29 May 2012

Daddy is mash potatoes

And the fun begins!

Daddy got us all a new toy the last time he went out of the country...

The New iPad
Daddy said it like it is a revered phase....
And he reminded me not to make a fool out of myself by calling it the iPad 3. (-_-)

I use it now to learn baby sign language along with Joy Joy baby sign language for a start, mainly in hope that Joy Joy can start expressing herself through signs even before she is able to speak. Hopefully it takes away some of her frustrations.

And on the very first day we started using our "lessons", she ( Yes... Joy Joy ) bought a upgrade pack that costs 0.99 USD. So happened, I had downloaded an app just before using the baby sign language app with Joy Joy. It's fine actually... More signs we can learn together but definitely comical to have Daddy rushing into the room in the middle of the night to tell me "Mummy! I think Joy Joy bought something.. It's downloading now..what do we do?!" I think it was about 3am in the morning on Saturday and why is Daddy not asleep?....

Ok, I digressed. I think using the iPad as a learning tool is a great idea to tap on the little girl's curiosity. If I were to keep on getting books to satisfy her curiosity, we'd be pretty broke one day I think because I want to cultivate Joy Joy's love for books. I also like that we have less clutter than if we buy actual books.
Heres Daddy bonding with the little girl over an iPad

Notwithstanding... I would still encourage her to own actual copies of books which she loves. Nothing like the feeling of flipping the pages of treasured books. So we're still getting a bookshelf in our new home.

24 May 2012

Be thirsty my little one

My love for reading is quite drastically different from Daddy's.

To put it pictorially, my book shelves would house books like these:

The above plus a ton of baby care / childcare books, craft and cookbooks, make up / hairstyling books, Reader's Digest and maybe also alot of fashion magazines left there to rot.

And Daddy's bookshelves would house books like these:

The above plus a ton of Time magazines and Pioneer magazine (in case anyone wonders, those are magazines the army send to the boys which, I hope, Daddy didn't pay for) which Daddy collects for storage purposes only.

A meaningful excerpt for me would be:

People are realizing more and more that happiness is freedom, and freedom is to be able to “travel light”, not possessing a lot of things, because at the end of the day, the things start to possess you.

I remember that I considered to buy a castle here in France: I went to see some.

One day I realized that if I buy a castle, I cannot think about anything but taking care of it. Therefore, I bought a small watermill, so to keep it is very easy, and I have time to go to the mountains, to walk, do spend my life in the way that I would like. In short: the less you have to keep, the more you have in freedom.

- Paulo Coelho here

And for Daddy, a meaningful excerpt would be:



Whatever it is, nothing is better than the other and our intention is to cultivate the love of reading and learning for Joy Joy.

I want to make it fun!

For now, I'm looking for simple cardboard books or "soft toy" books that can capture Joy Joy's attention and she'll get to touch them to stimulate her senses. Particularly like those puppet books but really, surprisingly, i don't see alot of those around and I'm continuing my search online. Hopefully I'll find them soon.

When the little girl grows up a little more, I'm going to make library trips fun! We'll have a theme each time we visit..to learn about different things that exists in this world. Like astronomy, presidents of the world etc. I won't want her to memorize them but I hope to tap on to her curious nature to expose her to these things and make her thirst for learning.

Hopefully, she'll enjoy the journey we've planned for her and later on it life, let it take on a life of its own, whatever her reading / learning preferences may be.

We'll love to watch by the side and encourage her along the way. :)

22 May 2012

We're on to food!

Before our holiday trip to Taiwan, I brought the little girl to the PD for a health check and clearance to travel, just in case.

She was all cleared of course and on top of that, the PD told me she could start eating.

She could start eating?!

Yay! I've been waiting a long time for this because:

(1) Joy Joy has been refusing milk from the bottle.

I'm told that some days she takes only 130ml whilst I'm away. But if I'm home, she nurses like she is really hungry.

I'm convinced that there are other reasons why she is rejecting the bottle because she used to take it willingly but i'm happy that we can introduce solids to her so that we can put some of that milk into the food.

