Three months of Zac

Dear Zac,

Oh what a month it has been! It sure hasn’t been easy for us and it sure as hell hasn’t been easy for you too. But you have proven to us that you are a super trooper and a brave little thing.

You’ve been sick for a while, no thanks to a nasty bug that hit both you and your brother when you were all of six weeks old. It stayed and lingered and loitered around, until it turned into two nasty infections that your little body had to fight off.

It wasn’t pretty, the night you were admitted to the hospital. My heart broke into a million pieces when the nurse brought you to me after they had inserted the drip into your tiny hand and taken vials and vials of blood for tests. You were shell-shocked, your heart rate rocketed to more than 200 bpm and you were stiff. No amount of coaxing or cuddling from me could calm you down. I was scared, so so scared. Finally, you allowed me to nurse you and you fell into a restless sleep.

That night, you slept in my arms while your brother slept at my feet, clutching my legs for comfort. That night, the nurses and doctor worried about you, administered oxygen on you and took x-rays. That night, I hardly slept. That night, I felt real terror and understood what it meant to have my heart walking outside my body for the first time.

But then you bounced back. You fought the infections like a brave soldier and you were back to your normal self in a week. You remained the happy baby that you have always been and the nurses loved you so. And you made me so proud to be your mama.

So you haven’t exactly had the best start in life but we can only hope that this means things can only get better from now now.

Right now, you are the funniest little darling. You are happy to dish out smiles to anyone who would smile at you, and you love it when we respond to your babbles. Whenever I plonk you onto my lap, you break into the biggest smile. You just love it when we look at you and have conversations with you, Mr Social Butterfly. And when you are not a happy camper (because nobody is talking to you), you complain oh so vocally.

Even at this age, I can see glimpses of your personality. You can be impatient, getting frustrated when you can’t fall asleep quickly enough or when the milk flow isn’t fast enough for you. And yet you are a chill little fellow – you are happy to stay for prolonged periods in the stroller and you don’t fuss or cry much. You are also going to be a handful, I predict, judging by how active and physical you already are.

Sigh. Go easy on your poor parents’ ageing limbs, okay?

Oh my little Zac. Stay little for just a bit longer, please? You are mama’s last baby so do let me enjoy your babyhood for as long as possible? Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up, baby boy.

Love you to the moon and back,
mama

Only happy when it rains

After our 7D6N “staycation” at Mount Alvernia Hospital, I said a silent prayer to the Big Guy Up There.

Please, I whispered in my head, let this cycle of mad illnesses end here now.

Three days later, Aidan was diagnosed with HFMD.

So yeah, there is a sense of WHAT THE FUCKERY lingering around here. When we heard the dreaded four letters from the GP’s mouth (that’s HFMD and not TOTO), Mr Thick and I visibly sank in our Birkenstocks. Back home, he looked at me in despair and said, “When are we ever going to catch a break?”

Because, poor man. He had a 10-day sabbatical leave and we were meant to do all sorts of romantic and sexxxxay things together. Like clear out the storeroom. Redo the boys’ room. Clean our study table. Install the invisible grilles in our balcony. Repair our aircon. Have coffee every single day. Have a meal here and there. Sleep. Go for a family vacation. But he ended up shuttling between our parents’ homes, our home and the hospital everyday. Not only that, he was also permanently attached to his work laptop during those 10 days because, obviously, the company would absolutely DIE without him.

But you know what, there are little things to be thankful for in life and I am not going to sit here and whine about how crappy and sucky it has been. I mean, it HAS been ridiculously crappy and sucky around here.

It’s also been good.

Aidan turned 2.5 years old and his verbal and comprehension abilities astound us so. (His toddler angst astound us too, though on another end of the spectrum.) He says the funniest things and has an amazing memory. Zac, oddly enough, is now three months old. I say oddly enough because I look at the itty bitty babies snuggled in the arms of their mothers at the hospital and wonder where my little squish has gone. He now resembles, in my very unbiased opinion, a garden gnome. Mr Thick and I still make each other laugh and we have not harboured thoughts of stabbing the other with a fork. Yet.

