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Six months of Zac

Dear bubba,

You just celebrated your first Christmas! Not that you know any better or care, really – life goes on for you as usual, with the exception that you had your papa, mama and big brother all to yourself for the past week.

Also, Mama is terribly late with this update but hey, it’s because we have been enjoying your company.

I have forgotten just how delightful this period of babyhood is. Six months is always such a fun time: you can sit upright, babble a lot, smile and laugh frequently and is oh-so-squishy! I love, LOVE squishing you in my arms and stealing a smell from your sweaty forehead. Seriously, someone should just bottle up baby scents and sell them. Suckers like mama would totally buy them up.

And the babbling…so adorable, especially when done in that breathy baby voice. Every morning, without fail, I will wake up to your chatter and early exercise routine of vigorous arms and legs kicking. I CANNOT ignore you, no matter how hard I try to sneak in more sleep. You won’t let me! But when I finally crack open my eyelids and take my first glimpse of you, your face will break out into the biggest, loveliest toothless smile. Tell me, how can I get angry at you?

You are a most physical child, my little bubba, and I fear that my old bones cannot keep up with you once you discover the magic of walking and running. You are constantly on the move and there is never a dull moment with you around. I’d put you on the mat while I have dinner after work and you’d be rolling around and off the mat. I guess that’s why I can’t justify purchasing an expensive (read: pretty) playmat when you don’t quite care for boundaries. You just cannot. Sit. Still. (Exactly like that ants-in-pants brother of yours. EXACTLY.)

But I must admit that you are an easy, happy baby nonetheless. I can put you in the cot or your bouncer for a short period of time and you will be contented with your toys or simply looking around. That frees me up to do things, like chores or handle your brother or work on the laptop. Maybe it’s a second-born trait? Whatever it is, thank you very much for your chill nature.

It’s pretty funny but the first thing that almost everyone says when they see you is that you have a lot of hair. And then they talk about your nom-worthy cheeks (VERY! NOM NOM NOM). And then they tell me that you look like me. And I think you do look like me too, but you have papa’s eyes (Most unfortunate, tsk, but we can’t have everything, I suppose). I also have strangers asking me if you are a girl simply because you have so much hair. What is this sexist nonsense?!

Sigh. Like I said, six months is such a loveable age. I love the coos, the gurgles, the sweet baby smells. I love how you reach out your hands to touch my face. I love how you laugh when I toss you into the air. I love the way you blow raspberries. I love the way you kick in your bouncer.

You have my heart, little garden gnome of mine, you and your brother both.

Love you to the moon and back,
Mama

Five months of Zac

Dear bubba,

So. Hi. I know that the letter is meant to be written to a five-month-old you but technically, you are 5.5 months old now. And for that, we can blame the weather. You see, whenever I had the time to take your monthly photo during the weekend, it started to rain. We know that rainy days don’t make for good pictures because the light is all meh. So your papa and I kinda procrastinated.

But better late than never, no?

Can I just say that you are such a little darling at five months old? I never thought I could adore a baby as much as I adore your brother but along came you and you stole my heart completely all over again.

All that they say about your heart growing bigger? So damn true.

You, my little bubba, are such a happy little lark. You always reserve the biggest and gummiest grins for your papa, mama and gor gor. We hardly hear you cry and when you do, it’s pretty easy to figure out why – you are either sleepy or hungry. No matter how tired I am after a long day at work, you never fail to light up my day, whether you are simply sitting in your bouncer and kicking your chubby legs vigorously, or when you gleefully kick out in your bath tub.

You’ve also learnt to flip and it’s so fun to see you turn from your back to your tummy, prop yourself up on your arms (AKA cobra pose) and stare at us. That face of yours! Man, you can probably get away with ANYTHING. It’s like, TAKE WHATEVER YOU WANT, IT’S YOURS. Unfortunately, you also fell off the bed one morning because of this flipping business. You somehow flipped, shuffled around (SHUFFLED?! Isn’t it too early for that?) and fell off. Let’s just chalk it up as a one-off incident, mmmkay?

These days, you and Aidan are starting to interact and it’s oh so cute to watch. Aidan would fetch you a toy to play with when you are in the bouncer, or he would rattle a toy to amuse you because you are fussing and “mummy eating dinner”. He also loves to help me bathe you, scooping water in his plastic cups over your Buddha belly. When I take him out of his car seat, he would run over to your side of the car just to “see Zac”. And when I started playing peekaboo with you, he would join in, shouting “PEEKABOOOOOOO!” so loudly he could wake the dead. You would stare at him in such wonder.

And then there was this one day, this magic moment. I was nursing you on the sofa and he drifted close to us. All of a sudden, he leaned in, gave you a peck on the head, and said, “I love you, Zac.”

