To my firstborn (25 months)

Dear Aidan,

I am sitting here typing this to you while 32 weeks pregnant with your younger sibling. And it’s a rather bittersweet feeling. Because, as I was telling Papa, we are having so much fun as a family of three, that I feel slightly guilty for changing your world completely.

Oh, I know that you probably won’t remember the years that you spent with just the two of us. You won’t remember just how we would sit on the floor, building towers and trains of bricks with you. You won’t remember how we read Where We Go and Out in the Sun with you every night before bedtime. You won’t remember standing in your learning tower, stirring your yogurt in the kitchen with me. You won’t remember lying with me on the sofa in the evenings, listening to your favourite songs (currently Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, live version, “uncle song with clapping,” you say) while your hand gently sits on my big belly. You won’t remember curling up next to me as you fall asleep, your hand reaching back to hold mine.

Right now, you are the sweetest, sweetest boy in the world. You look up to me as we walk and say “hold mama hand” in your adorable voice. And you kiss and hug us so lovingly and generously. You insist on kissing the baby everyday.

Just the other night, we were out way past your bedtime for the Electric Run. You were sitting in your stroller in that sticky, suffocating heat, quietly absorbing the atmosphere. From time to time, you would call out for mama to seek reassurance.

Meanwhile, mama was feeling miserable. We had been standing for almost an hour just to get to the starting line, and I was irritated by the hot temperature and the crowd. My calves were in spasms, my back was aching, I was this close to losing my temper. And we haven’t even started the 5km walk yet.

I stood by your stroller, bent forward to relieve the ache in my lower back. Tears sprung into my eyes. I felt like a total failure for being a party pooper when everyone else around me was in such high spirits. I just wanted to go home.

And then suddenly, I heard your little voice pipe up, “Mama? Mama?”

I turned to look at you and you were staring at me with those big eyes. You reached out and patted me on the arm. And in that instant, I wanted to cry.

I wish I can encapsulate every moment that we spend with you and you alone. The process of watching you grow up is so magical and beautiful that I wish time wouldn’t move so fast.

But time is indeed flying by. In a blink of an eye, I am 32 weeks pregnant and, as mama’s colleague reminded me today, we could become a family of four in a month’s time. Especially if your little brother or sister has your propensity for arriving into our world ahead of schedule.

When I was waiting for you to join us, I wasn’t afraid. I was ready to face whatever challenges parenthood would bring us. But now, I find myself worried and slightly anxious. Because this time, the change would not only affect us but also you.

I hope that if you ever read this as an adult, know that we love you very much and all we ever want is the best for you. I hope that you will grow to love your sibling and to rely on one another. I hope that you will realise just how important you are to us, as our firstborn and the one who made us parents.

Remember that no matter what, you will always be loved. No matter what.

Love you to the moon and back,
Mama

The whale

I’m now at the stage where everything about me is big: my boobs are spilling out of my clothes; my face is fat; my Jackie Chan honker is back in business; my feet is swollen and resemble puffy sausages; my stomach is obstructing my path.

In short, I look big and I feel monstrous. MEH.

Two seems to be feeling the lack of space too. Instead of cute kicks and buttery flutters, the poor little baby has taken to wriggling. It’s so…odd. I mean, imagine someone nudging you from inside. And the kid is ALL OVER THE PLACE. I can get strange wriggles above my belly button and all the way to my waist on the right. AT THE SAME TIME.

Mmm, maybe Two will be all supermodel-ly with long lanky limbs. LIKE FABULOUSLY GORGEOUS MAMA!

And because the giant uterus requires space, all my innards have been unceremoniously shoved aside. My stomach is probably somewhere up my chest – I wouldn’t know, I can’t really feel it anymore. But what this means is that the horrible nausea that I used to get during the first trimester is saying HELLO AM BACK! Sometimes, I would retch after brushing my teeth. Or after breakfast. According to the good doctor, the stomach is being squashed, which leads to nausea. Wahey.

But it’s all good. This isn’t forever and hey, I’m never going to be pregnant again. So I’m trying my best to enjoy this as much as possible.

Two gets some music time via the Belly Buds almost every night and I go to sleep to the soothing hypnobirthing tracks. The Muji diffuser in my room is puffing out lulling lavender into the air. The night is still (until Aidan wakes up, anyway) and the air-conditioning is humming.

It’s all good.