At the end of the day, we are going through this together as a family. Hopefully, nobody will need therapy in time to come.

Photo by The Beautiful Moments Photography

Photo by The Beautiful Moments Photography

iwannagohome

For the past three nights, I have called the hospital home.

I lay on the chair-bed that’s hard as stone and go to sleep to the sound of my baby’s oxygen mask. I wake up whenever the nurses come in to take his temperature, feed him his medicine or nebulise him. Inevitably, I will have to carry him to soothe him or, if he allows, nurse him.

Every evening, I bid farewell to my toddler and my husband. I know my son well – he says goodbye to me cheerily and kisses me. But once home, the notion that mama isn’t home with him sinks in and he cries for me. I so long to be there for him when he wakes, to kiss his sweaty forehead and say goodnight to him.

It’s so hard.

I miss my family, whole and healthy. I miss my home. I miss our daily routine, as mundane as it seems.

And yet I have to stay here so that my littlest can recover from that nasty virus.

It’s been a difficult, challenging month. Enough already, please?

Get well soon, bubba.

It’s Kit Kat time

Today has been a truly, truly trying day. One that deserves to be buried six feet under. And then set on fire. And then pulverised by the weapons of mass destruction that they may or may not have found in Iraq.

It all started last night, I think. It was a horrid night. Zac is going through a mental leap and his idea of sleep is to either permaboob (ie. latch on forever and ever, until he graduates from university) or sleep on a warm human body. In between, he cried and fussed.

And on the opposite spectrum, we have Aidan, who has this very strange need to be physically attached to my body when he sleeps. His lovey is, oddly enough, my belly button, and it is not unusual for him dig his fingers into my flesh, looking for said button in the middle of the night. When I am nursing Zac (which, remember, goes on forever and ever these days), he wakes up and screams to be carried by mama. Obviously mama can’t do that because mama has a baby hanging off her boob. He continues screaming and nobody gets any sleep.

Last night, he also ran a temperature so we found ourselves zipping across the island to pay a visit to our paediatrician bright and early this morning. Predictably, we spent the entire morning in the clinic burning a few holes in our pockets and by the time we left, it was noon. During this time, Zac caught little naps here and there, but nothing substantial.

Oh, did I also mention that the sky was pissing with rain? And that the walk between the carpark and the clinic was not sheltered?

We had lunch and on the way back, Aidan fell asleep in the car. Yay! Except he woke up once we lifted him out of the carseat and then he cried for mama when papa tried to put him back to sleep at home. Except mama was trying to nap baby, who would wake up once he was unlatched.

Once again, nobody got any sleep.

I decided to strap Zac to me and go for a walk. It was a very pleasant walk, actually. The weather was lovely and cool. We went to Yakun and I had my teh-si fix and then we took a bus back. Aidan had fun jumping into puddles in his wellies and we laughed and laughed.

And then it was time to head out for my father-in-law’s birthday dinner.

Just for the record, I would like to state that I had been vehemently AGAINST the idea of bringing a sick toddler and a 2.5-month-old baby out for a 7pm dinner. I knew that Aidan would not nap much in the day and would be a handful. I knew that Zac goes into meltdown mode at that hour and can only be comforted after a bath and a feed AT HOME. Our past weekend dinners at the in-laws have proven that to be true.

Because who ends up pacing the floor, soothing a cranky baby while the rest of the family enjoys dinner? ME. Everybody gets their turn at carrying baby and cooing at how cute he is, but when he cries, he gets dumped back into my arms.

So really, NO THANKS.

But my worries were summarily dismissed and I decided that should either of my children be crying during dinner, I will coolly eat my Peking duck and say, “Oh, by all means, carry him.” And I will continue crunching down on that Peking duck because, you know, PEKING DUCK.