My intention is still to have milk as her main source of nourishment but take away the pain of feeding her through the bottle.

(2) I have toys!

The avent steamer blender is god-sent! And you can see why from the picture above. Basically, the most difficult part about making nutritious baby food at home is cutting up the raw food!

This one hasn't attained god-sent status but I love my baby cubes pretty much!

They are cubes for freezing homemade goodness. I choose the good stuff, I make the good stuff and these little buddies safekeep the food for my little girl.

Airtight, microwave safe, dishwasher safe, BPA free, perfect size.

I love the 40ml/1oz cubes best and have 4 sets of those. I also brought one 70ml tray and a 140ml tray for future use.

Right now, Joy joy takes about 20ml of food each time so a cube is good for 2 meals.

They come with stackable trays but I find that the trays take up space. So I stack up the cubes:

The transparent cubes also make it easier for me to know what is contained inside. I just need to remember not to do carrots and pumpkin on the same batch...

The little girl's reaction is priceless!

It became apparent shortly before our trip that Joy Joy was interested in our food. And during our trip, it became absolutely obvious...

Finally her yearning for food climaxed to this:

Food snatching.
Its like she just couldn't take it anymore and so she decided to snatch take things into her own hands.

So! After our trip, I read up about introducing solids as much as I could and decided that for a start, we are going to introduce:

Butternut pumpkin

I had fun preparing the food..

Daddy helped too..

And we recorded the first time she had her avocados:

So far, we're good with avocados and bananas! She keeps on lunging forward to get one more mouthful and another and another and another..

We just started with butternut, the puree tastes better than imagined and I think after Joy Joy is on solids proper, I'm going to have other use for the steamer blender.

My little human makes the world alright

The little girl has grown too big for our old bedtime routine. Tiny mummy me just don't have the strength to carry her well enough not to wake her up after the tummy time.

Missing it sorely.

But with grown comes awareness for my little human. That mummy is huggable!

She either reach out to hug my arm when she's half asleep:

Or she just hug mummy with her entire body when she fidgets in sleep.

Curiously, she hugs me with her eyes closed! Does she smell me then? I think so coz if I sleep at another end of the bed, she turns to the correct direction.

Some days, we just fall asleep holding hands. And I can imagine how it would be when she starts walking and holding my hand.

My little human.. She makes every bad day good again.

16 May 2012

Papa Day yesterday

Sometime during the period where Daddy had to travel alot (we see him like 1-2 days a week maximum then) for work, Joy Joy started to ignore him.

As in she would refuse to look at him or acknowledge his presence even if he was carrying her in his arms. She'd look away or just look down if Daddy forced her face to his direction with his hands and she can't look elsewhere. During the worst times, she cried each time she saw Daddy or each time he held her. And she cried badly.

I told Daddy I believe she is angry with him for not being around but heartbroken Daddy didn't believe me.

And so in April, we brought the little girl on a 9 day trip to Taiwan. The next morning, this is what happened (isn't the photo cute!!!! My favourite!):

She allowed Daddy to hold her and she watched a cartoon with him.

During the trip, she was fine with Daddy holding her and for the rest of the trip, the kids got along just fine.. In fact, better than fine.

She still loves me MORE (=p) though. In the mornings she would twist her body towards me and smile at me whilst hitting touching me with her hands whilst Daddy sulked in one corner..

But... one morning we found her voluntarily holding Daddy's hand whilst she slept (true story, not posed picture).

So all was very fine. Until we came back and Daddy returned to his usual absentee status, busy with work.

And she started ignoring him again.

And I told Daddy again that she is mad at him for being absent. And so he tried.

Daddy changed diapers for Joy Joy in the middle of the night, played with her whenever he could, held her and told her he loves her very much.

And yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, Joy Joy said "Papa"for the very first time.

But Daddy was not around to hear it. He just left the flat to send grandma and grandpa to the funeral.

I heard it alone. Twice. First time I thought I was imagining things but 2nd time round, it was clear as crystal!

