bought ourselves a 4-tier bookshelf. We used the built-in bookshelf previously in our rented apartment, and buying a new one is indeed exciting! We opted for one which has 12 open compartments and three closed ones.

As expected, I have no shelving system whatsoever previously, but this time around I am determined to make our little library as organised as possible. Then came the question: How?

There are many ways to arrange the books. Apartment Therapy listed a few here, but I only considered these systems initially:

  1. Alphabetical
  2. Genre
  3. Colour

Then comes the ‘secondary’ arrangement by height (of spine).

To be honest, I don’t I have enough time for maintenance, so the first option is out. My husband favours the second one, but I suppose some books are hard to classify, and I am too lazy to do that. So I chose the third method, solely because I normally remember a book by its cover page, especially its colour.

We’ll see how long this could last!

P.S I first approached my husband by asking how he’d normally remember any book that he read – secretly hoping that he’d remember them the way I do – but unfortunately he, rather strangely remembers those he read by the font type and type set (what??).

31 Days to an Organized Home

So we finally moved in to our new home.

It’s a three-bedroom, 1100+ sq. ft townhouse/apartment on ground floor that we fall in love with many months ago. We signed the deal only after viewing it for less than 15 minutes (in our defence, we have viewed many similar units in that area).

I took a week off to start packing our stuff seriously, and move them into our house. While there were still some repairs needed to be done, I managed to clean the house in two days, but am yet to finish organising things into places.

Since it is a new house, and a new place for everything I figure out why not take up this challenge of getting organised? This challenge is inspired by this fantastic blog: The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.

All of my family members know that I am just challenged in this area – I have the reputation of not returning things back into their places since I was 3-4 years old, Back in university years, I cleaned my room only when I am about to start studying. I am that carefree.

But then I married a Virgo, whose perfectionism and obsession sometimes annoys me.In short, I married someone whose personality contrasts mine. And one year into marriage I have learnt that my affinity towards form over functions (in the way I organise things,if I do) receives a LOT of criticism from my husband, and wastes my time, a LOT.

So here’s my attempt to organisation, before 2013 comes.

Six Months of Breastfeeding: 16 Lessons Learned

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Of course I am awesome!

;

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Ah. The Balanced Leadership. Isn’t it ironic.

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Pumping with the sight of Petronas Twin Tower. If only I could see my other half from here.

Isa is 6 months old today which means, I have been breastfeeding him for six month. Except for a minor glitch during the first few days where he had to be fed with a few ounces of formula milk, I have been feeding him fully with breast milk.

6 months of breastfeeding might not sound fantastic, but for me it is a huge personal feat – a triumph which exceeds most of my other personal achievement thus far.

For me it is a journey of me teaching myself to be selfless. Yes, I was this selfish creature all my life but the past six months has brought me into a situation where I have put others before myself. Only when I became a mother that I’ve actually embraced this – even marriage somehow fails to do so.

So in commemoration of this first milestone, I am jotting down some useful lessons I’ve learned, some of them the hard way:

  1. Nobody really masters breastfeeding straight away – which is true for both the mommy and the baby. Both of you are learning, and learning takes time. The painful part will be over, I promise you.
  2. You need a nipple cream. Full stop.
  3. The first few weeks might be so maddening that you might be pushed to think that your life is really about feeding the child. Isa nursed every hour in my case.¬† It doesn’t help that the newborn barely recognises you, or actively responds to you. It won’t feel much like bonding time until Isa actually starts looking into my eyes and smiles.
  4. In reference to the point above, the advice normally given to mommies that feeding time should be seen as a special bonding and relaxing moments is true, especially once maternity break is over..You can now say ‘Sorry, I can’t do the dishes because I’m nursing my child.’
  5. A nursing pillow might be a VERY helpful item. Like seriously. At least for me.
  6. Buying expensive breast pumps is useless if the mother is lazy to pump. Common sense, but need to be reaffirmed.
  7. Breastfeeding ( and able to do so exclusively) does not entitle to you to be smug. It doesn’t give you the license to belittle others who don’t or couldn’t. Even if you think breastfeeding is best, (if you are a Muslim) in Islam it is highly encouraged, it is not a sin not to.
  8. The right positions to breastfeed are only useful to follow when the baby is small. It won’t apply anymore once he is a bit more mobile, when he himself chooses how he wants to breastfeed. More often than not it is freestyle. Isa can nurse while he’s lying on his tummy nowadays.
  9. If you suspect some oppositions from your close family, equip yourself with knowledge on breastfeeding beforehand, especially the ‘how’ and ‘why’. E.g. Why shouldn’t we give the baby plain water? How do we know he’s full when he’s still crying?
  10. In my case, during the first week, I had a can of formula milk on standby. It gave me some peace of mind. My nipples were sore and bleeding at certain points, and it gave me the assurance that if I were unable to feed Isa due to the pain, he won’t be left hungry in the middle of the night. In the end, we only used it for one (failed) feeding using syringe because he cried non-stop one night and I was in pain. The can is still in my kitchen, unused. Some said having no formula milk (even as a Plan B) will motivate you to not succumb to the temptation of supplementing breastfeeding with formula, but it worked differently for me.
  11. Family support is of utmost importance. Educate your husband. Invest in pre-natal classes. Get him to read babycenter.com or whatever resources you trust. Read to him if he’s too busy or lazy to read himself.
  12. Breastfeed won’t guarantee a sick-free child. But it helps, later if not now.
  13. Being an expressing mom when you get back to work is challenging. It is not a primrose path. It makes you hungry, it makes you dizzy – at certain times. Be mentally-prepared. Be efficient.
  14. To fully breastfeed might not be cheap, especially if you have to go back to work and pump. Some equipments are needed. You might save by not buying formula, but you still need to spend some. It is not FREE.
  15. I did not start working with a thousand ounces of breastmilk stock in a deep freezer or something like that. My son nursed every hour during the first two months, and I somehow believe that getting enough rest is more important to quicken my recovery. I only managed to stock up once I returned to work. While there were moments I wish I could have pumped more and stocked-up more, I managed to breastfeed this far.without¬† problems like engorgement. I suspect that was partly because I did not pump frequent enough which often causes oversupply of milk. I produced just enough. Don’t push yourself too hard on stocking up. Find a balance. I have seen many cases where these eager moms have to resort to throwing away their expired frozen milk.
  16. Eat a lot and worry not about your weight.

That’s it. We’ll see if I could get to 1-year milestone formula-free!

A Place Called Home

It does feel like ages before we can move into our new home. Some hiccups with the works, and we are blaming the inefficient subcontractor for that!

We are taking a full week off. Since there are two public holidays this week, it means taking three days of leave. We have to move by end of this week – that’s our word to the contractors, my husband starts his full weekend classes again this week, and there is no way I could make this on my own. Even packing up stuff takes a long time to finish, with a baby around.

On the renovation works, I’d say despite the very bad time management (off by a fortnight by now), the finishing is alright (for the price we pay). And of course, the colour of the walls turn out to be excellent! It’s Classic Silk from Nippon paint whites palette. I’m having all walls painted with this colour. I thought of having feature walls, but I’ll save that for a later time, considering that we need to move in quickly.

The kitchen cabinet is okay, though during my first encounter with my new kitchen I was almost dancing in delight. A kitchen of my own finally!

Some in-progress photos:

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Oh my. Indeed a home is not built in a day.