Anyhow, we set off for the dinner. Zac started bawling even before we inserted the key into the ignition. Meanwhile, Aidan was chirpy but coughing up a storm. We drove and we jammed (the car sort) and Zac continued crying and Aidan continued coughing. I moved back to sit in between the carseats (IT’S A FEAT/FIT) and had one hand on each of my boys’ to comfort them.

As we drove onto CTE, Aidan coughed and he coughed and he…THREW UP ALL OVER HIMSELF. I stared at him, aghast and all, WITENBOF. As I hastily tried to clean him up, he vomited again. I almost cried, because he looked so miserable and the smell of vomit was awful. Good thing Zac had been crying, he probably cried enough for all of us.

We stopped the car and stripped Aidan out of his vomity clothes. The car seat was drenched as well. There was no way in hell I would allow my kids to go for the dinner in their various states and so we headed back. Zac was still crying.

By the time we got home, my poor bubba had been crying for an hour. And it was ALL FOR NOTHING. The car smelt of vomit and the car seat was in a disgusting state. I was exhausted and my head was pounding from the smell and the crying. But my Super Powers kicked in and I managed to whip up dinner for Aidan (macaroni in chicken soup, steamed salmon) and the adults (frozen pizza, NO JUDGING and thank you Dr Oetker).

We got the kids bathed and changed into their jammies. Finally, they fell asleep, even if Zac woke up and cried, before passing out at my boob. Again.

I crawled out of the room and devoured ice-cream. (The Inspired Chef‘s Divine Chocolate Tart, if anyone’s interested. You can thank me later.)

So yeah, not the best day of my life. When you add in the loss of my wallet (and all my credit cards and IC), the perpetual ill-health of the family, my idiotic rear-ending of our car…you can see how I am Just. So. Frigging. Tired.

Am going to slump onto my pillow and wait for someone to wake up soon. Am also mentally crooning Radiohead’s Fake Plastic Trees. Just because.

Of beautiful moments perfectly captured

We love beautiful photographs, husband and I.

When we decided to get married, one of our priorities was photography. We knew that we didn’t want just anyone to shoot one of the best days of our lives. Oh forget about the expensive gowns and jewellery, we were willing to pay for photography. And we found it in Eadwine.

And then we got married and we decided that the fun was not over yet. Since my wedding dress was hanging in the wardrobe doing nothing much, we decided to do a trash the dress shoot with my friend Alywin.

Two years later, two (finally) became three and I thought, hey, we should update those photo albums. So Alywin came in to take photos of us and our newest addition – Aidan.

So with the birth of Zac, I could not NOT have a shoot done, couldn’t I? But then my friend Alywin had to move to Shanghai and leave me stranded without a photographer friend. I was searching for a photographer when a friend shared with me Joshua‘s crowd-funding endeavour. To help someone achieve his goal and to get a shoot out of it, why not?

Mr Thick and I are not fans of studio shoots and we never have – we find those too repetitive, too unnatural, too predictable. And, most importantly, there is no natural light. Without batting an eyelid, we decided on an outdoor shoot for this particular one as well. As the day drew closer, however, I started to panic slightly. Handling two kids on a humid summer day? What was I, insanely optimistic?

Thankfully, the weather held up and both boys were on their best behaviour. I mean, nobody cried and NOBODY POOPED. That’s like striking lottery! Plus, Josh was a very nice chap who made us feel all comfortable and the shoot went better than expected.

Even if the matching tees that I got for the boys were actually purchased from the girls department. (BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT!)

We kind of weren’t really expecting much, just a couple of pictures of the family. But what we got from Josh in return was so, so, so much more. We are so chuffed by the album. He definitely made us look more beautiful that we really are, thanks, in part, to the gorgeous light (see, natural light). You can’t even tell that I am absolutely gutted by the lack of uninterrupted sleep.

Also, Photoshop is our best friend. Here’s to being Fabulously Gorgeous forever!