Daddy is mighty happy although he didn't hear it himself. When i told him he gave us an uber big huge gigantic grin on his face.. And then he told Joy Joy "consider all your expenses paid!". Wahahaha

14 May 2012

Our first mother's day

It could have been father's day. She was extra sweet to Daddy and discriminated against NNB!

09 May 2012

Pumping at work

As of today, I have been Breastfeeding for almost 6mths. Its not a lot but its more than I imagined I could ever manage (I was so exhausted I almost wanted to give up just weeks into the breastfeeding).

When I went back to work, there was the big question of how, logistically, I could still continue to breastfeed and still manage to:

(1) not take up too much work time
(2) not return home with stale / unclean milk

After much research plus trial and error, I finally got it (I think!) !

Frequency and Timing
I pump at least 2 times a day, depending whether I'm late for work that day or not (yes.. true story) or whether I can find time to pump a 3rd time.

Sometimes, I yield more by pumping just twice a day than thrice. I think it has got to do with the fact that my breasts has more time to produce milk. So the third pump is only really necessary when my first pump is less than ideal, which for me is less than 300ml both sides).

BUT if I get to work early, I'll definitely want to pump right after i settle down. Because the morning pumps are almost always very high yield.

And I always try to pump before lunch and not after because (I feel) it buys me an additional 1 hr's time to produce more milk for the evening pump.

When I first started pumping in the office I steamed my equipment after every pump. It took me anything from 15 to 30mins to do that each time and if I pumped 3 times a day for 15 minutes, plus about 5 mins to prepare materials for pumping, I would spend 2hours and 30mins each working day to do the milk business. Obviously, it's not going to be sustainable in the long run.

I learnt something that saved me a ton of time. And that is to store the pump equipment in the fridge after each pump. That way, there is no need to wash / sterilize each time! This was the turning point that helped me continue to pump milk in the office whilst holding a very demanding job.

So, I only need to wash and sterilize once at the end of the day before I go off.

Breastpump. Use a dual pump that can be operated by plugging in or by battery. Dual pump saves you precious time and portability give you the option of pumping anywhere (even in toilets, which I do).

Ice Pack.
You can get the Fridge2Go but they are very expensive at $70-$80. So what I did was to go to Daiso and get this insulated lunch bag as well as 6 ice packs (I only need 5 each time, 1 on standby).

They work as well as the fridge to go for $14 as compared to $70-$80.

Microwave Steamer
I bought my First Choice (brand name) microwave steamer from Cold Storage for $7.80. This is for sterilizing your equipment, works just like a sterilizer.

Milk Bags

I use jungle jungle milk bags bought from Fabulous Mom. We first got them for abt RM6plus for 100 during a sale. The usual price is about RM6plus for 50.

Milk Bottles
I have a number of bottles in circulation. I use Jungle Jungle bottles which were also bought by Daddy from Fabulous Mom.

Pump equipment container
Also procured from Daiso for $2. It is tall enough to hold my pump parts and wide enough to accommodate 2 milk bottles. I need this so that I can fit all of them into the fridge.

Breastpump Holder
This was an old make up pouch I bought from Muji. An expensive one. The size looked sufficient to hold my pump + charger + spare battery + marker.

I tried to fit them in and hey hey...They all fit in!

Whilst this is not a necessity, I find it very useful to have everything in one place and not have to scramble to find each part of the breast pump before every pump. Chances are you'll forget something and have to go back for it. Going back to the office to get something I forgot is time wasting for me since I pump in the executive toilet.

Pumping Location
I pump in the executive toilet out of no choice. Our meeting rooms have full length see through panels by the side and I ain't got no room to pump.

I just take extra care with cleanliness in handling the pump equipment and sanitizing my hand before handling equipment or milk and so far, there as been no problems with the quality of milk I bring home.

This is where the pump equipment container comes into use now. I make sure the lid is sterilized as well and use it to hold my precious equipment so that I don't need to touch any part of the toilet.


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