Like I said, MAGIC.

You know, I’ve always wanted to have a second child but I have never thought about how he or she may be like. When I knew that I was pregnant with you, I was so absolutely thrilled because I thought I would have to jump through a thousand and one hoops just to have a child, the way I did before. And now that you are here, it’s like you fit in so perfectly.

Oh, sorry to be off topic, but did I mention your cheeks? Those droopy sacs of skin that could probably hold a winter’s worth of nuts? OH. MY. GOD. I love to squish them. I love to kiss them.

What the heck. I just love you. LURRRRRRVE YOU. To the moon and back, always. Remember that. We will always have your back.

Love always,
mama

Four months of Zac

Dear Zac,

Technically, it should be four-and-a-half months of you but really, nobody cares about the technicalities, pish. Well, you see, I was late by a week in taking the pictures and then another week went by before I remembered that I should have written this to you by now. If I get more sleep, I may have a better memory. Just sayin’.

The thing is, mama went back to work almost three weeks ago and it’s been challenging, adapting to being back in the office again. And as any working mother will know, one of the hardest things we can do is to leave our babies behind when we go.

I have missed you and the lazy days that we have spent together. Those hazy mornings when we nap together, those baby-wearing moments when our hearts beat close together as I took you out with me because you wouldn’t nap, the smiles and coos that make my heart sing. You don’t know how hard it is for me to peel myself away from you in the mornings now. And I guess you miss me too, because on the night of my first day back at work, you fussed and fussed a gazillion times. I will take that as a I MISS YOU MAMA thing.

Every day, I look at you and thank god that you are here and you are ours. Maybe it’s because we are second-time parents and we know what to expect, or maybe it’s because you are genuinely an easier baby to handle (and your brother was not even a difficult baby then) – but life with you is so, well, easy. It’s not tough to read your needs and give you what you want, be it to nap you or to feed you. You go to bed quite easily at night and even though you do wake up often enough to make me feel like death on some days, I never have to stay awake for too long to put you back to sleep again.

You, my little squish, are a darling. You are generally a happy chappy whom everyone adores. You are easy to please and a lively little song or a cheerful grin will make you break out into a gummy smile. Most of the time, you don’t complain or cry, and you only do either of these when you are tired or in the car seat.

I know it’s not diplomatic to compare but I think you will be a more reserved fellow than your brother is. At this age, he was already babbling a mile a minute from the moment he woke up. Put him down on any surface, say a few words to him and he would “talk” back to you. (He’s still like this today, at 2.5-years-old. He loves to talk to you these days.)

You, on other hand, have not been as chatty. You also have not bestowed your laughter upon us as freely. It’s almost as if you haven’t really learnt how to laugh! You’d sort of giggle a little but it never progresses to a full-on laugh that comes right from the belly. So when the giggle happens, I feel like SUPER MUM WHO MADE HER BABY LAUGH.

What you lack verbally, you make up for it in your physical movements. Boy, are you fab at kicking! I love to put you in the bouncer and see you kick vigorously, it’s really adorable. You are almost always moving, and I predict that you will be a very physical little boy.

Speaking of which, I got woken up by you at 2:30am one morning in a hilarious fashion. You were lying next to me on the bed and you were making “eh eh eh” noises (possibly translated as: I MUST I MUST I MUST) while kicking your legs in the swaddle. I sat up, checked the clock and stared at you as you continued your antics. Suddenly, you flipped onto your stomach and I realised, AH THAT’S WHY.

Alas! It was a one-way ticket to Bellyhood and you simply could not flip back. There were several more “eh eh eh” moments (possibly translated as: HELP ME NAO, MOTHER) before I, laughing, decided to lend you a helping hand. I would have given you a standing ovation for that performance – your FIRST FLIP! – except it was at 2 freaking am in the morning.

Also, nobody ever saw you flip again. And therefore, I am so glad you saved your one-off performance for mama.

Oh bubba! Stay little for as long as you can, okay?

Happy four months and we love you like crazy.

Zac at 4 months

Love you to the moon and back,
Mama

2.5 years of Aidan

Dear Aidan,

You know, it’s kinda funny. Time crept up on us so stealthily that we hadn’t realised just how big you have grown so far. I mean, it’s like we have been keeping pace with you and we knew you were growing but suddenly, when we see you with your little brother, we discovered just how far we had all come together.

You, my boo boo, are an amazing little fellow. The past few months have not been easy for you but you have grown through it with such joy and unbridled love. You have shown me how strong you are and how much I really, really love you.