Dramatic tendencies

We took a quick holiday in Bali over the past week and, man, hauling around a toddler is an exhausting thing to do. There were times when he just pushed all the wrong (or right, depending on which side you are looking at) buttons and drove us absolutely nuts.

Thankfully, we took turns getting mad and were able to defuse the situation quickly. Ah, parenthood is really a partnership. And I feel like I need a holiday to recover from the holiday.

Having said that, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. The OMGHEISDRIVINGMEINSANE moments were far and few, and there was plenty of good fun too. There are good stories to tell but right now, I need to edit my photos and I’ll leave you with this gem of a tale.

So there we were, at the top of some rice paddy fields in the middle of nowhere, waiting for the sun to set and our organic food to arrive. How we got there is a story worthy to be told on its own so I’ll leave it for another day.

Anyway, yes. Picture this. We were sitting in some rustic “restaurant” that’s really a hut. Over in the far horizon, the sun was slowly setting. The adults – me, Mr Thick, my mum and my Cousin Ching – were all hot and sweaty from the hike up to the “restaurant”. Aidan was in his element, yelling and attempting to run all over the place, refusing to settle. Mr Thick was at the point of eruption. He plonked A onto the chair and delivered a grim and firm ultimatum: “SIT!”

In a bid to divert Aidan’s attention, my cousin started to talk to him.

Cousin Ching: Oh look, Aidan! Look at the sunset!
Aidan: (stops whinging and looks up with a WOAH expression) Oh! (pause) My god!

- End of scene -

40 is the new 30

Happy birthday to my love. You have been the best thing that has happened to me.
Thank you for being my rock, the one person who can make me laugh, and whom I can be all bimbo and silly with.
Thank you for being the best father our kid(s) can ever have.
Thank you for sacrificing your waistline to pig out on waffles and ice-cream with me.

In fact, let’s make a pact to have waffles and ice-cream ALL THE TIME. Shall we?

I love you. Always. xx

He’s turning 40

Ah, my old fart.

I mean, my husband.

Mr Thick is turning 40 very soon and I decided to put together a nice little celebration for him. You see, he hasn’t had much of a birthday do since two years ago, when Aidan came along. In that month of March, we were both frazzled and exhausted and I hardly had any wits about me to plan my next meal, let alone a birthday. Last year, we were in Perth with my family and our plans were scuppered, thanks to the Easter holiday which closed all businesses and the lovely Italian restaurant that I had planned to check out. We ended up at San Churro, where I managed to sneak a cake under his nose, complete with a candle.

This year, I decided to up the ante just a wee bit and planned a surprise do for him. It was meant to be a Steve Jobs-themed party and I had requested my friends to come in black tops and geek glasses. But ah well, most of our friends did not come dressed up according to the theme, which was a real shame.

Anyway, I had everything done. Props, checked. Delicious cake from Mrs Ergul, checked. Food, catered, checked. Friends to meet at a certain time before food is delivered, checked.

Yay surprise gonna work!

Until it didn’t.

The food delivery guy showed up a good half hour ahead of schedule and camped outside my door. He rang me and I said I wouldn’t be able to let him in until 430pm and he said fine, he’ll wait. Husband went into the kitchen to get a drink, saw the delivery guy waiting outside and asked why there was someone there. I lied through my teeth and muttered something about it being the neighbour’s clearly, since I hadn’t catered anything.

Phew.

And then that annoying man went into the kitchen AGAIN and the delivery guy saw him. The delivery guy promptly WAVED AT MY HUSBAND and said, “HELLO, DELIVERY!”

My confused husband then opened the door and told the dude that he had the wrong house. The delivery guy insisted that he was at the right place and husband asked to see the receipt. Of course, my name was there and Mr Thick turned to shoot me a suspicious look.

Meanwhile, I was trying to dig a hole into the floor of our flat and crawl into it.

“Is this one of your surprises again?” he asked, trying hard to contain his amusement but failing.

“GO AWAY INTO THE ROOM AND DON’T COME OUT UNTIL I SAY SO,” I commanded. He walked off, with a grin on his face.

I duly gave the delivery guy a scolding (“There is a reason I specifically said 430, right?! I told you to wait, right?! You spoil my surprise for my husband lah!”) and hauled the food in.

Five minutes later, our friends arrived at our doorstep and shouted “SURPRISE!”

You know what, someone up there is clearly trying to tell me that I should steer clear of planning parties. All my parties, so far, have “failed” in one way or another. Next time, I’m just going to buy a cake and say, “NAH. Happy birthday.”