Hello Perth

Ah, Perth!

It was just a month ago that we were there and yet it feels like a lifetime. Yup, that’s what parenthood does to you.

(Sidenote: every time I forget something or have to stifle a yawn in class, I tell my students that I am exceedingly tired and that if they value their sleep, they should AVOID having children at all costs. Am I not a terrible educator? DO NOT BLAME THE FALLING BIRTH RATES ON ME.)

Anyway, we had quite a quiet time in Perth. Being there with family meant that we could not afford to be overly ambitious with our itinerary, given that we had to take into account the comfort level of the other members. If it had been just the three of us, I am pretty sure we would have explored more places.

But it was just as well, taking it slow and easy. Oh, tip: don’t go over to Perth during the Easter break. It’s ridiculously quiet. All the shops are closed and as one radio DJ said, Easter is the dullest period of the year. Hah, no shit. Lesson learnt.

What I loved about Perth: the wide, open spaces; brilliantly blue skies; laid-back pace; the breathtaking sunsets; and THE COFFEE. How can I forget about the coffee? We didn’t go cafe hunting this time around but the two or three cups that I had were excellent. And they weren’t even recommended by Foursquare!

Writing about this brings up the wanderlust itch all over again. There is just something about being on the plane that makes me feel happy. Never mind that I may only be flying to KL, the notion of going somewhere brings me so much joy. I guess I just wasn’t made to stay in one place for very long – I’m like the sea snail with an itchy foot (is it any surprise that it’s one of my favourite books to read to A?).

Some snapshots:

If you need more ideas on where to visit while in Perth, drop me a note and I’ll try my best to help!


Some days…

Last night was a difficult night for me.

It was the first day of school and I was pretty beat up from lessons. Talking for four hours a day, non-stop, can be a really tough thing to do, let along managing a large group of teenagers at the same time. By the time I headed home, my tank was running on low.

And my little man, oh my little man! His sleep has been downright ugly for the past six months but that’s okay, I am used to it. But between the two of us, we spent an HOUR putting him to bed. That’s one hour of Mr A crying and sobbing and yelling before he finally fell asleep. By the time I came out of his room, I was ready to throw in the towel and call it quits. Whatever “it” may be.

Maybe it was the Universe toying with me, or maybe it’s just me being stupid on social media. Randomly scrolling through Instagram as I sprawled across the sofa, I came across two separate pregnancy announcements from ladies whose babies are not even one.

Let me repeat that: their babies are not even ONE and they are PREGNANT.

I broke down. I couldn’t stop sobbing, the tears just kept flowing fast and furious. All I could think of was how exhausted I was, how I wanted a second little one too, how is it that everyone else can have it all while I was barely keeping it together.

But you know what, life goes on. My lessons are not going to run by themselves just because I had a rough night. I can’t be all mean and nasty and grouchy because I didn’t get enough sleep. My baby still needs his mama. So I get up, brush the dirt from my knees and walk on.

It’s okay though. It’s okay to have one of these bad days. Life is not perfect, not for me anyway. Motherhood is not all peaches and roses. I’m not glamorous, far from it. It is tough and there are days when we hit rock bottom. On those days I do what I can to get through it. And then it gets better.

It will, it eventually will. Just tell yourself that. And then wipe those tears dry, hold your head up high and get on with the day. Because you are strong enough. We all are.

In the end, I cleaned my face and nose on husband’s tee-shirt. Went into the bedroom, turned on the AC and tucked myself under the quilt. At 1030pm. And I slept until Aidan woke up and needed me.

And it was a brand new day all over again.

Two of Us

Married life #27

We are driving down Swan Valley on Mr Thick’s 25th birthday…

Me: Okay. Let’s pretend that we are not in Perth. Instead, we are at the vineyards in San Francisco.

Him: Right.

Me: And that’s my birthday present to you.

Him: Which is?

Me: The power of imagination! A most important present indeed. Happy birthday!

With the man on his birthday.

Health Goddess

It’s all the same

I haven’t written about infertility for a while now but it’s always hanging at the back of my mind. Even as we think about having a sibling for the littlest of us all, the possibility that we will have to go through all that heartache again is something that has never left my thoughts.

Recently, a friend of mine confided that he and his wife had failed to conceive after a series of IUIs. Luckily for them, they conceived their two kids after one shot at IUI respectively. Well, I use the term “luckily” very loosely and reluctantly – if they were that lucky to begin with, they wouldn’t be needing the help of artificial reproductive technology (ART) to conceive in the first place. But in the world of infertility, getting it right the first time around is considered extremely fortunate indeed.

Anyway, given their age, they have decided that this would be their last shot at having another child, despite their strong desire to add another little one to their family. He teared while sharing the news with us and it was patently obvious that the decision to give up was not an easy one to make.