We started June just hanging out, you and me. Oh, we did loads of stuff together: we went to Ikea and had tea, chilled at the playground and looked at photos together. We read books and played with trains. We took naps together and woke up happy.

And then Zac came along and your world changed. Suddenly, you were thrust into the unknown and here’s a tiny human demanding so much of your parents’ attention, especially mama’s. Suddenly, all these weird big people were telling you to hug and kiss that tiny human, saying stuff like “if you don’t do XYZ, I will give your Thomas train to didi”.

Of course you acted out. You are only two years old. You are meant to act out at this age. And you did. There were loads of tears and illogical tantrums and strange demands. But those, those I could handle. What I could not handle was the sobbing: big, fat tears accompanied by cries of “mama! Mama!”. It nearly broke my heart into two, it made me wonder if I had been selfish in wanting to have a second child when clearly, my first-born was in despair. All I could do was to hold you, stroke your back, shower you with kisses and tell you that it was going to be alright and I loved you.

Three months on, you have blossomed into the loving and warm big brother that your papa and I had envisioned. You love Zac and say the funniest things to him. Like, “Zac, we go the NTUC, okay?” and “Mama give the num num to Zac”. You love to hug and kiss him, and then tell me to “take photo! Take photo!”

Of course there is still jealousy, of course you still want whichever parent is holding on to Zac. But that’s natural and to be expected. Bit by bit, you are entering the realm where you cannot remember how life was like without Zac.

You started attending school and oh boy, it was so tough in the early days. You cried your heart out when we left you in the new environment. I could not stop my own tears from falling when I saw you sitting on the teacher’s lap and sobbing. I wished I could help you to understand why we had to do this, I wished I could help you through your confusion and sadness.

But look at you now! There are still tears, true, but they go off pretty quickly. The teacher tells me that you are a happy little chappy who loves to sing, and you have a hearty appetite. Sometimes you tend to wander off and do your own thing but you know, that’s so you.

School taught you independence but it also gave you the “gift” of bugs. You caught a nasty bug and you never really recovered from it. For two months, you coughed and sneezed your way through life and we despaired of ever having you healthy again. Throughout this period, though, you remained your happy self and you never let the illnesses bring you down.

So yes, it’s been an eventful three months. Life has changed so much for you but you have been such a super trooper. I’m so proud to be your mama and so glad that you are ours to love and adore.

Don’t ever lose that wide-eyed wonder, okay?

Love you to the moon and back,
mama

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

Two months of Zac

Dear Zac,

Woah, how is it that two months have passed by so quickly? What exactly have we been doing?

Oh wait, I know what we have been doing. Nothing and everything.

Every morning, we spend time doing nothing. While your papa takes Aidan to school and heads to work after that, we lounge around in bed. Sometimes, I sing to you, we have a bit of a natter and I try to take loads of photos of you. And then it’s off to the bath for you and once you are clean and sweet smelling, I try to get you to take a nap.

Most of the time, you do fall asleep (yay!) and then I’ll cook/eat lunch, shower and do some work. Sometimes, you oblige me by sleeping for two hours (hurrah for tummy sleeping). Otherwise, you are up after an hour and I’d try to put you down for a second round of napping.

Before you know it, the morning is gone and it’s time to pick up your brother from school.

I love mornings like these when we are lazing around and have no agenda. Mornings are when you are at your happiest. I get to indulge in your babyness and enjoy your coos and smiles. I get to spend undivided time with you, giving you all of my attention. I get to enjoy being a mother of an infant, something I really didn’t do much of previously.

You see, with your brother at this stage, I was constantly on tenterhooks, wondering if I was doing everything correctly. He hardly napped and did not go to sleep easily, and I was always trying to troubleshoot it. It was like walking on eggshells and there was equal amounts of joy and anxiety in parenting him then.

But with you – all of that anxiety, fear and worry go out of the window. I trust in my own parenting abilities this time, I let you and your progress take the lead.

So while your brother gave me the gift of motherhood, you, my darling, offered me the chance of a redemption. To redo everything all over again, and to enjoy myself thoroughly this time.

Of course, the past month has not been easy on you and me at times. Unfortunately, you picked up a nasty virus from your brother and it developed into bronchiolitis. You have no idea how it breaks our hearts seeing you cough like that, your little body hacking away. It’s been two weeks and you are improving, albeit too slowly for my liking. But there is nothing much we can do but to nebulise you regularly, and hope for the best.

You have been a brave little man throughout though. You hardly cry and you are still full of smiles and coos. I’m so very proud of you, my happy little chappy.

We love you to the moon and back, thank you for completing our family.

Don’t worry bubba, it’s just the photo. You are usually more smiley than this. ;)

Always,
Mama

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