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!
I just had to do a comparison photo of my two babies side by side. And man, they look so different at the same age!
It may appear as if Aidan is more smiley than Zac but the truth is, I was alone when I was shooting Zac so that kind of explains his bewildered expression. With Aidan, Mr Thick was next to me performing all sorts of tricks to coax a smile out of him. No wonder my boo boo was grinning like a cheeky monkey.
Re-reading the post that I had written when Aidan was two months old, it just reminds me of how tough those early days were. Compare this with how I am right now with Zac, you can see how much I have grown.
Ah, my second-born. You may lack the undivided attention of your parents, which your brother received for two full years, but you get the benefit of our experience AND the affection of your sibling.
Aidan started school this week and it’s been a rocky start so far.
Oh, we expected it. There were tears and a lot of wailing. He has been extremely clingy to me. At night, he wakes up sobbing and asking for mama. In the day, he wants me to carry him and play with him and read to him and take him to the potty and wash his hands. Basically, he wants mama for everything.
It’s been hard on us too. I cried when we dropped him off on the first day. And tears rolled down my cheeks when I picked him up and saw him sitting on the lap of the teacher, crying his little heart out. On the second day, I cried at seeing his joyful smile when he realised that I was there to get him. On the third day, I cried when his face crumpled at catching sight of me peeping through the doors.
In short, I cried a lot. Even though I know that eventually, he will enjoy school and it will be a good experience for him. At the present moment, I am still feeling my heart crack at seeing my child in this state of uncertainty and confusion and sadness.
Remember that quote from Elizabeth Stone? “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
My heart wrenches when I see Aidan cry at being away from his parents at a new environment. My heart wrenches when I see Zac choke and sputter and then cry from reflux. My heart wrenches when Aidan waves goodbye and blows kisses at his teachers in the midst of his sobs. My heart wrenches when Zac wailed inconsolably on the bilibed.
It’s an awful feeling.
But then again, my parenting mantra has always been this: my role as a parent is to love them and nurture them, and then let them go. They need to learn to find their own way around in this big, bad world. I cannot hold their hands forever, nor baby them forever.
And so, in this little way, I am letting my son take his first step into the world by himself. I know, it’s only school and he is only 2 years old. But still, it’s a step towards independence and away from mama. And if I can’t even do that gracefully now, I will become that awful, controlling and overbearing mother who will insist on running my sons’ lives even when they are 50 years old.
I wish, though, that time would stand still and let me keep them so little forever. The way Aidan lets me cuddle and kiss him. The tiny newborn-ness that Zac is fast losing every single day.
Being a parent is so bittersweet, ah.
Second time around, things are admittedly easier than before.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, we are all exhausted. A typical night looks like this: bathe both boys, put both boys to sleep and then concuss at 10pm, wake up at 2am in alarm because I had forgotten to set the timer for my three-hourly wake up call to feed the baby, feed the baby, change his diaper, feed the baby again, place baby gingerly into his cot, sleep, wake up at 5am when baby fusses, feed baby, change baby’s diaper, feed baby again, place baby gingerly into his cot, sleep, wake up at 7am because toddler is up.
Some nights, Zac will not go back to sleep after his feed. Which means that we will be staring at each other for a good hour (or two, or three) before he conks out. If I am lucky, he doesn’t cry much. If I am not, he will be fussing and whinging and I will be all WHAT DO YOU WANT, KID.
But it’s cool. One night, both Mr Thick and I collapsed in our bed and laid there in silence for a little bit. And then I said, “Good thing we know that it is not going to be like this for too long.” He nodded and we shared a quiet laugh.
With two littles, there is no time for us to sit there shell-shocked, wondering what the heck is going on and how do we do it. We just roll up our sleeves and do. And having experience on our side helps, we know that eventually, things will get easier.
Admittedly, it’s tough during the day when I need to juggle the needs of Zac and Aidan at the same time. Thankfully, I have my mother over and she’s been a gem at helping me with the boys. She adores Zac and will put him down for his nap while I give Aidan some one-on-one attention that he craves. And when I am nursing Zac, she will feed Aidan, bring him to the potty and keep an eye on him.
And let’s not forget that I get all my meals prepared for me for a month. I have no idea how I will survive without her after this but mmm, let’s take it one day at a time.
So yes, having two kids has been great so far. Extremely tiring, but also extremely joyful.
(But no, this family is going to be a family of four for a long, long, long time.)
We had our 39-week routine check at the obgyn’s yesterday. Okay, I’ll admit it: I was hoping that he would say something about me going into labour anytime soon. At this juncture in time, I can say that I am finally ready to have this baby.
Instead, Dr T waved us off with a cheery, “See you next week!”
“Next week?” I asked incredulously. “Will I be seeing you here next week?”
“I think so!” he replied with a smile.
I left the clinic feeling a little deflated. You see, back when I was pregnant with Aidan, I decided to work all the way until I delivered the baby, so that I could spend all 16 weeks of maternity leave with him. The timing worked out pretty well: I gave birth to him at 37 weeks and the work load had been light since it was already term break.
This time, I opted to start my leave a little earlier because I am just flat out from six weeks of school. Plus, I was hoping that Two would arrive before my estimated due date since his/her brother had been so impatient. That would allow me a tiny pocket of rest and I’d still be able to spend much of my maternity leave with my babies.
Now, I’d be potentially “wasting” at least a week of leave doing nothing, until Two decides that it’s time to vacate Camp Womb. Which means I’d have one less week with Two the Baby before heading back to work. Sob sob.
I really, really, REALLY expected to have had this baby by now.
Hah. HAR HAR HAR. Goes to show just how obedient my kids are.
Anyhow, silly me. Rather than see the glass as half empty, I should take this as an opportunity to take a breather from work. And more importantly, this is a wonderful chance for me to spend some quality, one-on-one time with my firstborn before his life turns upside down.
We’ve gone to the park to play ball (he kicks and I chase, that impish monkey). We’ve taken train rides. We’ve cuddled up and napped together, his little hand lying gently on my swollen belly. We’ve had tea and cake together. We’ve read books and played with trains. We’ve laid on the sofa and listened to music. We’ve sat together on the bed, looking at the rain pelting down on our window.
This afternoon, he asked me to read to him. The book in his chubby hand was Joanna Cole’s “I’m a Big Brother” – one that he loves to be read to. When we were done, he pointed to one of the illustrations and said, “That’s papa and mama and baby and gor gor.”
I told him that he will become a gor gor when baby is here, and will he be a good gor gor?
“Yes,” he said, thoughtfully.
Beautiful, wonderful moments, just me and him. Like how it used to be when he was born.
It’s not all rainbows and roses, of course. He’s thrown countless tantrums over the oddest of things, and his record is 20 minutes of sobbing over yogurt and biscuit while I was fixing dinner. But rather than lose my temper, all I can do is tell him off firmly, ignore him and then give him a hug and a kiss. He’s always so happy and smiley after that, it’s like the waterworks never happened.
Two-year-olds are the strangest creatures.
So that’s where we are at now: waiting for Two to make his watery exit. In the meantime, it’s just me and my little man making some precious memories together.