While sharing this story with two other friends who also went through IVF, the first reaction that I got from both, on separate occasions, was: but they already have two, they should consider themselves lucky.

It’s true, and yet as I watched him wipe his tears, I realised that the pain of secondary infertility is no lesser than that of primary infertility. The longing for a child is not lessened by the fact that you already have children. While yes, it may help the heartache fade away easier, it’s still painful nonetheless.

Sometimes, I find that those of us who have gone through infertility tend to be a lot more judgmental. Unconsciously, we compare the amount of trauma and hoops that we have had to jump. To be honest, I am guilty of that myself too.

You went through one IUI? Pish, that’s nothing compared to SEVEN.
I had to go through 3 IVFs to conceive, you are so lucky to get your baby at your first IVF.

The thing is, ultimately, all infertility survivors are champions. Full stop. Every journey, every experience is different. Some are stronger than others, some are still searching for that happily ever after. But in the end, we are all brave, brave souls because we dare to take the unknown by the horns and wrestle for a different future.

We are all strong people because we DO something to solve the problem. We try and we try and despite the tears and the heartbreaks, we try and try again. Every little Clomid tablet that we take, every raging headache that we suffer from due to the influx of hormones in our bodies, every experience with the freaking speculum, every indignity that we willingly go through – we do it again and again.

So no matter how many IVFs we had to go through, or how many times we crumbled at the tell-tale sign that our efforts did not succeed, we are all brave and strong.

We wrote on this ema early in our journey while on holiday in Tokyo.

The organised chaos

On the day of the dead

Today, my son “met” my father for the first time.

And I was struck by just how much that had meant to me.

You see, my father died when I was six. In the years that ensued, I had built and lived a life in his absence. Because he had passed on when I was still a young child, I did not really feel the void that his death had created in my life, not in the same way that it had affected the lives of my mother and my sister.

Last year, I had missed out on attending the Qing Ming procedures because of the birth of my little man. And this year, he almost missed it again, having fallen asleep in the car en route to the columbarium. We decided that Mr Thick would remain in the car with him while I went up to my father’s niche to pay my respects.

And we did, my aunt and my cousins and my mom – the women who had lost so many people along the way. These days, we can stand around the niches and exchange fond, amusing memories of the dead but that in itself took many long years of learning to forgive and accept. We laughed and knelt and bowed our heads in prayer, hoping that those whom we had loved and departed all too soon were in good hands somewhere, somehow.

Shortly after, we left. And just as we reached the carpark, the little boy woke up from his short-lived nap. I was ready to leave but Mr Thick gently pushed me into taking Aidan to pay his respects to Gong Gong. And so off we went again, hauling the kid up to the niche.

Of course, he had no idea what the occasion was. He pounded his tiny fists against the glass that protected my father’s niche, and gave it quizzical looks. I explained to him that this is Gong Gong.

This is mama’s daddy, I said.

He studied my father’s photo, banged his hands against the glass and made some indecipherable noise.

Knock knock! I said, in jest. Gong Gong is not going to appear just because you are knocking at his door, you know.

My little man laughed, as if he understood my joke.

And in that moment, my heart welled up with an emotion that I could not identify.

I don’t think I can ever put in words or measure just how much my father’s death had altered the course of my existence. I will never know just how I would have turned out if he had been around. And I have always dismissed his absence as an unfortunate incident in my life.

But I must miss him more than I have ever realised.

Papa, this is your grandson. Wherever you are, I hope you are happy to know that you have him. Please look after him, and give him your blessings.

The organised chaos

Knock, knock

Anybody home?

Well, I wasn’t! The family – and by that, I mean my mom and sister and her family – took a trip down to Perth for a holiday over the Easter weekend. It was an interesting experience, to say the least. Family trips can be tricky and this being our first since we were kids meant we had to accommodate one another’s quirks and needs.

Oh Perth! It had the loveliest sky and softest beaches. And the most magnificent sunsets. I am in love and in awe.

But more on that later. I’m currently attending an external course on Adobe Illustrator and I am psyched. Beyond excited. Yes, I married a geek and turned into one too. Anyway, this would help me tremendously in my new project, which is…I AM HAVING A BABY!

No, not a real life, smiling poopy human baby. I’m hoping to birth a new blog soon and this is where all the web and digital skills that I am picking up now will come in handy. Watch this space, will reveal all in due time. Hopefully sooner than later.

So, I’ll be back soon, with all the photos that I had shot in Perth and all the lovely places that I had visited. Oh, and the celebration of Mr Thick’s 25th birthday (in his words, obviously, not mine). In the meantime, you can find me cyber-posing (am Fabulously Gorgeous after all) at Notabilia‘s, where I talk about our favourite cafes.